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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.

Registration renewal notices do double duty

       Learning about vehicle recall problems is a little easier now thanks to a pilot program by the Maryland Department of Transportation. More than 73,500 recalls have alerted car owners to potential safety problems since the program began in April. Recall information is mailed and emailed with registration renewal notices.

New owners at Chesapeake Health and Fitness 

      Two former gym members are living their best lives by helping others do the same as the new owners of Chesapeake Health and Fitness Club in Deale.       Kristina Gardiner and Vanessa Runion purchased the club from Linda Strohecker.        The approximate 1,600 members are “an eclectic group of people,” Strohecker says. On the day the club opened in 2010, she spotted “two men on treadmills wearing work boots. We give people the opportunity to work out in their comfort zone.” 

Plans to increase biking gain national attention

     Chesapeake Country isn’t just friendly. We’re also bike friendly.      So says the League of American Bicyclists which, on December 6, recognized Annapolis and Anne Arundel County with a bronze Bicycle Friendly Community award.       Both county and city join 464 biking districts across the country.
Franchot applauds local business — and family
      Taking time from his busy fiscal schedule this week, Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot took a tour through Deale to visit four family-owned businesses.       “It’s not easy to be successful, it takes a lot of hard work,” Franchot told Bay Weekly. “I think showing up and recognizing these businesses is a big part of my job.”       Franchot has trekked over 750,000 miles to make sure small businesses feel supported.