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Grab your binoculars and start spotting

Cardinals devouring holly berries; nuthatches scooting down sweet gums; tundra swans hooting on the Bay. Get ready to count them all during the 17th annual Great Backyard Bird Count, February 14 through 17.
    Citizen scientists all over the world count birds for the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in conjunction with the National Audubon Society and Bird Studies Canada. Developed over the four-day period is an annual snapshot of bird population trends.
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World Class; Poems Inspired by the ESL Classroom, by J.C. Elkin

My students arrive in a dust storm of change. …    
their tongues in accents
lush as rustling crop leaves.

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Donations to the Wig Room strike a blow for self-esteem

“Speaking on behalf of women, I know how it feels to lose one’s hair,” says two-time cancer survivor Pam Sherbia of Odenton.
    After her first diagnosis in 2006, Sherbia learned how formidable an opponent cancer is.
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Hunger and adventure bring seals to our warm waters

Seals aren’t an everyday sighting in Chesapeake Country. So if you happen to spot one lounging on a regional beach, you’ve reason to be impressed.
    If you haven’t seen one yet, keep looking, the experts say.
    “Seals are natural visitors,” reports Jennifer Dittmar, manager of animal rescue at the National Aquarium in Baltimore.
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But not without changing our world

In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.
     –Abraham Lincoln

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Noxzema comes to The Baltimore Museum of Industry

From COVERGIRL cosmetics to Noxzema, Maryland has a legacy of good skin. For those two boons to ­beauty, we owe thanks to turn-of-the-20th-century Baltimore pharmacist George Bunting. Bunting invented Noxzema to relieve sunburn. Perhaps he was beseeched by clients who failed to factor in the sun’s strength as they sought relief from summer heat on rivers, Bay or oceans.
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The big three for this year’s session

Now that we know what a polar vortex is, it’s time to move onto the next lesson: polar opposites. On that subject, this year’s General Assembly will teach you all you need to learn. On the big three environmental issues up for debate, one side’s going to be talking from the South Pole, the other from the North. You’ll be in the middle. To help bring you in from the cold, we offer this primer:

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Test your knowledge and keep your brain sharp this winter

Lindsey Lohan’s clothing line, called 6126, is named in honor of what actress?
    In the early 1930s, this psychologist invented a laboratory apparatus used in the experimental analysis of behavior?
    What was the first NBA team to relocate?
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Propagate a jungle of African violets using my foolproof method

Beyond their good looks and winter bloom, African violets have another charm. They’re so easy to propagate in the home that they raise your self-esteem. Here’s my foolproof method:
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Meter rates down to $1

Once you’d paid the meter, you might as well have gone to D.C. as to Annapolis. Both capitals charge $2 per hour for meter parking. That’s 25 cents for seven and a half minutes, or 16 quarters to fill a meter. No wonder we who park in both cities carry rolls of quarters.
    For Annapolis, the burden is lifted. Until March 31, rates fall to a mere $1 per hour at the city’s 384 meters.
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