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Features (Places)

You can get (most) anything you want — even a good book

If the medium is the message, then there’s more to be learned from Calvert Library’s huge festival of local authors than you’ll read in this week’s feature story, The Writers Next Door.
    Your neighbor may have written just the one for you, I say, introducing 33 authors and their latest (or favorite) books. These are quick introductions, the literary equivalent of speed dating, with a life compressed into one sentence and a plot into another. At the May 31 festival, you’ll meet even more authors from 9:30 am to 4pm.
    All that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
    The submerged message is that Calvert County’s ­public library system is ambitious in a big way to be a place where people connect with ideas and each other.
    You see it in the Prince Frederick library building, built in 2006 to change the way people use their libraries. Twenty-first century libraries will trend that way, using architecture and location to draw people in and interior design to make them feel comfortable, welcome and ready to stay a while.
    Libraries of the future will be community centers — with the visual appeal of bookstores — according to Anne Arundel Public Library director Skip Auld, who’s thinking toward a new Annapolis Public Library that will be state-of-the-art.
    Sending the message that your library is the center of your community is more than putting it in a place people are likely to go. It’s more than a light-filled building with maritime and local allusions, human-sized spaces and comfortable chairs.
    The medium of that message has to be that here, as in Alice’s Restaurant of Arlo Guthrie’s song, you can get anything you want.
    That’s just about true of our 19 libraries, in Anne Arundel as well as in Calvert.
    They’re open when you want to go. This year, Anne Arundel libraries regained the county funding to open every branch from 9am to 9pm four days a week, and until 5pm Fridays and Saturdays, with some Sunday hours in regional centers. Calvert’s libraries have always opened 9am to 9pm four days, with shorter hours Friday (noon-5pm) and Saturday (9am-5pm).
    Along with longer hours, the Anne Arundel library system added 31 new staffers.
    Many of Anne Arundel’s new service are devoted to kids. The libraries’ Early Literacy Initiative runs 144 programs a year for infants through five-year-olds, as well as reaching out to schools and Head Start centers.
    Bay Weekly’s Kids Time at the Libraries lists as many as 50 kids programs each week. Of course kids programs involve grown-ups as well, and often stuffed animals.
    That’s another part of the message: programs for people of all ages. Stories, songs, fingerplays and stuffed-animal sleepovers for kiddies … Legos, homework help and tutors on call for kids … pizza parties and games, both board and electronic, for teens … and for all ages, computers, shelves and shelves of books in print (large and small) and on recording, collections of databases, movies, music and games — and all for free.

Election Day Comes Early
Vote June 26 … or June 14-21
      Maryland’s Primary Election day is June 26, with polls open statewide from 7am to 8pm.
     Can’t wait that long?
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St. Margaret’s Church funds hopes and dreams

      Amigos in the mountains of the Dominican Republic will soon see doctors and dentists thanks to a $10,000 grant to Somos Amigos Medical Mission from St. Margaret’s Church on the Broadneck peninsula.
     “One of our priorities is to restore to health the ill and heal the broken, without restriction to where it goes,” says Izzy Winn, grant coordinator at the church.
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A day on the Bay is therapy at its best
      A sunhat on her head and a content grin on her face, Fran Eppig takes a deep breath and relaxes.
     “This is perfect. Just beautiful,” she says to her fellow sailors on the 43-foot Fountaine Pajot catamaran Dreamweaver.
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Get to know a local icon

      Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse is an iconic image of Maryland and Chesapeake Bay. It provides a reassuring mark for mariners. Its image is routinely borrowed for art and souvenirs. It was the runner-up image on the Maryland state quarter. A national historic landmark, it holds the distinction of surviving as the only light of its type in its original Chesapeake location. 
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Greene Turtle switches to paper — on request

      The Greene Turtle Sports Bar and Grille, named in honor of a 110-million-year-old creature, is banning plastic straws to save the turtle. Beginning on World Turtle Day, May 23, the entire empire of 48 East Coast locations is removing straws from its drinks. If you’re drinking at Greene Turtle and want a straw, you’ll get a paper one — on request.
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21st century tools reveal secrets of 17th century town 

       Along the quiet shores of Battle Creek, a determined research team regroups to search for remnants of the 17th century town of Calverton. Calverton, aka Battle Town or Calvert Towne, is among the earliest settlements in Calvert County.
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Time for Annapolis to gaze at the heavens again

       It’s almost that time of year in Annapolis. There’s a distant rumble … the skies are clear, so we know it’s not thunder. We turn our eyes to the horizon, scramble to the highest position close by and search the sky for contrails. 
      It’s the season of angels — Blue Angels.
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South River Swim, Bay Bridge Swim, Rockhold Creek dredging, Straight Path 

Get to Know Your Waters Up Close and Personal
South River swim May 27, Bay swim June 11
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Severn River Bridge; Pigs & Pearls update; Helly Hansen NOOD; Boater Safety; Rivers Edge Restaurant; Goldman Environmental Prize

Easing Backup on the Severn River Bridge
Additional eastbound lane now open
       If the Bay Bridge is the gateway to the Eastern Shore, the Severn River Bridge, five miles to the west, is the gateway to the Bay Bridge.
       At peak driving times, that gateway turns into a major bottleneck.
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