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School-zone cameras add to General Assembly’s debate

Attention lead-foot drivers: Annapolis is watching you.
    The capital city is setting up speed cameras in 10 school zones. Drivers clocked going 12 mph over the speed limit from 8am to 6pm will be mailed a $40 fine. Tickets from the cameras don’t come with points and won’t be sent to insurance companies.

The Reader

Librarians are our literary guides, anticipating our tastes and putting books to meet them in our hands, audio players and eReaders on demand. When you need a book, you ask a librarian. Here, in a special to Bay Weekly, Anne Arundel County Public Librarians review novels by local authors.

by Robert Blake Whitehill
    Deadrise, the first book in the Ben Blackshaw series, will capture your attention and have you on the edge of your seat from page one when the title character finds a wealth of gold, a dirty bomb and the corpse of his father while diving for oysters in the Chesapeake Bay.

Waterway Access Bill would get Charlie Stek — and you — safely to the water

Charlie Stek wanted his son to experience nature, fishing and paddling rivers. With Maryland’s 10,000 miles of rivers and streams — crossed by 5,176 bridges — that ought to be easy.
    Yet there was no safe way to get to the water.
    To fish the Patuxent, Stek and his son Alex had to park on blind curves, jump guardrails and scamper down banks.

Marshmallow creatures inspire creativity

Sam Born began selling Peeps in the early 1920s, in a small Pennsylvania grocery store he owned, under a sign that read Just Born.
    Nowadays March brings Peeps madness.
    The craze took off in 1953 as cellophane selections of packaged Peeps flew off neighborhood grocery shelves.

Calvert high schoolers learn to lobby to save animals

I can’t resist a kitten. For six years I’ve mothered orphan kittens for Patuxent Animal Welfare Society.
    But it was the numbers I couldn’t help that made me an activist. Every year in Maryland, 45,000 dogs and cats are destroyed. Maryland ranks 39th on the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s state report card on animal-protection issues.

Snatch branches from pussy willows and flowering shrubs

Pussy willows are busting out all over. Forsythia buds are starting to swell as are flowering quince, cherries, almond, weigela and crab apples.

We pay our way; commercial fishermen should, too

Recreational fishing license fees have been increased twice in recent years to meet shortfalls in the Department of Natural Resource’s operating budget for the administration of recreational programs. As a result, DNR brings in enough money to fund its sport-fishing management, including police enforcement.

Gardening expert Rick Darke strives to create “liveable landscapes” using both natives and exotics

You won’t find the word invasive — at least in connection with plants — in gardener, award-winning author, photographer and consultant Rick Darke’s vocabulary. Meet him on March 2, when he makes the trek from his garden oasis in Pennsylvania to Annapolis, and you’ll hear about balancing natives and exotics in the garden....

Red Wigglers demonstrate the inside story of composting

Red Wiggler worms are busy digging and dining in a compost Can-O-Worms at Annmarie Garden.
    Second graders visiting Annmarie Garden on daily CHESPAX field trips explore the world of composting with a little help from the Garden’s squirmy residents, about a thousand in all.

In vernal pools, renewal is under way

This time of year, marbled salamander tadpoles are already swimming through the shallow waters of vernal pools. Vernal pools are temporary wetland habitats in our forests. They hold water long enough during spring to attract special animals that you aren’t likely to see anywhere else. Then the pools dry up, so fish and other large predators can’t live there.