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Nominating Committee Delivers Candidate Slate for CJCA Leadership Positions
May 17, 2022
On April 10, after several months of deliberations and conversations with a broad cross section of Cabin John residents, the Cabin John Citizens Association (CJCA) Nominating Committee submitted a slate of candidates, including Heidi and Scott Lewis serving as co-presidents, for the 2022-2023 term. The Committee nominated Kelly Banuls as secretary, replacing Meredith Griggs who is stepping down, and Theresa Burton to the newly-created position of vice president for communications focusing on the CJCA listserv and other outreach to the community through emails, The Village News, and the website, cabinjohn.org. Theresa will join Marcy Harrison, the CJCA’s other vice president of communications, whose focus is on the Cabin John Directory. Eight officers are returning to their CJCA positions. Elections for the 2022-2023 term will be held at the Wednesday, June 1 CJCA meeting at 7:30 pm at the Clara Barton Community Center. Outgoing president Susan Shipp served the Cabin John community in the role for six years. Among her more visible accomplishments was the CJCA 100th anniversary celebration and projects, which include the ongoing beautification of MacArthur Blvd. and Cabin John sign project, as well as driving CJCA support for the preservation of CJ’s historic Moses Hall and Cemetery. Less visible to the community is the behind the scenes work Susan led in restructuring the officer structure of the association. Susan split the one vice president position into eight distinct roles, allowing for greater involvement from CJ residents, while lessening the scope and workload of both the president and the vice president roles. Susan also reintroduced the concept of co-presidents by recruiting Vashi Van Wyke to serve as co-president for this current year. Together Susan and Vashti demonstrated that leadership of the CJCA is a cooperative, collaborative effort that is shared by many. In addition to the elected officers, CJCA has volunteers who have committed their time and talents for specific activities including Chicken and Crab Feast Coordinators, Allison and Patrick de Gravelles; Neighbor-2-Neighbor Coordinator, Judith Bell; and SSL Coordinator, Stephanie Lai. The community’s two most visible communications tools – CabinJohn.org and The Village News – benefit from the skills and dedication of Robin Sidel for the website and Loretta Devery Ingalls and Noelle Tower for the newsletter. Thankfully, they have agreed to continue as editors! The Nominating Committee included seven Cabin John residents: Amanda Benjamin, Phil Corcoran, Sarah Craven, Amy Elsbree, Andy Fishburn, Marget Mauer, and Neil Shaut. The CJCA is grateful for their work. The full slate of officers nominated for 2022-2023 CJCA leadership includes: • Co-Presidents — Heidi Lewis and Scott Lewis • Secretary — Kelly Banuls • Treasurer — Bob Walsh • Vice Presidents for Activities — Irena Bojanova • Vice President for Activities — Kesha Leets • Vice President for Advocacy — Charlotte Troup-Leighton • Vice President for Communications — Marcy Harrison • Vice President for Communications —Theresa Burton • Vice President for Community Outreach — Stephanie Lai • Vice President for Community Outreach — Heather Tomlinson • Vice President for Community Service — Justin Webster By Amy Elsbree Coordinator, CJCA Officers Nominating Committee...
Decent Haul at Cabin John Creek Cleanup
May 17, 2022
A small but committed group of volunteers took to the trails and even went to the other side of the creek to collect trash during the annual Cabin John Creek Cleanup held April 9. “We finally got rid of those landscaping tarps which have been an eyesore for some time,” noted Greg Gurley, the Friends of the Cabin John Creek director who coordinated the event, which is cosponsored by the Cabin John Citizens Association. In all, the nine volunteers collected 13 big orange bags of trash, two bags of recyclables as well as the tarps, a metal bedspring, a tire, a busted plastic laundry basket, and a toilet seat! Thanks all and keep picking up trash as you hike the trails! As a follow-up to the February CJCA meeting, the Friends of Cabin John Creek wants the CJ community to know that the Chesapeake Bay Trust did award a $53,523 grant to the group for a public outreach and stewardship projects in the Cabin John Creek Watershed. Greg reports that the funds will support a variety of efforts to protect the creeks in the watershed, including community outreach to more diverse neighborhoods, increased water quality monitoring, and the expansion of the Creek Keepers stewardship program. By Susan Shipp CJCA President...
