Volume 2 Issue 11 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).

Diving into History: The Potomac’s Deadly U-Boat Reflection
1st Person: Learn to Windsurf Like I Did—In a Weekend
Who's Here
Letters to the Editor

Laughing Gourmet Bagels

Dock of the Bay

Making Bagels, From the 17th Century to the 21st

Editorial Joel Makower Trash Busters
Commentary Destinations

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Diving into History: The Potomac’s Deadly U-Boat
by J. Alex Knoll

The Potomac River’s swift currents and brackish waters conceal a tricky World War II German Submarine and a darn good sea story.

Over 50 years ago, in the heat of World War II, Nazi Germany ruled the waters with a fleet of swift, invisible U-Boats. Like Hitler’s “Blitzkrieg” fighter planes, these submarines attacked with surprise and deadliness, wreaking havoc on Allied merchant and military ships.

Today, one of the wiliest of those U-Boats, the 220-foot Black Panther, rests in 85 feet of water, partially buried in sediment, at the bottom of the Potomac River off of Piney Point. She is the site of Maryland’s first underwater dive preserve, offering a glimpse of the past to divers skilled enough to brave the Potomac’s fast moving currents and brackish waters.

A Secret Weapon
Hitler aimed his U-Boats at Allied Europe’s lifeline of aid supplied from the United States. For much of the war, it looked as though he would succeed in severing that lifeline.

Then, in 1942, a new technology pierced the cloaked depths of the oceans with sound waves, and the tide turned. Sound navigation ranging, or SONAR, revealed Germany’s hidden U-Boats to Allied airplanes and ships.
With the tables turned, Germany’s naval commander, Admiral Karl Donitz, searched desperately for a way to silence their submarine fleet.

Submarines’ metal hulls reflected Sonar’s broadcast sound waves back toward the surface. What the Germans sought was a way to make their U-Boats absorb these sound waves like the comparatively soft ocean floor.

Another recent discovery, man-made rubber, did the job. In a process called “Alberich,” the Germans encased their submarines stern to bow in rubber. This was no easy task, costing upwards of 5,000 additional man-hours over nine months for each sub.

With mounting losses, Germany needed her ships at sea, not in dry-dock. In the end, only 10 U-Boats were rubberized.

One of these, the U-1105, nicknamed the “Schwarzer [black] Panther,” for her dark, rubbery hide, was launched on April 20, 1944, just weeks before the D-Day Allied landing at Normandy that sealed Germany’s fate.

Before SONAR, U-Boats’ stalked America’s Atlantic coast. Fearful rumors whispered their presence in the Chesapeake and its tributaries. The rumors remain unsubstantiated; certainly, the Black Panther never prowled the Chesapeake.

During the War, the Black Panther never left European waters.

Then how did the Black Panther, a German ship destined for war, reach U.S. waters and a future of sport and recreation?

For the better part of three decades her tale has been shrouded in mystery and her fate forgotten.

Battle Stations
April 20, 1944. A 25-year-old oberleutnant, Hans-Joachim Schwarz, takes command of U-1105. A year later he is ordered to proceed from the submarine’s home port of Kiel to waters off the coast of Ireland. Her mission upon reaching the western coast of Ireland: attack and sink American ships bringing supplies to Britain.

April 27, 1945. Hovering beneath the surface at periscope level, the U-1105 spies three destroyers patrolling the Allied convoy route. The Germans move quickly, firing a torpedo at the nearing ships.

Launching their attack so close to the surface and so near the enemy, they are discovered. As one of the destroyers moves in, the oberleutnant fires another torpedo, then gives the order to descend.

The Allies release a total of 299 depth charges. But the Black Panther’s SONAR-evading Alberich proves effective, and none of the charges strike the submarine.

Schwarz lets the ship’s ballasts fill, sinking the U-Boat. Otherwise, noise from the bilge pumps could reveal his position.

U-1105 settles on the ocean floor, 570 feet beneath the patrolling Allied ships.

April 28, 1945. Unable to detect the Black Panther, the Allies move beyond SONAR range. Schwarz orders the ship to safer, less crowded waters.

May ?, 1945. Germany surrenders.

May 4, 1945. Schwarz surfaces and proceeds to Loch Eribol, Scotland, where he surrenders his vessel to Allied forces.

Schwarz spends the next three years a prisoner.

The Black Panther would not be so long detained.

Down, Down Again
The U.S. Navy took possession of the U-1105. The Allies had agreed that such spoils of war could be studied but must then be destroyed.

Sections of the Black Panther’s Alberich, her four-millimeter-thick rubber skin, were removed for study, as were her instruments. Many of the U-1105’s innovations, including its rubber sheathing, are now common to both American and Russian submarines.

Next, she was taken across the Atlantic to the Naval Mine Warfare Station at Solomons and readied for demolitions testing.

On ____ _, 1946, the Black Panther was sunk in the Chesapeake’s shallow waters at Point No Point by an experimental depth charge.

Then, in 1949, she was hauled to the surface and towed to the deeper waters of the Potomac River. On September 19 of that year, a Naval demolition team detonated a new two-stage depth charge beneath the floating Black Panther.

The first blast pushed the water out from under the ship’s middle, leaving her suspended for a split-second at fore and aft. Then the second charge exploded, splitting the Black Panther’s exposed underbelly. For the last time, the Black Panther descended. She would remain undisturbed for 36 years.

The Hunt
Somewhere in all the paperwork, naval records transposed two digits in the coordinates of the sunken U-1105, locating it, in theory, out in the Atlantic Ocean.

No one knew any better until diver Uwe Lovas, of Fredericksburg, Va., set out to find the shipwreck.

In 1985, he discovered the Navy’s error and the Black Panther’s new hiding place. That spring, he and two friends braved the Potomac’s icy waters and poor visibility. They failed to find the submarine on their first three dives. But then, on their fourth descent, they found her, half buried in sediment, intact but for the crack spanning her hull just ahead of the conning tower.

Her hatches were still sealed. Venturing inside, the divers found the interior in good condition, with little rust from the river’s low salinity, and paint still clinging to the walls.

Lovas and his friends kept their discovery to themselves until 1991 when they ended the Black Panther’s four decades of stealth.

Today, the U.S. Navy owns the submarine, and the Maryland Historical Trust preserves the Black Panther’s historical integrity.

