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Look for Chessie Ruckus and his partner Officer First Class Jake Coxon in Annapolis

At first glance, the scene at Sandy Point State Park on a bright June morning had all the earmarks of a typical graduation ceremony. Camera-toting family and friends eagerly faced a lectern where officials gathered, diplomas at the ready. But instead of strains of Pomp and Circumstance, barks and yips were the music of the day.

Becoming a Riverkeeper was my way of helping change ­people’s lives

February 1, 2003, was the day I first learned about Riverkeepers. I remember it so clearly because it was the same date the Space Shuttle Columbia burned up in the earth’s atmosphere over Texas.     That was a sad day for the space program, but my life took a fortuitous turn. I was a mid-life law student taking a Ferris Bueller-type day away from my studies to attend a Tributary Strategies Team meeting at the Maryland Department of Natural Resources in Annapolis. A guy swept into the room, and it seemed like all the oxygen suddenly went in his direction.

After three years in Chesapeake waters, Pride of Baltimore II resumes her voyages of goodwill

How long can you stay at home before the urge to get out of the house overwhelms you? That restless feeling also afflicts one of our local treasures: the sailing ship Pride of Baltimore II. This year she is finally escaping her home waters of the Chesapeake Bay, off on the high seas to do what she was built to do: travel afar to represent Maryland and foster friendships and economic relations.     Since 1988, Pride II has been all over the world as Maryland’s ambassador. But she hadn’t left Chesapeake Bay in three years.

It’s just a game for Senior Olympic billiards player Blaine Jacobs

What Olympic athlete would say the game is not about winning?     For one, Blaine Jacobs, Maryland’s Senior Olympic Gold Medalist in the sport of billiards.

Weather Smiles on River Riders

The weather gods cut cyclists and fundraisers a break on May 14. After days and days of rain, the storm clouds parted and a beautiful day was revealed, a great day for touring South County on a bicycle.     “We had 150 cyclists come out to enjoy the gorgeous day,” reported Jeff Holland, the West/Rhode Riverkeeper. “We were thrilled at the support of the community, especially the Annapolis Bicycle Club. We gave everyone a beautiful view of our watershed and a good feel for why we care about the quality of water here.”

92 and never, never, never giving up

Wind-driven waves roiled the river into a sandy soup for Bernie Fowler’s 29th annual Patuxent River Wade In June 12.     “It feels like the surf in Ocean City,” laughed a wader bound hand-in-hand to every other in the long line radiating out from the 92-year-old retired state senator and Patuxent River champion.

Stovy Brown turned two generations windward

“No student who wanted to join the young sailors has ever been turned down for lack of funds,” says Stovy Brown, who has introduced two decades of Southern Maryland youngsters to sailing.     To get kids to the water, Brown founded three groups: the Southern Maryland Sailing Association, Sailing Center Chesapeake and, in 1999, the Southern Maryland Sailing Foundation, to support the other two training programs with funding, boats and equipment.

A Senior Dog Sanctuary retiree can be your new best friend

Parents assure their children that the old family dog was taken to a farm with lots of new friends and green grass. Most of us know how that really turned out. Now there really is a farm for senior dogs, a sanctuary at that.     Val Lynch is a doctor and rescuer of dogs. In April 2015, the Lynch family mission expanded to old dogs in need. Now battered, beaten and abandoned elders have a special place at the ­Senior Dog Sanctuary of Maryland.

Absorb the culture at Greek Fest

The Greek Festival of Saints Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church hosted by Father Kosmas Karavellas is an annual community tradition. Behind the scenes are generations of Greek traditions. As a former Greek dancer, I can tell you the story.     Months before their costumes are fitted, Greek dance groups fill any unoccupied room in the gilded church with traditional music for weekly practices that run late into the night.

Impressionists turn Maryland’s ­capital into a city of light

You can pretend you’re in Paris this week, when artists in sunhats and paint-smattered smocks set up their easels all over Annapolis.     Paint Annapolis, now in its 15th year, attracts artists from all over — 12 states plus two countries this year — to test their skills and reflect our capital city in a new light. The city is the subject, and you’re the audience. But to watch, you’ll have to find them, for the 40 artists set up their easels wherever the image takes them.