Dock of the Bay

Volume VII Number 28
July 15-21, 1999


  • Unity Walks on Sore Feet
  • In Deale, Santa's Early Visit Breaks Heat, Inspires Generosity
  • Annapolis Tops the Nation In Walking
  • Cautionary Tale: Inviting Waters May Hold Threats
  • Way Downstream ...

  • NBT Update
    Unity Walks on Sore Feet

    Editor's note: Our update on the Annapolis Unity Walk, promised last week, appears this week. We're glad so many of you are reading.

    photo by Mark Burns Sam, the Dalmation, has since joined Paul Callens, center beside Johnson, and Ajax Joe Drayton, holding certificate - the only original walkers remaining. The other five - from center Judy Rogers, Kristie Wisniewski, her three-year-old son Jude (not pictured), Barbara Hale and Ben Thompson - have all left.

    "My feet literally expanded within the first week and a half," says Unity Walker Paul Callens. "It's not like they're swelling, they're literally larger."

    Like something out of Alice in Wonderland, Callens' size-11 feet have mushroomed to size 12 on the right and 12.5 on the left. Such a phenomenon can only be explained by his trek along U.S. 50. Pounding the pavement along the Unity Walk has filled out his foot muscles substantially.

    The Unity Walk is Callens' brainchild, born of his grand vision of a national Unity Day to celebrate oneness among humankind. It started from the rain-soaked shores of Ocean City on March 22 as seven core walkers - one of them Sam, Callens' Dalmatian - plodded happily across the U.S. Route 50 bridge with nearly 100 followers in tow, kicking off the first leg of a roughly 3,200-mile long trek along U.S. 50 to San Francisco. The trip ends October 10, the intended date for Unity Day, to offset what Callens calls Columbus Day's hidden message of imperialism and oppression.

    Callens, of Annapolis, and Ajax Joe Drayton, of Mt. Rainier, are the only two biped walkers left from the core group of seven, having hiked over 1,300 miles, compiled countless blisters and lost two toenails with a third expected to fall off soon (all Callens').

    New recruit Brian Hilmes, 22, a locksmith assistant from Carlisle, Illinois, hasn't endured as much yet and seems to reinvigorate via fresh enthusiasm the tired men he's driving around. Hilmes is only a few days into his role of driving and maintaining Faith, a converted school bus flagship of sorts that only recently caught up to the walkers and brought Sam the dog along with it.

    The trio will soon link up with Ron and Gloria Kohls, of Kansas, who'll drive support in their fully stocked RV. At last check, the current crew was bussing out of Illinois through Missouri towards Kansas City to pick up where they left off; Callens and Drayton had to backtrack to pick up the bus and Hilmes.

    Hilmes, like every walker before him, resigned from his mainstream life to make the trip. The earliest walkers forfeited homes, jobs, cars and lifestyles. Which is part of why one former walker, Kristie Wisniewski, feels so angry at not being along for the ride.

    "We're homeless," said Wisniewski in a June interview. At the time, she and her son Jude, 3, were about to take refuge in an Annapolis shelter while waiting for a ride home to Philadelphia from her dad. She quit her job as an elementary school phys-ed teacher at an inner-city Philadelphia school to do the walk with Jude, toting him about on the bus and in a wagon.

    Wisniewski, 24, alleged that she didn't quit but was cut loose from the pack only one week into the Walk - the day after Annapolis' large Unity Walk pep rally attracted Gov. Parris Glendening, Anne Arundel County Executive Janet Owens and Annapolis Mayor Dean Johnson. "To just be dumped like that has left me hurt and bitter," said Wisniewski.

    With no money to take her home, Wisniewski stayed in Unity Walk supporters' homes and waited two months for the call to invite her back. "I was hoping they were going to do something to correct the situation," she said. But she gave up when the bus was nearly ready and the call never came. By then, she even spoke of trying to find a lawyer who would take her case and sue on grounds of breach of contract. Wisniewski could not be reached for an update on her progress.

    The other two walkers to step aside - Annapolis' Ben Thompson, 24, and Judy Rogers, 57 - did so after the walk left Maryland. They are now settled in with their families. Callens simply notes that Wisniewski, Thompson and Rogers left the Walk and says he doesn't wish to talk about their personal lives.

    The exodus and, in one case, alienation of walkers is but one of many obstacles in the road for the Unity Walk. Another was the donated bus, which was supposed to be ready before the group left Washington, D.C.

