Bay Weekly turns 23 this week.
That’s old enough to have graduated college and be looking for a job.
By my 23rd birthday, I was a wife and mother of a three-month-old baby, working my way through grad school by teaching freshman composition and English as a Second Language at St. Louis University. I thought I was smart, though I’ve since proven myself largely wrong.
Now I’m old enough — and smart enough — to believe that every stage of life has its unique wisdom. So I don’t feel so dumb — or arrogant — when I say Bay Weekly was born smart.
We sure thought so, the three founders of this enterprise born as New Bay Times back on Earth Day 1993. Of course every proud parent believes its offspring is special. Mine was proving me right, for that baby, John Alexander Knoll, had grown up to partner with me and his stepfather Bill Lambrecht in making a newspaper from no more than our wits, will and experience — with our silent partner, Apple’s wonderchild Macintosh.
“We want to create something new,” cofounder Bill Lambrecht wrote in our first editorial, Hello Baysiders. “In these pages, starting today, New Bay Times will explore how we of the Chesapeake Bay can live as best we can in a smart and sustainable way.”
We imagined ourselves peaking the wave of change — as well as immersed in Chesapeake Country.
That first issue lived up to our boast with stories on issues still hot nearly a quarter-century later.
Look back on New Bay Times Vol. 1 No. 1, and you’ll see stories on Bay pollution, the plight of blue crabs and crabbers and kayaking. (Find Vol. 1 No. 1 at
The 2016 crabbing season begins with crabs in abundance — up 35 percent from last year in the Winter Dredge Survey — and crabbers lobbying to increase their catch. Pollution has proved more complex than simple trash, but trash has grown into a still-bigger problem. And yes, kayaking has become a favorite sport on the Bay.
Complementing those issue stories was a profile of Miss Ethel Andrews of Shady Side, then approaching her 105th birthday.
How many more such stories have followed in 1,167 issues! I can’t count them, but many of them I can remember.
A favorite from that first year on a topic just as urgent now: Toilet Training: The Least You Should Know about Your Closest Link to Nature (Vol. 1 No. 12.)
That story was written by Carolyn Martin, a journalism pro we titled New Bay Times Special Environmental Correspondent. Photos were shot by David Hawxhurst, who has since shot for National Geographic.
So many talented people helped us keep our promise that first year. Fairhaven neighbor Sonia Linebaugh came in to help out and stayed four years. Bill Burton, who stands tall among America’s great outdoors writers, drove down to Deale one June day to offer himself to us as he’d retired from the Evening Sun long before he’d run out of stories. He gave us weekly columns for 16 years, retiring again only weeks before he died.
Each of these 23 years has brought its own share of talent, and I could name writers and their stories by the dozens if my son — the final editor we call Chainsaw — would give me enough room. Since our last birthday, we’ve gained Kathy Knotts as our staff writer, Karen Holmes as a dedicated new contributor and more than a dozen prospects coming May 5 to a workshop for new writers.
In all of the countless stories we’ve assigned, shepherded, edited and published in 23 years, writers have given their best. Almost every story has been a one-of-a-kind, hand-crafted original, special to these pages.
With this issue we proudly celebrate 23 years of local stories hand-crafted by artisans, written for you and about this estuarine region that is our shared home.
Sandra Olivetti Martin
Editor and publisher; [email protected]