But as Maryland’s first recreational dive site, the Black Panther is open to anyone with diving skills to match the Potomac’s strong tides and currents, its cold murky water, and its heavy boat congestion. Divers must register at the Piney Point’s Potomac River Museum before descending to the shipwreck.

By all accounts, the Black Panther is the last of her kind.

Such a treasure is not unguarded. Aided by surveillance cameras, the U.S. Coast Guard and Maryland’s Natural Resources Police are keeping watch.

But in the end, after 50 years of hiding, the Black Panther is vulnerable. If you visit, her fate rests in your hands.

1st Person

Sailboats Dropped From the Sky
by Bruce Bauer

“Never saw one of them before.”

That’s a fairly typical comment from yachting bystanders as we ghost close by the head of Pirate’s Cove pier on the West River. The tone is faintly accusatory, as though the outlandish sight was disturbing their tranquillity.

“Some kind of a lifeboat, ain’t it?” sailors in the know remark. Yes, indeed. My sailboat of the Atalanta class did, in fact, originate as a rescue craft.

Here is her story.
Early in World War II, during the short-lived and gentlemanly phase when German U-Boats picked up survivors from ships they had torpedoed, the sentimental British Admiralty looked for ways to rescue all those poor seamen floating forlornly in the Atlantic.

What was needed was something ocean-worthy that could be carried to the scene handily yet big enough to hold sailors plucked from the sea and make distant land. It also had to be simple enough to be turned out on a production line.

To make the Mosquito Bombers that the British sent on daring raids in those dark nights, Fairey Marine of Hamble, England had developed “vacuum molding” technology . The fuselages of these fast, twin-engine planes were molded of plywood to avoid detection by radar.

The wood had another surprising advantage: Mosquitoes were far tougher than metal aircraft and therefore beloved by the many crews they brought back safely to the aerodromes — splinters and all.

The same principle was adapted to the life boat. Twenty six- foot plug molds were shaped and covered with diagonal layers of thin, flexible wood strips. Layers were embedded in one of the first miracle glues, Resorcinol, and sucked into shape tight up against the mold by vacuum. The strength is in the skin, so frames throughout are not needed and the hull is seamless except where it joins the keel timber and the molded deck edge.

The molded lifeboats were strong enough to withstand the water’s impact when they dropped from the sky by parachute. They were also self-righting. Carried by patrol planes such as the four-engine Lancaster, they were dropped to seamen adrift, whose prospect without them was dismal indeed.

In Peacetime, a New Career
After the war, Uffa Fox, the famous British sailboat designer, turned the lifeboat into regular sailboats that could be marketed as yachts. Fox added some freeboard aft and made other changes to accommodate mast, rigging and two 400-plus pound iron keels. The overall shape was retained so that the lifeboat molds could be reused.

Fairey Marine made 186 of the Atalanta class sailboats; many in England and a sprinkling around the world are still sailing. About 20 were imported by George O’Day of Boston and sold in this country. They cost $6400 in the ‘50s, about the same as two new Chevrolets.

O’Day’s brochure advertised Atalanta’s trailer-ability to sailing waters. Not only could it be “towed easily by most automobiles”; one sailor towed a boat to the West Coast, living inside along the way.

New boats could be had with the mahogany hull and topsides clear varnished. They must have been a dazzling sight. The standing rigging is heavy duty beyond belief, with shrouds and stays of 1/4- inch stainless steel and very heavy fittings. The main sheet is 3/4-inch braided nylon with breaking strain of a ton or so. The rig is named “North Sea” to suggest its ability to meet heavy stress.

The twin iron keels — rectangles about five-feet long, 15-inches wide and three-inches thick — are cranked up into compartments with jackscrews so easily that an 11-year-old is “not vexed by the task,” the manual proclaims.

With keels and rudder raised, the draft diminishes to about a foot and a-half, making beaching easy, with the bow coming to rest only a short hop from the dry. This is ideal for the Chesapeake; no dingy is needed to go ashore. Grounded on a beach, the boat sits serenely upright without flopping over as the tide recedes.

And it’s great to be able to sail off from an accidental grounding simply by raising a keel a few turns of the crank.

Although roller-reefing is out of fashion, it serves the Atalanta well. With the main wound down to about the same height as a storm jib, the boat stays fairly erect in a near gale of wind and balances out well. No heavy hauling at the helm is required.

The helm itself is neither wheel nor tiller but a whipstaff. This is a sort of one-spoke wheel connected to the rudder head by cables fairlead around the perimeter of the cuddy cabin aft of the spacious cockpit. The cuddy, by the way, has full prone headroom.

Because of its big fat bow, skinny keels and resultant poor lateral resistance, the Atalanta is rather lugubrious going to windward, but it’s no slouch on a broad reach. In fact, with a brisk wind slightly abaft the beam and the keels retracted, it may plane. Or it may broach if one’s attention is diverted for more than a second.

From Myth to My Slip
The name Atalanta is taken from the Greek myth of a virgin goddess who ran so fast that no man alive could catch her in a race. She dared all hands to try, with matrimony the prize and death to those who failed.

Before he tried, Hippomenes consulted the goddess Venus, who gave him three golden apples which, she said, even the fastest and sassiest female would find irresistible. She was right. Hippomenes dropped them on the track, and caught Atalanta in the backstretch.

Cybele, mother of Zeus, envied the speed of both. She turned them into lions and hitched them to her chariot forever.

Atalanta #103, named Nancy B, now sails out of Town Point Marina and is sometimes seen in Rockhold Creek, Herring Bay and even out in deep water. But only in fair weather. You will know it when you see it.

Wave, but do not ask if I made her myself.

Bruce Bauer, of Mason’s Beach, is a retired Navy commander and destroy captain.

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Incinerate Abderdeen’s Plan

Dear New Bay Times:
U.S. Rep. Wayne Gilchrest, R-Md., is working to prevent the construction of a $489 million incinerator at Aberdeen Proving Ground. The incinerator would be used to burn mustard agent, a chemical and carcinogen that causes blistering.

Aberdeen has a large population within 15 miles of the proposed incinerator. A report says that 300,000 people reside in the area. Aberdeen also is next to the Chesapeake Bay and the incineration of 1,500 tons of mustard agent would add substantial pollution to the Bay, affecting the health of the fish and seafood that Maryland’s watermen catch.

