Bay Journal

Rona Kobell

Getting steamed over faux Maryland crabs

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Nothing says Maryland quite like a steamed crab smothered in Old Bay and slapped on a long picnic table.

But sometimes, unsuspecting diners paying close to a day’s pay for the privilege of eating local bounty may actually be enjoying crabs that were trucked up Interstate 95 in a hot bushel basket — fresh from the Carolina coast or Gulf of Mexico.

Lee Carrion is trying to...

MD moves to allow increased imports of egg-bearing female crabs

Responding to pleas from Maryland crab processors suffering from a depressed harvest this year, a state advisory group is proposing to relax a regulation that could allow importing nearly twice as many egg-bearing female crabs for crabmeat.

But some Maryland crabbers object, warning that the move would undercut their income and endanger the future of the entire Chesapeake Bay...

MD septic pollution lawsuit cleared for trial

A Caroline County judge has ruled that a former Maryland woman who sued the state and the Eastern Shore town of Goldsboro, blaming them for the loss of her family campground to unchecked septic pollution, will have her day in court.

In early September, Circuit Court Judge Sidney Campen denied a motion by the town and the state to dismiss the case, saying that a jury needed to...

Family farm suffers from upstream trailer park’s discharge

In the 1950s, newlyweds Mildred and Alan Quidas lucked into buying what seemed to be one of the best pieces of farmland in Maryland’s Caroline County: more than 300 acres of sandy loam backing to a creek that feeds into the Choptank River. They planted cucumbers, tomatoes and peas, and hoped to leave the place to their grandchildren.

Now, more than two decades after Alan died,...

Once lowly soft-shell crab new darling of haute cuisine

Time was, seaside restaurants would put out a simple handwritten sign, usually around Memorial Day. It would say, “we have soft crabs,” and diners would line up for the fried favorite, served between two pieces of white bread.

Nowadays, the sign would have to stay up much of the year. Thanks to increased demand, better shipping methods, a changing global palette and a drive for...

Scientists on the trail of a soft-crab killer

Patient Number 133 looked sturdy. Male. Blue. Admitted with all limbs.

On a warm July afternoon in a makeshift phlebotomy lab on Maryland's Tilghman Island, molecular biologist Eric Schott pressed a needle into 133’s squirming body, extracting a blood sample that he then placed into an ethanol solution. The blood would go back to his lab in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. And patient...

New federal regulation of blue catfish may be eased

Chesapeake Bay watermen and processors who handle blue catfish — an invader eating its way through the Potomac and several other major river systems — may face a less burdensome federal inspection process than they expected when a long-anticipated regulation goes into effect.

As of Sept. 1, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is responsible for inspecting all catfish. The...

Personal touch key to earning an open reception in local communities

Long before anyone told him to do it, Warwick Township Manager Dan Zimmerman was requiring developers to put in stormwater controls, pushing farmers to better manage their runoff and finding ways to pay for water quality improvements that would avoid tax hikes for his 19,000 residents.

The result: The township in Lancaster County, PA, is saving thousands of dollars each year in...

Rent a handcrafted boat at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum

With more than 95 percent of the Chesapeake Bay’s shoreline in private ownership, getting out on the water can be a challenge. Recently, outfitters and nonprofit groups on both sides of the Bay have tried to scale that barrier by offering more rentals for boats and paddleboards and providing maps of trails and launch sites.

Programs filling growing number of jobs created by stormwater rules

Two months ago, Sean Williams and Antique Jett would have driven by the field next to a parking lot in Baltimore without a second thought to the gray structure resembling an infield parking pad, or the grate next to it.

But today, they identify instantly what’s wrong. This raised slab, covered in wire mesh and gravel, is supposed to slow down and filter rain runoff before it...

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About Rona Kobell

Rona Kobell's avatar

Rona Kobell is a staff writer for the Bay Journal. She has began her journalism career at The Jerusalem Post, then moved to Washington, D.C., to become a writer and editor for Public Risk, a trade journal. She worked for newspapers in St. Joseph, Mo., and her hometown of Pittsburgh before joining The Baltimore Sun in 2000 where she became its Chesapeake Bay reporter in 2004. Her work has won numerous awards and in 2008, she was selected as a Knight-Wallace fellow at the University of Michigan, where she spent a year studying the use of economic incentives in environmental policy.

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