Volume 12, Issue 53 ~ • December 30, 2004 - January 5, 2005
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The Times of Our Lives

Why Herons Do Tai Chi …
You Might Want to Join Them in Your New Year’s Quest for Fitness

One of the growing number of tai chi groups in the Bay area, we gather once a week to learn and practice together. As we place a foot, shift our weight, slowly move forward, sideways or backward, we appear to mimic the Bay creatures. We seem to be swimming on land.

Tai chi, as well as yoga and qigong, are ancient exercises practiced religiously in the Eastern world. Their popularity is increasing in Chesapeake Country as these exercises add a new dimension to the burgeoning practice of wellness.

That dimension is really three, according to tai chi teacher and student Elizabeth Reed, who says she finds “tai chi fascinating in that it provides a meditative component, health component and a martial arts component.”

Maureen Miller • No. 1, Jan. 2

Out With the Old, In With the New
Busy Week at the Dump

Lovely weather, county bounty — which made December 26 a holiday for trash and recycling collectors — and too much of many good things made the dump the place to be at year’s turning.

The week following the Christmas holiday is a historically busy one as Chesapeake Country throws out the old to make way for the new. “Christmas day, I’m already preparing myself,” said John Moreland, a supervisor at the Millersville Landfill and Resource Recovery Facility.

Not only is trash accumulated during the holiday discarded. If you’re looking to start the new year with a clean slate, now’s the time to begin the arduous task of getting rid of a lifetime of accumulation.

“It’s time to move on,” says Karen Flecknoe, a regular at the Millersville center, throwing away a box of classic eight-tracks she is replacing with CDs.

Louis Llovio • Dock of the Bay, No. 1, Jan. 2

2003 Was Tough on Trees
Nature’s at Work in the Woods, Recycling Toppled Trees

2003 was a tough year for trees. On top of one of the wettest on record, Hurricane Isabel’s winds and rain ripped up through the Bay. Soil already inundated with water simply couldn’t hold any more. With only slippery mud for roots to dig into, trees could not stand up against winds.

Kathy Reshetiloff • Dock of the Bay, No. 1, Jan. 2

Here’s to 350 More
Calvert County Kicks Off Its Sesquicentennial

Calvert County kicked off 2004 much like 1654, with a proclamation from Cecelius Calvert and his wife Anne Arundel, Lord and Lady Baltimore II.

It’s hard, however, to imagine Lord and Lady Baltimore navigating the website launched — along with dozens of events from parades and picnics to poetry — to mark the 350th anniversary of the county.

The county actually turns 350 on July 3.

Louis Llovio • Dock of the Bay, No. 2, Jan. 8

Big, Bad Chemicals
Our Drains Flush a Toxic Brew into Chesapeake Bay

When you do your laundry, steam clean your rug, fertilize your lawn, change your motor oil and heat your home, you are inadvertently releasing toxic chemicals into Chesapeake Bay. The fragrance in your deodorant, the flame retardant in your sofa cushions, the Scotch Guard on your carpet, any pharmaceuticals you swallow: All of these eventually go down the drain, and at the end of the drain is the Chesapeake.

“Anything we make that is persistent eventually ends up in the Bay,” says Joel Baker, research scientist at the Chesapeake Biological Laboratory in Solomons. Among the toxins are those big bad boys of the aquatic pollution family that scientists call PBTs. Like a cop on a criminal investigation, Baker uses fingerprinting to identify the bad guys.

Martha Blume • Dock of the Bay, No. 3, Jan. 15

Working Behind Scenes for Martin Luther King
Somebody’s Got to Feed the Celebrating Masses

Seven hundred people came Monday to celebrate Martin Luther King’s birthday over breakfast. It was up to Wanda Grace and her staff to make sure no one left hungry.

The crowd laughed, talked, shook hands with strangers and hugged friends. Over a loudspeaker, the occasional announcement interrupted the music.

But mostly they lined up around the four food stations set around the gym and were served breakfast of eggs, bacon, sausage, potatoes, pastries and bagels. A few lean souls satisfied themselves with fruits.

“I have no idea how many people I’ve served so far,” said a smiling Evelyn Matthews, one of the servers.
Louis Llovio • Dock of the Bay, No. 4, Jan. 22

Right Trees and a Righteous Mayor
Planting Short Trees Now; Power Lines Later

Baltimore Gas and Electric surprised the city of Annapolis with an unsolicited New Year’s gift last week. A $10,000 contribution to the city/utility partnership Right Tree/Right Place will help plant 36 new native trees in Truxtun Park, mitigating damage from hurricane Isabel.

For Mayor Ellen Moyer, the “right tree in the right place” is not nearly change enough. “The mayor is still very much committed to undergrounding,” said spokeswoman Jan Hardesty. “BG&E understands the mayor’s passion for this issue.”

Sonia Linebaugh • Dock of the Bay, No. 5, Jan. 29

A Love Story
My Quest for the Perfect Proposal

The Proposal is the last time in our natural lives marrying men will have any say in domestic matters. Petra was pushing me with subtle hints — like picking a date — to the altar. But we couldn’t get there until I had my shining moment. I want to do it right.

Louis Llovio • No. 7, Feb. 12

A Tale of Two Hurricanes
Five Months Post-Isabel, One Business Prospers; Another Struggles to Reopen

As the seven feet of water receded, Hurricane Isabel wasn’t done. Some flood victims were buoyed by the good deeds of neighbors, while others would barely hold their head above water in the bureaucratic nightmare that’s still continuing.

“It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.”

One hundred and fifty years after he wrote them, Charles Dickens’ words ring true in Chesapeake Country.

Nearly five months after the final drop from Isabel’s deluge, Raye Price, owner of Skipper’s Pier Waterfront in Deale, is struggling to reopen.

“It’s a forgotten story,” Price said, “unless you’re in the middle of it.”

Louis Llovio • Dock of the Bay, No. 8, Feb. 19

Publish or Perish

Today’s Authors Needn’t Pine for Lack of a Publisher

Everybody’s got a story, they say.

And it seems that everyone is determined to tell that story to the world. In 2002, more than 150,000 new books were published. Even that big number is not enough. Would-be authors still lament not only the impossibility of getting a publisher to look at their manuscript but also the improbability of getting an agent to make the pitch for them. In the academic world, professors must publish frequently to keep their jobs. But every writer feels the compulsion to publish — or perish inwardly.

Enter technology. With a process called print-on-demand, electronic technology is revolutionizing the publishing world. Instead of printing thousands and thousands of books, then storing them in a warehouse while waiting for buyers, e-publishers store books on computer disks and print them one by one as readers place their orders. The cost is so modest that the authors have been freed from the tyranny of mainstream publishers. Many now take the direct approach: author to e-publisher to reader.

Sonia Linebaugh • No. 8, Feb. 19

The Bay Starts Here
Chesapeake Bay Foundation Leverages Flush Tax at its Source: Your Toilet

The Bay’s biggest advocate is working alongside Gov. Robert Ehrlich, flushing out supporters as his proposed Chesapeake Restoration Fund snakes its way through the legislature.

Chesapeake Bay Foundation is reaching out to find friends for the flush tax in high-traffic areas where the customer is captive: bathrooms in bars. Going up in restrooms throughout Annapolis, Baltimore and the Eastern Shore are ads that coincide with a radio and print campaign.

One shows an open toilet seat with the message “Don’t make this your only contribution to the Bay” in bold lettering across the front. Another shows a bathroom complete with toilet and urinal and the words “If you’re the Chesapeake Bay … this is your chamber of horrors.”

Louis Llovio • Dock of the Bay, No. 10, March 4

Flush Tax Signed
Finally, Something Politicians Agree On

On May 26, Democrats and Republican leaders of Maryland came together to sign into law the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Restoration Fund, known familiarly as the flush tax.

Under the watchful eyes of the crew of Pride of Baltimore II and school children from St. Mary’s Catholic School, Eastport Elementary and Severn River Middle School, the three men who make Maryland politics work gathered to sign a bill all called “historic legislation.”

The bill, signed into law by Ehrlich, will charge Marylanders $30 — for many in the form of a $2.50 monthly surcharge on their sewage bill — to raise money to clean up of the 66 worst sewage treatment plants on and around Chesapeake Bay.

Louis Llovio • Dock of the Bay, No. 22, May 27

At Chesapeake Country’s Academies of Manners
Kids Learn the Rules in the Dance of Life

Apprehension hangs in the air as 74 young children and their parents mill about St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Prince Frederick. In contrast to the bitter cold of the January evening, it is hot and stuffy in the crowded vestibule. Dressed to the nines, little girls fidget with unfamiliar white gloves. Boys rotate their necks inside collared shirts and, when their parents aren’t watching, tug at the foreign ties pressing against their throats. “I can’t breathe!” wails one rebellious boy as his father snugs a loosened knot back up.

At precisely five o’clock, order emerges. Adult chaperones segregate boys and girls into two lines, and Tidewater Cotillion kicks off for 2004. It’s the first of six sessions for children in third through fifth grade. The older class for sixth through ninth graders begins at 6:30.

Why would any parent subject a child to such torment?

“I liken it to making your kids eat vegetables,” says Dawn Szot, chairwoman of the Tidewater Cotillion. “They may not like it at first, but it is good for them.”

Vivian I. Zumstein • No. 11, March 11

Hey Buddy, Can You Spare a Car?
Today’s Hottest Fundraiser Is Not All for Charity

Whether for veterans, kidney transplants, the Boy Scouts or — as you’ll learn in this week’s Burton on the Bay — cats, somebody out there wants to turn your junker into cash and share the proceeds with charity.

A California study found that “80 percent of charities contracting with fundraisers to run their car donation program received less than 60 cents for every dollar of a vehicle donated.”

Those numbers are backed up by Baltimore’s Steve Sellers of Donation Services of America, a subcontractor selling donated cars for the American Breast Cancer Foundation.

“Sixty-percent of the cars we get lose money,” Sellers told Bay Weekly. “By the time we advertise the service, tow the car in, store it, clean it up and send it to auction, we don’t stand a chance of making any money.”

Louis Llovio • Dock of the Bay, No. 11, March 11

Bay Weekly Scores
Writers and Staff Take Three First Places

“Journalism is literature in a hurry.”
—Matthew Arnold

It’s back-patting time in the newspaper business, a time when journalists gather to compare notes and celebrate good work at the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association’s annual awards banquet.

This year’s competition was judged by writers, editors and photographers of the North Carolina Press Association. Alongside The Washington Post, The Baltimore Sun, The Capital and many papers from large to small, Bay Weekly competed in its category, capturing three first-place prizes for stories and design.

The winners were:

  • M.L. Faunce in the medical science category for her January story “Wrangling Oysters Out of Trouble,” on the Circle C Oyster Ranch in St. Mary’s County;
  • Matthew Pugh in sports feature writing for his April, 2003 story “The Zen of Boxing”;
  • Bay Weekly staff in the special sections category for its 101 Ways to Have Fun summer guide.

Louis Llovio • Dock of the Bay, No. 12, March 18

U Need a Ride?
Local Film Takes Us for a Taxi Ride

Annapolis film and video production company Asteros Filmworks premiered its first short feature, U Need a Ride? last week before a crowd of independent film enthusiasts at Crown Eastport Art Cinema.

U Need a Ride? is director Ken Arnold’s mockumentary, a film that parodies the documentary style. In this case, it’s the life of overzealous cab driver Reggie Jackson. No, this not the baseball player Reggie Jackson. This Reggie Jackson is a poor kid from rural Maryland who dreams of going to the big city of Annapolis to be a cabbie.

Kevin Jiggetts, who co-wrote the script with Arnold, plays the lead character Reggie Jackson.

Diane Gunter • Dock of the Bay, No. 12, March 18

Bidding for the Bay
April Fools! Legislators Surprise Marylanders with Decision to Sell the Troubled Chesapeake

In a stunning development that caught Marylanders, the federal government and the environmental community off guard, the Maryland Legislature voted in secret session March 27 to authorize the state to sell Chesapeake Bay.

Sources close to the vote say the catalyst was a message passed to Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller by an undisclosed whistle blower that the federal government was poised “to swoop in and take over the Bay.”

The state’s decision to sell the Bay was a preemptive strike against the federal government.

“Before they seize the Bay,” Miller told Bay Weekly in an exclusive interview, “we figured we could benefit by selling it first to a private investor.”

Louis Llovio • No. 14, April 1

Fossil Finds in Chesapeake’s Sand
Students Take a Closer Look at History

Nationwide, thousands of students are meticulously sifting and sorting through grains of Chesapeake Beach sand. What’s so interesting about our sand? Plenty, if you know what you’re looking for.

An abundance of fossils reside in the Chesapeake area, which is a hot spot for geology and paleontology. In regions along the Chesapeake Bay, relics of the past are common finds in the sand. Shark’s teeth, shellfish fragments, drum fish teeth and bits of turtle shell all provide clues about the Chesapeake’s natural history, where fossils date back 15 million years.

