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Lessons from Build-A-Bear to the magical Chesapeake Christmas tree

When its lights went on, the Christmas tree seemed suspended above the Bay like magic. The suspension was an illusion. The tree stood on the solid base of the Fairhaven community swim platform in Herring Bay. But the magic was — and remains — real.
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These long-distance travelers migrate from the Arctic for our mild winters

The swans have landed.    
    In November, tundra swans succeed osprey as Chesapeake Country’s big new birds.
    The snow-white swans average four feet in length and weigh between 13 to 20 pounds.
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Get help with your bills as winter blows in

As the temperature goes down, utility bills go up. The Anne Arundel County Community Action Agency wants to help.
    The agency helps eligible Anne Arundel Countians pay utility bills. The state is the ultimate source of funding, so you’d be getting a bit of your taxes back.
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Help map out long-term climate changes

Calling all wanna-be weathermen: You can help measure long-term climate changes with 11,000 wanna-be weathermen across the country.
    The National Weather Service is looking for volunteers in Calvert County’s Dunkirk area to take daily maximum and minimum temperatures and measure rain and snowfall. The Service will train and equip you.
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Time’s End? Or a New Cycle’s Beginning?

If you’re nervous about numbers, the combination coming up this week could give you quite a scare. So portentous is this once-a-century triple 12 that it might — or might not — coincide with the end of the world.
    Or was it 122112 when time stopped on the Mayan calendar?
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Mike Callahan’s Chesapeake Driftwood Tree

Mike Callahan was searching for creative ways to trim his Christmas tree this year. The president of the Southern Maryland Audubon Society wanted a unique, nature-themed tree that he created with his own hands. When a friend suggested using what Chesapeake Bay had to offer, Callahan hit the beaches, hunting and gathering for his creation. At home, he put his hands and mind to work.
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Students compete at the Battle by the Bay FIRST LEGO League robot tournament

atch robotic teams in action — applying science, technology and quick thinking — at the ­Second Annual Battle by the Bay FIRST LEGO League robot tournament on Saturday, December 8, in the Center for Applied Learning and Technology at Anne Arundel Community College.
    Students and their Mindstorm robots compete from 1:30 to 3:30pm with awards at 4pm.
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Craig Shelden is a believer

Craig Shelden’s two-car garage is his refuge from the world. From this lair, he runs his spare-time robotics business, Shelden Robotics. The two family vehicles are parked outside the double doors.
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Anne Arundel SPCA adoption sets a record

Forget fighting mobs at the mall for Black Friday deals.
    The SCPA of Anne Arundel County offered the best deal around.
    Any black animal — even with a speck of black — went up for adoption for free or at reduced rates.
    Seventy cats and 23 dogs qualified for the Black Friday sale.
    Last year, 18 animals were
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Crab Pots Are Evergreen in Chesapeake Beach

Chesapeake Beach has a new Christmas tree.    
    It’s not pine, spruce or fir.
    It’s 255 crabs pots stacked 20 feet tall and trimmed with buoys, garland, lights, soccer-sized sparkly balls and a larger-than-life blue crab.
    The nautical tree is dedicated to the watermen of Chesapeake Country.
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