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March 2014

Countless specks form the Zodiacal Light

The waning crescent moon ends the week low in the southeast before dawn. Sunday marks the new moon, the second in March. But it’s not gone long, reappearing as a thin sliver above the western horizon at sunset on the 31st.     With the moon out of sight much of the night, this week provides one of the best chances to see the zodiacal light, a hazy glow that extends like a cone from the western horizon pointing heavenward also called false dawn. It appears an hour or two after sunset, and you’ll only see it with clear, dark skies.

In a three-day Maryland Day Celebration, you can loop back 380 years.

This weekend, you can loop 380 years back in time without breaking stride in history’s forward march.         March 24 is the birthday of Maryland’s modern history. That European encounter opened the door to all of us, native inhabitants excepted.     On that early spring day in 1634, voyagers from the ships the Ark and the Dove prayed on a Potomac River island, thanking God for surviving their long voyage, coming to land safely and negotiating a peace accord with the Piscataway Indians.

If it’s right, the EPA needs to hear from us

This week we celebrate Maryland Day.         It’s a great thing to live in a state that knows its past and keeps it alive in legend, song, story and opportunity.     Our feature story, Time Out from the March of Time, guides you to dozens of ways to experience segments of Maryland’s 380-year history, right in the places where history lives on.     We’re also a state that puts great thought into our future. Smart Growth, renewable energy, restoring the Chesapeake are all on our agenda.

Or two ... Or three.

The single best general-purpose fishing rod for Chesapeake perch is a six-foot-six-inch medium-power, medium-light-action spinning rod rated to cast one-eighth to one-half ounces of weight. Arm that with a light, good-quality spin reel that can carry approximately 100 to 125 yards of six-pound-test monofilament or an equal amount of eight- to 12-pound braid. That’s a great perch stick.

To recover from cold weather and salt, your landscape needs TLC

It’s been a hard winter for plants as well as for us. Damage to landscapes reminds me of the winter of 1976-’77, when the Bay froze as far south as Norfolk. Compounding problems are the tons of salt and chemicals used on roads, sidewalks and driveways. On state highways alone, 480,000 tons of salt were spread this winter, more than double average usage over the past four years.

Fired by the kind of love that transcends reason and leaves you weak in the knees.

From the thunderclap of their meeting to their untimely deaths, the power of Romeo and Juliet’s love for each other resonates throughout the play, and throughout history.

It’s like watching a car crash in slow motion

Based on the popular but story-bare video game series, Need for Speed follows racer and mechanic Tobey Marshall (Aaron Paul: Breaking Bad). A small-town racer trying to keep his father’s auto shop afloat in a tough economy, Tobey scrapes by winning local street racing competitions. But his monetary problems need a long-term solution.     Along comes Dino Brewster (Dominic Cooper: Fleming), the small-town rich kid who made good. We know Dino is evil because he wears black and sneers at everybody.

As the sun perches over the equator, spring begins

Perhaps you’ll be at lunch Thursday at 12:57pm. Or maybe you’ll be busy at work or school. At that particular time, however, the sun shines directly above the equator. That morning it rises due east, and that evening it sets directly west. This is the vernal equinox, the first day of spring for the 90 percent of the world’s population living in the Northern Hemisphere. In the Southern Hemisphere, it is the first day of fall. Regardless of where you live, your day will be more or less split equally between daylight and night.

A St. Patrick’s Day visit from Southern Maryland to Southern Ireland

America goes green on St. Patrick’s Day. From beer to dress to hair (and once upon a time, the Chicago River), green is the color of choice.      In putting on the green, we’re not alone. St. Patrick’s stomping grounds is doing its own greening, returning to its roots to recapture a way of life and an economy rising from the Old Sod.

In acting, production and design, local theaters claim the gold

It’s official. Anne Arundel County has some of the region’s best amateur theatrical troupes, as was proven again this year at the 14th Annual Washington Area Theatre Community Honors — WATCH — Awards. With 500 thespians and designers from 33 theaters gathered at the Birchmere in Alexandria for their version of the Oscars, Colonial Players and 2nd Star Productions took home a quarter of the awards. If you saw 2nd Star’s Camelot or Colonial’s Shipwrecked, Trying or 177 — four of the night’s most nominated shows — you know why.