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People on the move in the Maryland General Assembly

Lawmaking is not the only thing on the minds of the members of Maryland’s 430th General Assembly. Among local highlights:

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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.

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Would you believe it’s our shortest season?

Thursday brings two celestial milestones: it marks the latest sunrise of the year and it marks perihelion, earth’s closest point to the sun.
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Bird artists flock to 2012 competition

Duck stamps have been preserving marsh and wetlands for waterfowl since the Great Depression, when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt created the federal Duck Stamp program to support the purchase of land for national wildlife refuges.
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Hot-blooded Marylanders hoping for icy reception

The frostbite swimming season began January 1 with barely an icicle.
    At 43 degrees, Chesapeake waters were cold. That was the common report from plungers at North Beach’s New Year’s Day Polar Bear Swim.
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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.
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A new approach to winter cheer

The writing in Becky’s New Car is very funny, the Bay Theatre actors very talented. Still, it’s all in service of making adultery funny and survivable with no damage done.
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How many dysfunctions can you cram into two hours?

To say that The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a dark film is like saying Ted Bundy was a bad date.
    Rape. Beatings. Sexual sadism. And that doesn’t even cover the murder mystery at the heart of the film.
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A New Year’s lesson

When the clock struck 12, pushing Saturday, December 31 into Sunday, January 1, in that moment it was thinkable that a new you would rise from bed and into the world on New Year’s Day. Not too early that day.
    A lot of energy rises from that possibility.
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Heat and steam mean the microbes are working

The temperature in the middle of my compost pile ranges from 90 to 120 degrees. I measure using a compost thermometer with a 14-inch stem. The height of the pile has been shrinking rapidly, with the center sinking faster than the edges. Temperature and shrinkage tell me that the microbes are feasting, changing those leaves, weeds and grass clippings into compost.
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