1998 in Review

Our People:We Introduced You to the Powerful

Maryland Senate President Thomas V. "Mike" Miller, on Jan. 15:

"I was most fortunate as being the oldest of 10 children. I had to make sure that the children got along. Then, to avoid the confusion, my mother sent me to work at age 10 with my father in our grocery store, a rural country grocery in Southern Maryland. That's where I really got my training. I had the philosophy that you serve your customer; the customer is always right "

Maryland's First Lady Frances Glendening, who spoke with extraordinary openness about her influences, family, career - and her daily juggling act:

"Some days when things seem a little overwhelming, when things happen in my family, I remember my mother. She was so courageous. When my father died. With her own illness: she fought bone-marrow cancer for seven years. With my brother's death: my brother died six months before my mother.

I watched her courage as she tried to handle insurmountable heartbreak, physical pain and, of course, the emotional pain. She would still say to me, 'Promise me you're going to give yourself a little bit of time'"


As Election Day closed in, you met the candidates in some of Chesapeake Country's biggest races.

Maryland Gov. Parris N. Glendening visited our offices to plead his cause and explain why he was fighting for his political life.

We've forcefully taken on a number of special interests. In every session, we've been involved in these huge battles. In the very first session, the tobacco lobby. The next year, we took the National Rifle Association on. Then we took on excessive developers in the whole Smart Growth issue and got into a battle there. Last year, we took on polluters in terms of the effort to protect against nutrient and animal waste run-off in the water.

Every time, we have taken on a huge group, and while your friends forget, your enemies stay with you


In our pages, John Gary and Janet Owens each explained why they should be elected Anne Arundel county executive.

Janet Owens - who would, of course, walk away with the prize - promised a different and more open style of government:

I think one of the things that has alienated so many of the citizens is that they don't have a voice. Ensuring citizen participation in the sense that government is open to influence - not development interests, to everybody - would be a major priority.


Writers, Photographers, Artists & Musicians

David Simon, the Man Behind Homicide:

Baltimore, and especially its harbor neighborhood of Fell's Point, have become famous to watchers of television over the past six years as the headquarters of NBC's Friday night drama, Homicide: Life in the Streets.

Simon explained to NBT readers how he got the story: "To get real true narrative, it takes time. For Homicide, it was three years of knowing the detectives: one year of following them every day, two years of staying with them"


Marion E. Warren: Chesapeake Bay's signature photographer:

A generous man, Warren spoke at length of what he's seen and offered advice of how all of us can see - and shoot - better:

The way I [make a good picture of a person or animal] is to watch the subject to where I feel the expression is natural, then look for it and shoot. The minute you start posing, it becomes a little bit less natural. That's always been my feeling

Maestro Leslie Dunner: Annapolis' New Music Man as conductor of the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra:

I want people to come not because this is where they should be but because it's the place to be. I want them to be there because they know they're going to feel something. Whether it's exciting, or whether it's going to make them feel sad, or angry or nostalgic or surprised. I just want the audience to go away and feel like they had an experience


Maryland's Poet Laureate Roland Flint:

In times of need, whether great or small, for whatever kind of inspiration, people who seem to be distant turn to poetry for common feelings captured in uncommon language


Chesapeake Country authors Rafael Alvarez (The Fountain of Highlandtown is The Baltimore Sun reporter's collection of stories), Kevin Kallaugher (KAL Draws a Crowd is The Sun political cartoonist's newest book) and Harry Connolly (Fighting Chance is his photodocumentary of kids fighting cancer) - all brought to you by Baltimore's brand-new Woodholme House Publishers

Come summer, Carol Glover introduced a pair of writing women, Lucia St. Clair Robson and Helen Chappell, and their new books:

"I always look for characters to drive my stories. The eventful, significant lives, ones you don't hear about a lot. That's why I write about women so often," said Robson, of Severna Park, introducing her latest: Fearless, A Novel of Sarah Bowman.

Helen Chappell gave us Ghost of a Chance, the third in her series of mysteries featuring Sam Wescott, the dead ex-husband and his very much alive wife Hollis Ball, a local newspaper reporter


Musician and martial artist Greg Hatza is Marylander with all the right moves. Writes Nat Knoll:

Hatza, 50, is one of the finest jazz organists in the country. Amazingly, jazz is not all that Hatza's hands and feet do well. Come Wednesday evenings, at the Cape St. Claire Clubhouse, Hatza trades his musical attire for a black gi and hot jazz for soothing Oriental music. In the front of the spacious room, he leads a class in Tai Chi


And Other Creators

In Kim Cammarata's first feature-length story, "Eden in Our Own Back Yard - New Life Flowers in Local Gardens," we met people creating new forms of life.

