view counter

Articles by Sandra Olivetti Martin

Commemoration …   

Tuesday and Wednesday, the Blue Angels awe us with fearless acrobatics, then streak into the wild blue yonder, our imaginations trailing.
    Friday, the midshipmen of the U.S. Naval Academy class of 2014 receive their commissions.
    Monday completes the cycle.
    All the warriors we honor on Memorial Day were once young as those midshipmen, younger even, entrusting themselves to a future beyond their imagining.
    They were as confident as those Angels, prepared to soar beyond ordinary mortals.
    Then came the doing. In war and in peace, each man devoted himself, each woman herself, to a cause larger than the making of an individual life. In that service, many gave their lives or lost who they had been in limbs and peace of mind.
    On Memorial Day, as we honor the legions of dead warriors, their stories want to rise from the graves and columbariums to the ears of the living. It’s their quiet call that takes us to the cemeteries, to the memorial spaces and ceremonies. We make these journeys on the last Monday in May, when flowers — peonies, iris, spirea — are blooming. Decoration Day, the old name of a commemoration begun after the Civil War, filled cemeteries with flowers and witnesses, and the stories rose from all the graves, visited and lonely.
    Speaking the names of the dead warriors, recalling their stories, is a duty veterans hold sacred. Speaking for them in this Memorial Day issue of Bay Weekly is … Korean War veteran Bill Alli, of Bowie, whose book, Too Young for a Forgettable War, we recommend to you in The Reader. As well as Barb Robbins, Sara Russell and Donna Kurrle, interviewed at the Maryland World War II Memorial on the Severn River.

… And Celebration
    The only certain lesson taught by the dead is the fullness of life. Thus the flip side of Memorial Day is our celebration of summer’s beginning.
    You’ll step out of this Bay Weekly into the season.
    Start with These Shining Lives, Colonial Players’ memorial play to, writes Bay Weekly reviewer Jane Elkin, “remind us that precious time is ticking and we should never take a moment of our shining lives for granted.”
    Next? Chesapeake Country is your oyster.    
    Planning a visit to Eastern Shore? Ocean bound? You’ll be among 333,000 travelers in crossing the Bay Bridge. If that figure doesn’t deter you, neither should gephyrophobia. Folks who, like me, are afraid to make that crossing behind the wheel of their own car will find relief (and transportation) in Josh Powell’s story on the Kent Island Shuttle Service.
    If your Memorial Day and summer plans have you getting onto the water rather than over it, we remind you of another timely seasonal commemoration: Safe Boating Week. Bob Melamud’s story will guide you to your own safe boating season.
    Every summer taste will find its satisfaction in the 2014 Summer Fun Guide, Bay Weekly’s annual supplement tucked into this week’s paper. In its 44 pages, you’ll find ways to celebrate the 101 days of summer from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
    To make the most of summer 2014, keep this guide by your side. Do not recycle until September 2.

How Do You Have Summer Fun?
    Here at Bay Weekly, we know a lot of ways to have summer fun. What we don’t know is your favorite summer adventure. Do tell!
    I’m seeking stories for our upcoming issue, Making the Best of Summer in Chesapeake Country. Send me your stories (up to 250 words) and pictures of adventures good, great, calamitous and redeemed: editor@bayweekly.com, subject line Summer Adventures, please.

Plus Two Last Words
    In a broader memorial sense, we say two farewells in 2014’s Memorial Day paper. Puzzler Ben Tausig alerts us to his departure. Puzzles this week through June 26 play out his long good-bye.
    We also salute Dignity Players, which ended its nine-year run as the Theatre for Change on May 17, with the closing of The 39 Steps. Memorably honoring the company for its achievement is Bay Weekly theater reviewer Jim Reiter, who directed the curtain closer.

