Online Archives

Volume 2 Issue 1 1994

Previously inaccessible archives from 1993-1997 now coming on-line, with more each week!
Note that this is working copy (uncorrected text, no photos, including covers).

This weeks lead stories:

This Winter, Check Out Bay 101 | Along the Bay, Nobody Sits Still Any More

Weekly Features:

Burton on the Bay | Commentary | Editorial | Letters to the Editor | Not Just For Kids | Dock of the Bay | Diversionary Bathing | Politalk | Who is there | Reflection

Lead Stories

This Winter, Check Out Bay 101

by Liz Zylwitis


            So how do you get close to the Chesapeake Bay in wintertime when your favorite fishing spot, sandy beach, dock or Bayside shanty is off-season?            

            You go to school, that’s how.

            You’ll be surprised how easy and affordable it is. 

            By taking a college course, or maybe two, you can be close to the Bay all year along. You can learn how the Bay works, why it’s threatened and how the Chesapeake fits into the larger scheme of things. You can bone up on your science or leap into the new world of environmental studies.

            Or, if it’s less weighty material you desire, you can learn about the birds along the Bay and the fish in her waters.

            Here’s your catalog for the new semester at local colleges and universities. If you get inspired, don’t delay. Registration’s underway, and many classes begin the third week of January.

            At Charles County Community College you’ll get close to the Bay, if not in it. Here, Professor Thomas Poe teaches Biology 1080, the Biology and Ecology of the Chesapeake Bay. His students from Charles, Calvert and St. Mary’s counties get to know our Bay, the largest estuary in the United States, and the surrounding region from every scientific angle. In classroom and field trips, they learn how Bay weather, land, water, plants and animals depend on each other and how they work alone. ($176 for residents for the three counties).

            At Anne Arundel Community College, you’ll get an introduction to some of the world-threatening problems of our age:  toxic waste. Biology 107, Environmental Science, is not all bad news. You’ll also learn a bit about what solutions and your role in making them work. ($172 for Anne Arundel residents; $304 outside the county)

            Up the road in College Park, Professor Christopher Fox spends his days working for the Center for Global Change and his evenings teaching for the University of Maryland’s University College. Here you’ll find a college with night classes for working people — and a full load of course about the environment.

             Fox teaches Geography 123, Causes and Implications of Global Change, starting the week of January 23.  He’ll show students what a changing environment means to the world’s economy and geography. You’ll see governments and societies facing the pressures of more acid rain, snow, sleet and hail, ozone holes, and growing changes in weather, climate and more. ($485)

            Follow up with more environmental courses from Fox and University College this summer, including Business/Management 398A, Special Topics: Business and the Environment.  You’ll learn to help your business keep up with the rapidly changing regulatory environment by catching up with trends in environmental management and corporate liability. You’ll learn what “sustainable development” means and how you can be part of this important trend. ($485)

               Also coming this summer from Fox and University College is Geography 463, Geographic Aspects of Pollution. Here you’ll learn to see how the things you do affect our environment and world. Pollution starts with people, and you’ll learn how people can reduce pollutants on a local and even global scale. Sustainable development is part of this course, too. ($485)            

            Ready for even bigger problems? Learn what you can do to slow overpopulation, deforestation, pollution, waste and misuse of energy and other global problems by acting on personal and societal values, including “sustainability,” from University College Professor Dianne Brown. BEHS 310, the Race to Save the Planet, includes video segments filmed in 29 nations and all settled continents. ($485)

            Science and art collided last spring at University College in Humanities 498B, Life In and Around the Chesapeake Bay . The prof was Tom Wisner, Bay activist, poet, song writer and singer.

            Betty Dodd and her fellow students class read seven Bay books at home. At school … well, they didn’t go to school very often. Instead, they enjoyed Bay songs and stories, nature and marine life out and about. They visited a Bay research center. As captain and crew, they finished out the semester aboard a schooner.  

            Wisner recommended his students continue their education in the National Geographic Society’s two-part lecture series by Tom Horton, Baltimore Sun columnist and the pre-eminent author on Bay issues.

            That was last spring, when the Chesapeake Bay Exhibit was featured at the Society’s Explorer Hall in Washington. Horton’s a great story teller who made his subject come alive. When he asked one oysterman in the audience how the Bay has treated him, the oysterman responded, “In 1988, it took me four hours to catch 20 bushels. Now, I’m out all day and catch only eight.”  

            The lesson? Unless we do things differently, the Bay could turn into a big, dead pond.

             Learn Environmental Alternatives at Goucher College in Baltimore so you can help keep the Bay rich in flora and fauna. Study human consumption, and learn to combat threats such as as acid rain and ozone depletion. You’ll pay a bigger price here: $1,540.

            If you’re so inclined, you can follow follow several species as they grow together and fill their individual roles in Ecology and Evolution at Goucher.

            Environmental alternatives start at home, teaches Montgomery Community College Chemistry Dept. Chair Clarence Breedlove. Students in his Chemistry in Society learn about such topics as water quality, flow and filtration as well as how to be environmentally responsible. ($289 for Montgomery Co. residents, $445 for other Maryland residents).

            .Want to put down some of this heavy load and enjoy pure, simple Bay beauty? 

            Attune your senses to birdwatching in Chesapeake College’s Birding 101 on the Eastern Shore. You’ll get to use the latest in birdwatching equipment and field guides to identify such East Coast birds as the Baltimore oriole and learn about the secret lives of such waterfowl as the stately heron.

            Learn from Professor Lester Coble, a 20-year birdwatcher with memberships in the Talbot County Bird Club and the Maryland Ornithological Society. He leads continuing education students through one class session at Easton High School and two field trip adventures. This one’s a bargain at $25.

            Or learn fishing from the pros. Outdoor writers Bill Burton of New Bay Times, Bill Perry of Easton Star Democrat and other newspaper writers will regale you with stories and show you the latest fishing lures, lines and techniques in Catching Striped Bass, a Chesapeake College seminar. They’ll also refresh your knowledge of trolling, casting, surf and fly fishing, rigs, live and cut bait, fishing spots and tackle. All for $40.           

            Got a little time on your hands this time of year? Go learn about the Bay and double your pleasure when warm weather arrives.

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Along the Bay, Nobody Sits Still Any More

Burning calories in your easy chair and melting away that stress


            Why is everybody running?

            The Bay’s memory-keeper, 105-year-old Ethel Andrews of Shady Side, tells us that in her youth you seldom saw folks out running. Her husband, Alexander Andrews, was the exception: he ran several miles each day.

            Neither, for that matter, did you see many people driving cars, watching television or filling their homes with energy-saving devices. Back then, muscle moved America and the Bay. You walked, toted and lifted yourself and everything else you wanted moved from place to place.

            Nowadays, machines do most real work. Over 40 percent of adults in the U.S. — already the world’s busiest nation — make more work for themselves running, jumping, leaping and lifting weights.

            Even a few years ago, when Miss Ethel was but a centenarian, autos had Bayside roads pretty much to themselves. Now they must make room for joggers, race walkers and striders.

            Meanwhile, church halls and school cafeterias moonlight as gyms for aerobic leapers and jazz dancers.

            And “real guys” no longer have the gym to themselves.

            Today’s athletic clubs balance “facilities” — high tech equipment, classes and courts — with “services” that range from yoga to saunas to free babysitting. At your athletic club, at work (if your collar is white enough) or even at home, your personal fitness trainer will supervise your health-building regime.

             Yes, you can reach your goals alone at home. Look at the body 36-year-old Annie Blackwell built keeping up with exercise videos in her own Fairhaven living room. “I like the privacy and the quiet time where I can concentrate on myself. Being self-motivated fits my lifestyle,” says Blackwell.

