LIFE & TIMES of behind the scenes with Bubby Knott

Christmas at Flat Iron Farm. THE CHESAPEAKE TODAY
Maryland Gov. Bob Ehrlich is at Carver Elementary School groundbreaking on December 2, 2004. 120204. Bubby Knott donated the land for the new Carver Elementary School after several years of procrastinating by the St. Mary’s School Board. THE CHESAPEAKE TODAY photo
Bubby Knott, owner of Great Mills Trading Post. THE CHESAPEAKE TODAY photo

Bubby Knott Never Let Any Grass Grow
Under His Feet

By Ken Rossignol
THE CHESAPEAKE TODAY

Bubby Knott was born with a silver backhoe in his mouth. 

His father, J. Irving Knott, was in the excavating business and passed on the business knowledge to nearly all his children, particularly Bubby and Susan Wise.

Irving and Hazel Knott built a nice brick home on their farm named Take It Easy Ranch overlooking a lake.

The Knotts developed a camping operation with showers, electric hookups, and a picnicking area, and in 1974, began a series of concerts that were headlined by major groups such as the Eagles.  

Irving Knott nearly came through with a two-hundred-acre waterfront development at Myrtle Point with James Buckley, who attempted in the seventies to bring a port at the deepwater point on the Patuxent River and various housing opportunities.

 It was Take It Easy Ranch, which became a prominent tourist destination for St. Mary’s County. While Irving promoted concerts and camping, Bubby Knott set up a small junk shop at the corner of Indian Bridge Road and Rt. 5 in Great Mills. Used desks, office chairs, and nearly anything that could be rounded up from estate sales and auctions at Pax River NAS and elsewhere were soon hauled to the junk shop.

A large fellow, Clyde, sat behind the counter and supervised the daily exchanges of goods and cash while Bubby began to acquire used excavating equipment and line up construction contracts. 

As Great Mills Trading Post began to land contracts, the corner was soon filled with various vehicles, which expanded across the street to park dump trucks and other heavy equipment used in road construction, paving, and building. Wheeling and dealing with St. Mary’s County and Public Works at Pax River NAS soon resulted in even more contracts in the eighties and nineties.

 It wasn’t long before editorial cartoons noted the good luck Bubby had in dealing with the St. Mary’s County Commissioners and Public Works supervisor Walter Wise, as shown below in this article. Bubby never gripped about the cartoons, but his mother scolded me and told me not to pick on her Bubby.

Bubby was soon paving runways on the Naval Air Station and constructing roads in the county, where his costs were lower due to being based in Great Mills, as he competed with outfits located fifty and a hundred miles away.  

As Knott’s business grew, he began holding an annual vehicle and equipment auction on the farm, with thousands of bidders arriving from around the East Coast to secure equipment, trucks, and trailers that filled acres of land.

 As the years went by, Bubby began providing an annual Christmas lighting on his farm on Flat Iron Road. During the Christmas season at Flat Iron Farm, he included a fabulous light show and had about every conceivable way to celebrate an electrified Christmas.

Thousands of families drove to his farm; many parked and shopped for Christmas decorations and antiques of all descriptions in his barns, admired Christmas displays, visited Santa Claus, and listened to Christmas carols. Displays of antique toys, advertising signs, and vintage memorabilia were on display, as well as stalls for children to pet animals. A show ring set up in one barn provided pony rides for children. Cars and pickup trucks streamed through the large farm road to view the decorations on the farm, and money he raised from the activities was donated to Hospice and other charities.   

Bubby Knotts’s charity efforts included an annual Bluegrass Concert he hosted at Flat Iron Farm. Bubby’s generosity soon became notable in the community when he donated the land for the new Carver Elementary School. A local leftwing environmental activist, Bob Lewis, managed to find it within his Marxist belief structure to accuse the St. Mary’s Board of Commissioners of being racist for putting the school on the land donated by Bubby Knott due to the nearby commercial activities being present. (see article below)

In the year before Bubby died, he donated the commercial property which formerly housed a hell-hole bar, the Brass Rail, for the group that operates a soup kitchen, St. Mary’s Caring Inc. Knott paid $800,000 for the property and gave the building and about two acres of land to the group to feed the hungry. 

Eating was important to Bubby Knott, as he once explained his battle with controlling weight that turned to various tools such as food delivery outfits and medical options by saying to me, “I like to eat.” As Bubby Knott prepared to leave this earth, he ensured that others in his town would be able to eat.

Land-deal-for-Bubby-Knott-by-GOP-Board-1996-Donald-Rourke
No-Bid-deal-for-used-county-trucks-for-Bubby-1993- THE CHESAPEAKE TODAY

BUBBY KNOTT DONATED THE LAND FOR THE NEW CARVER ELEMENTARY SCHOOL AFTER YEARS OF SENDING KIDS TO SCHOOL IN A SUBSTANDARD STRUCTURE.
When the St. Mary’s Commissioners decided to add a new school for Leonardtown, they held a public hearing on Christmas Eve to ram through a crooked land deal for Walter Duke Elementary, paying far above fair market value.

