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Volume 15, Issue 52 ~ December 27, 2007 - January 2, 2008

The Best of
Bay Weekly ~ 2007


Keeping the Legacy Alive

Anne Arundel’s black heroes live among us as statues

Martin Luther King Jr. would turn 78 on January 15. Because of an assassin’s bullet, forever he is 39 years old. That’s about how old King looks in not quite the newest of the county’s five sculpture groups that stand as memorials to the achievements of African Americans.

Wiley Bates honors a hometown hero, as does the oldest, a bust of physician-lawmaker Aris Allen. The other two — like the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial — honor national heroes Alex Haley and Thurgood Marshall. Supreme Court Justice Marshall, of course, was also a Marylander, born and raised in Baltimore.

All these statues share our public spaces; in death, as in life, they are with us, yet they rise above us (which is why statues are often elevated) to remind and to inspire us.

–Ben Miller: No 2: Jan. 11 and No 3: Jan. 18

Bah Humbug!

How Chesapeake Country’s four Scrooges learn their lessons — and teach us ours

As carolers harmonize with glad tidings and families merrily trim the tree, four Chesapeake men master their meanest bah humbug. It’s in the spirit of the season, to share the message of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, that each has transformed himself into the stingy, cold-hearted Ebenezer Scrooge.

Bay Weekly met this season’s Bay-side Scrooges in their plain clothes …

–Carrie Madren: No. 49: December 6


A Home of Our Own

How we beat the odds and bought out of renting

The house that became known as the stinky carpet house was the fourth house my husband Brad and I toured after our engagement. It discouraged me for days, but it taught me an important lesson. The key to buying your first home is combining patience with perseverance …

–Aubree Stafford: No. 2: Jan. 11

Bay Fever

There’s an itch to be scratched as boat fever and fish fever spread

It begins with an itch. Soon the symptoms diversify: unfocused stare, distraction, restlessness, heartache.

For many residents of Chesapeake Country, the only cure for Bay fever is a boat.

Come the last week in April, it’s happening everywhere, this great annual return to Chesapeake Bay of the fleet that accounts for much of pleasure boating’s $2.4 billion boost to Maryland’s economy …

–Sandra Olivetti Martin: No. 17: April 26

Working Their Way Up

How the next generation steps into the world of work

Summer jobs are practice rounds where high school and college kids figure out what kind of employees we are. I’ve moved on to more mainstream jobs, but I’m still doing the same balancing act I practiced when I was tagging mosquitoes, asking myself what I’ll do to make a buck and whether making money is the point.

–Bethany Rodgers: No. 29: July 19

Hot Dog!

Two local vendors serve the American dream one plump wiener at a time

“Hey buddy, you look worn out. How about a hot dog?” says hot dog vendor Darryl Wilson as a perspiring customer hurries toward him into the cart’s shade.

Meanwhile, at Annapolis Home Depot, another hot dog stand offers dogs and more to its customers.

These two stands, their owners and the hot dogs themselves, are parts of the great American dream.

–Bethany Rodgers: No. 31: August 2


Planting a Young Forest

Students learn to become tree detectives in their own yards

Judy Mansfield’s second grade class held hands. Inside their circle, a tall Native American man held a smoking bundle of sage as he blessed them for what they were about to do: Plant trees at Mt. Harmony Elementary School in Owings.

“We forget we’re a part of the earth,” says Albert Ybarra. “This project helps the kids understand their natural connection to the earth and the importance of taking care of it.”

–Margaret Tearman with Judy Mansfield’s Mt. Harmony School second graders: No. 18: May 3


Your Cell Phone’s Afterlife

The phone you’ve outgrown still has a spark

Consider the clutter created when over 200 million people ditch their digital device once a year. Now add to that the millions of phones from years past that sit in closets and drawers. Estimates suggest that 750 million mobile devices are waiting to be recycled in the U.S. alone.

–Aubree Stafford: No. 8: Feb. 22

Can One Person — Even a Village — Slow Global Warming?

What will it take to tackle the world’s biggest problem? The answer is you — you alongside your 300 million U.S. neighbors and six billion world neighbors.

