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Clear your calendar for these holiday traditions

What: The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
       Cool Factor: Feeling apprehensive about dragging your entire family out to a holiday theatre performance? Take our advice and bring them all to see the seasonal antics of the Herdman family in this production of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, based on the book by Barbara Robinson. These delinquent children somehow end up center stage at the local church Christmas pageant and teach their community a little something about the magic of the holiday. Even better for your family, it’s free.
       See It: Dec. 6-9, 7pm, Woods Memorial Presbyterian Church, Severna Park, free: 410-647-2550.
 
What: Colonial Players’ A Christmas Carol
      Cool Factor: The spirit of Christmas is the wonder in a child’s eyes when Scrooge talks to her waiting in line with parents for a ticket to Colonial Players’ Annapolis holiday tradition, A Christmas Carol. It’s another child’s giddy excitement when Ebenezer pulls him from the audience to dance as he joyfully transforms from cold-hearted humbug to warm, genial benefactor.
         In 1981, local actor/director Rick Wade tinkered with a musical adaptation of Charles Dickens’s classic. When Colonial Players offered to stage it, according to Wade, “More than a few people thought it would quietly fizzle out as a one-year experiment. Annapolitans, bless ’em, took the play to their hearts.”
      Speaking of tradition, Wade’s daughter Sarah directs this year’s production, after growing up with the show in several roles over the years. She leads a cast of more than 20: Scrooge, Bob Cratchit, Tiny Tim, Fezziwig, the townsfolk, the ghosts.
      The gifts don’t stop with the final performance. A large portion of the proceeds goes to local charities so the spirit of the season can reach beyond December.
       See It: Dec. 6-16; tickets are sold out, but standby tickets are offered first-come-first-served 30 minutes prior to each show: www.thecolonialplayers.org.
 
What: Muddy Creek Gifts From the Arts
        Cool Factor: See the creative wonders artists in Southern Anne Arundel County — including art teachers and their elementary school students — have imagined and made. Then use their inspiration to create your own art in the Studio Intrepid. The holiday show and sale features original paintings, photography, jewelry, pottery, glass, woodwork, wearables and raffles for arty baskets and student masterpieces.
       See It: F 11am-6pm, Sa 10am-6pm, Su 11am-5pm thru Dec. 9, 161 Mitchells Chance, South River Colony, Edgewater, free: www.muddycreekartistsguild.org.
 
What: Living Christmas Tree
       Cool Factor: For more than 30 years, Riverdale Baptist Church has celebrated the season with a 30-foot-tall living Christmas tree decorated with thousands of synchronized lights plus 70-some human ornaments: choir, orchestra and a heart-warming play, all rising 10 levels on a wooden platform to spread the good news. Come early to see the live nativity. 
       See It: Dec. 8 & 9: Sa 1:30pm & 6:30pm, Su 1:30pm, Riverdale Baptist Church, Upper Marlboro, $12 w/discounts, rsvp: www.livingtreetickets.com.
 
 
What: Lighted Boat Parades
       Cool Factor: Chesapeake Country loves showing off its boats, and decorating them for the holidays is a good excuse to get back on the water, even on a chilly night. See boats of all sizes and shapes in Eastport, Deale and Solomons. The Eastport parade has been nominated for the third time as one of the USA Today 10 Best Readers Choice Holiday Parades in America.
       See It: Saturday, December 8, Eastport Yacht Club Lights Parade: Lighting the Annapolis harbor for 36 years, this glittering parade features nearly 40 illuminated boats in two fleets: one circles in front of Eastport, City Dock and the Naval Academy seawall; the other cruises the length of Spa Creek. Arrive early for a spot along the Annapolis waterfront. 6-8pm, from Eastport Yacht Club to Naval Academy seawall: www.eyclightsparade.org.
        Saturday, December 8, Solomons Boat Parade: This lighted boat parade, part of the weekend’s Christmas Walk activities, starts at 6:15pm, visible from Back Creek to the Patuxent River walk: www.solomonsmaryland.com.
       Wednesday, December 19, Deale Parade of Lights: Decorated boats cruise Rockhold Creek. 6-10pm, staging at Hidden Harbor Marina, Happy Harbor and Shipwright Harbor ­Marina, rsvp to enter boats: 410-867-3129.
 
What: Shells & Bells
       Cool Factor: Sleigh bells and oyster shells: Christmas has come to Annapolis.
      Celebrate the season at Shells and Bells a party with front-row seats to the Eastport Yacht Club’s Parade of Lights. You’ll watch the twinkling procession from the comfort of a heated tent on the top tier of the Annapolis Charles Carroll House.
      “There’s so much to look forward to,” said Kaitlin Davis from Shells and Bells. “But the best part is, it’s for a great cause.” 
       Proceeds from ticket sales, live auction and raffle benefit the Chesapeake BaySavers, an Annapolis environmental nonprofit working toward a healthier Chesapeake Bay.
      The Shells and Bells reception begins with cocktail hour 5-6pm for donors and VIPs. After that, the doors open to all ticket holders.
       All drinks and food are included in the price of your ticket. 
      See It: Dec. 8, 6-10pm, Charles Carroll House & Gardens, Annapolis, $125, rsvp: www.shellsandbells.org.
 
What: Family Train & Toy Show
      Cool Factor: See networks of trains and tracks, old and new sets and accessories in standard O and S gauges, repair and replacement parts and test tracks, all laid out by The National Capital Division Toy Train Operating Society.
      See It: Dec. 9, 9am-3pm, Earleigh Heights VFD, Severna Park, $5 w/discounts: 301-621-9728.
 
