Dock of the Bay
Presidential Politics Come Chesapeake Way ... at Long Last
|When the senator from North Carolina arrived hours late, he rolled up his sleeves and started revving up the crowd of supporters.
Better Late Than Never, Veep Contender Edwards Visits Anne Arundel County
Pennsylvania and West Virginia have hogged the spotlight this election season, while Maryland has fallen by the wayside, ignored by the four major candidates for president and vice-president and the media that illuminates their every move.
So it was until last week, when Democratic vice-presidential candidate Sen. John Edwards visited Anne Arundel Community College in Arnold.
Better late than never was the attitude of the raucous supporters who"d waited all campaign season " and then had to endure another five hours for a glimpse of the man they hope to vote into the second-highest office in the land.
"I want to thank friends, neighbors and volunteers for coming out and waiting," said Edwards, arriving three hours late after mechanical difficulties grounded his chartered Boeing 727 in Cleveland.
"It"s worth it," said Alicia Ong, who drove from Rockville and waited in the rain for over an hour to get inside the college gymnasium. "This is only the second political rally I"ve ever been to."
|photos by Louis Llovio
Alicia Ong, right, and daughter Michelle were among the 1,200 people attending a rally for vice-presidential candidate John Edwards at Anne Arundel Community College.
Ong"s first rally took her to see another charismatic young Democratic senator: John Kennedy. Back then, the immigrant from the Philippines, not yet a citizen, was a junior in college.
"We need a change," said Ong explaining why she made the long drive and didn"t mind either the wait or the rain. "It"s disgusting the way Bush has led us into war, and it"s terrible the way we are viewed around the world."
Die-hard Democrats weren"t the only ones who braved the elements to support their candidate.
About 30 supporters of President Bush stood under umbrellas and makeshift raingear chanting four more years and flip flop.
Three more weeks! shouted back the Kerry-Edwards supporters, who wrapped college sidewalks all the way to the parking lots in a ribbon of partisan fervor.
Twenty feet back, where the police had moved them, Bush-Cheney supporters held signs and heckled.
"I"m here because Kerry is a socialist " and I didn"t fight for socialism," said Vietnam veteran Chuck Thomann of Annapolis.
Thomann resents Kerry for his criticism of the war in Vietnam.
"I was there," he said of his tour in 1968. "I saw what happened, and we weren"t criminals. We did what we had to do."
Different as their views are, both side said they understood why their candidates have avoided Maryland.
"They are needed in other places," said Thomann. "This election is so close that the focus needs to be on the battleground states."
"It doesn"t bother me that [candidates] haven"t come," said Edna Hirsch, a Republican from Havre de Grace who supports Kerry. "They need to do what they have to do."
Ong"s daughter Michelle agrees. "We understand why. They have their voters here and need to convince people in the states that are still up for grabs."
Back in line, a soaking Kellie Boan waited with his 13-year-old son Chris, attending his first political rally.
Like most here, Chris " who won"t be able to vote for president until 2012 " has already made up his mind on this election. "I"m sick of Bush," said the Severn River Middle School eighth grader. "He can"t deliver on anything that he promised."
Hirsch, a dentist, elaborated: "He"s trying to limit the First Amendment, he"s violated the basic tenants of the Republican platform and he"s failed miserably in making the government smaller."
photo by Louis Llovio
Vietnam veteran Chuck Thomann joined Republican protestors who stood vigil outside the community college during Edwards" campaign stop.
During the long wait, local and state Democrats on the campaign trail for this year or 2006 " including Congressman Ben Cardin, Sen. Barbara Mikulski, Baltimore Mayor Martin O"Malley and Montgomery County Executive Doug Duncan " took their turn at the lectern. Unusual for these events, the politicians ran out of things to say. The speakers scheduled to lead into Edwards finished their speeches at 7:20; the stage was then silent until the night"s main event.