    Callens and Drayton admit that the stress of the Walk has taken its toll. The heat is awful. The bus is hotter. Deluges fall and tornadoes once struck nearby. Callens' tortured feet made Drayton "yap" (New England speak for hurl) when he saw them. It's now been decided that the Walk is so badly behind schedule that, to make up for lost time, in Pueblo they'll be swapping sneakers for Goodyears to get them through a 900-mile expanse (to be walked next year), putting feet down again at Carson City, Nevada and walking the rest of the way through California from Lake Tahoe.

    But the Unity Walk trudges on. Even Wisniewski, for all her disgust, still loves the goal. "I still believe in that," she said at the end of her interview. She also yields that Callens was simply ill-prepared rather than cruel.

    The Unity Walkers still plan to finish by October 10. Roughly 12 communities are reported to have pledged recognition of Unity Day. Callens' feet are on the mend and Drayton's have been lucky; "Everything's been all right except for the smell," he says. Drayton's morale was boosted on Father's Day when his mom and son flew out to greet him.

    All these peaks and valleys, attest Drayton and Callens, equal a darn good metaphor for the metaphorical road to unity. "It's a crazy adventure isn't it?" queries Drayton. "You're up, you're down, you're all around. As a metaphor, I have to say it's dead on."

    Find updates at Some information is dated.

    -Mark Burns

    Life in Our Little Bay Ponds
    In Deale, Santa's Early Visit Breaks Heat, Inspires Generosity
    photo courtesy of John Price, Skipper's Pier

    Santa Claus came to Chesapeake Country early this year, riding a nor'easterly that broke the heat wave and sent smiles radiating far beyond Skipper's Pier, in Deale, where the jolly elf landed via the Deale Volunteer Fire Department fireboat, siren wailing and water squirting.

    Temperatures were still a little hot for Santa, but everything was just right for volunteer organizer Tina Behe, of Deale, who'd feared the worst when rain followed a "nasty hot" day.

    "Santa arrived, then the weather cleared up and people started showing up and bidding," reported Behe.

    Which is, of course, the point of Skipper's Pier's annual Christmas In July festivity. Inspired by the generous Claus, good fellowship and cheering spirits, the crowd pitched in nearly $6,000, the whole of which benefits, as usual, Children's Hospital in Washington D.C.

    Tempting the money from their pockets was an enviable array of goods and services. "We got donations from virtually all local businesses - for which we want to thank them," said John Price, Skipper's owner. "A number of beer vendors provided an assortment of promotional items. A big basket of cheer raised nearly $1,000. Six of Skipper's staff, including me, raffled ourselves off to detail cars, which we'll be doing at Skippers on July 29. We brought in $500," Price continued.

    Had the crew of Skipper's much detailing experience?

    "No," Price admitted, "but we'll figure it out."

    Heightening the holiday mood was Skipper's Annual Parade of Lights. Seven festively got-up boats promenaded along Rockhold Creek, delighting captains, crew and spectators. Proclaimed the best lit by the 6-4 vote of 10 judges selected from the crowd at the Tiki Bar was Lee Fifer's perennial parader, the former LeeMar, renamed the LeeSar. Riding on the bow of the 48-year-old, 50-foot wooden motor yacht was Santa plus a herd of plastic reindeer strung with lights and led by red-nosed Rudolph, his head bobbing.

    For his efforts, Fifer earned 100 gallons of fuel.

    For her volunteer efforts, Behe got "a rush. Life is what you put into it, not what you get out of it," she said.


    Annapolis Tops the Nation In Walking
    photos by Mary Catherine Ball Rated one of the most walkable cities in America, Annapolis offers visitors and locals pleasant, ambling streets and historic walking tours.

    Women in worksuits travel the streets of Annapolis daily during their lunch hours, wearing their trusty tennis shoes. Exercise fiends in skimpy tank tops and shorts beat the path through the city. Tourists, laden with cameras and brochures, crowd the corners and block the way listening to recitations of Annapolis' founding days.

    Hustle and bustle or slow as a snail. Moving at their own paces, walkers take Annapolis to the top.

    "Gunther and I are out here each and every day walking down Main Street," says Debbie Manning, of Annapolis, for herself and animal companion, a Labrador retriever. "Where else can you get great exercise and great scenery at the same time?"

    Annapolis and nine other cities, says Walking Magazine, which has named Annapolis one of its top 10. All "are places where people are excited to live, where activity comes naturally and where being part of the community means getting to know the territory - and one's neighbors - on foot," Walking's August issue reports.

    Ranking with Annapolis as America's most walkable cities are Chicago; Duluth; Glenwood Springs, Co.; Kingsport, Tenn.; Madison, Wis.; Naperville, Ill.; New York; Savannah; Vancouver, Wa.; and Waynesville, Ohio.

