Letters to the Editor

Volume VII Number 6
February 11-17, 1999

Spend Our Taxes On Our Bay

Dear New Bay Times~Weekly:

Although Gov. Parris Glendening's inaugural address offered hope to voters concerned about improving Maryland's education system, it offered little detail on other areas of concern, particularly the environment and Chesapeake Bay.

Recent photographic analysis has revealed that the Bay's aquatic grasses, which provide shelter to many of the Bay's creatures, have declined extensively in the past 50 years. Of particular note were the grasses around the small islands of Tangier Sound, which have fallen from 18,000 acres in 1992 to 9,000 acres last year.

Tangier Sound is especially important because female blue crabs lay their eggs at the mouth of the Bay. The Sound is the first place the young crabs settle as they make their way up the Bay. Without the grasses, the crabs don't stand a chance to survive. Perhaps this new discovery explains the recent disappointing crab seasons?

When Maryland was first settled, scientists estimate that the bottom of the Bay was covered with about 600,000 acres of grasses. Last year, they estimated that only about 70,000 acres remained.

In addition to providing essential food and shelter for the many animals that call the Chesapeake home, the aquatic grasses do much to maintain the quality of the Bay's water. (The more grass, the cleaner the water and the deeper Sen. Bernie Fowler gets to wade into the Bay each year.) By performing their vital functions, the grasses directly - and greatly - benefit those employed in our recreation, tourism and fisheries industries.

Restoring the aquatic grasses of Chesapeake Bay is a key element in protecting the Bay and the quality of life that it provides for us. If the governor is going to keep all of our surplus tax dollars, let's hope he puts some of them to good use.

-Bobby Sturgell, Owings

The Winner's Circle?

Dear New Bay Times~Weekly:

As a Three Centuries tour guide, I have learned some interesting facts about Annapolis. In 1694, Annapolis became the capitol of Maryland, and by the 1750s, Annapolis had become a very elite town. Horse racing and horse betting had become a very lucrative pastime among the bigwigs of the town.

The races took place around the enclosure of Annapolis "and part of the city just beyond Mr. Severe's blacksmith shop, embracing a circle of one mile, taking in all that part of town now occupied by the Annapolis and the Washington and Baltimore RR." Later, the course was moved beyond the city, probably down West Street to what is now known as Parole. George Washington would come to Annapolis to partake in the betting at the horse-racing events. He even recounts in his diary his gains on his bets on successful pacers. At times, he brought his own horse for racing.

This year, 1999, marks the 350th anniversary of the founding of Annapolis and Anne Arundel County. Based on these historical activities, I can think of no better way for us to honor our heritage than to name the new traffic circle on West Street one of the following: Racetrack Circle, Winner's Circle or The Starting Gate.

-Vicki Lee Marsh, Deale

Editor's note: Join the Citizens Forum naming the circle Mon. Feb. 15 at 7:30pm in the Annapolis City Council chamber: 410/263-7961.

| Issue 6 |

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