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In the Maryland General Assembly, C. Rhoades Whitehill reads every last bill … Out loud

With up to 2,000 bills churning through each chamber in the Maryland General Assembly, you might wonder who reads them all.       Legislators? Not a chance.     Who you gonna call? Only one number in Annapolis, that of C. Rhoades Whitehill, Reading Clerk for the Maryland House of Delegates.     How many? Last year, Whitehill says, “That was 1,600, nearer to 1,700.”

It’s worth your while to catch this show

What will you be watching in 2017? The new Homeland series on Showtime? The Young Pope? The Good Fight? Perhaps the Maryland General Assembly?     The legislature may get few votes. Yet between now and April 10, the Maryland General Assembly will wrangle with the governor to decide how to spend billions of your dollars.

Grasonville environmental center schools grown-ups

So you want to learn more about life in Chesapeake Country, but you’re just a bit intimidated by lengthy Master Naturalist classes with lots of study time and volunteer hours?     The Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center in Grasonville has the answer you didn’t know you were looking for.

Planning for spring starts now

Calvert Garden Club awards mini-grants of $100 to $1,000 to local non-profits to Beautify Calvert County.     Last year, when the grant theme was educating a new generation, a $750 grant to Mt. Harmony Elementary School funded a vegetable garden and wildflower bed.     Apply by Feb. 1: calvertgardenclub.com.
Twenty-one students graduated in December from Charter Captain Courses. They earned their certificates in the 12-week course taught by Captains Ken Daniel and Bill Tyndall of Cambridge. Graduation was held on the Dorothy Megan paddle wheeler at Suicide Bridge Restaurant.   
After being at the helm of the 8 Days a Week calendar for over a year, I feel as if I live and breathe calendars. So it’s a good thing I love a good calendar. One of the best tools for organization and prioritizing and goal setting, a calendar becomes a thing of beauty when used repeatedly. And beautiful they can be. We live in a region that lends itself spectacularly to photography. Those photos grace 12 months of pages in the wall calendars that came across my desk this month.

NORAD, Civil Air Patrol track Santa’s flight

When Santa enters North American airspace, the North American Aerospace Defense Command switches its defense mission to monitoring his travels around the world in his sleigh.     “Every year on December 24, 1,500 volunteers staff telephones and computers to answer calls and e-mails from around the world,” according to www.norad.mil. Live updates come in seven languages on the NORAD Tracks Santa website: www.noradsanta.org.

City Dock menorah-lighting ­celebrates the joy of Judaism

The Jewish holiday of Hanukkah begins at sunset on December 24 and continues through January 1, adding eight more days of lights, special meals and gift-giving to the festivities of the season. It’s an unusual extension, as Christmas and Hanukkah have overlapped only a handful of times over the last century. Starting on the 25th day of the Hebrew month of Kislev — which may occur at any time from late November to late December — Hanukkah is a moveable feast, while Christmas is a fixed date.

There’s room in the inn at local churches

Christmas is upon us; New Year’s to follow. It’s time for new beginnings.     Just ask Oliver Sellman, now of Severna Park, who made a tough choice one Christmas season and, in the process, turned his life around.     It happened in 2008, at a church along the Baltimore-Annapolis corridor, where Sellman was among the guests receiving shelter and spiritual support through Arundel House of Hope.

Good health or the Lemming Effect?

Charging into a nearly freezing body of water in the middle of the winter is a tradition for people around the world. Frequently, the plunge is made on New Year’s Day.     The first New Year’s Day Polar Bear Plunge is credited to Coney Island, New York, in 1903. Founder Bernarr Macfadden believed that a dip in the ocean during the winter could be “a boon to stamina, virility and immunity.” The Coney Island Polar Bear Club takes ocean plunges every Sunday from November through April, with the largest on New Year’s Day.