    Cities were chosen on walkability guidelines. Sidewalks and trails leading to a safer walking environment were winners. Walking Magazine also looked for plentiful walking destinations and promotions of walking activities. They also wanted to know if people really are out and about.

    That's always true in Annapolis, and Walking Magazine liked what it saw.

    "Situated on an active harbor, Annapolis retains the architecture and narrow streets of its colonial past. Simply put, it's a beautiful town," the magazine said.

    Said Mayor Dean Johnson: "We have Sir Francis Nicholson to thank for this honor because he clearly planned this city to human scale with a street plan conducive to walking."

    Whether a simple stroll down brick streets past shops and restaurants or guided tours in the capital city's capitol, Annapolis promises to spark the ambulant in visitors.

    Visitors travel across the country, the state or the street to get a glimpse of Annapolis. Thus Chuck Miholko and Daniel Wood traveled from Trenton, New Jersey.

    "This is a beautiful area to see with so much to offer. You can even walk out the front door and there's water waiting for you," Miholko said.

    Wood hadn't known what to expect. "When I decided to come here I was thinking that it was going to be like any other city and it's not," he said, referring to the brick streets and historic buildings. "I like taking the tour and hearing about the history of this area. It's something I've always been interested in," Wood added.

    Even locals still head for Annapolis to quench their thirst for history, filling a fair share of the spaces in tours.

    This is a honor that's easy to test for yourself.

    Follow a squire or mistress along the Three Centuries Tour route through Annapolis. Squires donning a tri-corn hat, britches, waistcoat, bouffant shirt and stock - an Englishman's tie - lead you back in time pointing out main points of interest as well as tantalizing tidbits of the olden culture.

    Learn the purpose of the fragrant tussy-mussy or question why women were unallowed on government floors. Well, the reasoning is so far-fetched it must be shared. Women were accused of talking too much. (Daily 10:30am & 1:30pm: 410/263-5401.)

    The United States Naval Academy invites visitors to walk the grounds, viewing statues, ships and artifacts that bring history to life. Indian Warrior Tecumseh stands watch over the grounds and naval hero John Paul Jones rests in peace in an underground crypt. (Daily 9:30am-3:30pm; sun. 12:15-3:30pm: 410/263-6933.)

    Walkers who wish to see sites without the fast pace of a tour may pace themselves courtesy of the Historic Annapolis Foundation. Pick up a guided tape narrated by Walter Cronkite, a pair of earphones and a handy map to set your own pace through the city. As well as this general tour, the Foundation offers tours of Revolutionary and African American Annapolis. (Daily 10am-3:30pm: 410/268-5576)

    Drop by the visitor's center on West Street for your self-paced tour. (Daily 9am-5pm: 410/280-0445)

    But sometimes the most memorable experiences are the unplanned and uncharted paths. For pure pleasure, walk down the small side streets that spur off of the city's Main Street, discovering the surprise in each nook and cranny.

    Stride past the historic sites, stopping to smell the roses at William Paca House & Gardens. Catch a glimpse of governmental history at the State House. Explore the clothing stores that intermingle with the comfortable cafes and restaurants. Enjoy the evening breeze at the City Dock, watching boats cruising down Ego Alley.

    Join the crowd of tourists and locals, taking in the sights and sounds of Annapolis. And keep on walking.

    -Mary Catherine Ball

    Cautionary Tale: Inviting Waters May Hold Threats

    The rains that brought respite from the searing summer weather may have delivered something else to your beach: heightened levels of fecal coliform bacteria from the shore that can make water play and water sports hazardous to your health.

    Fecal coliform bacteria is one of the most common forms of pollution in the Chesapeake Bay and its rivers, particularly in populous areas and along shorelines with old and failing septic systems.

    These coliform come from the intestines of warm-blooded animals, especially the ones that walk on two legs. Easily detected, they are a general barometer of water quality but not a precise indicator of risk. There may be no danger in swimming where the bacteria have been detected. By the same token, some people may be affected.

    Anne Arundel County residents are fortunate to have measurements that they can rely on taken by the county Department of Health through Labor Day and available to anyone with a telephone and a few minutes to spare. Localized readings are available from the county's water quality hot line at 410/222-7999. Test results at more than 75 sites are available 24 hours a day.

    For instance, if you punched the right button you could learn that the most recent bacteria level at Truxtun Park is 546 bacterial colonies per 100ml of water: more than five times the readings that were showing up a year ago. Of course, this year Spa Creek is recovering from last week's sewer line rupture.