CJCA June 1 meeting: elections; speaker on invasive plants
May 17, 2022
The next CJCA meeting will be held on Wednesday, June 1 at the Clara Barton Community Center at 7:30 pm. It will include two important votes: The Election of the CJCA Officers for the 2022-2023 term. (See related story)Approval of an online password-protected version of the CJCA Neighborhood Directory. Invasive Plants in Parks & Your Garden What are they? What can be done? Invasive plant species, like the Kudzu vines and bamboo found in local parks or the Nandina that we planted in our garden years ago, can jeopardize our environment. To learn more about problematic invasive plants and native plant alternatives, come to the June 1 CJCA meeting for a presentation by CJ resident and invasive plant species expert Mark Frey. If we are lucky, maybe he will also share how he manages to grow grapes, apples, pears, blueberries, and strawberries on his tiny plot in Cabin John Gardens! Mark Frey has been working in natural areas for more than 20 years with much of that time focused on invasive species. Professionally he is the National Park Service lead for Science and Natural Resources Management in the Southeast Region. Mark has also held roles managing the invasive plant program for the National Capital Region, as the NPS national Invasive Plant Program Manager, as the Chief of Natural and Cultural Resources for Mount Rainier National Park, and as a Project Director for the National Invasive Species Council. Mark’s federal career began in San Francisco where he managed the Presidio Trust’s habitat restoration program. Frey has lived in Cabin John for ten years. In his spare time he is an active Weed Warrior volunteer for Montgomery County Parks. By Susan Shipp CJCA President...
Local Nature: Nighthawks
May 16, 2022
Ask an art major what comes to mind when they hear the word “Nighthawks,” and the response is immediate: the name of an iconic Edward Hopper canvas, painted in 1942. The oil on canvas features three customers and a server behind the counter of a well-lit diner, late at night, viewed through the restaurant’s large glass windows and set against a gloomy urban streetscape. It is arguably Hopper’s most famous work and one of the most recognizable paintings in American art. Even though New York City is full of pigeons, there is not a bird in sight, resting for the night on a lintel or edge of a rooftop. If Hopper had set up his sketchpad, sitting across the street in late spring or summer, and had worked until late afternoon or dusk, he might have heard overhead a loud peent. And if he looked up from his work, he might have noticed a bird flying with irregular wing beats, as if it were injured, darting this way and that. There, above the streets of Greenwich Village, he would have spotted one of the most fascinating birds of our avifauna, the common nighthawk. Nighthawks, even for seasoned naturalists, are more commonly heard than seen. Here in Cabin John, every Spring around May 5th, I remember to listen for that distinct nasal peent, uttered way above me, and then look skyward for an erratic tapered winged bird beating vigorously across the sky. Peent! Good luck trying to see one when it is perched. Even though the common nighthawk is no hummingbird, measuring almost 10 inches long and with a wingspan of nearly 24 inches, when perched on a tree branch or wooden post, the cryptic coloration of its plumage—as if the bird were coated in flakes of bark rather than feathers—renders it nearly invisible. It becomes one with its perching stand. If it doesn’t move, you could walk by a few feet from the bird and never see it. Another reason people rarely see nighthawks is that even though they breed here, their time in our area is relatively short. They arrive from the south in early May and most stay until the end of summer, though some individuals begin heading south again by end of July. Where “south” is depends. Some of the species fly all the way to Uruguay and Argentina to winter, one of the longest migrations of North American birds, about 4,100 miles. Nighthawks live only around 4-6 years, but still that is a lot of frequent flier miles to put on those wings. Why would a bird fly so far each year in its relatively short lifespan? To thrive and breed, common nighthawks must eat lots of insects, which they catch on the wing in their huge gaping mouth. Nighthawks are an anomaly, a bird with a tiny beak, but when it opens its mouth it reveals an enormous opening, able to swallow whole insects in flight. By flying to where insects are abundant during the breeding season in our area in June and then leaving before fall when flying insects virtually disappear, the migrating nighthawks take advantage of the austral summer in Argentina, when the flying bugs are fluttering and the tango dancers perspiring in the heat and humidity of December and January. An interesting physical characteristic of nighthawks and other members of its family is weak legs. This is a bird that is poorly designed to move around much on the ground, yet that is where it builds its nest. It lays its two eggs in a small pile of stones and gravel, and then…blends. A favorite nesting spot is the flat roofs of office buildings in Washington, D.C. The more flat roofs available in a city, the