Dock of the Bay

Volume VI Number 5
February 5-11, 1998


  • Sauerbrey's Song: Don't Bomb Farmers in War on Pfiesteria
  • Greening of Gray? "Critical Areas Must Be Protected"
  • Roadside Attraction: Bumpy Road for Rooneymobile
  • Get Ready for the Rockfish
  • Act III of Annapolis Symphony Orchestra's Conductor Search
  • Grants Bazaar: Get $$ For Green Ideas
  • Way Downstream

  • Sauerbrey's Song: Don't Bomb Farmers in War on Pfiesteria

    Ellen Sauerbrey's potent message about limited government and lower taxes attracts many people to her quest to become governor of Maryland.

    In a well-attended speech last week at the Elk's Club in Deale, Sauerbrey laid out another marker: Study the Pfiesteria problem more before taking decisive action.

    "Before the government starts pointing the finger and saying we're going to put the burden so heavily on the agriculture community that we may destroy agriculture on the Eastern Shore and on the Western Shore and turn it into Appalachia ... let's at least make sure we know what's causing the problem," she said.

    Sauerbrey's words clearly separate her from Gov. Parris Glendening, whom she expects to be taking on in November for a second time. Glendening's latest proposal calls for state aid to help farmers draw up nutrient management plans by 2000. The plans would be enforceable in 2002.

    Glendening's middle-of-the-road plan has farmers fuming and some environmental advocates complaining that he ducked the critical issue of forcing the poultry companies to begin taking responsibility for the manure generated on contracted farms.

    In Deale, Sauerbrey closed her speech by focusing for several minutes on Pfiesteria and making it clear that she thinks Glendening is going down the wrong road.

    "Obviously, the Pfiesteria outbreak had to be dealt with as a public safety issue. But I hope we don't see a rush to judgment. There is no scientific evidence about what is causing the outbreak," she said.

    Sauerbrey asserted that too much attention is being focused on chicken farmers and not enough on the use of sewage plant sludge or monitoring sewage treatment plants. She also contended that she hears little about another potential cause: high levels of insecticides found in the Pocomoke River.

    In an interview later, Sauerbrey acknowledged that she opposes the plan Glendening has offered to the General Assembly. "If we do some of these things, we're going to drive farmers out of Maryland," she said.

    With successful organizing by Claire Mallicote and catering by Barbara Sturgell of Happy Harbor, the Republican dinner drew over 225 people. Master of ceremonies Paul McHenry criticized the news media for "their portrayal of Sauerbrey as rigid and inflexible."

    "The idea that she is some kind of dogmatic, iron lady, that she is some kind of ideologue, is just not right," said McHenry, a longtime conservative activist.

    Afterward, Deale charterboat Capt. George Prenant offered his views to Sauerbrey on fixing the Pfiesteria problem. Prenant, who operates Stormy Petrel, said the problem demands swift solutions that could lay in the kind of entrepreneurial ideas that Sauerbrey champions. He suggested coordinating removal of the chicken manure by trucks to other states where it would be valued as fertilizer.

    "We don't have four or five years to wait for solutions," said Prenant, noting the damage to the fishing industry from publicity about Pfiesteria.


    Greening of Gary? "Critical Areas Must Be Protected"

    Rightly or wrongly, Anne Arundel County Executive John Gary has the reputation of being weak on Chesapeake Bay issues and cozy with developers.

    But with a primary challenge from council member Diane Evans looming, Gary is looking to beef up his environmental credentials.

    He took steps in that direction last week by forming an alliance called the Critical Area Partnership and declaring that enforcement of the county's critical area program would be stepped up.

    "People who know and choose to ignore the law will be fined," Gary said in a statement.

    The new partnership, Gary said, "is to help us all - the government, Realtors, builders, landscapers and property owners - to be more responsible toward the Bay."

    Workshops sponsored by the partnership will teach waterfront dwellers how to maintain wooded buffers at water's edge while landscaping. And new waterfront property owners will receive what Gary is calling a welcome package that outlines their responsibilities.

    The package will include a list of landscape contractors and nurseries that have completed a training program in environmental protection. The county will remove names of contractors found to be "chronic violators."


    Roadside Attraction: Bumpy Road for Rooneymobile

    There it sits again, that Winnebago with the name "Rooney" across its backside. One day in Anne Arundel, the next in Calvert. Poor guy's broken down, maybe even homeless.

    When they see the "Rooneymobile," people think different things.

    Del. George Owing sees somebody who wants his job. That's not the reason he called the sheriff, Owings insists.

    "This is not political," Owings said, when asked his view of the Rooneymobile. He acknowledged telephoning Calvert County Sheriff Vonzell Ward.