            But most people need a little help — motivation,  guidance or momentum, advises personal fitness trainer Nora Putt, a competitive bodybuilder, who helps people decide what they want to achieve, shows them how to do it, and keeps them on course.   

            We’re not hicks out here at the Bay anymore; we’re healthy.


            Of course, all that running, jumping, leaping and lifting may not burn up as many calories as you’d eat in a single slice of Sara’s Pure Sin (see page 18). A half-hour run or one-hour walk is worth only about 250 calories.

            But exercise balances eating by turning your body into a

calorie-burning furnace — if you exercise hard enough to raise your heart rate to its aerobic threshold (140 to 150 beats a minute for men and women in their 30s and 40s).

            Once revved up, your body keeps burning calories, even when you’re just sitting. “I can eat anything I want and not gain weight,” says 26-year-old Gina Bartlett, a frequent Bay visitor. How does she do it? By regular low-impact aerobics. "Thirty to 45 minutes of aerobic exercise to strengthen the heart and give the joints mobility is a good foundation for a fitness program, says trainer Putt.


            You’ll burn still more calories if you build muscle. A pound of muscle at rest burns 50 calories a day just to stay alive. But a pound of lazy fat gets by on a measly two calories.           

            Strength training’s the way to build and tone muscle. Heavy weights build muscle; lighter weights (up to 10 pounds for women and 20 for men) in more frequent repetition tone muscle. Gina tones her body in a quick, 20-minute run through a machine circuit in her gym. You can do it without a gym by hefting leg or arm weights during your regular exercise program, advises Susan Cleary of Calvert Fitness.

            Don’t be fooled or discouraged when you step on the scales. Muscle weighs more than fat, so the numbers may not drop as quickly, but your clothes will fit better because you are toned up.

            Winter’s on your side, too. It stokes your furnace about 10 percent higher. That’s good news, since we’re likely to eat more and heavier food in cold weather. More than a few of us still carry around some of those delicious holiday treats.           

            Exercise builds health in more ways still. Activists say they not only look better, they feel that way. Confidence heightens. Posture straightens. Stress melts away.

            For some, exercise becomes its own reward.           

            “My group motivates me. I meet nice women and the teachers are great,” says Carol Hafford, 35,  a mother of two and a regular at Calvert Fitness classes at both the Twin Beach Community Center and Cedar Grove Methodist Church. Carol’s four-year-old, Augustin, plays with kids his own age while his mother exercises.

             “Once I’m there I feel like I’m playing, too,” she says.

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Dock of the Bay

Marylanders’ Magical Mystery Tour?

            Were Southern Marylanders seeing a magic answer to garbage problems on a trip this month to an incinerator in Pennsylvania?

            Or were they glimpsing pains that have afflicted other communities who have taken the leap into the world of incineration?

            Whichever, the trip turned up the heat on the debate over incinerators and served notice that we can expect to hear more about a company called Ogden Martin.

            From all accounts, the busload of Anne Arundel County officials, council members and representatives of citizens’ groups received a grand tour of the $135 million Ogden Martin incinerator in Lancaster County.

            “I was witness to a brainwashing, so carefully calculated that even some of the people prepared to be critical came away dazzled,” observed Anne Pearson, director of the Alliance for Sustainable Communities in Annapolis.

            Indeed, public relations has become a powerful tool in the swirling debates over incinerators. A regional incinerator also is being considered by officials in Calvert, Charles and St. Mary’s Counties.

            Much of the debate considers the dangers of the arsenic, dioxins and toxic chemicals that result from burning common garbage. The U.S. Supreme Court is now considering an Illinois case that could lead to incinerator ash being declared hazardous waste, a decision that could put some incinerators out of business.

            Maryland’s bus travelers heard instead about how the Lancaster County operation is making money because they’re able to produce electricity. Many communities aren’t so fortunate.

            Counties around the country have found themselves unable to find enough trash and looking at more tax levies on people to keep their burners belching. The garbage crisis predicted in the 1980s, when the incinerator companies came knocking, never materialized.

            Besides posing health threats and tax hikes, incinerators have diminished the zeal for recycling, critics contend.

            Ogden Corp., of New York, has made itself one of the giants of the trash-burning business. A subsidiary has built incinerators around the country and bought others, making nearly $70 million from over 20 trash-burning operations in 1992.

            The company has also had problems. Its Indianapolis plant was cited in 1992 for over 6,000 permit violations by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Last year, Ogden Martin agreed to pay a $350,000 fine.

            The company is known for a take-no-prisoners attitude. After Rhode Island voted to ban municipal waste burning, Ogden Martin sued the state to protect two contracts there or get $50 million in compensation.

            “They get very nasty if you cross them,” asserted Paul Connett, a chemistry professor at St. Lawrence University in New York and an associate of the non-profit newsletter, Waste Not.

            The newsletters chronicle a series of battles involving Ogden Martin around the country. One of them is in rural Montgomery County, where the company is building an incinerator for 1,800 tons a day.

            Acrimonious fights, environmental violations and new tax burdens weren’t on the menu with the smooth talk and croissant sandwiches fed the Marylanders on their bus trip.

            Newth Morris, chairman of a citizens advisory committee and one of those who journeyed north, asserted that any garbage decision made by Anne Arundel County will be tough. His committee has recommended building an incinerator.

            “We have to build a trash-to-energy facility or we have to build a landfill,” he said. The massive new landfill could span 700 acres because, said Morris, “we’re using up all the existing facilities.”

            Morris notes that Anne Arundel county can learn from the mistakes of others around the country. The biggest mistake is building incinerators that are too big.

            That  may not be the the only problem, warned Connett. “Many people are surprised to learn after getting into this that very soon the consultants are gone, the financiers are gone, the builders are gone and the companies that built them often get sold.

            “Then taxpayers are by themselves for 20 years paying millions and millions of dollars.”


In Calvert, a Queen is Crowned

            Rashaneegon Johnson did something this new year that no one has done before —  become Miss Calvert County.

            “I sighed in relief and then I calmed down,” said Rashaneegon, 17, shortly after winning the first-ever Miss Calvert County Scholarship Pageant Jan. 8 at Northern High School.

            Seven contestants paraded, sang, danced and displayed themselves in bathing suits on a freezing evening before emcee Rich Lee of WAVA radio proclaimed Rashaneegon the winner.

            Rashaneegon, who will be up against other Maryland winners in June, is a senior at Southern High School in Anne Arundel although she lives in Calvert County. In the talent portion of the contest, she sang Whitney Houston’s “Greatest Love of All.”

            Amy Williams won first runner-up and Ivana Jackson was second runner-up. Michelle Green captured the talent contest with her tap dancing and Krystal Fleming won the swimsuit competition.           

            The national Miss America pageants offer $5 million in educational scholarships this year, says Calvert County pageant director Jean Worley, who is a newcomer to the area.

             Calvert County’s first such pageant had a few snafus, and fewer than 50 people turned out. But Worley pronounced it a success and added: “Next year, hopefully, we’ll have more contestants and more support from the community.”


Country Road Murder Solved?

            Anne Arundel county police reported a major breakthrough in a brutal murder that shocked residents in a remote section of South County.

            Police charged Alvin Winslow Gross, 20, of Shady Side, with the murder and rape of Margaret "Peggy" Courson, whose body was found along a rural road near Tracys Landing the Sunday before Christmas.

            In a stunning bit of detective work, police also produced a witness who was with Gross around the time of the murder and who identified him when interviewed at the Southern  District Police Station.

            Courson, 26, of Annapolis, was a Florida native who ended up in Maryland a few years ago. She was known to have a drinking problem, and was said by witnesses to have been intoxicated the night before she turned up dead. She was last seen alive in the City Dock area.

            Gross played basketball both for Anne Arundel Community College and for Southern High School.


Way Downstream...

