Never mind all the naysayers who say newspapers are only good for kitty litter. From Annapolis comes proof that papers are also good for murder investigations, albeit by way of the litter box.
On Monday, workers at an Annapolis animal hospital were shredding The Capital to fill kitty boxes - try doing that with the Internet! - when one of them spotted a photo of a missing SUV. Police were looking for it because it belonged to a man found murdered in Davidsonville last week.
Looked just like the green Hyundai that had been sitting in the lot for the past week. So they ran outside, saw that the plates matched the ones in the paper, and called police.
Workers at the animal hospital were too creeped out to comment, though one was willing to tell me the story provided I didn't quote her by name.
Police would say this much: They got their SUV.
Smell the roses - and get back to work
I had to run a whopper of a correction the other day, and it boiled down to this: I accidentally gave 600 municipal employees a day off.
It all began when Annapolis Mayor Ellen Moyer posted this message on the city Web site:
"2008 is a Leap Year. We have been given the gift of an extra day ... let's not waste it! I propose making February 29, 2008 a Time Out Day.
"Why don't we all let the rats run their race without us on that day? Use this gift of time to relax, read, take a walk in our beautiful City and State, read a book (may I recommend `The Discovery of Slowness' by Sten Nadolny), call old friends or simply reflect on all of the good things that are happening in your life."
I read that and wrote in my column Sunday that Moyer was giving workers a holiday. Turns out I'd made a leap of my own.
"usually love you column ... but you are killing me here!" city spokesman Ray Weaver e-mailed me. "Mayor Moyer of Annapolis is calling for some moments of personal reflection, she is NOT giving the entire City government off! Although I can see where some wishful thinking employees may want to interpret the Mayor's letter that way, I assure you we will all be here serving our citizens on the 29th."
What about all the stuff about skipping the rat race? Reading books? Taking walks? Relaxing? Calling old friends?
Moyer wants Annapolitans - city workers and otherwise - to do all that, Weaver assured me. She just wants them to do it on their own time.
"The whole point is just taking a moment in your day," Weaver said. "Maybe taking an extra 10 minutes at lunch, although I'm not going to advise that unless your supervisor says it's OK."
In wine country, he goes to breweries
Trying to confirm a story about a Baltimore bar getting shut down, I called liquor board Chairman Steve Fogleman yesterday.
I caught him on his cell phone just hours before he was to walk down the aisle in - where else would a liquor board chairman get married? - California wine country.
I reached Fogleman in Sonoma, where he was staying, but the ceremony itself would be in Tiburon. Fogleman said that still counts. "It's all wine country north of the Golden Gate," he said.
Having flown out of Baltimore on Friday morning, Fogleman was in the dark about the alleged bar closing. (More on that next column, PIOs willing.)
But he was more than happy to fill me in on his California vacation and nuptials.
He and his fiancee of two years, Jennifer Dugas, finally decided to tie the knot because she's pregnant. (Due in August.) They eloped, to the dismay of some relatives who'd wanted to see the wedding, but to the delight of Fogleman's mother, who's just happy to be expecting a grandchild.
A self-described "beer dork" who once served as an official Sam Adams "consumer taster," Fogleman said he hadn't visited a single winery on his trip so far. But he had hit several "fantastic" breweries, including one with a line dedicated to Frank Zappa.
Of course, Dugas couldn't partake in the beer tastings. "But," Fogleman said, "she's a great driver."
Does that $20,000 include the gratuity?
If you think a Cindy Wolf dinner will set you back, try a Cindy Wolf dinner with Sheryl Crow. The singer will perform at Pazo on March 16 in a benefit for the Ulman Cancer Fund. Tickets, which include tapas and open bar, start at $400 and go up to $20,000 for a corporate sponsorship.
(The 20-grand plan comes with 32 tickets and a private meet-and-greet with the singer, who knows Doug Ulman, brother of the Howard County exec, through his work at the Lance Armstrong Foundation.)
Even at those prices, the event is sold out. But the Ulman Fund is giving away 10 pairs of tickets to young adult cancer survivors. Details at www.ulmanfund.org/sherylcrow.