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May 2012

A 40-year-old treaty stands in the way of local LNG export

The biggest news in Chesapeake Country is hidden in plain sight at a bump on Calvert County’s long, otherwise smooth Bay shoreline.     Travel by water in the vicinity of 38 degrees 23 minutes north latitude and 76 degrees 23 minutes west longitude and, right off of Cove Point, you’ll see the tip of the iceberg. A mile and a quarter from shore is an enormous loading platform, mostly waiting nowadays for any 800-plus-foot tanker’s load of 30 million gallons of liquefied natural gas.

Naptown barBAYq returns with good tastes for good works

Come May 4, the air will be heavy with the smell of charcoal, smoke and slow-cooked meats as dozens of hard-core barbecue aficionados fire up their grills at the second annual Naptown barBAYq contest and music festival.     Hosted by the Parole Rotary Foundation, this year’s event kicks off Friday afternoon at the Anne Arundel County Fairgrounds and continues all day Saturday, culminating in the crowning of the Kansas City Barbecue Society Grand Champion.

We’re happiest when we’re following a scent

Writing for newspapers is one of the best jobs in the world.     If routine, long hours and butt in the chair, fingers on the keyboard — who wouldn’t rather be out fishing, or boating or gardening? — lull me into forgetting how lucky I am, I don’t forget for long. Every week proves that truth anew, and this week has stepped to the head of the proof class.

2000 dyslexic students relay-read for World Record

A couple of thousand students from 30 schools — including The Summit School in Edgewater — join in a historic celebration of literacy on May 10. From Baltimore to Honolulu to Cairo, they’ll be relay-reading a single book for pleasure, honor and conviction.     The book, The Sword of Darrow, is a fantasy novel that begins, beneath the image of a spooky spider, with these words: Evil: Within this simple word lies a vast collection of deeds.

Please drive considerately

This time of year, you don’t have to join a herptile hunt to see Eastern box turtles (see Sandra Lee Anderson’s story: ). But you do have to drive carefully lest you squash one you didn’t see. Box turtles are crossing our roads — very slowly.     Habitat destruction is the primary culprit for the species’ decline. As once-rural areas continue to be developed and subdivided, automobile traffic increases on roads once less traveled.

I was choked up from the moment the somber workhouse orphans marched onstage

Lionel Bart’s musical adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic Oliver Twist has seen a lot of action in 50 years: 10 Tony nominations and five Oscars, including 1969’s Best Picture. It’s the tale of an innocent orphan among a den of thieves in Victorian London, a story I’ve seen and performed countless times. Yet Compass Rose Studio Theater’s production is in some ways the most memorable, the most heart-wrenching.

Woody ornamentals need ­periodic rejuvenation to stay healthy and productive

It’s never too late to whack that buddleia down to the ground, even though it is flushing new growth. One of my butterfly shrubs was getting so large that in early March I cut the stump close to the ground with a chainsaw. Already the new growth is 18 to 24 inches tall with an abundance of young shoots coming from the roots.

Against a trophy rock, just a taste of success will set you ablaze

We hadn’t had a single bait touched for hours when we finally decided we’d had enough. I cranked in my lines for the trip home, as did my friend in the bow, Maurice. As I turned back to complain to him once again about our wretched luck, Mo’s rod was bent hard over and he struggled merely to hold on to it.

No, It’s Super Moon

Saturday’s full moon is commonly called the Flower Moon the Corn Planting Moon and the Milk Moon. But you can call it Super Moon. Not only does this full moon coincide with perigee — its nearest monthly approach to earth — but this is the closest perigee of the year. As a result, the full moon  will appear almost 10 percent bigger and brighter than normal.

Yo-ho! Yo-ho! A claymation life for me!

The pirate captain (Hugh Grant: Did You Hear About the Morgans?) is having a bad year. As the Pirate of the Year competition looms large, the good captain has little to show for his pillaging. Other pirates like Cutlass Liz (Salma Hayek: Puss in Boots), Peg Leg Hastings (Lenny Henry: Tinga Tinga Tales) and Black Bellamy (Jeremy Piven: Entourage) boast rare jewels and mountains of gold.