Dock of the Bay

Volume VI Number 40
October 8-14, 1998


  • The Governor Speaks: Finally, Franklin Point's in the Bag
  • Fill 'er Up with CNG
  • Black Bay Watermen: 'Saved' by Leggett
  • Women Get Kicks Boxing
  • Way Downstream ...

  • The Governor Speaks: Finally, Franklin Point's in the BagGov. Glendening and Sandra Martin

    photo by Betsy KehneGov. Glendening with NBT managing editor Sandra Martin.

    Gov. Parris Glendening has made it official: The state of Maryland will join in purchasing 477 acres of Bayfront land on the Shady Side Peninsula, thereby removing the last major hurdle to preserving the sensitive tract.

    "I will absolutely guarantee you that we're going to buy that property," Glendening asserted, speaking during an interview this week in the offices of New Bay Times.

    His words marked the governor's first public commitment to the project since Anne Arundel County Executive John Gary agreed last spring to provide up to $3 million as the county's share in the purchase. Glendening said that he plans to make a formal declaration of the state's intention when an appraisal of the land is completed in coming days.

    But the governor left little doubt the state will join the project, which means contributing half of its roughly $6-million price. He vowed to complete the purchase before his first term ends in January.

    "That acquisition will take place. It will take place," the governor said, repeating himself for emphasis.

    The governor's words are sweet news to Shady Side residents-turned-activists who waged a long and often rancorous crusade to block development on the acreage, known locally as Franklin Point.

    Developers, led by Washington businessman Dominic Antonelli had worked for a decade to convert the land to housing, most recently a 152-home subdivision.

    "You'd think I'd be jumping through the roof now but it really hasn't sunk in that this is happening," said Michael Shay, a leader in Southern Anne Arundel Citizens for Responsible Development, SACReD. Shay, of Churchton, said that thanks also is due Gary and Antonelli for agreeing to the arrangement.

    Joseph Browder, an environmental consultant from Fairhaven who has worked behind the scenes to negotiate the arrangement, said the governor's words were welcome news that was a long time coming. "Everyone is going to be so happy when this actually happens, and the governor wouldn't say what he said if it wasn't going to happen," noted Browder.

    A string of roadblocks thrown up by outraged people in the community helped persuade Antonelli to sell rather than pursue development. No long-range plan for using the land has been drawn, but it is likely to be used primarily as a park. Gary, who has given the preservation project a big boost, has said that he would like to see part of the acreage converted into baseball diamonds.

    But there is likely to be a strong effort to keep the brunt of the acreage and its marshlands in pristine shape.

    Glendening said he considered the purchase a wise investment.

    "You're not going to get a tract this large, this sensitive, very often," he said during his hour-long visit to New Bay Times.

    The governor said that preparations for purchase have taken longer than he'd hoped because he wants to avoid criticism that he is doing developers a favor. "If we did anything in the acquisition that wasn't 100 percent according to the books, there would be people who would immediately yell 'look, he bought a piece of property from someone he's known for 25 years."

    In committing to the purchase, Glendening enhances a record of land preservation that includes the $25 million purchase of Chapman's Landing in Southern Maryland along with other threatened acreage in Howard County and in Western Maryland.

    In the New Bay Times interview, the governor noted those achievements as part of an environmental record that he said contrasts sharply with the record of his Republican challenger, Ellen Sauerbrey.

    Glendening asserted: "I think [the Chesapeake Bay] would deteriorate, I really do. She voted against Critical Areas, against clean water. You could go down the line, one thing after another. So if that's her orientation, what's she going to do in the future?"

    Regarding the Franklin Point purchase, the governor said: We have the resources to do this now because of the surplus that has been built up. Now's the time to buy it. We're paying cash. We won't have any interest charges or anything like that."

    Glendening said that he has been guided in his land purchases over the years by advice from Louis Goldstein, Maryland's long-time comptroller who died in July. "Louie used to say, 'the good Lord isn't making any more land'," Glendening said.

