Volume 4 Issue 41 1996

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).

Burton on the Bay | Earth Journal | Editorial | Letters to the Editor | Bay Reflections | Dock of the Bay

This Weeks Lead Stories

Into the Mainstream

Lead story

Into the Mainstream—

Whole Health Is as American as Apple Pie

… and as common as crabs in Chesapeake Country

by Sandra Martin

You’d have to be pretty out of touch not to know about holistic healing these days. You see it on TV talk shows and sit-coms, read about in Parade or Life or New Bay Times. You may have seen and heard enough about this complementary or alternative or wholistic or holistic medicine to wonder just what it is.

You may even be wondering what it could do for you.

If so, you’re not alone.

You’re in company with the New Bay Times reader who had been pondering the full-page Guide to Whole Health and Wellness we’ve run monthly since last December, wondering if one or the other of those therapies wouldn’t help her feel better. Eventually she confided that “women’s problems” were making her miserable. Hormones, she said, made her feel even worse. Was there anything on that page for her? she asked.

She tried acupuncture and massage — and felt like she’d taken a new lease on life.

You’re in company with the old friend who’s climbing a hard, slow road from an early September stroke. Back in the home she loves, she’s up and, with her youngest son’s help, dressed. She can talk and feed herself and walk a little, but she’s terrified that another stroke might take all that away. “It could happen,” says her daughter, a nurse. “Her blood pressure is still high. I think alternative medicine could help her …”

But this woman lives in a small town in central Illinois, where alternative medicine is only heard and read about — not practiced.

Here in Chesapeake Country, holistic healing is getting so popular that you can run through the alphabet from acupuncture to Zen. With some letters, you can take a second or third run and still not be finished. Depending on the circles you run in, you’re likely to know as many holistic healers — from cranial-sacral balancers to reikists— as crabbers.

The holistic approach to health and wellness is getting so popular you could fill every weekend of the year with workshops or full-fledged expos. In September, Annapolis Healing Arts Alliance held a weekend-long Healing Arts Celebration, with Anne Arundel Medical Center as an acknowledged supporter. In August, Anne Arundel Medical Center held its own first Complementary Medicine Expo.

That’s right: Anne Arundel Medical Center.

Not so long ago, established and alternative medicine looked at each other like cats look at dogs: suspiciously. Not yet revised: There were exceptions, like Margaret Mullins, president of the Anne Arundel Medical Society, who is an acupuncturist as well as a medical doctor. Nowadays, mutual curiosity is replacing suspicion and flowering as cooperation.

Behind the new openness, at least in part, is market share. One in three Americans use some alternative health approach or other, spending $14 billion a year on wellness.

Keeping up with what his patients were doing without him meant catching up with alternative healing for Jon Lowe, who is medical team leader of Anne Arundel Medical Center’s Wellness Initiative. “Statistics show,” says Lowe, “that almost half of health care is being delivered outside the allopathic [America’s traditional medical] system. That includes supplements and vitamins, chiropractors and massage therapists, spiritual healers and people who make such life style changes on their own as stopping smoking or exercise.”

“Over half my patients are involved in practices they don’t normally talk about,” the internist continued. “When we open dialogue between them and their practitioners and some of guidance comes through the traditional community, we really become much more effective.”

Anne Arundel Medical Center’s support of alternative health expositions was only the beginning of what we’re told we can expect from its new many-service Wellness Program. At the same time, acupuncturists, massage therapists and other holistic healers are joining forces with medical doctors to practice “complementary” medicine.

At the state level, holistic approaches have been found “at times safe, less expensive, and/or more effective than conventional therapies” by the Maryland Commission on Complementary Medical Methods. “Both approaches are valuable, and the public interest is best served by having both readily available,” the Commission’s recent report concluded.

Across the nation, HMOs and even traditional insurers are extending coverage to alternative therapies. Among the HMOs is Kaiser Permanente; among the insurers, Prudential and Mutual of Omaha.

And, if you want to learn as well as experience, you can choose from a couple dozen classes in holistic health at Anne Arundel Community College.

Getting to Wellness

“The hospital is so open right now for us to define what wellness is and to begin to educate the hospital and the community at large,” says Barbara Slipsk. Her voice rises with enthusiasm about her “neat job” as the second of three team leaders of Anne Arundel Medical Center’s Wellness Initiative.

That definition will have many parts. Complementary medicine will certainly be one. The partnership was assured by the success of the August Wellness Expo.

The Medical Center was willing. The alternative healers were ready: 40 agreed to explain and demonstrate their techniques, and more would have come had there been room. But would people care? Would they come? Uncertain of their audience, the hospital scheduled the Expo to run with an event held by The Annapolis Striders. “These being healthier people, we though it would appeal to them,” said Slipski.

Interest, said Slipski, was “remarkable. Over 500 visitors came who were not Striders.”

The next step, she says, will be to “integrate aspects of complementary services into acute care model.” In plain English, the Medical Center plans to use complementary medicine to help you feel better.

One plan is to compile a directory. The holistic community is, as Slipski notes, “loosely networked.” Once you’ve found a way inside, you can get direction from a number of organizations. Easiest to locate, with its attractive West Annapolis store and gallery, is Step Forth Healing Center. There’s also the Annapolis Healing Arts Alliance, which staged a health fair in September, publishes a newsletter and offers classes. Or Annapolis Holistic Health Community, founded by Helene Leanos, which for 16 years has sponsored twice monthly lectures with potluck dinners. Farther south the Calvert Holistic Society, organized by Bud Kilmon, can give direction. But from the outside, who does what and what it might do for you is pretty much a mystery.