What: Holiday Cheer 2018
       Cool Factor: Kids and teens steal the show with musical numbers and special guests in The Talent Machine’s annual holiday production, featuring special guests Santa, elves, Rudolph and Frosty.
      “After 25 years, we are excited to be showcasing a brand new set,” says The Talent Machine’s Kim O’Brien.
      “Expect something close to a Broadway-level show,” says Tami Howie, lawyer by day and parent of three Talent Machine performers. “The older kids mentor the younger ones and take them from being timid to becoming a huge personality.”
       See It: Dec. 14-16 & Dec. 20-23: F 7:30pm, Sa 2pm & 7:30pm, Su 2pm & 6:30pm, Key Auditorium, St. John’s College, Annapolis, $15 w/discounts, rsvp: www.talentmachine.com.
 
What: Santa Speedo Run 
       Cool Factor: Baby, it’s cold outside, and Chesapeake Country is trading coats for Speedos.
      The 12th annual Santa Speedo Run is a chilly Main Street tradition to spread holiday cheer to local children in need. Since 2006, hundreds of Santas in speedos have donated more than 5,000 toys and books to make kids smile during the holidays.
      Along with your unwrapped toys, bring your sneakers, swimsuit, a bag to put your clothes in while running, a copy of your registration email and other Santa Claus gear.
      Doors open at 10am at O’Briens on Main Street. Run or watch from the sidelines. After the mile run, the after party begins at O’Briens. Enjoy live music, crazy costumes, and maybe even the fellow in red himself …
      Pro tip: wear your Speedo under your street clothes for a quick strip down when it’s time to run. Register early to be guaranteed a spot.
      See It: Saturday, December 15, toy donation box sets up at 10am, check-in 10-11am, race 12:15pm, Annapolis, rsvp: www.santaspeedorunannapolis.com.
 
 
What: Christmas Cantata at Grace Brethren
      Cool Factor: Looking to rekindle your feelings of hope this holiday season? Find it at this musical celebration that combines choir, orchestra, soloists, praise band and video to create a musical journey of the miracle of Christmas.
      “We chose this upbeat, contemporary musical to lift our spirits as we consider the wonders of the Christmas season and the joy that fills our hearts as we reflect on God’s provision for us,” says John Bury, worship director. “During the 10:45am service we will also offer a special time for our children grades 1-4, as they also seek to experience the joy of this special season.”
      See It: Dec. 16, 8:15am & 10:45am, Grace Brethren Church, Owings, free: www.calvertgrace.org.
 
What: Annapolis Arts Alliance Holiday Shop
      Cool Factor: Visit a pop-up shop in downtown Annapolis, where 20 artists of the Annapolis Arts Alliance bring their wares to you for your holiday browsing (and buying). Jewelry and accessories, ceramics, herbalistics, paintings, homeware, wearables.
      See It: Tu, W, F noon-7pm (till midnight during Midnight Madness events), Sa 10am-7pm, Su noon-7pm, thru Dec. 23, 232 Main St., Annapolis: www.annapolis-arts-alliance.com.
 
What: Lights on the Bay
      Cool Factor: An annual Chesapeake favorite, Lights on the Bay is now under the helm of the Anne Arundel County SPCA. “This event is a tradition for generations of families. Children who once went with their grandparents, now go with their own kids,” says Anne Arundel County SPCA president Kelly Brown. See Sandy Point State Park transformed into a drive-thru holiday experience. New displays are added every year, and many marriage proposals happen here. Check the website for special discount nights, such as Military and First Responder Night, Ugly Sweater Night and more.
      See It: Nightly 5-10pm rain or shine, thru Jan. 1: Sandy Point State Park, $15/car, $30/van or mini-bus, $50/bus (check online for various discounts): www.lightsonthebay.org.
 
 
–Kathy Knotts, Shelby Conrad, Krista Pfunder Boughey and Jim Reiter
Here’s how Chesapeake neighbors describe their very best gifts
      The best gifts bring happiness to both giver and receiver. Memorable gifts forever hold a place in the heart, and recalling the moment the gift was given recreates the pleasure. 
     This year, reflective Chesapeake neighbors told us about gifts that have meant the most to them through the years. We’ve shared their stories in the hope that reading them reminds you of the best gifts you’ve given or received.
–compiled by Krista Pfunder Boughey
 
Rick Anthony
Anthony is director of Anne Arundel County Department of Recreation & Parks
      “My dad bought me and my two brothers our first motocross bicycles. After we opened all of the gifts inside, he made us take the trash out. The bikes were in the back yard, and when we saw them, we promptly lost our minds.”
 
 
 
 
 
Liz Demulling
Demulling is a director of the League of Women Voters of Calvert County
      “When I was 10, our family started giving an experience as a gift instead of an item. That year marked the start of the tradition. We’ve done so ever since, but no present has come close to the one that year: tickets for all to a hot air balloon ride.”
 
 
 
 
Joy Hill
Hill is CEO of the Boys & Girls Club of Southern Maryland
      “Fifteen years ago, a group of friends got together to provide two weeks of groceries for a working mother of five who was having a hard time making ends meet. The look of surprise and gratefulness on her face when she realized that all the food in the car was for her and her kids was truly a gift to us.
       “We have done this every year since for families in need. Last year we provided groceries for 14 families. This year we hope to do more. Giving to others is the best gift I have ever given to myself.”
 
Steuart Pittman
Pittman is the newly elected Anne Arundel County Executive
      “When I was about 12 years old, the family procrastinated on everything to do with the holidays, including getting a Christmas tree. 
      “Our family would cut down a tree from the farm. Over the years, the pine trees had been replaced by tulip poplars. There was a shortage of pine trees, and very few remaining that had that Christmas tree look.
      “About two days before Christmas, I went alone into the woods in search of a tree. The longer I stayed out, the more the trees were starting to look more like Christmas trees. I sawed one down and hauled it back to the house. 
      “I was teased by my five sisters for some time after. The tree wasn’t a very good Christmas tree; it was not full; it had few branches on which to hang ornaments. But it served as the family Christmas tree that year.
      “That tree still reminds me that sometimes you have to take matters into your own hands.”
 