In this story, we break down global warming from that mind-boggling problem of global scale to how one person makes a difference.

–Carrie Madren: No. 16: April 19

A Bird in the Hand

Jug Bay’s bird banding study finds old friends and new surprises

A small miracle happens when you hold a bird. For a moment, a wisp — all shining eyes and rapid-beating heart — flutters in the palm of your hand.

Scientists at Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary retain this sense of wonder as they catch, band, identify and measure birds …

–Dotty Holcomb Doherty: No. 20: May 17

Breaking the Litter Pick-up Cycle on the Potomac

After 19 years fishing hundreds of tons of trash from this mighty river, some are saying enough!

Potomac River cleanup volunteers hauled a dirty No Dumping sign up from the Potomac River’s banks. That’s not all: volunteers also picked up mountains of cigarette butts, 2,649 tires and 26 shopping carts in the 19th annual Potomac River Watershed Cleanup.

Now, to get the Alice Ferguson Foundation out of the litter cleanup business, executive director Tracy Bowen has recruited an army fed up with trash.

–Carrie Madren: No. 27: July 5

Waste Watchers

In the West and Rhode Rivers, the Honey Dipper is a phone call away

On the Rhode River in early July, Michael DeRogatis became a hero.

DeRogatis was patrolling in the West/Rhode Riverkeeper’s new Honey Dipper pump-out boat, when a sailboater flagged him down. The two young daughters had to use the boat’s head. But the waste holding tank was full.

DeRogatis swooped in to the rescue, pump-out hose in hand, to empty the sailboat’s holding tank on the spot.

“You’re our daughter’s hero,” the man told DeRogatis.

For the Honey Dipper’s operator, it was all in a day’s work.

–Carrie Madren: No. 31: Aug. 2

Voyages into Global Warming

In the steamy year 2100, we’ll not be the only sights long gone

On these sizzling summer days, a liveaboard’s fancy naturally turns to thoughts of … global warming. Our own Chesapeake region is heating up, not just in summer, and sea-level rise is accelerating around the Bay. What might it be like, living on our trawler Bright Pleiades almost a century from now, dropping anchor at favorite Chesapeake destinations in the steamy year of 2100?

–Lynn Teo Simarski: No 34: Aug. 23

Bag It

Will fewer plastic bags make the world more sustainable?

They’re comfortable and familiar. Less awkward than paper, and lightweight.

So lightweight, that a bag caught by a breeze can travel as far as wind will take it — until the polyethylene snags on a branch …

For Annapolis Councilman Sam Shropshire the plastic checkout bag makes for a troubled ecosystem. At checkout, he says, shoppers have better, readily available options, he says, like 100 percent recycled paper bags and reusable cloth bags.

Is he right? Would banning checkout plastic be a win for Annapolitans? How about for the environment?

–Carrie Madren: No. 37: Sept. 13

Energy Wise

At these prices, why not switch to clean energy?

My head went spinning faster than my single station watt-hour meter when I opened my last BGE bill of summer 2007. It had jumped from $200 to almost $300, a 50 percent hike.

I couldn’t find a way to pay less.

But I’ve learned I can buy green, raising my rank in the army fighting global warming.

–Michelle Steel: No. 48: Nov. 29


Vera Freeman

Calvert County’s Empress of Glamour

If sunsets glow a little showier this year, flashing brighter pinks amidst glistening gold, I won’t be surprised. That’s how I next expect to see Vera Freeman, Calvert County’s empress of glamour, who died January 23, three weeks short of her 93rd birthday.

–Sandra Olivetti Martin: No. 4: Jan. 31

Hildreth Morton

Creator of Small-Scale Paradises

Some seekers journey great distances and climb high mountains to find enlightenment. Here in Chesapeake Country, we needed go no farther than Davidsonville, where Hildreth Morton gave us sanctuary at Bittersweet Hill Nursery.

–Sandra Olivetti Martin: No. 17: April 26


The Puzzler Laid Bare

Who’s this Cruciverbalist Who Inflicts Pain on Bay Weekly Readers

Crosswords are made by human beings. We stash our friends’ names in grids, allude to our lives and pull theme ideas from drunken conversations at the bar.

