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Calvert Food Pantry reaches out
       Does the government shutdown have you feeling pinched at the grocery store? In partnership with End Hunger in Calvert County, the Chesapeake Cares Food Pantry is opening its larders to ease families trying to manage without paychecks. In January the pantry has added Tuesdays 1-3pm and Saturday the 19th, 10am-noon.
Only 2 of 13 indicators improve for a high D 
      Record rainfall increased pollution and reduced water clarity in the Chesapeake Bay, decreasing the score in the State of the Bay report, put out by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. The score dropped one point to 33, equivalent to a D+.       “Heavy rains caused extended high flows in the Susquehanna River, which flushed debris, sediment and other pollutants into the Bay,” reports Alison Prost, CBF’s Maryland executive director. 
More libraries and more to do at them
      Three revamped libraries are underway to enrich Chesapeake Country. Today’s libraries look very different than those of yesterday.

If I got a Ginny doll, I’d never again want for anything. Life would be complete.

     ’Twas the week before Christmas, 1951, when Sandra unleashed a full-fledged crisis on her second grade classmates at Marlboro Elementary, announcing at recess that there was no Santa.       “He’s a fake. It was our parents who filled the stockings and put presents under the tree. But once we knew the truth,” she cautioned, “they’d likely stop, so we shouldn’t let on that we knew.”

Even soldiers in Vietnam set the table for a Christmas feast

     Christmas in Vietnam. Say or think what you want about the Army, good morale is what keeps it going. It does everything it can during the holiday season to raise the spirits of the soldiers, many away from home for the first time.

Mickey Cashman to sing at famed Opera House

       The music bug bit Mickey Cashman early and apparently incurably.        “Some time around third grade, I knew that I wanted to always have music in my life,” the 18-year-old says.        He pursued his passion through elementary, middle and high school by joining choral groups, performing musical theater and studying at the Jarrett Studio of Vocal Arts in St. Leonard. All that hard work has won him an extraordinary international experience like no other.

AACo Library waives fines for 45,000 patrons

      The holidays came a little early this year for some 45,000 Anne Arundel County Public Library patrons. With the generosity of a converted Ebenezer Scrooge, all overdue fines accumulated between September 24 and December 14 have been waived.        “We are happy to offer this gesture of goodwill to our customers who patiently stood by us during our recent cyber attack,” said Library CEO Hampton ‘Skip’ Auld.

Calvert rallies to bring warmth to kids

      Santa is checking his list, and Jack Frost is nipping at our noses, but it’s hard to bundle up against the cold without the proper gear. Calvert’s new Koats for Kids program hopes to give county kids all the bundling essentials this holiday season.       The program was born out of a partnership between Calvert Parks and Recreation and Maryland’s Department of Social Services. The partnership is new for Calvert, but community outreach is not.

Oh buoy!

      If you’re wondering what that large Coast Guard vessel is doing maneuvering about on the Chesapeake this time of year, we have the answer.       It’s the James Rankin, and the black-hulled, 175-foot ship has just begun the task of replacing 77 Bay buoys.      Why do it when the icy winds blow? That’s the point; an accumulation of ice and snow can submerge the large buoys marking channels, which can threaten ship captains for whom winter is just another boating season. 
    Catnip for people? If you’ve ever wondered why your cat freaks and flops after a dose of catnip, a study from Britain released Monday offers an answer — and the possibility that the active ingredient may be used to combat diseases in humans.     The study in the journal Nature Chemical Biology by the John Innes Center concluded that catnip is rich in the compound called nepetalactone, which binds to receptors in the back of a cat’s nose that are especially sensitive to scents.