I urge all citizens to contact Gov. William Donald Schaefer, Maryland Senate President Thomas V. “Mike” Miller and Rep. Steny Hoyer and ask them to oppose the construction of the Aberdeen incinerator.

—J. Douglas Parran, St. Leonard

A Rail Of A Good Time

Dear New Bay Times:
Thanks for your marvelous piece on Calvert County’s old railroads. It recalled to me the stories that we used to hear about the days when the North Beach area was, how should I put it, wide-open.

You neglected to note that the railroad running from Washington was used by many a congressman sneaking away for their trysts.

Chesapeake Beach was just far enough away from the Capitol and just exotic enough that it became a popular playground for members of Congress, not to mention cabinet members and other movers and shakers early this century.

Word was that many a deal, too, was consummated at the end of the line that ran from Washington. Which makes me think that if we get that old train out of mothballs, maybe we can end some of the gridlock in Washington.

—Ed Geske, Prince George’s County

Bayou Gets Ship Shape: Part II

Dear New Bay Times:
Hi, this is Bayou again, getting closer to my April, ‘95 set off.

Last time I wrote, I ran through the who, what, when and where of my life so far. Today I’d like to tell you about the problems that go along with making a long voyage and rebuilding a boat to suit your needs and taste.

As most of you know, the marine industry is the only one that does not have a set of standard codes that you can use to build or replace anything. So you are on your own.

One of the safest ways to ensure that you replace with marine-approved wiring and other parts is to contact a reputable maine surveyor and your insurer. Another good place to ask is the American Boat Yacht Council in Edgewater (410/956-1050).

The problem with some boat stores and clerks is that whatever they have the most of or the highest mark-up on is, in their opinion, the best. But some boat stores hold free seminars on the different components needed in boating. It takes a lot of research, persistence and patience to understand what options you have and the pros, cons and expense of each.

I decided to trim out in bronze. The best place I found to find cleats, hawsers and just about anything else is Traditional Marine Outfitters of Nova Scotia (902/532-2762). In the area, Ocean Outfitters and Bacon Associates also sell used marine equipment.

If you need repair work that you are not qualified to do, the first rule is don’t. Be sure to check references of anyone to whom you contract your work.

A good contact for diesel engine or generator information, parts and service is Davis Craven of Waterway Diesel Center in Galesville (410/867-2182).

Sometimes you may not be able to find what you want and you will need to have it built. A very good source for starting your search is Buster Phipps of Phipps Boat Works in Deale.

When planning a trip of this sort, you will spend hours on the phone calling all over the country. For example, in Chicago, there is a broken railroad bridge on the Chicago Ship and Sanitary Canal that they haven’t gotten around to fixing. It has a low-water clearance of 17 feet-2 inches.

If you are going to get to the Mississippi River via the Illinois River, you have to go under this bridge.

There are a lot of good publications to help you plan your trip. We have been organizing it by towns, marinas, restaurants, fuel, etc. If you are interested and don’t want to play Columbo, get in touch with me through New Bay Times and I’ll help you anyway I can.

Until we talk again, may a fair wind blow from your stern.

—Bayou Friendship, Md.

Editor’s note: Bayou, the only talking trawler we know, is preparing for an epic journey that will take her north to Connecticut, west to the Mississipi River and ultimately down to the Caribbean. Stay tuned for her reports on getting ready.

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Dock of The Bay

New Heroes Commissioned?

As the Blue Angels disappeared into the horizon over Navy Marine Corps Stadium in Annapolis, so, perhaps, did the sense of dishonor that has hung over the Naval Academy since recent scandals over cheating and sex harassment.

Words of praise coupled with gentle words of advice from leaders — President Bill Clinton; Navy Secretary John H. Dalton; and Rear Admiral Thomas C. Lynch, superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy — filled the place during commissioning.

“You have just completed the most selective and demanding personal growth program in the country. You are the best in the nation,” Lynch said.

Dalton recalled that he was inspired to public service by John F. Kennedy, as was Clinton. He described Clinton’s chance meeting with Kennedy that may have set the young Arkansan on his path to the presidency.

“There must have been public leadership in that handshake,” Lynch said.

Clinton praised the new graduates for the contribution they are making. “If someone asks you what you are, there is no better answer than a Naval officer,” he said.

Then the president challenged the class of ‘94. “The deeds of the generations before you have included the liberation of Europe, the GI Bill, interstate highways, trade, peace and prosperity,” he said.

“You must ask yourselves what your deeds will be.”

—Liz Zylwitis

In Calvert, the Cost of Country Living

The advantages of country living don’t come cheap these days, and they’ll get a tad more expensive under a new $1,200 “impact fee” proposed in Calvert County.

The “charm” in which Calvert County takes pride is a boom commodity: little country Calvert is Maryland’s fastest growing county.

Fifty-seven thousand people are dotted in an ever-thickening pattern among farms and forests that still cover two-thirds of the 220-square-mile peninsula between the lower Patuxent River and the middle Chesapeake Bay that makes up Calvert County. Pronounce that “Culvert” if you want to sound like an old-timer.

Living and working on the land, old-timers got country living for free.

“When I was in grade school, the teacher asked us to raise our hands if our fathers were farmers. All but one of us did. Last week, my son’s teacher asked his class the same thing. He was the only one to raise his hand,” says farmer Allen “Sonny” Swann of Lower Marlboro.

It’s another kind of country living that attracts most newcomers to Calvert. They want farms and forests to look at, plus security, good schools, swimming pools and trash pickup.

“As people demand services, we have to have a way to pay,” says Sherrod Sturrock, the county’s capital projects coordinator. “Impact fees” team up with bonds as this generation’s price tag.

Every new home permit is taxed $3,000 to guarantee school room for all the kids Calvert grows. Last year an additional $350 impact fee was imposed on new houses to landfill the three-quarters of a ton of trash every county resident throws away yearly.

Now, a $1200 impact fee may be tacked on to new subdivision lots to pay for park lands and recreation, including preserving some of the open space that’s the charm for many people who move to the county.

Those impact fees will reach $4,550 if commissioners approve the new $1200 land preservation and recreation fee. Approval is expected:.

“It’s the right concept,” said Commissioner Joyce Lyons Terhes. But Terhes, the only commissioner to vote against the county’s new budget adds that it still “needs lots of work.” Developers also support the fee, though they want modifications in their favor.

