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Michael Ryan’s baton and mighty voice bring the Messiah home to St. James Parish

Late afternoon on Thanksgiving Sunday, singers file into the 1765-church. Some carry their well-thumbed scores of Handel’s Messiah; others will borrow or buy a score, $10 at the door.     As 4pm approaches, some 200 wait for director Michael S. Ryan to lower his baton.      For the 27th year, annual Advent Messiah Sing-Along opens the Christmas season at historic St. James Parish with joyful impromptu song.

Foresee this year’s inch total and Laura Neuman will buy you lunch

Is it ever going to snow in Maryland? Probably, out there in our mountainous west. But how about closer to home? Will Anne Arundelians see snow in 2013-2014?     Nobody knows when — or if — it will snow.     But that shouldn’t stop you from guessing. Especially when the right guess can win you lunch — as well as bragging rights.

Nominate what’s there and what’s needed by December 1

What’s your favorite place to get out on the water, swim or fish? Where is a boat ramp, fishing pier or trail needed? Now is the time to tell the National Park Service your thoughts.     Use the interactive online mapper, already marked with existing sites and past suggestions, to share your suggestions for new public access sites across the Chesapeake Bay watershed. But hurry, there are only a few days left: the mapper is only open until December 1.     Share your suggestions at www.baygateways.net/AddPA/index.html.

After generations harvesting wild oysters, Chesapeake watermen are learning to raise them

Where have all the nicknames gone?     Once upon a time you had one — Popeye, Spanky, Hambone — if you were an oysterman working the Bay.     Nowadays, oystermen are mostly gone, along with their nicknames. In Anne Arundel and Calvert counties, only about a dozen commercial oystermen still work.

In hatcheries, science works to jumpstart nature

Restoring oysters and an oyster economy in the Chesapeake starts in hatchery labs, where scientists are filling the gap in hopes nature will take over from there.     The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science Horn Point Hatchery in Cambridge — expanded last year to produce up to two billion spat a year — grows the larvae, nursing the tiny babies as they attach to a hard surface — old oyster shell. Other oyster babies are grown in a smaller state hatchery at Piney Point in St. Mary’s County.

John Page Williams honored for 40 years of conservation

John Page Williams, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s senior naturalist, has been made an Admiral of the Chesapeake by decree of Governor Martin O’Malley. The rank, which dates back to the middle of the last century, recognizes a lifetime of environmental contributions.

Area soccer youth draw ­inspiration from local star

World Cup-bound soccer star Kyle Beckerman grew up here in Chesapeake Country, in Crofton, where many a young player hopes to run in his footsteps.     The 31-year-old has been making a name for himself in the international soccer world through solid performances in the 2013 International Football Federation — or FIFA — Gold Cup and the 2014 World Cup qualification tournament for this summer’s games.

Fight hunger slurping soup from 10 area restaurants

What does it take to get 13 restaurants, four local businesses, three community organizations and dozens of students working toward a common goal?

Anglers from the boat Bluejay show off the 13.8-pound rockfish that earned them third place in this year’s Fish for a Cure tournament. From left: Brian Wood, Capt. Tilghman, Capt. Mike Cassidy, Greg Lilly, Brendan Kelly, Greg Gunning and Marty Cassidy.     Some 200 anglers aboard 52 boats raised $215,000 for the Geaton and JoAnn DeCesaris Cancer Institute at Anne Arundel Medical Center. Since 2007, Fish for a Cure has donated $600,000 — more than half of its $1 million fundraising pledge.

Calvert takes to the kitchen to End Hunger

Van Trammell is about to walk into the best job in his life, the first job in his new career in the food service industry. For 14 years, he served in the Army as a radio technician. Once inactive, he worked dead-end, entry-level food service jobs for near the Maryland minimum wage, $7.25 an hour.     In December, after Van Trammell finishes class, he’ll be working in the kitchens of St. Mary’s College as an international chef, with a chance at career advancement. This step spans the difference between being stuck and moving forward.