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That’s what the Olympics teach us about life and journalism

I’d blame it on Olympic fever, had not the urge to stretch our comfort zones begun before the Games of the XXX Olympiad opened on July 27.
    Certainly, aspiration is fed by the spectacle of human beings attempting superhuman feats of strength, agility, grace, speed and endurance. By back-stories recounting achievement by sweaty, disciplined years-in-and-out perseverance. By slips and falls and rededication as much as by success.
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Stretching Your Comfort Zone: We dug deep to give the War of 1812 lyrics and song

“I write books, not music,” I told the big man with the guitar. “I’m a historian, not a songwriter.”
    Gary Rue — St. Mary’s County composer, musician and proprietor of the small recording company Millstone Landing Productions — had invited me to step outside my comfort zone.
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Three points to summer’s triangle

Thursday’s full moon brightens the sky from dusk till dawn. American Indians called this the sturgeon moon, as it marks the time when these great fish once began their migration and were most easily caught. Sturgeon have been plying our waters for more than 150 million years, yet today most species are endangered.
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They’re infesting roses and spruce

While driving I passed a planting of roses that did not appear normal. Up close I saw that the plants were heavily infested with spider mites. The foliage and stems had a rusty red color and were covered with fine webs. The variety of roses appeared to be Knockouts, which are advertised as very resistant to insects.
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Six young winners bring their plays to life

See how kids interpret the world in the Twin Beach Players Seventh Kids’ Playwriting Festival.
    The festival invites kids from all over the state to write their own plays, with the six winners bringing their play to life. Winners and performers range from age seven to 19.
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Elvis lives in Talent Machine’s musical comedy

Elvis lives. You’ll find him — and his spirit — in The Talent Machine’s musical comedy All Shook Up, a compilation of two-dozen Elvis songs arranged to tell a story of rocky love.
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Worth the trip to see a brand new way to bring peace in the Middle East

War is destroying a small town in Lebanon. The bridge connecting it to the outside world is a bombed-out disaster, navigable only by scooter. Minefields blow up local livestock and occasionally injure roaming children. Women make frequent pilgrimages to the cemetery to mourn those lost to war. A single television brings the modern world to them in static-filled snippets.
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Good for the garden and for myth making

Masters of disguise, praying mantises camouflage themselves to capture beetles, bees, spiders, lizards and even frogs, then dine on the prey head-first.
    Mantises don’t hunt their prey. Instead, they wait unmoving and invisible on a leaf or twig, ready to seize any insect or amphibian unfortunate enough to cross paths.
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Plastic bottles sprout into art in Annmarie’s newest sculpture garden

Reuse. Reduce. Recycle. That’s Dale Wayne’s motto on merging the arts and the environment.
    This summer’s artist in residence borrows from the African tradition of bottle-trees — whose branches have been capped with bottles. Her bottle blossom trees are made from plastic bottles salvaged from Calvert County’s Appeal landfill.
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Touch a Truck fundraiser adds to $35K from county

Kara McGuirk-Allison was ecstatic that Anne Arundel County approved $35,000 to update the Broadneck Playground built in 1991.
    “There isn’t really a playground in Anne Arundel County that serves the needs of kids with disabilities,” says McGuirk-Allison. “We want it to be so cool that people go out of their way to the playground.”
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