Anne Arundel Medical Center already publishes a directory to introduce patients to medical doctors. So, as Slipski says, “one of things we as can bring to table is expertise in organization.”

Complementary Medicine

Meanwhile, holistic healers are joining forces with medical doctors to get you closer to wellness sooner. Acupuncturist Christine Adkins, who has practiced in Deale for three years, is the first nonphysician and first herbalist to be granted privileges by the Anne Arundel Medical Center. This month, Adkins began complementary practice with Dr. Louise DePodesta at Women’s Health First in Severna Park.

DePodesta explains why she sought out Adkins: “I want safe alternatives for menopausal and cancer patients. I want my patients to go to ethical, credentialed people instead of searching wildly for alternative therapies. I’d heard about Christine, who does a combination of herbal medicine and acupuncture, and gotten really good feedback. I like her calm, healing personality, and I think that and touch, is all part of healing process.”

Adkins agrees that complementary medicine — combining Western and Eastern knowledge — means better results for people. Especially people whose symptoms don’t suit Western syndromes.

“A woman comes in for an annual check-up complaining of disturbing premenstrual tension, or frequent headaches or disabling fatigue. Lab tests and screening reveal no abnormalities, yet she suffers. Traditional Western medicine has few tools to help a woman who just doesn’t feel well,” explains Adkins.

“Traditional Chinese medicine, on the other hand, sees all those symptoms as arising from a common root. With such treatments as acupuncture or herbs to bring a person back to balance, many of the symptoms disappear.”

Amen, said the New Bay Times reader you met a few paragraphs back.

Men, by the way, seek holistic healing almost as often as women do, according to practitioners, and are just as efficiently treated. The Maryland Commission on Complementary Medical Methods investigated nutrition and herbal therapies and found them effective in treating prostate enlargement, congestive heart failure, elevated cholesterol, disk disease and carpal tunnel syndrome.

Schooled in Wellness

One of the men feeling better is Bill Pohlman, 64, of Davidsonville, who retired at 59 as a government analyst after a career that included work as an aerospace engineer and test pilot. Then, says he, he had so much left to do — “spend more time with the family, attack my collection of unread books and visit the interesting places I had missed” — that he needed “to be in relatively good health for the next 20 or so years.”

Weight training, aerobics and badminton, he reports, “cut a few inches from my waist, increased my vitality and stamina and did away with all the aches and pains.”

Then, with self-taught acupressure, Pohlman relieved his carpal tunnel pain and so lowered his blood pressure that his physician withdrew pressure-controlling medication.

Pohlman is a familiar face in Anne Arundel Community College’s year-old continuing education curriculum in Holistic Health/Mind Body Studies. He keeps company with 244 other students.

“Evaluations are very positive. Students say they want more, more, more,” according to Sheila Bohun, college director of Lifelong Learning.

She values the college’s Mind-Body Studies as a force for improving community quality of life.

“As health care costs rise, we need to work with prevention, as holistic health with its mind-body connection does as a complement to traditional medicine,” Bohun says.

This year, offerings have expanded to 27 classes, five of them new this semester. New as well are three holistic classes for nurses. Classes, which cost from $35 to $125, are taught by practicing holistic health professionals. Typically two hours long, they last from two weeks to seven and are spaced throughout the nights of the week and the semester.

“Some students take three or four classes a semester,” says acupuncturist Katheen Daniel, director of the college program.

The program begins, ideally, with a survey, Introduction to Holistic Health, where, says Daniel, “you learn that holism is an world view about nature, life and health shared by many systems of thought.” In seven weeks, practitioners in seven fields introduce such specialties as nutrition, yoga, meditation, shitasu, and human energy. “Hopefully, you’ll see a lot of similarities and discover that there’s no right way to health,” Daniel continues. “Whatever you’re drawn to is the best place to start — maybe meditation, or medicinal plants, massage or nutrition, which is very accessible. There are 14 choices, including Chinese medicine.”

What they learn in the classroom, many students carry over into life. “One fellow, Daniel remembers “said I gave him real insight into his emotions around anger and why his blood pressure was so high. You could see him transformed.”

Maryland Smiles on Complementry Medicine

Maryland Commission on Complementary Medical Methods

Who they were:

Created by the Maryland General Assembly in 1993, the Maryland Commission on Complementary Medical Methods was composed of

• Seven physicians, including Jon Lowe (see story), three practicing some form of complementary medicine and two sitting on the Board of Physician Quality Assurance;

• Two legislators;

• Four community members interested in complementary medical methods.

What they did:

Collect, categorize and evaluate data on complementary medicine in order to decide “how to allow” it to be used by Maryland physicians to extend citizens’ right and freedom to choose what they believe to be their most appropriate course of treatment.

They defined complementary medical methods, heard testimony, reviewed scientific studies of complementary medicine, considered how other states regulated the practice of complementary medicine, and compared the effectiveness of complementary and tradtional treatments of six disorders.

Where it stands:

Available to legislators and interested citizens. For a copy, call Peter deFries at the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene: 410/255-6506

What it recommends:

Integrating allopathic and complementary care through four actions, possibly to be achieved through legislation.

1. Current and future physicians be exposed to the range of complementary medical methods through electives in state medical schools and continuing eduction.

2. Guidelines for health insurance coverge be evaluaged and expanded to include coverage for cost-effective comlementary medical methods.