Some 100 schools are studying Maryland sand through the Chesapeake Matrix project, one of many matrix projects of the Cornell Institute for Biology Teachers, which teaches citizen scientists to investigate and contribute to science instead of simply reading about fossils in a textbook.

Carrie Steele • Dock of the Bay, No. 16, April 15

Gone Geocachin’
A Scavenger Hunt with Technology Twist

A new pastime sweeping Maryland has hikers trekking and navigating through field and forest with a fresh purpose.

Geocaching, or using a hand-held GPS — that’s Global Positioning System — to find specific sites set up like a treasure hunt, puts a sense of mission into hiking. For these hikers, geocaching (say geo-cash-ing) is more than just an Easter-egg hunt in the park.

“Basically, it’s like looking for a needle in a haystack,” says Erin Cole, public relations officer of the Maryland Geocaching Society.

Using their GPS, geocachers can pinpoint their global location to within six to 20 feet. The point, however, is not to locate themselves but to find a hidden cache.

Carrie Steele • Dock of the Bay, No. 17, April 22

Bay Weekly Birthday-Earth Day Special
11 Changes Over 11 Years

At age 11, you’re not old enough to vote, drink liquor or go to war. But at 11 years this week, Bay Weekly has been around long enough to measure the vital signs of Chesapeake Bay. When we look back over our 11 years, we see that the biggest stories remain the ones that led us into this Bay Weekly enterprise: environment, quality of life, culture and lore, people and places in Chesapeake Country.

1. Chesapeake Bay’s Fortunes Ebb and Flow

2. Maryland’s First Republican Governor in Three Decades

3. Sports Powerplay

4. Women Riding High in Anne Arundel

5. Rockfish Recovery

6. A New Mr. Maryland

7. Edgewater Explodes

8. Prime Time for Baltimore’s Mean Streets

9. Twin Beach Renaissance

10. The Arts Flourish

11. Bay Weekly Celebrates 11 Years No. 17, April 22

Artists Bring a Piece of Wye Oak Back to Life
State Hands Out Pieces of the Quiet Giant

The Wye Oak stood proud as Maryland’s state tree for more than 450 years before succumbing to the ravages of nature in June of 2002.

Now on May 15, artists can claim salvaged portions of the Wye, which at the time it fell measured more than 31 feet around, stood 96 feet tall, spread at the crown 119 feet and weighed in excess of 61,000 pounds. The following Saturday, May 22, leftovers are free to all comers.

“The goal of this project,” says Theresa Colvin of the Maryland Arts Council, “is for Marylanders to have a chance to preserve the legacy of the tree and to have a piece of history.”

Louis Llovio • Dock of the Bay, No. 20, May 13

South County Connection Hits the Road
If You’ve got $3.50 and 50 Minutes, You Can Bus from Annapolis to Deale

For folks looking to span the divide between the southern reaches of Anne Arundel County and the city of Annapolis — without a car — the distance has been bridged by a new 16-passenger bus, launched last week with fanfare and dignitaries, if not champagne.

Anne Arundel County Executive Janet Owens was joined by Annapolis Mayor Ellen Moyer May 14 to officially launch the new C-50 Bus Route and to christen the bus The South County Connection, a name chosen by Heidi Mudd of Tracey’s Landing and Debbie Grauel of Deale — the two winners in an Annapolis Transit contest that garnered nearly 150 entries.

The South County Connection departs Spa Road in Annapolis at odd hours — 7, 9 and 11am; 1, 3, and 5pm, making more than 30 stops on each leg of its route before dropping off a final load of passengers at 7pm. The whole ride costs $3.50.

J. Alex Knoll • Dock of the Bay, No. 21, May 20

Maryland Gets New State Team Sport
Move Over Jousting; Make Way for Lacrosse

It’s about time. These are the sentiments of many a Maryland lacrosse fan as Gov. Robert Ehrlich signed Senate Bill 428 into law last week, officially naming lacrosse as our state team sport.

There are more than 40,000 current lacrosse players in Maryland, and all but two of Maryland’s counties have high school leagues. Combine that with tens of thousands of rabid fans and a rich history dating back to colonial days, and lacrosse, as the state team sport, seemed a no-brainer.

Dozens of lacrosse players, coaches, athletic directors, parents and NCAA officials testified at the 2004 state legislative session on the merits of lax legislation, pushing Sen. President Thomas V. Mike Miller to sponsor the bill.

“Maryland has long been recognized nationally as a hotbed for lacrosse,” Miller said. “It was time to give it the recognition it deserves.”

Matthew Pugh • Dock of the Bay, No. 21, May 20

What’s That on the Horizon?
The Goodyear Blimp, in Yonder Field

For five days each year, the blimp lives among us. Docked at tiny Lee Airport in Edgewater, it bounces like a giant blue and yellow balloon on our western horizon. With its three sister ships, Spirit of Goodyear is a goodwill ambassador for its tire company, much as Pride of Baltimore II is a goodwill ambassador for our big city.

“It’s like a parade,” said Annapolitan Joe Thompson, who brought his daughter Annabel to join the crowd of avid spectators. “You see a blimp and it’s got that special feeling that something big is going on.”

That something big is officially the Preakness Stakes in Baltimore. But unofficially, it’s the soaring feeling each of us get when we see the blimp with our own eyes.

Sandra O. Martin • Dock of the Bay, No. 21, May 20

To Change the Bay, You’ve Got to Get Your Wet Feet
Bernie Fowler Leads Bay Converts to the Water and Urges Them to Walk on In

June is Wade-In Month in Chesapeake Country. The season started early on the Patapsco on May 23. Annapolis waded June 5. On June 12, people on the Choptank, Lower Potomac and Upper Eastern Shore wade. On June 27, it’s wade-day for the Lower Western Shore.

In Calvert County this weekend, the Patuxent River’s passionate politician, former Maryland Sen. Bernie Fowler, continues the tradition he began 16 years ago, in 1988, with yet another Patuxent River Wade-In. Its goal is more than community education; it’s prodding decisive political action.

At the 2003 Patuxent Wade-in, Fowler pressed Gov. Robert Ehrlich for action. From a wade-in perspective, the flush-tax bill is Ehrlich’s down payment on the promise made at last year’s Patuxent River Wade-in.

Expect more payments to be called due at the 2004 Patuxent Wade-in.

Sara E. Leeland • No. 24, June 10

Wading In to Clean up the Bay
Promises Few; Praise Plentiful

It wasn’t Wade-In-as-usual this 17th year on the Patuxent.

For one thing, a brass band greeted all comers and a 12-foot-long paper-mâchè tundra swan floated in the river. For another, Bernie Fowler’s Sneaker Test was fouled. A gaggle of photographers preceded the waders into a small roped-off space on the river, muddying the waters and the result: 31.5 inches.

Politicians patted each other’s backs. But as the chairs were folded, the band’s instruments tucked into cases and the swan loaded back on a trailer, it wasn’t at all clear that the river itself would be healthier by 2005.

Sara E. Leeland • Dock of the Bay, No. 25, June 17

Ten Million Oysters Find Sanctuary in the Patuxent
Hoyer’s Pork is Oysters to Our Bay

As he pledged at former state Sen. Bernie Fowler’s Annual Wade-In June 13, U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer helped plant 350,000 baby oysters in the Patuxent River.

Hoyer did more than watch the spat settle via underwater camera. He had helped secure $15 million in federal funds for the Oyster Recovery Project, the partnership that coordinates oyster restoration efforts all over Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.

By summer’s end, 10 million new oysters will reside in the Patuxent River sanctuary.

The nearly six acres of oyster sanctuary off Trent Hall in St. Mary’s County rose from the messy spill at the Chalk Point Power Plant that coated the river with some 140,000 gallons of oil four years ago.

Carrie Steele • Dock of the Bay, No. 25, June 17

Family Values
A Father’s Tale Turns a Family Story into History

Silvio had escaped Cuba once legally and then again as a wanted man. To save his father, he now had to return to his homeland.

The stories of our lives are as much the adventures of our fathers and the realities of our grandfathers as our own endeavors. This is my father’s story, and my grandfather’s. It is my story and my son’s.

You catch hold of history when you talk with — and listen to — your father, your grandfather; if you are lucky enough, your great-grandfather.

Louis Llovio • No. 25, June 17

What the Well Is Going On?
At Least on the Eastern Shore, Well Water is a New Chemical Compound

In the good old days, the problem with well water was that it had to be pulled up by the bucketful. Modern technologies pump well water straight to the kitchen sink. But with new technologies, new problems arise. To microbes, an age-old problem you could boil away, our industrial times have added a problematic stew of chemicals.

Stewing are many human-produced ingredients — nutrients, pesticides and volatile organic compounds — says a new U.S. Geological Survey study of well water on the Eastern Shore.

Levels of nutrients and herbicides in streams and shallow groundwater in Delmarva Peninsula farm country measured some of the highest in the nation.

Carrie Steele • Dock of the Bay, No. 26, June 24

From Soccer Mom to Coach Mom
Title IX Put Girls on the Field; Necessity Is Recruiting Their Mothers

The fateful call came spring of 2000.

If my kid was going to play, I had to coach.

That’s how many parents get sucked into coaching.

In fact, I was far better prepared than many. I had grown up in the Seattle area, where boys have played soccer as an organized sport since at least the 1950s. I was a girl, but I walked the sidelines on countless soggy Saturdays watching my brother play, and I wheedled my way into pick-up games with the boys in elementary school. Armed with the knowledge of what constitutes a handball, I was miles ahead of the average middle-aged adult in Chesapeake Country.

Vivian Zumstein • No. 26, June 24

Bay Weekly on Summer Reading
The Books of Our Lives

Books change lives. Sacred texts like the Bible or the Koran have mapped the course of history and, believers say, salvation. Our era’s best sellers, the Harry Potter quintet, have transported millions to a magical alternative universe that relieves the muggledom of everyday existence. Epics have awarded nominal immortality to heroes dead millennia ago. Novels have sung songs as distracting as Circe’s. Even books on demand, written by unknown authors who’ll never meet Oprah, have set countless readers on new paths.

But you don’t have to expect lightning as you pick, pack and peruse the books you’ve chosen as your companions in the summer of 2004, when you’re finally going to catch up on your reading.

You just have to open the covers and turn the pages. A good book will do the rest.

That’s the lesson you’ll see in the stories of three dozen Chesapeake Country readers — from the governor of Maryland to Ted Levitt of Chick and Ruth’s Delly — who might never have gotten where they are today without reading.

No. 28, July 8

Report Card Time on State Circle
Find Who’s Voting Green and Who’s Not

To help you figure out how green your elected reps are, Maryland League of Conservation Voters offers their 12th General Assembly Scorecard, the report by Maryland’s environmental votes over the last two years.

This scorecard records nine perfect scores of 100 in the Senate and 62 perfect scores in the House.

No Anne Arundel or Calvert senator earned a perfect score; Sen. Thomas V. Mike Miller came closest at 92 percent.

In the House, both counties boast two 100-percenters. They’re House Speaker Michael Busch and Del. Virginia Clagett in Anne Arundel and in Calvert, delegates James Proctor and Joseph Vallario, who represent only the Dunkirk area.

At the other end, District 34’s Nancy Jacobs anchored the Senate with a score of zero. In the House, District 7’s Richard Impallaria, District 8’s Alfred Redmer and 9A’s Warren Miller also earned environmental zeros.

Carrie Steele • No. 29, July 15

Laying Seige to Annapolis
For Drivers, Construction has Made an Impenetrable Fortress

Driving into historic Annapolis these days is an exercise in patience. You’ll either handle the delays, the construction and quixotic-like quest for a parking spot with grace and dignity — or you’ll aim your car for the nearest bridge and drive straight off it.

That is, if you can fight your way through construction to that bridge.

With work on the Weems Creek Bridge at Rowe Boulevard — the final project on the current agenda — not slated to finish until the summer of ’06, congestion is here to stay.

Louis Llovio • Dock of the Bay, No. 31, July 29

Party by the Bay to Support Cancer Research
Celebrate Life at Rod ‘n’ Reel’s 23rd Annual Gala

“I have to convince the world,” says David Weber, American Cancer Society researcher at the University of Maryland in Baltimore. “This is a very new thought for science and for the cancer world.”

Weber is speaking of research progress he’s made in the past year leading, he hopes, to patient-specific cancer drugs.

“We need help with money, and we need help with convincing drug companies and investors that this is a worthy problem to solve,” the cancer researcher said.

Enter Rod ‘n’ Reel’s Annual Celebration of Life Cancer Gala on August 5. This is the Calvert County entertainment complex’s 23rd consecutive year of raising cancer research funds for the American Cancer Society.

Lauren Silver • Dock of the Bay, No. 31, July 29

23rd Annual Cancer Gala Outshines Itself
Good Weather, Good Food, Good Company Made for Record-Breaking Night

Calvert County’s 23rd annual Celebration of Life was good enough to raise more than $300,000 for the American Cancer Society — far surpassing the stated goal of $275,000. It was good enough to show that life is sweet despite the long shadow of sorrow. It was good enough to prove Bay Weekly readers absolutely right in naming Cancer Gala the Best Bay Fundraiser year after year.