Sandra Olivetti Martin
Editor and publisher; editor@bayweekly.com

Time to hook our wagons to energy unlimited

Formidable is the fecundity of the vegetable kingdom.    
    Over just a couple of weeks, Chesapeake County has been conquered by green. So quickly that you have to be looking to notice the creeping change, as leaves, seeds and flowers shoot forth. Trunks, branches and limbs of apparently dead trees have burst into green life.
    Seemingly overnight, leaves have grown from miniscule hands to palms so big they could belong to giants. From the bare earth, flowers rise, expanding while your back was turned from frail sprouts to aggressive life forms. Food is growing in our gardens.
    Not just us in this well-watered, sun-kissed, mostly temperate earthly paradise. The vegetative drive for life is universal. Even in arid climates like the Sonora Desert down Phoenix way, cactus and wildflowers burst into spring bloom.
    All this from seeds often no bigger than specks.
    By comparison, humanity is a 90-pound weakling. Like our babies, our inventions have long gestations. Our planet-wide search for energy, the dominant quest of the last two centuries, has yielded nothing to compare with the force that through the green fuse drives the flower. (Poet Dylan Thomas came up with that phrase.)
    I am riding the boom.
    These are our salad days, when we eat greens from our little well-composted garden rather than from cello-bags. Sweet lettuces and peppery arugula are filling our bowls. Spinach lasagna is in delicious season. Forget dried herbs; parsley, oregano, sage and thyme are fat bushes. Mint and lemon balm are already trying to take over. Even sun-loving basil is forgiving its early planting. Catnip is thriving for naught, for the cat for whom it was planted seems nearing the end of his too-short life. Like poor Jungle Bob, my brown turkey fig tree may be a goner — but the life force is strong, so I’m prepared to be surprised.
    Had I planted asparagus, I’d be cutting my own spears rather than making regular stops at Dick and Jane’s Farm Stand and occasional forays to the grower’s tailgate market on Route 4 below the Route 258 exchange. But as Dr. Frank Gouin writes in this week’s Bay
Gardener, “asparagus is a long-term crop.”
    It also, he says, “requires advance preparations.”
    Either I’m heedless, or I’ve never dared make the commitment. With this column, I’ll no longer have the easy excuse of ignorance. The Bay Gardener tells us how, when and to what depth to dig those asparagus trenches, offering alternatives according to how we wish to cut our spears, above ground (shallower) or below (deeper).
    Asparagus is not the half of it. The wise doctor’s columns not infrequently force me to examine my character, if not my conscience. The clueless gardener of April 24’s Know Your Plants Before You Buy could have been me. I’m cursed with the results of planting things that seemed good ideas at the time. Christmas trees are aspiring to Washington Monument size. Cute bushes have turned into hungry hydras. Innocent-seeming ground-covers have revealed themselves as Sorcerer’s Apprentices. Some time in the history of all those mistakes, could I not have planted asparagus?
    Apparently not.
    Perhaps this is the year, when I’ve vowed to turn over a new leaf.
    My newly drawn landscape plan is my guide on all visits to plant sales and garden centers. So far, it’s working. Flowers, shrubs and trees reach out to tempt me, but I resist. Unless they’re on the plan, herbs or essential annuals, they find no room in my cart, car or garden. I’ve yielded only once, to native bleeding heart touted irresistibly by a garden saleswoman at last weekend’s William Paca Garden plant sale. Three pots of that old-fashioned perennial, one I’ve always loved, took me over my Mother’s Day budget. But the other dozen were all approved on my plan.
    Asparagus wants sun, so my advance preparations begin with watching the hour-spread of light on my little piece of earth. If the light is right, there’s a ready-drawn place in my plan for an asparagus trench. There’ll be no instant gratification should I make this planting. “Do not harvest asparagus spears until the beginning of the third growing season,” the Bay Gardener warns. On this end, that seems so long. In retrospect, three years will be no time.

