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There’s more to espionage than car chases, explosions and bikinis

In the cinematic world of James Bond and Jason Bourne, spies are men with hard abs, steel fists and fast cars. Theirs is a world of high-octane excitement: car chases, shoot outs and loads of hand-to-hand combat. Usually there’s a pretty lady or two to dote upon them when the action slows.
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Here’s what all the fuss is about

Read any good plans lately?    
    Maryland’s state plan has no suspense, sex, violence or drugs, not even any characters.
    Yet PlanMaryland, which Gov. Martin O’Malley’s proclaimed by executive order last month, is becoming notorious.
    The 11-page document has a web page, a Facebook page with nearly 500 likes and a game you can play.
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Who can resist the water on a mild day?

January’s first Saturday afternoon was a beautiful time to be on the water. It was near 70 degrees, sunny, calm and the incoming tide was making up nicely. Drifting in my small skiff over a shell bottom at the mouth of the Magothy, I threaded a piece of worm on a size-two hook. The upper hook on my top and bottom rig already sported a small, wriggling bull minnow.

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Circulating is now free

    Going to Annapolis?     
    Since cars claimed roads designed for horse traffic, parking has made visiting our capital city easier by boat than by car.
    Where to put the vehicles that bring the city a million visitors each year has kept city planners scratching their heads.
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The dysfunctional family of this fractured fairy tale is the medieval equivalent of trailer park trash in a neighborhood populated by Grimms’ all-stars.

Ladies: Did you grow up on Cinderella dreams? How did that work out for you?
    Gentlemen: Is the prince for real?
    Parents: Which frustrates you more — the Disney princess culture or books such as the best-selling Cinderella Ate My Daughter that denigrate it?
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People on the move in the Maryland General Assembly

Lawmaking is not the only thing on the minds of the members of Maryland’s 430th General Assembly. Among local highlights:

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One family proves that an environmentally progressive home doesn't have to look like a science project

Martha and Bill Sykora’s 1951 house looks like a conventional, home. Nothing sci-fi about it. Behind the façade, it’s anything but conventional. It will be Anne Arundel County’s first LEED Platinum-certified home.
    The Sykora home proves that an environmentally progressive building doesn’t have to look like a science project.

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Would you believe it’s our shortest season?

Thursday brings two celestial milestones: it marks the latest sunrise of the year and it marks perihelion, earth’s closest point to the sun.
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Bird artists flock to 2012 competition

Duck stamps have been preserving marsh and wetlands for waterfowl since the Great Depression, when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt created the federal Duck Stamp program to support the purchase of land for national wildlife refuges.
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Hot-blooded Marylanders hoping for icy reception

The frostbite swimming season began January 1 with barely an icicle.
    At 43 degrees, Chesapeake waters were cold. That was the common report from plungers at North Beach’s New Year’s Day Polar Bear Swim.
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