Volume 13, Issue 33 ~ August 18 - 24 2005
Way Downstream

In Maryland, the state will help you harness the sun’s power for your own. After August 22, the Maryland Energy Administration’s $75,000 in grants will help subsidize costs for installing home or business solar water heaters and photovoltaic solar energy projects. The grants will pay up to 20 percent of a system’s cost, with maximum values of $2,000 for solar water heaters; $3,000 for residential solar projects; and $5,000 for nonresidential projects. Last year, the administration awarded 44 grants. See www.energy.maryland.gov.

In Calvert County, planners’ goal to diversify employment and take advantage of proximity to Patuxent River Naval Air Station is taking shape. The first lot in the new Patuxent Business Park in Lusby was purchased last week by Osprey Property Company, a real estate development and investment company. With 30 acres of green space in its campus-like setting and a big water tower, the 92-acre business park is designed as the antithesis to strip malls …
In the Susquehanna River, fishermen are alarmed at what appears to be a collapse of a robust smallmouth bass fishery. In the lower river, thousands of the famous fighters were felled by bacteria this season, and now fishermen complain that they rarely get a strike in what was regarded as one of the finest havens for smallmouths in the East, the Lancaster New Era reports. Researchers blame the problems on low water, sizzling temperatures and nitrogen pollution pouring into the Susquehanna from farm fields on its way to Chesapeake Bay …

Our Creature Feature comes from Norway, where research shows that if you’re thinking of escaping an angry polar bear by water, forget it. Scientists following a tagged polar bear named Skadi, after the Norse goddess of snow, calculated recently that she swam 46 miles in one day and maybe much farther.

“This is an astonishing swim,” observed Jon Aars, a researcher at the Norwegian Polar Institute, adding that polar bears could almost be classified as marine mammals. Follow Skadi’s remarkable travels at www.panda.org/about_wwf/where_we_work/arctic/polar_bear/index.cfmp

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