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It takes mental agility to compete at MathCounts

Can you answer these questions?     The sum of the digits of 2017 is 10. What is the next year this will occur?     The number 2017 is prime. What was the most recent year before 2017 that was also a prime number?     If the NCAA 64-team tournament bracket consists of four regions, and the winner of each region will be part of the Final Four or semifinals of the tournament, how many possible Final Four team combinations are there?

Great-great-grandfather Samuel Barr’s graceful cursive seems in itself an art of love

Editor’s preface: If you do not burn your love letters, they may outlive you. Because contributing writer Diana Dinsick’s great-great-grandmother did not heed that caution, the romantic passion of her husband-to-be lived on for 200 years, finally becoming a love story for you to share.

Tips from a local romance novelist

When Cupid flings his arrows next week, will love be in the cards for you? It can be, if you make his arrows your pen and write your own love story.     Romance novels are hugely popular, according to the Romance Writers of America Association. Certainly for self-publishers that’s true, as 40 percent of the e-book market share on Amazon is romances. Among mass-market paperbacks, romances are top earners.

From one waterfront restaurant comes another

“We’re always looking ahead and exploring new restaurant ideas and locations,” Julia Jones, owner of The Point Crab House and Grill in Arnold, told Bay Weekly last August.     Now Jones and her partner-husband Bobby have found the spot.     The pair who created a million-dollar waterfront destination on Mill Creek off the Magothy River are expanding to Herring Bay.     Ketch 22 will open at Herrington Harbour South Marina Resort by summer. A complete remodel is underway.

Oystering takes muscle, hope and political savvy

It’s still dark when I park my car at the public boat ramp in Solomons where I am to meet Ryan Mould, who drives 46 miles from Shady Side each weekday to oyster on a public bar below the Solomons Island bridge. As I walk out on the pier, the lights of four or five boats are hovering over the oyster bars, drifting slowly. At 7:05am I see the lights of Aquaholic approaching the pier to pick me up. Like all the others oystering this day all over the Bay, Ryan and his mate, Mike, will start at daylight, 7:21am.

Building an edible forest that mimics nature and may even fix environmental damage

An edible forest sounds like something out of Willy Wonka. Ripening pears and bright berries drip from trees. Branches brim with cherries, blackberries and blueberries.     The food forest is an idea ripe for the picking. It’s an idea Birgit Sharp, of Fairhaven, is already planting.

In the Maryland General Assembly, C. Rhoades Whitehill reads every last bill … Out loud

With up to 2,000 bills churning through each chamber in the Maryland General Assembly, you might wonder who reads them all.       Legislators? Not a chance.     Who you gonna call? Only one number in Annapolis, that of C. Rhoades Whitehill, Reading Clerk for the Maryland House of Delegates.     How many? Last year, Whitehill says, “That was 1,600, nearer to 1,700.”

Scout lures wood ducks to Franklin Point State Park

Wood ducks are swamp-loving birds, so Shady Side, with its historical nickname The Great Swamp, ought to be the kind of place they’d like. All the more so Franklin Point State Park, 477 acres of wood and waterfront on the Shady Side Peninsula, where humans are welcome but not common.     Wood ducks are welcome, too. To add curb appeal to the park, Boy Scout Reggie Scerbo, 18, of West River, has built and installed seven nesting boxes that satisfy the requirements of the picky and distinctive species.

There’s room in the inn at local churches

Christmas is upon us; New Year’s to follow. It’s time for new beginnings.     Just ask Oliver Sellman, now of Severna Park, who made a tough choice one Christmas season and, in the process, turned his life around.     It happened in 2008, at a church along the Baltimore-Annapolis corridor, where Sellman was among the guests receiving shelter and spiritual support through Arundel House of Hope.

Bay Weekly’s Guide to Giving to the Generous

On your holiday giving list, the easiest people are the wanters. Their wish lists are long. We live in a material world where clever and determined shopping can satisfy just about any whim.     Not so easy are the givers. Generosity is a hard act to follow. People used to doing for others never think of asking for themselves     So what they want for Christmas, or for Chanukah, you’ll have to ask them.