Add up as those dollars do, they’re well-invested. The land preservation and recreation fee will benefit everybody who lives in Calvert or visits.

Trails, scenic highways, even waterways are being developed to link the county’s chain of natural, historic and cultural wonders. From Prince Frederick, you might canoe to the Chesapeake Bay along Parker’s Creek, the nation’s last undisturbed watershed. You might bike, hike or ride a horse nine miles to Sunderland, along the grade prepared for the never-laid Baltimore–Drum Point Railway (see “Railroad Ghosts” in Vol 2: 10).

You might explore the county by car, driving some of Maryland’s most scenic byways.

“We plan to have a series of parks lining the Bay and the Patuxent River, each with a story to tell that we think everybody should know,” says Randi Vogt, who coordinates Calvert’s plan to stay green and charming.

“Heritage” Tourism: Seeds of Cooperation?
Southern Maryland would like you to come on down for a visit. It’s pretty country down here, with history and culture paying nature nice compliments. That’s what tourism directors, curators, park rangers, planners and pols hereabouts will tell you.

The praises they sing are all true, but self-interest is pitching the praises louder nowadays.

Listen, for example, to Sen. Paul Sarbanes: “Southern Maryland is rich in historical, architectural, and natural resources,” he says.

“But imagine the potential if these individual resources were linked together in creative partnerships to stimulate local pride — and to generate promising new economic opportunities. It could truly enrich Southern Maryland.”

Sarbanes, a Democrat, stands for reelection in this unpredictable political year and it’s in his self-interest to promote tourism.

It’s in Southern Maryland’s self-interest, as well, to link economic opportunities to heritage and resources. Historically, this is a region of forests, farms and fishing — each a declining resource. Today’s question is how to keep the region prosperous without burying its character under concrete, minimalls and smog.

“The character of Southern Maryland is certainly not what we see along Rt. 301,” says Bill Matuszeski, EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Program.

Heritage tourism may be one way “to preserve for the future what the past has given us,” suggests Talmage Reeves, Calvert County’s director of economic development.

All of them were speaking at a recent workshop exploring the potential of “creative partnerships” to promote tourism.

As fair as the day was the setting: Thomas Stone National Historic Site. The old Charles County farm down near Port Tobacco looks about as pastoral as it did when Thomas Stone put his signature on the Declaration of Independence. Back in Revolutionary days, Thomas Stone’s plantation produced economic opportunity. It could again if promises made at this workshop are kept.

Federal, state and even local governments promised to invest money in historic and environmental preservation.

But people hold the real promise. When they rediscover their own sense of connectedness to their special places, as Larry Knudsen put it, “the engine starts to lead the train.”

Over on the Eastern Shore where Knudsen owns a bed and breakfast, the train is rolling. There, cooperation between Worcester and Somerset counties has led to a fully developed lower Eastern Shore Heritage Plan and made the Beach to Bay Indian Trail a well-defined and increasingly popular circuit through that region’s distinctive natural and human ecology.

Southern Maryland’s already boasts plenty of stops; now the track for its train is being laid.

“Today we’re weaving a tapestry that allows change and growth and keeps Southern Maryland the kind of place we want to live,” said EPA’s Matuszeski.

Keep reading New Bay Times for heritage tours of the Beach to Bay Indian Trail and Southern Maryland.

Cranking Up Piney Point
Tired of reading depressing stories about the decline of Chesapeake oysters?

Here’s a cheery little oyster tale.

In the new federal budget, a House Appropriations subcommittee has added $500,000 to jumpstart a promising oyster hatchery project at Piney Point in St. Mary’s County.

“Our watermen are losing jobs, our state is losing a historic industry, our people are losing a delicacy,” declared Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., announcing the appropriation this week in Deale.

Aquaculture is an iffy proposition and you’ll find plenty of naysayers who’ll tell you it can’t happen here. But the Department of Natural Resources has put together a sound plan.

The Piney Point project is designed 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.

The half-million amendment now goes to the Appropriations Committee, where Hoyer— up for re-election this year — has extra incentive to make sure that it stays alive.

Treasure Hunting at Stewart’s Shipyard
This story started in 1751, when Stephen Stewart bought 26 acres along the West River and began building ships: 20-ton skiffs all the way up to 280-ton ocean merchants. The story is still not over.

When the British found the shipyard in 1781, they attacked. A 20-gun vessel about 80 feet long went up in flames.

Two centuries later, in the 1950s, a neighbor saw the charred skeleton of the ship’s hull at low tide.

Last week, a small group of archeologists resumed the search for the sunken galley. Headed by Bruce Thompson, an underwater archeologist for the state, they probed the river bottom with 10-foot rods and metal detectors.

Then, based on their readings, they focused their attention near Dean Hall’s Galesville dock. When their pump motor broke, divers Jason Moser of Annapolis and Kevin Holliday of Ellicott City dug with their hands.

They had found a fallen tree.
“Somedays everything goes well. Then there’s today,” observed Lukas Strout, a diver.

Said Hall: “We know the ship is down there, we just have to find it.”

—Steven Anderson

Masters of Disaster Close Shop

For a disaster, it’s been real laid back.

That’s what the Federal Emergency Management Agency inspectors say as they pack up their computers, calculators and pencil sharpeners, having completed work in the aftermath of this winter’s ice storm.

FEMA set up camp in Annapolis March 21, after President Bill Clinton declared six Maryland counties eligible for disaster relief for the ice storms that hit in February.

Declaring this one of the slowest disasters they’ve worked on, FEMA is now decamping, having promised between $10 and $12 million in disaster relief to six southern Maryland and Eastern Shore counties. Claims now will be reviewed and paid by the state.

Used to working 12-hour days seven days a week to speed disaster relief to victims of earthquake, flood and hurricane, FEMA staff have played computer solitaire and Klotski as they waited … and waited … for state and local governments to compile their figures. FEMA is reimbursing three-fourths of all the money local governments spent on the storms of last winter.

The folks at FEMA — many of them military reservists or consultants on call — are eager to return home after a couple of months away. They’ve come to Maryland from West Virginia, New York, New Jersey, and Texas. In a disaster of major proportions like Hurricane Hugo or the Los Angeles earthquake, they can spend a year away from home. Often, they must sort through stacks of claims taller than they are.

