Chesapeake Bay's Independent Newspaper ~ Since 1993
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Volume XVII, Issue 45 ~ November 5 - November 11, 2009

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For the Record

Passing along holiday spirit

The frights and sprites of Annmarie Garden’s Halloween in the Garden, including littlest angel Zuri Rose, of Lusby, raised over $3,300 (in $1 donations from trick and treaters) to add spirit to other holidays, filling food baskets at Thanksgiving and Christmas for Calvert County’s elderly and disabled. “These are people on fixed incomes who’d otherwise be eating peanut butter and jelly on the holidays,” said Phyllis Lester, Holiday Food Basket coordinator. Halloween in the Garden is the 10-year-old outreach’s only fundraiser, though other faithful donors contribute.


Plenty of Flu; Too Little Vaccine

Owensville Primary Care cancels annual health fair

There’ll be no free flu shots at Owensville Primary Care this year. The culprit: The same shortage of vaccines reported throughout the metropolitan area and the nation.

Owensville’s popular November event typically drew hundreds of Chesapeake citizens for health screenings (blood pressure, vision and hearing), Medicare and Medicaid information and a silent auction to raise money for the health center. But the heart of the fair was always the free flu clinic (small donation optional).

“The shots are what really attracted all the people,” according to Owensville Director Sylvia Jennings. “We’ve had crowds lined up past our parking lot first thing in the morning.”

This year there was double the anticipation, as two types of inoculations are recommended. Most problematic is the new H1N1, or swine flu, vaccine, aimed primarily at children and pregnant women. As of November 3, there was a national supply of roughly 30 million doses, up from last week but still far short of the 120 million expected. Production has been variable, according to federal officials, and there is no telling when the shortfall will be remedied.

Locally, a search of websites and several phone calls to providers reveal little swine flu vaccine available privately. The Anne Arundel County Health Department offers limited vaccination of priority groups by appointment, and the Calvert County Health Department, which had cancelled one school clinic, asks callers to check back about future availability.

In addition, the number of locals requesting the second or seasonal type flu vaccine, targeting seniors first, has grown this year. Jennings reports that Owensville Primary Care had 1,000 doses of seasonal vaccine, but they have all been used.

Publicity about flu shots in general has generated unpredicted demand, causing supplies to run short, according to Elin Jones of the Anne Arundel County Health Department. “We planned for a day-long clinic at the Arnold Senior Center in mid-October,” Jones says, “and we ran out of vaccine after two hours.”

Availability is now sporadic for other providers of seasonal flu shots, including Safeway stores and CVS and Rite-Aid pharmacies. Calvert County is planning a seasonal flu shot clinic at the fairgrounds on November 14.

“Vaccines seem to be coming in dribs and drabs, if at all,” Jennings says. “The uncertainty makes it very difficult to plan a big public event like a health fair that involves equipment rentals and advance commitments to vendors. Of course we’re disappointed. We’ve held our fair every one of the last 12 years except for once when we had to cancel for a similar vaccine shortage.”

Jennings promises weekly flu shot clinics at the center on Owensville Road in West River when their vaccine ship comes in. You can also check availability of shots with health department websites: and

–Bonnie Lefkowitz

Commemorating Maryland’s Role in Freedom of Religion and Separation of Church and State

Religious Freedom Scenic Byway added to America’s Byways

The Southern Maryland Religious Freedom Scenic Byway has joined the national ranks of driving tours with its promotion to one of America’s Byways.

Already designated by the state and included in the Maryland Byways Guidebook and Map, the Religious Scenic Byway commemorates the landing of the English colonists and the establishment of the first government that featured the separation of church and state.

“This is a story of national significance and one that is still in the newspapers today, as freedom of religion remains a cause for violence in many parts of the world,” said Roz Racanello, executive director of the Southern Maryland Heritage Area Consortium. “Here in America it is an accepted part of our national story. And it is our story to tell because the first real separation of church and state happened right here, in Southern Maryland, when this colony was established.”

The hundred-plus mile-long route runs along the Potomac River corridor through St. Mary’s and Charles counties, tracing early religious freedom in Maryland. The byway includes major visitor stops and many of the nation’s oldest churches, the site of the first Roman Catholic Mass held in English-speaking America and Maryland’s colonial capital, Historic St. Mary’s City.

The National Scenic Byways program identifies roads with unique archaeological, cultural, historical, natural, recreational and scenic qualities. The Southern Maryland route was among four in the state and 41 across the nation receiving the National designation. It will be clearly marked with the distinctive red, white and blue Scenic Byway signs. Since 1992 the National Scenic Byways program has funded 2,672 projects for state and nationally designated byway routes in 50 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia.

The Religious Freedom Byway is one of four Southern Maryland mapped tours. The others are Roots & Tides, Booth’s Escape and Star-Spangled Banner.

Find maps and guides for the byways at visitor information centers or on-line:

–Margaret Tearman

This Week’s Creature Feature

One more Halloween treat from the high-flying Baltimore Ravens

Baltimore Ravens’ team mascots and Maryland Zoo Animal Ambassadors Rise and Conquer were too young to say Nevermore to admirers this Halloween.

The brothers were hatched from the same clutch on April 16 in Alabama. In June, the twins moved to Baltimore, where they were home-raised and hand-fed by zoo staffers before graduating to the zoo’s Animal Embassy for training as two of the zoo’s 65 Animal Ambassadors.

Now “they’re like blue-collar workers. They’ve got the routine down, and they don’t get flustered,” says zoo spokesman Joel Mark Witt of Rise and Conquer’s regular public promenades on their handlers’ arms.

Soon, he says, they’ll be learning to talk. But will Nevermore be in their vocabulary? Only, Witt says, “if they say it to the other team.” The ravens are, after all, Ravens’ mascots.

On home-game days, they put on their little Raven jumpsuits and tour on their handlers’ arms to delight fans. They’re naturals before any camera, as you saw if you watched the Nov. 1 game against the Denver Broncos on television, which brought you one of the pair close up, pecking at your screen. “They’re a lot of fun, and we think they bring the team good luck,” reports team publicist Gabrielle Dow.

If visits aren’t enough, you can adopt the big black birds — relatives of the Nevermore sayer in Edgar Allen Poe’s namesake poem — and help support their lifestyle.

The Maryland Zoo: Druid Hill Park, Baltimore. $13 w/age discounts. 10am-4pm: 410-366-LION;

–Sandra Olivetti Martin