Those innocent-looking sippers are one of the Top 5 plastic ocean pollutants

The least you need to know about solar power

For more than 45 years, Bill Ticknor has kept the 326-year-old St. James’ Parish abreast of history

Plant milkweed to support this ­butterfly’s long migration

1,271 is this week’s magic number

­Put your hand where Nodosaurus tred

Surprised Allison Felton wins the Oscar of Education
        “Could it be me …” Allison Felton wondered in amazement as eyes turned her way in the Annapolis High School auditorium Wednesday, January 24. “When I first started teaching, I really questioned whether teaching was for me, but thanks to support from my colleagues I decided to stick with it,” she said through tears.          Felton, an algebra teacher at Annapolis High School, had just found out she was the...

There’s something like Zen in the art of beer making

       “Home brewers may dream of quitting their day jobs to live off the fruits of their fermentation,” I write in this week’s feature story.       In Homebrew to Microbrew, you’ll read about those dreams and how they fit in the lives of four Chesapeake Country neighbors. I think you’ll find these brewers likeable, as I did, and I hope you make opportunity to find their brews drinkable.         A dream to...
Getting Our Websters Straight       It was Noah Webster who published a dictionary in 1828, not his grandfather, Daniel, or cousin, Daniel. And, although he did not become tutor to George Washington’s stepchildren, it is because he asked not to be considered, as George Washington was considering him as a candidate. My source: The Forgotten Founding Father, by Joshua Kendall.       P.S. I was taught cursive and still use it, although as I am at 66 years...

The cold-weather cycle opens up ice fishing at Deep Creek Lake

       A number of fish lay scattered upon the ice: slab-sized crappie, a few big northern pike, some nice yellow perch, a beautiful walleye and a few giant bluegills. It was cold, really cold, but the anglers gathered at Deep Creek Lake were glowing with excitement.       A La Niña weather pattern predicted for this winter has fallen upon Maryland big time. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency has been studying the effects of this weather cycle, and...

The best comes from your own patch

        Once you have eaten fresh homemade horseradish sauce, you will never want to eat the store-bought brands. It’s even better if the roots come from your own garden.        If you grow horseradish plants, now is the time to convert the roots to sauce. The hard freeze a couple weeks ago killed the foliage, and that dieback is essential to making a horseradish sauce that has the kick of a mule.         I have discovered...

Humanity is the danger in this depressing western

      Captain Joseph Blocker (Christian Bale: The Promise) is an Indian fighter. He knows the tribes, customs and languages. He’s made a career of tracking, moving and culling them from U.S. territories. He’s committed atrocities, and been paid back in kind.        Ready to retire with his demons, he gets a last assignment before riding off into the sunset. Imprisoned Cheyenne chief Yellow Hawk (Wes Studi: Empire of the Heart) is dying of cancer,...
Is cursive an evolutionary dodo?
       Can you sign your name in cursive?        For much of American history, handwriting was a hallmark of education and character, taught in classrooms as part of the triumvirate of reading, ’riting and ’rithmatic. Students who persevered through eight grades took as much pride in their penmanship as John Hancock, whose graceful cursive on the Declaration of Independence made his name a synonym for signature, as in sign your John Hancock...

Fourth-grade student artists tell it four ways

       Kathy Wolfstone-Smith took an artistic gamble last summer.        Wolfstone-Smith, who teaches arts and humanities at Shady Side Elementary, asked the Captain Avery Museum to display her students’ work.         “Kudos to them for being so supportive,” she says. “At the time we set this up, I had no way of knowing how it was going to turn out.”         That installation, which...

With bonus parking tips for the ­legislative session

      Parking in Annapolis is always a challenge. We are a city constrained by water, historic districts and two college campuses, all limiting the creation of more parking space. The modern solution is to make what parking is available easier to use, and these days that revolves around the internet, our computers and our mobile devices.         As legislators, lobbyists, demonstrators, concerned citizens and the curious pour into town for the 2018 session,...

This time of year, a bird eats what it can get

      Great blue herons in the Chesapeake Bay area do not migrate in the winter. They struggle to find food when the waters freeze. They will look to areas of flowing water and sometimes stake out grassy fields to catch mice and small birds.        Herons from the snowier north usually migrate to warmer climates.       This Chesapeake heron has caught a hogchoker.       The hogchoker is a flatfish similar to a flounder. In the...