They find bright spots along the way, like the story of the Mississippi farmer who put in a claim for the loss of his pet beaver.

As the waters rose, the farmer said, the beaver’s cage came unlocked. Freed, he ate a bird and died. That claim was not allowed.

Another farmer put in a claim for his 12 drowned horses. The auditor adjusted the claim by horsepower per hour and reimbursed the farmer for hay under the category of fuel.

Cut the Hook — and Stay out of the Sun
Did it ever occur to you how much our elders lied to us? Like when we were kids they told us to go out in the sun; it was good for us, and while out there scrub the skiff, or hoe the garden. Or when we were told if a fish was badly hooked to just cut the hook off. The fish’s body juices would “corrode the hook away.”

Years later and bothered by skin cancers we learn that we probably killed more fish than we saved by cutting off the hooks of fish hooked to deeply to be removed. After tests in the wild and in the National Aquarium, DNR now tells us to make every effort to remove a hook set beyond the mouth of a fish.

Tests concluded that fish with hooks deep in their throat or stomach might seem peppy when we cut them free, might even eat for a few days or more, but well over one-half of them eventually perish. Tissue builds up around the hook (it usually doesn’t corrode away), and weeks or months later fatal infection sets in.

To give the fish a better chance for survival, DNR suggests a new device called the Dehooker, a long rigid wire with loop at the end that, when inserted, follows the line to the hook to provide leverage to free the barb.
If the hook remains stubborn, cut the line, but not at the lip. leave enough line half again as long as the fish to give it a little leverage to help cough it out. For many of us, it’s too late to avoid the skin cancers, but we might still be able to save a few fish.

—Bill Burton

Second Looks
No more delays. The Bay Sox’s Bowie home, Prince George’s stadium, opens its doors as scheduled — and rescheduled. No kidding, this time. You’ll hear “Play Ball!” at the home of the Bay Sox for the first time at 7:05pm Thursday, June 16. That’s game time for play Mondays through Saturdays. Sunday games begin at 2:05pm. Call 800/956-4004 to reserve your seat. Or come right to the stadium gates off Rt. 301 just south of Rt. 50.

One hundred fifty Great Potomac Clean-up volunteers (Vol. 2: 9) hauled over nine tons of trash out of the “Nation’s River.” In the haul were tires, bottles, cans, plastic and it’s your guess how many balls of all shapes and sizes. Guess how many were in the sack on the cover of that issue of New Bay Times and win a prize from Hard Bargain Farm: 301/292-5665.

Way Downstream...
Along the Chesapeake, we complain about a bluefish shortage. Listen to the lament of others. Salmon fishing has turned so bad in Oregon and Washington states that President Clinton declared the region a disaster area last week and gave them $16.7 million.

And what would old “Hank” Thoreau think of this — Massachusetts authorities said that the fish in Walden Pond are too polluted with mercury to eat...

Speaking of mercury, there’s a ruckus in the Midwest over those L.A. Gear shoes that light up. Wisconsin and Michigan already have banned them because of the potential that the gram of mercury in the heel might escape and pollute.

Now, environmental advocates in Illinois are demanding the same law so that stores in neighboring states don’t cross the border and dump their sparkling footwear in the Land of Lincoln...

Where do college business students want to work when they graduate? Here’s where they don’t want to work — for polluting companies. In a new poll, 36 percent of MBA candidates said they wouldn’t work for a company that has environmental problems.

Over 80 percent said they wouldn’t work in the tobacco industry but just 26 percent ruled out a company in the liquor business.

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When Picnics Are A Crime

In North Beach, the town council has given us a parable for our times in voting to ban picnicking on the town beach starting June 1.

In case you missed it, North Beach passed an anti-picnicking ordinance to control the trash that beach-goers leave behind. The vote was 3-2, and judging by the remarks of opponents, the brouhaha is not yet over.

This is not an issue of black and white; right or wrong. On one hand, we’re tempted to say that incorrigible litterers, the idiots who strew their cans and greasy chicken wrappers on public land, ought to forfeit some of their fun.

After all, North Beach has done a fine job in restoring its pier and creating a fetching public space in a region where access to the Bay is rare. Who wants to curl their naked toes around a bottle of Yoo-Hoo chocolate drink and watch hamburger wrappers skipping across the horizon?

On the other hand, a picnic ban is, on its face, draconian. What about the responsible folks who keep track of their trash and cart it home with them? Maybe even recycle it. Haven’t their rights being unfairly stripped away. You betcha.

So what’s the answer?

The town council, though well-intentioned, acted too swiftly. Perhaps, just perhaps, education will work. Put up some smart signs telling beach-goers that they are on the verge of losing their right to eat, drink and be merry.

Then send somebody out to gently remind people of the rules. Maybe Joe Horty, who sponsored the ordinance, will volunteer.

It is not too late to take this approach. It will be necessary, anyway, because the ban is sloppily written and unenforceable. On one hand, the ordinance states that it “is not intended to prevent individuals from bringing food or drink onto the beach for limited personal use.”

But the ordinance prohibits “coolers or large food containers of any kind” and declares bluntly that “it is intended to prevent picnicking on the beach.”

Does this mean that you must eat your potato salad by yourself from your Tupperware bowl that sat in the sun all day?

Who’ll be there to take you to the hospital when food poisoning strikes?

Also, what yahoo worries about a penalty that amounts to less than a case of drinkable beer?

Okay, okay, here’s our solution. Put up a sign that reads:

if you drop your cans, bottles or banana peels
you will be lowered into A pit of slimy eels

Weekly and Never Meekly
With this issue, New Bay Times becomes a weekly paper. For well over a year, we have come to you every two weeks.

In word and deed, our readers have told us that they can’t get enough of a good thing. Same goes for our many advertisers, who have been suggesting that we turn weekly so that they can double their success from our partnership.

Now we have more space, and more timeliness, in bringing you news that is critical to the Chesapeake Bay. We will have more features, more columns, more humor, more Bill Burton and extra stories on boating and Bay sports.

And yes, we will continue looking out for your rights while offering more suggestions for quality living in clean surroundings.

So get in the swing of things. Pick up New Bay TimesWeekly twice as often or look in your mailbox for more surprises. And let us know how we can do an even better job in bringing you the news that suits you, not the news that scares you.