“This is the best event we’ve done,” said Rod ’n’ Reel owner and Chesapeake Beach mayor Gerald Donovan, the man behind the Gala. “It was overwhelming.”

The 2004 Gala raised $80,000 more than last year and pushed the 23-year total well over the $2 million mark to $2,240,000.

“At this rate,” said Donovan, “we’ll be at $2.5 million for the 25th annual Gala.”

Louis Llovio • Dock of the Bay, No. 33, Aug. 12

Wednesday Night at the Races
Sailing for the Finish Line

Shots from 10- and 12-gauge canons signal the finish of each race and the first boat to cross the line. Folks on the deck at the Annapolis Yacht Club and others on the Eastport Bridge hold their ears, as the canon fire echoes loudly through Spa Creek. The race committee calls out boat numbers as each one crosses the finish line. Crew on the boats below quickly pull down the sails. Skippers maneuver in a chaotic, but graceful dance of tight turns to avoid running into the bridge, their colleagues and any other watercraft or animal on the creek. And another Wednesday night sailboat race draws to a close.

Across the District and around the Bay, every Wednesday from April through September, folks are leaving work early with the excuse ‘I gotta race.’ Whatever its origin, Wednesday night racing seems to be a good idea that spread.

Maureen Miller • No. 30, July 22

Making the Grade
With the Bay at Stake, Does Political Balance in the Chesapeake Bay Commission Make for Murky Waters?

Putting Chesapeake Bay in the hands of the Chesapeake Bay Commission is like mixing foxes into the security force guarding the hen house — if you judge by the report cards just handed out by the Leagues of Conservation Voters in both Maryland and Virginia.

Set the passing grade at 70 percent, like in school, and the majority of the Commission’s legislative members from the two states fail, according to a Bay Weekly analysis of scores.

Most members from Pennsylvania, the third state on the commission, also failed their state’s last environmental rating in 2001-’02.

The Annapolis-based commission — which has a staff of five supporting 21 commissioners and a budget this year of $480,000 — was set up 20 years ago as part of the effort to restore and better protect the Chesapeake Bay.

Sandra O. Martin • No. 34, Aug. 19

In Our Post-Isabel World, Hurricanes a Way of Life
With Nine Major Storms already in 2004, is Chesapeake Country Ready?

Hurricane Charley and Tropical Storm Bonnie hit Florida and points along the East Coast last month, but were no-shows around here.

Hurricane Frances battered an already devastated Florida, not once, but twice. Our skies darkened, rain fell and Labor Day cookouts were canceled, but once again we were spared.

Now it seems that Ivan, the ninth major storm of the 2004 hurricane season, is headed for a third round with the Sunshine State. According to early forecasts, after hitting Florida it will head off into the Gulf of Mexico.

As the first anniversary of Isabel approaches, the question worrying Chesapeake Country is Are we ready if our ticket is punched?

The answer to that question is a resounding: We hope so.

Louis Llovio • Dock of the Bay, No. 37, Sept. 9

In Isabel’s Wake
A Memoir of Loss and Gain

I baked chocolate chip cookies the morning of September 18, 2003, and delivered them to my neighbors. It helped keep my mind off the hurricane that seemed to be headed our way. I knew the electricity would be out sooner or later, and it would be nice to have something to eat by candlelight. Also, it felt good to visit with my neighbors, worry with them, laugh with them, reassure each other.

I didn’t know that would be the last time I’d bake cookies at 9232 Atlantic Avenue in North Beach or the last time I’d visit this way with my neighbors. I didn’t know our neighborhood as it was would not exist after that day had ended.

Billie Hinnefeld • No. 38, Sept. 16

After Isabel at the Annapolis Maritime Museum
Museum Chair Looks Back and Forward

On September 19, 2004, Buck Buchanan woke to the wrecked remains of the Annapolis Maritime Museum’s two buildings: the McNasby’s Seafood and Oyster Company and the Barge House. Unrelenting winds had all but flattened the buildings; six feet of water had poured in.

“I think what Isabel did was galvanize us,” he says. “Our membership has tripled. We’ve logged more than 2,000 volunteer hours.”

A year later, engineering plans are complete for rebuilding McNasby’s; specs were sent out for bidding earlier this month. Construction is scheduled to begin this fall and be completed by spring. In addition to the construction on the buildings, work on the docks is scheduled to begin in October. The rebuilt docks will jut out farther from the back of McNasby’s than the originals to accommodate the water taxi that will travel between McNasby’s, City Dock and the Thomas Point Lighthouse. Next year, visitors can take the taxi out to the lighthouse to see it close up.

With their excess energy, they’ve started the Chesapeake Music Institute to “preserve and present the indigenous music of the Bay with live music and CDs.”

The just-ended summer concert series at City Dock is part of the institute. This winter, the museum continues its outreach with a lecture series on maritime lore.

Louis Llovio • Dock of the Bay, No. 38, Sept. 16

Local Film Sounds Alarm on Sleeping Monster
Climate Changes Are Reshaping Chesapeake Country

“When you talk about global warming and you talk about ice caps melting, peoples’ eyes glaze over,” says Mike Tidwell. “The natural reaction is to shut down and deny it. It’s too big, and it’s too freaky.”

To Tidwell, the director of the three-year-old Chesapeake Climate Action Network, climate change is big and freaky, like an elephant under the rug.

To shine a spotlight on the lump, Tidwell has made a movie.

In it, climate change consumes the last island in Maryland’s portion of the Chesapeake Bay.

We Are all Smith Islanders, which premiered in April, shows how rising seas can consume wetlands and, still hungry, make their next course out of low-lying solid ground.

Carrie Steele • Dock of the Bay, No. 38, Sept. 16

Editing Edgewater’s Ecology
Earth Lessons Planted in Young Minds

In their first days back to school, kids traded in pencils for trowels and textbooks for tiny cranberry plants. These Edgewater Elementary Schoolers weren’t just gardening: they were helping to solve a community problem they’ve been learning about for a year.

Edgewater is one of many schools teaming up with Arlington Echo Outdoor Education Center’s Chesapeake Connections program to turn students into stewards. Its latest mission: to transform what was once a major byway for dirty runoff water into a wetland, halting the flow of dirt from entering nearby Warehouse Creek.

“This is a storm water treatment area,” said Steve Barry, director of Arlington Echo. “What we’re trying to do with it is develop an ecosystem.”

Carrie Steele • No. 38, Sept. 16

The Making of a Smithsonian Exhibition
Calvert Countian Paula Johnson Puts History on Display

Some of us are lucky to visit the Smithsonian once a year or so, but Paula Johnson gets to go there every day — and get paid for it. The cultural historian commutes from her Port Republic home in Calvert County to the internationally recognized Smithsonian Institution, where she is one of more than 280 employees and 26 curators in the National Museum of American History. Her job on the National Mall at 14th Street and Constitution Avenue can be as simple as opening a box and picking up a whisk, as she did in unpacking Julia Child’s boxes. Or it can be as complex as orchestrating the move of large objects — like the commercial shipping container she needed for the America on the Move exhibit — from all over the country.

Big or little, each job is part of what it takes to create an exhibit. Some take years to get from idea to opening day. Others have to move quickly to take advantage of one-time opportunities. Speed was in order in August, 2001, when Johnson and her colleagues heard about the rare chance to capture the kitchen of cultural food icon and cooking-show pioneer Julia Child, who died last month two days short of her 92nd birthday.

Becky Bartlett Hutchison • No. 39, Sept. 23

Slavery Returns to Annapolis
Wounding or Healing on the Walk to Reconciliation?

For the first time since the 19th century, shackled humans will march through Annapolis on September 29.

These humans won’t be for sale. They’ll be walking to atone for the sins of Annapolitans 150 years ago.

This is not the first march of its kind, though Annapolis has never seen anything like it. These walks began in England at the Millennium as “a Christian response to the legacy of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade,” according the Lifeline Expedition Project, their sponsor.

The marches are a modern form of medieval passion plays, moving through public streets to act out a drama with a moral. Whites walk bound in chains and yokes through former slave ports around the world as symbolic slaves. Blacks walk alongside the penitents as slave owners. The changed roles symbolize forgiveness.

“If it makes people uncomfortable and if it makes people talk, then we’ve done our job,” says Leonard Blackshear of the Annapolis based Kunta Kinte–Alex Haley Foundation, one of the walk’s local organizers.

That job, says Blackshear, is to draw attention to the history of slavery in Annapolis so that healing can begin.

Critics counter that the marches open old wounds.

Louis Llovio • Dock of the Bay, No. 39, Sept. 23

Take a Hike
Treat Yourself and Your Family to a Walk This Fall in Chesapeake Country

A fall walk brings a sense of freedom to cave dwellers who have cloistered themselves in air-conditioning all summer. Drops in temperature, humidity and the biting-bug population collaborate to make it delightful outside, helping us get reacquainted with nature.

The forest becomes a special place in the fall, transformed by autumn colors. It’s not just all those vivid reds, oranges and yellows; the leaves, an amorphous mass of green all spring and summer, suddenly become individuals. Nature paints them all a bit differently so they stand out from their neighbors.

The forest also sounds different in fall. Dry leaves still on trees rattle as the breeze passes through or crackle under a hiker’s tread. Canada geese in their V-formation honk as they pass over.

Walking brings you close to it all. It’s also wonderful exercise.

“Walking is an easy way to get cardiovascular exercise,” says Teresa diStefano Seifert of Owings, a professor of physical education at Prince George’s Community College. “Almost anyone can do it. It requires no special skills or equipment, and it puts very little stress on joints.”

Anyone means any age.

“Walking is an especially good family activity,” Seifert says. “Young and old can do it together. If you have an infant, you can put it in a stroller and still go. Also, instilling the importance of exercise at an early age is very important. Habits children learn young will carry over into adulthood.”

Vivian I. Zumstein • No. 40, Sept. 30

Grown-up Art with Kid Appeal
People Just Can’t Keep Their Hands off the New Sculptures on Millennium Trail

Sculptures that please kids and art-lovers alike have carved trail-side niches in Annapolis. Walk down the Annapolis Colonial Maritime Trail trail beside Chesapeake Children’s Museum and you’ll encounter not only a 10-foot-long wooden salamander but also a carved sea monster rising from the ground beside a simple workboat.

This is the first of three Trail Art Projects to grace the route of our BWI Trail, the B&A Trail and the Annapolis Colonial Maritime Trail, collectively designated as the Maryland Millennium Legacy Trail in 2000.

Carrie Steele • Dock of the Bay, No. 40, Sept. 30

Help Out a Tree Nursery
Not Only Squirrels Are Gathering Nuts this Fall

Should you find yourself competing with squirrels this fall, it’s all for a good cause. Golfball-sized black walnuts and marble-sized acorns are in demand. Seeds such as these create forests.

DNR wants your black walnuts to sprout and raise at John S. Ayton State Forest Tree Nursery in Preston. They’ll then sell the two-year-old, 18- to 24-inch-tall seedlings to Marylanders for reforestation.

Carrie Steele • Dock of the Bay, No. 40, Sept. 30

Walk the Railway to Chesapeake Beach
State Funds 1.4 Mile Trail

The railway brought life to Chesapeake Beach in the early 20th century. That era ended in 1935, when the Chesapeake Beach Railway shut down service.

Now, 104 years after its first use, the old railway will again bring people into town.

The tracks won’t carry 8,000-ton steam locomotives packed tight with summer vacationers in the 21st century. The old track bed will carry walkers and bicyclists into town to shop, eat and socialize.

Beginning in the summer of 2006, walkers will follow the 1.4-mile, eight-foot-wide hiker-biker trail east from the Richfield Station Community along to Fishing Creek, down to Kellam’s Recreational Center and the main thoroughfare of the Twin Beaches, Rt. 261.

Louis Llovio • Dock of the Bay, No. 40, Sept. 30

Digging Deeper into Development
Scientists Confirm Link Between Land Use and Environmental Quality

People really do make a difference: We’ve been told all along that what we do on our lots and land parcels makes or breaks our Bay. Now we’ve got proof.

Studies funded by the EPA’s Estuarine and Great Lakes Initiative have linked the amount of both commercial and residential development in an area with degradation of its water quality and wildlife.

Dennis Whigham of Smithsonian Environmental Research Center in Edgewater was among a team of researchers who found a 26-percent probability that breeding birds raising their young are affected by as little as 10 percent land development within 500 meters of the wetland.

“Our choices are having an effect on estuaries,” he says.

Carrie Steele • Dock of the Bay, No. 44, Oct. 28

Constant Constellation Keeps Making History
At 150, the Historic Ship Makes Baltimore-Annapolis-Baltimore Round Trip

If ship’s logs competed for Pulitzers, the USS Constellation’s would be a contender. It was the sloop-of-war’s captivating history that made the biggest impression on many who came to visit her last week in Annapolis, where she docked at the U.S. Naval Academy for six days of public tours.