I know because I write crossword puzzles for a living. It has become a lucrative job, and I have grown deeply attached to the work and the community. The more I construct, the more I want to connect with the people who solve my puzzles. So let me tell you who we are, how we do it and how I got here.

–Ben Tausig: No. 13: March 29

Public Figures

Part 1: Is it easier to lose weight with God and the people as witnesses?

Many people tuck their bathroom scales in a corner, behind the door and gingerly step on the unsteady surface far from prying eyes. Not so with two new local weight-loss competitions. For Annapolis’ Biggest Loser Fitness Challenge and South County Chamber of Commerce’s Weight Challenge, contestants share their most personal of victories — or defeats — with not only God but also all the people who care to watch.

Two of the South County contestants — public figures Robert Costa, a delegate, and Ed Reilly, an Anne Arundel County Councilman — let Bay Weekly track their personal journeys.

–No. 10: March 8

Part 2: Keeping Score

Over the first month of the Southern Anne Arundel Chamber of Commerce’s Weight Challenge, Maryland Del. Bob Costa has gained one pound, which he calls a victory.

That’s because the Maryland General Assembly was in session during March, when, Costa alleges, most delegates gain about 10 pounds.

–No. 14: April 5

Part 3: Round Two

Anne Arundel County Councilman Ed Reilly says he’s hit a plateau after losing 15 pounds the first month, though he held even at 265 this past month, which included a visit to his daughter in Ireland.

“The race is not to the swiftest, but to the most persistent,” he said.

–No. 19: May 10

Part 4: Final Weigh-In

With June’s final weigh-in — all is said and lost.

Costa beats Reilly — by a mere pound, with a grand loss of 22 pounds.

–No. 27: July 5

Going South

Our osprey and snowbirds are on their way to warmer climes. Don’t you wish you were with them?

Under sail or power, the boaters who flee Chesapeake Country before the snow remind me of osprey. The osprey’s high-pitched cry echoes throughout Bay waters in the spring and summer. But, like the steady chug-chug of the cruising snowbird’s engine, it fades as temperatures fall.

Osprey fly south seeking not only warmer weather but also abundant feeding grounds and a safe environment for growth and socialization. Cruising snowbirds go south for these reasons, and a few more.

–Maureen Miller: No. 47: Nov. 22

General News

Invasion of the Emerald Ash Borer

Fighting the half-inch eco-terrorists costs millions

The whole world, so the saying goes, feels the ripples of a butterfly’s wing beating in the Amazon basin.

Here in Maryland, the secret gnawing of the tiny, segmented larvae of the emerald ash borer has mobilized well over 100 plant soldiers in a multi-million dollar, chop-and-chip war. Unless they win, the damage nationwide could rise as high as $60 billion, leaving America barren of the ash trees that shade our streets and shape our baseball bats.

–Sandra Olivetti Martin: No. 4: Jan. 25

Operation Pelican Rescue

A chilled flock has come in from the cold — but still needs a ride to Florida

Winter’s long delay and abundant food encouraged a northerly flock of brown pelicans to delay their customary migratory trip south. But when temperatures suddenly plummeted, the warm-weather fowl were stranded along icy shorelines.

Now 24 brown pelicans huddle in a borrowed greenhouse, saved from certain death by wildlife rescue volunteers and warmed by a Virginia nurseryman.

–Margaret Tearman: No. 7: Feb. 15

County Government

Redefining Homeland Security

Part 1: Anne Arundel’s Bottomless Pit

When government steps into your backyard, it can feel like Bigfoot has tramped on your flower garden.

Or maybe Big Brother.

Nobody can tell you more about how bigfooting feels than the villagers of Fairhaven, whose scenic and historic roads are Anne Arundel County’s planned route to its bottomless dredge-spoils pit.