Jen Frum
Frum, of Chesapeake Beach, a busy mom of two boys, found time to create and sell homemade coasters at Freedom Hill Horse Rescue’s Christmas market.
       “My mom saves everything, especially art work; she was an art teacher. She had been creating scrapbooks for me and my sisters. They started from when we were babies until we were in middle school. When we were in our 40s, she gave them to us. We were all really touched by her gift.
      “We also received a written account of oral history from our family history, dating back from the 1800s.”
 
Scott Goodman
Goodman is sales manager at Criswell Used Cars in Edgewater
      “I’ve always decorated the house for Christmas. Ours is the corner house, and I’ve put up lights, candy canes and snowmen for 25 years.
      “There is a school bus stop near our house. One of the nicest gifts I’ve received was when a little girl waiting for her bus told me that my house decorated for Christmas was the most beautiful thing she’s ever seen.”
 
Raoul Graves
Event planner, Graves owns Next BIG Things ­Productions in Annapolis
      “Every year we gather people to sponsor giving gifts to children. This year will be the third year in a row that my wife Clarice and I host the event. The children meet Santa and other animated guests. They eat lunch and create Christmas ornaments to take home.
      “The children make build-your-own Christmas gift kits. The kits get delivered to John Hopkins Children’s Hospital the week of Christmas to children staying in the hospital over Christmas. This way, the sick and shut-in children can make a present and give it to a loved one.
      “At the end of the day, the children at our event are surprised with a gift.”
 
Kate and Jack Harrison 
Harrison is Twin Beach Players’ president; Jack is her eight-year-old son.
      “Every year we make time to go to Ocean City the weekend following Thanksgiving. It’s a tradition to see The Festival of Lights and visit with Santa. When Jack was five, he decided that he did not want Mommy to follow him to chat with Santa. I snuck around back to hear his special request.
       “He didn’t ask for Legos, or toys or a bicycle. He asked for a baby. Sure enough, by the end of January, he was the first person to know that his baby brother was on the way. He’s an amazing big brother, and I’m so excited for him to share his wholehearted belief in Santa with two-year-old Reid.”
 
Shannon Nazzal
Nazzal is director of Calvert County Government ­Department of Parks & Recreation
      “I’d say the best (or most memorable) gift I’ve received was from my dad when I was a kid. My dad is always about jokes. There’d always be something silly under (or on) the tree. I couldn’t say how old I was, but probably under 10. I would get to open one present on Christmas Eve. Inevitably, I’d always end up picking the joke gift.
     “One year it was a window squeegee, another year it was a plunger, and another year it was a handheld mirror that laughed when you held it up. So memorable in fact that we’ve kept the tradition going with my kids and have a good laugh every year when my dad tells my daughter the story of when Pop Pop hung a plunger on the Christmas tree.”
 
Hudson Ridgeway
Five-year-old ­Hudson lives in Chesapeake Beach
       “My fire truck Lego set because I love fire trucks. I want to be a fireman when I grow up so I can be just like my daddy.”
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Anne Sundermann
Sundermann is executive director of the Calvert Nature Society
       “After years of Barbie dolls and tea sets, my parents finally gave in and bought me a microscope and a home chemistry set that I had thoughtfully highlighted in the Sears catalog. 
      “In this year of Sears’ bankruptcy, I can’t help but recall how that catalog was the stuff of dreams. Those gifts also let me know that my parents saw my love of science as valid and true.”
 
 
Lynne Sherlock
Sherlock owns Tara’s Gifts in Annapolis
      “I was the first of my friends to receive a Barbie doll the year that they were released. 
      “Another fond memory is when myself and my two sisters were given matching Dale Evans cowgirl outfits complete with hats, boots and all the fringe trimmings.”
 
 
 
 
Jane Walter
Walter is co-owner of A Vintage Deale gift and antique store
      “When I was turning 30, my mother gave me a day at the Elizabeth Arden Red Door spa. It was a day of luxury: massage, pedicure, facial and steam bath. It is the best gift I’ve ever received.”
 
Minnie Warburton
Warburton is an Annapolis writer, artist and ­performance poet
      “One Christmas, my very hard-working daughter, Samantha, who received ridiculously few days off, even at holidays, handed me a card. It read, The Gift of Time. She had taken off days so we could be together.”
      You can read American history in the work we do. 
      Farmers, builders, craftspeople and cooks came first, some free and some enslaved, with the free men among them doubling as citizen soldiers. The communities they built depended on merchant — and fighting — mariners to stock them with supplies and sell their tobacco. Lawmakers and law-enforcers helped keep the peace among all the strivers making their separate ways.
      After them came explorers, paddling rivers and hacking through wilderness to open more land for more immigrant settlers.
      Next came inventors, to make the work easier and to get places faster. Steam engines powered boats and locomotives; crews cut down forests to fuel those engines and laid track across the growing nation. 
     Then with the industrial age, men, women and children devoted their labor to making America the world’s greatest producer. Industrialists grew rich as kings, and labor unions — that began the celebration of Labor Day — fought to make work support life rather than the other way around. 
    Now? Read on for a glimpse of who we working people of Chesapeake Country are today.
     As always, our Labor Day profiles are semi-random samples, people who, at this moment in time, captured our writers’ interest by the work they do. We’ve asked each to tell us about the skills they need to do their job. Included this year are Bay Weekly’s three now-back-at-school summer interns.
     To these short focused stories, this year we add two longer stories, each representing age-old occupations. Calvert Marine Museum muralist Tim Scheirer, profiled by Bill Sells, paints stories in pictures. Stephen Hayden, profiled by Allen Delaney, helps us deal with our waste. 
–Sandra Olivetti Martin
 