3. The Board of Physicians Quality Assurance expand peer review to include comlementary medicine.

4. Creation of a legislative commission to explore complementary medical methods in use in Maryland.

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Dock of the Bay

Deale Fire Company Turns 50

As it celebrates its first half century October 12, the Deale Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad has ridden a legendary fleet of engines to scenes of glory and tragedy.

Organized in 1946, the department bought a 1938 Brockway 250gpm pumper as its first engine. When “Nellie Belle” needed a home, a local businessman donated his garage. This first firehouse stood across from Cedar Grove Church.

Fundraising oyster roasts, dinners and game parties made a second truck possible by 1949, the year the department joined the Anne Arundel County Volunteer Firemen’s Association. Eight thousand dollars bought this Ford-Oren 500gpm pumper. A newer Ford 500 came in 1954, and larger models were added in ‘64 and ‘68.

In 1948, the Drum Point Road station was begun. Land holdings and station size have grown every few years with the support of the Ladies Auxiliary, founded in 1949.

The first career firefighters joined the department in 1952, to be joined by a third in 1963. Two ambulance crew joined the department in 1970, when emergency medical service began.

Naturally, ambulances were then needed, and, in the ‘70s, the department got its first fire boat. Over the years, the fleet has been continually expanded and updated, equipping the department for its life-saving work. Today the company operates three pumper engines, one 110-foot aerial ladder truck with rescue equipment, one life-support ambulance, two brush units, three fire and rescue boats, one support bus, one utility and one command car, with a combined value of over $2 million.

Even so, tragedies have checkered the years. In 1954, an drag-racing accident killed 10 people, including one entire family. In 1961, nine members of a Rose Haven family died in a fire at their home. And in 1985, the department joined in fighting one of the largest fires in Anne Arundel County. A fire at the Winstead Tobacco Packing Warehouse at Routes 4 and 408 in Wayson’s Corner burst into a fire storm, causing $1 million in damages and brush fires as far as a mile away.

Other tragedies have stretched the imagination. In 1954, what was believed to be a barn fire off Route 2 in Lothian was discovered to be the burning wreckage of a C-119 Flying Boxcar. Twenty-two servicemen lost their lives in that crash. In 1955, the department was summoned to the wreck and sinking of the three-masted schooner Levin J. Marvel during hurricane Connie in Herring Bay. Members of the department braved gale-force winds and high treacherous seas in small boats to rescue passengers from the doomed ship. Fourteen passengers and crew drowned, while 11 were rescued.


You Pay the Tab for Fran’s Frolic

Blow and batter though she did, Hurricane Fran wasn’t a disaster in Chesapeake Country. That’s the good news.

The bad news is that you’ll be paying for any damage Fran’s boisterous September visit did to your property.

Maybe when you learn the terms, however, you’ll be glad you didn’t pass the test set by FEMA and MEMA — the Federal Emergency Management Administration and Maryland’s equivalent — the Red Cross or Small Business Administration. What they’re looking for, according to Calvert County’s Emergency Manager Donnie Hall, is “total devastation.”

Like Midwestern towns that, after the Mississippi flooded in 1993, simply weren’t anymore.

“They like to see houses completely destroyed. That’s what they’re looking for in giving assistance. When you get a team that came from Andrew down in Florida, you say ‘look at this and this and this’ and they say ‘look at what?’ As much as what we went through might be a disaster for us, it’s not for them,” says Hall.

Anne Arundel County was no disaster either.

“In Fran, we did have a lot of damage to piers and bulkheads as well as erosion damage to waterfront property. Unfortunately, we were not declared disaster area,” reports Chief Gary Sheckells. He’s called ‘chief” because in Anne Arundel, emergency management is the job of the fire department.

Even if the county had earned that dubious distinction, repairs to waterfront property wouldn’t have come from FEMA. “Waterfront property,” says Sheckells, is looked at as recreational. If we had been eligible, it would have been for repairs to homes. We were extremely fortunate in escaping with minor water damage to about 100 homes, mostly in South County with some in the Riviera Beach area.”

But at least one south Anne Arundel community made hay from September’s storm surge. Masons Beach, on Herring Bay between Parker and Rockhold Creeks, took Fran’s wrath face on. Now the community’s battered wooden bulkhead needs repair and reinforcement to the tune of about $450,000.

For Masons Beach, money is no problem. It’s coming interest-free as a loan from the state shore erosion program administered by the Department of Natural Resources.

But don’t go asking DNR for a loan. Mason Beach was the last of the lucky ones, ending a 28-year-long era of largesse. “Seven or eight-hundred property owners, towns, counties and communities,” according to DNR’s Leonard Larese-Casanova, have received interest-free loans for such structural means of shore control as stone revetment and timber bulkheads.

“Masons Beach,” he said, “was one of last few structural projects we were able to fund.”

“We pay about 60 cents per $100 of assessed value, for 20 years, paying back loans we’ve drawn on six or eight times for shore erosion damage,” said Patricia O’Brien, president of Mason’s Beach community association.

That community will also spend $8,400 to repair additional damage from Fran, replacing copper pier caps, filling holes and patching holes inside the bulkhead with treated lumber.

In Calvert County, Chesapeake Beach — where nine shore erosion control projects had been financed by interest-free loans since 1978 — “did very well in withstanding Fran,” Larese-Casanova was proud to report.

