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October 2011

It’s harvest time for Genetically-Modified Organisms

This isn’t the movies. It’s real life. Surrounding you left and right. But you don’t see it — any more than Dr. Kate Lloyd and her team of Norwegian expeditionaries recognize The Thing.

This invader transforms from trick to treat

Since 2002, when the northern snakehead made its Chesapeake debut in a Crofton pond, it has been nothing but trouble. The pond was poisoned and drained. The species set up housekeeping in the Potomac and its tidal tributaries, whence it could eventually migrate to the Bay.     After all that trickery, who’d expect the snakehead to turn into a treat?     Yet the snakehead now is attracting fishermen, chefs, seafood marketers and gourmets.

Pros and community, our theater companies go on with the show

Second acts abound in theater. So it’s a good thing for Chesapeake theater lovers that Lucinda Merry-Browne practices that art and thus is immune to novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald’s famous flawed dictum that There are no second acts in American life.

Gravestones chronicle changing Annapolis

A friend of mine was fond of saying that cemeteries were pleasant places to walk. They’re also great places to reflect on local history and, especially this time of year, to feel the spirits of the past.     The cemeteries of St Anne’s Church and the old City Cemetery near the heart of Annapolis are a pair of open spaces wedged between busy Rowe Boulevard and West Street.

Was this year’s good news because of — or in spite of — our fishery practices?

The Young of Year Survey for striped bass spawning success in the Chesapeake Bay for 2011 is a whopping 34.6, the fourth highest on record since the Department of Natural Resources began this statistical measurement 58 years ago. Since our resident rockfish population has declined by approximately 30 percent over the last decade, this is great news indeed.

Damp-loving needle cast disease thriving this year

Most narrow-leaf evergreens will shed their old needles, some more often than others. In the fall each year, you can anticipate that white pine, Virginia pine, red pine etc. will develop yellowing needles that fall and accumulate on the ground beneath the branches. Evergreens such as arborvitae, chamaecyparis, Leyland cypress and white cedar trees will also shed their needles but at a much slower rate.

Plotting a course to triumph

The new Compass Rose Studio Theater in Eastport’s Bay Ridge Shopping Center has hit on a winning strategy for success, debuting with Neil Simon’s Pulitzer Prize winning play, Lost in Yonkers. That strategy: deliver family entertainment starring student-child actors alongside seasoned professionals, and watch them grow. It’s inspirational on a human and artistic level.

Twin Beach Players’ cast and company unite for toothy fun.

Twin Beach Players brings Dracula to the light of day in North Beach. Needle-sharp teeth sink into soft flesh ... but I digress.     By the way, did you know that a vampire’s fangs are retractable? They are. I’ve often wondered about that.

Discover how one family began their unhappy haunt

Sisters Katie (Katie Featherstone) and Kristi (Sprague Grayden: 24) have terrible luck. In Paranormal Activity, elder sister Katie is terrorized by a glass-breaking, door-slamming demon that wants to possess her. In Paranormal Activity 2, it’s little sister’s turn to meet this property damage-obsessed dark entity.

At Spider Hall, education and old-fashioned fun help keep the family farm in business

Squeals rise from deep inside the eight-acre corn maze. Families hitch a ride atop bales of hay. Kids scour the pumpkin patch in search of the perfect gourd. Shoppers mull over crisp apples and Maryland meat, cheese and ice cream in the farm market.     Susan and Catherine Cox — mother and daughter proprietors of Calvert County’s Spider Hall Farm — lure people to their fields with fun — hoping they leave with good memories and newfound respect for farming.