Volume XI, Issue 50 ~ December 11-17, 2003

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Dock of the Bay

photo by James Clemenko
An electical fire in the cabin caused around $2,000 in damages but otherwise left unharmed Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s 101-year-old working skipjack.
Stanley Norman’s Luck
Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s skipjack saved from fireChristmas came early to Chesapeake Bay Foundation December 9 when a passerby noticed fire aboard the Stanley Norman, the Bay Foundation’s 101-year-old, 70-foot-long skipjack.

Stanley Norman sits near the end of Ego Alley where it beckons kids to learn more about Annapolis and Chesapeake Bay’s maritime history. Thanks in part to the old skipjack, that’s living history.

“The Chesapeake Bay Foundation takes 2,200 students out on the skipjack each year,” said Don Baugh, vice president for education at the foundation, as he assessed the damage from the fire.

It was not severe.

“The initial estimate of damage is under $2,000,” said Baugh.

photo courtesy of Chesapeake Bay Foundation
The boat and the foundation got off so easy because the Taylor Avenue Fire Department rushed to the scene on getting a call at 4:37pm. Using foam and water, they put out the fire, which was contained to a small corner of the teak interior of the cabin.

The smell of burnt plastic and metal suggested how nearly the wooden boat had escaped destruction in the single-alarm fire.

“The fire was accidental and was caused by an electrical failure in a 110-volt circuit breaker,” said Douglas Remaley, captain in the City of Annapolis’ Fire Marshal’s office.

“The caller and fire department saved an opportunity for kids to go out on the only historic skipjack in Annapolis,” said Baugh.

Come spring, the Stanley Norman and its young crew will sail again.

— James Clemenko

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Navy Masters Football
After 21 years of misery, the Mids scored an 8–4 season

Last September Bay Weekly wrote: “If Navy fought wars like it plays football, we’d all be speaking Japanese now.”

If Bay Weekly produced newspapers like it predicts football, you’d be reading this etched into a cave wall.

At the beginning of the 2003 season, Navy football had only won three games in the last three years. Coming off last year’s victory over Army, attitudes were tempered but optimistic.

“We need to win more games,” said Coach Paul Johnson a few days before the season opened on a rainy day in October.

Optimism prevailed that day and for the season.

“We had a great season,” said Navy Athletics’ Scott Strasemeier. “The team accomplished all its goals.”

After years of misery, the Mids scored an 8–4 season, including a win over Air Force and a repeat victory over Army on the way to their first trip to a post-season bowl game since 1996.

photo courtesy of U.S. Naval Academy
With December 6th’s 34–6 victory over Army in Philadelphia, the Mids took home the Commander-in-Chief Trophy, named for the president of the United States and presented to the winning team of the three major service academies.

If Navy wins the Houston Bowl on December 30, the team will equal the most single-season wins in Navy’s 122-year history.

Not bad for a team whose seniors hadn’t won a home game until this season.

This year, Navy’s 11-man offense led the nation in rushing, was 24th in total offense and, impressively, 28th in scoring. Quarterback Craig Candeto and fullback Kyle Eckel lead the offense. Candeto ran for 964 yards and 14 touchdowns while throwing for 1,052 yards and seven touchdowns. Eckel, the hero on opening day, continued his career-making season with 1,026 yards and eight touchdowns.

The defense wasn’t too bad either. It ranked 31st in the nation.

All this success is due to one cause: Head Coach Paul Johnson.

Johnson, who as head coach of Georgia Southern led his team to a 62–10 record in five years, was recognized as coach of the year four consecutive years. He is being touted this year in only his second full season with Navy.

“People didn’t believe,” said Strasemeier. “But the coach and the guys in the locker room did.”

Now, so do football fans throughout Chesapeake Country.

— Louis Llovio

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Do You Treasure the Chesapeake?
Then come January, you’ll be buying a new license plate

Sitting on Route 50 with nothing to read but a long line of monochromatic Maryland license plates can be like waiting in a dentist’s office with no Bay Weekly: Boring and a little scary.

