Volume XVII, Issue 33 # August 13 - August 19, 2009

Annapolis Comes to Market

$4 million of taxpayer money later, Market House hopes to prove its worth

Annapolis invites the new owners of Market House — capital city taxpayers — to survey their purchase Friday, August 14. Mayor Ellen Moyer will cut the ribbon on Annapolis’ historic headache, welcoming you to brand new stalls and hoping to wipe clean the memory of controversies past.

The city welcomes Atwater’s, Flowers by Donna’s, Homestead Market and Maryland Federation of the Arts, joining BankAnnapolis and Vaccaro’s (the last tenants of the old realm) to the oft-vacated building. With the city again calling the shots, officials hope to transform the 220-year-old building from a controversy into a marketspace that meets the needs of a growing community.

To celebrate a fresh start for an old building, visit Market house for the 11am ribbon cutting.

–Diana Beechener

Can the Web Save the Bay?

Websites, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and Flickr are on the job

Can the president turn back Chesapeake Bay’s red tide of degradation?

On May 11, President Barack Obama signed an Executive Order to Protect and Restore the Chesapeake.

Should we view it as the most recent in a long line of well-intentioned documents? Or can it get some work done?

Check up on the results at a new website launched August 11: Executiveorder.chesapeakebay.net.

It’s touted as “the clearinghouse” for everything flowing from the Executive Order: news, documents and events from all the agencies working on new approaches to cleaning up the Bay.

The new connection promise to run two ways.

“President Obama wants real action and real results in restoring and protecting the Chesapeake Bay,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, who’s assigned to see the order translates to action. “The best way to ensure that we meet those goals is to reach out and engage the Bay communities.”

Executiveorder.chesapeakebay.net is set up so that you can track progress. You can also talk back. Is anybody listening? You’ve got to hope there’s a person behind the website paying attention. Especially as the website is supposed to “promote transparency and accountability.”

“When the draft strategy is released on November 9, the formal public comment period will begin,” writes spokesman Travis Loop. “Until then, feedback can be posted on the website.”

If you’re a techno-junkie, you can watch what’s happening to the Bay on all sorts of new media: the RSS feed, Twitter updates and Facebook page. Video and photos will run on YouTube and Flickr. Find your way in under the Stay Connected section at http://executiveorder.chesapeakebay.net

–Sandra Olivetti Martin

Our Hapless Neighbors

Again this week, liquor mixed with water puts boaters on the rocks

5:45pm August 1–On the Potomac River near the Point of Rocks boat ramp Michael Joseph McNiff, 21, of Fairfax, Virginia was found unconscious in his kayak, which was floating down the river …

11:10pm August 7–Frank Windsor, 52, of Baltimore failed to notice that he had lost a passenger. The man overboard was pulled out of Isle of Wight Bay by Maryland Natural Resources Police …

7:20pm August 8–Near Ocean City, Matthew Gian Facchina, 41, of Centreville, ran aground a second time just after being pulled off a sandbar and into deeper water by a good Samaritan …

–Recent reports from Natural Resources Police

This Week’s Creature Feature comes to us from Chesapeake Bay

Diamond Jim still swims free

Bill Burton always believed in the Diamond Jim fishing promotion, both the original competition of the 1950s and the revived competition of the 2000s. He himself released the first two monthly Diamond Jims of the summer of 2009. But by late July, when the last Jim claimed his $25,000 tag, Bill was too ill to join Maryland Department of Natural Resources on the expedition to catch and release him.

We can’t think of a tribute the Old Man of the Bay would like better than for Diamond Jim to bite your hook with his big payoff. He’s out there in the Bay, waiting for the fisher with the right mojo. Say a prayer for Bill, bait your hook and go get him. You’ve got till Labor Day, when all this summer’s dozens of big fish prizes are handed out at Sandy Point State Park.

Learn more at www.dnr.maryland.gov/fishingchallenge.

–Sandra Olivetti Martin