Volume 12, Issue 35 ~ August 26-September 1, 2004
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Dock of the Bay

Maryland Delegation Heads to the Republican National Convention
New faces to extend appeal of the Grand Old Party

photo by Sandra Martin
Maryland House Minority Whip Anthony O’Donnell and Jacqueline Gordon, delegates to the Republican National Convention.
Lt. Gov. Michael Steele leads the 76-person official Maryland delegation into the kinder, gentler streets of post 9/11 New York as the Republican Party opens its 2004 convention in Madison Square Garden on Monday August 30.

Steele has more to do at the convention than leading the Maryland delegation. Throughout the four days, he plays a visible supporting roll. He’ll speak on Tuesday as well as taking a turn as national deputy chairman.

As national deputy chairman, Steele takes a prominent spot on the national stage as the parliamentarian for a day. His day hasn’t been decided, but when it comes, he will manage what happens on stage and make sure everybody obeys the rules set forth by the Republican National Party.

In layman’s terms, he will emcee the show.

That simplification does not diminish the honor.

“This is a high-profile position,” says Deborah Martinez of the Maryland GOP. “He’ll be among the major players with direct access to the president and vice president.

“This is huge,” she adds, “for the Republican Party of Maryland.”

New York is not likely to be all gain and glory for Maryland’s Republicans.

Hundreds of thousands of protesters are descending on New York to confront the delegations.

That hostile presence is a proselytizing opportunity to Annapolis delegate Jose Fuentes, who is staying with the rest of the delegation at the Park Central Hotel 24 blocks from Madison Square Garden.

“The reason they get to protest,” says the 49-year-old former Attorney General of Puerto Rico, “is because the president is out there protecting their freedom.”

“That’s what’s great about America. You can disagree,” adds Convention delegate Anthony O’Donnell, who is minority whip in the Maryland House of Delegates. “I just hope they go about it peacefully.”

Another convention delegate, long-time Republican activist Jacqueline Gordon of Bowie, hopes to talk to the protesters. “I’d just like to know what they’re protesting,” says the Harvard School of Government graduate. “And I’d like to let them know that the reason they can protest is because of the security the president is fighting for.”

Security is a common theme at this year’s convention, as is the president’s war on terror.

That the convention is in early September and in New York is no accident.

George W. Bush’s presidency has been defined by his response to the attacks of September 11, 2001. Campaigning for re-election, he has drawn from the familiar imagery for television commercials. The national convention is timed to end as the third anniversary of the terrorist attacks approaches.

That timing suits Gordon, who is attending her first convention.

“This convention is about the job the president is doing,” she says.

Indeed, the theme for the week is Bush’s successful job performance.

“The president has a strong record to run on,” says O’Donnell. “He’s taking the fight to the terrorists. This is not the time to change course.”

“What this president is doing is very important,” says Fuentes, who is attending his first convention. “We as a nation need to be accountable and not projected to the rest of the world as weak.”

The week-long celebration of Republicanism is meant as a soiree for party faithful, but the message that goes out over the airwaves will be directed at independent voters and Democrats dissatisfied with their nominee, John Kerry.

With polls showing Americans increasingly divided, it’s the few yet to pick a side who will decide the election.

“It is a very important time in our nation’s history,” says Fuentes. “We need to get the message out.”

It’s no accident that Steele, Gordon and Fuentes look like voters today’s Republicans hope to draw into the fold.

They are among the half of the Maryland delegation who are ethnic and women. Of the 76 delegates, 23 are women, 13 are minorities and two are minority women.

Is the face of the Republican Party changing? Is its tent really big enough for everybody?

Perhaps so, as even a Democrat is on stage at this year’s Republican National Convention.

Not only on stage but in the spotlight. Delivering this year’s keynote address is former Georgia governor Sen. Zell Miller, the embodiment of the cross-over support that Republicans need to win.

“I hope to spread the message of the president and how his policies and strong leadership helps us all,” says Gordon.

“I’ll do what I can do,” adds Fuentes, who is focusing his recruitment on Chesapeake Country’s growing Hispanic community. “My first language is Spanish, and I will spread the president’s message to whomever will listen.”

Maryland’s GOP faithful are already convinced. Next week the Republicans hope their preaching reaches beyond the choir.

—Louis Llovio

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More Bay Touring
Learn about your own neck of the woods — at your own pace

If you’re seeking refuge from crowds, lines and pricy tickets, self-guided tours abound in Chesapeake Country, and their flexibility gives you the option of a day trip or just picking and choosing. These three resources launch your own local sightseeing trip — right in your own backyard.

Around Anne Arundel
Roots and Tides, a Southern Anne Arundel County driving tour, can be done anywhere, anytime. Take a driving tour on a sunny afternoon trip and discover the colonial port of London Town, old tobacco farms, 18th century mansions and the watermen’s villages of Galesville, Shady Side and Deale.

Roots and Tides, produced by Four Rivers Heritage Area, is also a history lesson, describing how tobacco and water are the keys to the county’s heritage.

But you don’t have to be there to hear all about it. Next time you’re stuck in traffic, escape to less congested roads by listening to the 85-minute CD history lesson.

Whether you’re just listening or touring, you’ll hear history brought to life as a diverse group of voices — historians, educators, preservationists, archeologists, musicians, an Episcopal pastor and a horsewoman — tell their stories.

Follow the black-eyed Susans
If you’ve never paid much attention to those Scenic Byway signs donning black-eyed susans along Maryland roads, you’re letting history pass you by.

These plentiful routes covering Maryland, laid out by Maryland State Highway Administration, are available at tourism and visitors’ centers. Armed with map and guidebook, you’re on your way to sites you’ve seen as well as little-known landmarks you’ve not yet discovered. You’ll learn where to park, major points to hit during your visit and sidetracks to explore if you have more time.

