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Photographer Jay Fleming documents life on — and in — the water

Mack the Lab is Maryland’s chief apiary sniffer

High school band tops in Maryland

Clear skies forecast for this weekend’s Chesapeake Bay Blues Festival

Jeanne Kelly’s Encore Chorale proves music can reverse aging

Building a safe place to launch lives

My favorite stories of 2016

Together, we read a lot of stories over the course of a year. Many of them give you a moment’s insight or delight. Others tell you just what you need to know. Some of them stay in your mind, even after all those words have come between you and them all that time ago. So I can still recount stories we ran five, or 10 or 23 years ago.     Before I close the book on 2016 (yes, I really do have a large, heavy book labeled Vol. XXIV), I want to revisit some of my favorites this...

Based on August Wilson’s play of the same name, Fences is a stirring drama about the effects of systemic racism on the black family

From the outside, Troy Maxson (Denzel Washington: The Magnificent Seven) has a pretty good life. He has a steady job as a garbage collector, an adoring wife named Rose (Viola Davis: Suicide Squad) and a nice house in a Pittsburgh neighborhood. A born storyteller with a gift for hyperbole, Troy enjoys spinning colorful yarns as he drinks his weekly bottle of gin with his coworkers. In the late 1950s, it’s as close to living the American Dream as any black man could hope to get.  ...

The story here is all about living up to expectations

Once I got married, it seemed as though the children started coming along on a regular basis like the books in the Bible: Matthew, Mark, Luke, Elizabeth, Ester and Ruth. They just kept coming. That’s what good Catholic wives and mothers did back in the day. I learned how to stretch the grocery budget with lots of rice and pasta. Money was always tight, especially at Christmas time.     One year, I was so excited to get a part-time job at the mall wrapping gifts. What a...
After being at the helm of the 8 Days a Week calendar for over a year, I feel as if I live and breathe calendars. So it’s a good thing I love a good calendar. One of the best tools for organization and prioritizing and goal setting, a calendar becomes a thing of beauty when used repeatedly. And beautiful they can be. We live in a region that lends itself spectacularly to photography. Those photos grace 12 months of pages in the wall calendars that came across my desk this month. In this...

NORAD, Civil Air Patrol track Santa’s flight

When Santa enters North American airspace, the North American Aerospace Defense Command switches its defense mission to monitoring his travels around the world in his sleigh.     “Every year on December 24, 1,500 volunteers staff telephones and computers to answer calls and e-mails from around the world,” according to www.norad.mil. Live updates come in seven languages on the NORAD Tracks Santa website: www.noradsanta.org.     You can also tune...

City Dock menorah-lighting ­celebrates the joy of Judaism

The Jewish holiday of Hanukkah begins at sunset on December 24 and continues through January 1, adding eight more days of lights, special meals and gift-giving to the festivities of the season. It’s an unusual extension, as Christmas and Hanukkah have overlapped only a handful of times over the last century. Starting on the 25th day of the Hebrew month of Kislev — which may occur at any time from late November to late December — Hanukkah is a moveable feast, while Christmas is...

Scout lures wood ducks to Franklin Point State Park

Wood ducks are swamp-loving birds, so Shady Side, with its historical nickname The Great Swamp, ought to be the kind of place they’d like. All the more so Franklin Point State Park, 477 acres of wood and waterfront on the Shady Side Peninsula, where humans are welcome but not common.     Wood ducks are welcome, too. To add curb appeal to the park, Boy Scout Reggie Scerbo, 18, of West River, has built and installed seven nesting boxes that satisfy the requirements of the...

There’s room in the inn at local churches

Christmas is upon us; New Year’s to follow. It’s time for new beginnings.     Just ask Oliver Sellman, now of Severna Park, who made a tough choice one Christmas season and, in the process, turned his life around.     It happened in 2008, at a church along the Baltimore-Annapolis corridor, where Sellman was among the guests receiving shelter and spiritual support through Arundel House of Hope.     Each year more than 75 Annapolis and...

Good health or the Lemming Effect?

Charging into a nearly freezing body of water in the middle of the winter is a tradition for people around the world. Frequently, the plunge is made on New Year’s Day.     The first New Year’s Day Polar Bear Plunge is credited to Coney Island, New York, in 1903. Founder Bernarr Macfadden believed that a dip in the ocean during the winter could be “a boon to stamina, virility and immunity.” The Coney Island Polar Bear Club takes ocean plunges every Sunday...

Maybe, just maybe, you will

We expect great things this time of year.         No wonder, for the winter holidays set expectations high.     December 21’s winter solstice promises us that, Big Picture, everything will turn out all right. Despite the gathering chill, we will not spin off into the frozen blackness of space. Light now begins its slow gain. Sunset moves later day by day from its earliest, 4:44pm on December 12, until by January 1 we have gained 10 minutes of...