DNR’s shore erosion control program continues with new methods. For “vegetative approaches to shoreline protection” DNR makes matching 50-50 grants to private property owners and 75-25 grants to protect public property. Those grants help protect existing marshes or create new fringe marshes to protect shores from erosion by action of the waters of the Bay or its tributaries

“With the Bay relatively quiet for the last 10 years, you get into a false sense of security,” Larese-Casanova says. “Our message is that we can come out with technical assistance and map a way to solve problems.”

Before, he means, one of Fran’s siblings comes our way.


ATM Surcharghes: MD Banks Among Greediest

% of ATM machines that apply surcharge:

Texas 100%

North Carolina 71%

Arizona 69%

Virginia 60%

Maryland 48%

source: US Public Interest Research Group

You need a gallon of milk, cat food and a bottle of aspirin. You’re short on cash, so you swing by an ATM cmachine for a $20 bill.

Near the end of the transaction, the machine tells you OK, you can have your money, put it will cost you another $1 — or five percent of the $20 bill — on top of charges you already are paying to get some of your own money. Still want that 20 bucks?

Maybe the kids don’t really need milk. And the cat’s been stiffed before. But no matter what you do, your headache gets worse.

Such bank practices “manipulate consumers. Consumers are less likely to cancell a transaction if they are about to receive their cash,” said Janice Shields, consumer research director for the US Public Interest Reesearch group, PIRG.

A PIRG report, released last week, found that Maryland ranks among the top five states studied in the percent of ATM machines that add surcharges. The 48 percent of Maryland machines adding surcharges was exceeded only by the percentage in Texas, North Carolina, Arizona and Virginia, the study found.

“Charging consumers twice to use an ATM machine only once doubles the cost of ATM transactions while generating millions of dolalrs in unearned revenues for ATM owners,” Shields said.

Where states permit them, banks will slap on any of 15 ATM fees, including the “dormant card fee,” which, believe it or not, charges you for not using your ATM card. Better check your bank statement.

So when vote-hungry candidates for the General Assemby come knocking at your door, tell them you’ll think about supporting them if they protect you against money-hungry Maryland banks.

—Bill Lambrecht

A Bounty of Lighthouses

Lighthouses are to Calvert Marine Museum what salt and pepper shakers are to some households. They just keep accumulating.

The museum has been home to 113-year-old screw-pile Drum Point Light since 1975, when it was transported two miles from its historic site at the entrance to the Patuxent River. This week two more lighthouses, Cedar Point and Cove Point, come to the museum.

At least, like all those cute salt and pepper shakers, they’re all different. Drum Point, a screw-pile lighthouse, is a round cottage standing on a steel spider frame. Cedar Point is a brick-and-wood two-story cottage. Cove Point is a tall tower.

Expected to arrive any day now in who-knows-what condition is the Cedar Point Light. Abandoned to the harsh mercy of the elements for over 70 years, the lighthouse near Patuxent Naval Air Station in St. Mary’s County is too far gone to be restored. When the museum suggested to its owner, the U.S. Navy, that certain architectural features would be welcome, the Navy made a counter offer. “How would you like the whole thing?” museum director Douglas Alves remembers.

“In a weird kind of way, it works out because we had just made room to develop a picnic pavilion.” Topping that pavilion, the museum hopes, will be the renewed slate roof of the old lighthouse.

“The game plan,” says Alves, “is to lift the wooden second story off in one piece with a crane and load it on a barge. At that point, the brick base is likely to collapse in on itself. We’ll find out when they do it.”

If the old derelict cooperates, you’ll some day picnic under this historic roof supported on columns of bricks from the old lighthouses first story.

Alves is sure the Navy will deliver: “Drum Point came in one piece in ‘75, so I have lots of faith.”

While the picnic pavilion is under construction, Alves and the Marine Museum will be juggling a third lighthouse.

Cove Point Lighthouse stands up the Bay on the easternmost point of land in Calvert County, still flashing its light and sounding its horn after 168 years. Though deeded to the county by the Coast Guard, this 51-foot tower will stay put.

When the three Coast Guard families who live in Cove Point lighthouse move, the light will keep flashing every 10 seconds, throwing its long beam 19 miles. In fog, the horn will still blare every 15 seconds, so loudly that Alves hears it five miles away at his home in Chesapeake Ranch Estates. Both are automated and monitored from Baltimore.

“The Coast Guard will maintain the light bulb. All else is mine, Alves says.

Just what the museum will do with Cove Point Light House now that they’ve got it remains to be seen. This much is certain: Calvert County will get it and Calvert Marine Museum administer it as a site open to public. Because the tapering tower is narrow at the top of its winding, open staircase, it’s unlikely that people will be invited up. More likely are exhibits in a park with a great view.

Whatever else we the public get when Cove Point Light opens sometime in 1998, we’ll be able to see this famous old light for the first time in many years. The road that leads to the light ends in a fence with no view.

Beginning Saturday, October 12, at Patuxent River Appreciation Days, you’ll have a view of many lighthouses. Opening then are a photo exhibit on the Lighthouses of Southern Maryland and a historic display of the century-old life of Cedar Point Lighthouse.

Expected at the celebration’s opening ceremonies at 10am Saturday is Sen. Paul Sarbanes who, with Sen. Barbara Mikulski, managed the no-cost transfer of ownership Cove Point Lighthouse plus $90,000 to shore up its seawall.


October Is for Stories

Editor’s Note: About most months dedicated to a purpose, we say ho-hum. But October’s always a favorite, the more so since it’s story-telling month.

When storyteller Jim Weiss stands in front of people, he soon has them laughing, clapping and cheering. In sweater and slacks, Weiss plays to four- to 12-year-olds and people old enough to be their parents.