Listen to Charles and Wanda Hanners talk of azaleas and you remember the way new parents caress the downy head of their child. Listen to Dr. Frank Gouin talk about persimmon trees, and you hear the kind of pride you'd expect from a father whose son had hit a little league home run.

They are creators from whose hands spring varieties of plants that have never before existed on earth



Travelin' Man Tom Abercrombie, of Shady Side, who trekked the world from the Nile River to the mountains of Tibet in an improbable, 40-year career for National Geographic.

The Geographic style was essentially a first-person approach. You couldn't write about buz kashi [the Afghan horse sport] off the Internet. That's an awful nasty game. The way I got chummy with the players, who are not a real chummy bunch, was that I was photographing and a horse chewed one of these guy's ears right off. I had this hell of a first-aid kit, damn near a hospital; this huge fishing tackle box full of morphine and sharpened scalpels. So I fixed this guy's ear up and made him feel a little better


Drivin' Donnie Neuenberger, of Edgewater:

At 165 mph on the straight-aways, drivers make choices in nanoseconds that determine if they will race another day.

When he headed to Daytona, Fla., last month, Neuenberger raced to a new stage in life - one where a fast Pontiac - and ESPN 'face time' - spell success


Local Heroes

Chesapeake Country's Bernie Fowler, celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Patuxent River wade-in that's made his the most famous feet in Maryland:

For walking fully clothed into the Patuxent River, they could have called retired state senator Bernie Fowler a madman. Instead, they called him a visionary. His wade-in has gained attention far and wide as the clearest measure of the health of Chesapeake Bay


"The Her-oes of Calvert County." Carol Glover reported on women of distinction-

Women like you, your mother or daughter, your neighbor.

For 16 years now, Calvert County has decorated its heroes: women who have touched, indeed uplifted, lives around them. From those years, we chose five who started out without wealth or power to see what they themselves have achieved and emphasize possibilities for all of us: Grace Meade Rymer, Ruth Scriven Wolf, Joyce Freeland and Fran Tracy-Mumford


At Veterans Day, Don Kehne and M.L. Faunce introduced us to "The Heroes of Charlotte Hall." Standing in for all the veterans at the state-run retirement home, World War II and the Gulf War veterans Norman Allers, Betty Bennett, George Harrell, Jeff Pearce, James E. Johnson humbly shared their stories:

Allers is our introduction to the 378 residents of Charlotte Hall Veterans Home in Southern Maryland, the first of many soldiers - both old and not so old - whose stories and experiences of war I came to hear.

"See these guys?" Allers says, pointing around the room. "Every one of them is a hero."


At Thanksgiving, we met a handful of the thousands of "Chesapeake Country Volunteers [who] Find 'Thanks' Giving." Their heart-warming stories remind us that one of the holidays' best traditions is reaching beyond our own need to share our bounty.

Featured this year: Bobbie Burnett of The Caring Connection, Harold Cramer of the Auxiliary of the Anne Arundel Medical Center, Bill Franch of Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service, Thyme and Barbara Karper of Fidos for Freedom, Ruth Reid of Huntingtown Learning Center and Two of "Maryland's Most Beautiful People": Bruce Wile of Lusby and Emily Adell Hall of Annapolis.


Our favorite local hero is our own Bill Burton, our columnist and the Old Man of Chesapeake's 'Sea.'

Speaking of his long years making a living writing about his pursuit of sport, Burton advised that-

Fishing is like everything else in life. The fisherman who goes out early, stays late, fishes hard and studies his game plan is more apt to succeed.

The same goes for writing, too, said Burton.


Finally, at Christmas, we gave you one busy man, Santa Claus. In "Ho ho ho, There He Goes," Mark Burns, our youthful reporter, found that age not withstanding, Santa's a hard act to follow:

Last weekend, Claus blazed a winding path from Sotterley Plantation to Severna Park, leaving in his wake a plenitude of wide-eyed kids, delighted adults and even a few excited animals. That's how the big man spends most weekends in December, and of course he's not done yet



Living up to our mission to report on life in Chesapeake Country, editor Sandra Martin took you on "An Armchair Tour of Underwater Oddities: The Bay's Big, Bad and Ugly":

Rays are but one of a cast of characters as fantastic as any you might encounter in a Starbar. Chesapeake waters teem with feats of nature's imagination. To see them for yourself, you don't have to reach warp speed; you only have to get out on the water. When you wet your line, cast your net, launch your boat or dive right in, here's a glimpse of what you'll see. What you can see there, you may never see the likes of again


Oysters are a favorite Chesapeake country creature, so when oysters went missing in the Patuxent River, "citizen sleuths" were called in. Contributing editor Carol Glover explained how on Feb. 26 in "The Case of the Disappearing Oysters."