The faithful were finally rewarded at 8:05pm when Edwards " tanned and coifed, wearing a blue sports coat, green khakis and a blue oxford shirt " took the stage with arms raised and a smile that could be seen from the rafters.
Edwards gave a 10-minute fist-pumping speech that electrified the exhausted crowd of partisans. They chanted the party line of Hope is on the Way and waved signs on cue.
The biggest cheer came when Edwards spoke in his soft country-lawyer twang of Bush"s biggest mistake in the debates.
That, said Edwards, was Bush"s vague answer to a St. Louis questioner who wanted to know three mistakes he"d made as president.
"Come November," Edwards said. "We"re going to give him the rest of his life to think about "em."
The crowd roared with approval.
Afterward, loyalists pushed and shoved to shake hands as the vice-presidential candidate worked the crowd at the front of the stage.
Most wouldn"t join Edwards at his second stop in Anne Arundel County, a $15,000-per-person fundraiser in Annapolis.
Even so, an energized crowd rolled out of the auditorium at 8:30 to brave wet roads on the drive home.
"It was well worth it," said Terry Gibbs of Severn. "How many times do you get to see a guy who could one day be the next vice-president of the United States?"
In Maryland this year: Once.
Not Your Grandfather"s Trash Truck
|photo by Louis Llovio
Bobby Larrimore and daughter Tara, whose design on the family business garbage trucks won Waste Age Magazine"s annual Best Design for a Front Load Trash award.
Local Disposal Company Takes the Prize Greg Strott is proud of his truck.
It doesn"t have fancy wheels or a high-dollar stereo system. The seats aren"t heated, nor are they leather. No television commercials show his truck riding up the side of a mountain or through a raging river. And his truck has never been the sponsor of a major sporting event.
But Strott"s truck has something those other trucks don"t: It can carry 12 to 15 tons of garbage.
Strott"s truck is not just any garbage truck.
Strott"s Calvert County company Bay Area Disposal won the 2004 Waste Age Magazine"s 26th annual Best Design for a Front Load Trash award. The award-winner is called a front loader because of two large hooked arms that swing down the front to lift dumpsters over the top, dumping the garbage into the rear body.
The award recognized not how much garbage the truck can haul or dump, but how good the graphic design on the truck looks.
The logo on the canary-yellow Mack/Heil front loader is a heron silhouetted against a setting sun. Designer Tara Larrimore is the daughter of one of Strott"s partners, Bobby Larrimore. Liz O"Mahoney is the third partner.
Tara Larrimore, the 24-year-old office manager of Bay Area Disposal, conceived the design on her way home from college when the company opened, in 2001.
"We wanted something that represented the area," she says. "I had the idea for the sunset. I took my dad to the computer, and we came up with it."
"She deserves all the credit," says father Bobby Larrimore.
In making the award, Waste Age said the truck "evokes images of Chesapeake Bay"s local habitat rather than heaps of garbage waiting on the curb." Waste Age is the journal of the waste industry.
The front loader won the award, but all of Bay Area"s fleet of 10 trucks share the design and the job of hauling 2,000 tons of garbage a month. "We get a lot of calls from people who mention they see the yellow trucks driving down the road," says Strott who has worked in waste disposal since high school.
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Ask the Plant Professor
Q I have a dogwood that gets its spring leaves before it gets flowers. It has a bright reddish fruit this time of year. Is it edible?
A Cornus kousa, or Chinese dogwood, produces creamy white bracts that resemble flowers after leaves have emerged in spring. The fall fruits, which vaguely resemble a large raspberry, are edible, though not terribly tasty.
Q When should I plant bulbs such as crocus and tulip?
A You can begin planting bulbs around the middle of September. Spring flowering bulbs should be planted early enough in the fall to ensure root growth before the cold weather sets in, yet not before the soil has had a chance to cool off from summer. A general rule of thumb is to plant bulbs when dogwood trees start turning red.
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.
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