Chesapeake Bay's Independent Newspaper ~ Since 1993
1629 Forest Drive, Annapolis, MD 21403 ~ 410-626-9888

Volume XVII, Issue 53 ~ December 31, 2009 - January 6, 2010

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The Best of the Year That Was

In Best of the Bay, you’ll find good news to end a hard year

Best of the Bay is the best end possible for 2009. It turns our thoughts away from all that’s gone wrong in 2009 — which we expect to go down in history as the year that introduced Americans to the value of sustainability, by slapping each and every one of us upside the head with one version or another of its opposite.

As they say, don’t get me started.

In Best of the Bay, we celebrate what’s been done right and well in 2009.

You’ve given your vote, over the months Bay Weekly’s Best of the Bay ballot ran in our pages and online, to the enterprises that sustain everyday life in Chesapeake Country at so high a standard that people pay to vacation where we get to live.

Casting your vote, tallying the ballots, writing the essays, delivering the good news to winners, putting the package together for you to read today: In every step of its construction, Best of the Bay has been a reminder of the good fortune we share as citizens of a region so well endowed by nature and sustained by visionary endeavor.

What nature gave us in Chesapeake Country is free, though sustaining it is anything but. The culture of Chesapeake Country is the result of human dreams and human labor, which are never free.

Behind each of the Bests you’ve voted are people who’ve seen a vision, pushed it from fantasy to reality and kept it in play in times so rough it seemed like the entire Baltimore Ravens defense was bearing down, intent on delivering hurt.

Sustaining the small business that is Bay Weekly has felt like that to us, so I know how wily, lucky and plucky you have to be to stay in the game. Many days, survival is the best we can hope for. In Best of the Bay, however, your cheers sound loud and clear, causing rejoicing among the folks who’ve earned them.

You gave your votes to local businesses, neighbors whose stake in Chesapeake Country and our communities is as direct and personal as your own.

The creative minds behind ArtWorks@7th in North Beach are so tickled that they’re throwing a party, on January 9, to celebrate earning your vote as Best Art Gallery.

Read about her and many of the other winners in Margaret Tearman and Diana Beechener’s victory essays. Then clap loudly and bang your drum at midnight December 31 to chase into history any lingering gremlins and demons of 2009.

Editor’s Lost and Founds

Lost to 2009 was Bill Burton, the most reliable and popular writer I ever had the great fortune to edit. His passing tore a hole in my pages as well as in my heart, and that hole is so big that no single person could fill it. No one has, or will, address us as he did in a voice so human and singular that our grief for him is as personal as if we knew him not as works inked on paper but as a friend.

I like to think that life is forever in renewal, however, and since Bill’s death, Bay Weekly’s stories have flowed fresh, sweet and strong, reassuring me in my determined optimism.

New writers have delivered stories as good as any you’ve ever read in our pages. Among my favorites are Simone Gorrindo’s Behind the Yellow Box Front and Sara Newman’s Waste Not, both enterprising stories on one of the big questions of our times: what becomes of the overflow of abundance — old clothes in Simone’s story, unsold food in our supermarkets in Sara’s.

At the same time, staff writers Diana Beechener and Margaret Tearman are stretching so high and scoring so often that I think Burton’s ghost must be goading them on.

The Editor Is In

Perhaps 2010 is the year I’ll find the storyteller in you. The editor will be in to meet aspiring Bay Weekly writers every Thursday in January from 4 to 6pm. Call early for your 15-minute appointment: 410-626-9888. But don’t call till January 4, when we’re safely out of this old year and into the new.

Sandra Olivetti Martin

editor and publisher; editor@bayweekly.com

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from the Editor