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Volume 14, Issue 24 ~ June 15 - June 21, 2006

Way Downstream

In the Fifth Congressional District, including Calvert and Southern Anne Arundel counties, Rep. Steny Hoyer convened his 26th annual Bull Roast fundraiser at the Newton White Mansion last weekend. In Washington 30 miles away, rebellion rumbled in his Democratic caucus. Pennsylvania Rep. Jack Murtha, the crusty ex-Marine who wants U.S. troops out of Iraq now, was declaring that if Democrats recapture the House in November, he will challenge Hoyer for majority leader.

To many, it’s unseemly for Democrats to count their chickens before they hatch. (They need to pick up 15 seats.) To Hoyer, it’s a troubling sign of unrest in his party over the war. “I hope he doesn’t do it,” Hoyer told Bay Weekly …

In Annapolis, Mayor Ellen Moyer was nominated for the mayor’s award at 17th Annual Energy Efficiency Forum in Washington this week. Among her initiatives, she has moved Annapolis beyond political stubbornness over global warming by signing a memorandum of understanding with the World Wildlife Fund to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by purchasing 20 percent of municipal power from renewable sources. Sen. Hillary Clinton was on hand for the award …

Potomac River follow-up: That fish kill we reported last week was indeed caused by an algae bloom, described by researchers as a nasty dinoflagellate. But it determined that the organisms weren’t toxic to humans even though they kill fish by releasing a poison that destroys their gills …

Our Creature Feature comes from the Congo, where conservationists are delighted to have found that a rare creature that looks like a cross between a giraffe and a zebra still exists.

Even though they didn’t actually see it, the World Wildlife Fund was certain that the tracks that showed up deep in a forest belonged to the elusive okapi, with its striped rear and long neck. The endangered creature was first discovered in the Congo in 1901, and it was believed to have become a victim of the Congo’s long-running civil war.

“As the country returns to peace, it shows that the protected areas in this troubled region are havens for rare wildlife once more,” the World Wildlife Fund’s Marc Languy told Reuters.

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