Sandra Olivetti Martin
Editor and publisher; editor@bayweekly.com

Foraging in the woods, these piggies eat a diet good for them — and us

Mothers are the source of life, as Cleopatra the sow, feeding her seven March-born piglets, illustrates. Now thriving at two months old, the piglets are no longer nursing, instead eating the special recipe of local barley, sorghum, field peas and whey served by P.A. Bowen Farmstead.
    The southern Prince George’s County farm is a woods and pasture-based habitat for cows, pigs and poultry, explains Fallon Morell, who with husband Geoffrey has owned the farm since 2009. Grazing in a mixed-species perennial pasture of grasses and legumes maximizes the vitamins and minerals for cows. Living in the woods, pigs supplement their feed with roots and nuts. The animals’ healthful diet — free of antibiotics and chemicals — is passed along to humans in meat, eggs and cheese. P.A. Bowen Farmstead sells its products on the farm and at Anne Arundel Farmers Market at Riva Road.

I hope you have her enshrined in sacred words and pictures

For this week’s Mother’s Day feature, 16 daughters and sons describe their mothers’ superwoman strength when standing by their sides. Without second thought, most chose one single moment preserved full, fresh and sacred out the procession of shared hours, days and years. What that moment would be no one but the writer — certainly not her or his mother — could imagine.
    Most, but not all, are scenes of childhood. In many, mother flexes her muscles and villains flee. Some are small at the moment, rising monumental in aftermath. These are wonderful reminders of the topography of a child’s world. Beyond childhood, mother retains her power and remains by her child’s side, surprising our adult selves by understanding — and being — more than we may now give her credit for. Some stories need no interpretation but others are subtle, and you, like the person who wrote them, will have to puzzle out the relationship they depict. One is a late discovery that redefined a heritage.
    No surprise is that our hearts would fly unerringly as a homing pigeon to the moment that speaks for a lifetime.
    No surprise to me because that’s how this story came to be.
    As I pondered what slice of mother-child life to choose for this year’s story, a picture nudged itself forward. I couldn’t get past it. Taken long, long ago and shut up for many years in a photo album, it was just one photograph among the hundreds chronicling my life with mother. But of all those images — and all the millions more moments not recorded on film — this one demanded my attention.
    As I saw it clearly in memory, I curled in my mother’s arms, my head against her chest. It is, however, not a baby picture. In this photo, I am a girl of 15. Already brewing are the wars that will be fought as I push myself out of her arms, shadow, will and intention to make a life on my own. But for this moment captured in black and white by that era’s instant camera, the Polaroid, in my mother’s arms I am in the safest, soundest, sweetest place in the world.
    Then the ladder came out, and the climber went up to fetch the heavy album marked 1952-1964 from its lofty perch. My heart was high in my chest as I paged through. Other photos meant nothing to me. Only this one, and perhaps it wouldn’t be there. Two-thirds of the way in, past its chronological place, I found it.
    It was as I imagined it — and more, for I had so focused on the central figures that I forgot the context. My mother, 37 at the time — is grinning mischievously past me, into the camera and behind it at my stepfather, Gene Schaper. She is, of course, beautiful, and this is clearly one of her happy hours. Her hair, with just a lick of gray, is cut in the way I liked best. It’s a Sunday night for she’s dressed not in the glamorous style of a work night at our family’s restaurant but in a sweater and — I am sure though I cannot see them — slacks. Her first French poodle, Cina — short for piccolina — is on the couch beside us. The furniture, including a big window air conditioner, is unselfconsciously 1950s; in a year or so, an interior decorator will turn this room out in turquoise and tangerine.
    This is my jumping off point. From here, I walked out of my mother’s arms and into the future.
    As we all did, the luckiest among us able to say we had our mothers by our sides.

