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Christmas crafting almost ruined my childhood

We deck the boughs with tradition and meaning 

Each of our Christmas ­evergreens tells a story

New owners at Chesapeake Health and Fitness 

Plans to increase biking gain national attention

Christmas crafting almost ruined my childhood

     From ages five through nine, I viewed the Christmas season with a mixture of delight and hesitation. There would be presents and cookies — and lots of work. As the child of a stay-at-home mom in a rural area in the 1990s, I became a worker in my mother and friend’s holiday craft sweatshop from the beginning of August well into November.      We gathered at her friend’s house to lay out our plan. The more difficult ornaments were made by the...

We deck the boughs with tradition and meaning 

     How do you adorn your Christmas tree? Are you a traditionalist with balls and garland? Or is your tree decorated from the artistic palette of children’s creations, salt-dough handprints and laminated artwork?       Whatever we hang on the boughs, we are telling our story. Many cultures share traditional stories, while our American trees reflect our individuality.      In Germany, where the Christmas tree tradition began, children search...

Each of our Christmas ­evergreens tells a story

      Early Americans celebrated a long Yuletide from December 15 to Epiphany on January 6. Europeans started earlier on December 6, Saint Nicholas Day. In every tradition, evergreens have been part of the celebration.      Why do we decorate our homes with boughs of pine and holly?      Evergreens are imagined to have magical properties. Remaining green year-round, they have intrigued people when many other plants were brown and dead. Thus they have...
    Catnip for people? If you’ve ever wondered why your cat freaks and flops after a dose of catnip, a study from Britain released Monday offers an answer — and the possibility that the active ingredient may be used to combat diseases in humans.     The study in the journal Nature Chemical Biology by the John Innes Center concluded that catnip is rich in the compound called nepetalactone, which binds to receptors in the back of a cat’s nose that are...

Registration renewal notices do double duty

       Learning about vehicle recall problems is a little easier now thanks to a pilot program by the Maryland Department of Transportation. More than 73,500 recalls have alerted car owners to potential safety problems since the program began in April. Recall information is mailed and emailed with registration renewal notices.      Maryland is the first state to use the program, which sends alerts to consumers via their vehicle registration renewal notices....

New owners at Chesapeake Health and Fitness 

      Two former gym members are living their best lives by helping others do the same as the new owners of Chesapeake Health and Fitness Club in Deale.       Kristina Gardiner and Vanessa Runion purchased the club from Linda Strohecker.        The approximate 1,600 members are “an eclectic group of people,” Strohecker says. On the day the club opened in 2010, she spotted “two men on treadmills wearing work boots. We give...

Plans to increase biking gain national attention

     Chesapeake Country isn’t just friendly. We’re also bike friendly.      So says the League of American Bicyclists which, on December 6, recognized Annapolis and Anne Arundel County with a bronze Bicycle Friendly Community award.       Both county and city join 464 biking districts across the country.       “We applaud these communities for making bicycling a safe and convenient option,” said...
Franchot applauds local business — and family
      Taking time from his busy fiscal schedule this week, Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot took a tour through Deale to visit four family-owned businesses.       “It’s not easy to be successful, it takes a lot of hard work,” Franchot told Bay Weekly. “I think showing up and recognizing these businesses is a big part of my job.”       Franchot has trekked over 750,000 miles to make sure small businesses feel supported...

Winter visitors from the far north

      As the days get short and cold, flocks of huge white birds arrive in Chesapeake Bay to spend the winter. They seem to come all at the same time and at night.      When they fly, their wings make a high-pitched sound that caused Meriweather Lewis to name them whistling swans. Their wings do whistle, but they also make a loud honk when talking to each other, and they are quite loud as they slap the water when taking off. Tundra swans have an almost five-and-a-...
Each year we revive the spirit of the season in our homes and hearts
      This is the time of year you find yourself comparing Santa stories over lunch. Kids who grew up certain of Santa’s arrival, and even the outlier who didn’t, reflect on the glories of belief followed by the dark nights of wonder. Pretty soon out come the Santa’s lap photos, on smartphone and in faded Kodachrome, for a show and tell that seems to be a spontaneous outbreak of the season. And there you are, walking down memory lane …    ...