            In Florida, they’re working to protect panthers from extinction along the Calooshatchee River. The state hopes to use economic incentives to discourage development, thereby preserving habit for panthers as well as their prey — deer and wild hogs ...

            They love blizzards in the skiing meccas of Colorado, but  there’s a new problem: acid snow. Scientists this winter have found what they call alarming evidence of pollution in flakes falling along the Continental Divide.

            Acid rain is largely sulfur dioxide pollution from coal-fired power plants. It is most harmful to lakes and aquatic life but also damages forests. Colorado authorities are investigating two plants upwind from the acid snowfall ...

            Business leaders in the country of Bangladesh are making a roundabout argument as to why that country’s new ban on the production of plastic should not go into effect Jan. 18 as ordered. The country wants to replace polluting, drain-clogging plastic with reusable burlap-like bags made from the jute plant.

            But business officials say that  the switch would take away the livelihood of thousands of poor people who comb dumps to retrieve the bags and sell them...

            In Australia, a battle is shaping up between Big Oil and forces trying to protect  the world’s biggest creature — the whale shark.

            Greenpeace and conservation advocates are trying to establish a marine park on the country’s northwest coast, where 80 foot-long (check) whale sharks migrate. But this reef-filled area also happens to be location of the continent’s richest oil stores...

            This week’s Creature Feature comes to us from Scotland, where the debate over the Loch Ness Monster is raging once more.

            The Scottish Naturalist magazine is about to publish articles that supposedly prove that Nessie is nothing more than a fish.

            Next thing, somebody will try to argue that Chessie doesn’t exist in the Chesapeake Bay.

            Finally, in the category of Christmas leftovers, we heard of a new variety of tree that didn’t need lights. Near Chernobyl in the former Soviet Union, site of the nuclear plant disaster seven years ago, people took to buying artificial trees this year to avoid radiation.

            We wonder if they sang:

             “On the first Noel, the angels did say. Break up little atoms and some day you’ll pay.”

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Yo Feds: Ante Up for Bay Oysters

Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources has a promising tonic for the Chesapeake’s critical oyster problems: cranking up the Piney Point Oyster Hatchery in St. Mary’s County.

The hurdle here is latching on to the $100,000 in start-up money and a commitment for about $350,000 annual operating costs.

The federal government, which often trumpets its benevolence toward the Bay, ought to seize the day and fork over the money to get things moving. And Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., should deploy his clout as a House leader to make it happen.

Oyster aquaculture is a rare answer to a problem more serious than most people know. Disease and overharvesting have all but destroyed Bay oysters; last year’s 120,000 bushels amounted to less than one percent of the haul a century ago.

Thank about that. And when you do, remember that oysters aren’t just for selling and eating; they flush and clean the Bay. Sitting there on the bottom they mind the Bay’s business, not just their own. The plan at Piney Point is to nurture scads of tiny oysters in tanks and plant them in the Bay’s rivers, thereby creating beds free of the devastating Dermo and MSX diseases.

“We have to develop a disease-free stock,” asserted Pete Jensen, DNR’s director of tidewater fisheries.

Of course there are uncertainties as well as skepticism, in watermen and others. But it’s time to take risks, as the assemblage of experts in the Oyster Roundtable has advocated.

Observed Jensen: “There’s always reticence when you do something bold.”

As they say at the pool hall, quit talkin’ and start chalkin’. The federal government ought to waste no time signing on to the proposal now that Maryland has offered the Piney Point facility and a strong plan.

Hoyer raised expectations when he visited Piney Point a few weeks ago. As chairman of the Democratic caucus in the House, Hoyer will have his hands full with crime, health care and national business when Congress reconvenes this month.

Before the noise and confusion begins, Hoyer ought to muscle this modest chunk of money out of the Clinton administration’s discretionary accounts to jumpstart this worthwhile project.

Drug Abuse Versus Constitution Abuse

In a little-known ruling, the Maryland’s Court of Special Appeals has made it slightly more difficult to seize property in connection with drug violations.

The ruling follows a U.S. Supreme Court decision last month that corrals overzealous prosecutors.

Drugs are dumb and corrosive. Crack cocaine appears to drain people’s sense and uncivilize them.

But constitutional rights of non-drug users are important, too. Since 1992, newspapers have chronicled cases in which governments have taken houses and cars from innocent people.

The Maryland ruling last week dealt with the confiscation of a Jeep Cherokee owned by a Wicomico County veterinarian. Local officials seized the wagon after the vet’s son was found to have a small amount of drugs — not crack — when stopped by police almost two years ago.

The Court of Special Appeals, reversing a circuit court ruling, said that a vehicle should not be taken if the owner doesn’t know drug violations are taking place.

In the fight against drugs in Maryland, we’ve seen drug checkpoints on highways and heat-sensing helicopters flying around trying to guess if people are growing pot in their houses. (Gardeners working to get their tomatoes, peppers and basil sprouted while the ground is too cold could become suspects.)

We want law enforcement agencies to have the budgets and tools to carry out their jobs. We want purveyors of crack in jail. And we want to avoid the slippery slope of eroding constitutional rights, which in the long run may be just as dangerous any drug.

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Letters to the Editor

No Call for Bad Names

Dear New Bay Times:

The reach of your New Bay Times has stretched far beyond the limits of the unique estuary eco-system that you inhabit and enjoy. Here in a polluted little pocket of paradise beset with many troubles and so often little hope, it is truly refreshing to see the work of people dedicated to communication, understanding and genuine quest for the common good, as well as concern for our planet’s ability to provide for us.

Your paper is obviously a professional labor of love, and my only regret is that after many years as a journalist, the first letter to the editor that I get to write gives me no call to scream and rant and call you bad names.

I do, however, expect someday to read the full story of that Bay monster named Chessie.

Thomas Long

San Salvador

Central America

Humorist / Songwriter / Singer

Dear New Bay Times:

New Bay Times is quite an endeavor.

I especially like the photo of Burton on the Bay. He reminds me of a Sunday comic called “Cappy Dick,” which was filled with tips for fun-seeking boys and girls. For example, “Hey kids, when you’re walking down the street, don’t be bored. Why not count things?” (illustrated with a body in red sweater vest, counting “127 trees, 39 birds, 17 houses …”)

Each week closed with a grizzled Cappy Dick, snarling through the pipe clenched in his teeth: “Cappy Dick says ‘Get busy, kids.’”

Could Burton on the Bay be the original Cappy Dick?

I congratulate you on the newspaper. I hope it does fabulously. But if it doesn’t, remember —

Cappy Dick says “Get busy, kids.”

Dan Hunter

Des Moines, Iowa

Green for Green

Dear New Bay Times:

Thanks for your good article on the “Greening of Annapolis” (Vol. 1: 15), which brought the Alliance for Sustainable Communities

a volunteer landscape architect and a contribution of $50!

Anne Pearson

Annapolis, Md.

Hungry for Crabs and Info

Dear New Bay Times:

I’m trying to form an opinion. I need is information. What I want to know is just how bad are our Bay shellfish doing.

I like the fun of taking crabs and eating crabs but I would be willing to give it up for a few years so there will be plenty in the longrun. I’d be willing — as long as I didn’t see a commercial boat coming home overfilled with what I couldn’t catch. If there’s going to be regulation, I think it should start with commercial fishermen before us guys who catch a couple of bushels now and again for ourselves.

And if there’s a real danger, DNR should be doing more than posting signs that everybody ignores.

Jeff Norman

Holiday Beach, Md.

Unexpected Pleasures

Dear New Bay Times:

Reading Eli Flam’s article about books on the Bay (Vol. 1: 17), my eye fell on the words “Unexpected Pleasures” and as I began reading, I said, “Who could possibly know about these books of mine?” Then I looked for the author’s name, and it all clicked. It’s always good to see something Eli’s written.