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Brown Bagging It
by Sonia Linebaugh

A plain-looking brown bag is revolutionizing the way we handle our food trash.

Imagine a yummy brown bag lunch. More important, imagine your lunch leftovers, including wrappings, liquids, knife, fork and spoon thrown back into the bag. But not into the trash. This bag is carried off by your recycler to be added to a row of such bags at a waste treatment facility. The resulting compost turns into rich organic usable soil.

Imagine this, too: A brown bag kept under the kitchen sink. In it go all those things you now put down the garbage disposal. This brown bag doesn’t smell and doesn’t leak. When it’s full, you carry it out to your backyard compost pile and toss it in. There, the bag and its contents turn into rich usable garden soil.

Imagine still more: Huge brown bags at cafeterias everywhere: schools, colleges, hospitals, office buildings. All those reusable organic scraps thrown away without smell, without mess, without hours and gallons of water spent washing slop buckets. All those rich resources carried away on garbage trucks that no longer stink up your summer as they pass. All that rich potential reused — efficient, cost effective and mess-free.

Imagine! This revolutionary brown bag is now on the market.

A brown paper bag lined with cellulose is the seemingly simple innovation that finally makes composting succeed on both large and small scale.

Developed by Woods End Research Lab in Maine, the bag was meant for municipal waste in cities. The Park Slope community of Brooklyn, New York is finishing up a successful four-year in kitchen composting test. Mississauga, Ontario and Greenwich and Fairfield, Connecticut have also completed trials and are exploring full-time programs. The cellulose lining of the kitchen scrap bag helped people overcome their two main objections to composting: mess and smell.

In city facilities on Staten Island, 32 gallon bags have been used as part of the routine at commercial kitchens. Food waste is disposed of straight into the bags. There is no smell for kitchen workers or refuse collectors, no washing out of soiled pails, no sending soiled water down drains to be dealt with at water treatment plants. The potential for water savings is, in itself, immense.

The bags are trucked to an open “wind row” composting site. There they are piled in long rows where the wind can blow over them. A specially built machine straddles the rows while mixing the compost and aerating it. Although the site is adjacent to an open landfill, it has been found to attract no rats, gulls, or feral animals.

“Extensive testing proves it’s perfectly possible to compost food waste scraps on a large scale,” says Johnathan Collinson, senior project director at Woods End.

When backyard composters heard about the bags, they had to have them. Arthur Jackson of Woods End says the company gladly bowed to consumer demand and is now marketing one gallon cellulose-lined bags through gardening supply catalogues.

My bag came from the farm where I pick up my share of the harvest every Thursday afternoon. Organic farmer Pat Bramhall gives one to each of her crop shareholders to bring kitchen scraps back to her compost bin. She heard about the bags at a Community Supported Agriculture conference in Pennsylvania.

As for the completely compostable lunch. It took place at Hilton Hotel, Walt Disney World, at a conference on arboretums. The bag contents were piled at a separate site, tested over time and pronounced compost. The idea works. Consumer demand will make it work well.

One source for biodegradable kitchen compost bags is Gardeners Supply Co., Burlington, VT., 800/727-7755. Each bag holds about a gallon of scraps; 25 bags cost $14.95. Ask your own garden supplier to carry the bags.

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Bay Reflections

All Together Now: “I See the Water”
by Nancy B. Kelly

When I was a girl, my parents owned two homes, one in Camp Springs, Md. and the other — my favorite — on the Bay. Every weekend we would pack the car and drive to the Chesapeake. We always left on Fridays as early as possible after school or as soon as my father could get home from the Naval Research Laboratory in southwest Washington, where he worked.

I loved getting ready to go “to the beach.” For the few days we would be there we didn’t need many clothes, so each of us used a brown paper bag with our names written with black grease pencil on the side. These we put in the kitchen by the back door so that we would be ready to load the car.

My mother had much more to do to prepare the bags of groceries she would need. It seemed to me that her concentration on this task took an interminable amount of time. In went a box of vanilla wafers, a Tyler’s Ham, a jar of Postum and a can of Old Bay Seasoning.

With the bags on the floor, my excitement grew. I watched the street for my father’s 1959 silvery-green Pontiac to turn the corner. When he arrived, I ran quickly through the house thinking that maybe I should bring one more treasured item to the beach. The moment of decision was passing quickly but there was still time to take that one something that I might regret if I were to leave it behind.

I glanced at my Troll Doll … or maybe I should take my wonderful baton to practice with. I could march up and down the road twirling mightily in front of the sparkling Bay in the breeze. My brother’s worn football and my sister’s domed, hooded hair dryer and pink sponge rollers stood next to the bags. Just seeing their choices next to mine made for imagining what the weekend would bring.

With us running back and forth to help, our father packed the trunk. The finality of the trunk’s closing marked the beginning of the adventure.

My mother and father sat in the front seat and I was comfortably ensconced between my brother and sister in the back. I knew the way by heart and I anticipated the feel of the road under the wheels of the car, charting our progress over the familiar route. There, on my right, was the big red-and-white water tower at Andrews Air Force Base. A little further was the race track sporting with movement as we drove through Upper Marlboro.

When we passed over the bridge at Wayson’s Corner, I would see people fishing on the tiny threads of shoreline along the Patuxent River. I felt privileged heading to the mighty, wide Chesapeake Bay.

As we neared our destination, we played the game. On the main road into our fair haven is a little hill after a bend in the road. When you reach the crest of the hill, you can see the Bay above the tops of the trees if you look straight ahead. The first one of us to see the water would call out as fast and with as much exuberance as we could manage: “I see the water. I see the water.”

These words were sung with the tune of a child taunting another as if to say, ”I see the water Na Na Na Na Na.” Soon, all of us would be shouting “I see the water” and a winner would need to be decided.

Down the hill a short way and around another sharp bend in the road, a beautiful lake came into view with the Bay far in the distance. Then with new enthusiasm it would be time for the second phase of the contest and each of us would try to be the first to announce: “I see the water. I see the water.”

This is Nancy Kelly’s second reflection on summers in Fairhaven for New Bay Times.

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Who's Here

All Around

High summer doesn’t wait on the Solstice — or on hot weather — to move in on its shore-term lease. With Memorial Day, air and branches are as fully occupied as beaches with good-humored, gregarious summer visitors.