 
 
Reza Akbari, 52, Dunkirk
Retired Air Force Master Sargent … Patient Safety/Risk Manager at Patuxent River Naval Air Station … owner Silk Road Antiques
       For me, one career has led to another. The military was always my first love. Less than one percent of the population serves in the United State’s Armed Forces, and I am privileged to be one of those few. I went into the Air Force in 1987 and served as a medic in Turkey, Italy, Saudi Arabia and the U.S. before retiring in 2011.
      My Middle Eastern background and my ability to speak Farsi/Dari landed me a job as an interpreter in Afghanistan following my military retirement. Due to my military experience, I was chosen as the lead interpreter supervising 50 other interpreters enforcing strict counter-intelligence protocols. This was a dangerous occupation under austere conditions with daily missile attacks.
      My time in the military not only enabled me to travel, but also to earn a degree in health care administration. When I left Afghanistan, I found a job as a Patient Safety/Risk Manager at Patuxent River Naval Health Clinic.
      I began collecting and learning about handmade rugs and other exotic objects when I was first stationed in Turkey. It soon became my passion. I would visit antique shops around the world and think about what my own store would be like. I envisioned distinctive antiques, furniture, fine arts … with no dust, no clutter, calming accent lighting, good music and a nice smell for an unparalleled pleasant shopping experience. I opened Silk Road Antiques in Edgewater in April, and my shop meets all those expectations.
       I work at Pax River Monday through Friday — my aunt Marci and wife Shahrzad are at the shop on weekdays — but Silk Road is my passion and future. I do all the buying, cleaning and merchandising, and on the weekends, I am here helping my customers find beautiful objects. 
–Susan Nolan

Chuck Adams, 62, Annapolis
Administrator: Annapolis Moose Lodge
       I started working at 12 as a bagger in Jerman’s IGA grocery in Gambrills. I was an Anne Arundel County police officer from 1975 to 1984 when I was shot in the line of duty. Back in 1977, I also started CCA Tile Company, which grew after I left the police force.
      I’ve been with the Moose Lodge for 12 years. My job as an administrator is to oversee day-to-day activities and to promote the mission of the Moose fraternity. That mission is to support our child city, Mooseheart, our seniors at Moosehaven, and our local communities. I’m proud to be the chairman of our Valor Program, which honors our community’s first responders. As a retired police officer this program holds special meaning for me. When the horrible tragedy happened at the Capital-Gazette building on June 28, our lodge members and I reached out to the departments that responded. We’re honoring them for their service with a dinner and awards ceremony on Sept. 6.
        In all my jobs, the No. 1 skill was the same: Respect is earned. Treat people with respect.
–Audrey Broomfield

Midh Ahm, Holland Point
Art teacher through the non-profit Bay Arts ­Center in the studio area of Chesapeake’s ­Bounty market in North Beach
     I graduated in the spring of 2017 from the Maryland Institute College of Art with a degree in illustration. I teach art as meditation plus anatomy and portraiture, with the goal of helping students of all ages to believe in themselves and empower their creativity. I am very excited to share what I’ve learned and to bring out the artist in everyone who attends, no matter what training they have had or what has transpired in their lives to stifle their artistic endeavors. 
–Bill Sells

Aly Wirth Cross, 43, Deale
Children’s acting teacher, The Polymath Place
       I want people to think of Polymath as the place where kids ages four through 18 come for acting lessons.
       I started teaching here in January 2018 after 10 years teaching at Stageworkz in Millersville. Before that, I was pounding the pavement and waiting tables in New York City, working in fringe theater.
       An essential skill in my job is being able to command attention and keep it. In a room full of busy, distractible kids, I have to be able to use my voice and figure out how to communicate on a child’s level. I have to know how each kid ticks. Sometimes I have to mirror actions back to them for them to understand what I am saying.
      Overall, I want children to feel this is a safe space where you can be anything you want to be. Nobody will judge you in this space. I hope they realize that I can look stupid or feel weird but it’s okay because I can be myself or I can act like a tiger and roar if I want to. It’s okay.
–Kathy Knotts

Ryan Johnson, 33, Pasadena
Head bartender
       I came to Paladar in May of last year. I started serving, but really, I wanted to be behind the bar.
      On a daily basis I make hundreds of mojitos and margaritas. We prep three different purees and mixers from scratch. I really enjoy putting together cocktails, but I’m a people person. Customer service is always my priority, and I meet some incredible people every day.
      I love the people I work with. I think that’s key to a positive work environment. We have a great crew at Paladar. We all love to make money, meet new people and have fun along the way.
       I’ve dedicated a lot of my time to learning about the hundreds of rums we have in our bar. I take pride in my knowledge of rum and of our Latin cuisine. I think what really sets me apart, though, is that I’m usually the tallest, most noticeable guy in the room.
       My growth really comes from my own curiosities; I’m not afraid to try new things. My manager, Danielle Stevens, has helped me find my way as a bartender at Paladar. I would say she’s the reason I’m there today and enjoying what I do.
–Shelby Conrad

Sam Hopkins, 28, ­Germantown
Wildlife response technician, Maryland ­Department of Natural Resources 
      Any time an animal is reported as acting funny or injured or trapped, we step in. I show up and assess the situation. My priority is to figure out if I can make life better for this animal. First I have to figure out, depending on the severity of its injuries, if the animal can be saved and transported to a wildlife rehabilitator. 
       A skill that has served me well in this job is creativity. Animal rescue shows on TV have all this specialized gear and equipment. But when you are out in the field — often by yourself — you have to be able to figure out a clever way to work with what’s on hand. These are things that weren’t taught in college.
       Sometimes I do have to put an animal down. Then I have to figure out how to move, say, a 130-pound adult deer into my truck, maybe a long distance, over fences or obstacles. So I developed my own tarp technique, and I rigged up a pulley system in my truck that I can work by myself. It’s one of my cooler inventions.
       I always have a blanket or sheet. I get a lot of calls about birds of prey that have fallen out of the nest. With a towel or a sheet handy, you can just bundle them up.
      Every day is different. Some days it’s deer all day long; some days it’s getting a groundhog unstuck from a fence or saving a raccoon trapped on a porch. Variety makes it fun and entertaining for me.
–Kathy Knotts

