Dock of the Bay

Volume VII Number 25
June 25-30, 1999


  • In Annapolis, A Weekend of Wining
  • Bay Life ~ Annapolis Artist Sally Comport
  • For Anne Arundel, a New Map to History
  • Psi Trackers, Trailer Raiders, British Shooters and a Federal Fugitive Bring Mystery to Calvert
  • Way Downstream ...

  • In Annapolis, A Weekend of Wining

    Traffic, noise and tourists can harry Annapolitans, but we all feel better after a good whine - or is it wine? Instead of crying, join the 20,000 connoisseurs at the 12th annual Mid-Atlantic Wine Festival June 25 to 27 at Anne Arundel County Fairgrounds and create a little revelry.

    It may be a wine festival, but there's something for everyone.

    Let's start with the wine. The Mid-Atlantic Wine Festival will host 22 wineries and vineyards from New York and Rhode Island through Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia, all the way down to North Carolina. Yes, even West Virginia will be represented, and it's not moonshine.

    Make sure to look for the gold, silver and bronze award winners in each of 16 categories, covering the full spectrum of wines - from fruity whites to hearty reds and every style in between. Don't miss the 1995 sparkling wine from Lamoreaux Landing Wine Cellars that won best of show.

    With wines available for sale by the glass, bottle or case, you can sample many wines throughout the weekend, then stock up and savor your favorite in the months ahead.

    There's more.

    Maybe wine isn't your cup of tea. How about a cold beer? With three Maryland breweries at the festival, wine isn't the only beverage on tap. The Wild Goose, Fordham and Frederick breweries will offer a hoppier choice.

    With so much to drink, what's to eat? There'll be a food court with various vendors, but the culinary highlight of the festival is the second annual Cooking with Wine Competition. The two-day event features a pork theme on Saturday and a seafood theme on Sunday. Area chefs will use many of the wines at the festival in their creations. Their work benefits the M.U.S.E. Foundation and Chrysalis House.

    A festival wouldn't be festive without entertainment. The Mid-Atlantic Wine Festival promises not to disappoint. WHFS has created an eclectic musical lineup of regional acts, but local favorites Doug Segree, the Dan Haas Band, Good Charlotte and Underfoot will give the show some Annapolis flavor. Three full days of music will add to the fun. Artists and craftsmen will offer up glassware, pottery, jewelry and even some new wave T-shirts.

    The fun starts Friday, June 25 at 3pm and continues until 9pm. Saturday's hours are noon to 8pm and Sunday's noon to 6pm. $16 admission includes a commemorative glass, free wine sampling and parking at the fairgrounds. Admission to the cooking competition is $8. There is a designated drivers discount to encourage responsible drinking.

    So grab some friends and head to the Mid-Atlantic Wine Festival for a weekend you might have to try to remember.

    -Christopher Heagy

    At Galesville, Another Friendly Meeting

    I have often wondered about the lives of those who have traveled before us to settle and build the places that we call home. So I was pleased to make the acquaintance of the Quakers who lived in the Galesville area over 325 years ago.

    In early June, the Ann of Arrundell Chapter of the National Society Colonial Dames 17th Century memorialized the "Site of the First Quaker Regional Gathering in Maryland Convened by George Fox in 1672" with a bronze plaque. That site is today's Quaker Burial Ground, at the intersection of Muddy Creek and Galesville Roads.Quaker burial sign

    The early Quakers left a religiously and politically turmoiled England in the 17th century for America, where they had a settling influence within the colonies, especially Maryland and Virginia. So explained Ronald E. Mattson, one of seven trustees and record clerk/treasurer of the West River Burial Ground.

    George Fox, the founder of Quakerism, refused to accept the Church of England and traveled all over Europe with his new principles of nonviolence, equality, obedience to God, simplicity and conviction of the Divine Presence within every individual. Although persecuted for his beliefs, Fox persisted, bringing his campaign to America. In 1672, he arrived in Galesville at what is now the Quaker Burial Ground. There he united the various Quaker groups in Maryland into the first organized West River Yearly Meeting of Friends (succeeded by the Baltimore Yearly Meeting in 1785).

    Mattson, who is also executive secretary of the Baltimore Monthly Meeting of Friends (Stony Run), spoke graciously about the original Quakers and the testimonies to peace that their lives became. The Quakers held such strong convictions of pacifism and respect for all life that they left Maryland and headed west to live in a land without slavery.

    The West River meeting is a beautiful plot of land filled with flowers and gravestones, although no markers exist for the original Quakers. Toward the back of the property was the West River meeting house, according to Fran Palmeri, a Quaker and trustee of the burial ground. Palmeri said that the influential Elizabeth Harris, Quaker minister to George Fox in the 17th century, could possibly be buried in Galesville as well. Harris served as a minister of Quaker conversion, especially of authority figures, in what is now Anne Arundel County.

