Friday, April 29, 2005

Every Breath You Take

Well the results are in, again, and again Anne Arundel County gets an F for its overall air quality and ozone pollution. The American Lung Association has ranked Anne Arundel as having the 19th worst air pollution of any county in the nation (last year we were 17th). According to the study, the County had 21.3 unhealthy air days in 2002-2003, only slightly better than the state's worst, Harford County, at 22.2 days. Three quarters of the County's population (over 385,000 people) are at risk from exposure to air pollution in the form of ground-level ozone, a precursor to smog which causes respiratory illnesses, is caused by the burning of fossil fuels and evaporation of chemicals.

The results drew tepid response from the usual suspects. "It's been a continued problem for a number of years," offered Rich McIntire, a spokesman for the Maryland Department of the Environment. Mr. McIntire then proceeded to declare that, "many of the state's problems aren't of its own making, with pollution from cars on Interstate 95 and from power plants in the Midwest making its way into Marylanders' lungs."

We hear it time and again. "It's not our problem the air quality stinks, it's their fault, and we can't do anything about them." I'm sympathetic to the fact that lots of air pollution comes from the midwest (after all, Harford County isn't exactly a bastion of polluting industry as far as I can tell). But, this doesn't absolve Marylanders of having to work with the cards we've been dealt and perhaps be a bit more miserly with our own polluting. Yet the Guv and his cronies killed the coal pollution bill last session. Finally, if this pollution really is coming from the midwest, why aren't our Governor, US Representatives, and Senators raising heaven and earth to get them to cut it out?

Heritage Foundation shills went on record whining that the American Lung Association was providing information in a format that might cause someone to become upset.

London Town Plant Sale - Saturday, April 30 - Plant your garden with woodland plants, perennials and shrubs nurtured in London Town’s lush and lovely gardens. 8am-1pm @ Historic London Town and Gardens, 839 Londontown Rd., Edgewater: 410-222-1919.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Composting Demo - Saturday, April 30 - Learn how to compost your scraps and yard waste; also receive a free compost bin and goody bag and tour native plant gardens. Also May 11 & 21. 10am @ Quiet Waters Park Rd., Annapolis. $5 entrance fee: 410-263-5812.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Greenscape 2005 in Annapolis - Saturday, April 16 - Don your gardening gloves and dig in for Greenscape 2005. Green the town today at some 60 spots from 8am-noon. Then join other volunteers for a picnic lunch at Anne Arundel Association of Retarded Citizens, on Spa Road near the Public Works Garage and Weems Whalen Field, noon–2pm. @ Various locations. See the full schedule at

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Nature lecture - Thursday, April 14 - The Maryland Department of Natural Resources will sponsor a talk and book signing at 11 a.m. at the Carter Library, 580 Taylor Ave., B-3, Annapolis. Author and journalist Tom Horton will speak and sign copies of his book, An Island Out of Time, a memoir of the two years he spent on Smith Island. Horton is an environmental reporter with The Sun. 410-260-8830.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Exploring Coastal Ecosystems - Wednesday, April 13 - Dr. Greg Ruiz takes a North American Perspective on Biological Invasions in Coastal Ecosystems. Refreshments at 6:45pm; lecture at 7pm @ Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, 647 Contees Wharf Rd, Edgewater. free: 443-482-2400;

Monday, April 11, 2005

Telling the Stories of the Chesapeake - Wednesday, April 13 - Jonathan Doherty, director of the Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network connecting the system of Chesapeake treasures, discusses how they’re updating the Network’s 140 sites to better tell the story of the Bay. 7-8pm @ Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, 801 Chase St., Annapolis. free: 410-295-0104;

Friday, April 08, 2005

Children's programs - Saturday, April 9 - Kinder Farm Park will hold a "Down on the Farm" program at 10 a.m. Ranger Bob will lead a tour of the park's barns, pastures and outbuildings. A "peeper prowl" to search for small tree frogs will be held at 6:30 p.m. at the River Birch Pavilion, 1001 Kinder Farm Park Road, Millersville. Registration is required. 410-222-6115.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Environmental programs - Saturday, April 9 - Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary will hold an "Eggs to Legs" program for children age 10 and older from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at 1361 Wrighton Road, Lothian. Participants will hike the trails to investigate life cycles of insects and amphibians. A Patuxent River cleanup will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. A program on "Insects After Dark" will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Reservations required. 301-497-5887.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Bird walk, night hike - Saturday, April 9 - Patuxent Research Refuge will hold a bird walk from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. off Powder Mill Road near Laurel. Participants can bring binoculars and field guides. A night hike in search of wildlife will be held from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Reservations required. 301-497-5887.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Shoot a River, Save a River - Thursday, April 7 - Learn how you can help South River Federation monitor tributaries by taking photographs of stream conditions, as well as sampling the waters with quality-test kits. Learn how at 7-8:30pm to carry out April 16 @ South River Park Community Building, Circle Drive, Edgewater: 443-482-2155;

Friday, April 01, 2005

Bombing the Bay

Pasadena, MD - 4/1/05 - After receiving reams of negative feedback about resuming bombing runs on Bloodsworth Island in the Chesapeake Bay, the Navy has decided to take a different tack. Navy Secretary Gordon England yesterday met with Anne Arundel County Executive Janet Owens to discuss the possibility of selecting a location within County limits to substitute for Bloodsworth Island.

Preliminary reports suggest that the two parties may have reached an initial agreement to allow the Navy to use Little Dobbins Island in the Magothy River for its manuevers. Anne Arundel County spokesman Matt Diehl said, "it's really too early for us to comment on the matter, but there's no question, this scenario would be a win-win situation for the County and the Navy. [The Navy has] ordnance they need to test, and pilots to train, and we have a house built on an isolated island with almost none of the proper permit documents.... Oh, alright, we're going to level the place. We may even work with the Navy to see if we can pull the whole thing off on the 4th of July. Wouldn't that be something?"

The owner of the house in question, Daryl Wagner, could not be reached for comment as of press time, but nearby Pasadena neighbor Janet Weir said she would just as soon see the misplaced mansion go. "The island used to be home to all sorts of wonderful wildlife: ospreys, falcons, even a nesting bald eagle pair from time to time. Now all we get is loud music at all hours traveling right across the water, and Daryl [Wagner] kicking up wake, eroding shoreline, in his fancy hovercraft."

Magothy River Association President, Peter Sandler, mused, "I'd certainly rather the Navy didn't have to blow up any portion of the Chesapeake habitat, but at least by peppering this illegally constructed house with gatling gun rounds and dummy 50-lb bombs, we're sure to reduce its impervious surface. There's no way a roof, even one built to code, could sustain that sort of firepower."

This is satire. Any resemblance contained herein to individuals living or deceased is purely coincidental.

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Clean Up the Patuxent - Saturday, April 2 - Help get trash out of the river, clear trails and straighten up the barn. Dress for outside work. Arrive promptly, leave whenever. 10am-3pm @ Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary, 1361 Wrighton Rd. off Rt. 258, Lothian. free: 410-741-9330;