These delicious long days begin early: by 5am, when daybreak first colors the sky and sleeping is cool, bird song begins. In high spirits over season and sunrise, my avian neighbors whistle, trill and chortle in high voice. Mocking bird, who is the loudest, enters my dreams as mocking bird stew.

When I join the birds outside, honeysuckle has perfumed the morning as if for a wedding. What flowers June’s bride can gather in her own backyard! Peonies and pansies have held on for her, and roses riot. Mock orange blossoms spill nectar with their petals.

She can swell her bouquet with daisy, columbine, nasturtium sweet William and pinks, spelling any message she likes in the language of the flowers. Herbs will add their commentary: she may have parsley, sage, oregano, thyme and licorice as well as new-planted rosemary (alas, required by winter’s ice) for remembrance.

So may you and I: lavish June is good to us all, brides or not.

She feeds us as generously as a good mother. Salad, the year’s sweetest, is now on our plates: lettuces both bitter and mild, studded with radishes, sharpened with herbs and spring onions. The pot is full of greens, some — turnips and beets — with their tender roots now swelling. Peas want to be eaten whole this time of year, pod and all. Mint and lemon balm serves for tea.

For dessert, late strawberries and dreams of blue, black and raspberry ripening.

Ah, June …

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Laughing Gourmet Bagels

Conquering The Land With Chesapeake Ba(y)gels
by Eli Flam

Michael Robinson starts his day at a Chesapeake Bagel Bakery with a cup of coffee and a bagel — often onion or pumpernickel — 20 minutes out of the oven. Fresh, crusty and cuttable. Three blocks away in McLean, Va. is the headquarters of Chesapeake Bagel Bakery, Robinson’s entry in the fast-growing, billion-dollar field of bagel-making.

Chesapeake Bagel Bakery was cooked up in a log cabin outside Montpelier, Vermont in 1981. Robinson was running an environmental law program in New York; his partner, Alan Manstof, was tiring of his half-dozen hot-dog carts. Impressed by the success of Montpelier’s The Bagel Bakery, Manstof put in two weeks of bagel-making there and decided they were ready to take on Washington, DC — once they figured out a winning name.

The roomies flipped through the atlas. Eureka! The Chesapeake Bay … It had a ring … The Chesapeake Bagel Bakery!

“We picked the name,” laughs Robinson, “out of Rand McNally. It hasn’t hurt us.”

A Bigger Slice of the Bagel
“We don’t know what the limit is,” says Robinson, citing wide-open trade projections for this “all American product.” But they’re looking for a bigger slice of that bagel.

Capitol Hill’s Chesapeake Bagel Bakery was first. This year’s count has expanded to eight company stores and 21 franchises, including one each in Annapolis and Severna Park. The partners look for 24 bagelries by Christmas, including one in Waldorf. They aim to go national.

“Delaware should happen soon,” in a big way and with greater Annapolis investors, Robinson told New Bay Times. The franchise stores in Annapolis Harbor Place and Severna Park are making a hit with Old Bay-seasoned bagel chips. As on Capitol Hill, the clean, well-lit sites tend toward an easy-and-out atmosphere, with hand-written notes offering goods and shared apartments on bulletin boards.

Robinson looks forward to sampling his bagels soon in Baltimore, Richmond, Jacksonville, Florida — maybe San Francisco, with sourdough.

Meanwhile, other bagel bakeries reach from England to Japan. Nearly every city has its own bagelry, and they’ve come out of the deli. Even Sara Lee bakes ‘em., though another brand, Lenders, is the world’s biggest producer. Schlepper Simon’s Yiddish Fortune Bagels, out of Skokie, Illinois, takes a leaf from Chinese fortune cookies. “Smile, bubeleh, success is assured,” reads one of his bagel fortunes.

Go On, Eat Another
At under 200 calories, with no preservatives, cholesterol or artificial color, bagels have won a healthy reputation. Diversity has come with garlic, sesame and poppy seeds, honey whole wheat and other versions including the popular cinnamon-raisin and — horror of horrors for traditionalists — a figure eight topped with cream-cheese icing. Unlike flavor, Chesapeake tries to keep quality uniform (each outlet makes its own), but Robinson allows for variations due to temperature, flour and cook.

Unless fresh out of the oven, the bagel calls for slicing and toasting, with additives equal to the imagination. Lox and cream-cheese remains the individual favorite. But you can buy a hoagie-style, good for over a dozen people, for up to $85, depending on filling.

Go on, eat another, they’re good and good for you. “The more popular they become, the more popular we become,” says Robinson.

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Making Bagels, From the 17th Century to the 21st

Bagels come to the Bay having held an important roll, if you will, throughout 400 years of history.

The bagel is first documented in the Community Regulations of Kracow, Poland in 1610. All women in childbirth should be given a bagel, the decree states. (They’re also historic teething rings.) In 1683, a Viennese Jewish baker presented a bagel to the King of Poland for protecting his land from the Turks.

Today’s beloved “cement doughnut” takes its name from the German word, Beugel which means “round loaf of bread.” It is not suprising that the word “earth” has the same derivation.

The bagel migrated to Russia, where it was named bubliki and became the subject of many songs and superstitions.

Around the turn of the century, Eastern European Jewish immigrants brought the bagel to New York. Within a decade, they established an exclusive bagel union with 36 bagel bakeries in New York and New Jersey.

The industry began to expand throughout the States in the late 50s, finally reaching grocery stores, where bagels just don’t taste the same.

Nowadays bagels jump out of the melting pot into most every regional cuisine. Here’s how you can make them in your own kitchen.