State-of-Maryland-land-records-show-Bubby-Knott-donated-the-land-for-Carver-Elementary-School

New Carver School Approved by St. Mary’s Commissioners Board Despite Claims of Racism by Environmental Activist Bob Lewis

      ST. MARY’S TODAY
           June 27, 2004

LEONARDTOWN — Despite claims of “environmental racism,” the St. Mary’s Board of Commissioners gave final approval last Tuesday to a measure at Stewart’s Grant in Lexington Park to allow a new school and additional home units to be built.

This marks the final legal hurdle to the school, and keeps it on schedule for a late Summer/early Fall groundbreaking and completion by early 2006.

The land for the school is a parcel located behind the McKay’s shopping center on Great Mills Rd.  There is a road leading to the school site off of Great Mills Rd., which has been renamed Carver Blvd, and there will be a traffic light installed at that intersection.

In addition to allowing school use, the change will also allow the property owner, Stewart’s Grant LLC, to recover the lost population density by building more multi family units on the remaining land by increasing the density of the homes.

In an attempt to delay or defeat the new school, Bob Lewis, a local activist, drafted a letter to the Commissioners stating that the school’s location next to land with a mining operation made the site unsuitable.

“In December of 2000, the Board of Education based their decision on a neighboring land use of residential and commercial; currently, the land use is significantly different,” states the letter. 

The letter goes on to say that there was no accounting for how the proximity of the mining operation would affect the school and that there is “No assessment based on up-to-date information on civil-rights “equality” as compared to other potential sites.”

“The old Carver school, a Title 1 school that has historically had one of the highest county ratios of minority and low-income students, has been the subject of environmental controversy for years,” the letter continues.  It lists integration in the 1950s and 60s as one controversy, the AICUZ in the 1970s, and a proposed waste transfer station adjacent to the school in 1999 as a few of the issues that have come up.

“…Accusations of environmental racism at Carver School have haunted county officials,” the letter states, “It would be unfortunate if the county rushed into the current proposal only to find that Carver’s legacy of environmental racism has followed it to its new home at Stewart’s Grant.”

“There was no reason to comment on such erroneous statements,” said St. Mary’s Commissioner Larry Jarboe (R. Golden Beach) when asked why the Board did not mention the objections before making their decision.  “I am sure that all the necessary processes were followed as the processes would be followed for any school built in the county.”

He also said that picking a project apart for environmental reasons, which are not true, and throwing accusations of racism in should lead to questions about the motives of the person making the claims.

According to Jarboe, Lewis was the only person who made these allegations.

“We are dealing with the state, the county, Land Use and Growth Management, the [Maryland Department of the Environment],” said Jarboe, “There are so many different agencies, and we are only at the beginning of the process.   Many things will be addressed as we move forward.”

Regarding the idea that sludge would be thrown onto the school site, presenting a hazard to the well-being of the students, Jarboe dismissed the claim as ridiculous.

“Bubby Knott will not put sludge on property located between a school, McKay’s Store and [St. Mary’s Commissioner Dan] Raley’s (D. Great Mills) house.  He knows better than that,” Jarboe said.

The St. Mary’s Board of Education is looking forward to the new George Washington Carver Elementary School, as it will alleviate overcrowding and will provide a permanent home for the students who were evicted from the old Carver school. 

The old school was vacated because it was directly under the flight path for the Patuxent River Naval Air Station and was not Air Installation Compatibility Use Zone (AICUZ) compliant.  This created a potential safety hazard should a test aircraft crash.

The new school is completely out of the AICUZ.

According to Brad Clements, St. Mary’s Schools Chief Administrative Officer, the new school will have twice the capacity of the old school.

“The old school had a capacity of 209, and two relocatables, which added 50 seats,” he told ST. MARY’S TODAY after the Planning Commission approved the site amendments early in May.  “The new school has a capacity of 541.”

According to Clements, the additional seats have been accounted for through redistricting, but the full effects will not be seen for a couple of years because children currently in schools will be allowed to finish at the school they started at.

The total cost of the school is estimated at $11.5 million.

Political Baloney

“Okaykeedokeee, here we go with this here meetin’,” said Jackie Russell. “First, I want everyone to call me by my proper name now that I am the Chief Executive. Call me F. Jack Russell, I don’t want to go into that Francis stuff. You know the woman’s version of that name is Frances, and I am tired of the watermen kidding me about my first name. Hell, it’s 2nd grade forever with that bunch of hard crabs.”

“Well, Mr. President,” said Dan Raley, “we will call you just about anything you want.  Now, the first order of business is to find some way to build some schools; we have put it off for years, right there with not building any new roads, we have just built houses, as the developers haven’t found a way yet to sell a school or a road, so they sure as hell don’t want to waste any money building anything they can’t sell.”

“We are supposed to spend tax money building all the things to support the builders, aren’t we?” asked Kenny.