    Editor's note: Keep reading NBT for the entire interview, in which Glendening speaks candidly about his political troubles and his worries about the future of Chesapeake Bay.


    Fill 'er Up with CNGCNG trolley, the Louis L. Goldstein

    photo by Mark BurnsAnnapolis' new, environmentally friendly CNG trolley, the Louis L. Goldstein.

    Ditch your smog machine for a clean car.

    Such was the theme of last Thursday's ceremony on Annapolis' City Dock. School kids, citizens and bureaucrats joined in trumpeting the cause of non-polluting commuting against a backdrop of the latest alternative fuel vehicles, called AFVs for short.

    The point was to prove that alternative fuel vehicles are not only here but also on the roads and in a few driveways - perhaps, eventually, yours.

    The idea of moving commuters in non-polluters has taken hold in Annapolis, illustrated by the new, environmentally friendly trolley introduced that day. Converted to run on compressed natural gas, or CNG, the Louis L. Goldstein can start taking travellers through city streets now that it has a place to fuel up: a newly installed fuel maker, donated by Baltimore Gas and Electric, at the Maryland Energy Administration offices on Calvert Street.

    To honor the city's progress, state and federal officials laid kind words on Mayor Dean Johnson, praising Annapolis as a role model in the U.S. Department of Energy's Clean Cities Program, a national effort to erase air pollution. Certificates and citations changed hands before Johnson got the prize that counts: an oversized $150,000 check from the Maryland Energy Administration to help fund the construction of a new public CNG refueling site in Annapolis.

    "Our goal is to cover the whole state with CNG stations," said Dale Baxter, assistant director of the Maryland Energy Administration. Already, CNG stations are open throughout the D.C.-Baltimore region. They're a small step, one of many, in cutting down traffic emissions. Noxious fumes from our cars and trucks and buses are Maryland's leading cause of air pollution - which causes acid rain - which in turn pollutes the Bay.

    photos by Mark BurnsDale Baxter, of the Maryland Energy Administration, looks to cover the state with fueling sites for CNG vehicles.Dale Baxter

    So why is natural gas the alternative of choice? What about ethanol? Methanol? Soy diesel? Electric?

    "We're going with the flow," answers Baxter. "The fuel providers for compressed natural gas are more aggressive. Electrical is getting stronger, but we have to go with the more aggressive one."

    The corporate power behind the push is Baltimore Gas and Electric. "We're still five years off for practical electric cars," said Larry Mattivi of the utility. "Compressed natural gas vehicles are the AFVs of today; electrics are the alternatives of tomorrow." Natural gas and bi-fuel (both CNG and gasoline capable) vehicles prove more affordable and convenient than the still-prototypical electrics.

    To get the bi-fuel package on a new car costs you roughly from $3,000 to $4,000 extra. That big jump can be offset by state tax credits ranging from $800 to $2,000 and federal tax deductions ranging from $2,000 to $5,000 depending on your car or truck's weight class.

    Electric cars break the bank, costing between $40,000 and $50,000. Though these do get a tax credit - $1,600 state credit and $4,000 federal deduction - the refueling support isn't yet there to sweeten electric motoring.

    Five hundred to 600 CNG-powered vehicles are running across Maryland. Most are part of corporate or government fleets where the 90-cent-per-gallon fuel price most affects the bottom line. But there are also citizen AFV owners. One, District 33 candidate for Delegate Gayle Powell, wrote of her experience in NBT last week. She joined her bi-fuel Ford Contour with the menagerie at City Dock, saying, "I love it. It's great."

    According to Baxter, she is not alone in her fondness. Though few own a car of tomorrow, many still like to love them for their potential. As Baxter notes, "people realize we have to do something to protect the environment."

    Learn more at U.S. Department of Energy's websites:

    · Clean Cities Program:

    · Office of Transportation Technologies:

    -Mark Burns

    Black Bay Watermen: 'Saved' by Leggett

    photo by M.L. FaunceTraveling historian Vincent Leggett.Vincent Leggett

    Vincent Leggett doesn't let any moss grow under his feet. Which is quite a knack for someone covering as much watery territory as he has over the last decade or so researching African Americans who work and live on the Chesapeake Bay.

