Dock of the Bay
Volume VII Number 32
August 12-18, 1999
Defy the Drought: Greywater Your Garden
While Gov. Parris Glendening's azaleas were atrophying, our hydrangeas went from dry to dried out. Yet all those dry days and waterless weeks, the resource we were lacking rushed and flushed down everybody's drains like, well, dishwater.
It seemed such a darn shame that I started washing up in a dishpan and carrying the remaining water out to my parched hydrangeas.
Then, just as the governor's water restriction regulations went into effect, we were reminded of the word for our little domestic economy.
"Greywater!" shouted Tony Evans in a close approximation of the voice you'd imagine rising from a wildcat's throat as oil finally spouted.
"The rest of the world uses it, but we've forgotten how," said the Maryland Department of Agriculture marketer. "If people learn how, they can still water their petunias despite the drought measures."
Greywater, in case you, too, have forgotten, is the used but not abused residue of our lighter cleaning jobs. The homefront equivalent of the washwater some car washes recycle under our state's drought measures, it's our dishwater and laundry wash and rinse water.
Purists have developed complicated systems for returning virtually all the greywater a household produces - even the nonsolid portion of toilet wastes - into garden watering systems, but to take that giant step you'd need an engineer, plumber and new sewer or septic regulations. We're talking about small steps here. But steps a lot bigger than the governor's advice to do only full loads of laundry or dishes.
Like collecting your dishwasher in a dishpan during these dry weeks, so all that perfectly good water doesn't go down the drain. Or emptying your dehumidifier into your thirsty flower pots. (Odd, isn't it, how much water hangs around in the air even when none is falling.)
Your washer, with its typically free-spouting hose, is the easiest appliance to reroute, we heard on Monday from NBT general manager Alex Knoll, who developed a nifty program for recycling greywater in the laundry room.
He ran the washer hose into a gallon bucket, which he then dumped into a five-gallon bucket. "I got 10 gallons from the wash cycle and 10 from the rinse," said Knoll.
His azaleas got a thorough soaking, from which they emerged looking a lot healthier than the governor said his did.
So, Governor Glendening, if you want to save those azaleas, you'll want to spend a little less time writing proclamations and a little more walking your wash through its 20-gallon cycle.
How You Can Save Precious H20
Drops make cups, cups make quarts, quarts make gallons. Every drop you save counts, and by doing so you will better appreciate how to save water at all times - not just during drought. Some suggestions:
Also, don't forget, legally, there can be no outdoor fires other than charcoal or gas grills or campfires in approved campfire rings. Water required to douse fires in tinder-dry vegetation can be better used elsewhere.
Any questions on what you can and cannot do legally in water use can be answered via the toll-free Drought Emergency Hotline 8am to 8pm weekdays, 9am to 3pm weekends. Call 1-877/4DROUGHT or 1-877/437-6844.
In Anne Arundel County, to report suspected non-compliance, call 410/222-8610 at any time. Businesses seeking exemptions from restrictions should call 410/822-8040 between 8am and 4:30pm.
For non-emergency drought questions, do not call 911. It could get you in lukewarm, if not hot, water.
Baseball's Girls of Summer
photos by Brittanie Oakley Baltimore Stars women's league pitcher Katy Bradford.
In the bottom of the fourth, the Baltimore Stars blow the game open. A bases-loaded double with one out drives in the Star's fifth and sixth runs. Another run scores on a wild pitch. The Stars have a 7-1 lead as they head to the field to start the top of the fifth.
After retiring the first hitter of the fifth, Stars pitcher Katy Bradford seems to tire. Two walks and a single load the bases. Back-to-back walks push two runs across the plate. The coach makes a visit to the mound, and Bradford relaxes to catch her second wind. She retires the next two hitters with little trouble, keeping the Stars' lead safe.
The Stars hold on to win 7-3. Pushing their record to 8-2, they keep a firm grasp on first place.
Sunday afternoon at Woodmore Elementary School in Woodlawn, Maryland, the Baltimore Stars faced The Boxers in the closing weeks of the regular season of the Washington Metropolitan Women's Baseball League.
In its 10th season, the League gives women the chance to play on their own field of dreams. For some, baseball is a game they have played; for others, it's a game that was taken away from them. This is their chance to take it back.
The game has the same hold on these women that it has on many men.
"Once you get baseball in your blood it's hard to play a different game," says Kelly Keller, manager of the Baltimore Stars.
Keller should know. She's tried a different game.
"I grew up playing baseball. I switched to softball when they told me I couldn't play baseball anymore," Keller remembers.
In the Air Force, Keller played on a fast-pitch softball team. She traveled to other bases throughout Europe to play against other military teams. The games were played at a high skill level and the competition was intense.
When she left the military and returned to the States, Keller tried to play in recreational leagues. The competition was a step down; the game bored her. Hearing about the women's league from a friend, Keller jumped at the chance to play baseball again.
"There's more competition in baseball," Keller explained. "The game is faster, there's more aggressiveness. You need more skills and the talent of the players is better. Baseball is just more fun."
Keller played her first year in the league for the Pet Barn Barncats, commuting to games in Virginia. In 1998, she started her own team, The Baltimore Stars. Overcoming a slow start, the Stars peaked in the second half of the season. They won the league championship in their first year.
Now Keller wants the good news to spread. Her next dream is a women's league for suburban Maryland with teams from Anne Arundel, Hartford and Baltimore counties.