The 12 Steps to Home-Made Bagels

  • Boil, Broil, Bake
  • 5 3/4C flour
  • 2C water
  • salt
  • sugar
  • 1 pkg. yeast
  • 1/2C cornmeal
  1. Heat water to 100 degrees. Add yeast, 3/4 C flour, and a pinch of salt. Let sit for two to three minutes.
  2. Stir in 3C flour. Mix in the remaining 2C by hand on a flat surface. Knead the dough for 20 minutes.
  3. Let the dough rise for another 20 minutes till it doubles in size.
  4. Knead again for two to three minutes.
  5. Begin to make bagles by rolling a handful of dough into a ball. With your thumbs, push the dough away from the center of the ball to shape it into a bagel.
  6. Place three bagels at a time into a kettle of boiling water. Choose a kettle deep enough to turn the bagles. (A dash of sugar will make the water boil at a higher temperature so the bagles will cook quicker.)
  7. The bagels will sink to the bottom. One minute later they will rise to the top as the yeast expands. Flip the bagels over and boil them on the other side for one more minute.
  8. Place wet bagles on a drying rack until the water drips off.
  9. Next, place the bagels on a cookie sheet dusted with cornmeal. Broil them for one minute on each side.
  10. To finish preparation, sprinkle them with poppy seed, garlic, or favorite herbs or seasonings to suit your own taste or regional cuisine.
  11. Bake them for 20 minutes at 400 degrees.
  12. Dig in.

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Joel Makower Trash Busters

You’ve probably heard about the “three R’s” of ecology: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

They are more than a slogan; they are a set of priorities.

In other words, it’s best to reduce your use of something. Next best is to reuse it. When you can no longer find a use for it, the third choice is to recycle it. Finally, after something can no longer be reused or recycled, it is time to throw it out.

Unfortunately, so much attention has been paid to recycling that many people believe it is the best method for cutting our nation’s 195 million tons a year of household trash. But recycling is only a third choice. So I was heartened to receive a copy of a new book for parents called

"Don’t Throw That Out!” subtitled “A Pennywise Parent’s Guide to Creative Uses for Over 200 Household Items.” The author is Vicki Lansky, well known to parents as author of Feed Me, I’m Yours.

Her new book offers an A-to-Z compendium of ideas of new lives for unwanted items — from address labels (tape them to your child’s school pencils to ensure they aren’t lost) to zero-coupon bonds (“a good way to save for your child’s education”).

In the middle is some great advice. An inch or two of cat litter in the bottom of your diaper pail will absorb odors. (Line the pail with a plastic bag to keep the dirty diapers apart from the cat litter.) Use thick oven mitts as sole replacements when pajama feet wear out. Cut them to shape and sew in place.

This book could have been titled “Heloise Goes Green.”

None of these tips or activities, however handy or creative, will make much of a dent in your local landfill. Most of Lansky’s creations will eventually wear out and find their way into a trash can or Dumpster.

But that’s not important. By turning old stuff into new stuff, you help your child (and yourself) gain a new attitude toward what constitutes “trash.” That’s an important lesson for kids to learn that will no doubt rub off in other ways as they grow and mature. Lansky’s book won’t “save the Earth,” but it could help foster a whole new generation of ecology- and economy-minded citizens.

“Don’t Throw That Out!” is $6.95 in bookstores and $8.45 postage paid by mail from The Book Peddlers, 18326 Minnetonka Blvd., Deephaven, Minn. 55391; 800/255-3379.

(Joel Makower is editor of The Green Consumer Letter, based in Washington, D.C.)
Copyright 1994 Tilden Press Inc. Distributed by Universal Press Syndicate

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Jazz on a Summer’s Day, Annapolis Style
by Liz Zylwitis

In its first year last year, the Annapolis Jazzfest brought 2500 people to St. John’s College. This year, Mary Hiltabidle of the Friends of the Annapolis Orchestra expects more.

The menu is big, featuring six jazz groups — The Federal Jazz Commission, the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Trio, Anthony Brown, Keter Betts, the Vaughn Nark Quintet, Tim Eyreman, the Buck Hill Quartet, Ethel Ennis and Friends and the Federal Focus Jazz Band — on the banks of College Creek.

And not just any six.

The versatile Federal Jazz Commission has played to audiences in the national capital area since 1976. They play rags, stomps, marches, blues, cakewalks, hymns, fox trots and one-steps, in the New Orleans style which varies widely in tempo, mood, melody and form.

Trumpeter, fluegelhornist and valve trombonist Vaughn Nark has performed with such well-knowns as Dizzy Gillespie, Doc Severinsen, Tony Bennett, Mel Torme, Henry Mancini, Lena Horne, Natalie Cole and Wynton Marsalis, since his start as a “Member of Not” with the Premiere Jazz Ensemble of the United States Air Force for nearly 20 years.

To Tim Eryeman’s credit are a long list of films and recordings. You may have heard him play with Denise Williams, Sammy Davis Jr. or Frank Sinatra or seen him in Disney’s Tin Man.

Virtuoso saxaphonist Buck Hill is known for his powerful swing and his tender and passionate melodies, reflections of romance, time and family. Since his debut in the Army Band, Hill has played as a sideman on Charlie Byrd’s albums of the late ‘50s, with Allen Houser in 1973 and later at music festivals throughout Europe.

Ethel Ennis has been praised by fellow Baltimorean Billie Holiday as a singer who doesn’t fake; by Frank Sinatra as “my kind of singer”; and by Ella Fitzgerald as the best singer of her generation. More recently Ennis has sold Ethel’s Place, the restaurant/music club she co-owned with her songwriter-husband Earl Arnett, to devote her creative energies to words and music.

Organized by jazz trumpeter Dave Robinson in 1988, The Federal Focus Jazz Band, a Washington area youth band, plays a wide variety of traditional jazz styles — ragtime, classic New Orleans, New Orleans revival, Chicago, San Francisco, swing and Dixieland.

On Sunday, you might sleep in or catch an early church service before you gather the kids together and your mate. Pack a cooler and some blankets. Or stuff your billfold.

Then, stroll on out to your car, open the door and hop in. You don’t want to miss the 12:30 start. But parking’s no concern even if you’re behind schedule: the State Senate lots on Rowe Blvd. are at your disposal.

Hey, VIP parking; you might as well be Senate President Mike Miller. Don’t let it go to your head.

At the gate, tickets cost $12. But the thrifty can buy them in advance for $10 at Fawcett’s Boat Supply in downtown Annapolis; Barnes and Noble in Annapolis Harbour Center; and Encore Books, all three locations. Kids 12 and under get in on their good looks.

Pick a spot beneath the canopy of shade trees, not far from the action. Now, you’ve got a choice. You can spread your blanket and lie on it. Or roam among the merchants’ stands. Among their wares, you'll find Jazzfest t-shirts, tapes and food.

Andy Bienstalk of WJHU, FM 88, (the JHU stands for Johns Hopkins University) is your emcee. Welcome to the Annapolis Jazzfest.

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