We turned again to oysters to celebrate our fifth birthday, introducing our Birthday Bivalve Bash on May 3 with a story reviewing The Life and Times of Chesapeake Oysters:

The very water of the Bay is purified by oysters as they feed and filter microscopic algae from the water. In the 19th century, oysters filtered the entire Bay's waters in seven days. That job takes today's oysters a whole year.

That's why our birthday gift to the Bay is to add as many dollars as we're able to oyster recovery. We're donating the money raised at our Birthday Bivalve Bash to the Oyster Recovery Partnership, a nonprofit co-venture of watermen, scientists and environmentalists.

By the way, over 500 people dug deep to contribute $6,500, which just last month seeded the Bay with a million little oysters.

Facing even greater threat is the Bay's tiny, eroding Bodkin Island and the seabirds that have made their home there, guest writer Cawnya Hawkin told us in Little Island, Little Birds, which asks -

What happens when we lose a couple hundred tiny pieces of the great Chesapeake Bay jigsaw puzzle


Also threatened are another favorite species: carousel creatures. contributing editor M.L. Faunce traced Chesapeake Country's fabulous "Carousels" from their old homes to their new while telling the story of their glory days:

Some 40 miles distant from each other, the carousels at Chesapeake Beach Park and Glen Echo Park had a special connection. Each had two carousels in its history, and both surviving carousels were created by master carver Gustaf Dentzel

As oysters and mechanized menageries decline, eagles thrive. Just how close they've come, Faunce, who lives in Churchton, reported on March 26, in "Close Encounters of an Avian Kind":

If the pair of bald eagles trying out the tallest loblolly pine tree in my Churchton neighborhood stay to set up housekeeping, our community, The Swans, might be on the verge of a name change

Also thriving are household pets: their very abundance combines with the mean streak in human nature to make a "Cold, Hard World Out There." But, as interns Darcey Dodd and Kim Cammarata reported in December, "Some Homeless Animals Find Warmth":

Soft trotting sounds circle the Cammarata's cozy colonial home. In the dining room Mike and Kim gaze like doting parents at Maddie. The eager black and brown German shepherd is adjusting nicely to her new home.

Not all animals are so lucky.


You also read about lots of pests this season. Reporter Don Kehne covered "The Pests of Summer," advising you how to avoid flying, swimming, hopping and creeping pests from fleas to sea nettles.


Chesapeake Country:

We traveled historic roads together in 1998, starting with "The Road from Slavery to Freedom" in editor Sandra Martin's "Tour of Chesapeake Roots" on Feb. 5:

Our region is as rich in - though far less known for - African American history as colonial heritage. The African American history associated with many such spots has been nearly forgotten, like bad memories. But in this decade, the potential for tourism is putting many African American landmarks on the map as well as adding new African American chapters to the stories of many old, familiar places


Another chapter of history led our pages on Mark Burns' story on World War II in Calvert County.

War came to Solomons Island with 'a sudden and terrific wallop', wrote Hulbert Footner of The Baltimore Sun. A total of 67,698 soldiers stormed Chesapeake beaches between July 3, 1942 and February 6, 1945.

For those who missed the real thing - and those who wanted to replay it - Burns offered "War Returns to Solomons":

Servicemen will storm Calvert beaches again as the U.S. Marine Corps' Historical Company deploys a full platoon


Post offices remain a center of culture in Chesapeake Country, where the economy of tobacco preferred ports over towns. But people soon will be gathering in 21st century style, as contributing editor Carol Glover recorded in "Superstores Are Replacing that Old P.O. of Mine":

Like-one room schools, our local post office buildings in Port Republic, Tracys Landing and Eastport are headed for the scrap heap or the Smithsonian Institution. Today's Postal Service is showcasing attractive, income-boosting products in standard, improved facilities with "suitable areas for employee operations" as well as overcoming rain, sleet and snow.