“I never knew the ship was involved in so many events in our country’s history,” said a Montgomery Countian who toured the Constellation at her visit last week to celebrate the 150th anniversary of her launching.

The Constellation’s resume includes flagship duty, protector of commerce in the Mediterranean, liberator of Africans from slave ships, training vessel and Civil War blockader. She also delivered relief supplies to Ireland during the 1880s’ famine.

Louise Vest • No. 45, Nov. 4

Tired of Same Old Film Fare?
Check Out the Annapolis Film Festival

A potato kills his father and makes out with his mother.

Meanwhile, a Romanian taxidermist, a con-man and a lap-dancer wander streets stuffing a bear. A Buddhist television judge crumples under the stress of his personal crises and falling ratings. Three Mile Island is going critical, and elsewhere some brothers are having a meltdown of their own as sibling rivalry heats up in the wake of their estranged patriarch’s suicide. But hope emerges when an unlikely hero foils a comic book heist, and action reaches a fever pitch as Abe Lincoln lunges at John Wilkes Booth with nunchaku flailing. Then it’s back to normalcy as former Texas governor Ann Richards sinks her chops into some good old-fashioned barbecue.

Such are the scenes in Annapolis this autumn, as the Annapolis Film Festival unveils dozens of shorts and features from Maryland, the United States and abroad over November 5–7.

Annapolis’ inaugural festival was rolled out last year, after 18 months of planning by sisters Maria Triandos and Demetrea Triantafillides. The two have a local production company.

Last year’s festival enjoyed strong support from local fans and rave reviews from hosted filmmakers.

Mark Burns • No. 45, Nov. 4

Oscars for Annapolis Film Festival
Audiences Overwhelmed by Talent

Some came out of curiosity; others for last-minute entertainment. But everyone who arrived at the second Annapolis Film Festival became an eager critic, reacting with praise as well as perplexity to 79 short and feature films — from brief conceptual exercises to polished full-length features — from around the world.

“I saw amazing movies,” said opening night emcee and NBC Chanel 4 newswoman Wendy Rieger, who calls West River home. “From a four-minute masterpiece about a couple of hapless crooks to a 30-minute beautiful, sad movie about an Albanian man who is going to abandon his son in Venice.” The sad beauty was Overall Festival winner Maree.

“It was stunning,” Rieger told Bay Weekly. “I was overwhelmed by the talent that’s out there that never makes it to the screen for the public’s eyes.”

Mark Burns • No. 46, Nov. 11

Thanksgiving for Two Dozen in the Crab Capital of the World
The Recipe? Good Food and Fellowship

You’ve got an invitation to Thanksgiving dinner from the Crab Guru of Chesapeake Bay, to be held in his home in Crisfield, a town that calls itself the Crab Capital of the World. There’ll be no crab at his table, but there’ll be plenty of oysters. Whitey Schmidt, whose most recent book is The Chesapeake Bay Oyster Cookbook, switches his title to Oyster Guru with the change of Bay season (a guy’s gotta be versatile to stay in business).

“Thanksgiving is always a tradition of food,” the host will tell you, even if he isn’t asked. “You can be from Chicago or you can be from New Mexico, but whenever the topic is Thanksgiving, food is part of the discussion. It’s a center around which people have always gathered. And that‘s what happens here,” he says.

“Cab Calloway does a tune called “Everyone Eats When They Come to My House,” he observes. “I don’t know all the words, but I understand what Cab’s saying. He’s right.”

Pat Piper • No. 45, Nov. 4

B.I.G. Book Sale Benefits Readers at Home, Abroad
If You Can’t Find It at Parole Rotary Sale, It Wasn’t Written Yet

To label it as a simple sale would be a mistake.

Over the last nine years, B.I.G. has sent more than 1.6 million books to developing countries. More recently, it’s sent more than 5,000 books to troops in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Other books go up on the shelves for sale — after they’re sorted and alphabetized by volunteers. Profits from the quarterly sales pay for shipping to troops and libraries as far away as Kenya and the Philippines.

An average shipment costs about $4,000.

Louis Llovio • Dock of the Bay, No. 46, Nov. 11

The Mighty Wye Lives On
Maryland’s Governor Sits at History’s Desk

The new desk at which Gov. Robert Ehrlich and his successors will work is wood of the 460-year-old Wye Oak tree.

After the nation’s largest white oak fell in a thunderstorm in the summer of 2002, wood from the stately tree became lumber, and all Maryland pondered its best use.

Estimated by the forest service at 35 tons, the fallen Wye Oak became a seal for its home Talbot County courthouse, crosses for the churches of Wye Mills and to the state legislature. Artists and citizens were welcome to leftovers by lottery system and public sale. And roughly 200 board feet were devoted to a desk for the governor’s office.

Last week, Ehrlich and state archivist Edward Papenfuse showed the state what McMartins & Beggins Furniture Makers of St. Michael’s had made of the old oak.

The 42-inch-wide-by-74-inch-long Wye Oak desk was unveiled in the rotunda of the State House.

Carrie Steele • Dock of the Bay, No. 48, Nov. 24

Room at the Table
Is There a Seat for America’s Newest Arrivals?

Francisco is one of 44,000 undocumented aliens living in Maryland. To stay here, he lies about his status in the United States. While applying for an apartment, while registering his children for school, while applying for jobs, he lies. “My parents didn’t raise me like this,” he says. “But I don’t know how else to do it.”

Imagine yourself in Francisco’s shoes, packing your bags, saying goodbye to your family forever and moving to Mexico. There you know only a handful of people; you are an outsider. There all you know is a dream formed from other people’s stories.

All Francisco asks for is a chance. “If you let me work, I will pay my bills, pay my taxes and raise my kids.”

Louis Llovio • No. 48, Nov. 24

The Lights Dim in Chesapeake Country
Chesapeake Music Hall Takes Final Bow

When the stage lights go down at Chesapeake Music Hall December 26, tears will flow along with applause.

No one is happy when a show closes, but when the lights dim on the night after Christmas, not only a show but also a Chesapeake Country tradition will end. Chesapeake Music Hall’s 10-year life spanned thousands of nights with 42 major shows plus children’s productions plus jazz, piano and Elvis nights.

“We had good times and bad times,” said Music Hall owner Sherry Kay of her decision to end her company’ decade-long run. “It was a roller coaster.”

Louis Llovio • No. 49, Dec. 2

Bay’s Health Hovers at Bad
Report Card Time for the Chesapeake

Bringing home a report card can be harrowing, especially if the grades aren’t good.

Again this year, Chesapeake Bay’s scores weren’t good.

Delivering the bad news: Chesapeake Bay Foundation president William Baker rolled his shirt sleeves up to his elbows, like a man who meant to get to work. For Chesapeake advocates, there’s plenty of work to do. The Bay earned an overall score of 27, equivalent to a grade of D, again this year, according to the foundation’s scientists, who gathered data on pollution, habitat and fisheries.

“A health score of 27 represents a Bay that is suffocating to death,” said Baker.

Since 1998, when the foundation began keeping score, the Bay’s health has dropped by one point, to 27 last year and this year. The scoring scale starts at 100 for the pristine waters Captain John Smith encountered in the 1600s; any score below 20 fails.

Carrie Steele • Dock of the Bay, No. 49, Dec. 2

Goodwill to All
Mediating Peace on Earth

Neighbors debate who owned the tree that got cut down, and then dump 20 years of bad feelings on the table. Spouses, crushed by infidelities, want revenge — and the kids. Co-workers sabotage each other’s workdays by hiding important papers and stealing lunches. Among us, we mediators have pretty much seen it all.

Along with 50 or 60 other volunteers, I have been mediating for the Anne Arundel Conflict Resolution Center since it started 10 years ago. We’re part of a national network of some 400 community mediation centers to help people resolve conflicts and problems that might otherwise end up in criminal, civil or small claims courts. Like the Anne Arundel Conflict Resolution Center, all handle neighborhood disputes like noise and fences, trees and trash, parking and pets; family fusses from fractious teens to warring parents; and court cases such as charges of harassment or disputes between landlords and tenants.

Carolyn Sullivan • No. 50, Dec. 9

Straight to the Source
Legislators Appeal to the Experts for Bay Updates and Advice

Seeking the very best in scientific sources for Bay decisions, Congressman Wayne Gilchrest gathered leading Bay experts and scientific directors in Annapolis this week to recommend action. Sen. Barbara Mikulski and Virginia Rep. Robert Scott from the Chesapeake Bay Task Force attended the subcommittee on Fisheries Conservation, Wildlife and Oceans to question the Bay experts.

“We’d like to have an understanding that would develop programs to actually restore the Bay — so the Bay doesn’t leak away,” Gilchrest said.

Carrie Steele • Dock of the Bay, No. 51, Dec. 16

Could a Cowboy’s Promise Save Christmas?
‘I’m Coming Back for You at Christmas.’

As December closed in, so did the snow. Endless storms were whipped by hollowing winds. What would happen if it never stopped snowing? Would her father’s truck ever make it through the deep snow in time for Christmas?

Penne Romar • No. 52, Dec. 23

Election Times

Sign on, Meet up, Change the Nation
Iowa’s Early Frost Chills Dean’s Grassroots Supporters

This is Howard Dean’s Annapolis grassroots.

Seventeen-year-old high-schooler Ian Hines of Millersville. Twenty-eight-year-old dentist Meredith Esposito, of Annapolis. Fifty-four-year-old nurse Nancy Sullivan, drawing like-minded voters like bears to honey at a monthly meetup. Seventy-three-year-old retiree Selma Goldberg. Retired U.S. Navy Captain Grayson Merrill, who, at 92, might be Dean’s oldest supporter in Annapolis.

On the first Wednesday night of the month for the past nine months and until the Democrats nominate their candidate this summer — first at Donna’s Cafe at Borders Books at the Annapolis Mall, now at the Crabcake Factory — you could see the Annapolis grass growing.

At January’s meetup, the Annapolis grassroots was ready to go forth and change the world. Then, January 19, Iowa caucused. Those 1,993 precinct caucuses frosted Dean’s hopes, reminding campaign and supporters that winter tests early-sprouting roots, even grassroots.

Sandra O. Martin • Dock of the Bay, No. 4, Jan. 22

Primary Colors
Marylanders Practice Politics in New Hampshire

With Maryland’s presidential primary upcoming March 2, Marylanders are choosing sides and — with road trips to New Hampshire and Iowa and meetups throughout their home state — reaching out to persuade voters.

Across Maryland, Democrats appear excited early this campaign season. And thanks to the Internet and Web-organized meet-ups, campaigns are reaching new audiences this year that consist of young voters and people who had simply lost interest in the political process.

Louis Llovio • Dock of the Bay, No. 5, Jan. 29

Rally the Troops
Clark Supporters Think Vice President

Even before retired Gen. Wesley Clark survived in six of the seven states that voted February 3 — and won one, Oklahoma — his supporters had come to terms with reality.

“It’s a small gathering,” said a disappointed Anne Sealing, Clark’s events coordinator for Anne Arundel County. “I think people are dispirited by New Hampshire.”

With Sen. John Kerry continuing as front runner, supporters hoped Clark would find a place on Kerry’s ticket as the senator’s vice-presidential running mate.

Louis Llovio • Dock of the Bay, No. 6, Feb. 5

In the Sport of Elections, March Madness Starts Early
March 2 Is Playoff Day

The way you love basketball, baseball or boxing, some people love politics. They love the aspiration, the stakes, the strategy, the jostle, the rhetoric, the thrust and parry, the smooth follow through. They’re lured by, in the words of the promo for ABC’s Wide World of Sports, the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.

If basketball’s your sport, you’re rushing toward March Madness with the NCAA tournament. But political fans get to play even earlier in Maryland’s March 2 primary. True fans wouldn’t miss this action, because they know you might never get closer to your hero, never have a more intimate moment with democracy, than when they’re behind the privacy screen voting.

Here’s your score card for March 2 play.

Sandra O. Martin • No. 9, Feb. 26

Get Outta Here, Judges Say
In Primary Elections, Independent Voters Can’t Get No Respect

If you’re an independent voter, and on March 2 you went to vote in Anne Arundel County’s primary, you’d have been shown the door — not the electronic voting machine. Your fate would have been the same in St. Mary’s County. Both counties were holding “nonpartisan” elections for circuit court judges that day, yet only Republicans and Democrats got to vote.

Meanwhile, between Anne Arundel and St. Mary’s, Calvert County 156 independents were welcomed among the voters who elected school board members.

Does that seem right to you?

It didn’t seem right to two disappointed voters in St. Mary’s and Anne Arundel, Michael Suessmann and Gregory Care. It didn’t, either, to the American Civil Liberties Union, which argued Suessmann and Care’s case in court this month.

It may not feel right to you, but it’s perfectly legal, according to the three circuit court judges who ruled on the case March 11. They are Richard Sothoron Jr. of Prince George’s County; Warren Krug of Calvert County; and Christopher Henderson of Charles County.

