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December 2015

How did 2015 work out?

Back on January 2, when this year was new, we couldn’t help but wonder whether this might just be the one to make us healthy, wealthy and wise.     Were we alone in that wishful thinking? Or does the coming of a new year make optimists of us all?     We were curious.     So we turned to friends and neighbors to ask what each expected his new year to bring. With our inquiry came a condition. We’d follow up at year’s end to ask just how this year turned out.

Turning other people’s trash into a holiday display

“You may not feel the Christmas spirit when you come in here,” says  Casey Dillard, “but you will have it when you leave.”     Dillard may have a future with the Island of Misfit Toys.     The Calvert County Solid Waste employee has given new life to Christmas castoffs — the wreaths we didn’t like, the lights that stopped working, artificial trees outmoded in this year’s decorating scheme.

Lothian home shines into space

Sometime in November, Carmella Hangsleben’s family starts thinking about lights. By Thanksgiving weekend, their Lothian home is probably bright enough to see from space.     Carmella, husband Alan and their son Eddy spend nearly a month stringing up 1,500 strands of Christmas lights. That’s 75,000 bulbs of glowing cheer.     “When we were growing up, we would always drive to Washington to see all the lights and the displays,” says Hangsleben. Now that display is as close as the front yard.

Fire engines lead seven convoys through Annapolis neighborhoods

“We’re going to need more bags!” said 14-year-old Zac Binnix as we pulled into Arundel on the Bay on this year’s Santa Run.     People had been friendly and collections good at each of our three stops since leaving Truxton Park an hour and a half earlier. But Arundel on the Bay was taking it to a new level. Cheering our arrival, some 120 neighbors had piled three picnic tables high with gifts as donations.

Delmarva Peninsula fox squirrel rises from endangered to thriving

It’s another win for the wildlife. One of the first animals on the endangered species list, the Delmarva fox squirrel is now a conservation success story.     Last month, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed the squirrel from the list after 48 endangered years. The animal is no longer at risk of extinction thanks to a half century of federal protection and conservation, such as closing hunting and expanding its habitat.

Control winter weeds now, as they’ll be bigger come spring

Winter annual weeds tend to sneak up on you.     Have you looked at your garden lately? When you do, don’t be surprised if you see a green carpet being woven by winter annual weeds. Annual bluegrass, chickweed, cranesbill and henbit are pretty small now. But if you don’t get out there and control them, they will be much larger next spring.

Believe it or not, winter’s here

As the sun sets, look in its wake for Mercury just above the southwest horizon. Binoculars will help. Mercury is on its way up to a fine showing through Christmas and New Year’s.     Before dawn, Venus, Mars and Jupiter stretch above the horizon in the southeast. A little below Mars is Spica. Saturn rises just before the sun and is far to the lower left of Venus, so low that you may need binoculars to spot it.

Just what a Star Wars film should be: silly, exciting fun

Long ago in a galaxy far, far away millions of Star Wars fans were despondent when George Lucas offered them three prequels that ruined the mythology of the beloved originals.     Fans can rejoice, for now there is another.     Taking over the franchise under Disney after its purchase from Lucas, director J.J. Abrams (Star Trek) proves the force is strong with him. He has produced a miracle: an entertaining new Star Wars film.

You don’t have to be a financial whiz kid to understand incompetence

Michael Burry (Christian Bale: ­Exodus: Gods and Kings) is always on the lookout for a new investment.     Investigating the housing loan market, Burry discovers that its bottom is about to fall out. Predicting a collapse, he uses his fund’s money to short the housing values. In essence, he bets against the lending system that has been the bedrock of American banking.

FIRST TASTE NEW YEARS EVE

Event Date:  December 31, 2015 - 8:00pm - January 1, 2016 - 5:00am 1st TASTE NYE! OPEN TILL 5 A.M.!!!! Annapolis’s BIGGEST & MOST FUN New Year's Eve Party! This event sells out every year! Dance in the New Year and let your body rock to performances by DJ JARED BROWN & DJ PRO2COL! Plus watch the Times Square Ball Drop on the big Screens! Oh one more thing! This party goes till 5am!!!!!!!!!!! See details below….. *$15Presale, $20 at Door *NO COVER before 9pm. *Entry includes ONE FREE cocktail per person *Dress to impress & to have FUN!!!! *N.Y.E. PARTY TILL 5 A.M. VIP ACCESS