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54 projects share $1.4 million

With losing weight the number one New Year’s resolution — and keeping fit and healthy number 5 — you’ll no doubt agree that the $1.4 million Marylanders just invested in trails is money well spent.
    The state’s $1.4 million-share of Federal Highway Department recreational trail spending will create or improve 54 trails from ocean to mountains in 2015.
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After nearly 50 Christmases in the department store’s windows, he’s now part of my family’s tradition

A life-size Santa Claus — donned in authentic red velvet suit, black belt and patent leather boots with a full angel-hair-spun beard — stands by my living room window all year round.
    He’s too fragile a chapter of history to stuff away in a corner of my two-car garage.
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Our family visits make us ­reconcile good and evil
 

Once more this year, my family and I spent part of the Christmas season in Germany. The tradition began because of my husband Jonathan’s good memories of the year his family lived in Munich, when he was 10.

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DNR’s calendar makes your indoors out

With your 2014 calendar just about used up, what are you going to hang on the wall in 2015 to replace it?
    Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ 2015 calendar is a best bet for us whose lifestyles keep us inside looking at walls rather than out in Maryland’s beauty.
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Orphaned Wildlife Rescue Center plays Santa to injured critters but needs your help

Dozens of raptors were among the thousands of animals rescued this year by the Orphaned Wildlife Rescue Center in Lusby.
    One stands out for her size and the relationship she formed with her rescuers.
    Big Bird, as she was called, was rescued from a farm in southern Maryland. A nesting mother with three babies and a mate in a nearby tree, she had a broken left wing. What caused her injuries was never learned.
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Fresh from the woods, we dug up more than we bargained for

The family agreed. This shapely 10-foot Norway spruce with beautifully spaced branches was our perfect Christmas tree. After Christmas, the living tree would find a new home in a corner of our half-acre lot.
    But this was an out-of-the-way farm, and the tree digger was unavailable. So we would have to wait a few days before we could take The Tree home.
    No problem. Christmas was four weeks away.
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How do we know if our oyster dollars are paying off?

Open any local newspaper these days, and you’ll probably read about the dollars we are pouring into restoring oysters. In writing a few myself, I pondered how we would cut through the hyperbole and verify, in a scientifically reliable way, whether the efforts were bearing fruit — or in this case, oysters.
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It’s all online in Calvert County

In old-fashioned walk-around communities, construction projects were everybody’s business. In these times of zipping past in cars, who knows what’s going and coming?
    In Calvert County, you can find out online. What’s Going Where lets you track commercial projects county wide. You can search by postal Zip Code or review a list of projects completed in the last 12 months.
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A New Guide to Bay Play

Chesapeake Conservancy’s Trips-and-Tips covers the watershed

When you want to strike out farther than the here-today-gone-tomorrow in Anne Arundel and Calvert events of 8 Days a Week, where do you go?
    Subscribe to Chesapeake Conservancy’s Trips-and-Tips, and weekly updates from all over Chesapeake Country appear in your inbox each Thursday. The price is right for this brand-new, free guide to the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.
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Leg 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race

The first leg of the Volvo Ocean race is really five different races rolled into one. The seven boats left warm and sunny Alicante, Spain, heading west across the choppy Mediterranean before sailing through the Straits of Gibraltar and out into the mighty Atlantic Ocean. Next they turned south along the coast of West Africa in moderately steady winds until they neared the equator....