Sandra O. Martin • No. 13, March 25

Filling George Owings’ Shoes
It’s Temp Work, But Everybody Wants the Job

Del. George Owings created a political vacuum when he retired midterm from the Maryland House of Delegates, where he had crafted laws for 17 years, to move into the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs, where he is now secretary. The vacuum of his going has exerted a hard pull on Democrats in Calvert County.

On the eve of the June 24 decision that will narrow the field to one, two or three names from which Gov. Ehrlich will choose the new delegate, there’s no heir apparent.

Among the six who’ll make their case to the 10-member committee in a public hearing June 24 are three former officeholders, all longtime, hard-working Democrats: Hagner Mister, Tom Pelagatti and Barbara Stinnett; two second-time office seekers, William Johnston and David Van Hoy; and one newcomer, Sue Kullen.

Come 2006, the seat will have to be won — for self and party — by the delegate who steps in to finish the last two and a half years of Owings’ term. Republicans are on the advance in Calvert, drawing head to head with Democrats, who must find new ways — and attractive candidates — to pull ahead or lose strength. Each party claims some 18,000 registrants.

Sandra O. Martin • Dock of the Bay, No. 26, June 24

Early Bird Seeks the Vote
With Only 788 Days til Election Day ’06, John Leopold Had Better Hurry Up

When gardening down the backroads of Shady Side — especially on a cloudy Sunday evening — you expect to meet neighbors, cats and slugs. What you don’t expect is a delegate from Pasadena.

Thousands of voters have met Del. John Leopold just that way since he began his run for Anne Arundel County executive about a year ago. The Republican primary election for county executive, which he must win to advance to the November general election, is not until September 12, 2006. That makes Leopold the marathoner of campaigning.

“I like to win,” says Leopold, “so it takes time.”

Sandra O. Martin • No. 28, July 8

Democratic Delegate Wins Ehrlich’s Vote
Sue Kullen to Be Calvert’s First Woman in the General Assembly

It’s taken the votes of only a handful of people to win political newcomer Sue Kullen the job of representing northern Calvert County in the Maryland House of Delegates.

On June 24, a majority of the 10-member Calvert County Democratic Central Commitee voted to recommend Kullen, one of six applicants, to the governor to fill the remaining two-and-a-half-year term George Owings had relinquished to head Maryland’s Department of Veterans Affairs.

This week, Gov. Robert Ehrlich cast the deciding vote. After meeting in Government House with the 44-year-old, self-employed disabilities advocate, Ehrlich confirmed her appointment.

“I’m the county’s first woman delegate, and it’s a new day,” said Kullen. “It’s our 350th anniversary, and we appreciate the past as we look into the future.”

Sandra O. Martin • No. 28, July 8

Judges Face Their Juries
Anne Arundel Circuit Court Judges and Would-Be’s Make Their Cases

Some hundred Anne Arundel County citizens switched roles last week, questioning the judges who could one unlucky day stare down at them from high on the bench.

This day, however, the jury of voters deliberated while the judges sweated, pleading their cases at the court convened by the American Association of University Women at Our Shepherd Lutheran Church in Severna Park.

As on any day in court, the stakes were high. Come November 2, 15-year sentences will be handed out to the winners.

If that’s not how a day in court usually works, little is typical when it comes time to elect judges.

Louis Llovio • Dock of the Bay, No. 42, Oct. 14

Presidential Politics Come to Chesapeake Country … at Long Last
Better Late Than Never, Veep Contender Edwards Visits Anne Arundel County

Pennsylvania and West Virginia have hogged the spotlight this election season, while Maryland has fallen by the wayside, ignored by the four major candidates for president and vice-president and the media that illuminates their every move.

So it was until last week, when vice-presidential candidate Sen. John Edwards visited Anne Arundel Community College in Arnold.

Better late than never was the attitude of the raucous supporters who’d waited all campaign season — and now had to endure five more hours for a glimpse of the man they hope to vote into the second-highest office in the land.

“I want to thank the friends, neighbors and volunteers for coming out and waiting,” said Edwards, arriving three hours late after mechanical difficulties grounded his chartered Boeing 727 in Cleveland.

“It’s worth it,” said Alicia Ong, who drove from Rockville and waited in the rain for more than an hour to get inside the college gymnasium.

Die-hard Democrats weren’t the only ones that braved the elements to support their candidate.

About 30 supporters of President Bush stood under umbrellas and makeshift raingear chanting “four more years” and “flip flop.”

“Three more weeks!” shouted back the Kerry-Edwards supporters, who wrapped college sidewalks all the way to the parking lots in a ribbon of partisan fervor.

Louis Llovio • Dock of the Bay, No. 43, Oct. 21


Mayor, Singer, Heartthrob
Could Governor Be the Next Title on O’Malley’s Resume?

Three doors down from Maryland’s Republican headquarters and a few blocks from where the governor’s mansion, Baltimore’s mayor — and perceived Ehrlich rival in 2006 — Martin O’Malley threw down the political gauntlet.

O’Malley came to Rams Head with his band, O’Malley’s March, to win over votes with guitar picks and song lists instead of rhetoric and legislation. But the night wasn’t all about politics and music.

Louis Llovio • Dock of the Bay, No. 2, Jan. 8

Seven Artists, Three Generations, One Chesapeake Family
Nature or Nurture: How Does Talent Run in Families?

Love your family. Work hard. Indulge your passion to create. That’s what Severn natives Jean and John Brinton learned from their parents, Mary and Earl. Harry Jaecks, another local from Glen Burnie, grew up with the same basic principles. After he and Jean married and had kids, the couple brought their boys up in the same fashion. Jean’s brother John is following suit with his wife and daughter on the Eastern Shore.

Karolyn Stuver • No. 2, Jan. 8

Bay Weekly Interview
George Owings, Majority Whip of the Maryland House of Delegates

Search the Maryland General Assembly for characters, and you’ll likely wind up in the fourth garret of 17-year Del. George W. Owings III, who hails from Calvert County and stands for Southern Maryland the way it used to be.

Full-sized U.S. and Maryland flags anchor the conservative Democrat’s territory to traditional American values, which the quotable, earring-sporting 58-year-old will tell you include the right to bear arms, raise and smoke tobacco and ride your motorcycle without a helmet to the racetrack for a spell at the slots. You don’t have to look far to see where this Owings man comes from, and that’s part of what’s given him a reputation as a man whose word you can take to the bank.

With this year’s General Assembly just opened and slots likely to return, Bay Weekly visited Owings as a player who knows the stakes and understands the game. Read on for his smart analysis of slots and the rival kingdoms of the capitol.

Sandra O. Martin • No. 3, Jan. 15

Being Harriet Tubman
Living African American History

Growing up in Chicago, I had not read much about Harriet Tubman’s travels. When I moved to Baltimore in 1981 to accept a position as a television news reporter, I was drawn into her story because it inspired me.

I wondered how a five-foot-tall, enslaved field hand could develop the wherewithal not only to escape the confines of involuntary servitude but also to orchestrate the escape of many others.

After all, Tubman’s experience affirmed one certainty: lifelong bondage.

Now, for the past eight years, I have assumed Harriet Tubman’s persona and told her story to inspire other people to examine how a person can overcome seemingly insurmountable personal trials when their motives are pure, they walk by faith and they have help along the way.

Deborah Wright • No. 6, Feb. 5

Bay Weekly Interview
Del. Maggie McIntosh: Chairing House Environmental Matters

As Maggie McIntosh leads the House Environmental Matters Committee through this year’s docket, she has in mind plans to take “the next big bite of the apple,” reducing the flow of nutrients to the Bay. To that goal, Gov. Robert Ehrlich has proposed a surcharge, basically a flush tax on people hooked up to sewer plants. McIntosh — who has the power of life or death over bills in their early stages — is taking a broader view. “If we’re going to do this, do it right,” she told Bay Weekly. “That means everybody pays; we share the pain. Every family — even those on septic tanks and wells — should contribute toward the health of the Bay. Nor must it all be on the backs of families. Businesses must pay their fair share.”

Sandra O. Martin • No. 7, Feb. 12

Now We’ll Never Have Too Much Fun
Guitar King Bill Kirchen Heads for Texas

“We’re getting the wagons loaded,” says Bill Kirchen. “When the house gets cleaned out — I’m sorry to say I’ve accumulated a lot of stuff — in a week or two, we’ll take off.”

Kirchen is talking about his imminent departure from his Calvert County home of 17 years for his new home in Buda, Texas, just down the road from Austin.

But regional aficionados need not fear they’ve heard the last of the rockabilly guitar twanger who’s lately led the band Too Much Fun.

“I have a mobile job,” Kirchen assures us.

Sonia Linebaugh • Dock of the Bay, No. 7, Feb. 12

At Maryland Department of the Environment, Devil or Deep Blue Sea?
After a Year as Acting Secretary, Kendl Philbrick Wants a Promotion

This time last year, Kendl Philbrick was the devil to Lynn Buhl’s deep blue sea. Accept her to head Maryland Department of the Environment, or you’ll get him, the Ehrlich administration seemed to be saying in the heated days leading up to the Senate’s Executive Nominations Committee’s historic first refusal to consent to a governor’s cabinet-level nomination.

Has on-the-job training prepared Philbrick to protect our water, land and air from toxics ranging from asbestos to human wastes? That question will be decided March 1, when Philbrick gets his own day before the Executive Nominations Committee.

Sandra O. Martin • Dock of the Bay, No. 9, Feb. 26

Ken Philbrick Earns His Job
New Department of Environment Confirmed

“What a difference a year makes!” crowed Eastern Shore Sen. J. Lowell Stoltzfus as Kendl Philbrick’s nomination sailed through the Maryland Senate’s Executive Nominations Committee. A year ago in that same committee, the nomination of Lynn Buhl, the woman Gov. Robert Ehrlich had intended as Philbrick’s boss, mired in controversy as thick as some of the goo Maryland Department of the Environment cleans up.

“It’s a different candidate,” noted Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller as congratulations rose.

Sandra O. Martin • Dock of the Bay, No. 9, Feb. 26

Guarding the Bay in Hard Times
Susan Brown, Maryland’s Conservation Watchdog

From her second story window on State Circle, Susan Brown — who leads Maryland’s League of Conservation Voters — has a clear view of the front of the Maryland State House. The enviable location of her office lends new meaning to the term “watchdog organization.”

Before this year’s Maryland General Assembly convened, Brown was snipping away at the state budget with green scissors. With eight other environmental advocates, she scrutinized fiscal year 2005’s $24 billion budget item by item and line by line.

“We just want to make sure that we’re reminding lawmakers of their responsibility to folks back home who are expecting them to take care of the environment,” Brown said.

Forget the stereotype of Birkenstocks and worn-out jeans. Brown’s version of the environmentalist is clean-cut conservative pantsuits. But she has the resume of an activist.

Carrie Steele • No. 10, March 4

Bay Life: Max Ochs
Living Life to the Max

What will happen to the monthly 333 Coffeehouse after its host and guiding spirit passes the mike into new hands March 19?

Ochs’ personal style has shaped the 333 as much as have his musical talents.

“He has a deep philosophy that deals with the goodness of human beings,” says Yevola Peters, mentor to a generation of community activists and Ochs’ supervisor at the Community Action Partnership. “He believes so strongly in what is right and that people will rise to the occasion to do the right thing. He has a lot of faith in people.”

Perhaps that faith in humanity is Ochs’ secret ingredient. “What draws audiences to some places more than others is mysterious,” Muir reflects, pondering his success. “He has attracted helpers. It seems like that’s always an aspect of a successful venue, that the person has drawn others to help with the project.

Lucy Oppenheim • No. 12, March 18

Bay Weekly Interview
Del. Pauline Menes: For Nearly 20 Years, She’s Kept the House a Woman’s Place

In the Maryland House of Delegates, Pauline Menes, who turns 80 on July 16, holds seniority honors. Our longest continually serving delegate was a reformer when she was elected to represent Prince George’s County in 1966. Back then the word feminist — if used at all — likely meant one of those suffragettes who fought for women’s right to vote back in the early days of the 20th century.

Menes (say menis) certainly didn’t think herself a feminist. Nor, a decade before the coinage of the slogan, “A Woman’s Place Is in the House and Senate,” did it occur to her that as a woman she ought to know her place. When Menes joined up with a bunch of good-government Beltway upsurgents, the 30-something wife and mother never imagined it would lead her not only to 38 years in the Maryland Statehouse but also to earning women the right to work as equal partners with men.

She’s done just that in our House, where a powerful speaker sacrificed his future to a bit of potty humor at his female colleague’s expense.

Sandra O. Martin • No. 12, March 18

Musical Chairs
Owings Moves to Veterans Affairs, Leaving Calvert an Empty Seat in House of Delegates

Hope and opportunity are blowing through Calvert County on the winds of March, as men — and women — who would be delegate contemplate filling George Owings’ seat in the Maryland House of Delegates.

