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In acting, production and design, local theaters claim the gold

It’s official. Anne Arundel County has some of the region’s best amateur theatrical troupes, as was proven again this year at the 14th Annual Washington Area Theatre Community Honors — WATCH — Awards. With 500 thespians and designers from 33 theaters gathered at the Birchmere in Alexandria for their version of the Oscars, Colonial Players and 2nd Star Productions took home a quarter of the awards. If you saw 2nd Star’s Camelot or Colonial’s Shipwrecked, Trying or 177 — four of the night’s most nominated shows — you know why.

Win prizes with your photos of fish and water

Your friends and family tell you the photos you post on Facebook are great. Are your snapshots really as good as they say? Now you can find out. Two local organizations — Chesapeake Bay Foundation and Maryland Department of Natural Resources — are sponsoring photo contests seeking Bay-oriented entries.

We’re paying for it, and it’s not a bad deal

It takes a village of vessels to build an oyster reef.     Two barges do the heavy work. One, the construction barge, bears a GPS-guided crane. That barge is anchored to stay a while in Harris Creek, just beyond Knapps Narrows on the Eastern Shore. Another barge holds tons of fossilized oyster shells awaiting the crane. That barge travels back and forth to Curtis Bay, on the south side of Baltimore Harbor, where it meets a freight train of hopper cars full of more fossilized Florida oyster shells.

For support and comfort, there’s nothing like a dog

So your dog is a secret too good to be kept?     That’s the kind of dog Caring Canines wants to share with people who need some extra love, support and comfort. Breed doesn’t matter. Even my beagle-terrier-you-name-it mix, Louie, a Hurricane Katrina rescue, made the grade.

Thinking and drinking for trivia buffs

If you’re a trivia nut, now’s the time to claim a seat for you and your team of six on Friends of Calvert Library’s Spring Pub Quiz Friday, March 28.     “Participation is first-paid, first-served,” advises the library’s Robyn Truslow. “So come to any Calvert Library location and pay your stake so that your team will be ensured a spot in the competition.”

Winter boating on board the Coast Guard Cutter Chock

I can’t relate to the three things the chief of the boat is telling me.     “Try to be holding onto something all the time.”     “We’ll arrive in Chesapeake City at 1 or 2pm or maybe much later.”     “We have ear protection if you want it.”

Frostbite sailors stay home

Not cold, wind nor snow deters Frostbite sailors. But ice does.     Most years, the Annapolis Yacht Cub’s Frostbite Sailboat Racing series would be in full swing.     Racers layer up for warmth and follow winter safety rules: no walking on the decks (risk of ice) and sufficient crew (at least three adults) to manage a rescue. The Yacht Club keeps a careful eye on the weather, ready to cancel if conditions appear too hazardous. A fleet of motorboats stands by.

Artists K-12 sought to translate nature’s inspiration to early fame, prizes

The artist and the photographer seek the mysteries and the adventure of experience in nature.           –Ansel Adams Step into a forest or sit by the side of a local river and close your eyes. When you open your eyes again, what do you see and feel?     Draw, write or photograph what you’re experiencing, and you can enter it into the 2014 Color Maryland Green contest. The winning videos, poems, drawings or photographs are rewarded with 2014 Maryland State Park Passports.

Walk into black history at Back Creek Books

Find the right place in historic Annapolis, and you can walk right into history.     Back Creek Books, between State and Church circles on Main Street, is such a place.

Four weeks in the world of online dating

Imagine walking into a bar where all the people wear T-shirts listing their age, salary range, likes and dislikes. Some walk up, look at you and walk away. Or maybe wink at you but say not a word. Welcome to the world of online dating.     I entered that world via a $5 Groupon for Match.com. What single woman in search of could resist a discount of 80 percent? Not this separated 30-something with two kids and now her very own Match account.