Sandra Olivetti Martin
Editor and publisher; editor@bayweekly.com

A higher price than we’ll like paying

Are we doing enough?    
    Reader Frank Allen’s answer to my Earth Day Is Our Birthday question, which you’ll read below in Your Say, praises the progress we’ve made in recycling. He’s right, and like his, our household and office delight in steering recyclables out of our almost empty trashcans into our yellow cans. At home, food waste nourishes our soil and garden. Or, if it’s meat, our dog Moe.
    That change in our nature is one big step, but it isn’t enough.
    We’d make more big steps if each of us adapted and advocated six or eight of the 10 best environmental practices writer Emily Myron gathered from around the world for our Earth Day report last week.
    But we’d still not be doing enough.
    I reached that conclusion after hearing the heap of facts piled by scientist Bert Drake. Drake is no remote talking head. He’s one of us, rooted in Southern Anne Arundel County for 40 years at home and work, the latter at Smithsonian Environmental Research Center in Edgewater.
    Our consciousness-changing generation is like the point of a pencil that’s been writing for centuries. All the carbon-releasing humans have done throughout our past is written in our atmosphere. It started, Drake says, with cutting down trees. Over the years we’ve gotten better and better at it. Nowadays, we’re expert. Our marks are thick and black.
    One way and another, each of us Americans is responsible for flooding the atmosphere with 20 tons of carbon dioxide a year. That, Drake says, amounts to five African elephants a year.
    All those elephant-weights of carbon dioxide are about to stomp around the planet and make us very uncomfortable.
    Our marks are thick and black — but not quite indelible.
    In a Bay Weekly conversation in this week’s paper, Drake tells us how we can begin to make a difference.
    You may not like what he says to say.
    Burning less carbon is the remedy.
    He also prescribes getting over our aversion to nuclear power for immediate gains, adding alternative fuel sources at the same time.
    Capturing and releasing carbon dioxide underground in old coal mines, oil and gas fields.
    Paying for the energy switch over with a new tax on all fossil-fuel energy production that forces the adoption of newer, more efficient, cleaner technology.
    Raising the price of gas so we’ll have incentives to reduce its use wherever we can — especially in our cars, trucks and lawnmowers — also helps make up for necessary uses of gas, like flying airplanes.
    Another Bay Weekly reader, Shirley Little of Annapolis, exemplifies how little many of us will like Drake’s remedy. It hurts too much to pay, she writes in Your Say (below) of Anne Arundel County’s storm water capture fees.
    Her complaints are understandable. Why should big polluters pay no more than she? How will people on fixed incomes manage another tax?
    We had had better figure out how to give her tolerable answers. Because the alternatives — exempting ourselves and polluting more — are intolerable, whether we’re talking storm water or carbon dioxide pollution.
    Our flush tax to clean up sewage water costs Marylanders $64 a year. Anne Arundel’s storm water capture tax costs Shirley and me — and most households — another $85. What we might pay individually to control carbon dioxide I don’t know. The big picture, however, seems a lot less weighty than Drake’s elephants:
    “The most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report on mitigation concludes that this can be done for a cost that will reduce growth no more than 0.06 percent a year,” Drake says. “Instead of 2 percent growth, that’s 1.96 percent growth.”
    Not likeable, but doable. That’s the cost of doing enough.