    Interacting with school groups and presenting his traveling exhibit, "Blacks of the Chesapeake," Leggett has been a one-man road show documenting and commemorating contributions of African American watermen who live and work in Bay country.

    At a recent lecture in Annapolis at Maryland Department of Natural Resource's Information Resource Center (opened this spring to give citizens access to the agency), Leggett unveiled his latest project, the draft of a book titled Black Watermen: Saved by Grace.

    The publication focuses on the Shady Side/Galesville area in southern Anne Arundel County, an area Leggett (and others) says has always had good interracial relations. When repeating that comment recently, Leggett said a black waterman remarked, "now, wouldn't you throw a rope to a drowning man?" Black Americans who worked on the water - "just plain workers who went about their business - were raised sensitively," Leggett says.

    The inspiration for the title came from a boat named Amazing Grace, after a song black waterman know well. Life on the water is hard and dangerous, and grace always welcome.

    Underscoring that point, George Crowner of Galesville once told Leggett that three of his uncles died when Hurricane Agnes hit in 1972. Crowner said he and other family members had to go right back out on the water and raise money for the funeral.

    The business of course, was tonging for oysters, crabbing, clamming, packing, operating dredge boats, piloting skipjacks, making sails, building boats, processing seafood and fishing pound nets. Joshua Tuttle Hallock, Leggett notes, was the first black man to set out a pound net in Southern Anne Arundel County, in 1830. And he mentions many of the names in the region for more than a century: Crowner, Denis, Gross, Matthews, Nick, Scott, Holland and others.

    For now, Leggett is busy looking for corporate, local business and government sponsors to publish Blacks of the Chesapeake: Saved by Grace.

    In the meantime, the author might want to fill out the narrative of his book with the watermen's own words. That would be a strong addition to a book full of photos - taken by Leggett himself - of friendly people with warm smiles. Those voices would make this one graceful, amazing story.

    See the Blacks of the Chesapeake traveling exhibit during the United States Boat Show at the Seafarers Yacht Club at 602 3rd St. in Eastport. There's more good reason to stop in, for the African American Seafarers Yacht Club is this year's hospitality location for both boat shows. Between noon and 8pm boat show days, all are invited to stop by for refreshment and nautical talk.

    View Vincent Leggett's work in progress any day on at the Information Resource Center webpage:

    -M. L. Faunce

    Women Get Kicks Boxingkickboxing practice

    photos Mark BurnsSherry Wyatt and Laura Shanahan practice punches, above. At left, an Executive Kickboxing class works out at Merritt Athletic Club.

    Burglar alarms, blinding sprays and pitbulls are not enough. Somewhere in the country a woman is being raped. Now. In 60 seconds, another will be victimized. The frightening reality is that one out of every three American women will be sexually assaulted during her lifetime.

    Many women aren't settling for these statistics. Tired of wimpy June Cleaver and Carol Brady images, they think it's time to kick some butt.

    Which is why kickboxing is becoming hip among women. Homemakers, professionals and movie stars are hopping off treadmills and stairmasters and jumping out of aerobics classes to try a new kick.

    In kickboxing classes at gyms, churches and martial arts studios, women of all ages are fighting back by pumping up confidence while learning to defend themselves. Burning up to 1,200 calories a session, the kickboxing workout is as good for fitness as for self-defense.

    "I see results," says Linda Ward of Annapolis who, along with her daughter Rachel, 26, who has just passed the bar exam, has been using this fitness training for four months. "I'm stronger, firmer and more flexible."

    Like Ward, many local women are putting the big red gloves on to pack a punch.

    "I haven't felt this good in many years," says Chris Johnson, who after one year of kickboxing is 40 pounds lighter and good enough to instruct. "It's great physical conditioning and improves self-esteem."

    While kickboxing, originating in Southeast Asia, has a brutal reputation, this form involves no combat or belts. A typical workout begins with a 15 minute warm-up, then moves into shadow boxing, cardiovascular, punching and kicking techniques and flexibility exercises.

