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In its 4th year, the Annapolis Irish Festival draws an ever-larger crowd seeking Celtic music and heritage

Two past winners illustrate the magic of make-believe

Creativity comes out to play in Twin Beach Players’ Kids
Playwriting Festival

Talent Machine’s young actors are rehearsing for life

Summer’s darlings, winter’s pests

Fish recipes from the Chesapeake

Grass beds survived storm to welcome waterfowl, Bay babies

Housing stock is on the rise for the young fish and crabs who’ll be sheltering at the top of the Bay come spring. The vast grass-filled Susquehanna Flats, the circular area where the Susquehanna River meets the Bay, appeared unexpectedly healthy in aerial survey images made late last year.     The valuable Bay habitats seem to have survived fall 2011’s deluge of runoff and sediment.     That was a welcome surprise. During Hurricane Irene and Tropical...

Who can resist the water on a mild day?

January’s first Saturday afternoon was a beautiful time to be on the water. It was near 70 degrees, sunny, calm and the incoming tide was making up nicely. Drifting in my small skiff over a shell bottom at the mouth of the Magothy, I threaded a piece of worm on a size-two hook. The upper hook on my top and bottom rig already sported a small, wriggling bull minnow.   Fishfinder     Up in the tributaries is the place to fish in the mid-Bay, with lots of...

Here’s what all the fuss is about

Read any good plans lately?         Maryland’s state plan has no suspense, sex, violence or drugs, not even any characters.     Yet PlanMaryland, which Gov. Martin O’Malley’s proclaimed by executive order last month, is becoming notorious.     The 11-page document has a web page, a Facebook page with nearly 500 likes and a game you can play.     PlanMaryland was four years in the making and a half-...

There’s more to espionage than car chases, explosions and bikinis

In the cinematic world of James Bond and Jason Bourne, spies are men with hard abs, steel fists and fast cars. Theirs is a world of high-octane excitement: car chases, shoot outs and loads of hand-to-hand combat. Usually there’s a pretty lady or two to dote upon them when the action slows.     So when we see pudgy, gray-haired, bespectacled George Smiley (Gary Oldman: Harry Potter) meekly enter a room, we don’t think spy. That’s precisely what Smiley is hoping...

How to use seed catalogs to best advantage

The seed catalogs have been coming in the mail since early December; most will have been mailed by mid January. Many of the catalogs offer bonuses if you order early. You can save money by purchasing early, and you are guaranteed against having to accept substitutions.     Concentrate on the same catalog to save money on packaging and shipping. If you examine servicing charges closely you will notice that as the sub-total increases, the packaging fees decrease.   ...

Regardless of the time, there’s plenty to see

The waning moon rises before midnight Thursday and Friday, with ruddy Mars just a few degrees above. They are high in the south by 4am and in the southwest at dawn.     Monday’s last-quarter moon rises after midnight, just a couple degrees below the bright star Spica. Golden Saturn trails a few degrees to the moon’s east, with the three forming a tight triangle.     Before dawn Wednesday, look for the waning crescent moon at the head of Scorpio, while...

Battling rough seas and eluding pirates on the Indian Ocean

On a perfect day for racing in Capetown, South Africa, Telefonica tightened its stranglehold on first place by winning the in-port race. But the real winners were the three boats that had made it to the starting line after withdrawing from the first leg because of equipment failures.     The following day, all six of the boats began Leg 2, a 5,000-mile slog to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. Hundreds of spectator boats came out to watch that country’s boat, Abu...

One family proves that an environmentally progressive home doesn't have to look like a science project

Martha and Bill Sykora’s 1951 house looks like a conventional, home. Nothing sci-fi about it. Behind the façade, it’s anything but conventional. It will be Anne Arundel County’s first LEED Platinum-certified home.     The Sykora home proves that an environmentally progressive building doesn’t have to look like a science project.    Dreaming Green              When Bill and Martha...

Simple steps to lower your utility bills and ease the pressure on Mother Earth.

Upgrade to a Programmable Thermostat     Keeping your home warm in the winter, or cool in the summer, requires a lot of energy. Control these costs with an energy-saving programmable thermostat. This thermostat is programmed by time and temp so that your heating or central air-conditioning is on when you want it to be and at the temperature you choose.     About $65 at local home improvement centers, it will pay for itself in heating and cooling savings in a year...

Sneade’s donation adds $2,000 to Calvert Hospice’s Festival of Trees

Woodchips and memories will soon be all that’s left of this year’s Christmas trees hauled curbside in Anne Arundel or to Calvert’s convenience centers for recycling. Not so for the 64 trees in Calvert Hospice’s 23rd annual Festival of Trees. Decorated and sponsored throughout Calvert, the trees annually add about $100,000 to Hospice coffers.     The festival is Calvert Hospice’s longest running and biggest fundraiser. It helps support all the...