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May 2013

Online auction helps kids in need

Make memories with your kids at a National’s game. Learn how to ski. Surprise the women you love with a Pandora bracelet. Show off your hockey puck autographed by Capital Nicklas Backstrom — all while helping Calvert County children in need.     Children’s Aid Inc. gave over 160 kids backpacks filled with schools supplies thru Operation Backpack. The charity also helps struggling parents pay for kids to play sports.

The beloved franchise trades Sci-Fi for action in this bombastic sequel

After a routine mission goes awry, the Enterprise is called back to Earth and cavalier captain James T. Kirk (Chris Pine: Rise of the Guardians) is demoted for his disregard of the Prime Directive. Kirk’s disciplining is put on hold, however, when terrorist John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch: The Hobbit) brings Star Fleet to its knees.

Free deposits and free withdrawals keep this bank solvent

Last year, Bruce Michalec’s bank gave away $1.25 million. It was his busiest in 27 years, but 2013 is on track to break the 2012 record. That’s because hunger and need are the forces that drive the growth of Anne Arundel County’s central food bank.     Hunger is an everyday thing, says Michalec, whose bank started small back in 1985 with “a truck, a freezer and a place to put it all.” That first place was a building rented from the Cedar Grove United Methodist Church in Deale.

It’s worth the work to attract these birds to your backyard

The goldfinches in my back yard are a real treat this year, borrowing their brilliant yellow from the Maryland flag our Preakness winner will wear.     I’ve tried luring them with plastic, tube feeders in past years to no avail.     This year, I hung two white, mesh feeders, or socks, filled with nyjer seed, and watched the bright birds flock to them.

Celebrate with a Maryland original, the Black Eyed Susan

The 138th Preakness race runs this Saturday, May 18, at Pimlico Racetrack in Baltimore. Maybe you have tickets and are watching the race from the infield where you can enjoy the party crowd and headliner Pitbull. The Kegasus is no longer invited to this party. Maybe you’ll be watching the race from the comfort of your living room or attending a party with friends.

SERC scientist triples blue crab population

Chesapeake Country has a Green Giant. Tuck Hines may not be green as Kermit or big as Andre the Giant, but his work to save the Bay’s blue crab population has earned him Washingtonian Magazine’s gigantic title.     When the Bay’s blue crab population fell to 255 million, Hines and his Smithsonian Environmental Research Center team convinced Maryland Department of Natural Resources to change harvest regulations.

Kenneth Walsh on how 10 modern-day presidents tried to keep in touch

For more than 25 years, Kenneth Walsh has covered the White House and its chief occupant for U.S. News & World Report, penning more than a dozen books in that time. His latest, Prisoners of the White House: The Isolation of America’s Presidents and the Crisis of Leadership, explores the irony that the most powerful man in the world, the president of the United States, is powerless against the confines of his very office.

Tips on chum, tackle and tide

During the coming summer months, chumming will be one of the easiest and most effective techniques for getting a limit of nice rockfish in your cooler.     Chumming is essentially putting a stream of small bits of ground-up baitfish into the tidal current flowing out behind an anchored boat. The smell and taste of the fish bits trails out and sinks down, attracting game fish, hopefully stripers, to your boat. As they seek out the source of the attractant, they will also find your hook baited with a larger chunk of the same baitfish.

If you can’t kill this prolific weed, you can eat it

If chickweed is a problem in your yard, you are not heeding my advice. Follow my two precepts — have your soil tested and cut your grass tall while letting it fall — and you will eventually conquer chickweed.     Chickweed is a winter annual weed, meaning that the seeds start germinating in September, and the seedlings grow slowly all winter. By the first day of spring, the foliage is bright green. The plants grow no taller than an inch or two, producing a carpet of growth clinging to the ground.

Venus, Jupiter and Mercury are aligning in the west

The moon is at first-quarter Thursday the 16th, when it appears high in the southwest at sunset and sets around 1am. Over the next week it shifts roughly 10 degrees to the east at sunset each night, until on the 23rd, the night of full moon, it rises as the sun sets and sets the next morning as the sun rises.