Owings, 58, in June will leave the House, where he served 16 years, to become Secretary of Veterans Affairs. He was appointed by the governor last week; this week the Senate Executive Nominations Committee unanimously recommended him to the full senate, which was scheduled to vote after presstime.

Meanwhile, Owings’ soon-to-be vacated $40,000-a-year job is raising hopes and interest in northern Calvert County — and beyond.

Sandra O. Martin • Dock of the Bay, No. 13, March 25

James R. Martin Jr.
Saint of the Severn?

“Jimmy’s about as close to a saint as you’re going to find around town,” says Steve Carr of his friend Jim Martin, whose resume is heavy with environmental responsibilities, from Severn River Association to Spa Creek and Weems Creek conservancies to Scenic Rivers Land Trust to Annapolis GreenScape.

Martin, owner of Free State Press on West Street, is also a successful businessman who practices his environmentalism.

“To be a true environmentalist,” Martin says, “you have to be prepared to deal with the issues that directly affect people, not just fresh air and fresh water. It’s about the human environment as well as the plants-and-animals environment.”

Lucy Oppenheim • No. 15, April 8

The Return of Cas Taylor
“Younger and Thinner’ in His New Portrait, the Former Speaker Now Holds a Longer House Lease

Casper Taylor held the lease on the rostrum of the Maryland House of Delegates for only nine years, but for many more years he’ll look down on the procession of House Speakers and assembly of delegates to come. Now Taylor, the speaker of the House from 1994 to 2003, holds in perpetuity the gavel he lost after his Western Maryland constituents of 28 years shifted Republican, along with much of the state, in the 2002 general election.

Portraits never lose elections or fall to coups. Cas Taylor now shares that immunity, for his official portrait, unveiled March 30, hangs in the position reserved for the most recently retired speaker, against the right rear marble wall of the House of Delegates.

Sandra O. Martin • Dock of the Bay, No. 16, April 15

Bay Weekly Interview
Kendel Ehrlich: Maryland’s First Lady Is Mother, Wife and Full Political Partner

It could be argued that Kendel Ehrlich has the more complicated job in the partnership of Ehrlich and Ehrlich, for none of her three or four roles — political wife, first lady, mother and woman in her own right — is predefined by job description. Yet she fills them all with zest, high energy and ease.

At 42, Kendel Ehrlich is a high-energy, first-name, “call-me-Kendel” kind of person with a quick, staccato laugh. She’d just played first lady, joining President George W. Bush, her husband and Lt. Gov. Michael Steele in visiting a veteran’s hospital in Baltimore, when we caught up with her. Still dressed in a robin’s egg blue suit that matched the color of her eyes, she sat down with a Coke and editor Sandra Martin and writer Louis Llovio in the sagey green sitting room of the family quarters she’s just redecorated.

But another role was never far from her mind. “If I hear a cry or scream,” she said, “I’ll have to run …”

Sandra O. Martin • No. 19, May 1

Zane King’s Long Memory
Then and Now, War Is Hell

“I live close enough to see the place where I was born and raised,” 78-year-old Zane King told me over the long, mild Florida winter. The middle child of five, King was born January 6, 1926, in Chesapeake Beach, raised there and lived all of his life there — except for his war service in the 1940s and winters nowadays in Florida.

Zane was 17 when he volunteered for Army duty in July of 1944. “Son, war is hell,” said his father, a World War I veteran, on learning that his son had enlisted to fight in World War II.

“War is hell,” Zane King agreed nearly 60 years later.

“I saw horrible things. Bodies were everywhere, buildings were destroyed, artillery would tear up the trees, debris was everywhere.

“My father was right,” he said.

Thomas G. Ratliff • No. 22, May 27

Bill Gay’s D-Day
Sixty Years Ago, Thousands of American Troops Began the Liberation of Europe. This Is the Story of One of Those Men

Coast Guard seaman Hugh ‘Bill’ Gay’s job was ship cook. But like everybody else aboard, in the spring of 1944 he trained to operate landing craft. He got so good at steering the awkward Higgins Boats that he got a second job ferrying the fighting force that would free Europe from Hitler’s grasp.

At dawn on June 6, he climbed down to the waiting craft for the job he had trained to do. He could do it in his sleep, and he and many had done it in their dreams. None realized what a nightmare the reality would be.

Alison Gay Norville • No. 23, June 3

The Youngest Tribesman
Guys on Harleys Sponsor Eight-Year-Old

You pull your car off the main highway and take the tiny dirt road, beaten and battered by years of wear, up around the bend, past the tree hung with motorcycles and up the drive. As you come around the final turn and up the hill, you’re welcomed by suspicious eyes.

There are only two reasons for you to be here: You’re invited or hopelessly lost.

Welcome to the home of the Tribe Motorcycle Club.

The guys drop their guard, because they know this visitor. It’s eight-year-old motorcross wunderkind Logan France, decked out in his bright orange racing jumpsuit and KTM motorcycle that’s nearly as big as he is.

The Tribe Motorcycle Club is sponsoring the Deale Elementary fourth grader in his races.

Louis Llovio • Dock of the Bay, No. 32, Aug. 5

Bay Weekly Interview
Maryland’s Poet Laureate Michael Glaser

Back in the early 1700s, a young and feisty English merchant named Ebenezer Cook named himself Maryland’s first poet laureate.

Laureating has changed since the 18th century.

In 1959, the General Assembly made the poetic post official, insisting that the state pick the poet, not the other way around. On August 2, Gov. Robert Ehrlich named the ninth (counting Cook) state poet laureate: Michael S. Glaser of St. Mary’s College of Maryland.

Glaser follows a series of other major Maryland poets, including Lucille Clifton (1979-1985), Roland Flint of Georgetown University (1995-2000); and Michael Collier of the University of Maryland (2001-2004).

Says Glaser: “The idea of being a poet is so shrouded in mystery, often with negative connotations. I think a poem in that book can evoke the parent in readers, the whole emotional realm inside that we have a hard time honoring in our culture. It evokes a sharing of our humanness.”

Sara E. Leeland • No. 33, Aug. 12

Roasting and Toasting Jack Smith
A Chesapeake Everyman Turns 80

In Galesville, a village where heritage rules, longevity seems a habit as Jack Smith was roasted and toasted when he took his turn to 80.

Representing County Executive Janet Owens, Bea Poulin presented Smith with a citation saying “It takes a Jack Smith to raise a village.”

Smith responded with typical modesty. “As I look out in the crowd, at those here from Galesville, they have done just as much as I.”

But all knew that wasn’t true.

Maureen Miller • Dock of the Bay, No. 34, Aug. 19

Tailor to Kings, Queens and Commoners
At Maryland Renaissance Festival, Cynthia Andersen Will Dress You, Too

If the Renaissance Fest is a good fit for 225,000 guests every year, it’s been a great career for Cynthia Andersen, who fashions bolts of brocade and velvet into magic-carpet clothing that can send anyone with a half-penny’s worth of imagination careening back to the 12th century.

The extravaganza held every year on 125 acres under the oak-leaf canopy in Crownsville pulls in more than a few farthings. Still, it takes some 600 workers to create the illusion, and most of them wear costumes provided by the festival. Andersen is one of the company’s six year-round, full-time employees in Maryland.

As head costume designer, Andersen not only wears many hats. She also makes them, because included in her assignments is the job of milliner. Once the festival opens, she hands out costumes every morning to both street and stage actors and then opens the costume rental booth. During the week she washes and mends costumes.

“We want people to have a complete fantasy day, dressing up, getting away from everyday life,” she said. “But people can get into it on many levels.”

Louise Vest • No. 41, Oct. 7

People on Parade at U.S. Boat Shows
For the Players, All the Show’s a Stage

The boat shows are good for business citywide. Some $25 milion is fed into the local economy over the two weeks.

The Phillips family’s boat is rising because of Boatshow.

Outside his family restaurant, Brice Phillips is doing swift business, and if last year’s show is any sign of things to come, this year he’ll stay busy until both boat shows leave us in their wake. “We sold over 53 liters of Mount Gay rum,” he reports.

Lew Grim’s boat is rising, too.

Grim is a guy who sells boats. In khakis and a white polo shirt emblazoned with the gold and red emblem of the Deltaville Yacht Center in Deltaville, Va., Grim greets customer as they cross the gangplank onto his floating showroom. “We’ll sell 70 or 80 boats over the two weekends,” he says.

Grim — who like most salesmen works on commission — lures customers with a friendly smile, a soft Virginia drawl and a glossy handout of his inventory. “If you want these people to buy something this big, you have to give them more than one reason. I try to sell them me,” he says.

Louis Llovio • Dock of the Bay, No. 42, Oct. 14

League of Conservation Voters Names Its Hero
For the Nation and the Bay, Russell Train ‘Made a Huge Difference’

As presidential contenders George W. Bush and John Kerry ran neck and neck toward the finish line November 2, Russell Train, a Republican stalwart and the Maryland League of Conservations Voters’ fourth John Kabler award-winner, accused president George W. Bush of falling short of the environmental standard set by his party and GOP predecessors.

Russell Train, 84, held up Republican president Richard M. Nixon as the standard setter. He knows, Train told an audience of 275 friends of the environment, because he was there.

Honored in Annapolis last week for outstanding environmental stewardship, Train was appointed by Nixon as the second administrator of the still new Environmental Protection Agency in 1973, serving until 1977. Before coming to the EPA, he was the first chairman of the Council on Environmental Quality.

“Russell’s lived through the whole environmental movement,” Aileen Train, his wife of 50 years, told Bay Weekly. “He was the original spokesman and made a huge difference over the long run. Literally every environmental law in the county came out of his office at the Council on Environmental Quality. Then he moved to the EPA to implement them.”

Sandra O. Martin • Dock of the Bay, No. 44, Oct. 21

A Veterans Day Memoir
I Was Young and Time Was Short

In unprecedented and dangerous haste, the U.S. Army Air Corps was trying to train enough pilots to man the thousands of aircraft pouring off U.S. assembly lines. It chanced that I was one of those student pilots.

Of that three years during World War II, two instances stand out: my first night solo flight, just after Christmas in 1943, and graduation from flying school on March 12, 1944. I’ll tell you why.

Robert B. Bockting • No. 46, Nov. 11


Gus Jackson

Sometimes in Chesapeake Country we’re blessed with neighbors who make sacrifices for their community. Occasionally we find someone who tackles global problems.

But rarely do we know a true citizen of the world like Gus Jackson, of Shady Side, who died on New Year’s Day at Anne Arundel Medical Center, of malaria that he apparently contracted last year while conducting research into traditional healing in the African nation of Cameroon.

Jackson, 58, who was born in Guyana on the northern coast of South America, moved to Columbia Beach with his family in 1989. Chesapeake Country immediately became richer.

Bill Lambrecht • No. 2, Jan. 8

Kristin Julian Sohr

What powers can be set free in the world from the wings of Kristin Sohr, who flew through life so swiftly, and with such ardor that it’s tempting to think she knew her time was short?

Kristin made friends wherever she went, and she followed her adventuresome spirit across the nation. Among those friends is Bay Weekly, for Kristin, who had just begun work on her MBA at University of Maryland, brought business sense and savvy to this enterprise in its earliest days, giving this newspaper the kiss of life.

Despite aggressive surgery, chemotherapy, the best medical care and the love of countless friends and family, Kristin died Tuesday, February 17, victim of a cancer that killed even faster than she lived.

Alex Knoll • No. 8, Feb. 19

Joanne Fayette

Joanne Curran Fayette was just 40 years old when she died of a brain aneurysm on April 22. Her unexpected departure has stunned and saddened a large circle of family, friends and associates.

Joanne was a familiar presence in downtown North Beach, where she operated Bay Avenue Antiques for more than a decade until Hurricane Isabel knocked her out of business in September, 2003. From her shop at the corner of Bay and Seventh, Joanne “bought junk and sold antiques, gave free advice, expressed opinions about town politics and put all of us before her,” said Tim Stafford in a moving eulogy at St. Anthony’s Church.

Gary Pendleton • No. 19, May 6

Earl White


Born in Dames Quarter, Md., Earl White worked mostly aboard skipjacks, boats of an era long-gone, when the Bay’s vitality was unparalleled. As the storm clouds gathered over Europe and America emerged from financial ruin, Earl dredged for oysters. In 1954, Hurricane Hazel pummeled the Atlantic Coast but Earl still helped deliver a load of oysters. When the nation faced internal strife and political upheaval in the 1960s and ’70s, Earl was still earning a hard living from Chesapeake waters.

When the oysters crashed in the late 1980s, he accepted a job as field educator with Chesapeake Bay Foundation on the skipjack Stanley Norman. Until recent months, amidst Code Orange alerts and dead zones, Earl was a calming and steadfast influence on the school kids, teachers and adults who boarded Stanley Norman to learn about the Bay.

His was a rich life full of abundant oyster harvests, bone-chilling winters and violent squalls. He regaled his audience with tales of fat oysters, a rich Bay and promise of a brighter tomorrow for the Chesapeake. He was living maritime history, unfiltered.