When Weiss tells the story of Hercules (as he did recently at Zany Brainy in Annapolis), he brings to life the ancient hero who had to clean the king’s stables. Thirty years of debris had accumulated from the 30,000 mules stabled in those Aegean stables. The hero diverts a river for this clean-up. When the king asks what how he managed so much work, Hercules replies, “I didn’t do anything.”

“The kids really dug it,” said one on-looker. We imagined them plotting where to find a river to divert into their bedrooms.

“What’s wonderful about the stories of Hercules,” Weiss comments, “is that individually they’re some of the best adventure stories ever. Collectively, they’re about a man who has this great gift of extraordinary strength and he’s not wise about it. He hurts people sometimes. He sets out to learn how to use it well. He’s striving for something and he gains it.”

“It’s got something for kids and something for their parents,” says the storyteller.

Weiss turned storyteller when he finally faced the truth that his high-paying sales and marketing job didn’t make him happy. With the support of his wife and daughter, he turned to an old talent. They invested the family money in making and selling tapes of his tale-telling.

Saturday, October 12, Weiss tells his stories again at Anne Arundel Community College. Sponsored by Family Unschoolers Network of Pasadena, Weiss will follow his storytelling performance with a workshop on oral traditions with voice coaching and tips on converting written words into spoken presentations.

“I love these workshop sessions,” says Weiss. “Kids and parents ask questions I never thought about. Most everybody is a storyteller. I help them to find the voice inside.”

—Sonia Linebaugh

Here’s Jim Weiss’ Saturday schedule: performance 11am and workshop 1:30pm at AACC’s Florestano Building in Arnold. It pays to order advance tickets at $8 adults and $6 children under 12. At the door, tickets are $12 and $8: 410/360-7330.

Fine Sailboats Up and Down the Bay

Annapolis, for all the hundred-odd varieties of the United States Sailboat Show, does not hold this October weekend’s monopoly on sailing glories.

Down in Solomons, you can see the sights and sail the wide Patuxent on a trio of unique historic vessels. The William B. Tennison, a national historic landmark built in 1899 on Crabb Island, is the oldest Coast Guard-licensed passenger vessel on the Chesapeake Bay. This old familiar mainstay of the museum fleet is joined once again this year for Patuxent River Appreciation Day by the skipjack Dee of St. Mary’s. Dee captain Jack Russell oysters and crabs under sail on his skipjack, so riders will get the feel of a real working boat.

New this year is Captain Mike Richards’ Lady Patty, a 45-foot sailing yacht built by Solomons’ shipbuilder M.M. Davis in 1935 in the style of a classic Bay ketch.

“We wanted local historic boats because that’s what we do. With our $2,500 grant from the Chesapeake Bay Trust, we’ll be able to take thousands of people out on the water for free,” says Karen Stone, museum curator of education.

Chesapeake Bay Trust has just awarded $188,597 in grants to 134 local Bay restoration and education projects, including Patuxent River Appreciation Days. Funded by the Maryland tax check-off and the sale of commemorative Bay license plates, the Trust awarded 570 grants during the last fiscal year.

With over 10 and as many as 15 thousand people coming to Solomons for Patuxent River Appreciation Day each year, having three boats to bear some of the load may be all that keeps the little island from sinking.

If weather allows, all three will go under sail around the island and up to the Gov. Johnson bridge and back.


Way Downstream …

In Virginia, Gov. George “Banana-Republican” Allen is at it again. After U.S. EPA regional administrator Michael McCabe admonished him last month for going easy on Virginia polluters, Allen dismissed the criticism as “election year politics” …

From New Jersey comes an ugly fishing report. The flounder and black bass fisheries off the coast have all but collapsed because of depleted stocks. Why? “Too many fishermen chasing too few fish,” the Philadelphia Inquirer reported this week.

The paper said that commercial fishermen are turning to squid and bait fish such as menhanden to stay afloat …

In Sweden, the mystery of the devastation of Scandinavian elk has been solved. For years, scientists have been trying to understand why elk and grazing animals have been dying. Power plant operators have argued that it wasn’t from heavy acid rain, which comes from burning coal. The utilities were right — sort of. A report this week by the Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences found that he elk had died from the lime that farmers spread on the ground to neutralize the falling acid …

Our Creature Feature this week comes to us from the U.S. Postal Service, which may be dreadfully slow but makes neat stamps.

The new Endangered Species Series of 32 cent stamps that went on sale Oct. 2 lets you adorn your mail with amazing creatures. If it’s furry critters you prefer, you can get stamps featuring the ocelot, the Florida panther and the blackfooted ferret.

Or perhaps you would prefer the American crocodile, the Hawaiian monk seal or a Florida manatee that reminds you of Chessie. If your correspondence is fishy, try the Gila trout. If it’s a bill you’re paying, you may prefer the San Francisco garter snake.

Then again, you may wish to send your greeting via winged creature. New stamps feature the swallowtail butterfly, the California condor, the brown pelican, the thick-billed parrot and the piping plover.

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Lead Us Not Into the Temptation of Sprawl

We like to think that churches lead people in right paths. But, to borrow a line from the well-sung American musical Porgy and Bess, “it ain’t necessarily so.” Environmentally and architecturally speaking, we mean.

That’s why we think Anne Arundel County Councilman John Klocko is on the right track in his effort to hold churches to the sustainable visions shared by both State and County. Those visions, you’ll remember, tell us that development should be concentrated in suitable areas and that rural growth should be directed to existing population centers.

