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For another wonderful week in the neighborhood

       The news that Tom Hanks is making a movie about Mr. Rogers sent me traveling back to my days in Mr. Rogers’ neighborhood, where the Presbyterian minister preached the gospel of community. A young mother, I was as enchanted with the friendly television show as the infant fast growing into a toddler Mr. Rogers helped me entertain.
       Back then, we lived in a planned community quickly erected after the destruction of an old, historically black neighborhood in the name of urban redevelopment. In St. Louis’ short-lived Laclede Town, we young moderns had a taste of Mr. Rogers’ neighborhood, with our own familiar versions of Mr. McFeely, Bob Dog, Lady Aberlin and Officer Clemmons. 
        Strange the influences that shape you. A quarter century later, that son and I made Bay Weekly into a Chesapeake Country neighborhood where you felt you lived in a good place. In each week’s issue, you read about your friends and neighbors (likely yourself, as well), celebrated the good times and shared in figuring out how to solve our problems. 
        This week’s issue is just such a paper, pieced together — as neighborhoods are — from the raw material people bring to making their lives. 
       You’ll take a peek at The Lobby Coffeehouse, where Chesapeake Church’s mission of feeding the hungry — 1.7 million pounds per week of donated food — manifests in coffee, lunch, pastry and jobs for people who’ve trained there in food-service skills. 
       You’ll step out of the neighborhood with Liz Barron, a Chesapeake Country neighbor completing her first year as a mature Peace Corps volunteer. For her fourth story about her experiences in service to America by way of service to Armenia, I asked her to tell us why she took such a leap. Her answer will, I think, surprise you as much as it did me.
        You’ll meet a woman, Katie Fallon, whose favorite bird is the vulture. Why she indulges such strange taste is explained by Anne Arundel Bird Club’s Barbara Johnson, who introduces Fallon and her bare-headed birds in anticipation of her talk at the first John W. ‘Bud’ Taylor Wildlife Lecture at Quiet Waters Park. Artist and naturalist Taylor, who died last year, was a beloved Chesapeake Country neighbor, so we hope to swell the audience in his honor.
       Just as Bob Dog was one of the folks in Mr. Rogers’ neighborhood, many of our neighbors here in Chesapeake Country are creatures. Joining vultures in our pages this week are quite a few Chesapeake creatures along with their human admirers and sidekicks.
       Kathy Knotts is able to tell us that over one million ducks and geese are wintering in Chesapeake Country because biologists take to the sky to track their numbers in each year’s waterfowl survey. One million is a lot of counting.
          You’ll meet fish fanciers and frog watchers in this week’s paper, too. In the first category, the Marine Aquarium Society has its conference at Chesapeake Biological Lab in Solomons, with the purpose of teaching people to take care of coral, both in nature and in the aquariums the Society sets up in schools as well as in members’ homes. For frogs we turn to Wayne Bierbaum, chief medical officer at Owensville Primary Care, who spends his off-hours as a nature photographer. To photograph a frog like the cricket frog he shows us this week, he spent lots of time crouching in stillness behind his outstretched camera.
        We end this week’s coverage of the creatures of our neighborhood with a farewell to the dog Piper, who for years helped Jim Lyles and Peggy Traband deliver Bay Weekly to many of our southern readers. 
        Once again, Bay Weekly tries to make the most of another beautiful week in the neighborhood.