Phyllis Naylor

Bethesda, Md.

Miss Ethel, 105, Looks Ahead

Dear New Bay Times:

I have just finished reading the contents of New Bay Times, Vol. 1. No. 19 (December 30-January 12) and found my picture leading the pages, “Faces of the Bay.” It is very interesting and I thank you for making the paper. I do enjoy the copies.

Each copy opens up a new idea in reference to the Great Chesapeake, of which we are all so proud.

All my lifetime has been spent viewing the river and Bay, so great for the oystermen and for fishermen and just plain viewers. My home was located on Parish Creek. My new home for the last 25 years — the home of my daughter and her husband — also gives me a special view of West River and the Bay. I’m sure the joy the pictures give me has created the unusual health now in its 105th year without a pain.

For years, my parents and later I ran a summer hotel for guests who would come on the steamer Emma Giles from Baltimore City to piers in West River and stay at hotels or boarding houses (then called).

There were no automobiles in 1900. After 1932, when autos began to make themselves felt, the Emma Giles ceased to come to the rivers and guests came to the rivers using vehicles on wheels run by a gasoline engine.

Deale and Shady Side began to grow up with their lovely shorelines, every city person wanted a home on the water.

Let’s go back to the picture in the paper. I certainly look terrible but God gave me 105 years on this “great ball.” He let me stay perfectly well. I taught as principal of the elementary school 41 years and served as postmistress, then fourth class, for 30 years. No one wanted the office when my father became its first postmaster.

Thank you for the unusual page in New Bay Times.

Your writers have called on me, and they are intelligent people. Keep up your good work. Be positive and uplifting. You have a splendid opportunity to give new ideas of “good.”

Drop in to see me, an old citizen who loves writers who keep the public thinking.

Ethel Andrews

Shady Side, Md.

Toasting Fathers

Dear New Bay Times:

Thanks for the richly anecdotal “Toast to Gene” in your December 1 issue. As a beneficiary of his hospitality and humor for these last 36 years, I chuckled my way through your aptly drawn word portrait. May we all honor his memory by living our lives with “style and abundance.”

P.S. On my holiday visit to the cemetery where both he and my father are buried, I took some oysters.

Linda Claire Kulla

St. Louis, Mo.

Paradise Found

Dear New Bay Times:

It’s been over a year since we left San Diego for the hamlet of Fairhaven, nestled at the apex of Herring Bay in Anne Arundel County.

Most of our Southern California friends thought we were nearing lunacy to leave paradise, where a solid city of over 20 million people stretches from Los Angeles to Mexico.

“It snows back there,” they warned. "Your heating costs will bankrupt you, and then the summer will cook you. You’ll be back to paradise in no time.”

That’s not what happened. My kids thanked me for moving us here. I guess they didn’t know we’d left paradise. “What’s wrong with you kids?” I asked. “Don’t you miss the manicured lawns, the eight-lane freeways, the Zoo (animal and otherwise), the always-the-same-weather and the neighborhood gangs?”

Sally and I discovered the new freedom of not worrying where the kids were every minute. It was safe to walk around our new neighborhood. The kids could now wander over hill, dale and beach; in San Diego they were not allowed to leave our yard. The kids learned to crab, to search for and classify fossils and to discover new bugs, birds and snakes. Even our three year-old got into the act with his frequent trips “over the hill” to go see Ed, the newly adopted granddad.

We met more families in a week than we had in a year in California, and we enjoy a community spirit that is difficult to cultivate in large cities. I found myself experiencing what it must have been like for my parents growing up when there was less crime, less TV and more discovery.

We have now experienced the full cycle of winter, spring, summer and fall. We haven’t succumbed to heating bills yet; in fact we have plenty of firewood gleaned from the occasional trimmed or downed tree. We haven’t frozen to death, instead enjoying the cold, the cozy fires and snow sports.

A flock of swans visited our back yard in winter. Spring was such an explosion of life and fresh breezes that I was practically in sensory overload. While the summer heat got pretty oppressive, we enjoyed the water (boating, swimming and beachcombing) and wildlife. In California, on the other hand, I experienced “seasonal change deprivation syndrome.” We had to drive to the mountains to sample a few hours of winter.

My California friends say we don’t know what we’re missing. I think we do.

Lynn Yates, Fairhaven

What Others Are Saying

“… A newcomer on the scene is New Bay Times, a lively, well-written and eclectic publication now nearly a year old and published twice monthly, from Deale, Md.

“For fans of Bill Burton, longtime outdoor writer for The Evening Sun, New Bay Times is where he ‘retired’ his column.”

Tom Horton

“A Guide to Some Armchair Exploring on the Bay”

The Baltimore Sun: January 8, 1994

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Not Just For Kids

A Dog and a Wolf

Once a thin hungry wolf met a strong dog on the road and they started to talk. The wolf wanted to know how the dog came to be so well fed.

“Why,” replied the dog, “I keep strangers away from my master’s house and I have very good food, drink and shelter for my work. Why don’t you come along and act like me? You may be well cared for too.”

The wolf walked a ways with the dog.

Then he asked, “Brother, what’s that place around your neck that’s bare of hair?”

“Oh, that’s just where my collar rubs,” said the dog. “It’s nothing.”

“No,” said the wolf, turning back, “if there’s a collar in the deal, I’ll not sell my freedom for a bite to eat.”

Moral: It’s a comfort to have good food and warm lodging, but to sell your freedom to feed your stomach is a hard bargain.

Artist in the Spotlight: Alexander Calder

by Sonia Linebaugh

Children of all ages enjoy the sculptures of Alexander Calder. Sculptures are statues of plaster, stone, metal, plastic or wood. Sometimes these sculptures look like people. Sometimes they are just interesting shapes—like squares and triangles and circles.

Mr. Calder was a very playful sculptor. He made wire sculptures that look like little circus clowns, acrobats and animals. He made pull-toys for children. Most famous are his hanging sculptures, called mobiles. You can see mobiles he made at the East Wing of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. A huge one that moves s-l-o-w-l-y hangs from the ceiling in the main lobby. It’s fun to watch the large red, blue and black shapes move as you walk up the stairs.


Some of Alexander Calder’s mobiles look like fish or other animals. You can make a fish mobile for yourself.

You’ll need: 2 metal hangers, a pair of pliers; thin wire, string or heavy thread; 3 pieces of construction paper

Here’s what to do:

1. Cut the hook and twist of wire off both hangers with the pliers. Discard this part.

2. Take the remaining pieces of wire and straighten out one bend in each. Curve the other end in a semi-circle so it looks like a number 2 with a long foot.

3. Put the two semi-circular parts together so the long sides are away from each other. Wind wire or string securely around the semi-circle. This is the mouth of your fish.

4. Cross the two long wires a few inches from the ends and secure them with wire or string. This gives your fish a tail.

5. If you’re using wire, make a coil and hang it from top edge of the fish to form an eye. If you’re using string, cut a large eye from construction paper and use the string to hang it in place.

6. Now cut various small shapes from your paper. Punch a hole in each one and tie it with some string to the top rod. Make the string a different length on each one—but don’t let it go past the bottom rod. Be sure to put some pieces in the tail area.

7. Cut a fin shape out of your paper. Tie it from the bottom rod so that it hangs down from your fish.

8. Now you need to hang up your fish. Try looping a piece of wire or string around the top rod and holding the fish up by the string to see if it hangs straight. If it doesn’t, move the string forward or backward until the fish hangs level. Then tie it tight. Make another knot further up the string and ask an adult to put up a hook to hang the fish.