Yet throughout the Maryland countryside, some churches are paving rich tracts of roadside farmland. They are laying acres of asphalt for parking lots and constructing modernistic temples alien to their landscape, alien to America’s rich traditions of church architecture — alien even in their sprawling formlessness to the metaphor of the soul’s aspiring to God so well represented in the traditional church spire.

Yes, architecture is part of the problem, almost as important a part as place. That’s because we set our bearings by our churches.

Churches lay the cornerstone of our communities. Our earliest settlements, right here in Maryland — as in Massachusetts, Florida or California — grew up around churches. Our ancestors built their churches early, virtually as soon as they got off the boat, looking to them not only to remind us of life’s spiritual dimension but also to give permanence and structure to our pilgrim lives. Villages grew up around them, and as cities grew, neighborhoods defined themselves by their church.

Today state, county, town and environmental planners are busy as autumn bees helping us define the shape our lives will take in the 21st century. Villages, they remind us, shape values we have not outgrown — the same values we fear are lost. They give us a sense of place so we know where we belong. They give us a sense of proportion so we don’t suffer the alienation of being lost in the big picture. They give us a sense of community so we work and grow together. They give us a sustainable future, averting sprawl and husbanding our resources.

It takes, as Hillary Clinton writes, a village to raise a child. Increasingly, Republicans and Democrats are in nonpartisan harmony on the fact that small, manageable social institutions agree with America.

Yet for half a century, churches have led the flight to the suburbs, spuring their abandoned city and village congregations to follow them, getting bigger and bigger, more and more anonymous. Having gotten in our cars to follow, we’re missing the good old days. More, it’s dawning on our culture that we can’t just keep moving West or we’ll have no undeveloped America left. So now we’re trying to go back, to pick up some of the best of what we’ve left behind and carry it forward into our future.

Sustainability leadth us to think in new ways.

Should churches be exempt? That’s not, we think, what freedom of religion means.

We agree with Councilman Klocko that the issue is “agricultural land preservation and trying to avoid the construction of large institutional buildings in rural areas.” We applaud him in his efforts to write ordinances to achieve these goals. We look forward to the same standards for public buildings and schools, which have no more business leading us into sprawl than our churches do.

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Letters to the Editor

Dachshunds Want to Serve, Too

Dear Max at New Bay Times~Weekly:

I was intrigued to learn in a recent NBT editorial that airports are planning to use Labrador retrievers to assist in the detection of bombs and other explosive devices in the fight against terrorism. I can see that you have a nose for news as well as other things.

As a dachshund, I know my breed does not have quite the reputation you labs have as people lovers. Dachshunds do have good noses, however, can squeeze into small spaces, and have a strong desire to serve their country, too. Could you put in a good word for us with the big government poobahs?

Sitka (Wilson), Churchton

P.S. Max, I'd go anywhere with you.

Why I Liketh New Bay Times

Dear New Bay Times~Weekly:

Since I have become homeless” as defined by the state and federal government, I enjoy that sense of belonging to a community when I read New Bay Times. My husband and I sold our home in the Baltimore area and now are living in a motorhome in a campground until our home in Virginia is completed within six months.

At first, New Bay Times was an excellent visitor’s guide enticing us to enjoy all the Bay and its surrounding land has to offer. But it has become more. We read about people who care not only about the Bay but also their good neighbors. We read about temporary defeats conquered wit both perseverance and that main ingredient called “communities.” Without strong, unified communities, there are no safe places for families and businesses to flourish.

New Bay Times not only informs — the caring people behind this excellent paper unite a community. There is no greater purpose for a newspaper to flourish also.

—Fran Ingram, Lothian

Whoops, Wrong Caterpillar

Dear New Bay Times~Weekly:

We always enjoy New Bay Times with its mixture of opinion (yes, we have seen hummingbirds in Deale) and fact (great article on our town). When presenting articles as fact, though, they need to be correct.

Your article on swallowtails (“Who’s Here,” September -, 1996) contained errors. The only swallowtail whose caterpillar feeds on parsley and carrot leaves is the black swallowtail. All other swallowtails (tiger, zebra, etc.) live on tree or bush leaves. Note too that the stripes on the black swallowtail caterpillar are vertical, as shown in the illustration, not horizontal, as stated in the text.

The more serious error concerns the tomato hornworm. Not only is this not the larva of a swallowtail, it isn’t even a butterfly! These large green caterpillars burrow into the ground, hollowing a space in the earth to form the pupa. What emerges is a large moth of the hawk or sphinx moth family. Most common is the five-spotted hawk moth, with a wingspread of four to five inches. These are night flying moths that are not often seen but are occasionally attracted to porch lights. The moths drink the nectar of trumpet-like flowers such as the tobacco plant.

—F. Stephen Gauss, Deale

Editor’s Note: We’re glad to be set straight and can plead only that our source was seeing a different green caterpillar in his mind’s eye.

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On Teaching My Grandsons to Sail

by Ned Killeen

I was eight years old when I learned to sail in the then-rural town of Little Silver on the Shrewsbury River in Monmouth County, New Jersey. My teacher was a professional yacht captain named Magnus Hagenus, a Swedish immigrant. He was my first hero, not to be replaced until 1942, by General Douglas MacArthur.

Hagenus was wise in all things relating to ships and the sea. He taught me to splice, taught me the name of every sail on a three-masted ship, filled my young head with all sorts of nautical lore. He never said "good bye" or "so long." Instead, it was "See you in Liverpool," because, he explained, all sailors get to Liverpool from time to time. Of course, he taught me to sail the 16-foot Cape Cod dory that belonged to my father.

