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These little steps can make a big ­difference in comfort

After Jack Frost has moved in, you’ll wish you’d invested a pleasant autumn afternoon in winter-proofing your home. To keep your home and family sound and snug, move these five simple steps to the top of your chore list.

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Three things you can do

1. Check your smoke detectors
    The batteries in your smoke detectors should be replaced every six months. It’s also important to make sure that interconnected systems function properly. Press the test button on any of the smoke detectors in your home and verify that all of the other detectors ring, too.

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Bay Weekly’s Fall Fix-up Guide will get you started

October is Fix the Fundamentals Month, according to Free Will Astrologer Rob Brezsny. Boy is he right, and not just for the Capricorns among us.
    For this Cancer, at the opposite pole of the zodiac, October is Fix My Fundamentals Month because with the waning of summer’s pleasures, I’ve seen the truth of all that’s been left undone.
    Time to turn to home-front chores, so we can go cozy into winter hibernation.
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Why recycle when there’s so much art left in that can?

My friend Alice was gleaming with triumph after recycling her closetful of old latex paint. Her pride, far beyond the ordinary atta-girl (or boy) we feel after a successful trip to our county recycling center, reflected the enormity of the task she’d unwittingly taken on.
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The seven most dangerous DIY home projects

One in five DIY-ers tackling home renovations ends up in the hospital each year due to accidents, according to the Home Safety Council. Don’t become a statistic; leave these projects to the experts.

Tree Trimming and Removal
    Trees don’t always fall in a predictable manner. It’s best to consult a certified arborist, no matter how handy you are with power tools.
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Increase the odds of a happy ending by doing your part

It’s been three weeks since my home-improvement job was finished and I made the final payment.
    Now comes the test: In the first rain since replacement, my gutters leaked. I made the call and waited.
    Within an hour my call was returned. A few hours later, a craftsman was fixing the problem.
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Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources has proposed new regulations to open more of the Chesapeake Bay to oyster harvesting this fall. These areas were intentionally set aside to protect and increase the Chesapeake’s precious oyster populations. Imagine if it was tree frogs, clown fish or baby seals being overharvested: Public protest would be loud, proud and effective. Just like with those animals, removing existing protections for oysters should evoke an outcry.
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The B&A Trail provides more than a smooth ride

The Baltimore-Annapolis Trail saved Tom Caraker’s life. In 2000, Type II diabetes and multiple strokes tormented the now 81-year-old, depriving him of feeling in his hands. Defying the doctor’s orders he dug a mountain bike out of his shed and went riding through Severna Park. Squeezing handbrakes brought back first tingling, then full feeling.
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Jug Bay protects the Bay and its creatures big and small

Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary in Lothian is one of those treasures we sometimes forget in our jewelry box of Chesapeake natural wonders. More than just one park and beyond typical county offerings, its ever-expanding boundary lines encompass more than 1,700 acres of wetlands, marsh, upland forests and meadows. The park includes the main sanctuary, the Parris Glendening Nature Preserve, the Patuxent Wetland Park and Wootens Landing.
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Dreams come true in Los Angeles

Maryland Olympians swelled with power and pride in competition among 6,500 athletes from 165 countries at this summer’s Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles.
    “I became a leader,” says Chris Dooley of Denton. In competition, the kayaker won a bronze medal in his 200-meter singles race.
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