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April 2013

Toys help patients having a rough day at Children’s Hospital

It’s a big job making sure Dr. Bear’s closet at Children’s Hospital National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., is never bare.       For the children, it’s a closet as crucial as the closets that hold bandages and medicine.     Dr. Bear’s Closet stocks toys and games for children with a special request or who have a special day, like a birthday, coming up.

It’s time for your close-up, Mother Nature

Capture family memories with the Bay as a backdrop, on top of one of Maryland’s mountains or in a leaf-filled meadow for Maryland League of Conservation Voters’ family photo contest.     The League wants photos of families having fun in Maryland’s great outdoors to enrich League publications and website while inspiring Marylanders to fight to protect our state’s natural beauty.

Animal stories spark the most talk

Forums are few and far between in Chesapeake ­Country. Like the forum of ancient Rome and town squares of cities around the world, Annapolis City Dock is a natural. It’s also a work in progress, with vision evolving and conflict between people and parking seeking resolution.

Winners and losers in this year’s General Assembly

Not everyone made out well with environmental legislation this year.     “This session started with a landmark legislative win for the environmental community when the offshore wind bill sailed through both chambers,” said Karla Raettig, executive director of Maryland League of Conservation Voters.     “Unfortunately, the General Assembly killed or weakened many other environmental priorities.”

Distilling Sloop Betty, a 40-year first

If you want to start your garden right, learn what your soil needs for plants to thrive

Why are you so hesitant to have your soil tested?     Now that spring is here, interest in gardening is on the rise. No matter where I go, people approach me with gardening problems. Most are directly associated with nutrient deficiencies in their soils.

You heard right: Trolling is no longer required

Not everyone trolls during trophy rockfish season. A growing contingent of shore-bound anglers fish bloodworms or cut bait on the bottom. They have been catching an ever-more impressive number of big migratory stripers.     An equally expanding cadre of small- and medium-sized boat anglers have also been chumming and chunking fresh menhaden (aka alewife or bunker) to hungry post-spawn giants. A big, juicy bloodworm on a bottom rig is just as effective fished from a skiff as it is from shore.

The waxing moon makes predawn skies your best bet for this annual meteor shower

The moon is at first-quarter phase Thursday the 18th. Even with only half its face illuminated, the moon washes out the stars of amid the constellation Cancer the crab, in which it rests that night. But if you look beyond the moon, you will see that it is juxtaposed between a triangle of three more or less equally bright stars: Procyon to the west, Regulus to the east and Pollux to the north.

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A rousing tribute to a baseball hero

In 1940s’ America, Major League Baseball was a white man’s world. Talented black players were relegated to Negro League teams, where they endured smaller ballparks, poor equipment and shabby transportation.

Three surprising sources combine to make comedy

Theater starts with the written word, comes to life in the voices of actors and endures in the memory of its audiences. Sometimes, as with Carl Sternheim’s The Underpants, written in 1910, it gets forgotten until someone rediscovers it, reimagines it and breathes life into it — as comedian Steve Martin did for The Underpants in 2002.