Bruno Favre, 64, Harwood
Equine dentist
        I fell in love with horses growing up in Lyons, France. I was four years old when my grandfather first took me to the races. After that, I was hooked. I wanted to be a jockey, and for a while I trained to be one. I also used to train racehorses.
       I’ve worked so long with horses; I could never give it up. Becoming an equine dentist was the best way for me to make sure I stayed around horses for life. I sure got lucky with this job. 
       I’ve helped mini horses and I’ve helped Clydesdales — the size of the animal doesn’t matter. Usually I’m pulling teeth. I help young horses get rid of baby teeth, and I pull teeth that hinder bits. I work on my own and make house calls to farms and racetracks in the area. Probably 40 percent of the horses I work on are show horses; the rest are racehorses. 
        I’m pleased I found a way to stay around horses for life. I even wrote a book about my journey as a horse addict: Little Bruno and the Horse Virus
–Shelby Conrad

Candace Gunn, “50 and fabulous,” Owings 
Certified fitness professional and well-being coach; Calvert Parks and Recreation Aquatics coordinator
      I want to give people a good workout that focuses on their total well-being, not just the physical. Most times, the hardest part is getting out of the door. I want to show them the ability to change begins way before the music starts to play. I want to give them a good time in the process of reaching and exceeding their fitness goals.
      My students range in age from preschoolers to well into their seasoned years. Keeping in mind that no two people are alike, I strive to work to each person’s ability and tailor programs around their specific needs. Sometimes getting them all the way into it takes the energy of a drill sergeant, the enthusiasm of a 10-year-old, the dynamism of a rock musician, the moves of Mick Jagger. But most of all, it takes a heart to want to reach people of all abilities and diverse backgrounds and journey alongside of them to help navigate through the obstacles they face in being the best versions of themselves. My goal is to encourage them to reach deep inside and get them to smile from the inside out. Once that is accomplished, working out and changing their lifestyle choices is no longer a drudging task but becomes a way of life that can be shared and enjoyed.
–Sandra Olivetti Martin

Pearl Tyler King, Owings
Owner, Tyler’s Tackle Shop and Crab House: Chesapeake Beach
        I grew up in St. Mary’s County and moved to Owings when I married my husband, Calvin Tyler Jr., in 1980. That’s when I started working at Tyler’s Tackle Shop. My husband died in 1990, and I’ve been here now 38 years. What I really love the most is meeting people and helping them to get the fishing equipment they need. I make about 10 different types of lures from flounder to rock, and sometimes I get to teach the visitors that come down here how to fish — surf, bottom, trolling, you name it, I know it. I love this place and wouldn’t trade being here for nothing.
–Bill Sells

Barbara Lorton, 73, Solomons
Cellist, pianist, teacher, writer 
       My cello and upright piano are in the living room. The Patuxent Baroque, Calvert Chamber Players, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Dowell and Appeal schools and fellow musicians for quartets are up the road or across the Patuxent. Music is my full-time life.
        I’ve also taught fourth and fifth grades, written a play and published Sydney Seagull Marks Lighthouses and Buoys of the Chesapeake. My mission in this part of my life has been to help today’s children to understand what musicians, composers, writers and environmentalists have been and still are creating.
Daniel Hinz, my husband, plays the piano and accordion and shares my life of music.
–Elisavietta Ritchie
 

Del. Joseph E. Valerio Jr., 81, Upper Marlboro
44-year delegate to the Maryland General Assembly and, as chair of the Judiciary ­Committee, the House of Delegates’ longest serving chairman; lawyer 
         Over the years, I represented as a way to return to the community. Whether it was the roads, support of local schools or construction for the betterment of the people, I did my best to serve for others. I stayed committed to do my part.
       I was able to see so many great people in office and follow them. 
Serving in the House of Delegates for so many years, I was able to keep up on all of the new laws. As I was responsible for making changes to them, I remained at the forefront of all new issues. This is very helpful for my law practice as well as serving to the best of my ability in the General Assembly. 
       I am so thankful to have been chosen to represent the people and have the opportunity to serve my districts. It was a true honor. 
–Ellie Pesetsky
 

Josh Newhard, 34, Annapolis
Fisheries Biologist, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Maryland Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office
       I grew up in Delaware fishing in the ocean, ponds and creeks. Between my love for fishing and interest in marine life — especially sharks — I pursued a career in marine biology. In college I learned I could focus on fish. I was sold, though I never imagined what I’d end up doing.
     The variety of work can be a challenge but rewarding and fun. From being on the lookout for invasive northern snakeheads to helping restore American eel and American shad and talking with people reporting striped bass/horseshoe crab tags up and down the East Coast, I stay quick on my feet!
–Margaret Barker-Frankel
 
Autumn Phillips-Lewis, Lusby
Land manager, American Chestnut Land Trust
        One thing that’s essential to my job is adapting to very different tasks with different groups of volunteers every day. Nature is unpredictable, and the projects we work on really vary. One day we’re trying to maintain trails hit hard by the weather. The next, we’re fighting back invasive plants that threaten the ecosystem. Plus we’re constantly monitoring the changing health of our forests, streams and meadows. A lot of this is really physically demanding work, and it couldn’t get done without the help of volunteers. So keeping them passionate about the difference they’re making, helping them see it and be proud of it, is also essential to our success.
–Pam Shilling