“Well, I suppose we could build a new park once in awhile,” said Russell. “We have about 78 parks around the county now, in fact, we have run out of places to put parks, and the last time we bought a large parcel for a park, the PRA won’t let anyone else use the damn thing.”

“How about we buy some land for the chainsaw, Weed Whacker, and bush hog enthusiasts,” said Commissioner Moonbeam.  “It’s the clear-cut choice for the county to provide balance to our citizen’s recreational needs.  We could find a way to make everyone happy; we have parks for the disabled, if we are allowed to call them that; perhaps we have a park for those who lose elections by more than 68 percent of the vote, for those who manage to get tossed out of running the sheriff’s department after only one term. Heck, we have Ben Burroughs; he’s the oldest one-term sheriff still kicking. Does anyone know if he is drawing a retirement?  I just hope we don’t have to provide him with protection like we do former presidents.  How about Pettit? Does he get a retirement? He served three terms.”

Lexington Park Development District. Always about making the developers happy and doing nothing about gridlock. 2004

“Larry, we were talking about building roads and schools, and now you have gotten us off track and talking about all sorts of crazy things; maybe this is why we are so far behind on providing decent transportation and schools.”

“Now, just a New York minute, Mr. Raley, I have been advocating commuter rail for a long time; I was the only member of my party to do in the last election, and damn few of us Republicans won; I would like to think my stand on this issue made a difference for me, so don’t knock my record, I am all for the Chattanooga Choo-Choo, the Rock Island Railroad and the Santa Fe Chief coming to Lexington Park.  Let’s get this train rolling, WhooooooooooooWhoooooooooo!”
“I didn’t know that they built that train yet,” said Kenny.  “Let’s just make sure the ball teams can still get across the tracks at Laurel Grove Park when the trains come down the county.”

“Yep, make sure the fire trucks can still get across the tracks on Mechanicsville Road, Rt. 245 and Rt. 4,” said Tommy Mattingly.  “And we have to make sure enough people still buy gas from Sonny’s stations so my family doesn’t get hurt.”

They always put blowhard politicians in charge of solving transportation gridlock and expect results. 2004

“And make sure the watermen can get their trucks up the road when trains are rolling down the tracks, and they don’t have to wait too long for trains,” said Russell. “Maybe we can put up red lights that apply to the trains and make them stop when a waterman or a fire truck needs to get across.  Use them optical thimigimjigs.””
“Don’t you boys see that you sure aren’t the solution so you must be the problem?” said Commissioner Moonbeam.

“Who us?” said Raley.  “Why we are the most enlightened public officials around, we enjoy broad support from the public, and they all voted for us.”

“We just have to make sure the trains don’t cause a crime wave,” said Mattingly. 

“Do you see a crime wave in Fredericksburg, Gaithersburg, or Germantown because the people get off the train, throw down their laptops, and run off to the nearest liquor store to hold it up on their way home?” said Jarboe.

“I heard tell of white-collar crime,” said Kenny.  “It could mean that they rob stores while wearing suits; I never trusted anyone who wore anything but a plaid sports coat.”

“I am telling you right now, we must get trains and schools, and we need to do it now, not keep jawboning everything to death.  Someone might notice, the only place you see anything about these issues now is that crap in Cheap Shots,” said Raley.  “Some day, someone might take that nut seriously, and then what will we do?  I have been a commissioner elected three times.  Now, let’s count the new schools we have opened since Mattingly and I were first sworn in back in 1998.  There is…well, we have….we did open a swimming pool, does that count, we could hold classes in swimming there…I got it…first, we closed a school, then we opened a new one, Carver, that’s the one.”

When Politicians and special interest groups control the best interests of the public, nothing happens. 2004

“Hell, we wouldn’t have been able to do that one if we didn’t have Bubby Knott donate the land,” said Jarboe.  “We tried to have the school system staff find a site, and they came up with a list of 65 sites that were unacceptable.  They did that, and nobody even got fired for producing such a ridiculous report.”

“I got it; how about we get the developers to give us land for schools?” said Raley.

“We have already had that done and the school board turned down the land at Wildewood and said no, that was ten years ago and then we had to buy land nearby ten years later.  This place really is Alice in Wonderland,” said Mattingly, “but I hate to admit it, but the Rag is right when it calls us a bunch of bozos.”

“Tommy, quiet; you will only encourage that big mouth. First, Hambone gives him credit for his loss, and now you want to heap all this baloney on him about being right; we won’t be able to suffer having that balloon head around,” said Raley.

“Okay, all in favor of building five new schools, FDR Blvd., and asking the Governor to build commuter rail to Pax River so we can survive the next BRAC process, raise their hand,” said Russell.

“Just Jarboe?”  asked Russell.  “What about the rest of you?  When you are asked to come to vote, you are supposed to vote. Now let’s see a show of hands.”

No-Bid-deal-for-used-county-trucks-for-Bubby-1993- THE CHESAPEAKE TODAY
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