Steamed: Crabs, politicos and patrons at Tawes

The annual Tawes Crab and Clam Bake in Crisfield on the Lower Shore of the Chesapeake is always hot, but Wednesday it wasn’t just the crabs that were steamed and the clams that were baked. The main topic of the day was how hot it was. Cell phones were registering that it felt over 100 degrees. Gov. Larry Hogan, who posed for hundreds of photos as he worked the crowds for three hours, said it was the hottest he could recall. Here is a gallery of photos from the day.

Record rains having mixed impacts on the Chesapeake

The downpours that soaked 2018 have spilled into this year, with three of the first five months reporting higher-than-normal freshwater flows into the Chesapeake. That will likely mean worse-than-normal oxygen conditions in the Bay. Scientists are predicting the fourth largest summertime dead zone in the last two decades. Still, the often record-setting rains that commenced a year ago have not been a total washout for the estuary.

Opinion: School funding workgroup is stacked against counties

The Blueprint for Maryland’s Future Funding Formula Workgroup, has now been created to make recommendations for the distribution of funds by local school districts and between state and local governments. This workgroup will also make recommendations for specific funding formulas. I am greatly troubled by the make-up of the workgroup, which has only two members to represent interests of the county governments that pay the local costs of schools.

Bubbling the Bay’s dead zone: Breath of fresh air or pipe dream?

What if the dead zone that plagues the Chesapeake Bay could be eliminated now, not years down the road — and at a fraction of the billions being spent annually on restoring the troubled estuary? Fanciful as it sounds, Dan Sheer figures it’s technically doable. Whether it’s the right thing to do is another question. Bay scientists are wary of potential pitfalls, but some still think it’s worth taking a closer look.

Microplastics are everywhere, but how do they harm the Bay?

Extremely small bits of plastic are everywhere, and the Chesapeake Bay is no exception. The so-called microplastics, often 5 millimeters or less in size, can be scooped from the surface waters of the Patapsco River and combed from the Bay’s underwater grass beds. The Chesapeake Bay Program, a state-federal partnership that leads the Bay restoration effort, has identified microplastics as a contaminant of mounting concern. But, for all the headlines and anxiety microplastics have generated, a looming question remains unanswered: What harm are they causing in the Bay?

Bitter Cold Part 5: Programs leave many out in the cold

Customers whose power is off at the end of October aren’t protected by state regulations that restrict — but don’t eliminate — disconnections from Nov. 1 through March. To be reconnected during the winter or after it, customers who owe utilities money must make arrangements to pay up. But that’s a financial hurdle for many.