Dock of the Bay

 Vol. 9, No. 45
November 8-14, 2001 
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Ellen Moyer celebrates her election as Annapolis mayor with grandson Will Moyer. photo by Christopher Heagy
Annapolis Elects a New Mayor — and She’s a First

As the voting polls closed in Annapolis Nov. 6, an optimistic throng of Ellen Moyer supporters crowded into the Starboard Room at Carrol’s Creek Café, hungry for election results. Precinct after precinct of results fed the crowd, and optimism spilled into celebration.
With the outcome growing more certain, the crowd of 150 supporters broke into chants of El-len and Moy-er. A hearty ovation went up just after 9:30 when, with the 16th precinct reporting, Moyer became the first woman elected mayor of Annapolis, winning with just under 55 percent of the vote.

Surrounded by former mayors Al Hopkins, Pip Moyer and Dick Hillman and Maryland’s first lady Frances Hughes Glendening, Del. Mike Busch welcomed the new mayor to the podium.

“This is pretty exciting, but it’s also a relief,” Moyer said.

She thanked her campaign manager, workers and all those that voted for her, and she recounted the conversation she had with her opponent, Herb McMillian, who offered her congratulations and conceded the election.

Even while savoring her victory, Moyer looked ahead.

“We have to start working on our transition teams,” she said. “We hope to have those in place by November 13. We will assemble action teams that will start looking at many of the issues brought up during the campaign.”

Moyer comes to office in an election of many firsts. The election that gave Annapolis its first woman mayor also gave women a majority of seats on the city council. For another first, this city council also has its largest ever number of African Americans, three.

It was an election of change in a time of flux and, Moyer acknowledged, difficulties.

“These are changing times. That means there are changes going on that will impact us fiscally. They will impact our security and our civil rights. We need to be prepared. Now the hard work begins.”

— Christopher Heagy

Herb McMillan and friends awaited the tally of mayoral votes at his Hunt Meadows home. photo by Mark Burns
McMillan Concedes — For Now

At Republican candidate Herb McMillan’s Hunt Meadows home, family, friends, campaign workers and supporters rallied around as the preliminary count was rushed in by poll watchers. Campaign volunteers tallied poll reports in the basement headquarters while well-wishers mingled above, browsing a buffet under the gaze of an Abraham Lincoln portrait, chatting in the kitchen or warming up by the hearth. Among the well-wishers was incumbent mayor Dean Johnson, beaten by McMillan in a low-turnout primary election upset.

With each poll report, concern grew on volunteers’ faces. In the end, McMillan took only downtown’s Ward 1 and his own Ward 5. It was some consolation to those there, however, that fellow Republican David Cordle won McMillan’s previous alderman seat.

McMillan stumped one last time to thank his supporters and to congratulate Moyer in a kitchen concession speech. “If I can’t win and keep my integrity, then I don’t want to win,” he declared to applause. While not plotting his course, McMillan hinted at another run, saying he looked forward to the four years ahead.

With the loss still fresh in his mind, McMillan declined to answer any questions. For the immediate future, he said he planned only to bow out gracefully and quickly. “I’m going to go down and I’m going to congratulate Ellen personally,” McMillan announced, adding “trust me, I’m not going to be there long.”

Annapolis Board of Elections reported an unofficial count of 4,102 votes for Moyer and 3,404 for McMillan with a 37 percent voter turnout in the mostly Democratic city. The still uncounted absentee ballots will make no difference as only some 300 were turned in. Moyer will be inaugurated December 3 as Annapolis’ first woman mayor in a morning ceremony at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts.

— Mark Burns

David Jennings plays Frank Butler, pursued by Katherine Bowerman’s Annie Oakley in Moonlight Troupers’ Annie Get Your Gun. photo courtesy of Midnight Troupers
Moonlight Troupers Get a Hit with Annie’s Gun

The stage at the Pascal Center is stark. There’s no set, only pieces of wood and canvas here and there. Actors in various stages of dress or undress mill about the stage. Cowboys sport full regalia, their costumes fancy with fringe, their boots glistening. Of course there are Indians. Tim Grieb’s Sitting Bull is as colorful in his garb as he is stern in demeanor. Others wear pieces of Indian-looking clothing on feet, shoulders, hips. Showgirls, wearing underskirts, prance about. In their midst Annie Oakley, gussied up in leathers, looks out of place.

