Women emerge as force in male-dominated boccie


June 10, 1996|By Dan Rodricks

For four primary reasons, it was a perfect weekend for the St. Anthony Festival in Little Italy: The rain held off, and everyone in the old neighborhood was inclined to regard that as a miracle; it was hot and humid, and everyone sweated a lot; the Monaldi Brothers played Italian melodies; and the annual boccie tournament was long, competitive and marked by wise old men in Bermuda shorts and guayabera shirts.

So the traditions were as thick as the line at the pasta and meatball stand, except for one thing -- the emergence of women as a force at the male-dominated boccie courts. A team consisting of Sheila Weiss (who met her husband at the Little Italy courts on Stiles Street), Angela Mento, Gia Blatterman and Rosie Apicella became the first all-female team to advance past the first round of the tournament. Team Gia it's called, and attention must now be paid!

In addition, the Chiapparelli's Restaurant team advanced to the finals, and two of its four players were women -- restaurant manager Kit Chiapparelli and waitress Lisa Miller.

A few women show up for friendly games during spring and summer evenings on the Little Italy courts, but this is the first time they succeeded when real money was on the line. (And it's my duty to report that this year, The Sun's entry was on the losing end of the quarter-final match with the Chiapparelli team. What can I say? We lost 12-11, and I'm never ashamed to lose by a point in Italian bowling.)

I wish I could report this year's champion in today's column but at deadline for This Just In, seven teams were still in the hunt -- Chip's, Angelo's, Luigi Petti, Capriccio, Crosstown Liquors, Antney's (aka Anthony's Bar & Grill) and, of course Team Gia. More on this Wednesday.

Picking at pests

New Windsor has Councilwoman Becky Harman to thank for saving the town Christmas tree. Thousands of small, white tree-killing worms threatened the pine, currently the only one standing in what will soon be the municipal park in Carroll County's smallest town. Harman noticed signs of the nasty infestation early this spring and immediately launched what became a solitary crusade against the critters. Pesticides had little effect on the 25-foot tree, focal point of the annual Christmas carol program for as long as anyone in town can remember. Ultimately, it was Harman's labor that restored the tree to health. For hours and hours, she single-handedly "dewormed" nearly every needle on the pine, which towers to nearly five times the councilwoman's height.

"I picked and picked from the ground up, as high as I could reach," she says. And to clear the unreachable branches, she cajoled the town maintenance worker into placing a ladder in the bed of a dump truck for the climb to the tree tops. High fives to Ms. Becky.

Fertile field

I know some old farmers who will get a kick out of this: The state of Maryland is going to hold its first-ever exam for composting certification. Everything is getting complicated, isn't it? "Composting is an expanding industry in Maryland," says Lewis R. Riley, state agriculture secretary, and we're glad to hear it. "The Maryland Department of Agriculture has been given the responsibility to make sure that commercial compost products are properly labeled and are produced by a composting facility with a certified operator. The Composting Facility Operator Certification Program is designed to ensure that an operator of a commercial composting facility is knowledgeable of composting methods or systems and of compost regulations." And here I was thinking all you needed was a good manure shovel.

Fear for the future

Let's see now. In "Primal Fear," the Paramount film starring Richard Gere and Howard County native Edward Norton, you have your basic courtroom "thriller" containing violence, profanity and sex. It's rated R, but that didn't stop a couple from taking their (at most) 8-year-old son to see it. TJI reader Crystal Richardson of Ellicott City spotted this child at the end of her row at a recent viewing. "Had he been sitting next to me, I would have covered his eyes and ears," Richardson says. "God help us all!" Or at least that 8-year-old.

This Bud's not for us

Scene on Interstate 95 northbound, Howard County, on a recent weekday morning: Two brightly painted 18-wheeler horse vans blowing through traffic at 60 in a heavy rain shower. One of the vans tailgated a maroon Toyota Camry for 200 yards before the Camry driver squeezed right, into the next lane, in a move few drivers would attempt even on dry roads. Both vans, with Massachusetts plates, were carrying -- or at least sometimes carry (we couldn't tell because it was raining so hard) -- the famed Budweiser Clydesdales. Great.

Library suggestion

Possible solution to the funding problems in the Pratt library system: Ask people who get library cards to pay $5 or $10 for them. Completely voluntary. I bet a bunch of people would gladly go along with that.

News flash

Best news of the week: The lightning bugs are back!

This Just In appears each Monday, Wednesday and Friday. If you have news Dan Rodricks can use, contact him at 332-6166 or write to TJI at The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278.

Pub Date: 6/10/96

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