    Tests taken at Georgetown East on Back Creek showed 469, four times the levels about this time last summer. Other waters in Annapolis showed bacteria but not in concentrations so large or so elevated since last summer.

    Meanwhile, along the South River, the most recent tests showed levels similar to those taken in the past two years. At Quiet Waters, the bacteria levels showed a marked decline from a year ago, from an average of 40 about this time to 9. Among other South River points: Hillsmere Shores 50; Cape St. John 25; the South River Bridge 19; and Ferry Point 18.

    Similarly, some of the tests in the Rhode River showed declines. The most dramatic was Cloverlea, where a reading of 41 was just one-tenth of what was showing up on occasion last summer. Camp Letts, a popular destination this time of year, recorded just 8 last week, down from a year ago.

    On the West River, none of the readings exceeded 50. But in Herring Bay, some of the readings were up from a year ago, especially at Rose Haven, which showed 246 last week.

    These readings are especially important in waters where nettles haven't arrived in abundance and where people are swimming these hot days.

    According to Physicians for Social Responsibility, about 150,000 people become ill in the U.S. each year from the bacteria. About 300 die. Contact with the bacteria can cause diarrhea, cramps, headaches and nausea. Those most susceptible are older people, infants and people with weak immune systems.

    Authorities keep tabs on the wastes with an eye toward emergency closings if warranted. For instance, the Health Department has closed portions of Spa Creek until further notice because of a sewage spill.

    The department recommends that people use common sense. Cuts and scrapes, a news release said, "make it easy for disease-causing bacteria to enter the body." The county advises against swimming after a heavy rain until the water clears, usually about 48 hours.

    There is no danger to eating cooked fish and crabs from waters where bacteria have been found.


    Truxtun Park 546

    Georgetown East 469

    McNasby's Seafood 42

    Severn Sailing Assn. 137

    City Dock 69

    Shipwright St. 160

    St. John's College 104

     Severn River

    Jonas Green St. Pk. 122

    Winchester on Severn 6

    Rugby Hall 21

    Linstead on the Severn 21

    Carrolton Manor 43

    Arden on the Severn 55

    Harold Harbor 37

    Sherwood Forest 23

    James Landing 9

    Bay Ridge Beach 15

     Magothy River

    Mountain Point 30

    Long Point 69

    Tarr Cove 48

    Hickory Point 51

    North Ferry Point 8

    Chelsea 98

    Persimmon Point 90

    Sandy Pt St Pk E Beach 16

    Sandy Pt St Pk S Beach 23

     South River

    Cape St. John 25

    Ferry Point 18

    Hillsmere Shores 50

    Quiet Waters 9

    Harbor Hills 46

    Glen Isle 44

    Cape Loch Haven 172

    Turkey Point 118

    Mayo Beach 13

    South River Bridge 19

     Rhode River

    Camp Letts 8

    Cloverlea 41

     West River

    Galesville Pier 28

    Shady Oaks Boat Yard 50

     Herring Bay

    Mason's Beach 6

    Town Point 104

    Owings Cliffs 74

    Rose Haven 246


    Way Downstream ...

    In Virginia, results of a bipartisan study do not bode well for George Allen's run for the Senate. The study by the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission said that as governor, Allen withheld information about river pollution from the public and the EPA and hid data showing dangerous levels of PCBs ...

    In Montana, the spill into the Clark Fork River from a train derailment last weekend wasn't altogether mourned. Liquid asphalt dumped into the river, but so did thousands of 12-packs of Coors light beer, which drew a lot of people to "help" with the clean-up ...

    Illinois, Indiana and Ohio are among Midwestern states plagued by an invasive new species: feral hogs. The Los Angeles Times reported last week that the wild, ill-tempered pigs "tear up ground, churn through riverbeds, drive out native species and threaten to spread disease." Their only natural predators are hunters ...

    In London, a report by the Roehampton Institute doesn't speak kindly of backpackers seeking sun and surf. It calls the backpacker enclaves beach ghettos where young people "damage the environment, smoke dope and look for sex" ...

    Our Creature Feature comes from Cape Cod, where they're deploying a new technique to combat an infestation of fruitworms on cranberry bogs: sex.

    Scientists are spreading synthetic pheromones like those emitted by female moths. It is driving the male moths into a "blinding sexual tizzy" and disrupting the mating. Observed Jeff LaFleur of the Cape Cod Cranberry Growers Association: "Moths are going to have to take a lot of cold showers."

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    Volume VII Number 28
    July 15-21, 1999
    New Bay Times

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