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Familiar buildings give a starting point

What will the new Annapolis Public Library look like? We’ve just come a step closer to the answer to the third big question about the surprisingly controversial future of the popular flagship of Anne Arundel County’s 15-library system.     The first big answer was that the new library will stand on the spot of its half-century-old predecessor at 1410 West Street.

Play Santa in ways that matter

Taking care of each other is one of the cornerstones of the Christmas spirit, for everyone deserves a gift from the heart — especially those for whom any gifts are hard to come by.     You can give in small ways, like dropping a donation into a Salvation Army red kettle. Or in large ways, like fully funding a family’s Christmas meal and wish list.

Local theaters serve a mix of seasonal cheer

The spirit of Christmas is a more complex concoction than a dash of ho-ho-ho and a splash of jinglebells. For this is the season of deliverance: hope is born, sorrow and loss salved, our better selves risen over our baser. Getting it right — mixing big dreams with dark regret, leavened by love and served in hope — is an annual job done for us by our local theater companies.

The sounds of Maggie’s Music bring on the season

Need help transitioning into the holiday mood? My go-to solution is playing seasonal music. This year, I’m jumping out of the same old rut with Cold Frosty Morn at West River, by local Celtic musician Maggie ­Sansone.

Calvert Garden Club offers next-generation grants

Got a great idea for a community-focused gardening project? If it involves educating the next generation, you are invited to apply for a mini-grant with the Calvert Garden Club.     This annual program awards amounts from $100 to $1,000 to nonprofit organizations in Calvert County.     The 60-year-old Calvert Garden Club has awarded grants totaling more than $4,300 in the past two years.

And keep it open all winter long

It’s a great time of year to take up or enhance the hobby of bird feeding, especially since we can watch outdoor birds from the cozy warmth of the great indoors with hot drinks, field guides and binoculars. It’s good for the birds, too. When ice and snow cover everything in sight, providing food, water and grit (bits of sand, stone, or shell that birds need for digestion), may mean survival for our backyard birds.     How then to best serve the feathered ones? What kinds of foods and feeders? How to manage water? Who might show up?

On the hunt in November

The antlered buck posed statue-like in full-focused attention in a valley surrounded, at a fair distance, by the houses of Fairhaven Cliffs. Perhaps he’d seen me seeing him from my perch well above him, but not assuring him safety were I a bow hunter. That hunting season lasts most of November, the month — this odd sighting reminded me — when Maryland’s 227,000 deer are at their most visible.

For Rod ‘N’ Reel’s Chef Rudy, Thanksgiving is a piece of cake

From the first-time turkey roaster to the kitchen master, who among us can anticipate cooking the Thanksgiving dinner without a bit of a flutter?     Chef Rudy Volpe can.     The 54-year-old chef looks forward to serving 1,000 to 1,200 hungry eaters at Rod ‘N’ Reel’s Thanksgiving Day Buffet.     For a chef who’s worked 20-plus years in gaming, most recently at Maryland Live!, Rod ‘N’ Reel’s seven-hour buffet is, well, a piece of cake.

A rested bird and a sharp knife are essential

1. Carve out a proper amount of time to cook the turkey. When coordinating your schedule Thanksgiving morning, keep in mind that between taking the turkey out of the oven and carving it, you should allot about 20 minutes. This waiting period is not frivolous. It makes the handling of the hot turkey easier on your hands, and it gives the meat’s juices crucial time to redistribute. 2.  If your turkey is tied, remove the string. Then remove each leg and thigh from the body of the turkey, using your hands to separate and your knife to slice through the meat.

Two ways you can help this week

As the season of thanks and giving approaches, sharing is the best way to stoke your gratitude.     This week is your time to share through Harvest of Plenty and Operation Christmas Child.     Help Operation Christmas Child send shoe boxes full of gifts to 11 million children in need around the world in Samaritan’s Purse giant annual Christmas project.     Choose a shoebox-sized box and fill it as you like with toys, school supplies, hygiene items and notes of encouragement.