For more of the new, Mark Burns took us to 21st century Annapolis by way of a "Friendlier West Street." The lynchpin of this plan is Gateway Circle, where improvements are ongoing underground and above:

Since early May of this year, construction workers have been uprooting and replacing West Street's derelict water mains, sewer mains, storm mains and gas mains. The circle has already taken shape, with some of the new curbs and roadbeds already in place. Cherry Hill Construction's crews are on par to finish up the project by the December 1999 deadline

We learned that Maryland's third biggest industry runs on love as well as money from Aloysia C. Hamalainen in "Chesapeake Horse Sense":

The horse helps us not just to get somewhere but also to be something, Hamalainen wrote, describing the many ways people and horses get together hereabouts


You followed play as well as sport in our pages:

Theater reviewer Carol Glover routinely tells you what to expect from plays opening in Chesapeake Country. In "State of the Theater," Glover took us behind scenes in each of Chesapeake Country's community theaters for an unusually big picture:

A theater's season has at least one show for every audience type - comedy, mystery and thought-provoking

Movies got the same broad coverage from our movie professor "Doc" Shereikis, who (we sadly report) concludes his five-year run in our pages with this year's end. On our feature pages, you got the scoop on the "100 Best Movies of the Century," as guest writer Edward Allen Faine compared his list with the American Film Institute's.


Celebrating the Holidays

For Valentine's Day on Feb. 12, Valerie James took us "Looking for Love in All the Right Places":

While we can't guarantee true love, we can lead you to likely places where you'll find lots of like-minded singles. The next move is yours

On Earth Day, a pair of Chesapeake Country experts - sustainable agriculture researcher Aref Abdul-Baki and Cooperative Extension advisor Jon Traunfield - gave us advice on living in harmony with our home: If you want to feed the planet, there's no better place to start than in your own back yard, they explained in "Feeding the Earth."

With Memorial Day, we announced the official arrival of summer with our "21-Gun Salute to Summer on the Bay."

This, in case you needed reminding, suggested 21 ways to plunge into the wonders that await you along the beautify and beckoning Chesapeake

On the Fourth of July, we gave you, as ususal, the region's best calendar of fireworks - plus a bonus.

Mark Burns guided you through the patriotic landscape of Chesapeake Country, from city fare of big parades and lively parties into the down-home celebrations of tidewater towns, with baking contests and Main Street marches

As the weather cooled, Kim Cammarata opened "Gateways to Our Past," taking us "Antique Shopping Through Chesapeake Country."

Finally, opening the holiday season, came our annual special Local Bounty issue, combining a month of holiday celebrations with our guide to the best shopping in Chesapeake Country.


Boating life

Getting out on the water is a focus of our attention throughout the Bay's long boating season. In early spring, we helped you find a "Dream Home For Your Boat":

Call marinas a big contributor to Maryland's billion-dollar recreational boating industry, and you'd be telling the truth - but not the whole truth. Each of the boaters who berths in Anne Arundel or Calvert Counties' 190-plus marinas sees another truth.

Midsummer, editor Martin took you aboard for a short course in seamanship instructed by Chesapeake mariner Mickey Courtney, who is also editor of the authoritative chartbook, Maryland Cruising Guide:

Propelled by the power of hundreds of horses and sitting on top of a reservoir of explosive fuel, we powerboaters are the last cowboys on the range. Many of us figured that if we could drive a car, we could drive a boat. You just turn on the key and go.

We were wrong

Annapolis always has its heart in boating, and a couple of times each year it follows its heart. With the coming of the U.S. Sail and Powerboat Shows in October we joined in the spirit with a couple stories on "Dream Boats." Starting with the dream boats of real boaters, we leapt into the big time, featuring select boats from a variety of classes each week of the show:

We all have our dreams, and many of them float.



Chesapeake Country's best yarn-spinner, Helen Chappell, ended our year in Oysterback, the mythical village somewhere deep in the lost marshes of the Eastern Shore, where we heard "The Last Word in Christmas Lights":

As always, there's this little matter of Captain Hardee Swann's Christmas lights. There's this Captain Plunk Pickett over to Wingo, VA, with a whole big bunch of moving Christmas figures and holiday display cases and pre-recorded caroling music and elves, sleighs, snowmen and Santas and maybe five or six more lights than Mr. Hardee has, which makes Mr. Hardee crazy, since it is his ambition to be the King of Christmas Lights

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VolumeVI Number 51
December 23, 1998 - January 6, 1999
New Bay Times

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