Volume 12, Issue 33 ~ August 12 -18, 2004
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Dock of the Bay

To Find Roots, Dig Deep
African American heritage abounds at Kunta Kinte Festival

History is mortared into the very foundation of Annapolis, in old houses with stories to tell; memorials that pinpoint nationally-recognized history right into city buildings; and familiar places like City Dock, where remembering the past has become a tradition. It’s history with black roots as well as white.

Also a tradition is Annapolis’s 15th Annual Kunta Kinte Heritage Festival, commemorating the enslaved arrival of Kunta Kinte to Annapolis almost 240 years ago and celebrating Maryland’s deep ties to African, African American and African Caribbean cultures.

This weekend at the Anne Arundel County Fairgrounds, $5 will immerse you in Africa’s cultures with gospel, funk, R&B, steel drum, jazz and calypso music and African dance; a marketplace with more than 60 arts and crafts vendors; story tellers and poets; mud-cloth painting, mask making and beading; and, of course, varieties of ethnic cuisine.

If you don’t get your fill on art and entertainment, dive into the informal history lessons scattered throughout the festival about African American contributions, performers, artists and African culture.

Kunta Kinte Festival: Aug. 14 10am-8pm, Aug. 15 10am-7pm @ Anne Arundel County Fairgrounds, Route 178 Crownsville; $5 w/discounts: 410-349-0338; www.kuntakinte.org.
—Carrie Steele

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23rd Annual Cancer Gala Outshines Itself

Good weather, good food, good company made for record-breaking night

Fall visited Chesapeake Country to add one more delight for the 1,800 party-goers who packed the Rod ’n’ Reel complex in Chesapeake Beach for lobster, champagne, prime rib, mountains of desserts and even more champagne and lobster.

But the surprisingly cool weather, lavish spread, open bars and live music weren’t the only reasons drawing the hundreds of well-heeled guests. They were there to help fight cancer.

All in all, Calvert County’s 23th annual Celebration of Life was good enough to raise more than $300,000 for the American Cancer Society — far surpassing the stated goal of $275,000. It was good enough to show that life is sweet despite the long shadow of sorrow.

“This is the best event we’ve done,” said Rod ’n’ Reel owner and Chesapeake Beach mayor Gerald Donovan, who with his brother Fred, founded the Gala in memory of their father who died of cancer. “It was overwhelming.”

The 2004 Gala raised $80,000 more than last year and pushed the 23-year total well over the $2 million mark to $2,240,000.

Forty percent of the money benefits Calvert County directly, including programs such as Road to Recovery, where cancer patients are driven to and from treatments by volunteers, and Look Good … Feel Better, where cosmetologists help women survivors redefine their beauty.

Maryland researchers also share in the bounty, which enables them to continue hunting down the killer (see Bay Weekly Vol. XI, No. 31 and Vol. XII, No. 29).

Because of their work, Donovan says he hopes that this is the one of the last Galas he’ll have to host.

“I hope one day not to have to do this,” he said. “And I hope that day is soon.”

Once his wish comes true, the people who lined up for champagne and lobster year after year are likely to insist on one last celebratory Gala.
—Louis Llovio

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Act Five in The Seige of Calvert

Biggest box stores successfully resisted

Calvert is a county where the roots of tradition hold fast against the onslaught of change. So it is fitting that the biggest drama of this new century — the county’s seige by Big Box stores — has played out by ancient theatrical rules.
Alien armies laid seige in Act One. The seige was Wal-Mart’s proposed double-pronged expansion. The existing 91,000 square-foot Prince Frederick store sought to supersize by more than 100,000 square feet. In Dunkirk a dozen miles north, a new 160,000-square-foot store would rise.
Swords had clashed in Act Three, as developers maneuvered and citizens took sides. In Acts Two and Four, the plot thickened.

Finally, in Act Five, staged at the seat of local government this week, order was restored — though not without concession to the forces of change.

The forces of order were the county’s five elected commissioners, who voted nearly unanimously in their August 10 meeting against supersizing the big box stores. Their decisions are now law in the fast-growing county.
In keeping with pre-20th century dramatic conventions, there was no blood letting on stage. But out of public view, said Commissioner Susan Shaw, “blood was shed.”

The commissioners’ votes on nine separate amendments to the county zoning code by and large accepted the recommendations of the county’s citizen Planning Commission.
Size was the basic issue, and on that front the commissioners set different maximums for larger and smaller town centers.