Your 2004 traffic jams will be better.

Come January, Maryland’s Motor Vehicle Administration will sell redesigned Treasure the Chesapeake license plates.

As well as giving motorists more to catch their eyes, the plates will fund Bay-improving projects throughout the Bay.

The new Treasure the Chesapeake plate is brighter, better populated and easier to see at a distance than the plate Bay-lovers have been buying since 1990. The blue from the old plate is moved to the top and stepped up in intensity, and green and gold have been added. The blue heron that was the centerpiece of the old tag is moved to the left, and a crab is added on the right to better represent the Bay.

“Maryland is for crabs, and people wondered where the crab was,” explains Chesapeake Bay Trust director David O’Neill of the process that yielded the new plate.

The change in style doesn’t mean a change in substance.

The tags have brought the Trust more than $11 million to pass along in grants for work dedicated to the Bay.

This year, the Trust invested more than $1.84 million raised by the sale of the old plates plus a dollar from check-offs on state tax returns and from 559 grants. Grants range from tiny to considerable: The range is $50 to $75,000 and the average about $4,300.

“This has been a terrific year,” says O’Neill. “We placed more money than ever back into the hands of Maryland schools, community groups and public agencies.”

From this year’s 559 grants, some 250 school and 225 community organizations benefited, some with more than one grant. Forty-six schools and organizations in Chesapeake Country received grants ranging from $50 to $50,000 in 2003 for projects running from skipjack trips, where kids taste the salt of the Bay while experiencing how oystering really worked, to planting schoolyard Bay-saving habitats doubling as living classrooms.

Of course, it’s not only kids who Treasure the Chesapeake is supporting in its work for the Bay. Kids and adults work together in the West River Oyster Project, one of the organizations that benefited.

With $12,550 from the Trust, the West River Improvement Association and the Shady Side Peninsula Association built two oyster reefs in the West River watershed to promote oyster gardening as one step in restoring native oysters.

All this for the relatively minor cost of a license plate.

The new plate will go on sale in January for $20 (plus $81 registration) at full-service MVA stations; yearly renewal costs $5. You may find the new plate so appealing that you’ll trade in your old plates before they’re due for renewal. Vanity monograms up to seven characters for an additional $50 can be ordered from forms downloaded from the MVA website: marylandmva.com.

Choices as simple as paying a few extra dollars for a license plate can help restore the Bay — not to mention making rush hour on Route 50 a little more colorful.

Now, about that dentist’s office.

— Louis Llovio

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Way Downstream…

In Texas, the Republican speaker of the House is under fire for decorating the House floor with a plastic, made-in-China Christmas tree. “I think that people can deduce for themselves about what it means to have a plastic Christmas tree from China in the Texas Statehouse,” said an irked Lanny Dreesen, of the Texas Christmas Tree Growers Association

In Virginia, Marine Patrol “fish cops” have busted people selling oysters harvested from polluted waters, raided sanctuaries for female crabs and even hid illegal fish under seat cushions, yet they’re not getting the budget they need to do the job. Read an excellent story by the Virginian-Pilot at http://home.hamptonroads.com/stories/story.cfm?story=63264&ran=3942.

In New Jersey, animal rights groups are fighting to curtail a black bear hunt this week, the state’s first in 33 years. More than 5,000 hunters were given permits to thin out a population estimated at more than 3,000. Increased bear sightings and a fatal bear attack in next-door New York last year prompted the hunt…

Our Creature Feature comes from New Zealand, where folks have figured out what to do with those pesky possums destroying native forests. They’re weaving lambs’ wool with the coat of the Australian brushtail possum to create clothing with the look and feel of cashmere. The government is hoping that the new business will make it worthwhile for hunters to trap the possum to reduce and thereby save the environment.

Janine Jones, a former Pennsylvanian, and her husband, Graeme, founded Kiwi Enterprises to make sweaters, gloves, socks and other articles of clothing from creatures known widely as pests.

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© COPYRIGHT 2003 by New Bay Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved.
Last updated December 11, 2003 @ 1:08am.