Three years later, when I was 11, my father told me that now I must teach my eight-year old sister to sail, just as Hagenus had taught me. Hagenus was no longer around Little Silver ... perhaps he'd gone back to Sweden. I argued with my father that my sister was far too stupid to possibly learn to sail. Singularly unimpressed by this argument, he just said, "Do it.... or else." I got the point!

I can remember it as if it were yesterday ... standing on the dock at low tide, the Cape Cod dory several feet below dock level, watching my sister try to daintily lower herself down into the boat. Disgustedly, I said, "That's not the way to get into a boat. Watch me. You jump in."

And jump I did. But instead of landing near the center of the boat, I landed right on the gunwale, causing the boat to tip violently. I grabbed the mast, but that just seemed to accelerate the tipping, and into the water I went. It's funny how selective memory can be. The next thing I remember is surfacing and looking up at my sister doubled with laughter, saying, "Oh, is that the way to do it?" What happened next after that, I couldn't tell you.

Years later, I taught two of my own children to sail. By this time I was living in South Florida, and I can't recall any unusual incidents at all from this teaching effort.

That brings us to Deale in 1996. My grandsons, Jack Neville, 11, and Billy Neville, 7, were visiting from Bethesda. I borrowed a Dyer Dhow from a neighbor, borrowed My First Sail from the South County Library, and we were ready to go.

We brought the pram around to the stern of my trawler, Zorra, which is berthed at Shipwright Harbor. I helped the boys into the pram. Then I stepped from the pram into my own dinghy so that I could follow them and coach.

Then it happened. The pram and my dinghy, with one of my feet in each, slowly and inexorably drifted further apart. There was the inevitable splash.

When I looked up, both grandsons were merrily laughing .... and in my mind, for just one moment, it was the Shrewsbury River in 1941, rather than Tracey’s Creek in 1996.

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I’m Mad Enough to Spit …

at How Professional Sports Spit on You and Me

Pity poor worms and minnows. I've known fishermen who spit on them for luck. Turns out there could have been more than luck involved.

Also, being the object of spittle — at times with a bit of tobacco or snuff mixed in — usually wasn't the worse thing a bait endured when fished by superstitious anglers. Think of being impaled by a hook; worse still being chomped on by a fish.

I don't know about other fishes, but some years back catfish were studied by an enterprising fisheries scientist who announced there was something or other in human spittle — either scent or taste, maybe both — that attracted catties to the bait.

It seems at times, there's a bit of unintended/unexpected logic in superstition, but I hesitate to douse a Parachute rig with Burton expectorate. Rockfish probably have more refined taste buds — and the Bay doesn't need another drop of pollution.

There’s a Polite Word for It …

Expectorate. Quite a word. As a kid, I remember seeing it on posters in trolley cars, also signs on the street, and public baths when we went to the city. I knew it was bad because there was a $10 fine for delivering it. Mother finally explained the issue, and I felt the fine was justified.

There were a lot of tobacco chewers around in the Great Depression, I guess a chaw was much cheaper than a smoke back when pennies counted. Oft times when barefoot in the village, I had to do some fancy walking to keep the feet dry — and their bottoms white.

Heck, when I worked as a reporter for the Providence Journal, glistening polished brass spittoons were alongside each desk. And many were used, though sometimes as a receptacle for cigar and cigarette butts.

Nowadays, I sometimes ride with an acquaintance who uses a Styrofoam cup or other container as a makeshift portable spittoon; they're more sophisticated these days. In the past, it was roll down the window and let it fly.

But No Matter Where It Comes From …

And let it fly was what Roberto Alomar did recently. But he wasn't in an automobile, news room, out in the wild, or riding a street car. He was near home plate at Toronto's baseball stadium. I don't know whether there were any dry smoke additives involved.

No spittoons being available, he let fly at umpire John Hirschbeck's face. A childish act indeed, especially from a fellow who makes enough money to buy the brass bowls for spittle by the freight car load.

Maybe he became addicted to spittle when he moistened paper to compress little balls to toss about the classroom, but a grown man spitting in another man's face makes one suspicious that the former never went to school.

Or, seeing he's in baseball, maybe the spitballs that pitchers of yore were accused of throwing got him into the spittle thing. Heaven only knows why an adult, a role figure, a star, anyone for that matter would spit at another human being's mug — especially as a packed baseball stadium looked on.

He better not try it in Texas, Florida or any other states where residents are allowed to carry concealed weapons. Being splashed is cause to draw and shoot, no questions asked — and a jury outside of the pro sports world deliberate for only 30 seconds before returning the not guilty verdict.

Spitting Merits Hanging

Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis, where are you when we need you?

When I was a kid and for years later, Kenesaw was the commissioner of Major League Baseball, and a damned good one at that. Tall, crusty, scraggly, always frowning, and intent on doing a job that was best for baseball, he ruled with an iron fist.

No players or even club owners dared challenge him; they knew the heave-ho would follow — and not just for five days. For life. If he could only come back today, agents, errant players, their union, greedy owners and gamblers would be long gone. The only segment of the baseball world he never sent off to oblivion was the fans.

Joe Shoeless Jackson and the rest involved in the Black Sox scandal were never convicted of being involved in an alleged fix of the 1919 (I believe) World Series, but they were out of baseball for life. No mercy, no reconsideration, no plea bargaining, nothing. Out of the game, legally guilty or not.

