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This week Punxsutawney Phil gave us the not-unexpected news that winter will continue for six more weeks. To help stave off the chill, Bay Weekly has compiled an array of 18 films guaranteed to fight off cabin fever.

–compiled by Diana Beechener

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Grab your binoculars and start spotting

Cardinals devouring holly berries; nuthatches scooting down sweet gums; tundra swans hooting on the Bay. Get ready to count them all during the 17th annual Great Backyard Bird Count, February 14 through 17.
    Citizen scientists all over the world count birds for the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in conjunction with the National Audubon Society and Bird Studies Canada. Developed over the four-day period is an annual snapshot of bird population trends.
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World Class; Poems Inspired by the ESL Classroom, by J.C. Elkin

My students arrive in a dust storm of change. …    
their tongues in accents
lush as rustling crop leaves.

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Your Source for Good Eating on Chesapeake Bay

Welcome to Bay Weekly’s annual Dining Guide, a tour of good eats and good eating. In this special, you’ll visit the many restaurants, delis, groceries and seafood markets whose advertising in our pages brings you Bay Weekly 52 weeks of each year. Most are locally owned, and all are in our neighborhoods.
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Libra’s Zubeneschamali is unique

If you’re up before the sun, you can’t miss Venus, which rises in the southeast by 6am. A half-hour later, this Morning Star is ablaze a good 30 degrees above the horizon, brighter than anything but the moon and the coming sun. As the horizon brightens, Venus climbs higher, growing dimmer until blinking out of view by 7:30am. Wednesday morning, January 29, look for Venus just four degrees above a thin, waning crescent moon before dawn.
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Donations to the Wig Room strike a blow for self-esteem

“Speaking on behalf of women, I know how it feels to lose one’s hair,” says two-time cancer survivor Pam Sherbia of Odenton.
    After her first diagnosis in 2006, Sherbia learned how formidable an opponent cancer is.
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Hunger and adventure bring seals to our warm waters

Seals aren’t an everyday sighting in Chesapeake Country. So if you happen to spot one lounging on a regional beach, you’ve reason to be impressed.
    If you haven’t seen one yet, keep looking, the experts say.
    “Seals are natural visitors,” reports Jennifer Dittmar, manager of animal rescue at the National Aquarium in Baltimore.
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Snowstorm memories from long ago bring a real tingle

Sending out school buses to pick up kids at the usual early hour on the slick morning of Friday, January 10, has Anne Arundel and Calvert school administrators
groveling and parents howling.
    When I was a kid, we’d walk miles to school in the worst weather winter could throw at us.
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Out of Battle of the Bands, ­Severna Park teen group is going big

The Anne Arundel County Battle of the Bands means music, which is serious business for Annapolis area youth.
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Whole Foods’ confectioners compete to become Top Cake

Cutthroat Kitchen, Cupcake Wars and Top Chef: We’ve grown to love televised cooking competitions.
    Whole Foods Market’s Top Cake competition skipped television for an on-location reality show. To crown the Mid-Atlantic Region’s best cake decorator, Whole Foods invited real people to its Annapolis store to taste and admire. If you showed up early enough, you could even get a ticket to choose a cake to take home.
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