more nighthawks can nest. Finding nighthawks and their close relatives, called nightjars in Europe, Africa, and Asia, when they are perched and at rest at night is made easier with a flashlight. From far away, the reflective eye shine you see from a perched bird is a bright red dot. In fact, when I was fresh out of college and studying tigers in the wild jungles of southern Nepal, I came upon this field tip in a book by Jim Corbett, the most famous hunter of man-eating tigers and leopards in the British Colonial era. He warned the reader: “One red eye, and it’s a nightjar. Two red eyes and it’s a tiger.” I did see nightjars on the road a lot when driving along the dirt tracks, their single red eye lit up by the pick-up truck’s headlights. Occasionally, to my great delight, there would be two red dots. There are no tigers in my backyard here, only the odd fox and raccoon. But in early May, I stand on duty, binoculars around my neck, ears cocked, for that familiar call of the long-distance flier home from the Argentine. Peent! By Eric Dinerstein Contributing Writer Illustration by Trudy Nicholson Contributing Artist...
Local Bird Species Diverse and Threatened – Clive Harris, CJCA March 30
April 15, 2022
Loss of natural habitat, caused by everything from invasive species to climate change, is causing an alarming loss of bird population in Cabin John and throughout North America, Clive Harris told the 45 or so attendees of the March 30 CJCA meeting. Clive, an avid birder and past president of the Montgomery Bird Club, focused his talk on birds that breed in Cabin John. Using photographs and snippets of taped bird calls, Clive introduced the audience to dozens of bird species, while noting that when out birding about 80 percent of the birds are heard and only about 20 percent are seen. Roughly half of the 110 to 120 breeding bird species in Montgomery County are migratory, wintering as far south as the Andes Mountains in South America and returning here year after year to breed. This means they are also vulnerable to habitat issues where they winter. Clive cited a recent study by the journal Science that found North America has lost more than a quarter of its bird population, some three billion birds, since 1970! In Cabin John, more homes and lawns, too many deer, and the growth of invasive plants are impacting the local bird habitat. Clive explained that all birds feed their young insects and non-native vegetation does not support as many insects as native plants. In the case of Chickadees, if more than 30 percent of the vegetation is invasive, the species cannot maintain its population. The Wood Thrush, a migratory bird that winters in Central America and crosses the Gulf of Mexico in a single night’s flight as it comes north in the spring, is in jeopardy because of habitat loss in its wintering grounds and here where it breeds. Clive explained that the large deer population feeds on the underbrush where they build their nests, not only decreasing their food supply but making them vulnerable to predators. But not all bird populations are declining. Pesticide bans in the 1970s have led to increases in Raptor populations. Clive said there appear to be a growing number of Bald Eagles, who partner for life, nesting high in the trees along the Potomac River north of Cabin John. A pair of Peregrine Falcons have been present on the American Legion Bridge for more than 15 years, Clive noted, apparently the first breeding pair in the county since the 1940s. You can follow a track down by the south side of the bridge, all the way to the river to view them. A nesting box was placed on the bridge and is used by the falcons during the breeding season. Clive ended his talk with a list of things we can do to protect birds: Protect birds from window collisions Over one billion birds die each year due to striking window glass, with roughly half being collisions with windows in homes and other low-rise structures. In addition to screens, decals, and other alterations to the windows, one easy way to reduce threats is to place bird feeders well away from your windows. Keep your cat inside, or outside in an enclosed location Free-ranging cats kill more birds than any other direct threat – some 2.4 billion birds a year in the United States alone, according to the American Bird Conservancy. Improve your backyard habitat Gardens full of exotic and non-native plants do not support the native bird population. The reason is simple – native plants support native insects and with a few exceptions, all birds, even seedeaters, feed insects to their chicks. Native plants also provide the seeds, berries, and nectar to which our birds are adapted. (In fact, berries of some widely planted exotics such as Nandina, are toxic to birds.) Trees and shrubs also provide shelter and nesting sites for birds. Reduce pesticide use Some pesticides pose an immediate threat to birds, while others impact insects upon which birds depend. Neonicotinoids like imidacloprid are widely-used, systemic pesticides which are transferred to all parts of the treated plant, including seeds, leaves, nectar, and pollen. Wholesale spraying for mosquitoes is also a threat to birds. Despite what their websites promise, the sprays used by “mosquito control” companies promoting “pest-free” yards contain synthetic pyrethroids, which kill all insects that land on the treated leaves. We all are aware of the ongoing decline of insects – “the insect apocalypse” in the words of some scientists – and much of this is due to overuse of pesticides. No insects = no birds. Provide food, water, and nesting sites Most of us feed birds, and those with sufficient space may also provide water and nest-boxes. In addition to placing bird feeders away from windows, they should be sited near vegetation to provide cover. Feeders also should also be cleaned regularly to avoid avian diseases passing bird to bird. Sterilize hummingbird feeders regularly, and in hot weather, change the nectar frequently. Birdbaths or fountains need their water changed frequently – daily in hot weather – to avoid mosquitoes and to prevent the spread of bacterial disease. Nest-boxes must be carefully sited to avoid predators and other hazards. Since box designs, which target individual species, vary so much, seek out advice from such websites as NestWatch from The Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology. By Susan Shipp CJCA President ...
RSVP for the April 24 New Neighbors Potluck
April 15, 2022
More than 70 families have moved to Cabin John since we held the last New Neighbors Potluck in 2019! Now that the pandemic restrictions are lifted, let’s give them a proper Cabin John welcome at the 3rd annual potluck to be held April 24 from 5 pm to 7 pm at the Clara Barton Community Center. If you are one of the 70 “new” CJ families, we hope you will RSVP and come enjoy the good food and the chance to meet more of the community. If you are a longtime Cabin Johner, we hope you will RSVP and sign up to bring a salad, side dish, or dessert. The Cabin John Citizens Association will provide beverages and pizza to round out the meal. Please also consider volunteering! Hopefully, the weather will cooperate and we can dine al fresco on the black top. If we get enough volunteers, there will be games for the kids. Student Service Learning (SSL) hours are available for students willing to work between 3 pm and 8 pm. Please go to the SignUp Genius, https://tinyurl.com/CJNewNeighborPotluck, to RSVP, bring food, and/or volunteer. For questions or to sign up by email, reach out to Stephanie Lai (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Heather Tomlinson (email@example.com), our two CJCA vice presidents for community outreach who are coordinating this event. Please mark your RSVP for children 12 and under so we can plan games accordingly. We are looking forward to seeing you there! By Susan Shipp CJCA President...
An Online Option for the Cabin John Neighborhood Directory
April 15, 2022
The Cabin John Citizens Association is seeking community input on whether or not to provide residents with an online version of the 2021 Cabin John Neighborhood Directory. The print directory was provided free last year to the roughly 750 residences and businesses within Cabin John. As explained to the attendees of the March 30 CJCA meeting, a password-protected online version would allow CJ residents to view and search all the listings, and, optionally, keep their own contact information up to date. The CJCA wants the community to weigh in on whether to proceed with these options. Please share your thoughts by email to CJDirectory2020@gmail.com. The community will vote on having an online directory at the next CJCA meeting, June 1. The online directory would not replace the print directory, which the CJCA is committed to publishing and distributing free to all residents at least every five years. The primary benefits of an online directory would be its search features and the convenience of being able to access the most up-to-date information from any computer or smartphone. The online search allows you to enter a name or partial name or street name and see all matching resident listings. Another major benefit is that residents could update their own information online – phone numbers, email addresses, etc. – between print editions of the directory. (The alternative to this is for the database administrator, Marcy Harrison, to keep the online directory information up to date, entering the edits that residents submit via the form on the CJCA website.) An online version would also give folks who move to Cabin John a chance to share their contact information in a timely manner rather than having to wait years for the next print directory. Please be assured that all your contact information would remain secure online. Our database vendor, AtoZ Connect, has over 12 years of experience in providing safe, secure membership listings to schools, community organizations, and other non-profits. The only information that could be viewed online is the same information that is printed in the directory. Access to the online directory is controlled. Individuals who want online access would set up their own password-protected account. Only residents currently in the directory database are allowed to create accounts. New CJ residents would need to be entered into the database by the administrator. If you have any questions or concerns about the options, please contact Marcy at firstname.lastname@example.org or 301-908-8096. By Marcy Harrison VP for Communications...