    The gathering of friends in 1762 began a tradition of meeting that, along with Quaker principles, continues today. Standing where they stood, I felt enchanted by the history beneath my feet and appreciative of the efforts of the Ann of Arrundell Chapter to preserve the site. I left feeling honored to have been a part of more history in the making in Galesville.

    -Kristin Hagert

    Bay Life ~ Annapolis Artist Sally Comport

    "You don't choose the easy way out when you have a family and a career that is meaningful and takes so much of your time."

    Illustrator Sally Wern Comport of Annapolis - whose book Brave Margaret is featured in this week's "Not Just for Kids" - never takes the easy way out.

    As a child, she felt art course through her veins. Every weekend, she went to work with her father, an advertising artist in Ohio.

    At 14, Comport became an artist in her own right. She never lost sight of this dream.

    "Physically you are limited in sports. You're limited by voice and age in other fields. Art you can keep getting smarter about. You don't ever have to get tired at it," says Comport.

    Her love of art first led her to the Columbus College of Art and Design, where Comport earned a bachelor of fine arts and married Allan.

    The two Midwesterners ventured to Denver to "be exploratory and pioneering."Sally Comport

    At the time, Denver was growing at a fast pace and attracted younger crowds. For eight years, snow-capped mountains inspired Comport's creations.

    But raising children filled their minds. Both of their families spent a great deal of time in Florida, so the Comports made the move east and south.

    After 11 years and two daughters, Taylor and Olivia, they set out for Annapolis. This time, Comport said they chose with their hearts.

    "We think Annapolis is paradise. It has snow and rain. There's a sailing season that we had to get our hands on. We just kept gravitating toward this area when we were shopping around for some place to live," Comport says.

    Annapolis has done wonders for the family.

    "It's about being on the water. It's the one thing we didn't like about Colorado. There's something about the aesthetic of this area. It's in my pallets and in the way I draw," Comport says, thinking of the influence Annapolis has on her art.

    Even the family feels a difference.

    Now 12, Taylor is thriving in Maryland because of the support system at Central Special School in Edgewater. Olivia, 7, spent her school year at Chesapeake Montessori.

    Olivia's latest claim to fame is the dedication in her mother's new project, children's story Brave Margaret.

    "When I got the story, I said I've got to do this for her. It's not a real lucrative job, doing a children's book. But in terms of the legacy for my kids, I think it's invaluable," Comport says.

    When Comport read the story, she knew it was for her. Brave Margaret is not a traditional fairy tale of boy meets girl; boy saves girl; boy gets girl.

    Margaret sets out on an adventure, battling a sea serpent and escaping a sorceress to rescue her true love from a vicious giant.

    Girl saves boy?

    "Margaret was such a heroine. Margaret doesn't wait around to be rescued. Instead of being a victim of this sorceress, she's going to go out and do something about it. It's a great message for a young child to not wait around for the rescue but to find ways in which you play a part in your situation."

    Comport is always searching for ways to improve her art by seeking out challenges, looking for new motivation. There is always room to get better, she says.

    A smile came to her face as she thought of her most memorable and challenging experience. Comport found herself without direction and guidelines, facing a chance to explore free art.

    Howard Merrill, an advertising agency in North Carolina, hired Comport to create three pieces of large art for the lobby walls. She needed to connect with the feeling of the business. Words typically inspired her commissions, but this time they weren't written on paper for her. She found the words for herself by seeking out and listening to the people who made up the company.

    Now, Comport continues to push herself. As she begins an illustration masters program at Syracuse University, her future seems limitless.

    Comport's dreams are still coming true: "I always said I was an illustrator. I guess now that I've been doing it for so long, I can say I really am an artist. I hope people don't stop looking at pictures because I love drawing them."

    -Mary Catherine Ball


    For Anne Arundel, a New Map to History

    By the Fourth of July, you'll be able to journey to the past in Annapolis and throughout Anne Arundel County a lot more readily than ever before. What's new is not a time machine but a map to help you plan your course. The map, folded into an attractive brochure that lists historic sites and roadside markers, will help you choose destinations or guide you to unfamiliar places.Anne Arundel map

    "Nothing like this has been done here before," says Susan Savage-Stevens, of Shady Side Rural Heritage Society, because "no one has any real oversight over the total picture of historic places." The map was Savage-Stevens' brainchild.

    The total picture presented on the map and brochure Journey to Our Past is a work of art as well as a complete inventory of the historic sites, mansions and museums of the county. The map is designed by Helen Arguello of Annapolis. Crisp blue text on a cream background is reader-friendly. Graphics are symbols of a county that has been shaped by the land and the Chesapeake Bay: a skipjack, Thomas Point Light, a farmer behind his plow.