The Untimely Demise of Lord Herrington

Excerpt from The True Story of the Wonderful and Cantankerous Sir William by Sonia L. Linebaugh ©1993

When Sir William and Lord Herrington were a bit taller than the leg of a chair, they started spending their days outside in a gooseyard fenced in with four-foot-high chickenwire on wooden posts. There they quickly ate all the grass, avoiding only the weeds. Soon Mom decided that they were a big enough nuisance in the house that they could stay out at night, too. The yard seemed securely fenced, and she had read that a full-grown goose could keep away any wild animals. These two geese weren’t yet full-grown.

A few days later, as Mom and Darin and Stephanie ate breakfast by the kitchen window, Mom saw something alarming in the back yard. Knowing how tenderhearted Stephanie felt about the geese, she tried to distract her while asking Darin to take a look. Stephanie looked, too, and began to cry.

A wild animal, probably a raccoon, had gotten over or under the fence and killed Herrington during the night. It was an ugly sight. Feathers were everywhere. Sir William was running around the goose yard making loud cries of a kind they’d never heard from him before.

Mom sent Darin to take Sir William to Stephanie on the front porch while she set to work cleaning up the evidence and burying Lord Herrington under the elm tree.

Darin soon went off to school, but Stephanie wouldn’t leave William, who was still honking pitifully. You can imagine how surprised the school secretary was when Mom called to say that Stephanie wouldn’t be in school because a pet goose had died and she had to comfort his brother!

Stephanie spent all that day crying with William. He made such a racket that neighbors came by to ask what was wrong and to offer him sympathy.

William was never quite the same after that, and it’s about then that he started to think that Stephanie was a goose, too.

Dad built William a sturdy pen to stay in at night and helped Mom bring home two baby geese to be his new companions. But that’s another story.

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Why Count Your Chickens

When You Can Conjure up Rockfish?

One swallow maketh not a summer. Ah, but one big rock can make a day of fishing. And that’s how things shape up for spring fishing in Chesapeake Bay.

Our prediction of a couple months ago appears to be holding up. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources has officially proposed a spring trophy rockfish season to hold the interest of anglers to its very end. Thanks to resurgence in rock populations, DNR — with the blessing of the almighty Atlantic Coast Marine Fisheries Commission — has announced intentions of liberalizing the May season.

Unless fisheries managers have a last-minute change of heart (which isn’t expected), spring fishermen will be allowed one rockfish a day (34 inches or more) from May 1 through 31. To those who fished in the good old days before the species began its precipitous decline, that might not sound like much, but let’s not look a gift horse in the mouth — as the English epigrammatist advised back in the mid-1500s when he also wrote that line about sparrows and summer.

Consider that since the lifting of the moratorium, the spring limit for both recreational and charter fishermen was one fish for the entire month — catch it and your season was over — and it had to be 36 inches or bigger.

The potential of switching from one keeper a season to one a day is obvious, but more advantageous to fishermen is dropping the minimum length by two inches. Since the trophy season’s inception two years ago, many, many rock of between 34 and just short of 36 inches were caught and released as mandated.

This coming May, those fish can be legally kept, which should increase overall statistics appreciably. Add to this the opportunity to go out again the next day or thereafter for an encore, and the spring trophy season shapes up as an exciting affair.

Looking back, the first trophy season in 1992 turned up just less than 1,000 trophy rock; last year, 2,000. This year we have a quota of 5,000, which prompts a nagging question or two within those of us who harbor an occasional pessimistic thought. Such as:

Q. Is this so liberal that we will endanger basic brood stocks?

DNR’s rockfish specialist Steve Early assures us that the 5,000 fish removed from the coastal population poses no threat whatsoever. We’re far below a mortality rate of 20 percent of coastal stocks, the fishery is improving dramatically, and the fish are available, he said at a recent meeting in Annapolis. So much for the first question, though I have reservations about suggestions that fish we could catch, but don’t, could be taken by other fishermen elsewhere along the coast.

This let’s-get-them-or-someone-else-will approach is bothersome, and probably Early didn’t mean it literally. It was more a comment concerning fishing pressure elsewhere along the coast where seasons are much longer — though not necessarily much more liberal — and are directed to large migratory fish.

Despite all the restrictions, we of the Chesapeake catch the lion’s share of striped bass. Fisheries managers all along the coast are aware of that; some howl about “slaughters” elsewhere, but statistics don’t back them up.

Several months ago, in little more than a footnote, this column suggested Marylanders were actually taking a disproportionate share of the coastal catch, but offered no definite statistics. They weren’t available at the time.

Conservative-minded Al Goetz, a former Maryland representative of Coastal Fisheries, attended the Annapolis meeting armed with figures he had just received from the commission. Let’s take a look:

• In 1990, Marylanders caught 25 percent of all rockfish taken by numbers, 17.3 percent by overall weight.

• In 1991, Marylanders took 33 1/2 percent of all rockfish caught, 19.6 percent by weight.

• In 1992, Marylanders took 44 1/2 percent of all rock caught, 28.2 percent by weight.

Among fishermen from North Carolina to Maine, Marylanders have little to complain about. And this is not meant to be a complaint.

We were the first state to make the sacrifice (though we procrastinated for too many years), and since we have dedicated more time, effort and money to species management than any other state — possibly as much as most or all other states combined.

So let’s not ask for too much; instead, accept graciously and gratefully what we finally have achieved. Better late than never is the way Heywood put it more than 500 years ago.

Q: Can we plan on a full-term fishing season?

Early predicts the spring season will run its full 31-day course. Rich Novotny, executive director of 6,000-member Maryland Saltwater Sportsfishermen’s Association, thinks otherwise. At Annapolis, Novotny said that he imagined the reduced length limit would allow many more keepers to be taken — and thus require DNR to abort the season.

This would disrupt plans of those who intend to fish later in the month. It would also be a poor public relations move for DNR, which in the past has closed or lengthened fall recreational seasons because anglers were exceeding or not meeting predetermined quotas.

Early couldn’t promise the trophy season would run its full course, but who can? His educated guess is good enough for me; we can’t ask for anything better — not when fisheries managers must make decisions by deadlines with no guarantees of what weather will be like months later.

A cold and wet spring could delay spawning; warm and dry weather could hasten it. Weather also affects fishing success. Too many factors are involved to guarantee accuracy, though constant monitoring of catches can insure that we won’t remove too many rockfish from the migratory stock.

The Saltwater Sportsfishermen’s Association suggests a limit of three oversize spring rockfish to ensure the season runs through May, but this would mean the additional cost of extra permits. If the catch rate exceeds what’s expected, however, it could avoid a season shortened at the expense of those who can’t fish as often.

On the other hand, imposition of a three-fish-a-season rule could restrict Maryland anglers as a whole from catching the allotted quota if catches are not so good.

Given that a catch of 5,000 fish won’t harm coastal stocks, why not go with DNR’s proposal and as Heywood advised, When the sun shineth, make hay?

Remember, at the offset of the 1993 fall season, most everyone predicted sportsfishermen would meet their quota of 892,500 pounds. Yet when catches were slower than anticipated, the season was extended two additional weeks.

Even with the extension, the recreational catch was 632,793 pounds, far short of the 892,500-pound quota. On the other hand, charterboats exceeded their quota of 315,000 pounds with a catch of 350,000 pounds. That was opposite from previous years, when recreational fishermen topped their allotment while charter interests didn’t fulfill theirs.

All of which reminds us that predictions on fish and fishing, one can only be based on good information — and hope. DNR appears to be on that track.

Incidentally, Early did predict that in the future there could be even more liberalization of spring trophy rockfish regulations, though he couldn’t elaborate because futures depend on continued improvement of stocks. Maybe there’ll be a longer spring season — though not opening earlier than May 1. Fisheries managers want to be sure most female spawners have completed their mission before fishing begins.

Additional days would come in June. Additional creel limits are another possibility somewhere down the line, but don’t look for easing restrictions that bar trophy fishing north of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.