Had he been commissioner when Alomar argued a called third strike, the latter would already be looking around for lawns to mow to put beans on the table. His chances for continuing on the Orioles' roster through the playoffs would be akin to sending a man to the moon on a kiddy car.

A five day suspension — to be served next season, and probably with pay. Aw, come on.

Playing and bowing to the applause and shouts of some fans, ignoring the boos from others, Alomar hit the home run that beat the Cleveland Indians and pushed his team to the next level in the playoffs against the New York Yankees. What a role model he is.

Which Is About My Verdict for Pro Sports

A model for what depths society is stooping to. We pay a hero's tribute a spitter; we ignore the act, consider only the playing ability. We play for the bottom line, the big win, while we scream and holler at business and industrial leaders who do the same thing — play for the bottom line, layoffs, mergers, takeovers, restructurings that cost jobs and such notwithstanding.

All this gets scary, the luminaries of the sports, screen, rock and TV world behaving as they like, no constraints, seemingly more interested in shocking their fans, society, anything to get attention and put more people through the turnstiles of sports and entertainment.

Sure, baseball is only a sport. Or is it a sport? Go out and spit in a man's face not only in front a full house but on TV screens for countless other millions to witness over and over again. Then to have the audacity to infer a connection between the umpire’s son, dead due to a horrible disease, and the ump's decision on a questionable strike.

Everywhere but in Camden Yards, Alomar's presence draws boos though now some are just murmurs. At the Orioles' roost in Baltimore, the cheers drown out the jeers. Rooting for the home team, I think they call it. Or is it another version of my-country-right-or-wrong mentality?

In this incident, it's all wrong; nothing right. The clinching home run that sent to Orioles into the playoffs can't wipe the record clean. Nothing can short of tossing the player out of what we call the national pastime.

What father would want to take his kids to a stadium to pay homage to a team whose players and the rest of the caboodle support a teammate who spits in the face of a man hired to make certain the game is played by the rules?

Hey, let's take the kids to go see the lions devour a few Christians. or maybe a lynching, a bull fight, or how about the pit bulls in action? A cock fight or an X-rated movie?

The tragic part is we overlook the transgressions; you know the "boys will be boys" excuse. But it goes beyond that. Pro sport spits on its patrons, who keep coming back for more.

Like the many fans who paid fortunes to get their cars out of hock when they couldn't get parking at the first playoff games played in Baltimore because construction of the new Ravens stadium tied up parking spaces.

Like the fans who are paying for Camden yards via lottery tickets and will do the same for the Ravens and their $200 million castle … all of which, it seems, could be jeopardy because overall lottery receipts are taking a nose dive — down $24.4 million since July alone.

It takes no rocket scientist to figure who'll be paying the bill if the lottery sales continue their decline, but in the meantime there's now talk of a publicly financed indoor sports arena in Baltimore — another $200 million facility.

Makes me damned mad, so mad I could spit. But not into anyone's face — and not into Chesapeake Bay, which has enough pollution problems which can't be addressed because were pouring our money into castles where athletes, owners, fans, sports unions, an interim commissioner, coaches managers and the like wink at public expectoration.

Where are you Kenesaw Mountain Landis when we need the likes of you?

Enough said.

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Earth Journal

On Leaving Nests

Fallen petals from the wild clematis scurry across the yard. The hummers have fled the dogwood tree. Goldfinches no longer graze amid seeding zinnias. The remains of summer lie all about. Still, we deny the passing of the season until we cruise the old Criscraft down a leaf-strewn creek, past the channel marker at the mouth of the river where we spot a lone osprey huddled in a ragged nest.

We reluctantly bid summer good-bye then, remembering naturalist Sally Carrighar’s poignant description of a fish hawk’s first autumn.

“He faced now,” wrote Carrighar, “one of the hard conditions of being an osprey. Most kinds of hawks start on fall migration in flocks of all ages, but this young osprey did not even see his parents depart. They were gone one morning, leaving him with no hint that he must set out from the only home he remembered, with no directions, and no warning to keep always the gleam of water in view …”

We know this bird huddled at the end of our creek. His parents’ arrival on a blustery March day that signaled spring after a long brutal winter. We welcomed their sad sweet cries of hope. On early spring cruises, we eagerly followed their nesting preparations. Saw the chick peer over nest’s edge for a glimpse of his bottle-green world. Saw scruffy babe grow into sleek young adult. Saw parents teach him to fly, dive and fish. But they hadn’t prepared him for this. For migration he had no example.

How cruel, I lamented, a hint of hysteria in my voice. How cruel to fly off in the middle of the night with no forwarding address. The pragmatic Captain voiced some old cliché about Nature’s ways. He reminded me that we had behaved much the same with our own offspring when it came time for him to migrate. Gave him the credit card and the old VW. Pointed him eastward and told him college was “that way.”

But that was different, I protested. Hadn’t his superb homing instincts brought him back just a few months later? Hadn’t he found us even when we moved away? Hasn’t he always?

The Captain reminded me that bird instincts are far superior. He assured me that when I reread Carrighar’s wonderful essay again this year, I will be comforted.

The essay is found in the old book One Day at Teton Marsh — a Disney-like story with an obnoxious harrier, an early snowstorm and a near-drowning. The osprey overcomes all and finally follows the call of Canada geese and the shine of water that led him towards sunlight.

“The sunlight that was swinging south. At the end of the winter again he would follow it and it would bring him north, to home.”

Just like my kid.

— Audrey Y. Scharman

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