 

 


Sandy Hunting, ­Chesapeake Beach
Children’s librarian, Calvert Library Twin Beaches
        Children’s brains develop at an astonishing rate in the first several years of their lives. That is why it is such a joy and an honor to help the youngest members of our community to learn and to grow. I still remember my 16-year-old son’s first story-time librarian, and I’d like to think that one day there will be kids who can say the same of me. After nine years and hundreds of kids, I hope that I have played a small part in molding the next generation.
–Bill Sells

Cassi Whitehead, 21, Davidsonville
Student at University of Pittsburgh, Bay Weekly summer intern
       As a Bay Weekly intern, I wrote articles, updated the website and edited and proofread pages. 
       One skill that came in handy is fixing sentences that don’t make sense. When I read a sentence and I can’t figure out what it’s trying to say, I look at the rest of the story for context clues to try to figure out what the author meant to say. From there, I decide if the sentence can be fixed by changing some words, or if it needs its structure changed. The final sentence is always easier to understand.
 

Ellie Pesetsky, 20, ­Huntingtown
Student at University of Pittsburgh, Bay Weekly summer intern
       In high school, I began writing in my free time as a creative outlet. At the time, I did not imagine it would turn into my career. 
      Interning at Bay Weekly, I worked in writing and publishing, learning key skills that I will take with me into my junior year at the University of Pittsburgh and my future. 
       I knew that communication skills are essential to working in this field. At Bay Weekly, I learned that meant introducing myself, thinking up and asking questions, listening, recording what I learned and putting it into stories.
In my time at the newspaper, I had to interview people by phone and in person. Reaching out to strangers has been hard for me, but the more I practiced the better I got. Not only did I gain confidence, I also met some new and interesting people and used their words and the information they gave me to write stories under my own byline, Ellie Pesetsky.

Keri Luise, 20, Towson 
Student at Towson University, Bay Weekly ­summer intern
       This summer, I expanded on my experiences and learned new skills in my dream career of journalism.
       I learned a lot about journalism and the inner workings of a weekly newspaper as a Bay Weekly intern. One essential part of the job that I learned is the importance of crowdsourcing. As a reporter, you need to be able to know who it is you need to talk to and not be afraid to ask your questions. I worked hard to make sure I talked to the right people for a story and asked the questions Bay Weekly readers would want to hear answers to. I understood who my audience was and made sure to present information that they would want to hear. 
        My internship at Bay Weekly was one of the best experiences I have had. Now I am a third-year student at Towson University, writing for the campus paper The Towerlight and learning as much as I can.

Stephen Hayden, 37, Huntingtown
Honeysucker
       What makes a person enter the field of septic tank draining? Would it be the glamour, the fame or the excitement?
        For Stephen Hayden, it was a natural extension of the family business. On jobs with his dad Paul, the master plumber of Paul Hayden Jr. and Sons Plumbing, the young Hayden would often find that drains weren’t clogged; the septic tank was full. To fix the problem, they would have to call another company. Stephen suggested starting a septic business so they could offer full service to their customers. He is now in his 20th year working the septic side of the company, performing perc tests, installing drain fields and, of course, draining tanks.
      The upsides of the job, Hayden says, is that he is his own boss and there is plenty of work. The down side is working in all types of weather. I joined him and son Stephen Jr., in pouring rain, as they searched for a homeowner’s tank with a five-foot metal probe. 
      Hayden repeatedly jammed the probe in the ground. When it hit a hard surface, he then worked his way along searching for the end of the tank. Then he and his son began digging, looking for the tank’s hatch. Hayden scooped out dirt with his shovel, feeling for the hatch’s edge. Then he cleared away the remaining dirt and slipped a rope through the eyebolts attached to the hatch. Using the rope, he lifted the cover revealing a two-foot-by-two-foot opening in which he lowered the suction hose.
      When the tank was drained and hosed down with fresh water, Hayden replaced the hatch. He rinsed the outside and inside of the suction hose, disconnected the hose sections and carefully placed them on the back of his $250,000 truck. He and his son then shoveled dirt back into the three-foot hole they had dug. The entire process took about an hour.
       Bidding farewell, they headed off to the Appeal landfill in Lusby, where the 4,700-gallon-capacity truck would be drained at the sewage processing plant behind the landfill. 
        As long as there are septic tanks, Hayden’s job will always be needed. So he’s training the next generation, bringing his son to work during the summer months. 
–Allen Delaney
 
The Anne Arundel Food Bank’s new face looks to get the ­non-profit new space
      No one has ever become poor by giving.
–Anne Frank
 
