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Middle-schooler’s project reminds us that we owe today’s big stripers to ’80s moratorium

Eighth-grader Brian Zagalsky has been fishing since he was three years old. Now his love of reeling in big fish is paying double dividends.     The Annapolis Middle Schooler’s class project for National History Day grew into a prize-winning exploration of Maryland’s five-year rockfish moratorium launched in 1985.

Southern Maryland volunteers strut 70 years of service

When a volunteer fire department and a small town come together to host the 70th anniversary of the Southern Maryland Volunteer Fire Department, the result is not your average party but a big city, bright lights affair.     Hosting all 40 departments from Calvert, Charles and St. Mary’s counties for the first time since 1987, the Huntingtown Volunteer Fire Department promises two days, April 29 and 30, rife with tradition and ceremony.

Competitors in the Highland Games put brawn in their brag

You can wear a kilt, dance a jig or play a bagpipe to show the Celt in you. Or you can throw a tree, caber in Celtic parlance. You simply pick it up by the small end and run with it, then flip it end over end.     You’ll see all those gradations and more this Saturday at the 39th Southern Maryland Celtic Festival and Highland Games.

Your paper is hand-delivered each week by a team of dedicated drivers

All the wonderful writing, beautiful cover pages, pleasing layouts and on-time printing wouldn’t mean a thing without the group of six stalwart delivery drivers who get Bay Weekly to your favorite pick-up point each Thursday. Neither rain, nor snow, nor wind, nor blinding early morning sunshine will keep these mighty drivers from their appointed rounds.     You may never see them, so we bring them to you, in celebration of all the drivers who — with this paper — will have delivered 1,219 editions of Bay Weekly over 24 years.

Species depend on your yard and you

What if your backyard were the last place for wildlife to live? What if now were your last chance to help?     It is, and it is.     So says Doug Tallamy, the University of Delaware entomology professor, who comes to Bowie for Earth Day to explain why.     “He has identified an environmental storm front the likes of Silent Spring,” says Elmer Dengler of the Bowie-Crofton Garden Club, a sponsor of Tallamy’s April 21 visit.

Leo James knows better than most what’s swimming down there

In gauging the chances of a successful fishing season, I have learned to distrust the forecasting of state and conservation officials as fraught with politics and self-interest. Worse, my own guesses have proven wrong so often that I’ve learned to stop making them. There has been, however, one source I rely on year after year.     I’ve come to think of this fellow with his thick mane of white hair as the Oracle of Mill Creek.

Up close and personal with nature’s most ­powerful birds

His talons are long. This six-week-old osprey already has the equipment he needs to fend off foes. But biologist Craig Koppie goes barehanded into the nest.     For Koppie, working with raptors has been a passion since he was a boy.     “I come from a family of pilots,” Koppie says. “Everybody has some kind of thrill for flying or fondness for nature, and I’ve been fascinated with flight ever since I knew about airplanes. Instead of piloting planes, some of us fly as biologists.”

Mary Davis transformed herself from a pack-a-day smoker to a ­winning bikini competitor

Today’s Mary Davis is not the Mary Davis she once was.     Chiseled and ripped, with no body fat that shows in a bikini, the 35-year-old mother and businesswoman is a trophy-winning competitive bodybuilder. This month she competes in the Organization of Competitive Bodybuilders Catonsville Conquer to add two more trophies to her legend. In last October’s competition, she came in second as a Novice, the only category she could enter as a newcomer to the sport.

In 40 years, Grace Cavalieri has interviewed and recorded more than 2,000 poets

Anne Arundel County neighbor Grace Cavalieri is poetry’s answer to NPR radio talk show host Diane Rehm — with this exception: Rehm retired last year after 37 years on air. Cavalieri is still going strong.

A night on the dance floor in Davidsonville is good exercise and a great bargain

Back in the woods, off a winding country road in Davidsonville, a bunch of happy people are cutting the rug in the former mess hall of a decommissioned Nike missile base.     It’s good times as usual with the Davidsonville Dance Club, which hosts weekly Saturday night dances, evening lessons during the week and occasional weekend workshops. Founded in 1980, the club’s membership is about 250, equally balanced between men and women.