    Historic sites and roadside markers, numbered on the map and described in the brochure, are keyed by specific interest: Civil War, industry, railroad, military, African American and Native American. Museum hours, charges, phone numbers and features are listed for one-stop shopping, a convenience that smaller museums hope will help move visitors from Annapolis to their doorsteps.

    Savage-Stevens conceived of the idea last fall while working on a deadline for her doctorate. She had seen a map produced in Queen Anne County and remembered the several years of work Greg Johnson and Dana Flanders of Annapolis had put into researching and documenting roadside markers in Anne Arundel County for a possible book.

    When Savage-Stevens found time to return to her idea, it was well into the new year. Preservation Maryland, who she phoned about possible funding, was, she recalls, "excited about the project" - if it could be in their hands in five days.

    Undaunted, the sudden project director applied and was rewarded with a $2,000 start-up grant from Preservation Maryland. She then set out to research all the museum sites in the county. Her work is so complete that it includes a small family museum of yacht-building history in Galesville.

    Graphic artist Ruthie Thompson, another board member of the Shady Side Rural Heritage Society, joined the effort. Savage-Stevens, a tall, elegant redhead, and Thompson - a diminutive fireball some remember best for shocking watermen lined up at Annapolis' Ego Alley by her docking skills with her 45-foot oyster workboat - are the ultimate dynamic duo. The team worked furiously and famously to produce a result they "hope will make people aware, increase their education and help preserve historic sites in Anne Arundel County."

    Thompson, who is used to deadlines, too, lost sleep but not her momentum as she pieced together the brochure and map. Laboring over the intricacies of graphic balance and design, Thompson put her all into coming up with the map's border, repeated in the brochure, combining clip art software and motifs of 17th and 18th century design.

    Journey to our Past complements the popular Passport to History issued earlier this year to highlight the 350th anniversary of the county's first European settlement, called Providence, and the rich history of the county that surrounds and embraces Annapolis. Jeff Holland, director of Celebrate 350, calls the two "a happy union" and gave permission for the passport's artwork of historic buildings to be repeated for the map.

    Money was the only element that lagged. Anne Arundel County Historic Trust added a $1,000 grant. Then, 18 museum friends chipped in $100 each to pay the printer so the map could be distributed to all 38 museums and three Annapolis visitors' centers plus the delegation's legislative offices by July Fourth. The first run - expected to be 15,000 copies - jumped to 30,000 when Anne Arundel County Delegates Dick D'Amato, Virginia Clagett and Michael Busch got a sneak preview of the map at the Captain Salem Avery Museum in Shady Side. Together, they personally pledged $1,000, promising to help raise more for a second printing.

    "For the first time, this map puts all of us - the grand architectural properties of Annapolis and the smaller, lesser known museums and sites - on the same playing field," says Savage-Stevens, who was recently installed as co-president of the Shady Side Rural Heritage Society, which operates Captain Salem Avery Museum in Shady Side. Thompson adds that it will "allow people to plan an afternoon or a day" and will bring visitors to the southern part of the county. Both are "proud that this is a South County product."

    But the brochure that may help put Southern Anne Arundel County on the map historically will also show the way to the wealth of history countywide: 25 State Historic Roadside Markers thoroughly researched, 38 historic sites accurately detailed and a map lovingly produced and assembled by a dynamic duo who hope to see a few more visitors come their way this summer.

    -M.L. Faunce

    Psi Trackers, Trailer Raiders, British Shooters and a Federal Fugitive Bring Mystery to Calvert

    photo by Mark Burns Darla Robinson and Lynn Sprinkle, actresses playing clairvoyants who use ESP to track down a federal fugitive, wait for filming with Dale Graff, who headed a real-life group of such trackers and who plays himself in an upcoming episode of the BBC program, Mystery!

    Shafts of light shine through an odd-shaped grid in the living room window, illuminating the Spartan scene of an antique wood table set near a stark white wall. Eerie haze spills from a black box in the hallway, fogging up the entire room. A crew of congenial Brits stalk about in the thin mist, taking light readings and positioning people's heads.

    Despite the intrusion of such phenomena in their Calvert County home, Dale and Barbara Graff are taking things in stride.

    After all, Dale Graff is the star in this brief BBC production based on his own book and being filmed in his own home.

    Today's filming is the last part of a three-day shoot for a nine- to 10-minute segment of BBC's Mystery series, based on a true story taken from Graff's book, Tracks in the Psychic Wilderness. Everyone's preparing to shoot the remote viewing scene. The crew is busy setting up lights, checking equipment, setting up angles and running industrial power cables through the garage to a bank of outlets. One crewman is churning out fog from a small, boxed machine to create the mood of mystery.

    "We should've had that in our group, that smoke machine," comments Dale Graff, gesturing toward the box in the doorway. "It might have helped some of the people."