Boxes can be biggest in Prince Frederick, the town’s geographic and political center. There, by the meet’s most divided vote, commissioners voted 3-to-2 to set the maximum at 125,000 square feet. A new requirement that local businesses be “co-located” to such big boxes would add 20 percent to the complex, for a total of 144,000 square feet.

“I’m a small-town kind of guy and I want Calvert County to preserve its local base with uniqueness and quality. But I’m a realist, too,” said Commissioner Jerry Clark, in agreeing to bigger boxes than, he said, “personally I’d like.”

With Linda Kelley and Shaw, Owens was on the winning side. Commissioners David Hale and Wilson Parran, the nos, would have allowed bigger boxes.

In smaller town centers — Solomons, Lusby, Dunkirk — 75,000 is the new max, plus 20 percent for attached small businesses. In smaller Huntingtown and St. Leonard, the new allowable base is 25,000 square feet. In Owings, the size drops to 15,000 square feet.

Outside of town centers, in the few zones allowing big stores, size is limited to 25,000 square feet.

All the bigger boxes must also meet appearance and up-keep standards for as long as the store stands, occupied or not. And they must also guarantee roads adequate to the traffic they generate.

Wal-Mart was never named on the record during the hour-and-a half discussion and vote. But the new rules effectively return both its Dunkirk and Prince Frederick plans to the drawing board.

All of Calvert’s existing biggest boxes but one, Sneade’s in Owings, fit neatly in the new order:

1. Wal-Mart, Prince Frederick: 91,400

2. Kmart, Prince Frederick: 86,500

3. Safeway, Prince Frederick: 55,300

4. Giant, Prince Frederick: 52,400

5. Safeway, Dunkirk: 48,800

6. Food Lion, Prince Frederick: 37,900

7. Food Lion, Solomons: 37,200

8. Peebles, Prince Frederick: 35,000

9, 10. Sneade’s Hardware in Owings and Lusby, each about 22,000.
—SOM with Lauren Silver

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Ask the Plant Professor

Gardening with a Gentle Touch

Q I would like a natural recipe for killing weeds in flower beds and borders.

A It is possible to kill some weeds with acetic acid — vinegar. Grocery-store vinegar is five percent acetic acid. Products with higher concentrations will kill plants more rapidly. Because vinegar kills foliage, roots may survive and tough perennial weeds will reappear.

You can smother weeds very effectively by layering the site with three or four layers of overlapping newspaper. Hold down the paper with mulch or grassclippings. Cardboard also works, as does plastic, but plastic doesn’t decompose and removing it can be a nuisance.

Q I have a small pear tree that had the bark scraped off a six-inch area. What can I treat this area with?

A Research shows that products applied to plant wounds actually slow the healing process. Wound paint or dressing hinders the tree from forming its own callus tissue and sealing the damaged area. Diseases and insects can still infest an area under wound paint. Trim off dangling scraps of bark around your tree’s wound. Otherwise let the tree heal itself.

Fertilizer does not help a stressed tree and will not speed healing.

Ask the Plant and Pest Professor is compiled from questions sent to the website of the Home and Garden Information Center, part of Maryland Cooperative Extension, an educational outreach of the University of Maryland. Ask a home gardening or pest control question and find other help: 800-342-2507 (Mon.-Fri. 8am-1pm) • www.hgic.umd.edu.

Way Downstream …

In Crisfield, Somerset County officials say that the $50 million start-up costs may doom plans for a fast-ferry from Maryland to Virginia, the Cambridge Daily Banner reports. Planners on both sides of the Bay are waiting for private companies to show more interest (and not try to soak taxpayers) before proceeding with a plan calling for a 24-mile route between Crisfield and Reedville that would cost about $40 for an auto and $65 for a truck …

In Mauritania, they’re laughing at our measly Brood X locusts. The country was invaded last week in a biblical way, with swarms of 120 million per square mile traveling 80 miles a day, consuming every bit of green in sight: including soccer fields and the president’s garden …

In Norway, hiking in the far north around Longyearbyen is challenging. Because of short-fused polar bears, tourist centers rent you World War II Mauser rifles to take along. They may remind you that a woman that became polar bear lunch a few years ago hadn’t stopped by the gun kiosk …

Our Creature Feature comes from Thailand, where the fur is truly flying in the scandal of the kick-boxing orangutans. Police are investigating what’s going on at Safari World in Bangkok, where they’re dressing primates up in silky boxing shorts and red boxing gloves.

Forestry officials in Indonesia say that what’s happening is a huge orangutan smuggling operation, and there might be something to it, judging by what a police spokesman told Reuters: “The monkey boxing shows have been ordered to stop because they [the combatants] are evidence in a lawsuit.”

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