        Susan Thomas is breaking in some new shoes, walking a path blazed by Food Bank founder Bruce Michalec. 
       Thirteen years ago, Thomas volunteered at the Anne Arundel County Food Bank. Two months into her new position, Michalec ran into health problems. He needed help.
      Eager to give back to the community, Thomas stepped up to learn the ropes from the creator himself. 
      Thomas, though, is no stranger to charitable work.
      She started as a teenager, volunteering as a candy striper at North Arundel Hospital. She also volunteered with Happy Helpers for the Homeless around the holidays. 
      She took notice of the Food Bank and volunteered to answer the phones. One month later, she was offered a job.
       “At the time, the staff consisted of four employees: a driver, bookkeeper, administrative assistant and executive director,” Thomas reminisces. “It was a very close group, and I really liked being part of a team that made a difference in someone’s life.”
       Thomas’s involvement steadily grew, as she added grant writing and bookkeeping to her responsibilities.
      “This is a unique job,” Thomas says. “I knew the harder I worked, the more people we would be able to assist and the more services we would be able to offer.”
       When Michalec retired in January after 30 years of service, he passed the baton to Thomas.
       Her first few months were fraught with troubles. For 14 years, the Anne Arundel County Food Bank worked out of the old Crownsville Hospital kitchen. The sprawling building had plenty of storage and massive freezers to keep perishable food — perfect for a growing pantry. However, their tenancy was uncertain. Then, the roof caved in.
      “We’ve had volunteers come out to patch the roof from time to time,” Thomas says. “But these buildings are very old. We don’t want to spend $100,000 for a new roof.”
       Thomas now has another reason to hold off on the roof repairs: The hospital grounds are for sale. 
      The Chesapeake Bayhawks have their sights set on that property. The Annapolis-based, semi-professional men’s lacrosse team is making moves to turn the grounds into a new stadium with parking and practice fields. Thomas says the Bayhawks are still willing to grandfather the Food Bank into its design plans. But that will take too long.
      “There’s no reason to wait,” Thomas says. “Our goal is to remain on the hospital grounds — but build a whole new space.” 
      They’ll need the room. Last year, the Food Bank handed out more than 260,000 pounds of food. 
      To get the building they need, Thomas is working with the state for a mix of grants and capital bonds. In combination with fundraising, they’ll need government help.
      Thomas hopes that the state will give a 100-year lease on the Crownsville hospital property. She’ll need a senator and delegate to back the plan; who depends on the November elections. Once she’s got backing, she’ll need to meet with Gov. Larry Hogan.
       Of the old building, Stuart Cohen, three-year volunteer truck driver for the Food Bank, says, “we are definitely lucky to have it. But it’s a huge undertaking to maintain. It’s not built for constant truck traffic, either.” 
      Christine Pokorny, a long-time volunteer at the Food Bank, looks forward to keeping up with “growing need in Anne Arundel County. A new space will make us much more effective,” she says.
       Part of growing with the times, Pokorny says, is Thomas herself. “I was really happy when Susan took over,” the volunteer says. “She has a terrific vision for the future, and she wants to try to reach new people in new ways.”
       With a brand new building, Thomas and her team would finally be able to focus on their programs and community — rather than struggling to keep a roof over their heads. 
 
A Remarkable Time
      “This is a really remarkable time,” says Anne Arundel Food Bank Chairman J.J. Fegan. 
       In the nine years Fegan, a local realtor, has led the board, he’s seen demand surge through the Food Bank’s sliding doors.
       “We live in one of the richest counties in one of the wealthiest states in America,” Fegan says. “Too many kids are going to school hungry, and I want to help give back.”
      Michalec felt the same. 
      A champion of charity, Michalec spent more than 30 years building what is now the Anne Arundel County Food Bank and a community around it. 
       The operation began inside a church with Michalec distributing a small federal surplus of food to families in need. Over time, he expanded the Food Bank into a countywide program that gives away more than $1.25 million in food annually. 
       As well as food, people needed resources. Ever responsive, Michalec rose to the need. 
      “Every time I gave away a bed or a wheelchair,” Michalec told Bay Weekly in 2014, “it was like giving people food because they would have been using food money to buy it otherwise.”
      The expanded Anne Arundel County Food and Resource Bank remains the only free place to go for food and other resources like appliances, furniture, medical equipment, nutritional supplements, personal hygiene products and even vehicles.
        Expansion has meant more programs. So far this year, Thomas has given out 150 bicycles to underprivileged kids. 
       Thomas’ team has broadened its Backpack Buddies program. They used to help almost 1,500 students by sending home backpacks full of food for the weekend. Now they assist more than 5,000 kids. 
       Individual donations, mostly through food drives, account for about 20 percent of the quarter-million pounds of food distributed by the bank to individuals, families and food pantries throughout the county. “The remainder,” Thomas says, “we receive through partnerships with local stores and Feeding America vendors.”
       With greater need and the prospect for a new space, more volunteers will be needed. The Food Bank already gets some help from correctional center work programs. Thomas has three to five inmates who help with daily packing and moving. She gets helpers from the Anne Arundel County Volunteer Center and United Way of Central Maryland. But with growing need comes greater responsibility. 
      More volunteers are needed right now, Thomas says, because the Food Bank is “headed into our busy season.” The back-to-school rush begins this hectic period, which grows into Thanksgiving food drives, then holiday gift donations.
      “We’re growing and we’re adapting. We’ve got this new power at our disposal, and we can use it to give more to our community than ever before,” Thomas says of the future.
      Drop off donations Monday to Friday from 9am to 3pm at the Food Bank. For large donations or to become a volunteer, call the office: 410-923-4255, 120 Marbury Dr., Crownsville, www.aafoodbank.org.