–Sandra Olivetti Martin: No. 7: Feb. 15

Part 2: Anne Arundel repels sprawl at four points on its borders

Anne Arundel County defended its borders last week. And it didn’t require an army to do it. Citizens were the soldiers fighting each of these battles. Instead of military mobilization, long-range planning by men and women we elected pushed back the forces of sprawl at three vulnerable points on the county’s perimeter — and gained ground on a fourth.

–Sandra Olivetti Martin: No. 19: May 10

Part 3: Dredge Spoils Plan Deep-Sixed

Wanted: to lease or buy, dredge spoils dump site, to receive silt from Anne Arundel County creeks. Waterfront preferred. Terms generous.

Anne Arundel County is in the market for a new dredge spoils site. Even better, a miracle that will make the spoils a hot commodity.

–Sandra Olivetti Martin: No. 33: Aug. 16

State Government

Lobbying 101

Your guide to getting laws passed

The historic Maryland state house that sits high on a hill like a castle can seem as unapproachable as a moated fortress.

But you don’t need to feel like the poor peasant locked outside the looming castle’s door. You don’t need ropes, a disguise or the dark of night to scale this castle’s walls.

–Carrie Madren: No. 7: Feb. 15

The Maryland General Assembly’s Alphabet Soup

Bills from A to Z by the spoonful

A hearty alphabet soup of nearly 2,500 bills has brewed in committees, workgroups and subcommittees of the House and Senate in the General Assembly. Maryland’s legislative alphabet ranged from cloning to clams, right-of-way to ravens. In this ladleful of 26 bills scooped from the full pot, we sample the issues — life changing to little, headliners to footnoters — we pay $69,127,622 for our lawmakers to consider.

–Carrie Madren: No. 15: April 12


The Bay’s Blast from the Past

A great extraterrestrial object predetermined the Chesapeake 35 million years ago

When the space rock struck 35 million years ago, there was no Chesapeake Bay, no Western or Eastern Shore. Where the lower Bay is today, the Atlantic Ocean sloped gently seaward from a shoreline about where Richmond is now.

Today, the wreckage of that strike is entombed more than a mile down in the earth. But the effects of the cosmic cataclysm still reverberate for those who live in the Chesapeake watershed …

–Lynn Teo Simarksi: No. 9: March 1

Micro-Monsters Lurk in Chesapeake Waters

Before you go in the water, check the count

Dark dangers lurk in Chesapeake waters. It’s not Jaws that haunt our brackish estuary. Even jellyfish aren’t the darkest danger. It’s much smaller: vicious bacteria. These microscopic monsters don’t take big bites. They don’t drape us in stinking slime. But they do swim into our mouths, eyes, ears, cuts and scrapes, infecting us with colonizing bacteria that can ooze, swell and maim.

–Carrie Madren: No. 25: June 21


A New Year’s Vision for Our Old Bay

Bay bard, poet and philosopher Tom Wisner guides the way

Bay bard, poet and philosopher Tom Wisner weaves songs. For those songs, the 76-year-old is known throughout Chesapeake Country and beyond.

Becoming attuned to the Earth — through music, lyrics, rhythms, listening and watching — has been Wisner’s life work.

–Carrie Madren: No. 1: Jan. 4

A Visionary for Chesapeake Waters

Anne Pearson’s persistence erodes apathy — and earns a top award

Stormwater isn’t glamorous. Yet stormwater has made Anne Arundel County environmental activist Anne Pearson a hero.

In turn, Pearson’s made stormwater a hot topic.

“Sometimes she irritates people because she doesn’t stop,” says Kincey Potter, president of South River Federation. “But people listen to her after a while.”

–Carrie Madren: No. 3: Jan. 18

Cathy Lanier’s Long Climb

From high school dropout and single mom to chief of police in our nation’s capital

As D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty’s surprise choice to replace Charles Ramsey as our capital city’s chief of police, leading a diverse police force of 3,800 officers, Harwood resident Cathy Lanier is most certainly an unlikely candidate. She’s female. She’s Caucasian. And, at 39, she’s relatively young. This historic appointment came without preamble, shocking everyone, including Lanier.

“When Fenty told me he wanted me as his chief, I was completely surprised,” Lanier says.