Admittedly the Bay Bridge boundary is inconvenient for the many thousands of fishermen who sail out of upper Bay ports, but let us not forget that some rockfish spawn in the upper Bay, and the intent of springtime regulations is to protect fish on the spawning grounds. Trophy fishing is limited to the Chesapeake Bay proper to protect traditional spawning in the tributaries plus open waters of the upper Bay where there is some spawning.

It has been suggested that the boundary be moved a mile or two north of the Bay Bridge, which would probably not affect much spawning, but poses another concern. The Bay bridge is a visible barrier, much more distinct than, say, an invisible line that runs from the mouth of the Patapsco River to Swan Point. What an enforcement dilemma this could induce on heavily overcast days or among fishermen unfamiliar with landmarks!

Also, consider that the more salinity, the less the mortality to fish caught and released. The saltier the water, the more fish can cope with the injuries and stress of fight. Salinity levels drop appreciably above the Bay Bridge. So, let’s put that matter to rest.

Probably the future will bring no changes in bait regulations for spring, either. Only artificial baits are allowed in the trophy season to lessen chances for mortality due to barbs set too deeply. However, chumming is now — and probably always will be — allowed if fishermen fish the chum with artificial lures.

As Early said, we’re never going back to the good old days of catch all you can, but things will probably get better. With a 34-inch minimum in springtime, one even wonders whether the spring season should continue under the guise of a “trophy” season. A 36-incher is a legitimate trophy, but is a 34-incher? It depends on who’s catching it.

One final word from our friend John Heywood: A penny for your thoughts.

Your thoughts count with DNR, whether you think so or not. Many times proposals have been modified to accommodate dissenters .

Early invites phone calls or written comments. The deadline is Jan. 24. Call 410/974-3733, or write Steve Early, Assistant to the Director; Fisheries Division: DNR; Tawes State Office Building; Annapolis, Md. 21401.

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Laughing Gourmet

From Sara’s Kitchen in Prince Frederick Comes

Pure Sin in Twenty-Five Flavors

We know where it goes, all those sweet slices of Pure Sin devoured for holiday treats. Such goodies are why diets are every New Year’s most impossible resolutions.

But where does Pure Sin come from?

Some of the thickest, richest, creamest pies and cakes — bringing joy and remorse from Solomons to Annapolis — come from Sara’s Kitchen, which is about as close to home as boughten sweets can get.

“I bake what people would make themselves — if they had the time,” says 32-year-old Sara Bowen of Calvert County.

Imagine what you could make if you spent whole days in the kitchen concocting your wildest fantasies with never a thought to balanced meals. Sara does just that. By night she must dream dreams of sweet decadence. Naturally. Everything in her kitchen is “made with real everything. No preservatives, no shelf life, high cholosterol, and truly scrumptious.”

Kahlua Swirl Cheesecake. Pure Sin, Chocolate Mousse, Kentucky Derby, Margarita, Mississippi Mud, and Pecan (Southern or Chocolate Bourbon) pies. Fresh, uncooked fruit pies of blueberry, peach and strawberry, topped with heavy whipped cream …

By day, to make those dreams come true, Sara searches recipe books, hunting out historical and regional greats. She quizzes friends for the most succulent recipes. She bakes trial after trial until she achieves perfection. Never mind how many imperfections have to be thrown out along the way. Nor how many years perfection demands (her record is three). Five cakes, seven cheese cakes, 25 sweet pies, and eight savory quiches are, Sara thinks, there.

Three-layer German Chocolate Cake. Caramel-Chocolate Chunk Cheesecake. Butterscotch Meringue, Lemon Mousse, Peanut Butter, Pina Colada, and Sweet Potato pies. Quiches stuffed full of broccoli or spinach.

Imagine the ideal view out your kitchen window. Wouldn’t you like to glance up from your hot stove to see swans on the wide, glittering Patuxent? Sara does.

Her kitchen stands on land that’s belonged to Bowens since the days when Calverts were lords. Her father and marketing adviser is retired Calvert County Judge Perry G. Bowen Jr. Her mother, Virginia, is her baking mentor and partner, in charge of cheesecakes and meringue pies. Mother drives the refrigerated truck on Tuesday’s deliveries; Sara on Friday’s.

Working whatever hours she likes out of her own kitchen in the back quarters of the old home where she grew up, now fully equipped and state-inspected, is Sara’s ideal job. She hopes to do it till she’s “old and gray.”

But to come home, this favored child of fortune and old blood had bases to cross. On her own in Hartford County, she worked as a homemaker for senior citizens. She washed dishes, waitressed and cooked at Annapolis’ Crate Cafe. Her next step, cooking school in Washington, D.C., took her back to work she’d always liked — and the maturing responsibility of long hours and hard work.

At summer’s pace, when pies are selling like hotcakes at Calvert County’s Farmers’ Market on Rt. 2-4, Sara bakes 30 to 40 pies and cakes daily in four or five varieties. Many of those go to her regular commercial customers, where you’ve no doubt been tempted by — and are likely to have sampled — one of Sara’s treats, at restaurants from Solomons to Annapolis.

At the Christmas season just past, Sara was pretty busy, again. Her brother, Perry III, a local farmer and craftsman, filled the market with trees, crafts, and Sara’s cakes and pies. Not satisfied with such favorites as Apple Nut Crumb and Key Lime, she added holiday specials: her Derby Pie is loaded with pecans, chocolate chips, candied fruit, rum and bourbon. Her yet-to-be perfected Christmas Truffle Pie will layer chocolate and white candy truffles in a fudge pie shell.

Come Easter, she’ll be baking fresh strawberry pies.

“My kitchen is my marriage,” Sara says. So she’s passionate about the quality of chocolate: the origin of fruit (strictly fresh in summer; frozen in winter. No syrupy canned filling for Sara, thank you); the consistency of pie crust (hers has a secret liquid ingredient); the authenticity of ingredients (everything, including liquors for flavoring, is real); the proper way to bake a quiche (hers have two layers of filling, each baked 30 minutes). Sara cooks only to order; her baked goods are never frozen.

Sara thinks big as well as good. Her three-layer German Chocolate Cake is stuffed with 3 pounds of filling. Her pies and quiches weigh four pounds each. As a main course, a single quiche can satisfy six big eaters. Two pounds of apples go into each apple pie. “A pie you’re going to pay $11 for better have two pounds of apples in it and plenty of pecans!” she says.

Like all of us, Sara knows only too well where goodies such as hers go. A class at Calvert Memorial Hospital taught her “how wicked her business is,” so she’s trained herself to stay away from chocolate chips — even though a case of the very best Hershey’s chips is always open before her.

Good luck on those New Year’s resolutions.

Sara welcomes orders with 48 hours notice. Her delivery minimum is four items: 410/535-0732. Or sample pies, cakes and occasional quiches from Sara’s Kitchen at these spots

Anne Arundel County: Crate Cafe (Annapolis); Adam’s Rib (Edgewater)

Calvert County: Adam’s Rib and Sea Breeze (Chesapeake Beach) Benny’s (Dunkirk); Adam’s Rib (Prince Frederick); Gateway (St. Leonard); Lighthouse Inn (Solomons)

Charles County: Chappelears

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Green Politics

Green is the favorite color of any politician running for office. If you don’t have the green stuff, you don’t have a campaign. Green is also the favorite shade of politics for some Bay area voters. They’ve organized an environmental Political Action Committee or PAC.

The Anne Arundel Voters for Environmental Justice is open to all registered voters in the county. Its mission is to “work to elect those candidates with convincing environmental justice platforms and records.”

The PAC will support candidates for state and local offices and for committees, courts and boards. After interviewing candidates, PAC members will hold an open discussion at a convention, then vote on the endorsements.

