Paris Has Nothing On Us

Annapolis is a world-class capital

Three ways you can tell that Annapolis is a pretty tony place to live:

1. Our capital city collects wine corks for recycling.

Uncool places trash pulled wine corks, adding to the belt of cork waste long enough to circle the earth 16 times — if, indeed, 15 billion corks are tossed away each year by U.S. wine drinkers. We, on the other hand, are a cool place: Corks are collected by the city — in a wooden wine barrel in City Hall lobby — and by such green drinkeries as Bay Ridge Wine & Spirits, B. B. Bistro, Eastport Liquors, Leeward Market and Mills Fine Wine.

Boatyard Bar & Grill, the Breeze Restaurant in Loews Hotel, Café Normandie, Galway Bay, Lewnes Steakhouse and The Rockfish also recycle their corks, as do right-thinking citizens.

Last year, Annapolitans saved 15,000 corks, which were upcycled by TerraCycle, an eco-friendly innovator, into bulletin boards.

2. Annapolis gets a silver star from the International Awards for Livable Communities.

In the population category of 20,001 to 75,000, Annapolis and Tabor, Czech Republic, earned silver standing. Outranking them are three gold cities: Newark, England; Chrudim, Czech Republic; and Canada Bay, Australia.

Annapolis’ silver rating was based on six quality-of-life categories: enhancement of landscape; environmentally sensitive practices; heritage management; community sustainability; healthy lifestyles; and planning for the future.

3.Annapolis is one of 20 Picture-Perfect Towns, according to Forbes Traveler Magazine. In the magazine’s October issue, Greg Melville, co-author of 101 Best Outdoor Towns, writes that “Annapolis is somehow able to maintain ties to its historic colonial and maritime past without seeming hokey,” adding, it is “perhaps the East’s most romantic town.”

Melville based his picks on natural surroundings and architecture.

Tour all America’s prettiest towns at www.forbestraveler.com (click on America’s Prettiest Towns).

–Sandra Olivetti Martin

Abby Ybarra Joins the Ranks of Heroes

He’s got the “inner strength” of Rosa Parks and
Grace Lee Boggs

One of America’s top environmental educators lives in Chesapeake Country. Albert ‘Abby’ Ybarra of North Beach was chosen by the North American Association for Environmental Education as winner of the first Rosa Parks and Grace Lee Boggs Outstanding Service award.

In the cause of environmental justice, the person honored must meet the high standards of “inner strength” set by Rosa Parks and Grace Lee Boggs. Rosa Parks — a black American who died in 2005 at the age of 92 — gave the civil rights movement a face when she refused to give up her bus seat to a white person. Grace Lee Boggs, the daughter of Chinese immigrants, fought for change in the last century’s great causes from civil rights to environmental justice. At 94, she is still writing and fighting.

photo by Harry Spillman

Abby Ybarra, second from left, with Rosa Parks’ friend Lila Cabbill, flanked by North American Association for Environmental Education President Karen Hollweg and Executive Director Brian Day.

Ybarra met those standards, according to the citation, by “inspiring communities [over three decades] to take action to improve their environment despite political and social barriers.”

Ybarra — who also reflects on environmental education for Bay Weekly — was nominated by Don Baugh of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

As the first winner, he now sets the standard. Here’s his first advice to Chesapeake Country, based on his experience in Portland, Oregon, where he traveled to receive the award:

“Getting around the city on their excellent Max light rail was such a joy. We stayed in the Freezone and had free travel to all the places we wanted to see, and the cost for other zones like going to the airport was only $2.50. Oh, I could just imagine if this place could ever dream beyond putting in traffic circles as the answer to mass transit issues.”

–Sandra Olivetti Martin

This Week’s Creature Feature

Maryland’s most beautiful jellyfish

Sometime when we weren’t looking, jellyfish metamorphosed from nasty pest to artist’s muse. Earlier this year, when the stinging nettles were in full Bay bloom, we wrote about how Denise Breitburg, marine biologist at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center in Edgewater, has made a mark in the world of pottery by adorning platters, bowls and vases with the undulant forms of jellies.

Now jellies have won an honorable mention for Southern Maryland photographer Beverly Wyckoff Jackson, who’s made an art of photographing the nettlesome wraiths in Breitburg’s tanks. Her Patuxent River jellyfish was one of 24 photos selected from 1,500 entered in the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Photo Competition. Three hundred photographers from throughout the state competed for recognition and a place in the 2010 Natural Resources’ calendar.

“In Southern Maryland, we do have the best jellyfish,” said Jackson.

–Sandra Olivetti Martin

Get Rid of Your Household Hazardous Waste — the Right Way

Nov. 14 is your next chance to clean out — in both Anne Arundel and Calvert

If you live in Calvert County, getting rid of that old can of house paint or almost-empty jug of swimming pool chemicals is no longer as easy as going to your local collection site.

Under new regulations effective this month, you can no longer dispose of your household hazardous waste — this means anything labeled Danger, Poison or with other similarly horrific warnings — during your normal dump run. Now you’ll have to hold on to everything, safely stored at home, until one of four designated collection days.

The Mt. Hope Customer Convenience Center will accept hazardous waste on one Saturday in March and one in September; the Appeal landfill on one Saturday in November and one in June. The first household hazardous waste collection day under the new plan is November 14 between 8am and 2pm — rain or shine — at the Appeal Municipal Landfill.

These designated dumping days are open only to Calvert County residents, not businesses, and you will be asked to show proof of residency.

Part of the plan is to help people reduce the amount of these chemicals they buy at a time.

“We’d like our residents to purchase just what they need so they don’t have to deal with storage and disposal issues at home,” said spokeswoman Danita Boonchaisri. “By providing a set place and time for residents to dispose of these materials, we’re creating a better way to manage the chemicals in our community and ensure they can be disposed of properly without harming the environment.”

A licensed waste disposal contractor will collect the household hazardous waste from these two sites and will dispose of it in compliance with state and federal requirements.

Local convenience centers will still accept used motor oil and oil filters, antifreeze, batteries and some types of light bulbs. For a full listing of materials still accepted daily at your neighborhood dump site: www.co.cal.md.us or call the Calvert County Department of Public Works at 410-326-0210.

Calvert’s new designated-day plan follows the pattern of Anne Arundel County, which accepts household hazardous waste on eight days a year. The next is November 14 between 8am and 2pm at the Millersville Landfill.

–Margaret Tearman


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