    A classroom of five to 20 students with gloves and bags, kicking and punching as if they're about to go 12 rounds with Mike Tyson, is a sweat-box. "It truly is the best workout and it's fun," says Ward, who in the past exercised in aerobics programs but now takes kickboxing at Merritt Athletic.

    "What sets us apart is that we focus on conditioning," says Master Instructor Steve Kerstetter of Executive Kickboxing at Merritt, Premier and Golds Gym, all in Annapolis. "This is not a karate class."

    Kerstetter, a third degree black belt in tae kwon do and a member of the Pro Karate League Hall of Fame and World and International Tae Kwon Do Federations, has been developing his program for two years.

    "I combine boxing and kicking techniques so students learn to condition and defend," he says.

    Curiosity is the attraction, but power keeps women kicking. "Women are curious at first and then they see what a workout it is," says Kerstetter. "Some of the women are very impressive. They're eating this up."

    With his motto, "You can rest when you're dead," Kerstetter assures you will hurt when you leave his class.

    "You definitely do not realize how uncoordinated you are until you take this class," says beginner Angela Jerrell, 24, of Severn, who joined Kerstetter's class last week. "My shoulders and legs hurt the next day, but it was good pain," she says. "It was tough, but he made it fun."

    "A woman's strength is in her legs, and when they see the power they have they really start working," says Kerstetter. The snap, round and side kicks work hard on the hips, thighs and calves.

    Jab, hook, upper-cut, right or left cross and overhand punches tone the upper body.

    Combine these blows, throw in a water-based foam punching bag such as Kerstetter uses, and June Cleaver's daughters turn into mighty fighting machines.

    The kickboxing workout is not just for buff women. "The advantage is that it's close to one on one and you work at your own pace," says Kerstetter.

    Though women are swarming the classes, it's slowly becoming popular with men.

    "You can lift weights all day and it doesn't do much for your cardiovascular," says Dick Glass, a student of Executive Kickboxing. Glass, retired from the Navy band, has dropped four inches since starting kickboxing in July of last year. "I like the aspect of in some ways getting back into martial arts."

    "It's a little like aerobics with martial arts kicks and punches," says Victor Battung of Kim's Karate, Kardio Kickboxing in Annapolis. Battung, a martial arts instructor for eight years, says anybody can do it and adds, "My youngest student is 19 and oldest are in their 50s."

    "It has become the hottest craze," says Kerstetter. "I think it will be around for a long time."

    -Darcey Dodd

    Way Downstream ...

    Virginians can't decide whether they like being one of the biggest garbage importers in the country. New legislation offered by Republican Rep. Bill Bolling is trying to clamp down. But Brunswick County, where they see cash in that trash, voted last week to let its local importer expand ...

    Following up on last week's frog report, we note it was in Liverpool that Beatle Paul McCartney says he committed a sin of his youth: killing frogs. In an interview, McCartney said that he killed many frogs to prepare himself for the military. One day he quit. "I saw the lunacy, and I apologize to all frogs," he said ...

    In Indiana, where the second of this week's frog reports originates, there's no truth to the rumor that Taco Bell is serving frog tacos. A couple failed in an odd scheme to win an insurance settlement from the fast food company when it was learned that they had stuffed a withered frog in a double-decker taco, Associated Press reports ...

    Our Creature Feature comes from Washington State, where word is that the attack of radioactive ants has been quashed.

    These red harvester ants live a dangerous life to begin with on the grounds of the Hanford Nuclear Waste Repository. They burrow down 20 feet deep in areas near waste pipes that were found to have leaked radioactive materials. If they survive, they crawl back to civilization and do what ants do.

    According to the Portland Oregonian newspaper, pest control workers poisoned 157 of their ant hills recently and then removed them to what, as far as we know, may be the only dump site for nuclear ants on the planet.

    | Homepage |

    Volume VI Number 40
    October 8-14, 1998
    New Bay Times