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Courthouse Square now looks a lot like Christmas

On December 3, the Parish Hall At Christ’s Church in Port Republic bustles with four dozen Calvert Garden Clubbers preparing to decorate the county courthouse with evergreens harvested a day earlier at four local farms.
    “We call it the Greening,” says cochair Mary Berkley.
    Wearing monogrammed aprons, they work likes elves trimming magnolia, grapevine and boxwood for wreaths, fragrant sprays and evergreen ropes.
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While never the comet of the century, it piqued our curiosity

It’s official: comet ISON is no more. NASA confirmed Tuesday that after its first-ever venture from the outer limits of the solar system to the sun, the comet did not survive the onslaught of solar radiation. Born 4.5 billion years ago during the formation of the solar system, ISON had resided in the so-called Oort Cloud a full light-year away. Roughly a million years ago, perhaps after a cometary collision, ISON began its journey toward the sun....

Nominate what’s there and what’s needed by December 1

What’s your favorite place to get out on the water, swim or fish? Where is a boat ramp, fishing pier or trail needed? Now is the time to tell the National Park Service your thoughts.
    Use the interactive online mapper, already marked with existing sites and past suggestions, to share your suggestions for new public access sites across the Chesapeake Bay watershed. But hurry, there are only a few days left: the mapper is only open until December 1.
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Our many reasons for thanks amount to many reasons for giving

As much a part of Thanksgiving as the feast is its sharing.    
    Like turkey, gratitude is a dish best taken in company. It’s just too big to manage on your own. Alongside the dressing, potatoes and cranberries, tales of blessings make the rounds.
    With full hearts and bellies, we’re primed to encompass the community in our circle of grace.
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See if you can find the naked-eye five

The waning crescent moon rises later and later in pre-dawn skies through the weekend before disappearing behind the sun with Tuesday’s new moon.
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Foresee this year’s inch total and Laura Neuman will buy you lunch

Is it ever going to snow in Maryland? Probably, out there in our mountainous west. But how about closer to home? Will Anne Arundelians see snow in 2013-2014?
    Nobody knows when — or if — it will snow.
    But that shouldn’t stop you from guessing. Especially when the right guess can win you lunch — as well as bragging rights.
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Michael Ryan’s baton and mighty voice bring the Messiah home to St. James Parish

Late afternoon on Thanksgiving Sunday, singers file into the 1765-church. Some carry their well-thumbed scores of Handel’s Messiah; others will borrow or buy a score, $10 at the door.
    As 4pm approaches, some 200 wait for director Michael S. Ryan to lower his baton. 
    For the 27th year, annual Advent Messiah Sing-Along opens the Christmas season at historic St. James Parish with joyful impromptu song.
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When fighting for life and liberty, who has time for teen romance?

In a dystopian nation of Panem, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence: The Silver Linings Playbook) is considered lucky. The winner of the 74th Hunger Games, Katniss was the last woman standing in a government-sponsored death match. With a spark of rebellion, she refused to kill hometown boy Peeta (Josh Hutcherson: Epic), claiming that she loved him and would rather die than end his life. The two were allowed to live as the first pair of winners in Hunger Games history....

A perfect orphan for the holidays

Leapin’ lizards, Annie, how do you still break hearts after 35 years, even when we know what’s coming? It’s not just your heart-warming premise or sweet songs, your adorable mutt or Vaudevillian villains. It’s the magic of a cast so sincere and invested that two hankies are not enough for Colonial Players’ family holiday classic.
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We’re eating well and will be into spring

This year’s fall garden has been better than ever.
    The August plantings of Contender and Crocket green beans each provided at least three pickings of the most tender and flavorful green beans we have ever enjoyed.
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