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The shells reminded me of the Star ­Spangled Banner. But these bombs were not bursting in air; they were hitting ships.

New mascot replaces PFD Panda

Telltale signs, and how to fight back

To experience our past, I had to travel to Argentina

Embrace the madness

Students compete at the Battle by the Bay FIRST LEGO League robot tournament

atch robotic teams in action — applying science, technology and quick thinking — at the ­Second Annual Battle by the Bay FIRST LEGO League robot tournament on Saturday, December 8, in the Center for Applied Learning and Technology at Anne Arundel Community College.     Students and their Mindstorm robots compete from 1:30 to 3:30pm with awards at 4pm.     An international program founded by LEGO and technology entrepreneur Dean Kamen, inventor of...

Make the Cookie Connection at Skipper’s Pier

Cooking and baking are holiday rituals. We take sweets as gifts and uphold tradition with family recipes as family bonding and tradition.     If you fear you’ll come up short this busy season, Skipper’s Pier in Deale offers an alternative.     Owner and pastry chef Jessica LeCronier will do the work for you. On Saturday, December 22, she invites you to fill a tin or basket at Skipper’s first annual Cookie Connection.     “...

Mike Callahan’s Chesapeake Driftwood Tree

Mike Callahan was searching for creative ways to trim his Christmas tree this year. The president of the Southern Maryland Audubon Society wanted a unique, nature-themed tree that he created with his own hands. When a friend suggested using what Chesapeake Bay had to offer, Callahan hit the beaches, hunting and gathering for his creation. At home, he put his hands and mind to work.     Sticking with his nature theme, Callahan’s bird and owl ornaments are threaded with...

Time’s End? Or a New Cycle’s Beginning?

If you’re nervous about numbers, the combination coming up this week could give you quite a scare. So portentous is this once-a-century triple 12 that it might — or might not — coincide with the end of the world.     Or was it 122112 when time stopped on the Mayan calendar?     Cross-cultural shaman Paul Sivert of The Shamanic Healing Institute in Savage, Maryland, puts a more positive slant on that coincidence of numbers.     ...

Help map out long-term climate changes

Calling all wanna-be weathermen: You can help measure long-term climate changes with 11,000 wanna-be weathermen across the country.     The National Weather Service is looking for volunteers in Calvert County’s Dunkirk area to take daily maximum and minimum temperatures and measure rain and snowfall. The Service will train and equip you.     The Service has collected 120 years of data to help understand floods, droughts, heat and cold waves. The data you...

Get help with your bills as winter blows in

As the temperature goes down, utility bills go up. The Anne Arundel County Community Action Agency wants to help.     The agency helps eligible Anne Arundel Countians pay utility bills. The state is the ultimate source of funding, so you’d be getting a bit of your taxes back.     Cierra Fisher, the outreach coordinator, got so few applications from Southern Anne Arundel County that she did a little investigating. After a few trips down Rt. 2 to talk with...

Store-bought Christmas wreaths and roping may need resurrection

At a winter Saturday morning farmers market on Riva Road, a shopper approached me with a Christmas wreath problem. In a week on her door, a wreath she had purchased at a local big-box store was turning gray-green, and its needles felt dry.     I was not surprised.     Most of the Christmas wreaths and roping sold in big-box stores, grocery stores and many garden centers are made in New Mexico, North Carolina, New Jersey, the West Coast and Canada starting in...

Rockfish are biting, and you’ve got until December 15 to catch them

As December opened, we’d dropped anchor off the Hackett’s can in 35 feet of water. I set up the chum bag off our stern and had cut some pieces of fresh alewife, when suddenly everything started going right — and wrong — at the same time.     My friend Mo had already baited and set out one rod and was casting his second when his first outfit got hit hard. He had neglected to set his bait running clicker. When the fish took off against the free spool, it...

These long-distance travelers migrate from the Arctic for our mild winters

The swans have landed.         In November, tundra swans succeed osprey as Chesapeake Country’s big new birds.     The snow-white swans average four feet in length and weigh between 13 to 20 pounds.     Tundra swans travel over 3,000 miles from above the Arctic Circle in Canada and Alaska, where they make their nests and babies. Upwards of 95,000 tundra swans winter in the relative warmth of the East Coast, from New Jersey to...

Three planets and the moon greet the dawn

The waning crescent moon rises around midnight at week’s end and is high in the south come dawn. By the weekend, it rises in the wee hours of the night. Look for it just one degree below blue-white Spica before dawn Sunday. The next morning the moon rises later and is just a few degrees away from golden Saturn. Tuesday it is a thin crescent in the east, just two degrees below Venus.     The moon isn’t alone in the pre-dawn skies Monday and Tuesday, as it aligns...