Sandra Olivetti Martin
Editor and publisher; editor@bayweekly.com

Help give their migration a future

Since the last Ice Age, monarch butterflies have followed the path of the glaciers in their annual migration. The orange and black creatures are more fragile than the magnolia blossoms now in their short season. Yet in September, tens of thousands of monarchs fly from the midlands of the United States all the way to southern Mexico.
    Again this spring, they rise from the oyamel fir trees to reverse their migration. Those seasoned long-distance fliers reach the southern U.S. before their lives and wings are worn out. By then they’ve laid the eggs of the next generation. The grandchildren of those migrators will reach Canada this summer. Their great-grandchildren will be this season’s Mexican migrators.
    Ours could be the last human generation to witness this epic migration.
    Or we can enlist in the army of revival. The company is good, the purpose inspiring and the story an epic in its own right.
    Until the second half of the last century, no human knew where the monarchs went.
    To solve that mystery University of Toronto zoologist Fred Urquhart and wife Norah formed a continental army. Using a print network of newspapers and books, they recruited volunteers to capture, tag and recover the migrating monarchs.
    One of their hundreds of recruits, Elmer Dengler of Bowie, now wants to enlist you.
    Your first mission won’t be as demanding as Dengler’s. A southeastern Pennsylvania boy who saw the Urquharts’ appeal in a library book, he bred and tagged 1,000 monarchs in a single summer.
    “I got a report back from Dr. Urquhart that one of mine was captured on the Gulf of Mexico in Alabama less than 30 days after I’d released it,” Dengler told Bay Weekly.
    Retired now from a career that took him around the nation as an environmental systems manager, he returned to, he says, “the insect that sparked my career.”
    “The current migrating monarch population is as low as two percent of original levels,” he reports. “Time has almost run out.”
    Loss of habitat is the force pushing extinction. Development, illegal logging and agribusiness threaten the monarch caterpillar’s only food: milkweed.
    Reversing those trends on fronts from planting to policy is the mission of a new continental army organized under Monarch Watch.
    Michelle Obama has already signed on, planting a pollinator garden at the White House. The presidents and prime ministers of Canada, Mexico and the United States have joined forces to create monarch-saving policy.
    Dengler’s mission for you is planting one of thousands of monarch butterfly way-stations.
    “As long as you have a patio or more in terms of sunny outside area,” he says, “you can help the monarchs.”
    Working with the Bowie-Crofton Garden Club, Dengler has assembled kits of 11 monarch-friendly plants for the group’s April 26 plant sale.
    “The butterflies are first attracted to the nectar plants,” he says. “After feeding, they slow down enough to notice the food source plants for their caterpillars and begin to lay eggs.”
    At the sale, you’ll learn all about planting your way-station. But, Dengler advises, “the 50 kits will go early.”
    Learn more about protecting monarchs at www.monarchwatch.org.
    Shop the Bowie-Crofton Garden Club sale Saturday, April 26, 8:30am to noon at Bowie Library. Kits $25: www.bcgardenclub.org.

21 years into the culture of sustainable, new Bay times

Weather has a long memory. The cold rain pelting as I write takes me back to Earth Day 21 years ago, when New Bay Times Vol. I No. 1 was delivered to Chesapeake Country under just such a soaking.
    We chose Earth Day for our birthday for its significance, not for the weather.
    In New Bay Times, we signified a new era in Chesapeake time. I got to explain what we meant many times before we simplified to Bay Weekly on our seventh birthday in 2000. By then we’d become New Bay Times Weekly. That was a mouthful as well as ambiguous, but the message was true: New Bay times — and new Earth times — were dawning.
    Earth Day turned 23 the day New Bay Times made its appearance.
    By Earth Day 1993, the notion that even Mother Earth’s resources were finite had had a quarter century to sink in. Conservationists had known that truth and its consequences much longer than the rest of us. Changing a nation’s mind, and then its behavior, is heavy lifting. The more you’ve got to change, the longer it takes.
    When we get into cars nowadays, most of us buckle our seatbelts. Adopting that routine has been a big change. But it’s only one click. Simple compared to adapting to new Earth, and new Bay times.
    Earth Day began in festive spirits, with kites and balloons, sweet sentiments and picnics in the grass.
    The organized restoration of the Chesapeake, a decade old when New Bay Times was born, began in the same spirit of optimism. We’d get there before long, most expected.
    Twenty-one years later, we’re catching on, stepping up to new Bay times in ways small and large.
    In 1993, recycling was a bandwagon just getting rolling. Nowadays, 60 percent of households in Anne Arundel County roll out their yellow recycling bins for weekly pickup. The bins are ever larger because each week we’re recycling more. Recycling has become a habit, and we do it even where it’s not at our curbside, as in Calvert County, where citizens dutifully tote their recycling to county convenience centers.
    Household energy improvements have grown from small, smart investments to an energy-wise culture. From little steps like caulking and weather-stripping, many of us have taken big steps to energy-smart solar and geo­thermal systems. We do it for our planet and our Bay, as well as for our pocketbooks.
    Sewage treatment plants have gone through two or three generations of technological improvement since 1993. Even household septic systems are becoming sophisticated water treatment plants for the sake of preserving the Chesapeake.
    As well as our own water, we’re learning to manage nature’s water, like the stormwater that fell on April 15. Rain barrels are so commonplace now that you can choose from an assortment at your local hardware store. We all know what rain gardens are, and many of us install them, filling them with native plants because we’ve learned their resilience and value.
    Slowly but surely, we’re all changing our ways. And if we’re not, since 1993 a generation of kids has been educated to be better environmental stewards than us.
    Have we changed enough, done enough?
    Probably not.
    For Bay restoration, 2025 doesn’t seem time enough.
    Climate change — a distant concept back in 1993 — has caught up with us.
    At Earth Day 2014, now is our time to change the ways we think and act. To start, as it were, buckling our environmental seatbelt.
    Twenty-one years in, Bay Weekly remains committed to illuminating ways we can live up to the responsibilities of the new Bay and new Earth times we’re living.
    You see that commitment in our stories.
    This week, contributor Emily Myron introduces Ten Smart Ways to Help Our Planet and Your Purse. For another, read this week’s Creature Feature and learn how your garden can be a way-station in the monarch butterfly’s survival.