On the green voters want-list are more natural and recreational public open space; building codes that improve energy efficiency; 65 percent county-wide recycling and reduced use of toxic chemicals by businesses.

Organizers of the new PAC know they won’t be able to compete against the big players who pump hundreds of thousands of dollars into campaigns. But these local voters say they'll at least be in the game. Member Jim Martin explains, “What we want to try to do is to provide money to meet special needs within a campaign ... be a shot in the arm where needed.”

The group’s next meeting is January 19, 7:00PM at the Community Center at 251 West St. in Annapolis.

Radon Returns

Radon is back in the news this month. This time the Anne Arundel County Health Department is sounding the alarm.

Eighteen percent of 117 homes recently surveyed, most in the southern part of the county, had radon levels above EPA guidelines. That’s risk enough to recommend you testing your house for radon, the health department concluded. Johns Hopkins University also named radon an important environmental health issue for AA County.

Remember, you can’t smell or see this radioactive gas, but it can hurt you. It’s the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking.

For more information on the naturally occurring gas, call the Maryland Radon Hotline: 800/872-3666.

Trustees for the Land

This time of the year, it’s nice to watch the Bay’s winter character evolve.

Easier said than done. Getting to the Bay can be difficult if you’re not part of a private community.

Some residents in Calvert County want to change that, making it easier for anyone to take a stroll along the Bay anytime of the year. The Plum Point Environmental Land Trust was formed in 1991 by residents who wanted to help preserve open space in Calvert County.

Now the Trust is trying to buy the Neeld Family Farm, a 180-acre tract with 20 acres fronting directly on the Bay. It’s a natural for preservation because 90 percent of the total acreage is within the Bay’s critical area. The farm includes a beach, forest, wetlands, even peach and apple orchards.

Land Trust President Jim Odgers says it would be a great place for walking, canoe launching and other passive recreation. His goal is to purchase the farm for the Trust and send developers to work in areas that can better accommodate density. “We’re not anti-growth, anti-development. We just want to see open space and sensitive areas preserved and the county develop in an orderly manner to preserve its rural character,” Odgers explains.

Volunteers with the Land Trust have been working for two years to buy the Neeld Farm. Now they’re close to making a deal and hope for a contract by April. To fund the purchase, the Trust is counting on grants, public contributions and the county government. Odgers says they’re also counting on the Calvert County Commission’s Revolving Open Space Loan Fund. The Trust hopes to borrow money from the county’s fund, buy the property, then pay the money back, making it available for other projects.

If the Trust gets the Neeld property, it will need help to keep the project going. Volunteers will be needed to make time and money commitments to staff the preserve and help repay the loan. So far, about 200 residents have signed up as Trust members.

Odgers started the Plum Point Environmental Land Trust as one concerned resident. Now he urges his county and regional neighbors to get involved. “When I saw so many farms being sold and developed, I wondered what could be done to preserve property. Land trust was the answer because it is a non-profit, non-political and tax-exempt charitable organization to preserve land.”

Reach the Trust at 410/535-LAND.

Not In My Back Yard

Most forward-thinking folks agree that composting may be the wisest way to deal with garbage. You don’t bury it forever in a landfill and you don’t throw it in a furnace, where it can combine with other stuff to create nasty byproducts.

But instead of moving ahead, the Anne Arundel County Council backed away from a composting plan when they gathered for their first meeting of 1994. South county residents successfully argued that the plan was ill conceived and would threaten rural homes.

“I do not want one of these things 300 feet from where I live; I have enough trouble now,” complained Rhonda Zinn, of Harwood.

The council took the politicians’ path of least resistance; they set up a committee to study the plan.

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Who Is Here

In The Air

We’ve had unusual holiday visitors: a Hooded Merganser, Loggerhead Shrike and Savannah Sparrow.

The birds were sighted during the annual winter bird count at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center near Edgewater. Each winter holiday, Smithsonian scientist Dr. Jim Lynch leads volunteers across the property in search of visiting and resident birds. This year, 10 volunteers combed the 70 square kilometer count area, which is small by some standards, about five percent the size of the Audubon Christmas count circles.

Though volunteers were few and area small, a near-record high of 68 species turned up. This is the first time in 12 years of counting that the Hooded Merganser, Loggerhead Shrike and Savannah Sparrow have been seen. It’s especially unusual to find a Loggerhead Shrike in our neighborhood, Lynch says. That bird is rare in the mid-Atlantic, with only three breeding pairs in Maryland. “Of all the songbirds, this Shrike is one of the ones that has shown the biggest decline in the US. It’s so rare in Maryland, it might as well be extinct,” says he.

According to the ornithologist, you can’t draw any conclusions from the fact that these species were found this year ... it doesn’t point to any trend. Lynch and his volunteers will have to count birds for many Januarys to come before a pattern or change could be confirmed.

Other interesting sightings included three Bald Eagles, two Gray Catbirds and one Great Horned Owl — none of which have been seen at Edgewater since the mid 1980s.

The count took place during the Christmas/New Year holiday, but there was no sighting of a partridge in a pear tree.

A group of Savannah Sparrows also visited a Fairhaven bird feeder. These first-time visitors have the general brown and buff markings of most sparrows but are distinguished by yellow stripes above and below a dark brown stripe through the eye and a pale buff crown stripe.

Fairhaveners boast of the regular company of Bald Eagles. On a sunny afternoon in the second weekend of January, an eagle soared whiteheaded and tailed against a deep blue sky high above the salt marsh.

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Clean Green

Kevin Mackessy

How can you be an environmentally conscientious consumer of cleaning chemicals when product labels read like scientific formulas? Can “extra-strength” mean extra-deadly?

Yes, to the second question. “Many household cleaners are made from a menu of solvents and complex chemicals — many of them petroleum products — that certainly remove dirt but also create problems throughout their entire life cycle,” says Greenpeace chemist Pat Costner of Eureka Springs, Arkansas. The stuff that’s tough to pronounce on the label is often just as hard on Mother Nature. In manufacture, it consumes energy and creates waste and pollution. After your plastic bottle or cardboard box is empty, its high-tech contents hang around, polluting water, threatening wildlife and plants.

Avoid anything but the simplest products, Costner advises.

How about question No. 1? What’s your alternative?

Begin by learning more. Read Annie Berthold-Bond’s Clean and Green, where you’ll find environmentally sound cleaning products to compete with Mr. Clean. Read “Green Consumer” in each issue of New Bay Times to learn about safe commercial products and home cleaning brews. While you’re at it, try out the do-good (clean house /clean environment) products advertised in our pages.

Here are some safe alternatives you can make from ingredients you’re likely to have around the house:

•Baking soda: For absorbing odors and deodorizing. It’s a mild abrasive so it’s a good scrubber safe enough to use inside the fridge.

•Borax: It disinfects, deodorizes, and inhibits mold growth so you’ll find plenty of places to use it in a region as damp and moldy as ours.

•Cream of Tartar: Snatch it from the back of your spice cabinet and use it to clean porcelain, drains and metal.

•Salt: A non-scratchy abrasive, it inhibits bacteria; use it to supercharge your baking soda scrubbing powder.

Try these home brews instead of store-bought toxics.

Window Cleaner

•Mix 1/4 to 1/2 t vegetable-oil-based liquid soap, three T vinegar and two C water. Put in a spray bottle, shake and squirt.

•Mix 1/8 Cup vinegar and 1 Cup of water. Put in a spray bottle, shake and squirt.

Scouring Powders

•Pour 1/2C baking soda into a bowl. Coat a damp sponge with soda and begin scouring.

•Mix 1/4 C of Borax with enough vegetable-oil-based soap to make a paste. Rub surface with a sponge and wipe clean.

Disinfectants and Mold Cleaners

•Mix some lavendar oil with Borax and clean as needed.

