A 1961 GRADUATE of Annapolis High School won $320,000 this year from the nonprofit John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
Annapolis native Elinor Ochs, a professor of linguistics at the University of California in Los Angeles, is one of 29 recipients of grants ranging from $220,000 to $375,000.
The MacArthur Foundation was established in 1978 with a bequest from John MacArthur, an eccentric billionaire whose only directive was, "I figured out how to make the money, you boys figure out how to spend it."
The foundation awarded its first fellowships in 1981 and has invested more than $166 million in the program. Recipients have ranged in age from 18 to 82, and have had specialties as diverse as biochemistry, astrophysics and performance art.
The only guidelines are that the recipient's work must "foster lasting improvement in the human condition."
Candidates are nominated by an anonymous panel, and a different anonymous panel evaluates the nominations.
Ochs, 53, was chosen for her work as a linguistic anthropologist. A press release from the foundation said she had made "transformative contributions to linguistics, science studies, sociocultural anthropology and psychology. She is a founder in the field of language socialization -- the study of the way children acquire language and are shaped by the culture around them."
The award is a five-year fellowship with no strings attached. Recipients can use the money for whatever they wish, and have no obligation to supply a report to the foundation.
Ochs says she has several projects in mind, all involving applied linguistics.
She is the daughter of Virginia Ochs of Annapolis and the late Irving Ochs. She is married to UCLA professor Alessandro Duranti and has two sons.
Tickets for the annual $10,000 raffle sponsored by the Shady Side Rural Heritage Society are going fast.
To get yours, go to one of these south county businesses: Mali's, Smith Building Supply Inc., Shady Side Market, Renno's Quality Food Market, Joanne's Touch, New Bay Times and Schwartz Realty Inc.
Only 2,000 tickets will be sold. Each ticket costs $10, and the winning ticket will be chosen Oct. 11 at the Working and Sporting Dog Exhibition sponsored by the heritage society at the Cedarhurst Community Center.
Proceeds from the raffle will help pay the society's annual $7,000 mortgage payment.
To purchase tickets by mail, send a check payable to the Shady Side Rural Heritage Society Inc. at P.O. Box 89, Shady Side, 20764.
The heritage society is a nonprofit organization.
Information: 301-261-5234 or 410-867-2660.
Prize for science lab
A South Shore Elementary School teacher and her aide won $1,000 for the school's science lab by devising a lesson using onions to demonstrate how humidity -- or the lack of it -- affects skin.
Teacher Susan Evans and parent volunteer Marion Beth Hosmer won the top prize in a national contest called "Itching to Know," sponsored by Lanacane.
Evans, an Annapolis resident, is a fifth-grade teacher. Hosmer is a resident of Crownsville.
They placed two tablespoons of water in one jar and left another dry, then taped moistened onion skins to the underside of the jar lids, sealed the jars and placed them in boiling water for 30 minutes. The onion skin in the dry jar was cracked and brittle, while the other was moist and flexible.
'Builders of Annapolis'
Ever wonder about the early days of Annapolis? For answers, look to a new book by part-time Annapolis resident Norman K. Risjord, who teaches at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.
The Maryland Historical Society has published Risjord's "Builders of Annapolis: Enterprise and Politics in a Colonial Capital."
Included in the book are biographical sketches of William Paca and Francis Nicholson.
Pub Date: 7/06/98