–Margaret Tearman: No. 4: Jan. 25

Jackie Waymire, Children’s Theater Impresario

It’s the actors’ life for them

“Can you put a little more roguishness on that? You’re too refined,” Jackie Waymire, impresario of children’s theater, tells Blake Bryant, a senior at Northern High School rehearsing for Chesapeake Youth Players’ Prisoner of Zenda.

Moving among actors aged six through 20, Waymire harmonizes with the chorus in a bawdy tavern song, hops through a mazurka, shows a barmaid how to sashay.

“You do that too well, Jackie,” says one.

“That’s because I play a wench at RenFest!” Waymire retorts.

–Dotty Holcomb Doherty: No. 17: April 26

Pulled by the Song of the Sea

After a lifetime on the water, Janie Meneely has found a new voice

Calico Jenny sings the stories of Chesapeake Bay.

With a twinkle in her eye, she issues a bawdy warning to fair maidens on the hazards of kissing a waterman.

Calico Jenny is the alter ego of Janie Meneely, until recently managing editor of the influential Chesapeake Bay Magazine.

–Margaret Tearman: No. 20: May 17

Discovering a Lost Poet

There’s more to these magic words than meets the ear

The idea seemed easy enough: Find a poem about the Chesapeake or summer to include in Bay Weekly’s supplement 101 Ways to Have Fun.

I went looking for a poem. I found a poet and pianist, an historian and critic, an executive director and publisher. I found George Schaun, a generous man, dead these 19 years but remembered as tall, courtly and, quite simply, a darling.

–Dotty Holcomb Doherty: No. 21: May 24

Castles in the Sand

Sandcastle Lady Lynn McKeown doesn’t mind that, like dreams, her masterpieces melt into the sea

Lynn McKeown can see the fairy tale wonderland buried in a pile of sand. As summer rolls around, McKeown grabbed her shovels and headed to North Beach to help children and their grandparents mold sand into the spires and turrets of their imaginations. The Sandcastle Lady thinks of herself as a storyteller rather than artist or architect.

–Bethany Rodgers: No. 21: May 24

Weather Report

Doug Hill was struck with a bolt of lightning

“If I can help save someone’s life, or even just make their day safer, better, that is the best thing that can happen. That is my best day on the job.”

Doug Hill, our region’s chief meteorologist for ABC 7 News and weatherman for WTOP radio, spends his days studying the weather so he can safely guide us through summer downpours or urge us to seek shelter when dangerous weather threatens. To thousands of area commuters, he’s the weather part of the familiar WTOP jingle “traffic and weather together on the 8s.”

–Margaret Tearman: No. 21: May 24

Nothing Up His Sleeve

In the hands of the Super Magic Man, things are not as solid and unchanging as they seem

Peering into his black magic box, stretching out his fingers, the magician reaches inside. Presto! He presents a bowling ball. It is heavy; when he drops it onto the stage, it hits with a dull thump. Slowly and deliberately, he picks it up, lifts it over his head, then catapults it into the air. People flinch …

The bowling ball does not crash into the anxious audience. It floats, transformed into a balloon.

Transformation is the business of 24-year-old illusionist Reggie Rice.

–Michelle Steel: No. 22: May 31

Tall, Green and What?

This huggable, furry giant outworks even the Energizer Bunny

Louie Ville legend has it that an unidentified species — big, green, fuzzy and sporting a tuft of pink hair — stepped out from the woods behind the 309-foot left field wall at the Bowie Baysox stadium 10 years ago.

He never left.

Familiar as he’s become, his species remains a mystery. Is he an alligator, a dinosaur or a distant relative to Barney?

“Louie’s whatever you want him to be,” says Chris Rogers, the man inside Louie, who calls himself mascot coordinator.

–Michelle Steel: No. 27: July 5

Master of Detail

Maryland sculptor Toby Mendez honors another Chesapeake icon

Binoculars in hand, a sailor looks out toward Chesapeake Bay. Larger than life and forged of bronze and copper, this statue honors the men trained at Solomons during World War II to land on the beachheads of Europe and the Pacific Islands.

