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Separated from Earth by four billion miles, the ­New ­Horizons spacecraft explores the outer limits

     Stakes were high and tension palpable New Year’s Day at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, as Sarah Hamilton and her colleagues waited for a long-distance radio transmission confirming either a successful mission or a failure.

Allison Colden tweaked oyster reef balls to help break up dead zones

      A fiction writer imagining a character destined to become a key figure in Bay oyster restoration could save much time by basing the depiction on real-life Allison Colden, a fisheries scientist with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. 

Fourth-generation apprentices in clock repair 

          As an apprentice in grandparents Rick and Doris Grahams’ clock repair shop in Davidsonville, Noah Kline combines his loves of tinkering and family.          Kline began his clock repair apprenticeship at Maryland Clock Company this summer at his grandfather’s 65th birthday.          The former auto mechanic now considers himself both a “car and clock doctor.” 
     Harry Potter in a museum? Hard to believe, but we’re about to hit the 20th anniversary of the U.S. publication of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Yes, those Hogwarts pupils are grown-up wizards now. The yearning for simpler magical times might be enough to draw one to the New York Historical Society, where the British Library exhibition of Harry Potter: A History of Magic is entering its final weeks.
From electric to plug-in to hybrid, there are more ways than ever to drive clean
    By now, we all know about the ­Toyota Prius.     I’m talking about the world’s best-selling gas-electric hybrid: a car that uses both an electric motor and a gasoline engine. You can drive it just like any other car yet use much less fuel. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that today’s Prius gets 52 miles per gallon in a mix of city and highway driving, compared to 32 miles per gallon for the similarly sized, similarly powerful, gas-fueled Toyota Corolla.

Ornithologist Bruce Beehler delves into his northward journey with spring’s songbirds

     Traveling via car, canoe, bicycle and on foot, Bruce Beehler, a Smithsonian ornithologist, wildlife researcher and lifelong adventurer, followed migrating birds for four months. Starting in late March 2015, he watched birds as they crossed into the U.S. at the southern border and as they traveled through the American heartland to their nesting grounds in the north woods of Ontario. 

Young builders hone their skills with bricks and blocks

      If you need help building something new, ask a kid.       LEGOs provide endless stimulation to kids’ creation. That’s why Wayne Speight of Speight Studio Architects created GALO — the Greater Annapolis LEGO Open.
Evelyn’s adds to its gallery of produce
      The fruits of Brandon Stalker’s labors are visible inside and outside his West Annapolis restaurant.        Inside Evelyn’s, food is organic, local and sustainably sourced.        Outside, tall stalks of asparagus shoot from Evelyn’s front lawn, a giant pear sculpture nests on the corner of Annapolis Street and Gidding Avenue and a lustrous eggplant shines in vegetative virtue.

If I got a Ginny doll, I’d never again want for anything. Life would be complete.

     ’Twas the week before Christmas, 1951, when Sandra unleashed a full-fledged crisis on her second grade classmates at Marlboro Elementary, announcing at recess that there was no Santa.       “He’s a fake. It was our parents who filled the stockings and put presents under the tree. But once we knew the truth,” she cautioned, “they’d likely stop, so we shouldn’t let on that we knew.”

I don’t remember if my parents laughed like my sisters did or if they just smiled

     It was Christmas in the early 1950s; people just getting over World War II. Wages were such that raising three children, paying for a house, heat, food and a car was stretching dollars to the limit.      I attended Catholic school in Baltimore, complete with Dominican sisters and priests of some order. I rode a bus to and from school as it was several miles away. We had a Christmas tree in the school hallway, decorated no doubt with ancient holy ornaments.