Local Nature: Peeps of Spring
April 15, 2022
What is nature’s signal that spring is here? To the gardener, pink clouds of cherry blossoms and magnolias floating above beds of bright tulips and daffodils announce the start of the season. For naturalists, it is sound that takes precedence over the visual. Our backyard Northern Cardinal has brightened his chirping song, and the Carolina Wren seems to sing with greater gusto. Less melodic is the cacophony of Common Grackles, flocks of them, singing like a hundred small rusty gates swinging in the treetops, announcing it is time to pair up. I am no herpetologist, but for me nothing marks the change of seasons like the chorus of Spring Peepers. If you want to hear them up close, go stroll along the Potomac at dusk between mid-March and early April. Stop and listen at the nearest pond in the canal bordering the towpath. You will hear the males singing en masse, a swampy symphony of Spring Peepers. An announcement that one of our most charismatic little frogs has come out of cold storage—frogs essentially hibernate during the winter—to resume the great rush to breed. At first, the song of thousands of these amorous males may strike the novice nature lover as rather unfrog-like, especially if all you know are the boom of bullfrogs or the “ribbet-ribbet” of cartoon amphibians. Let’s work our way up the chorus: A single Spring Peeper sounds much like the chirping of a baby chick. Two singing at once sounds like birds dueting. But a chorus of Spring Peepers, when the number of individuals calling swells into the thousands, transforms into something otherworldly, like the sound of thousands of tiny sleigh bells ringing. Spring Peepers are known to call at other times of year, such as before they enter hibernation, but the early spring is the main amphibian hootenanny. Their songs can be heard throughout much of eastern North America and into Canada, wherever there are their preferred swamps and ponds dotting the landscape. Despite the loud chorus, when you stand next to a pond of peepers, they are often impossible to spot. For one, they only call when the light starts to fade. Further, they are tiny; about a dozen of these Romeos can fit in your palm. Each one measuring about 1 inch in length and weighing no more than 0.1-0.2 oz. Adult Spring Peepers can be either brown, tan, olive green, or grey. Across the back is a dark cross which gives the species its specific epithet (crucifer). The camouflage coloration makes them look like leaves on the pond bottom. Males are slightly smaller than females—that is, until they start to sing. Only males sing, and when they do, they inflate a throat sac with air, and the expansion and deflation of the sac, like a balloon, makes the distinct peeping sound. We as humans share a lot of our DNA with other vertebrates and a not insignificant amount with frogs. But an inflatable throat sac is obviously not a feature we share. But imagine if Luciano Pavarotti could inflate a throat pouch to twice his body size and let loose? That is what a male Spring Peeper does. What are females looking for in a mate? It is apparently the peep that attracts the females. But among a host of peepers, which one is the female likely to select? The one that peeps the loudest or the longest? Or can the females discriminate, and the winner is the male with the most perfectly pitched peep? The answer seems to be which male can call the loudest and most often that gains a chance to breed. Males mate with females, the eggs are later released at the edge of the pond, and after a few weeks, tadpoles emerge and grow into new peepers. Being the loudest and longest singer is not always such a hot idea for an amphibian, however. When I was studying tropical bats during my PhD research in Costa Rica, I traveled to Panama to spend some time at a world-renowned research station run by the Smithsonian Institution, on Barro Colorado Island, in the Canal Zone. At the time, another PhD student, Michael Ryan, who went on to great recognition as an evolutionary biologist, was studying an amphibian called the Tungara frog. These common frogs would gather around shallow bodies of water, and the males would sing and sing in hopes of attracting a mate. But there is more to this story. Hovering over the singing party were large shadows, like black silk handkerchiefs come to life. These were frog-eating bats (Trachops cirrhosis) on the hunt. And as it turned out, Tungara frogs were a favorite prey item. Mike learned this because the bats, which I helped capture for him in mist nets set over the ponds, would, when brought back to the lab and placed in large darkened rooms equipped with speakers, fly instinctively into the speakers if Mike played a recording of the male frog’s calls through them. As it turned out, the Tungara males that called too loud or too often, ended up as bat food. But of course, those that rarely called had no chance of attracting a female. So, the trick was to call just the right amount, at the right moment, even if singing came with a built-in risk. Why do frogs call at night? One reason almost all amphibians are nocturnal is to avoid the assortment of daytime predators. Every large predatory vertebrate that includes pond edges or stream banks as part of its hunting route eats frogs. At night there are still predators abroad, though: night herons, skunks, snakes, and even diving water beetles that feast on tadpoles and sometimes eggs. Those few amphibians that are active during the day typically live in humid, wet rainforests; many among them, such as poison-arrow frogs with their bright red, yellow, green, and cobalt blue pigments that warn potential predators to leave them alone, incorporate highly toxic compounds in their skin glands. Being active at night also keeps amphibians out of the sun’s desiccating rays that would dry out their sensitive membranes. It is at night when the Spring Peepers leave the confines of the pond and move around at the base of bushes and up the lower branches to search for invertebrates—food they require to sustain another springtime ringing round of sleigh bells. By Eric Dinerstein Contributing Writer Illustration by Trudy Nicholson Contributing Artist...