Since 1998, Calvert Marine Museum’s Cradle of Invasion reenactment has commemorated this chapter in history. This year, On Watch, by sculptor Antonio Tobias Mendez, rises as a permanent monument.

–Ben Miller: No. 32: Aug. 9

Knowing What to Hold onto and When to Let Go

On — and off — the job with antiques collector Dale Thomas

You think you know where Dale Thomas fits in this world. Six days a week for 37 years he’s manned the counter at Nice & Fleazy in North Beach, selling “everything from fossils to fine art.”

Antiques are a way of making a living with little commute. His home of 39 years is the reason that 37 years ago, he left his 12-year job as a senate staffer in D.C.

Home — his tropical, antique retreat with classical music in the background — is the other half, the hidden half, of the best-known man in North Beach.

–Michelle Steel: No. 33: Aug. 16

Off the Job: News 4’s Wendy Rieger:

Living Local, Simple and Green

If the pretty blond lady sitting at the next table looks familiar but you just can’t place her – think television news.

Think popular news anchor.

Think Wendy Rieger.

Wendy Rieger has been coming into our homes for 19 years as part of the popular news team on WRC-NBC Channel 4.

When her days’ work is done, Rieger wastes no time leaving the Washington D.C. rat race, heading east on route 50 towards the sanctuary of her West River home.

–Margaret Tearman: No 34: Aug. 23

Elroy Johnson: A Birthday Portrait

80 Years of an Annapolitan Working Life

Annapolis was a different town when a midwife delivered Elroy Johnson on September 3, 1927. It was a smaller town with about 12,500 residents. It was, he says, a “slower town” where “you could play ball in the street without worrying about cars.” And it was a segregated town, which is partly why Johnson was delivered by a midwife, instead of in a hospital.

Johnson worked while attending Stanton School and Wiley H. Bates High School. “The 1930s and ’40s were tough,” he said. “You had to earn your keep early. I got my first job when I was 12.

“I’ve worked all my life, every day, since I was 12,” said Elroy Johnson, steward at The Annapolitan Club since 1963. “And I’ll keep working, but not on my 80th birthday.

–Ginger Doyel: No. 35: Aug. 30

Taking on the Champ

How Maryland playwright Bruce Thomas trained for his title match

You don’t step into the ring without training. You hone your skills, quicken your mind and study your opponent long before the bell rings; then you come out swinging.

That’s how Brooklyn Park resident Bruce Thomas prepared to take on the role of Muhammad Ali in a one-man play.

–Diana Beechener: No. 40: Oct 4

Bob Williams’ Search for an Iceberg

Not to mention adventure and global truth

When Annapolis Bookstore wrapped up its book group on the whale tale Moby Dick, general manager Bob Williams had just returned from his own adventure on the high seas. Like the fictional Pequod and its crew, Williams set sail in search of a giant of the sea. His ship, Sylph sought icebergs, not whales.

–Carrie Madren: No. 44: Nov. 1

Sports News

Sailors Down

How March winds taught southern Maryland teens a lesson

The Ides of March dawned sunny and unseasonably warm; highs were forecast to reach 80 degrees. The prelude to summer drew Marylanders out.

In Solomons’ Harbor, a dozen students from two Southern Maryland high schools, Patuxent in Calvert and Leonardtown in St. Mary’s, all members of Southern Maryland Sailing Association, practiced their sailing skills under the supervision of coach Stovy Brown.

“We kept our eyes on the horizon, watching for the front,” Brown told Bay Weekly.

The horizon never warned the sailors of the strong cold front bearing down.

–Margaret Tearman: No. 12: March 22

A Fish Story

You never know what’s down there

The same urge that flings probes into the dotted vastness of space compels fishing people to cast their line. Outsiders might not get it, but devotees believe, with the zeal of saints, in another world beyond our ken. It’s not only there; it’s penetrable. Break the meniscus that separates here from there, and who knows what wonders you’ll encounter.

Faith rewarded Brenda Clark, of Fairhaven Cliffs, with a rockfish nearly as big as she is.

–Sandra Olivetti Martin: No. 20: May 17

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