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Volume 15, Issue 16 ~ April 19 - April 25, 2007

Updates: Maryland Policewomen at the Top

Lanier confirmed

Cathy Lanier has reached the top. On April 3 the Anne Arundel Countian was unanimously confirmed by the D.C. Council as the first female chief of police in our nation’s capital. Her long climb from teen mother to Mayor Adrian M. Fenty’s surprise choice to lead the diverse 3,000-officer force was chronicled in Bay Weekly as she awaited hearings on her nomination.

As chief, Lanier promises to focus on crime prevention by getting more officers into crime-ridden neighborhoods as deterrents rather than waiting until a crime has occurred to respond.

Lanier has purchased a home in the District as her position requires, but she continues to share a house in Harwood with her mother and three dogs.

–from Vol. 15, No. 4: January 25

Chambers fights on — against the odds

In Calvert County, another woman who rose to the top of a capital police force continues her three-year fight to reclaim her position.

Theresa Chambers was fired from her position as the chief of the United States Park Police in July 2004. She contends she lost her job after speaking out publicly about how strained resources and inadequate funding after the 9/11 terrorist attacks made her fear for the safety of citizens and officers. Her Park Service superiors disagreed, alleging she was fired because she performed poorly and refused to follow the direction of her superiors.

Undeterred when her appeal to the Federal Merit Systems Protection Board failed, Chambers continues to wage a relentless legal and public relations campaign to regain her job and, as she says “to restore my integrity and dignity.” Her website,, is regularly updated with information on her legal status and continued operational challenges faced by the U.S. Park Police.

Early this month, Chambers took her case to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Meanwhile, the Department of the Interior response to her appeal is pending.

–from Vol. 13, No. 14: April 2005

Beating the Emerald Ash Borer to the Prize

25,000 ash trees later, half-inch pests hoped gone

Loggers and foresters have beaten a bug to the prize, whirring through some 25,000 ash trees before the emerald ash borer wakes from its winter sleep. If they’ve done their work well, not a single ash tree lives in the 21 square miles of Prince George’s County invaded by the destructive Asian stowaway. Nor a single emerald ash borer.

That, at least, is the hope that has mobilized an ash-tree assault force and motivated three months of ruthless cutting and chipping. For if an emerald ash egg hatches in a surviving ash tree, if a larval worm emerges as a winged insect, Maryland’s whole ash forest is at risk.

In the Midwestern states where the fast-traveling invader jumped ship, it has destroyed some 25 million ash trees. Were it to spread nationwide, it could eat up as much $60 billion dollars of our tax-supported common wealth.

“We got it done, we hope, and it’s looking good,” said Dick Bean, Maryland Department of Agriculture’s relieved and exhausted field operations supervisor, in early April. “Since December 28, it’s been a tremendous effort that’s pulled a lot of people together as a cohesive unit.”

But hope won’t win the war. Already a second-stage campaign is underway against the half-inch pest.

Ag troops will be walking the eradication zone, making sure they didn’t miss even a whip of an ash sapling. Next, they’ll be planting vulnerable ash trees to attract any surviving borers. Moving out from the zone, more traps will be set by girdling existing ash trees, using them as a lure. The same kind of entrapment will extend to the six surrounding counties, including Anne Arundel and Calvert. Farther afield, ash trees will be surveyed around the state.

“You just can’t say you’ve done eradication,” Bean said. “You’ve got to verify to see if the beetles are truly, indeed gone.”

–from Vol. 15, No. 4: January 25

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