C.D. Dollar • No. 34, Aug. 19

Joseph H. Watters Sr.

My next door neighbor, Joe, promised to teach me how to be a good salesman. I had once expressed an interest in that skill knowing of his, believing it might come in handy.

All his life, Joe sold things, mostly residential air-conditioning and heating systems. If you knew Joe, you would know why he was a success at what he did. He made hard work and cold calls look easy; people trusted him and had reason to.

Sunday, August 22, Joe answered a different call, and the gentle, soft-spoken man with encyclopedic knowledge went to meet his maker. He didn’t have to talk his way in, but he could have if he needed to. Cancer stole him away from his loving family and many friends much too soon.

M.L. Faunce • No. 36, Aug. 16


New Digs at Old London Town
Visitor Center Rises to Link Past and Future

By next summer’s end, you could be strolling down the street of a small port town as laughing children race each other to the waterfront. A carpenter sharpens his tools for the new workday. The smell of spices and tobacco rise from the dock, mingling in the humid morning air, as sailors load heavy barrels of tobacco onto the deck of a merchant ship.

Ordinary life in Maryland’s London resumes with gardens, houses, workshops, a tavern, a port and a sailing ship reviving the town, which flourished hundreds of years ago, from 1684 to 1760.

In this new century, London gets closer every day to the town founded in 1683 as a tobacco port. If you haven’t been there lately, prepare yourself to walk back into history.

Lest time travel disorient you, by next year you’ll stop first in the thoroughly 21st century visitor center, which is the biggest news in London this year.

Becky Bartlett Hutchison • No. 26, June 24

All-American Celebration
July 4 at William Paca House

Gliding across the graceful grounds of the William Paca House on the Fourth of July are men and women dressed in 18th-century attire. They stroll below the stately mansion, which adorns the top of manicured terraces of green. It’s a scene ruffled only slightly when tidy flowers, precisely piped along the edge of gardens, sway in unison to a whisper of a breeze.

Then, the rabble arrive.

At noon, when the garden gate swings open for the All-American Fourth of July Celebration, little kids zig-zag over the grounds to get a better look at the Revolutionary War reenactors, to sign their own copy of the Declaration of Independence and to converge on the bubble-making corner of the gardens. Adults fan out to talk to volunteers who don the clothing in vogue in the 1770s or listen to the soldiers rehash the War of Independence at this public party held every year on the grounds of the William Paca House and Garden, in downtown Annapolis.

The boisterous menagerie clutters up the crisp lawn, but it’s a wholly glorious cluttering by beneficiaries of the work accomplished by William Paca and his peers.

Louise Vest • No. 27, July 1

You’ll Wish You Were There
Bayside History Museum Preserves the Good Old Days from Galesville to Breezy Point

When you visit the brand-new Bayside History Museum in North Beach, there won’t be sizzling hamburgers and hotdogs — nor even a piece of cake, let alone a whole sheet.

You’ve missed the politicians, and you won’t hear the story about the unfortunate man whose death was officially attributed — or so Frazer said — to “Thunderbird wine and the North Beach environment.” That, too, was special to the October 29 grand opening of Chesapeake Country’s newest museum.

\But when you come, you’ll see pictures worth a thousand words — and memorabilia worth two thousand — just as the opening day crowd saw the yellow ribbon barring early entrance to 9006 Dayton Avenue snipped into a dozen pieces.

All those things were dedicated to fun, for this is a museum that preserves the good old days when the Bay was the place to come for fun — as that was the way people lived, from Galesville to Breezy Point, and especially in North Beach.

Sandra O. Martin • Dock of the Bay, No. 45, Nov. 4

Remembering the Great War
Restored WWI Chapel Opens with New Social History Museum

At Epiphany Episcopal Church in Odenton, November 11 is still Armistice Day, a holiday and holy day marking the end of the Great War in 1918.

On their way to the trenches of France, doughboys found home comforts and worship there, in both the chapel and the church house.

This year, that heritage is restored as the only World War I chapel in the nation is dedicated as the World War I Social History Museum and Chaplains’ Memorial Peace Garden.
“It’s an ordinary little church with an extraordinary history,” said the Rev. Phebe L. McPherson, rector.

Val Hymes • Dock of the Bay, No. 46, Nov. 11

Truxtun Park in Annapolis Gets a Make-Over
New Boating Docks Could Be on Horizon

As part of a package that gave Truxtun Park a restroom renovation and plans for expanding and renovating the community recreation center, Annapolis’ 80-acre waterfront park may have a new dock and marina on the horizon.

The city has drafted three plans that would add between 24 and 30 boating slips, plus a kayak launch, to the park’s pier and boat ramp on Spa Creek.

However, a public hearing in October revealed the community’s resistance to a new boating facility.

“The point of the meeting was to help guide the park’s decision,” said LeeAnn Plumer, city director of Parks and Recreation. The problem was that people didn’t understand that those drawings were for conceptual use only; not taking the whole use of the park as consideration.”

Carrie Steele • Dock of the Bay, No. 47, Nov. 18

Calvert Pipeline Plan Divides County
Opponents Challenge Backers Long into the Night

Dominion Cove Point’s plan to knife through Southern Maryland with a 47-mile gas pipeline also has split Calvert County residents over the vexing dilemma of jobs versus environmental protection.

Most of an overflow crowd of 300 that packed a Federal Energy Regulation Commission hearing in Solomons November 16 objected to the Dominion expansion, often poignantly, expressing worry about additional harm to Chesapeake Bay, damage to the county’s diminishing greenspaces and fear for their families.

But the project also drew a fair number of supporters, none more notable than Calvert Board of County Commissioners president David Hale, who reiterated the board’s unanimous backing of Dominion.

“We regard Cove Point as a friend, partner and asset to the community,” said Hale, offering unequivocal support that reflected none of many county residents’ deep-seated suspicions.

Dock of the Bay, No. 47, Nov. 18

Buying Peace and Quiet
Annapolis Roads Community and Bay Ridge Trust Fend off Development

Just off bustling Forest Drive, with 30,000 motorists whizzing by each day, is an oasis, a community that encompasses woods, wetlands and a golf course. Listen closely and you can hear the crickets chirping.

The serenity of Annapolis Roads will change if a land deal is completed. Riberta Development, LLC would collaborate with St. Mary’s Church in Annapolis to buy land now used as a golf course for new development. On it, St. Mary’s would build ballfields and a gymnasium. Next, Riberta Development could construct high-rises on adjacent Ogleton Woods, a wetlands property it already owns. The dwellings would be specifically for seniors; new family housing cannot be built in the area because its schools are already at capacity.

Independent of the church development proposal, Annapolis Roads Property Owners Association has been working for more than a year to purchase the 33-acre Ogleton Woods, thus saving the land from rezoning and development.

Now the Bay Ridge Trust is helping the Annapolis Roads Property Owners Association bid to keep its green island. The Trust would buy the rights to develop the land, and conservation restrictions become part of the deed.

Carrie Steele • Dock of the Bay, No. 48, Nov. 18

Bates High Starts Its Third Life
From Segregated High to Integrated Junior High to Community Center

Some 300 alumni, community leaders and neighbors turned out to the old Wiley H. Bates High School off West Street near Maryland Hall on December 5 to celebrate the kickoff of an ambitious refurbishment project as the long-dormant school prepares to be reborn for the new century.

In 15 to 18 months, Bates High School will reemerge as the combined site of a senior center, Boys and Girls Club and affordable senior housing, with space set aside for an exhibit on the school’s history plus a memorial courtyard honoring school founder Wiley H. Bates. The baseball and soccer fields behind the school will remain in public use, maintained jointly by Annapolis and Anne Arundel County. Construction on the senior center and Boys and Girls Club will begin within two weeks; the housing portion will get underway in early January.

Mark Burns • Dock of the Bay, No. 50, Dec. 9

Old-Fashioned Streets Heighten Holiday Fun
Shopping Downtown Annapolis Fills the Christmas Bill

In the past four years, the city of Annapolis and the state of Maryland have spent nearly $19 million tearing up West Street from Westgate Circle to Church Circle. As had been done on Main Street in the last decade, bricks replaced asphalt on streets and concrete on sidewalks. Old-fashioned light posts in the style of gas lamps went up, giving West Street, and the rest of downtown, the feel of a 19th century English village.

Not visible to visitors is the work done on the underground infrastructure of water, sewer, electric and gas lines.

That old-world charm makes downtown Annapolis a historic destination as well as a marketplace.

Louis Llovio • Dock of the Bay, No. 51, Dec. 16


Oyster Times
The Declining Times of Chesapeake Bay’s Native Oyster and the Rising Times of Its Alien Cousin

Longer than memory has America’s eastern oyster, Crassostrea virginica, flourished in Chesapeake Bay. Asian cousin Crassostrea ariakensis is a newcomer that’s barely touched these waters. In less time than we’ve known ariakensis’ name, that balance could reverse.

In this century, Virginia scientists at the Marine Resources Commission and boosters at the Seafood Council, as well as some Maryland and Virginia watermen, have supported Asian oysters as the most promising solution for revitalizing the industry. Ariakensis grows more than twice as fast as the native Chesapeake Bay oyster, and it is resistant to dermo and MSX, diseases that have ravaged native oysters.

Now ariakensis also has powerful Maryland friends, with Gov. Robert Ehrlich on its side and Department of Natural Resources stirring the pot.

But other scientists and environmentalists remain skeptical about how non-native oysters might behave in the wild, worrying that the alien species could overtake Bay and coastal waters.

Walk with us through the declining times of Chesapeake Bay’s native oyster and the rising times of its alien cousin.

M.L. Faunce, Sandra Martin, Mark Burns • No. 4, Jan. 22

A New Oyster for Our
Old Bay

When Words Come, Can Deeds be Far Behind?

“I’m Proud to be a Waterman” proclaims Dale Shaner, 43, of Prince Frederick, on his billed cap. As much as the oysters he can no longer catch, Shaner, too, is an endangered species, and it’s his fate, too, under debate at this Asian Oyster Introductory Public Scoping Meeting.

Watermen like Shaner say that what they need to survive is an oyster that lives. Finding such an oyster — whether it be native or alien — is the search that’s convened the Maryland Introductory Public Scoping Meeting this night in Annapolis and a similar Virginia meeting last month in Newport News. Both are sponsored by the U.S. Corps of Army Engineers.

Sandra O. Martin • Dock of the Bay, No. 7, Feb. 12

In the Slowest Harvest Year Ever, Is This Our Bay Oyster’s 11th Hour?

Most oysters you’re eating this season come from the Gulf Coast. But Maryland oysters can still be found — if you know where to look for them.

In the Chester and Choptank rivers, October ended with the first harvest of oysters planted in 2001 in three of those spots.

“The special harvest day was aimed to give a boost to the annual yield for our Maryland watermen,” explained the partnership’s Tilly Egge.

Those oysters are as carefully bred as prize beef cattle or hogs. They’re the progeny of natural native brood stock selected from cleaned bars to give the oysters the best chance to resist disease. For all the serious science by a boatload of partners, the goal of oyster recovery is to help restore the health of the Bay and in so doing, to help the oysters to help fuel the economy of a historic Maryland resource.

In the short term, the 4,000 bushels expected to be harvested from the reserves may be as much as one-quarter of this year’s Maryland harvest, estimated at a lean 15,000 bushels, For the oystermen, the reserve harvest may be the only break they get.

M.L. Faunce • No. 47, Nov. 18

New Culprit Fingered for Oysters’ Decline
Sea Nettles May be the Heroes

Sea nettles, the arch-nemesis of Bay swimmers, may play the hero’s role in the Bay’s ecology. Hot on the trail of nettles, Smithsonian scientist Denise Breitburg is turning up clues that these stinging invertebrates may in fact protect baby oysters.

The real villains are the stingless comb jellies, those seemingly lifeless, clear blobs that drift in Chesapeake waters. Comb jellies feast on oyster larvae, as well as on an important food source for finfish including rockfish and bay anchovy larvae.

Sea nettles, in turn, prey on the comb jelly. But Breitburg maintains that the numbers of these food-web heroes are shrinking.

Carrie Steele • No. 47, Nov. 18

Up in Arms Over Maryland’s Bears
Hunters Have Their Sights on Bear; Whether They Shoot Plays out This Month

Some sunny mid-March morning, when daylight lingers longer into evening hours, Maryland’s black bears will yawn, stretch, scratch and sleepily amble from their forest dens where they’ve been hibernating since December.

All around Deep Creek Lake, hundreds of bears — mama bears, papa bears and baby bears — will soon rejoin the society of Garrett and Allegany counties.

That’s a problem as far as some of their human neighbors are concerned. Whether the bears number 226 or 437, (and that’s as close a census as biologists could get in 2001) that’s 20 percent too many to satisfy Maryland bearphobes.

Come October, hunters may be taking up guns to solve the problem. After a three-year study of bear population dynamics over this past decade, the Department of Natural Resources Black Bear Task Force last year proposed a limited black bear hunt to control this growing bear population. That is why friends of bears are up in arms this spring, making their case to lawmakers, citizens and even the courts.