Sandra Olivetti Martin
Editor and publisher; editor@bayweekly.com

You’ve got too much to do, and it’s our fault

Oh my aching back!    
    I blame it on Bay Weekly’s Home and Garden Guide. Last week’s 16-page Guide combined with fine spring weather for a weekend of joyful outdoor labor at the Martin-Lambrecht household. Now we’re both moaning.
    As well as winter’s ravages, we had a quarter-century of our own mistakes to undo. So this year’s campaign for Yard Beautiful began with the arrival of a landscape designer. That’s the Guide’s fault, too, for without it calling on professional help might never have occurred to me. But with the designer came a plan beyond my fondest dreams.
    Saturday morning husband and I jumped right in. Wet heavy leaves were raked, bushes clipped, trees pruned, weeds dug, rocks carried, mistakes amended with shovel and saw — and all that and more just to get ready for one small section of The Plan.
    By Sunday dusk, we figured out that our Yard Beautiful plan detailed everything but the labor required to carry it out.
    Collapsed in a heap on Sunday night, I returned to the Guide. This time I was looking for the help I’d need to catch up on everything neglected and imagined, from a clean house to washed windows to fresh paint to a plumber. Not to mention many new shrubs and plants plus a few boulders and most certainly a spa for aching bones.
    In that reading, I learned what the Guide was missing. Where were the massage therapists? Where were the remedies for aches and pains? And where was dinner, for I certainly didn’t have the strength left to cook?
    Bay Weekly came to my rescue. Every one of those necessities I found in the rest of our pages.
    The new paper you’re reading now, thank goodness, has Maryland Disc Institute advertising on the back cover. Next week I expect to need Dr. Hodges’ services, for the weekend forecast is perfect for more lawn and garden work.
    That’s the trouble with a good newspaper: in it you can find everything but the time to do it all.
    In that sense, this week’s paper has way too many siren calls, in stories, 8 Days a Week and advertisements.
    Here’s the Pride of Baltimore II, reinforcing the siren song of the water. Heed the call of boating, as I’m just about to do on a much smaller scale, and there goes the time you’d devote to your home and garden. Here this very weekend is the Bay Bridge Boat Show, where — unless I resist — certain trouble awaits.
    Then, just next weekend, it’s opening day of the Trophy Rockfish Season, when much of the population of Chesapeake Country turns into fishing zombies.
    There’s more. Under your eyes and at your fingertips are upcoming Easter events, parades and egg hunts, religious experiences and feasts.
    There’s the Naptown barBAYq coming May’s first weekend. Plus SPCA’s Walk for the Animals that same weekend.
    With all these calls on your days far into the future, it’s a good thing spring’s sun sets early, for how else would you find time to see Colonial Players’ production of Bat Boy. Reviewer Jane Elkin reports it’s the most extraordinary theater experience ever to come to Chesapeake Country.
    Close your newspaper quick, before you’re tempted any further. If your life is filled with the pain of too many good things, blame it on Bay Weekly.