If precedent is any indicator, her chances are good. The Washington Metropolitan Women's Baseball League, started in 1990, has grown from informal pickup games into a four-team league. The 80 to 100 players in the league come from Baltimore, Washington, Northern Virginia and suburban Maryland.
The League follows traditional baseball rules with slight modifications. Games are seven innings, with a two and a half hour time limit. The regular season runs through August. The playoffs and championship games are in the middle of September.
To celebrate its 10th anniversary, the League is hosting a national women's baseball tournament at Shirley Povich Stadium and Wheaton Regional Park, September 3-6. A League all-star team will play in the tournament. The eight to 10 teams in the double elimination tournament come from California, Michigan, Florida and, organizers hope, Canada. The tournament is another step in opening up baseball to more women.
"The reason I'm involved in League operations is to make women's baseball more competitive, to make it worthy of the public's attention," said Kristin Guidace, player and manager for The Boxers and vice-president of the Washington Metropolitan Women's Baseball League.
"The long-range goal is to offer baseball to women at the high school and college level, when they are often being turned away from the sport."
For Washington League information, call 1-877/ITS-A-HIT (487-2448). To play in a suburban Maryland women's baseball league, call Stars' coach Ralph Zackry at 410/679-3305.
The Baltimore Stars next home game is at Woodmore Elementary School on Sunday August, 15.
$1 Million Made
Calvert County's Cancer Crusade Gala hit the million dollar mark in 1999, we're told by Gerald Donovan, who with his brothe Fred, sponsors what's become over18 years the American Cancer Society's biggest per-capital fund-raiser.
"We don't yet have the final count. But we know we've gone over our goal of $174,000, which means we've made a million," said Donovan. "I'm really happy we got there, and we're going to keep at it."
Through the American Cancer Society, most of that money - 60 percent - will be directed to cancer-fighting research at Maryland universities and, even nearer to home and closer to the front, beating back the disease in women, men and children afflicted in Calvert County.
As well as a rich fund-raiser, A Celebration of Life was gala and grand. Fifteen hundred and fifty celebrants feasted and fested, rubbing elbows, quaffing champagne and gobbling steak, lobster and crab many ways - before downing dozens of creamy cakes. As darkness transformed the perfect summer evening of August 5, 1999, life was sweet and worth celebrating.
For Boaters, Y2K Arrives in August
Testing, 1, 2, 3 At 8pm August 21, your GPS unit will either reset its internal calendar or stop working.
If this is boaters' worst millennium problem, we'll have smooth sailing into the next century.
On August 21 at 8pm, Global Positioning System satellites will advance to a new calendar. That may mean that GPS receivers made before 1994 will need re-initializing lest they give inaccurate date or time. Some may stop working altogether, BOAT/U.S., the 500,000-member boater organization, tells us.
Most GPS units won't even notice the change because they were programmed to roll over without a problem. One exception is Micrologic, whose pre-1996 GPS receivers may not work. (The company is no longer in business; get further information by e-mailing MLCustServ@micrologicnav.com)
Just in case, BOAT/U.S. has some advice. At 8pm on Aug. 21, "Turn off your GPS for a few minutes," suggests Becky Squires, a BOAT/U.S. spokeswoman and a GPS devotee.
And during the satellite turnover, don't plug your GPS into autopilots or other electronic systems.
LORAN units are not affected because they take their bearings from land-based radio towers.
How did this happen? In 1990 when it was first programmed, the GPS system was given a calendar year of 1,024 weeks for its satellites to determine the date and time. After that final week ends Aug. 21, the satellites will roll over to Week 0.
Then your boat electronics will be glitch-free for another 20 or so years, by which time they'll probably be so sophisticated that they'll do everything but pay your slip rental.
Way Downstream ...
Newport News, Va., won't quit its drive to build a 1,500-acre reservoir for King William County even though the Army Corps of Engineers has denied a permit. Last week, local waterworks officials argued that their plan offers not only a new water source but also the environmental benefit of double the man-made wetlands replacing natural wetlands destroyed ...
Seattle-based Starbucks has awakened to the smell of conservationists' demands. Starting next week, Starbucks will offer a shade-grown, "eco-friendly" bean at $12.95 a pound for those worried that tropical rainforests are being destroyed to supply our daily habit ...
In Montana, a scientific discovery could protect the world from rabies. Working with monkeys, researchers at the Rocky Mountain Laboratories in Hamilton have successfully tested a genetically engineered rabies vaccine that appears to offer complete protection against a virus that kills 40,000 people around the world each year ...
From Louisiana comes a troubling report that the size of the "Dead Zone" in the Gulf of Mexico has expanded to 7,728 square miles, the largest ever. Lack of oxygen in these waters either kills aquatic life or drives it away. The main cause is the farm fertilizers that run off fields in the Midwest, down the Mississippi River and into the Gulf ...
Our Creature Feature is a cat tale from south Texas, where researchers have found a secret potion for luring ocelots into a concentrated population for interbreeding.
After striking out with natural scents, feline experts from the Dallas Zoo have begun spreading Calvin Klein Obsession for Men cologne, the Dallas Morning News reports. "The ocelots rub their cheeks on it, they rub their necks on it. They roll over it It is reminiscent of a cat in heat," said Cynthia Bennett, the zoo's head researcher.
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Volume VII Number 32
August 12-18, 1999
New Bay Times
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