Sarah Findlay • No. 10, March 4

One Bear Crosses Over
The Life and Death of a Bear Criminal

As most of Maryland’s black bears shake off their winter sleep, one nonconformist put himself at the wrong place one time too many. The 350-pound adult male was euthanized after Maryland Department of Natural Resources determined that the marauding bear was incorrigible.

Sandra O. Martin • Dock of the Bay, No. 14, April 1

Cash-Strapped State Agency Refuses Ready Money
Bear Hunt Costs DNR $75,000

It’s not every day you turn down $75,000, especially when you’re a state agency on a starvation budget.

That’s exactly what Maryland Department of Natural Resources did. But that doesn’t mean they didn’t try to keep the money.

To stop Maryland’s first hunt for black bears in more than half a century, the Fund for Animals and the Humane Society offered DNR $75,000. The money, wrote the animal welfare groups in their March offer, would enable the department to “pay one-hundred percent compensation to Maryland’s farmers for all eligible bear damage claims through the Black Bear Compensation Program.”

In return, DNR would have to call off the hunt.

The department “rejected the stipulation that the bear hunting season be canceled,” according to a press release. The department didn’t, however, reject the money.

Louis Llovio • Dock of the Bay, No. 18, April 19

Hunt a Bear or Paint a Bear
This Year, You’ve Got Your Choice

Maryland’s big black bears can’t get people to leave them alone.

Not only do people want to hunt them, the two-legged pests also want to paint them in habitat.

That’s because the Black Bear Conservation Stamp, left all for dead in 2003, is back in 2004.

The stamp was written off by the Maryland Black Bear Task Force because it couldn’t keep up with the job it was created to do: reimburse farmers for hungry bear damage.

To make up the deficit, DNR created an alternative: a limited bear hunt to begin in the fall of 2004. The hunt, the task force said, would keep the bear population and damages down while raising money from hunting licenses.

Now, apparently, both hunt and stamp are on for 2004.

Louis Llovio • Dock of the Bay, No. 20, May 13

Big Chicken Gets the Flu
One More Ill Strikes Maryland’s Biggest Agricultural Industry

Each year, six hundred million birds live and die on the Delmarva Peninsula.

Over the last 80 years, chicken farming on the shore has gone from a backyard hobby to the cornerstone of the region’s economy. Three large companies, called integrators, tightly control the industry from the egg to the house to the fryer. By owning and integrating the feed industry, the fuel industry, the processing plants, the research laboratories, the trucks, the catchers and even the birds themselves (farmers don’t own their chickens, they only grow them), the integrators can exert control over price, maximize profitability and insulate themselves against risk.

All those chickens leave behind an environmental legacy. The vast tons of manure these birds produce in their short lifetimes makes for an equally vast disposal problem. Much of it is generally spread as fertilizer on fields, the vast majority of which grow feed for the chickens. What isn’t taken up by the crops runs off into the Bay.

With avian flu this spring, one more ill has struck Maryland’s biggest agricultural industry.

Ryan Grim • No. 13, March 25

Cicada Invasion
On this 17th Year, We’re Expecting a Few Visitors. Make That a Few Million

When it comes to cicadas, you’re likely to fall into one of two categories. You either dread the imminent cicada explosion, picturing millions of nymphs rising from the midnight earth like a 1950s horror film. Or you embrace our cicada year with curiosity, eager to get to know these winged creatures that visit only once every 17 years.

Whatever you’re going to do, you’d better do it soon. Earliest cicadas started trading in their underground dwellings in favor of our outside world as May’s moon filled out last week. The full resurrection is expected when the soil temperature half a foot down hits 64 degrees, which should happen around May 15.

With a genus name like magicicada, these Houdini-like creatures seem magical as they appear in mass one week, then vanish as soon as we get used to them. Whether you choose to discover cicada magic for yourself or skip town on the cicadas, the time is nigh. You’ll not get the chance to see them again until 2021.

Carrie Steele • No. 20, May 13

Putting Cicadas on the Map
Are You Dodging Cicadas or Patiently Waiting to See one?

Chesapeake Country is buzzing. But more than the incessant screech of the 17-year cicadas, the region’s mall talk has turned from unseasonably hot weather to who has cicadas — and who doesn’t.

In a wooded area south and west of Annapolis off Riva Road, the cicadas’ hum was comparable to a vacuum cleaner running all day. Yet across Route 2 in Annapolis and south, all’s quiet but for bird song.

Where is this mystery line of demarcation?

Maryland Department of Agriculture is trying to find out.

On the Ag website (www.cicadas.info/), cicada-fans are invited to post updates for their area, with estimated numbers, soil temperatures and other significant cicada news.

Carrie Steele • Dock of the Bay, No. 22, May 27

Giant Seahorse Stolen
Students’ Statue Heisted in Broad Daylight

The herd of flamboyant six-by-four-foot seahorses roaming Calvert County has lost one horse.

Starfish turned up missing June 25.

wrangler inspecting Calvert’s herd of 25 came up short at Adam’s Ribs in Prince Frederick.

“It had to be at least two people just because of how heavy and awkward they are,” said Stacey Hann-Ruff of how the rustling was managed. Hann-Ruff, director of Annmarie Garden, coordinates Calvert County’s 350th anniversary public art project Seahorses on the Bay.

Each Seahorse on the Bay was molded at Calvert Marine Museum and designed and decorated by students in Calvert
County schools. The art project was planned in conjunction with Calvert’s 350th birthday. Opening the anniversary celebration, Seahorses by the Sea unveiled the vibrant statues before dispersing them to the lawns of county businesses, libraries, fire stations, schools and public areas for display.

Carrie Steele • Dock of the Bay, No. 22, May 27

The Return of Starfish
Prodigal Seahorse Returns to the Fold

The most sensational art heist of Calvert’s 350-year history has come to a head-scratching conclusion as Calvert Middle School’s wayward Starfish mysteriously washed up overnight on the school’s doorstep — or, rather, trash paddock — the thief perhaps encouraged by the sheriff department’s promise of amnesty.

Mark Burns • Dock of the Bay, No. 34, Aug. 19

Snakeheads Forced to Slither Away
Time is Running Out for Maryland’s Most Wanted

By September, the only good snakehead will be a dead snakehead. Already a marked fish with a bounty on its head, it’s now likely to be legal only as dinner.

Maryland’s newest invasive species, the northern snakehead, first popped up in a Crofton Pond last fall. Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources poisoned the pond, which held more than 1,000 baby snakeheads and two adult fish. Then a pond in Wheaton turned up one of the voracious predators, and anglers are bringing in these feisty fish in the Potomac River basin. Most recently, the 12th snakehead was caught in Charles County’s Pomonkey Creek by Potomac River fishing guide Ken Penrod.

If the Department of Natural Resources has anything to say about it, the species’ adaptability won’t help it survive in Maryland. The newest proposal in the anti-snakehead campaign is to ban live possession of any of the 29 snakehead species.

Banning all snakeheads is overkill, counter the admirers of the maligned fish. Ban, if you must, the northern snakehead that threatens Maryland’s waters, they say, but save the 28 other species of snakeheads.

Carrie Steele • Dock of the Bay, No. 29, July 15

Tropical Snakeheads Keep Their Homes
Only the Voracious Northern Variety Exiled

Even the name snakehead has the power to spark fear; never mind its powerful body, cavernous jaws and carnivorous habits.

With good reason, the state is anxious to put ecology-saving measures into law, preventing new generations of snakeheads from walking from pond to river to devour all that lives there. Fine-tuning these measures, however, is taking some time.

After a month-long public comment period, regulations slated to ban possession of 27 varieties of live snakeheads are on hold. Comments from the public kept the regulations from being passed this week as was promised.

“We’ve modified our approach,” says the DNR’s Mike Slattery. “The tropical species of snakeheads cannot survive in the wild, so these varieties don’t pose a threat to the ecology. It makes sense to us to just ban the northern snakehead.”

Carrie Steele • Dock of the Bay, No. 37, Sept. 9

Terrapins Make a Loveable Poster Child for Bay Restoration
Everybody Loves a Terrapin, But Benign Neglect is Maryland’s Official Atitude toward Its State Reptile

With their curious eyes, cute faces and easy-to-hold shells, terrapins may be the new face of Bay restoration. It may be hard to get students to care about a plant or a shellfish that looks like a rock, but there’s something special about a turtle.

That’s why The Terrapin Institute and other groups are turning terrapins into teachers. According to Margaret Whilden of the Institute, it’s not enough to simply tell students that the Bay is in trouble. Truly educating the public means teaching kids what citizens can do to help — whether it’s writing to their representatives, running for office, organizing themselves to collectively speak out on environmental concerns or physically putting something, like terrapins, back into the Bay — instead of stewing in frustration.

Science data can tell us where the problems lie, but, says Whilden, “The real trick is how to get society to start doing something about it.”

Perhaps like its cousin the tortoise, the terrapin reminds us that slow and steady wins the race.

Carrie Steele • No. 31, July 29

Osprey Get the Bum’s Rush from Coast Guard
Nests Demolished, Families Homeless

As fall nears, osprey that summered on the Chesapeake take flight, returning to their winter homes in Central and South America. Many birds have already left. Apparently none too soon for the U.S. Coast Guard, which has already demolished their nests on Rockhold Creek and will continue removing nests throughout the Bay.

Now the fish hawks eat the last dinners of summer on empty channel markers where they built their nests of big sticks and assorted findings, laid their eggs and raised their babies.

“The young are still here, and I have seen the young birds perched on the markers where their nests used to be,” said Jim Brincefield. A charter captain, Brincefield takes the Jil Carrie in and out of Rockhold Creek, where nests were removed during the third week of August.

“We are the ones who did it,” said Preston Logan of the Coast Guard’s local Aids to Navigation Units.

Jim Bright • No. 37, Sept. 9

Whoos in the Woods
Heard Any Owls Lately?

A full moon cast the huge, dark shadow of the lone tree, punctuating the open landscape. Its twisted trunk leaned to spread its canopy over the road.

Out of nowhere, a white shape crossed the headlights, swooping in front of us. My father slammed on the brakes, raising a protective arm to prevent me from going through the windshield of his 1960 Chevy Biscayne.

In the glare of the the bright headlights, a confused owl glared at us. It was a barn owl, its white heart-shaped face feathers framing dark brown eyes and a sharp beak. Brown and gray-mottled wings flanked a flecked white body. My father and I held our breaths, staring at the bird as it stared back, unblinking. Then the spell was broken. With a quick flap of its powerful wings, the owl disappeared into the darkness.

Little did I know how rare an experience that was. Four decades later, I have only seen two other owls in the wild.

Rarest of the many owls that live in Chesapeake Country is the owl I saw first — but never again in the wild.

Among the three most common owls in Bay Country, two — the great horned and Eastern screech — make great Halloween actors. Barred owls, too, can raise a ruckus.

Vivian Zumstein • No. 44, Oct. 28

Skates and Rays Make Home at Solomons
Ghostly Bay Neighbors Haunt New Exhibit at Calvert Marine Museum

You’ve glimpsed the flapping fins of rays skimming the surface of the Bay. At the beach, you’ve seen the midnight-black egg cases of skates washed up on the sand. Now, you can meet these little-known shark relatives up-close and in-depth at Secrets of the Mermaid’s Purse, the newest interactive exhibit at the Calvert Marine Museum.

“They’ve been around for millions of years,” says museum director Douglass Alves. “Their fossils are found along with sharks teeth. We’re trying to inform people about these native fish. It’s a fun thing to highlight.”

Carrie Steele • No. 44, Oct. 28

Some Things You Can Count on
Like Clockwork, Tundra Swans Return to Chesapeake Bay

Armistice Day or Veteran’s Day, November 11 is traditional Tundra Swan day as the great birds whiffle down with raucous whoopings and howlings, seemingly in celebration of the end of a long voyage.

Among the largest of all flying birds, these tundra swans are hatched and spend summer way up near the Arctic Circle in the northern extremes of Alaska and Canada’s Northwest Territories. The long migration proceeds in stages down the continent. Just how fast they go is known by computation of distance and time while migrating. From sightings and distance measurements, experts have figured that they travel about 50 mph during transits.

Bruce Bauer • No. 46, Nov. 11

Whale Hit; Navy Runs
Atlantic Right Whale Killed at Mouth of Bay

Two objects can’t occupy the same space at the same time.

That lesson was demonstrated at the mouth of Chesapeake Bay last month, when the U.S. Navy amphibious assault ship the USS Iwo Jima preempted the space occupied by a 15-year-old pregnant right whale.

The 35-foot whale and its fetus, which was less than two months from full term, washed up on the Northern Outer Banks in Ocean Sands, North Carolina, seven days later, on November 24.

The double loss is compounded by scarcity. Only 325 to 350 North Atlantic right whales survive in the world.

Louis Llovio • Dock of the Bay, No. 50, Dec. 9

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