Sandra Olivetti Martin
Editor and publisher; editor@bayweekly.com

Expert advice at no charge — and expert help to restore your home and garden

If your home and garden look like mine, we both need help.
    Winter 2013-’14 has kept us on the defensive, fending off its blows. There’ve been drafts to keep out, fires to keep burning, limbs to duck, snow to shovel, salt to spread, ice to scrape, birds to feed, falls to heal, floods to staunch, floors to mop … and that’s just my list. I bet you can add a lot more.
    Keeping winter from knocking you down takes just about everything you’ve got. Progress is just keeping up.
    Then, when the glacier recedes, you see the mess it’s left behind. Paint scraped, trees gnarled, shrubs mangled, mud amuck, tire tracks embedded, pansies flattened, only the occasional crocus to color the scene winter’s made. Raking and renewing becomes a primal drive. Plans bloom like the coming spring. This, I tell myself, is the year of my ideal garden. No more false starts and wrong turns. This year I’m going to get it together. Call in the landscaper. Bring on the housepainter. Seek out the power washer. Who knows a tree trimmer?
    And that’s just outside.
    Inside, home has the damp, dim feel of a cave. It’s time to air and scrub, paint the walls that look so dingy in the light of spring and hang fresh curtains, store the furnishings of winter away and change the season, carry out the lawn furniture, fire up the grill and hope for warm days.
    Can you fit it all in your evenings and weekends?
    As you reclaim your home and garden from winter’s ravages, there are people who can help you.
    When you want help getting a job done, these Bay Weekly advertisers are the people I hope you’ll turn to.
    I say so for good reasons.
    First, they’re the people who bring you Bay Weekly. Without the support of their advertising, there would be no paper in your hands. Your business is the thanks we can give them together.
    The second good reason: They get the job done. They’ve been tried, tested and approved by many of us on the Bay Weekly staff.
    The third good reason: They’ve got answers, you and I have questions — and Bay Weekly knows the way to bring the two together. If you garden or even grow houseplants, you already know that Dr. Frank Gouin, the Bay Gardener, will answer any question you ask him. Expert advice at no charge is the third good reason to read on and make the acquaintance of the home and garden helpers featured in these pages.
    The deal is so good that I’ll say it again, repeating my introduction to Bay Weekly’s Home and Garden Service Directory, the special 16 pages inside this week’s paper:
    Through Bay Weekly, you can turn to these experts for answers to your questions.
    Whatever you want to know, ask. I’ll pass your questions along to the right expert for answers. Then I’ll send the advice to you. Finally, I’ll share it with all our readers in our next Home and Garden Guide.
    We’re waiting to hear from you: editor@bayweekly.com.

Sandra Olivetti Martin
Editor and publisher; editor@bayweekly.com

Shop New American Beagle ­Outfitters

Do you look like your dog?    
    Do you want to?
    French bulldogs, hairless Chinese cresteds, pugs and chugs may give their human companions second thoughts on cultivating the legendary cross-species resemblance.
    Dressing like your dog, and vice versa, may be a better option. That’s the apparent thinking behind American Beagle, the dress-alike campaign debuted this month by American Eagle Outfitters, the niche retailer of casual clothing for the 15- to 25-year-olds.
    “Your dog’s style is another form of expressing your own, and we are thrilled to bring American Eagle fashionable looks to our pups with the debut of American Beagle Outfitters,” American Eagle style director Preston Konrad was quoted as saying in a March 24 press release.
    American Beagle collection was released online modeled by 16 dogs in sizes small, medium and large. Styles are geared to men and women who are invited to “shop this look” to find matching human clothes.
    Beguiled shoppers awaiting the spring debut are invited “to sign up for the waitlist and receive 20 percent off American Eagle purchases, with $1 per order benefitting the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.”
    Viewers can also “show off your own #AEOstyle,” posting pictures of their dressed up dogs.
    An accompanying “dogumentary captures the inspiring journey of the doggy-human clothing line from ideation to creation.”
    See for yourself at www.ae.com/dogs.
    Or it is a mocumentary?
    Neither American Eagle nor American Beagle Outfitters returned Bay Weekly inquires about the new collection. Buzzfeed couldn’t get confirmation either.
    “New American Beagle Outfitters line is probably an April Fool’s joke,” reports The Consumerist, a blog overseen by Consumer Reports.
    Too bad for you, but your dog’s rejoicing.