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Delegate Bob Costa and his deciding vote for the Civil Marriage Protection Act ... A Bay Weekly Conversation

At first glance, it seems unlikely that a truck-loving, firefighting Republican from rural Anne Arundel County would give the Civil Marriage Protection Act its victory vote, moving same-sex marriage through the House of Delegates and a step closer to law in Maryland.
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Our sister planets are at peak display this week

This is a week for watching the planets. Mercury is emerging from the glow of twilight in its best appearance of the year. Higher above, Venus and Jupiter are drawing together on their way to an incredible conjunction. Mars reaches opposition and is at its largest and brightest for the year. Saturn’s there, too, a golden sentinel visible from 10pm until dawn.
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Get to know local amphibians

This year’s elongated February marked a different sort of Leap Year. FrogWatch USA joined with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums for an amphibious census.
    With nearly one-third of known amphibious species thought to be in danger of extinction, FrogWatch USA is hopping mad.
    You can help combat species endangerment and extinction in several ways.
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There’s a thin line between straightforward and uninteresting

Modern thrillers are typically bogged down with fantastical plots, unnecessary twists and red herrings. Gone avoids most of these pitfalls with a simple thriller plotline that’s easy to follow. In doing so, it becomes a boring potboiler.
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This root is easy to grow, but ­processing it is tearful, hard work

If you’ve been smart enough to plant horseradish, your reward is at hand. Now that the tops of the horseradish plants have died back to the ground, it is time to dig up the roots and make horseradish with a kick. Add fresh homemade horseradish to cocktail sauce, horseradish sauce or your favorite baked beans, and you’ll feel that kick.
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Fortune favors the relentless

The fish were big and fat: two limits of golden-yellow perch that barely fit into a large bucket. What a haul! Beautiful, healthy fish, most over 12 inches and a few that exceeded 14. Unfortunately they weren’t ours.
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Think your family is dysfunctional? You’ve not seen The Lion in Winter.

The Lion in Winter, now playing at 2nd Star Productions, is a masterful, gleeful verbal chess game. The players are intense because the fate of a nation and a family dynasty are at stake in this game of ever-changing checkmates.
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See the miracle four young student actors achieve with the guidance of pros

Imagine for a moment that you can neither see nor hear, that you careen through life as an animal trapped in a silent, black maze.Omnipotent beings collude against your wild frustration until only your savagery can wear them down enough to earn you meager bribes and scraps of their exasperated affection. Such is the life of six-year-old Helen Keller.
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How many planets can you spot?

The waxing crescent moon and Mercury appear low in the west-southwest after sunset Thursday. While the moon is easy to spot, Mercury is 10 degrees lower, buried amid twilight’s glow. Your chance to catch the innermost planet hinges between its own setting, around 6:45, and the sun’s glare, which doesn’t give way to full darkness until 7pm. Scanning the horizon with a pair of binoculars will help....

There’s a dark side to surgically implanted medical devices

“Watchdogs Want More Oversight of Artificial Knees and Hips.”
    So read the February 21 headline from Maryland News Connection, a startup statewide news service, leading us to wonder what kind of watchdogs they were talking about.
    We should have taken the story seriously, but we couldn’t get beyond the headline.
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