Local History: The “Mother Stewart” Mystery
April 15, 2022
A 1913 obituary from the Evening Star was recently brought to my attention by a local history buff.* The obituary was for Mrs. Esther Stewart, also known as “Mother Stewart,” who died at her home at Lock 13 at the age of eighty-three. The newspaper clipping is an introduction to one the C&O Canal’s many characters. Mrs. Stewart worked as a lock tender, an innkeeper, and even had a brush with the law for selling alcohol. According to the Evening Star newspaper, “Mother Stewart” lived between Cabin John and Great Falls for more than 60 years, where she was well known to neighbors and boatmen alike along the C&O Canal. During the Civil War, Mrs. Stewart kept the Great Falls Hotel, where both Union and Confederate armies enjoyed her hospitality. (The Great Falls Hotel or Tavern, now the C&O Canal National Historical Park Visitor Center, had operated as an inn and restaurant for many years beginning in 1830). At some point Mrs. Stewart moved to lock 13, where she worked as both a merchant and lock tender. She is buried at the Potomac United Methodist Church, her large yet modestly decorated headstone towards the back of the chapel. Born in Pennsylvania on January 1, 1831, Mrs. Esther Stewart (also Stuart, Steward) was listed in several censuses, although some entries contradict her obituary. She was widowed by the age of 48, and lived with a son named Charles. The 1910 census refers to a nephew named Charles Stewart in her household; the obituary notes that her only surviving relatives were a brother in Pennsylvania and a nephew named Charles Zeigler, who had lived with her. However, the administrator of her estate was Charles S. Stewart; he placed a notice to creditors in a 1914 newspaper. He was listed as her son in both the 1880 and 1900 census. The 1910 census notes Mrs. Stewart’s occupation as “Lock Tender,” and Charles Stewart as a “Canal Laborer.” The 1920 census logs his occupation as lock tender at Lock 9. The National Park Service roster, while their records are incomplete, lists Charles S. Stewart as lock tender at locks 10 and/or 11 from 1888-1939, with no mention of Esther Stewart. Construction of the C&O Canal began in 1828 as a transport route for coal from Western Maryland to Georgetown. The 184.5 mile long canal had 74 lift locks to manage the 605 foot elevation between Cumberland and D.C. The locks were simple, hand-operated gates based on Leonardo da Vinci’s original 1485 design. Lock keepers not only opened gates for passing boat traffic but also offered provisions for boatmen and mules. Women and children were integral to canal life, working as unpaid laborers and helping with lock duties. They tended gardens and flocks of chickens and other animals, for both their own families and to sell. Some lock keepers also sold “intoxicating beverages,” which was prohibited. Lock tenders were usually married men, as they were considered far more reliable than single ones. The few women who assumed the role of lock tender did so after their husbands died or were drafted into the Civil War. The role was a physically demanding one, and keepers had to be on call from “dawn to dawn” to operate the gates for boats passing through the lock. The Seven Locks area boasted several women lock tenders, who had taken on the role following the death of their husbands. However, records suggest that Mrs. Stewart began her work along the canal as a widow. So where did the name “Mother Stewart” come from? Could this nickname have derived from Mrs. Stewart’s hospitable nature and lengthy presence along the canal? Or could the Mother Stewart moniker be a tongue in cheek nod to another newsworthy Mother Stewart, Eliza Daniel Stewart, who had been an early temperance movement leader in the 1870s? Perhaps so, for in the July 30,1886 Montgomery County Sentinel, the town of Rockville was “the scene of considerable excitement” when a number of parties charged with “violation of the local option law by selling intoxicating liquors in Potomac district” appeared in court. Those charged included the Cabin John