Nationally certified red-carded firefighters go wherever it burns hottest

       Montana. Colorado. Texas. California. In all those hotbox states and more, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Forest Services are sweating to control fires that have already burned more than five million acres of land and wrecked thousands of homes and businesses.
        Nationwide, says Monte Mitchell, Forest Service state fire supervisor, we’re part of a “dynamic system where when one geographic area has shortages, other states and federal units can provide those resources to fill in the gaps.”
       One hundred and twenty Maryland Forest Service firefighters and other volunteers train to fight those ferocious opponents. These “red-carded personnel are nationally certified to perform on an incident,” Mitchell says. “Forty-hour courses give them their basic firefighter and basic wildland and fire weather training and tactics.” 
      Topping that is an eight-hour physical field day.
      “They go out and construct fire lines with hand tools, they’ll use pumps, they’ll set up hose lays, they’ll be introduced to all the different tools that you use in wildland firefighting,” Mitchell says. 
     Through all this, their most important tools are their bodies.
     “There is a physical assessment that you have to meet, and that’s more of an exam,” says Justin Arseneault, project forester with the forest service. “Every year before firefighters get sent out, we take a work capacity test to make sure that our physical fitness is sufficient to handle the types of duties that we might be called to do.”
      Part of the test is walking three miles within 45 minutes while carrying 45 pounds.
      In Maryland, each crew of 20 people is divided into three squads under a crew boss. Each squad has its boss, three fellers who operate chainsaws and the rest firefighters, Mitchell explains. 
      Once in action, volunteers must be ready for whatever is to come in the 14 to 16 days of assignment.
     “Initial attack is responding to new wildfires as they occur and for the first 24-hour operational period taking the necessary actions to contain and suppress the wildfire,” Mitchell says. “All of the engine and dozer crews Maryland has mobilized are experienced firefighters. But newly trained firefighters can assist with initial attack operations under the supervision of experienced firefighters.”
      Once a fire is fought down, “we’ll make sure that portions controlled but still smoldering are fully extinguished so that they don’t accidentally escape containment,” Arseneault says.
      Maryland volunteers also might work on smaller active fires, “to cut fire lines, brushing out a path where there’s no fuel for the fire to run into so it will extinguish itself.”
     In July Arseneault was sent to Montana, California and Colorado. This month he heads to Texas to help with more fires.
      “It’s a dangerous environment, and we take every precaution that we can to mitigate the hazards that are there,” Arseneault says.
      “There are a lot of fires, like the fires in California, where homes are being threatened, and it can be very humbling to help. Being exposed to those people that are just so grateful that you’re there really makes you feel like you’re doing something worthwhile.”

Way Downstream …

Way Downstream comes from Ocean City, where the federal court case over the right of women to go topless may be bare-ly beginning. 

Let us first unveil some facts: Last summer, Ocean City approved an ordinance forbidding women to cast aside their swimsuit tops. 

In January, five women — among them Megan Bryant, of Lothian —- filed lawsuit in a Maryland U.S. District Court challenging the ordinance as a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. 

“This lawsuit is about confirming the legal right of women to be bare-chested in public in the same places men are permitted to be bare-chested in public for purposes other than breast-feeding,” the complaint reads. 

The suit observes that it’s normal for men to go shirtless, an “act associated with power, strength and freedom.” 

In the pokey ways of federal civil suits, it was Ocean City’s duty to respond six months later. 

On July 27, the town filed a defense asserting that the women’s Equal Protection Clause argument is faulty because that provision doesn’t say that things that are different should be treated the same. 

The filing refers to the “indisputable difference between the sexes” and the town’s interest to protect public sensibilities, asserting that bare breasts in public “may not be offensive to everyone” but remain “unpalatable” to society. 

The naked truth is that no decision is expected for some time, perhaps not until chill winds have people so bundled up that there’s no way to discern the difference between women and men. 

Sandy Marron of Heritage Harbour collects books for soldiers.  

Operation Paperback, a non-profit founded in 1999, sends shipments of books to military bases all over the world. Marron is one of 19,000 volunteers under the Operation Paperback umbrella.  

The books go to military families, veterans, hospitals and bases overseas. The books help soldiers learn, pass the time or, on deployment, read to their children via webcam. Romance and religious books aren’t accepted.  

Everyone involved with this program is a volunteer, so Operation Paperback is a true non-profit. Each volunteer must find the books, boxes and the money needed to mail the books out. 

“I have worked with this great organization since 2011 and sent out over 16,000 books, puzzle books, men’s magazines and others,” Marron said. 

The Heritage Harbour Woman’s Club, John Taylor Funeral Home, Heritage Harbour Beer Wine and Spirits and Bay Ridge Wine and Spirits help support Operation Paperback. 

To donate, email: [email protected], subject books. 

         On July 26, the Conowingo Dam on the Susquehanna River opened its gates due to flooding and high river flows. By July 29-30, tree limbs, sea grass and trash had reached Spa Creek by way of the Severn River and piled up on the waters of Annapolis Harbor. 

The City of Annapolis’s harbormasters worked hour after hour to clean up the disaster. Now the city is asking volunteers to help haul the mess out.  

“The debris took up almost the whole harbor this morning,” Annapolitan Joe LaScola told Bay Weekly. “But these guys are getting it done. 

“This is the first time I’ve ever seen something like this in 40 years,” said LaScola, a daily visitor to City Dock. 

So, you’re ready to venture into downtown Annapolis. Maybe you’re out for a sunny stroll down Main Street. Maybe you and your friends fancy a night out on the town. Whatever your reason, there’s one thing weighing on your mind: parking.  

Many city-goers avoid parking garages in search of cheaper street parking. Starting this month, the city of Annapolis intends to make garages a sweeter option. 

Heading into town on a Sunday? The Whitmore Parking Garage, on the corner of Calvert and Clay streets, now has free parking every Sunday until 4pm. Later in the afternoon, you can park at Whitmore for just $2. Parking is free all weekend at the Calvert Street Garage, across from St. John’s College. If you’re driving into Annapolis after work during the week, you’ll find free parking after 6pm at the Calvert Street Garage.  

If you’re an Annapolis resident, you can now park for free for two hours at any city-owned parking garage. Pick up your parking pass at 60 West Street for the KnightonGotts and Hillman parking garages.

Way Downstream …

Folks in a fishing village on the Arabian Peninsula definitely had more reason than we did to complain about last week’s heat.

In the town of Quriyat in Oman, the mercury set a record, plunging to 108.7 degrees on the night of June 26, marking the hottest low temperature in recorded history. During the day, it was 121.6 degrees. Those recordings combined to give the town of 50,000 another record, the hottest 24-hour period ever.

The United States still holds the record for the highest temperature on record: 134.1 degrees, recorded on July 10, 1913, at Furnace Creek Ranch in Death Valley, Calif., according to the World Meteorological Association.