State Approves Purchase Of Land for Preservation

By Christy Goodman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, February 5, 2009

The state Board of Public Works approved nearly $57 million last week to buy 4,478 acres of land stretching across Cecil, Charles and St. Mary's counties. The property includes more than 19 miles of Potomac River waterfront and extensive wildlife habitat.

In early December, state officials announced plans to buy the land from the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus, subject to approval by the three-member board. The property will be paid for with state land preservation funds and federal money.

State officials said they intend to protect the land from development and convert it into trails, parks, beaches and ecological preserves. Environmental advocates said the effort will help prevent development-related stormwater runoff from polluting the Chesapeake Bay.

For centuries, the Jesuits earned money by renting land to tobacco farmers and others in Southern Maryland. Then the tobacco industry died, Washington's suburbs swelled and the land became more valuable than the rent. But the Jesuits did not want to sell their large parcels of rural, undeveloped land to just anyone. State officials offered to buy and protect it.

The money that the Jesuits will earn from the sale will go toward health-care expenses for clergy.

Ehrlich to Speak At Lincoln Day Dinner

Former governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. will visit Southern Maryland next Thursday to speak at a GOP-hosted dinner to mark Abraham Lincoln's 200th birthday.

Ehrlich is regarded as the state Republican Party's best hope for the future, despite losing to Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) two years ago. The only other Maryland Republican with real star power, former lieutenant governor Michael S. Steele, was recently elected chairman of the national party.

Ehrlich has not said whether he intends to challenge O'Malley in 2010.

The Lincoln Day dinner will be at Middleton Hall, 4045 Renner Rd., Waldorf. For information, visit http://www.gopcharlescounty.org.

Model of Fishing Boat Donated to Museum

The Calvert Marine Museum was recently given a model of the charter fishing boat Rock-a-Bye, skippered in the late 1950s by Harvey J. Poole Jr. Poole built the model a few years ago. Poole was born in Takoma Park and moved to Calvert County in 1941. At 14, he became a mate on a charter fishing boat and began his career on the Chesapeake Bay.

In 1958, he bought the 45-foot wooden-hull vessel, which was originally a crab and oyster boat called Miss Pauline. It was converted into a charter fishing boat and renamed Rock-a-Bye. It was operated out of the Rod 'n' Reel in Chesapeake Beach in the late 1950s. After Poole sold it, it was operated out of Solomons before being moved to the Eastern Shore in 1977.

The model can be seen at the museum, which is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For information, see http://www.calvertmarinemuseum.com.


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