Raymond Ascione’s baton appears, flexible and reed thin, peeking over the orchestra pit. The theater is dark. Bob Kauffman, chair of Anne Arundel Community College’s performing arts department, and Barbara Marder, director and associate theater arts professor, are quietly conferring. They’ve set up a platform across some seats where papers are neatly stacked under the glow of a small study lamp. Kaufmann, wearing earphones, is up and down in his seat, busying himself with lighting and technical direction. Marder runs from stage to seats, giving direction and waving her expressive arms. A silent dark figure stalks the catwalk amidst the lights that set the mood and shine on the performers.

Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West Show is coming to Anne Arundel Community College, bringing with it Irving Berlin’s rousing, memorable songs and 25 talented students, from the college itself as well as local middle and high schools.

It’s four nights before Annie Get Your Gun’s November 9 opening. There’s enough time left that the mood is relaxed and performers hang loose. Laughter and asides ripple as lines are muffed and dance steps tripped. The action stops as actors repeat their lines or are told to start from the beginning. Kibitzing between orchestra and performers produces laughter.

The sound of muffled gunshots rings out from behind stage. The sounds aren’t crisp; a watcher calls them “wimpy gunshots.” Something else to fix before Friday night.

Despite the easy-going atmosphere, a glimmer of the finished product shines through. And what fun it’s going to be, full of talent and songs that will bring back memories. You’ll find yourself singing — not too loudly please.

The Indian ceremonial is getting a run through. Drums beat from the orchestra, spears rise aloft. Sitting Bull, with his braves and squaws, shuffles and stomps. Isaac Robertson’s Wild Horse prances, high jumps and twists his way across the stage. In the background, nails are being hammered into wood, but somehow the noise doesn’t break the mood. It’s an evocative moment: Music, dance and voice come together with passion. The moment ends.

Barbara Marder calls a break. Backdrops fall into place: a tent, a few fences and benches, windows and doors. Voila! A small town appears.

David Jennings’ Frank Butler — charmer, cowboy, sharpshooter and the star of the Wild West show — is about to take on the town’s best shooter. It’s good for business, bringing out the locals. But this town doesn’t seem to have anyone to take him on. Enter a country girl — raw, uneducated, unsophisticated — but what a shot. Annie Oakley herself, played by Katie Bowerman.

For mature folk, Ethel Merman or Mary Martin may come to mind. Merman starred in the Broadway show in 1946, and Martin took it on tour. Bernadette Peters reprised the show on Broadway recently. But you’ll get used to Bowerman. She’s not an overpowering stage presence, but her delicious twang and her natural-sounding singing voice will reel you in. As it does Frank.

Bob Kauffman is talking retirement. When he leaves, he’ll be sorely missed. Anne Arundel’s shows have been professionally polished while providing experience for the young theater arts majors. With wimpy gunshots reformed by opening night, his last show of 2001 will go on with a bang.

— Carol Glover

Brush it Off: Getting Rid of Lawn Litter

Back in the old days, “yard waste” wasn’t valued much for its usable afterlife as mulch and compost. It was stuff to be dumped down the gullet of the nearest ravine within wheelbarrowing distance. Still is in some parts.

Nowadays, though, there are too few gullies and too strong an environmental conscience. You’ll have to dump your leaves, grass clippings, wood brush, trees and branches somewhere else.

If you live in Annapolis, somewhere else is as near as your curb.

Annapolis resumed its curbside leaf vacuum program Nov. 1, giving residents four chances to see your leaves disappear. Vacuum trucks make four passes through each ward — though the historic district is left out because of its narrow streets. Rake a pile curbside by the deadlines to make sure you don’t get skipped:

  • Wards 1 and 2: Nov. 15, Dec. 3 and Dec. 18
  • Wards 3 and 4: Nov. 20, Dec. 7 and Dec. 21
  • Wards 5 & 6: Nov. 7, Nov. 26, Dec. 11 and Dec. 25
  • Wards 7 and 8: Nov. 12, Nov. 29, Dec. 14 and Dec. 27.

If you miss the big vac, you’ll have to bag your leaves with the rest of the yard waste for regular bi-weekly pick-ups on recycling days. Mark bags and trash cans with “YW” — for yard waste — and bundle brush with twine. Information: 410/263-7967.