    "I didn't say anything until it became a hazard to the public," said Owings.

    When Owings made his call, the Winnebago was obstructing traffic at the intersection of Mt. Harmony Lane and Skinner's Turn Road, he contended. "I told the sheriff I don't care where he parks it until it causes a problem," Owings said.

    The Winnebago is owned by Joe Rooney, of Tracey's Landing, a likely candidate for the Republican nomination to the General Assembly district held by Owings, who serves as majority whip in the House of Delegates.

    Rooney is accustomed to speedier craft: he's a Delta Airlines flyer and former Marine fighter pilot married to Beth Hubert, the Navy's first woman test pilot. Instead of an F-18 Hornet, Rooney hopes to ride a seen-its-better-days, '77 Winnebago to Annapolis.

    He admits deploying the Winnebago as a moving billboard strategically throughout the sprawling district (27B). For a few days it will sit near Routes. 2 and 258 in Anne Arundel and then move into Calvert. Last week, it was positioned at Wayson's Corner on Rt. 4 near the Patuxent River in the westernmost stretch of the district.

    "I figure that almost everybody who votes works either in Annapolis, Prince Frederick or Washington," Rooney said. "You can't believe how many people see the thing."

    Twice recently, Rooney received telephone calls from police suggesting that the Rooneymobile ought to move along, he said.

    Informed that Owings had complained, Rooney replied: "That's interesting If the county sheriff and the state police are calling, I thought something must be going on."

    Rooney said that he is careful not to pose an impediment to traffic. "I have probably visited 1,000 to 1,500 homes, and I have only heard of one complainer," Rooney said.

    Rather than Owings, Rooney's principle critic appears to be Bob Anderson, of Huntingtown, who has telephoned Owings, Sheriff Ward and state police barracks about the Rooneymobile. Anderson said he was told by authorities that people have 12 hours to remove disabled vehicles

    "I know that police have better things to do than move junk off the road. What if everybody running for office did this? We'd have vehicles parked end to end on our roads," Anderson said.

    Anderson, 64, a lobbyist in several mid-Atlantic states, acknowledged that he is a registered Democrat who has contributed to Owings' campaigns. He described himself further as "a Christian conservative who probably pulled the lever for more Republicans than Democrats last time."

    Rooney said that he will be looking for private property where he can park his mobile billboard. First, he'll be asking permission. Property rights is part of a Rooney political platform that could be characterized as mainstream Republicanism with conservative attitudes toward abortion and the role of government.

    Winnebagos are not part of his platform. "This is my goofy idea on how to get introduced to the area," he said.


    Get Ready for the Rockfish

    Word of DNR's proposed easing of rockfish regulations for '97 reminds us the season for rockfish is less than three months away. Are we prepared to take advantage of more liberal restrictions and more fish?

    For those who aren't satisfied with their catches in the past, Tri-State Marine plans an all-day, 9 to 3, Fishing seminar March 3 at its Deale facility featuring a program aimed at less experienced anglers. Instructors will be Richie Gaines, an experienced light tackle guide/captain, and Bill Burton, New Bay Times' outdoor columnists and veteran Chesapeake fisherman.

    Veterans on the fishing seminar circuit, they will cover everything from perch, spot and hardheads to rockfish, blues and flounder, even a non-technical look at electronic fish-finders in the hunt for a catch.

    The fee is $39, but spouses and children under 16 can sign up for half price and lunch is included. Call Ron Young at Tri-State at 301/261-5220.

    As for those relaxed regulations, they call for a spring season from April 24 through June 14 with one fish a day allowed of 28-inch minimum. The early summer season runs from June 15 through July 12, with two fish a day allowed of a minimum of 18 inches. In a third season, from Aug. 15 to Nov. 30, again allowed are two a day of 18 inch minimum. Other than reduced length limits, we get about two additional weeks of angling, so be prepared.


    Act III of Annapolis Symphony Orchestra's Conductor Search

    With the new year comes another act in the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra search for a permanent conductor. On February 6 and 7, the limelight will fall on Leslie B. Dunner, who is both resident conductor of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and music director of Symphony Nova Scotia in Halifax. Symphony conductors are often itinerants, working with more than one orchestra and coming to town to direct each new performance.

    Dunner is acclaimed as a fast-rising American conductor; one of his concerts was praised in the Cincinnati Enquirer as "one of the most exciting performances of the year."

    Dunner is a man excited as well as exciting. Early in his life, he was introduced to art, to science, to drama and to life itself - and he took on all with great vitality. The Museum of Modern Art in New York City has, for the last 50 years, featured a children's exhibit and one of Dunner's youthful art works made that show. He took up dancing, as well, first African dancing and later ballet.