postmaster Michael McQuade, Mrs. Rosa Bobinger of the Cabin John Hotel, and Mrs. Esther Stewart. According to reports, “the crowd became so great that it was necessary to have the proceedings in the Court House.” Witnesses testified that they had purchased whiskey from Mrs. Stewart, and she was held to bail for $200. Mrs. Stewart later had another brush with the court, this time as a victim. In 1911, a local Cabin John resident was convicted of the “larceny of a large number of chickens and ducks from Mrs. Esther Stewart.” The incomplete story of Mother Stewart and her brief historic role as a woman lock tender remains an intriguing mystery. Following her death on June 27, 1913, the census indicates Charles assumed the role of lock tender and lived at Lock 9 (though NPS records indicate he was a lock keeper long before then). Floods and competition from the railroad had a huge impact on the canal, and operations ceased in 1924. Charles remained at Lock 9 until at least 1930. * With thanks to Mr. William Bauman, a C&O Canal Association volunteer. By Rachel Donnan Contributing Writer...
CJCA March Meeting: Learn About Birds in Your Backyard
March 15, 2022
First In-Person CJCA Meeting since February 2020!! Come to socialize at 7 pm, the meeting will start at 7:30 pm Time to Learn About Those Birds in Your Backyard One of the few silver-linings of the pandemic is that folks took advantage of Cabin John’s beautiful surroundings and enjoyed walks along the canal towpath and Cabin John creek. Closer to home, they set up bird feeders and let nature come to them. CJ residents who want to learn about the birds they’ve been watching these past two years should come to the March 30 CJCA meeting where CJ resident Clive Harris, avid birder and past president of the Montgomery Bird Club, a chapter of the Maryland Ornithological Society, will be the featured speaker. Clive, who also is an accomplished photographer, will share his insights on birds and birding in the area. Since this will be our first in-person meeting in two years, please feel free to come at 7 pm to socialize a bit. The meeting will start promptly at 7:30 pm. Clive will present on the birds that breed in the woods along the canal and the Potomac. His talk and slide presentation will feature both those birds that spend the whole year in our neighborhood as well as those that winter in Central America or further south and come back here each spring to raise their families. An enthusiastic birder both here and abroad, he leads field trips for the Montgomery Bird Club and is also a member of the Maryland/District of Columbia Records Committee which evaluates reports of sightings of new or very rare bird species in Maryland or DC to convert them into documented records that can be used reliably for scientific studies of bird distribution and patterns of avian vagrancy. Clive first became interested in birding with his dad when he was 7 years old and living in Hong Kong. Clive, an economist with the World Bank, moved to Cabin John with his family in 2001, after four years in India. He and his wife Helen had developed an attachment to living near the C&O Canal when they first moved to the United States in the 1990s and lived in Brookmont. Dues Are Critical To Active CJCA A big thank you to the households and businesses that have paid their Cabin John Citizens Association dues. Some Cabin Johners also used this opportunity to make an additional donation to the CJCA or to give funds to the Friends of the Clara Barton Community Center and the Friends of Cabin John Creek. All of these organizations benefit everyone in the community and we hope you will do your part by paying your 2022 dues as promptly as possible. There are two easy ways to pay: Online at www.cabjinjohn.org – Select Support CJCA ($) from the home page. (You can pay by Credit Card, PayPal, or Venmo) Complete the form in the dues letter you received recently and mail it with your check made payable to the CJCA to: CJCA, P.O. Box 31, Cabin John, MD 20818. By Susan Shipp CJCA President ...
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