Anne Arundel County is too large and sprawling for a leaf vacuum like Annapolis’, so outside of city limits you’ll have to crush your leaves into bags to be picked up with yard waste on your weekly recycling day. Set apart yard waste in bags and cans marked with an “X.” Branches should be bundled with twine and weigh no more than 40 pounds. Trees, limbs or branches must be no more than four inches thick and will only be taken if cut down to pieces four feet or shorter in length.

Most compost fodder is shipped to Upper Marlboro to become commercially valuable LeafGro. Mulch and compost made at the landfills are used at county facilities, with excess sometimes available for the public.

Gullies are not quite obsolete in Calvert, a small county with not quite twice as many people as Annapolis. Appeal Landfill, in Lusby, accepts yard waste for a fee of $2.20 per 100 pounds, amassing deposits into a big pile. When the heap is hefty enough, a contractor is called in to grind out mulch to be given away. County recyclers hope to have mulch on hand by spring.

— Mark Burns

Courtesy of the trees, Peter Vogt, second from left, serves edible delights from the forests.
Tree Cheers for Calvert’s Forests

Calvert County branched into celebration at its first-ever Forest Fair last month.

Fairgoers smacked their lips over delicacies many never knew could be made from the bounty of trees: chestnut confections, paw-paw pie, persimmon bread, walnut cookies and sumac ‘Indian lemonade.’ Many of those were the handiwork of Peter Vogt, who organized Forest Fair to create a “big tent, bringing together artists and scientists considering both the resource value and the archeological value of the forest,” he said.

“There’ve been forests here for millions of years,” Vogt explained, pointing out Calvert Marine Museum’s collection of fossil wood dating back to when the county was under water.

Under his big tent and out in the beauty of leaf-turning October, many of those values were experienced firsthand. Children made leaf rubbings guided by instructors from Battle Creek Cypress Swamp Nature Center, where the fair convened amid Chesapeake Country’s northernmost stand of bald cypress trees.

A Dunkirk beekeeper gave out samples from his honeycombs. North Beach, a designated Tree City USA and Calvert’s only community with an official tree committee, invited visitors to tour the town’s centennial trees and historic homes.

Visitors turned wood chips into paper, using a paper company’s yesteryear equipment. They gathered information on caring for and preserving wooded land. They looked over artwork with local tree themes.

Vogt’s fond wish would be to go back in a time machine through the forests of Southern Maryland. Next best is searching the records on forests of the past. Among the earliest are those of Chesapeake Country explorations by Captain John Smith 400 years ago and, with Lord Baltimore’s colonists in 1634, Father Andrew White.

“I’ve been interested in trees and forests since childhood,” he explained. The “carving part” of the woods beckoned before the “consumption part.” He likes to find pieces of wood — often huge trunks — and ask “what wants to be liberated” under his sculpting knife.

A marine geophysicist, Vogt calls himself “a professional amateur” on the subject of forests. But he relishes helping the public know and appreciate them. Such an adaptation is called “technology transfer.” Vogt prefers calling his mission “enthusiasm transfer.”

“We need to grow forests back,” he said. “We need to understand that there can be trees but not forests.” That is, a few trees here and there do not a forest make.

— Patricia Kirby

Way Downstream …

In Virginia, four yearling loggerhead turtles were given a 60-mile ride in a boat called Rebel under the full moon last week from Virginia Beach to the algae-rich edge of the Gulf Stream. The experiment, championed by the Virginia Marine Sciences Museum, is designed to reduce risks to the locally born and threatened loggerheads from such a perilous journey …

In California, something besides anthrax is scaring people: Sudden Oak Death. Tens of thousands of black oaks and other oak varieties have succumbed to a mysterious microbe that has stuck the coastline and inland counties as far north as Oregon. “We have trees just crashing to the ground,” a Marin County ranger told the San Francisco Chronicle …

Our Creature Feature from New Jersey shows that some people aren’t smarter than the average bear, let alone Yogi. A hiker named Bill Jacobs thought it would be swell to have a photo of his three small children with a black bear they encountered on a trail. So he tried to entice the bear to pose with a bagel, The Newark Star-Ledger reported.

The bear wasn’t hungry for bagels, but it did scratch Jacobs’ five-year-old son. A judge, who pronounced Jacobs’ behavior “incomprehensible,” fined him $250 and ordered him to take part in a state-sponsored educational program called Living in Bear Country.

Copyright 2001
Bay Weekly