view counter

Features (News)

Calvert Marine Museum chips away at 58 million years

Persistence pays off. That’s the case with retired farmer Bernard Kuehn of Accokeek.
    After 30-plus years combing the stream bed running through his farmland for fossilized sharks’ teeth, Kuehn hit the jackpot this month.
    He discovered the soft-shell turtle fossil that lived over 58 million years ago in the Paleocene epoch.
    Heavy rains this spring exposed new layers in the creek bed, revealing the significant paleontological find on Kuehn’s farm, which was under water millions of years ago.
    The reptile would have inhabited fresh water near the ocean.
    Kuehn’s rare find, which he donated to Calvert Marine Museum, is one of only three known specimens of this species.
    Paleontologist Peter Kranz from Dinosaur Park in Laurel investigated the fossil, then asked Calvert Marine Museum for help in quarrying it.
    Joe and Devin Fernandez from Diamond Core Drilling and Sawing Company had the special equipment, a diamond-blade chainsaw, to cut the turtle out of the rock while preserving most of its shell. The turtle was delivered to the museum wearing a coat of rock.
    Unlike a normal turtle’s smooth shell, the fossilized soft-shell turtle’s shell is bumpy from a skin over the living shell.
    The ancient two-by-two-foot reptile appears to be whole.
    The inch-thick hard shell — like a coat of armor — would have protected the turtle from most predators all those millions of years ago.
    It will take many hands — and months — to remove the rock from around the bones as Calvert’s marine paleontologists study the rare specimen.
    Stop by to see the fossil and the work in progress in the Museum’s Prep Lab.

Wild Orchid chef takes over Sam’s kitchen

It’s a new year. With the flip of a calendar comes a chance to renew, refresh and remodel.
    In Annapolis, the new year offers opportunity for two local restaurateurs to help each other.
    Andrew Parks, owner of Sam’s on the Waterfront, has announced his new executive chef, Jim Wilder. Chef Wilder recently closed his Westgate Circle restaurant Wild Orchid after a difficult three-year tenure.
    Timing is everything, so hopes Parks, who has struggled to consistently employ an executive chef in the eight years he has owned the waterfront restaurant built in 1986 by his grandfather, the original Sam.
    Each man endeavors to bring the best of his farm-to-table vision in this new marriage of culinary talents. Each restaurant has — or has had — the green restaurant certification.
    At Sam’s, Parks takes the front-of-house role with Wilder running the kitchen.
    In the past, Wilder has worked both ends of the operation, with 13 years at the helm of his highly regarded Eastport Wild Orchid his pinnacle, to the head-scratching move to the behemoth at the Severn Bank Building — a move that would be his undoing.
    Few understood Wilder’s decision to sell the warm and comfortable 40-seat Eastport café in 2010 and move to the 250-seat former Greystone Grill on the other side of town.
    That decision “was not based on sound business models. I had to keep my mind occupied,” Wilder said, after the untimely death of his and wife Karen’s son, Andrew Wall, from brain cancer in 2009. “It was the bottom. And I deal with depression by keeping busy. Depression drove me.”
    Building a dream kitchen provided a needed distraction from grief. It also afforded access and opportunity to expand Wilder’s Company’s Coming catering business, along with a large floor plan that offered him ideal accessibility for his wheelchair.
    The dream was not meant to be. The restaurant closed in July 2013.
    Parks has his own challenges keeping Sam’s profitable and relevant. Hidden within the gated Chesapeake Harbour Marina community, the restaurant is difficult to find. Warm weather brings boaters out and swells the population of Chesapeake Harbour, where many residents are summer only. Still, Parks estimates that 80 percent of his business comes from outside the community. Getting diners in the door is an ongoing pursuit. Parks hopes hiring a well-known chef will do the trick.
    Chef Wilder brings his most popular dishes to the menu. Butternut squash soup with crab, scallops Napoleon and pork tenderloin wrapped in bacon join Sam’s favorites: lobster mac ’n’ cheese, rockfish and Kobe burgers (half-price on Tuesday).
    The transition has been subtle thus far, though Parks is enthusiastic about a new winter menu and many collaborative surprises to come.

Got a tasty tip for a future’s Dish? Email Lisa Knoll at thedish@bayweekly.com.

Agricultural program grows at Phoenix Academy

Next time you cruise down Cedar Park Road in Annapolis during school hours, you may well do a double-take as you pass the field next to Phoenix Academy. You’re likely to see rabbits munching greens in a sturdily built hutch, hear nanny goats bleating or glimpse teens carefully weeding a row of curly-leafed kale....

Stories that need to be told

This weekend we celebrate Memorial Day, our national day of remembrance of those who gave their lives fighting for the United States across the world.
...

They’re out to trap cast-off ­monofilament line

Girl Scouts Noel Pockey and Ashley Whicher are working to save the Bay from used fishing line.
    When anglers toss line torn from their reel, the unbreakable and almost invisible plastic monofilament a death warrant to critters. The line ensnares animals, birds and fish, trapping the life out of them. The entangled fishing line continues its havoc, putting swimmers and boat propellers at risk — until it finally degrades 500 years later.
...

Honoring our fallen heroes

Memorial Day gets due honor at Chesapeake Beach. The annual Stars & Stripes Festival, now in its fifth year, remembers the soldiers and sailors, Marines and fliers who have given their lives defending the United States of America.
    “The meaning of the day was becoming lost,” said Connie O’Dell, who manages special events for the Calvert County town.
...

Every crab pot needs a turtle excluder

You consider yourself a law-abiding citizen, sensitive to the environment and the creatures that share the Bay with us. So imagine your horror when you discover your crab pots have been putting the Maryland state reptile — the diamondback terrapin — at risk, and breaking the law while doing it.
...

National Aquarium answers marine life SOS

Stepping inside the National Aquarium in Baltimore is like diving into the ocean depths: amazing creatures swim by your face inches away.
    In the Blacktip Reef exhibit, you meet Calypso, perhaps the aquarium’s most famous resident, a 500-pound green turtle with only three flippers.
...

Local artist takes you 15,000 feet for this Commissioning Week highlight

Never in real life will you see the Blue Angels as Joe Barsin captures them in his iconic graphic on Bay Weekly’s cover. For the Annapolis artist’s eye encapsulates the whole of the U.S. Naval Academy’s Commissioning Week in a single soaring moment.
...

Since 1946, these Navy fliers have been delighting audiences with their aerial feats

On May 24, 25 and 27 the Blue Angels return to Annapolis for Commissioning Week at the United States Naval Academy.
    Since 1946, the Blue Angels have been delighting audiences with their stunning and death-defying flight demonstrations and aerial feats. Here’s how their 70-year history began.
...