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America’s No. 1 animal rights advocate joins state activists to celebrate a landmark legislative year
It has been a very good year to be an animal in Maryland. Propelled by the volunteer organization Maryland Votes for Animals and bi-partisan support, five animal protection bills became law in 2011.
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Natural Resources Police officer and historian Lt. Gregory Bartles brings home “the Holy Grail of Department of Natural Resources history”

Before it sat for many years at a gas station near Baltimore ... Before it stood guard in front of an American Legion hall ... Before it was a yard ornament for the inventor of Bromo-Seltzer ... And before it battled 19th century pirates in the Chesapeake, the Dahlgren 12-pound Light Boat Howitzer was born in the heart of Confederacy at the Tredegar Iron Works in Richmond, Virginia.
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You’ll find good news aplenty in this week’s paper — and some bright spots in the classifieds, too

Editor and publisher Sandra Olivetti Martin, vacationing with husband and Bay Weekly co-founder Bill Lambrecht, both of whom celebrate birthdays within a week of the year’s mid-point, asked for a week off from her usual letter. So I write you in her stead, aquake at the responsibility of filling this coveted space.
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The stars and planets are the original fireworks

While these are the shortest nights of the year, many a fond memory is set star-gazing on warm summer evenings. And in between the bursts of flame and the clouds of smoke honoring our independence this week, Friday’s new moon provides a dark backdrop highlighting the greatest show in the heavens.
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While they don’t bite, mosquito-like giants do pester

First it was the invasion of the stinkbugs that had Bay Country residents bugged. Those pests have, for the most part, left our homes for the outdoors — unfortunately to eat their way through summer crops. But that’s another story.
    Now it’s another flying insect driving some of us nuts.
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This update on Shakespeare is fun all the way to the interplanetary nether regions

Twin Beach Players’ Return to the Forbidden Planet is a howler, and I mean that in a good way. It’s original and it feels spontaneous, but a ton of work had to go into this production. The large cast, comprising 14 teenagers and one adult, take over the spacious stage for a romp that takes us out to the spatial interplanetary nether regions, and it’s fun all the way.
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JJ Abrams writes a love note to Stephen Spielberg with aliens, explosions and boyish wonder

Did you ever wonder what would have happened if ET had been found by the government instead of that adorable moppet Elliott?
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The celebration of a nation of immigrants

It’s no wonder that fireworks are Independence Day’s signature. The holiday is explosive with emotion.
    And packed with participation.
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The buyer needs to beware — and to be aware

To get the topsoil you want, you’ll have to be precise in your order.     
    Ask a sand and gravel company to bring a load of topsoil without any more specific instruction, and you may get more, or less, than you bargained for.

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Nobody’s the loser when perch is on the table

We were horribly late. The informal perch tournament had started promptly at 10am, but it was closer to 11 before our boat finally joined the fray. Easing up to the first stop on the planned search pattern, Roger Sexhauer and I made quick casts to within inches of some ancient pilings just off the rocky shoreline while Mike Ebersberger, our captain, set a small anchor.

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