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“We are building our future labor force here”

Senior year means dreams of the future. College, jobs, a chance to explore the world.     Seniors in the STEM program at South River High School in Edgewater along with students at Center for Applied Technology South have taken their final year and turned it into a project of, well, tiny proportions.     Sally Albright and Jake Mondoro are students in Michael Bartek’s Green Architecture and Sustainable Design class at SRHS. Think of them as the Tiny House Ambassadors.

Your Primer to the Maryland General Assembly

It’s worth your while to follow the action

News roundup for the week of January 14-20, 2016

On the Roads At Annapolis City Dock, three construction projects combine with annual General Assembly congestion to make walking easier than driving. Updates: annapolis.gov.

Lego competition inspires future architects

In one, a Christmas tree of green bricks rises above tiny packages crafted from plastic blocks. In another, a Darth Vader minifigure helms Santa’s sleigh, with Stormtroopers playing reindeer.     Kids from three to 16 let their imaginations soar for Speight Studio Architects’ annual Severna Park Lego Open.     “We received high-quality entries including, for the first time, one that is motorized,” says Wayne Speight. “Another opens to reveal a multi-level vignette.”

Will our Bay Bridge ever fall?

“The Bay Bridge is safe until 2065.” That’s the best news Milt Chaffee, executive director of Maryland Transportation Authority, found in a brand-new study of how long we can count on the William Preston Lane Jr. Memorial Bridge to connect Maryland’s Western and Eastern shores.     There are, of course, conditions.

Turning other people’s trash into a holiday display

“You may not feel the Christmas spirit when you come in here,” says  Casey Dillard, “but you will have it when you leave.”     Dillard may have a future with the Island of Misfit Toys.     The Calvert County Solid Waste employee has given new life to Christmas castoffs — the wreaths we didn’t like, the lights that stopped working, artificial trees outmoded in this year’s decorating scheme.

Lothian home shines into space

Sometime in November, Carmella Hangsleben’s family starts thinking about lights. By Thanksgiving weekend, their Lothian home is probably bright enough to see from space.     Carmella, husband Alan and their son Eddy spend nearly a month stringing up 1,500 strands of Christmas lights. That’s 75,000 bulbs of glowing cheer.     “When we were growing up, we would always drive to Washington to see all the lights and the displays,” says Hangsleben. Now that display is as close as the front yard.

Fire engines lead seven convoys through Annapolis neighborhoods

“We’re going to need more bags!” said 14-year-old Zac Binnix as we pulled into Arundel on the Bay on this year’s Santa Run.     People had been friendly and collections good at each of our three stops since leaving Truxton Park an hour and a half earlier. But Arundel on the Bay was taking it to a new level. Cheering our arrival, some 120 neighbors had piled three picnic tables high with gifts as donations.

Trains live on in more than our memories and our hearts

Trains are just another form of transportation to some folks, no more interesting or glamorous than the bus that takes you from long-term parking to the airport terminal.     But if you’re one of the countless train lovers, like me, read on to discover three local ways to bring to life your train fantasies.

Have a toy ready to give when he visits your neighborhood

This Sunday, Santa chooses a shiny red fire truck over a red-nosed reindeer and sleigh. The reindeer are getting a break as Santa needs more horsepower this year to carry the load of presents from generous neighbors.     On the annual Annapolis Santa Run toy drive, Santa makes 57 stops, to collect rather than give — though candy canes reward givers. Later this month, the toys you donate are delivered to kids in need throughout Annapolis and Anne Arundel County.