    He began studying clarinet in his teens and - though his talent in science was also significant - made the decision to attend New York's prestigious High School of Music and Performing Arts. His musical degrees - including a doctorate in conducting - are from the prestigious Eastman School of Music and the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music.

    Of himself the conductor says: "What comes with Leslie B. Dunner is my strengths, my weaknesses, my beliefs and convictions. No more, no less."

    No more, no less, but definitely a great deal. He has conducted opera and ballet all over the world, from South Africa to Russia. His favorite composers are Mozart, Brahms and Stravinsky, but many of his concerts include classical contribution by African Americans - composers and performers - to our cultural history.

    Dunner's first rehearsal with the Annapolis musicians began on a congenial note. There was light-hearted laughter as he guided the players through the music of "Scheherazade," with his good-natured - and humorous - characterizations of the music. Asking for more fortitude from the brass section in one entrances, he chided them, "They'll never believe you're king!"

    Rimsky-Korsakov's "Scheherazade" is the story of the Persian sultan who had ordered each of his wives put to death after their wedding night. But he was so charmed by Scheherazade's captivating tales, told night after night, that she finally won his love. In the beginning, we hear the orchestra resound the gruff voice of the sultan, followed by a solo violin as the voice of Scheherazade, as she begins her stories of Sinbad the Sailor on the high seas, of magicians in the Middle East, of festivals in Baghdad. In the last movement, during the ferocious music of a storm, a huge timpani crash announces the wreck of Sinbad's ship upon a rock. Then the music returns to the Sultan, happily ready to live ever after with his entrancing spinner of tales.

    Also on the program this weekend is an original composition by Dunner, "Fountain Fanfares," which begins the concert. Then, drawing on Dunner's experience in conducting opera, comes a presentation of operatic excerpts featuring the dynamic soprano, Kishna Davis, a native of nearby Columbia, Md. A graduate of the Juilliard School of Music, Davis is a member of the Juilliard Opera Center. Critics raved when she appeared as Musetta in Puccini's La Boheme; her program this weekend will include an aria from this opera.

    You can hear all this at concerts on both Fri., Feb. 6 and Sat. Feb. 7 at 8pm at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts in Annapolis. Tickets range from $20 to $27; student tickets are offered for the Friday evening concert only for just $7. Make your reservations in advance at 410/263-0907.

    -Barbara Miller

    Grants Bazaar: Get $$ For Green Ideas

    They've got the money, honey, if you've got the time - to draw up environmental friendly proposals.

    The Chesapeake Bay Program and Boat/U.S. Clean Water Trust each announced programs that give grants to community organizations for Bay-saving ideas.

    The Bay Program's Small Watershed Grants program will award sums of money ranging from $2,000 to $40,000 for a variety of projects that range from protecting fish habitat to restoring forest buffers. Applications are due April 1.

    Meanwhile, the Boat/U.S. Trust is awarding grants of up to $2,000 for projects that support environmentally sound boating and fishing. Applications are due July 1.

    For information on the Bay Program's grants, call 410/377-6270 or go the Web at www. Boat/U.S. information can be obtained at 703/823-9550 or on the Web at


    Way Downstream

    Across the Bay in Cambridge, folks should be celebrating a proposal by the Bureau of Land Management this week to spend $1.5 million at the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge to protect an additional 2,000 acres of land threatened by timber clearing and farm run-off. The spending is important for another reason: With few national parks, Maryland gets short-shrift when the government passes out hundreds of millions of dollars each year for land acquisition and park maintenance

    Near Chincoteague, the Virginia Marine Resources Commission approved a one-year moratorium last week on clam dredging on 9,000 acres north of Chincoteague Bay. The commission said it acted to protect aquatic vegetation where fish and crabs breed

    In Tennessee, entertainer Cher soon won't be welcome at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. She's about to produce a television movie about a whistleblower there who came down with mysterious ailments linked to unsafe working conditions

    Hollywood offers a second environmental story this week: A federal judge has ordered work halted on the new DreamWorks SKG studio after environmental advocates argued it threatened the peregrine falcon and other endangered species ...

    Our Creature Feature comes to us from Georgia, where the lowly green tree frog is about to join a select club that includes the Vidalia onion. Last week, a group of state legislators introduced a bill to make the green tree frog Georgia's state amphibian. You guessed it: The Vidalia onion is the state vegetable.

    Legislators had public service in mind, too: correcting "the false impression that amphibians and reptiles are one and the same."

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    VolumeVI Number 5
    February 5-11, 1998
    New Bay Times

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