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A tottering old soul

King Coal’s crown seems to be teetering.
    The second fuel of America’s prosperity may be losing the race to the future, just as wood did before it. Scarcity is not the problem; many of America’s coalfields continue producing high yields. At issue are the consequences of the fossil fuel’s combustion: carbon pollution clogging air and lungs.
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Snowy Owls popping up all over

Is it a bird? A plane? A creature flown out of Harry Potter? Or a white paper bag frozen in a field?
    This year, it may be a snowy owl.
    The white bird with bright, yellow eyes, huge talons and a five-foot wingspan is usually a rare sight in Chesapeake Country. So rare that the first-ever snowy owl sighting and photo was recorded in Calvert County this week.
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Stuff their stocking with a good book or video

The dedicated outdoorsman or woman is, by definition, equipped. The few things such a person might lack are likely so specialized as to be a mystery to outdoors outsiders.
    Books and movies, however, fall into a safe-gift zone. If you’re intent on pleasantly surprising an outdoors lover with your gift, the following suggestions might help.
    Kayak Fishing (Sportsman’s Best www.Florida
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The lessons at Anne Arundel Community ­College’s Culinary Institute will last well after the new yearBob Melamud

Food eaten between November 1 and New Year’s Day contains no calories. I suspect I’m not alone in honoring this conviction. Yet a lifetime of stepping on the scale January 2 has convinced me that our cherished belief is a cruel urban legend.
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The trip starts with Maryland’s Bike and Foot Master Plan

Hey, car … van … SUV … RV … bus … truck, can you give walkers and bikers a little room?
    If that’s your plea, you’ll find fascinating reading in Maryland’s Draft Twenty-Year Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan.
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Courthouse Square now looks a lot like Christmas

On December 3, the Parish Hall At Christ’s Church in Port Republic bustles with four dozen Calvert Garden Clubbers preparing to decorate the county courthouse with evergreens harvested a day earlier at four local farms.
    “We call it the Greening,” says cochair Mary Berkley.
    Wearing monogrammed aprons, they work likes elves trimming magnolia, grapevine and boxwood for wreaths, fragrant sprays and evergreen ropes.
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Nominate what’s there and what’s needed by December 1

What’s your favorite place to get out on the water, swim or fish? Where is a boat ramp, fishing pier or trail needed? Now is the time to tell the National Park Service your thoughts.
    Use the interactive online mapper, already marked with existing sites and past suggestions, to share your suggestions for new public access sites across the Chesapeake Bay watershed. But hurry, there are only a few days left: the mapper is only open until December 1.
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Our many reasons for thanks amount to many reasons for giving

As much a part of Thanksgiving as the feast is its sharing.    
    Like turkey, gratitude is a dish best taken in company. It’s just too big to manage on your own. Alongside the dressing, potatoes and cranberries, tales of blessings make the rounds.
    With full hearts and bellies, we’re primed to encompass the community in our circle of grace.
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Foresee this year’s inch total and Laura Neuman will buy you lunch

Is it ever going to snow in Maryland? Probably, out there in our mountainous west. But how about closer to home? Will Anne Arundelians see snow in 2013-2014?
    Nobody knows when — or if — it will snow.
    But that shouldn’t stop you from guessing. Especially when the right guess can win you lunch — as well as bragging rights.
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Michael Ryan’s baton and mighty voice bring the Messiah home to St. James Parish

Late afternoon on Thanksgiving Sunday, singers file into the 1765-church. Some carry their well-thumbed scores of Handel’s Messiah; others will borrow or buy a score, $10 at the door.
    As 4pm approaches, some 200 wait for director Michael S. Ryan to lower his baton. 
    For the 27th year, annual Advent Messiah Sing-Along opens the Christmas season at historic St. James Parish with joyful impromptu song.
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