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Unity Gardens grants up for grabs

Plants and flowers aren’t all that grow in gardens. Leadership and civic involvement can also bloom. That’s a motivating idea behind Unity Gardens, a nonprofit that backs its philosophy with dollars.
    So twice each year when Unity Gardens gives away seed money, in the spring and fall, human growth potential is a top giving criteria.
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Capturing customers with a little of this, a little of that

The name Vintage Stew, colorfully scripted on the brick wall above an empty storefront in Deale, opened four years ago to numerous conversations about whom and what was moving in. Was it a new eatery serving stew?
    “Like a big ol’ pot of stew …” says owner Shelley Daniels. But not the kind you eat.
    “A mix of ingredients,” adds partner Barry Morrissey.
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Enjoy smart family fun at Anne Arundel County’s big regional parks

Summer is all about kicking back and enjoying extra time together as vacations begin and the weather warms.
    But so many summer activities can mean trouble for the family budget. With some smart planning, a fun-filled summer doesn’t have to break the bank. In Anne Arundel County Recreation and Parks, I’ve found good, affordable fun for the whole family, even the dogs.
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Three Founding Fathers met their maker on July 4

By strange coincidence, three of the first five U.S. presidents died on July 4 — with our second and third presidents dying within hours of each other on the 50th anniversary of ­Independence Day.
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Paddlers wanted to ­monitor the Severn’s underwater world

The Severn River Association needs your help surveying underwater grass beds in the Severn River, mostly in and around Round Bay, July through early August. You’ll locate the beds, take samples and identify the grasses by species while recording water temperature and visibility.
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Don Risher decorates the office at Belair ­Engineering like a July 4th float

You’d think it was Christmas and Don Risher of Belair Engineering in Upper Marlboro was Clark Griswold from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.
    From Memorial Day through summer, he fills his office with red, white and blue. “It’s very patriotic, with lots of Americana,” says Risher, who puts his heart into this decorative commemoration because of his time in the service and camaraderie with service men and women.
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For Annapolis town crier Squire ­Frederick, ­Independence Day is a joyous occasion

Folks who live and work in Annapolis, used to seeing guys in breeches and plumed tricorn hats, scarcely bat an eye when Town Crier Fred Taylor strolls by.
    Tourists and school children are another story. They squeal in delight when meeting “Squire Frederick,” as Taylor’s known hereabouts.
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Today’s organic methods were the only options for gardeners in the early 19th century

We had a storm and terrible rain this week … my garden almost washed away; a dozen tulips were washed out of the ground and carried outside the garden fence. No one has seen such a flood in 10 years.
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Don’t you wish you could join in?

Feeling sticker shock after seeing your first summer electricity bill? You aren’t alone. Even the state of Maryland feels the pain. But the state has more leverage than you and I. Enough leverage to trigger a bidding war for lower rates.
    At the center of it all is a reverse auction. In a typical auction, prices rise for the seller’s benefit. In a reverse auction, prices drop in a bidding war, benefitting buyers.
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In a dramatic turn, playwright’s dreams come true

A million may or may not be an exaggeration. Strictly speaking, Andrea Fleck Clardy was chosen Colonial Players’ Promising Playwright from a talent pool of 230 applicants in the theater company’s biennial competition.
    But when you consider all the twists and turns of chance that led to this singular moment, the odds rise.
    Clardy, a writer in life’s eighth decade, took up playwriting only after three or four careers....