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The Parole Rotary is preparing the finishing touches to this year’s second annual ­Naptown barBAYq Contest and Music Festival.     Taking place at the Anne Arundel County Fairgrounds Friday, May 4, and Saturday, May 5, the volunteer-driven event features more than two dozen barbecue competitors and even more live music acts. Add to the mix a well-balanced group of food vendors and merchants and a special Kiddie Korral, and you’ve got something for everyone.
A step up from failing is the score the West and Rhode rivers earned on their spring report card.     D was the average grade of five positive indicators — water clarity, dissolved oxygen, nutrients, algae and underwater grasses — and one negative, bacteria.     The grades are based on data collected in 2011 by the West/Rhode Riverkeeper, the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center and Maryland Department of Natural Resources.
You’ve got no control over where most of your tax dollars go. The exception is Line 35 on the Maryland state income tax form. Check that line and you make a direct contribution to Chesapeake Bay and the Endangered Species Fund. The Fund — split evenly between the Chesapeake Bay Trust and Maryland Department of Natural Resources — supports Bay restoration and conserves native wildlife and endangered species.

Bird and Bear Stamp entries up for review

This year’s Maryland migratory bird stamp and bear stamp hunt bagged 23 entries. Their images are judged this weekend as part of the 23rd Annual Friends of Patuxent Wildlife Art Show and Sale at the National Wildlife Visitor Center in Laurel.     Judging takes three rounds in each competition starting with the bird stamp followed by the bear stamp.     All the entries are on display, and artists have been invited.

These contests need writers

You have a story to tell. It’s the image that stays with you, whether you want it to or not. It’s that anecdote you tell at parties that makes people say, you ought to write that down.     Your story could be a winner in more ways than one. Maryland is fertile ground for budding authors, and writing contests abound.  

Find out with our multiple choice quiz

Where’s the money coming from?         Anne Arundel County is counting on a nice windfall to help it pay its $1.2 billion in bills in the next fiscal year.     Can you guess from what tree that money will fall? 1. Your property taxes? 2. The county’s share of income taxes? 3. Switching money from county pocket to pocket? 4. Investment income? 5. Local sales taxes?

Previews of the Maryland General Assembly

Americans have a thing for lawlessness.         If we had a mantra, it might go something like this: The fewer laws the better — except as they benefit us personally.     From the Pilgrims, Conquistadors and New Dutch to explorers, pioneers and cowboys — not to mention robber barons — we’ve made our own laws.     Nobody better tell us what to do.

People on the move in the Maryland General Assembly

Lawmaking is not the only thing on the minds of the members of Maryland’s 430th General Assembly. Among local highlights:

Circulating is now free

    Going to Annapolis?          Since cars claimed roads designed for horse traffic, parking has made visiting our capital city easier by boat than by car.     Where to put the vehicles that bring the city a million visitors each year has kept city planners scratching their heads.     Over the month of December, free parking and trolley make the city more welcoming, and its shopping and cultural opportunities more accessible.

Library patrons line up to check out Kindles and Nooks

Packing your books for your vacation adds pounds to your baggage and with airline fees, stress on your budget.     What would you say if you could pack more than 1,000 books in a container smaller than even today’s phone books?     Wannabe eReaders in Anne Arundel County said Yes, Please!     By noon on the first day of issue, Nov. 2, Anne Arundel library’s 200 portable readers had been checked out by eager patrons.