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Business as Usual

You’ve asked if you can help. The answer is yes …
      Well what do you know! It’s Bay Weekly as you’ve known and enjoyed us returning to you for the 1,351th time this week. Doing what we’ve always done as well or better is the promise we’re keeping through December 26.
       Then? I’ll tell you more a few lines down. For a little longer, let’s stay in the here and now.
       Among the many treats we’re bringing you this week is one I’ve been holding in store for just the right time. We’re there now, with fall in full spectacular color while justifying its name in leaf-fall. 
      “The red maples and oaks are beginning to show signs of color change this week, and the dominant green color is beginning to fade. I’m thinking Anne Arundel County is a week or two away from some very nice fall colors,” Forest Service project manager Justin Arseneault reported a week ago. 
       Naming the colors of the autumn forest would take about half the 121 colors of nature identified by German mineralogist Abraham Werner in his 1814 Nomenclature of Colours ­(www.c82.net/werner). There are, for example, arterial blood red, veinous blood red, deep reddish orange and ochre yellow. 
       You’ll need lots of the golds, greens, yellows and oranges to find words to match the array of colors offered by the bald cypress and eastern larch. Those two oddities — both deciduous conifers — are introduced to us this week in words and pictures by conservation photograher Mark Hendricks.
      Hendricks, author of Natural Wonders of Assateague Island, has offered Bay Weekly readers quarterly tours of the changing natural world. This one I’ve had in my bank for several weeks, awaiting the right time. You’ll find one of the species he describes at Battle Creek Cypress Swamp in Calvert County. For the larches, you’ll get to plan a daytrip to Finzel Swamp Preserve in western Maryland. 
      Mark is one of many Bay Weekly partners — advertisers, contributors and readers like you — who’ve replied to the news of our retirement with personal appreciations.
      “I want to thank you for allowing this lowly photojournalist to tell stories about seasonal nature to your readers. I enjoyed it thoroughly and I loved looking at your edits. I always learn from a great edit and I learned every single time I wrote a piece for you,” he wrote.
      (Not every writer shared Mark’s enthusiasm for editing, though it’s by that partnership that we’ve consistently brought you such a high standard of writing. Professional writing is always edited, and we’re pros. As is Mark. We certainly never thought of him as lowly.)
      “Bay Weekly has provided such an indelible service to the community,” Mark continued. “Independent storytelling and keeping the area informed to all the happenings around Chesapeake Country. Twenty-six years! What a ride.”
      Mark’s evaluation of what Bay Weekly has meant to the community — and to writers — is a bittersweet read, for it twings the regret I (and all of us) am supressing as Bay Weekly business continues as usual.
      In a dream last night, regret caught up with me full force. In the dream, I held in my hands this week’s issue — but a different one than we’re preparing for you now. Our usual photo cover was replaced by a long list of stories — whole stories, each about as long as a Tweet. Up at the top, our masthead was reduced to a thin line of type. 
      This isn’t right, I proclaimed, loudly enough to wake my husband. 
      That’s not our dream for Bay Weekly’s future. 
      Finally, what becomes of Bay Weekly won’t be in our hands. Like you, we’d love to be able to foretell that future. Of course we can’t. But while Bay Weekly is still in our hands, we’re doing all in our power to bring about the best possible outcome.
      There is so much possibility in the future of news. Stories nowadays can be multimedia, not only with sound and video but also adapted to modern media of information consumption. A smart, media-savvy dreamer could bring Bay Weekly into that future. That’s a dream I like having.
     If taking over a newspaper is a little more than you had in mind when you said — to yourself, to a friend or in your letter to me — I wish I could help, there’s still plenty you can do. 
     Visit our advertisers and tell them how much you’ve appreciated their support of Bay Weekly. Make your appreciation tangible: Give them your business, and tell them it’s because of Bay Weekly. Ask them to keep advertising in our last weeks.
      You’ve often told me where you pick up Bay Weekly. You can help us now by thanking the manager of your favorite pickup locations for allowing us to distribute on their premises.
     Here’s another way: Help find jobs for our staff. Our topnotch, multi-skilled team just might be available. People who succeed in a weekly newspaper are creative types who are able to build and sustain complex structures, integrate a constant flow of information and wrangle a herd of details — all on deadline. 
      In next week’s paper, I’ll be introducing still other ways you can help. See you then!
 
My Bay Weekly Wheel of Memory
       Bay Weekly’s many interns have ranged in age from teens to 60s — though we’ve also had junior reporters who are younger and contributors who are older. The intern my memory turns to this week, Carol Glover, applied by saying she expected to be older than the typical intern. This was early years — we were still in our first shoebox office off the side of Tri-State Marine in Deale — so Carol, then in her early 50s, was the oldest to date. Her age made no difference, except to give us the enormous benefit of many years experience, including as a teacher and restaurateur.
       Carol took so well to the newspaper environment that she stayed with us for years, and in those years she did everything. A committed theater-goer, she became our first official reviewer. She wrote stores from A to Z, often chronicling history, culture, lore and innovation in Calvert County, including her experience with her husband Ray as early Patuxent River oyster gardeners. She gave so much we titled her Contributing Editor. But, because this is journalism, we never paid her anywhere near her worth. Thank you, Carol!