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Touch a Truck fundraiser adds to $35K from county

Kara McGuirk-Allison was ecstatic that Anne Arundel County approved $35,000 to update the Broadneck Playground built in 1991.     “There isn’t really a playground in Anne Arundel County that serves the needs of kids with disabilities,” says McGuirk-Allison. “We want it to be so cool that people go out of their way to the playground.”

Plastic bottles sprout into art in Annmarie’s newest sculpture garden

Reuse. Reduce. Recycle. That’s Dale Wayne’s motto on merging the arts and the environment.     This summer’s artist in residence borrows from the African tradition of bottle-trees — whose branches have been capped with bottles. Her bottle blossom trees are made from plastic bottles salvaged from Calvert County’s Appeal landfill.     Nothing goes to waste making these blossoms grow.

Students decorate local ­businesses with murals

When Alex Wilson saw the mural on the Muddy Creek Animal Hospital, a light bulb went off in his head. What a way to advertise his marina!     Up close, he saw the signatures of Southern High students, so he called the school to see if they would do the same for him.     Yes, said art teacher Michael Bell, who chose Cat Allen to organize a team and design the Bridge Marina mural.

Pack your pjs for three, four or seven nights

If your approach to historic tourism is the closer the better, here you go, with deluxe comfort and rare opportunity.     Calvert Marine Museum is now booking both sides of the Cove Point Lighthouse Keepers’ House for seven-, four- or three-day overnight rentals.     It’s the only lighthouse in the Mid-Atlantic where you can sleep over.

Anne Arundel County Landfill turns trash into electricity

Your trash isn’t going to waste. It’s keeping your lights on.     Instead of burning off the methane gas produced by decomposing waste, Millersville Landfill now converts the gas into electricity and sends it on to the national power grid, lowering the county’s carbon footprint.     The methane used to be burned off in a fiery plume.     The switch is not only green but also a revenue producer for the county.

Everyone has an opinion about the new sculpture at Westgate Circle

An unfinished sailboat. Maybe some bones? That’s what the neighbors of the new Westgate Circle sculpture guessed it to be. They’re not far off.     The sculpture is five 18-foot-long curved wooden ribs lined up diagonally. It is supposed to represent a deteriorating sunken sailboat. Or the skeletal remains of a whale. It’s called Shoal.

Kids doctors help Parole Rotary collect kids books for needy readers around the world

“Books are easy for people to contribute, and we wanted to become closer not only with our patients but also our community,” said Ann-Marie Sedor of the new partnership between The Pediatric Group and the Rotary Club of Parole.     Through August, the practice is collecting books for children of all ages at its offices in Crofton, Davidsonville and Severna Park (www.pediatricgroup.com).

Calvert County keeps citizens in the know

Calvert County is taking the lead in helping citizens and developers figure out how they’re affected by Maryland’s new law restricting residential development served by septic systems.     For the Chesapeake watershed, the Sustainable Growth and Agricultural Preservation Act of 2012 helps reduce pollution and meet federal Clean Water Act limits on pollutants reaching waterways.     Closer to home, it means the geography in the watershed controls where development goes by way of what sewerage system is legal.

Anne Arundel leaders need your tutoring to up their environmental grades

If you live in Anne Arundel County you’ve got a job to do.     Unless you want our quality of life, and environmental future, to go down the tubes.     On the latest green report card, Anne Arundel County leaders — the guys you voted into office in 2012 — got very bad grades.

Be relentless and constant, Bernie Fowler counsels

Forty-two years in, and your life’s work earns an F.     That’s how long it’s been since Bernie Fowler took on the establishment to stand up for the Patuxent River, suing the state of Maryland and the federal government to “do what they ought to be doing: put a plan together to upgrade our river.”     You and I might find that grade on the NOAA-University of Maryland 2011 report card discouraging. Not Bernie Fowler. He’s in for the long haul.