    The people he speaks of are the remote viewers of the Stargate project, a once-secret government program born of the Cold War. Based in Fort Meade, the program applied the psi (not psychic) skills of remote viewers to aid in searches for missing persons, lost planes and criminals on the lam, among other classified things.

    Stargate was scrapped and its files opened in 1995, prompting Graff, Stargate's former director, to write the book Tracks in the Psychic Wilderness, published in 1998. His stories of the psi frontier grabbed BBC's attention when he visited Britain on a book tour, luring them stateside to film a Mystery spot based on one of the many true stories Graff recounted in his book - the pursuit and capture of federal fugitive Charles Frank 'Charlie' Jordan.

    Jordan, explains Graff, was once a high-level U.S. Customs Service official who became a major marijuana and cocaine smuggler hunted by the U.S. Customs Service, DEA, FBI, U.S. Marshals Service, IRS and many others. For two years, he escaped capture until he was nabbed at his trailer in Wyoming in 1989 - thanks, Graff says, to a tip gained from a remote viewing session. Jordan was sentenced to 15 years but was released after three.

    "What attracted us to this story? I think the fact that it was a government project, a really interesting case and it was a good result, really," says Jayne Topping, a freelance director. BBC followed up after finding the story by verifying the content with U.S. Customs Service, then phoned Graff to get his help. He ended up being consultant, star and location scout.

    Scenes have already been shot throughout Calvert County, from the climactic trailer raid at Patuxent Campground to the dock scene at Vera's White Sands to the shady drug deal in the resplendent home of White Sands owner Vera Freeman, to the foggy remote viewing session playing out now, in Graff's home on a cliff overlooking the Bay.

    Cameraman Andy Jackson lines up the shot and soundman Evan Blaustein hoists the sound boom over Graff's head; it's finally time to shoot the scene. There won't be much action in these shots. Graff takes his position at the table opposite Lynn Sprinkle, of Rockville, who plays the remote viewer that found Jordan. Another psi, actress Darla Robinson of Port Tobacco, waits patiently on the couch, with shoes off, at the opposite end of the living room amid the mass of relocated furniture and house plants.

    The manufactured fog is comparable to London's now, and one or two people joke about feeling a touch woozy. Graff is a bit befuddled. "The only thing this would relate to is the time we fumigated the office for termites," he says. A crewman grabs one of Graff's Barnes & Noble book signing posters and fans away the haze to clear the view so filming can start.

    This scene is simple. Graff lays out papers and a photo in front of Sprinkle and explains the task - "locate Charles Frank Jordan." She concentrates, he repeats, she scrawls images, he repeats, they stop, the director coaches. Several takes later, the camera shifts to a new angle and they do it all over again.

    "We spend about two weeks in setup, then one filming and one editing," says Topping. After shooting and an overnight in Prince Frederick, they catch a flight to London where they finish up the Mystery piece with splices, cuts and voice-overs by Graff.

    Prideful Calvert denizens anxious to see visions of their fair county on the telly might want to calm down. It will be several months before this episode reaches American markets. Even then, the episode may not be picked up. But hey, there's always the book.

    -Mark Burns

    Way Downstream ...

    Here at home, the Poplar Island project, a massive island restoration effort off of Tilghman Island on the Eastern Shore, is in line for $12.5 million in a line item of a U.S. Senate water bill that advanced last week ...

    In Virginia, the National Audubon Society is spending $10,000 on radio ads to persuade Gov. James Gilmore to reduce the state's horseshoe crab harvest. Conservationists say that too many horseshoes are being removed for bait and biomedical research ...

    In Nevada, the 15th Annual Burning Man Festival will be held Aug. 30 to Sept. 6 as planned despite critics who say the culminating event, the burning of a 50-foot wooden man, has environmental implications, the Bureau of Land Management said this week. We thought they ought to ban it on grounds of bad taste ...

    In New Mexico, anglers on Quemado Lake began wondering what happened to all the trout. It wasn't pollution or overfishing. The culprit was goldfish, millions of them, crowding the trout out of their habitat, the Albuquerque Journal reported last week ...

    In Belgium, "Mad Cow" disease in meat and the discovery of the contaminant dioxin in other food has many people almost too frightened to eat. So entrepreneurs have kicked into gear by importing something from Down Under -- kangaroo meat ...

    Our Creature Feature this week sounds strangely like last week's, in which a California minor league baseball team was in trouble for sponsoring a fish-heaving contest on the infield.

    This week, we get word of another fishy incident in California, where police arrested a San Diego man for striking his girlfriend with a 10-pound tuna outside a supermarket. When a domestic ruckus begins, "people will use whatever weapon they have available," a police spokesman said.

    The man was charged with assault with a deadly weapon. A reporter observed in the Contra Costa Times that had he used the threatened southern bluefish tuna, he could be in even worse trouble.


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    June 24-30, 1999
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