Anne Arundel’s Scenic Byway takes you from Annapolis, where you’re directed to the lesser-known 18th century Hammond-Harwood House and the better-known Naval Academy, and farther south, the Captain Salem Avery House, a restored waterman’s cottage and museum, as well as St. James’s Church, where you’ll find two of the oldest tombstones in Maryland.

The Western Shore Beaches Tour, which meanders 17 miles through Rose Haven and Chesapeake Beach, stops at the Chesapeake Beach Railway Museum and continues down Route 261 to Prince Frederick.

Drive farther and you’ll meet up with the Calvert Maritime Tour, a winding 25-mile path that takes you just across the Patuxent River at Benedict to Prince Frederick, down Route 2-4 to Calvert Cliffs State Park for a fossil hunt. Follow those black-eyed Susan signs to Solomons and you’ll find the Calvert Marine Museum with the oldest passenger vessel in the Bay and the 1883 Drum Point Lighthouse.

Curious about Calvert
Chesapeake Country’s heritage is moored in oyster companies and tobacco farms, which play prominently in southern Maryland history. But these are just the tip of the iceberg.

Southern Maryland Heritage Driving Tours, which covers Calvert as well as Charles and St. Mary’s counties, offers sights to see and routes to take for day trips.

On the agriculture/maritime route, stop by the Hallowing Point Park tobacco barn, circa 1854, to find out how tobacco farmers brought their crops from field to market. Farther along, you’ll find Flag Ponds Nature Park. Once the site of a fishery in the early 1900s, the park now offers sandy beaches, trails and a wetland boardwalk.

At the tip of Calvert County you’ll find the Joseph C. Lore & Sons Oyster House. Built on a mound of oyster shells, Lore & Sons once housed one of the largest seafood companies in Maryland; now it houses a museum dedicated to the commercial seafood industry and boat building. The brochure African-American Voices & Images [see story on page 16] adds the voices of oyster shuckers who worked at Lore & Sons.

If your historical touring tastes run more with battletime Maryland, follow the Wars & Conflicts route. You’ll encounter Jefferson Patterson Park & Museum, which has Chesapeake Flotilla Naval vessels discovered in St. Leonard’s Creek and loads of War of 1812 history. At Calvert Marine Museum, exhibits guide you along the British trail in that war. Trekking back farther in history is the museum’s paleontology room, where you’ll find fossils, shark’s teeth and other exhibits small and large of the prehistoric creatures that once called Calvert home.

Roots & Tides: 410-222-1805 or at stops on the tour. Scenic Byways Map and Southern Maryland Heritage Driving Tours at area tourism offices and visitors centers.
—Carrie Steele

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Ask the Plant Professor

Planning for Planting

Q I’d like to plant a pretty vine to hide my seven-foot high board fence. I like honeysuckle but hear it’s invasive. Also trumpet vine was recommended to me. I’d like something that will spread but not run rampant.

A Native honeysuckles can be quite showy. Just avoid the Japanese ones, the familiar yellow-and-white kind many of us believed were native. A mix of spring, summer and fall blooming clematis would provide a long display for you. Trumpet vine comes in several colors these days. American bittersweet (not the invasive Oriental kind), American wisteria or passionflower are also native alternatives. Most vines grow vigorously and will require some pruning eventually.

Q I plan to overseed my new lawn in about two weeks. The soil is clay, and I wonder if adding topsoil or something is advisable.

A Topsoils are unregulated and of various quality. Top-dressing your lawn with an organic amendment would definitely be beneficial. Broadcast a layer of composted material such as LeafGro. You can add about a quarter-inch this year and yearly afterwards if you like. Also, grasscycling (not collecting grass clipping but allowing them to decompose into the lawn) will improve the structure of the soil over time. Refer to our many lawn care publications.

Ask the Plant and Pest Professor is compiled from questions sent to the website of the Home and Garden Information Center, part of Maryland Cooperative Extension, an educational outreach of the University of Maryland. Ask a home gardening or pest control question and find other help: 800-342-2507 (Mon.-Fri. 8am-1pm) • www.hgic.umd.edu.

Ask the Plant and Pest Professor is compiled from questions sent to the website of the Home and Garden Information Center, part of Maryland Cooperative Extension, an educational outreach of the University of Maryland. Ask a home gardening or pest control question and find other help: 800-342-2507 (Mon.-Fri. 8am-1pm) • www.hgic.umd.edu.

Way Downstream …

In Annapolis, that muffled crack last week may have been an early shot in the 2006 race for governor. Montgomery County Executive Doug Duncan and Baltimore Mayor Martin O’Malley — the likeliest Democratic contestants — challenged Gov. Robert Ehrlich in a letter to restore $350 million to land conservation programs around the state …

In Greenland, teens must be heartier than the mall creatures we sprout in Maryland. At least that’s the case with the four who are in hot water for lassoing a huge polar bear from their boat so that an impoverished hunter could get a clear shot, Reuters reports. They somehow kept the 1,200-pound behemoth at bay when it turned on them, but now they must forfeit its claws, given to them as a trophy, for illegal hunting …

Our Creature Feature comes from London in a story that would draw anyone’s attention beneath this headline: Rare Komodo Dragon Dies in Zoo Love Plunge. It was a tragedy indeed when Nina, a 10-year-old, six-foot-long Komodo, died after falling from a wall while trying to reach Raja at the London Zoo.

Komodo dragons are the largest flesh-eating lizards in the world, and they are found in the wild only on a few tiny Indonesian islands. The curator said Nina had arrived at the zoo only recently and that an investigation was underway aimed at preventing any such animal tragedies in the future.

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