•Add a few drops of pine oil to the cleaning formula of your choice.

•Use full-strength vinegar on a sponge and rub moldy area.

•Sprinkle baking soda or cornstarch over carpets, let stand overnight, vacuum.

•An open dish of vinegar will remove many odors.

Furniture Polish

•Mix 1 part lemon juice and 2 parts olive or vegetable oil. Rub with a soft cloth.

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The Other Side of the Creek

Audrey Y. Scharmen

This place where I live — on the shore of a wide deep creek near the Chesapeake — is part of a great scar carved into the woodlands back in the 1950s long before I came here. No rules or regulations existed then to prevent the first builders from bulldozing everything in their path. And many did — without a thought of those who would come after.

There are no trees but the ghosts of wild dogwoods, laurel and enormous hardwoods and pines on these pampered green slopes where houses bump elbows amid ubiquitous gardens of azaleas. Thus, a couple of years ago, I planted in this yard beside the creek a pair of knee-high sapling paulownias — little long-legged princesses that grew quickly tall and slender and produced their first flowers last spring.

A neighbor said my trees spoiled the waterfront view.

Quite the opposite, they enhance the view — and the environment. Before planting those trees, I envisioned blue water through purple clouds of fragrant spring blossoms; sultry summer shimmer of bottle green beyond the big cool leaves; and skim-ice framed by graceful grey boughs in winter. I conjured an entire royal family eventually holding court here on this shore years hence. I imagined a resurrection of those phantom forest — a kind of arboreal memorial to those slaughtered ones. My paulownias, woodland goddesses of fertility, would bring me this.

And I considered the new settlers who came recently to live on the other side of the creek. They look at this monotonously bulkheaded and barbered side. Their dwellings fit snuggly into the woodland in harmony with Nature.

They have unselfishly preserved the white blossoms of spring and blazing hues of autumn; the thicket of pines where a trio of herons roost and an eagle sometimes perches; the ragged banks that have housed generations of sassy kingfishers and the grassy shallows where a great white egret summers.

Now, in winter, in the rosy dawn — before the wind rises; before the buffleheads and loons come with an entourage of gulls to stir up the creek; and before a lone waterman’s boat rouses from slumber to stagger sleepily toward the Bay — images of primitive Indian Shamans, exotic animals and fierce warriors seem to lie along that far shoreline. They are reflections of the bare bones and broken limbs of trees, of silken bronze grasses and the fine earthy tones of the raw banks. They are eerie reproductions of a past when Nature was revered.

And over on this shore two bluebirds perch in the first glow of the morning sun on the crown of a princess — one that has grown tall enough now to cast her first reflection in the creek ...

Audrey Scharmen plants her trees near Lusby, Maryland.

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Diversionary Bathing

by Sandra Martin

We Americans are kidding ourselves. Just how dirty do we get that — without our daily baths or showers — we’re unclean?

Being a kid is a dirty job. But kids go kicking and screaming to their baths. How many of the rest of American gets that dirty at work? Farmers? Steelworkers? Ditchdiggers? Miners? Cooks? Newspaper handlers?

For most of this century, the production economy that once dirtied America’s hands has been diminishing — while at the same time indoor plumbing and our addiction to hot water have soared.

Clearly, we’re not using all that hot water to scrub off good old fashioned dirt. Those are daily comfort baths and showers we’re indulging.

What Feels As Soothing?

No wonder. What feels as soothing as a steaming tub? Especially a deep one you can submerge in like a submarine, with only your nose as a periscope. To expose other body parts like icebergs spoils the pleasure. Baths improve with bubbles, ideally from two sources: fragrant, bubbling oils and an energetic agitator. Then you soak till you’re limp as a boiled eggplant, rosy as a steamed crab. When you crawl out, all your troubles are left behind in the lukewarm broth.

January and February bring joy to serious diversionary bathers. What better season to indulge the soothing pleasures of the steaming tub than now? When weather is likely to err on the side of chill … When the Bay’s moderate summer temperatures have dropped to bone-chilling low forties … When all outdoor sports leave you cold … When many classy seasonal hotels lower their rates for fine rooms and suites with hot tubs … When the Chesapeake shows you its winter face …

From bridge to bridge on both shores, here are some of our favorite stops for diversionary winter bathing. For more choices, try AAA’s Mid-Atlantic TourBook (800/AAA-HELP).


Staying in downtown Annapolis lets you sample the best and worst of life in a very old city. Staying on the outskirts gives you the same modern extremes. Either city offers hot water to complement winter weather:

Econo Lodge is highway bound outside the quaint old city, but that’s redeemed in nine (of 68) rooms with whirlpool. You’ll pay slightly less than summer, but still city rates: up to $90. (410/224-6010).

Governor Calvert House: This historic hotel lets you keep watch on the Capitol — and for that privilege (among others) you pay a big price: up to $250 for either of the two suites with whirlpools. (410/263-2641).

State House Inn offers many of the same charms as the Governor Calvert House for about the same price — and you get breakfast with your bed and bath in five of the inn’s 137 rooms. (410/263-2641).

Solomons, Md.

Solomons gets to be a real town rather than a resort this time of year, whose attractions are natural: the big, deep Patuxent River on one side and miles of snug harbor on the other. Wander at your leisure without the crowds. Then retreat for your diversionary bathing to:

Comfort Inn at Beacon Marina: 10 rooms in this Solomons-scale hotel are fitted with ample-2 person whirlpools right in your bedroom. Climb up the steps in your bathroom and open the mirrored doors to get in — after you’ve paid close to $100 (410/326-6303).

Holiday Inn: This inn, modern inside and out, brings little Solomons right in step with modern times. Six suites — “overly large rooms” overlooking the water of Back Creek— have the added comfort of whirlpool tubs in their bath rooms. Price? $160. (410/326-6311)

Rose Haven, Md.

This time of year Rose Haven — a bend in a comely road along a gorgeous Bay front — offers little beside the good food at Herrington on the Bay to distract you from the whirlpools about to be installed in three rooms at the pink and tropical Herrington Inn. More are promised before spring at $110 (410/741-5100).

Cambridge, Md.

This 17th century ocean port remains a lively 20th century town on such a walkable scale that it’s a pleasure to visit by land or by water.

The Econo Lodge here has 101 rooms; only two of them have whirlpools, but both are right next door to the heated swimming pool. If you’re into spontaneity don’t count on making one of them yours for a night. Call ahead, but don’t plan on a bargain: year round rates are above $80 (410/221-0800).

Chincoteague, Va.

No, Chincoteague is not the Bay, but Delmarva’s so thin down here and the Bay so salty you can get confused. Consider your Bayward choices: on the Bay, Crisfield has no hot tubs. Inland, Princess Anne has one — in the Econo Lodge on Rt. 13; Pocomoke City, also on fast Rt. 13, offers the Day’s Inn, with an in-tub steam bath in every room; or the Quality Inn, with whirlpools in 13 rooms. Your other choice is to drive 20 minutes through salt marshes to Chincoteague — and understand how salty Bay and Ocean are first cousins.

And you’ll get oceanic off-season bargains.

Assateague Inn, opening on ocean marsh, offers cute suites for under $50 this time of year. There’s only one hot tub, out front in a building of its own, but for the half-hour it’s yours, this blue-lighted wonder is all you could want. (804/336-3738)

Virginia Beach, Va.

Search for the Bay down here and you’ll find it hadden the Ocean. Twenty-nine linear miles of it slap this long, narrow city’s long, narrow beach. Suitably, many hotels here are also long and narrow, though they’re upright. In season, when the ocean’s the thing, any of them might do. Out of season, try the Four Sails, where every room is an ocean-front suite with its own big, roomy whirlpool for about $60 this time of year. (800/227-4213).