Patuxent River monitor’s sneaker test gets nod from NASA
Over the last three decades, Southern Marylanders increasingly have gauged the well-being of the region’s shared tidal waterway, the Patuxent River, by how far a former Calvert County legislator can wade in and still see his sneakers.
The trust in the visual water-quality inspections performed annually by Bernie Fowler has spread far beyond the Chesapeake Bay tributary, as the national magazine Popular Science reported last month that “Fowler’s Sneaker Depth” is endorsed by NASA, the U.S. space agency that uses satellites to do the job.
“I was very surprised and pleased to learn there was so much coincidence between the two tests,” Fowler, 93, said last week, noting the substantial evidence of pollution levels measured by his annual wade-ins and the satellites’ photographs.
“That gives me a little more energy to push harder,” Fowler said.
The World War II veteran served as a Calvert County commissioner before he was elected to the Maryland General Assembly as a state senator until 1994, and he took part in pursuing civil action to reduce pollution of the waterways.
This year’s 30th anniversary of Fowler’s river wade-in included a scientist taking part, and Fowler said he tried to get the guest to take the podium and discuss the ongoing research.
“The science [they] have is all Greek to me,” Fowler acknowledged, but it’s backing up the layman’s approach that he’s been taking. “It’s supporting the evidence that we have,” he said. “That’s more than satisfying to me.”
And looks can sometimes be anything but deceiving.
“It’s a pretty clear message,” he said, “that the river’s dirty, or it’s getting better.”
Enjoy barbecue in Avenue
American Legion Post 221 is sponsoring a pork and beef sandwich sale from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. this Saturday and Sunday, July 29 and 30, at 21690 Colton Point Road in Avenue. Pork loin, sliced roast beef, and barbecue beef sandwiches will be sold. Go online to http:// alpost221.webs.com/ apps/calendar/ for other post events, and call 301-884-4071 for more information.
First Friday will rock
Leonardtown’s Rockin’ First Friday from 5 to 8 p.m. on Aug. 4 will give attendees dressed as a rock star, or in the style of their favorite musical era, a chance to win two half-day kayak rentals donated by the Patuxent Adventure Center, by registering for the raffle at the Pet Valu tent on the square.
A special raffle will also be held for pets in costume.
Look for a Gene Simmons “virtual twin” decked out in full KISS attire, out and about in the downtown area, and stop by Heritage Chocolates to take a free snapshot at the Southern Maryland Entertainment photo booth, compliments of the Leonardtown Business Association.
Joe Parsons and The Lucky Few will be on the square from 6 to 8 p.m. for an evening of live music and high-energy rock. Bring a lawn chair or blanket, come early and stay late for the free concert, art gallery receptions, and First Friday specials at stores and restaurants throughout town.
Also, an audience-participation drum circle will take place from 8 to 10 p.m. at the town wharf.
Look for more information online at Facebook, or at www.firstfridaysleonardtown.com.
Buy local food, win a T-shirt
This week’s Buy Local Challenge, encouraging everyone to eat something from a local farm every day through this Sunday, July 30, includes an extra incentive, specifically a chance to win a T-shirt.
Posting photos of a “buy local” shopping spree online at Facebook or Instagram, and including the hashtag #buy local challenge, is all it takes to be in the running for one of 10 “Buy Local” shirts that will be awarded through a random drawing. In addition, 10 randomly-selected participants taking a Buy Local Challenge pledge and short survey that can be found online at www. buylocalchallenge.com/ survey.html also will receive a shirt.
Maryland farm products touted by the pro- gram include produce, dairy, seafood, meats and fruit, along with locally produced beverages such as wines, beers and distilled spirits.
For more, go online to www.buylocalchallenge. com, the program’s Facebook page, or mda. maryland.gov.
Eat breakfast at the firehouse
An all-you-can-eat breakfast will be served from 8 to 11 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 13, at the 2nd District Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad building, at 45245 Drayden Road in Valley Lee. For more information, call 301-994-9999.
Start getting items together now for a yard sale to be held from 7 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Aug. 26, at the firehouse. To reserve a space, call 240-299-5261.
Be fire safe during power outages
When severe storms cause disruption in home electrical service, State Fire Marshal Brian S. Geraci urges citizens using alternative light and electrical sources during the power outages to follow some basic safety tips to avoid injury or death.
Choose flashlights instead of burning candles, and keep plenty of fresh batteries on hand. If the look of candles is preferred, consider using flameless battery-operated candles that offer the flickering light without the potential fire hazard.
If real candles are used, make sure they are placed on a stable piece of furniture in sturdy holders that will not tip over. Candles should fit in the holders securely, and the holders should be made of material that will not burn. Keep candles away from anything combustible, such as clothing, books, papers, curtains, decorations or anything else that can burn. Do not place candles where they can be knocked over by children or pets. Always extinguish all candles when leaving the room or before going to sleep. Never use candles, matches or lighters if medical oxygen therapy is used in the home.
Charged solar landscape lighting also can be brought indoors for temporary lighting as a safe and effective alternative to candles.
Ensure that burners on electric stoves are in the off position during a power outage, and remove any items from the stovetop to prevent unattended heating when the power is turned back on. Fuel-burning appliances can produce the deadly, tasteless and odorless gas known as carbon monoxide. Install and maintain CO alarms inside the home to provide an early warning of carbon monoxide.
When depending on portable generators for electricity during power outages, use extreme caution when refueling the equipment. Fuel splashed on a hot muffler could ignite, causing severe burns and serious injuries. Never attempt to refuel a generator while it is running, and always allow the unit to cool down before adding more fuel. Operate generators outside of the home and outside of garages. Carbon monoxide gas produced by operating generators is poisonous, and can quickly cause severe injury or death. Ensure placement of the generator does not allow carbon monoxide to enter the home through windows or doors.
As always, make sure the home is equipped with working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. The early-notification devices are some of the most effective fire and life safety tools for preventing injury or death from fire and carbon monoxide poisoning.
Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md., 5th) measures former state senator Bernie Fowler after concluding June’s annual wade-in to the Patuxent River at Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum. Fowler got up to 41.5 inches of water before his shoes disappeared, 10.5 inches better than last year.