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$10,000 waits its live-saving inventor

Life jackets are old technology. When Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio donned theirs on the fictionalized deck of the Titanic, they were using a technology that was mature even in the early 20th century.     There has never been a problem designing life jackets that would keep people afloat. The problem has always been getting people to use them. Often disaster strikes in zero time. If life jackets aren’t on when trouble strikes, it’s unlikely they ever will be. Chances of survival sink way faster than the Titanic.

Help restore domestic tranquility to Chrysalis House

Imagine alarms shrieking, rousing you from bed and sending you dashing in nightclothes outside into 20-degree darkness of the early hours. Devastating for any of us; doubly devastating for the 43 women and 19 children at Chrysalis House in Crownsville on Jan. 9 when a water main burst.

Coast Guard’s sea turtle rescue brings them Internet fame

It’s all in a day’s work.         The day was August 12, when a boater reported an entangled sea turtle 30 miles off New Jersey’s southern coast.     Using the boater’s GPS coordinates, the Cape May Coast Guardsmen and staff of Marine Mammal Rescue Center set out on a rescue mission. Finding a turtle in the Atlantic could have been as hard as finding a needle in a haystack. But the coordinates led straight to an ensnared leatherback.

It takes a special trailer to haul a 58-ton boat

The waterfront hamlet of Deale sees plenty of boat traffic. But nothing like the 80-foot sportfisherman stopping traffic on the street.     The boat — atop a very long blue trailer — had an entourage, led by a Maryland State Police squad car and followed by escorts on truck and foot.

An invitation 193 years coming

At 193 years, this journey was long, even for one used to the arduous journeys of the Underground Railway. This week, Harriet Tubman — a criminal in her own time — was welcomed by Maryland’s first family into their home.     She comes in bronze, as the first bust of an African American to be displayed in Government House.

State of the Bay a barely passing grade

D+. That, alas, is the state of our Bay, unchanged since 2012, according to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s just-released State of the Bay Report.     Foundation scientists consider historical and current information for 13 indicators in three categories: pollution, habitat and fisheries. Each indicator is scored between one and 100.     Four indicators — dissolved oxygen, water clarity, oysters and underwater grasses — improved.

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.

January $20-campaign makes ­forward thinking a bargain

The beginning of a new year is time for thinking ahead. The unfettered fertility of male animals is a direct cause of the some 45,000 cats and dogs euthanized each year in Maryland at a cost of millions of dollars.     So if your pet is part of the problem, the time is right to get the problem fixed. This month, Rude Ranch’s Spay Spa & Neuter Nook, in Davidsonville, is offering 150 Happy Neuter Year sterilizations at the affordable price of $20.

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.     I met Santa at a yard sale in a Calvert County barn. His $250 price tag was a bit steep for my budget. But I was fascinated with him and kept going back to touch his silky beard.

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.