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Department of the Environment jumps on

Composting is all the rage in the trash world. The newest trash trendsetter, Maryland’s Department of the Environment, now invites its 900 employees to compost food waste instead of sending it to the landfill.     Food scraps take up 20 to 30 percent of precious landfill space. Composting diverts scraps from landfills to compost piles, where it ferments and transforms into nutrient-rich humus that feeds earth, plants and us.

New lane markings, rumble strips and signs help us get across

I’m claustrophobic and scared of heights, so unfamiliar and uncomfortable situations send my anxiety into a full-blown panic attack. Also, I’m easily distracted. Driving over a bridge, with traffic coming toward me, isn’t my idea of fun, even if I am heading to Ocean City for a getaway.     So I was happy to hear of this week’s Bay Bridge safety enhancements.

Blue-hued bulbs help raise awareness

One in 88 children has an autism spectrum disorder, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.     This month — Autism Awareness Month — the Autism Speaks organization is recruiting residences, businesses and buildings to change their exterior light bulbs from white to blue to raise awareness.     Drum Point Lighthouse at Calvert Marine Museum is leading the way in the Light It Up Blue campaign.

Wagging, walking, running and smooching for a good cause

They came out in packs.         Some walked or ran on two legs, some on four, to raise $180,000 at the Anne Arundel SPCA’s most successful Walk for the Animals April 7 at Quiet Waters Park in Annapolis.     Two walking trails — one mile and two-and-a-half-miles — plus the new Tails & Trails 5K drew 184 humans and more than 50 dogs.

State Highway Administration is fast behind

Don’t let looks deceive you.

Toys help patients having a rough day at Children’s Hospital

It’s a big job making sure Dr. Bear’s closet at Children’s Hospital National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., is never bare.       For the children, it’s a closet as crucial as the closets that hold bandages and medicine.     Dr. Bear’s Closet stocks toys and games for children with a special request or who have a special day, like a birthday, coming up.

It’s time for your close-up, Mother Nature

Capture family memories with the Bay as a backdrop, on top of one of Maryland’s mountains or in a leaf-filled meadow for Maryland League of Conservation Voters’ family photo contest.     The League wants photos of families having fun in Maryland’s great outdoors to enrich League publications and website while inspiring Marylanders to fight to protect our state’s natural beauty.

Winners and losers in this year’s General Assembly

Not everyone made out well with environmental legislation this year.     “This session started with a landmark legislative win for the environmental community when the offshore wind bill sailed through both chambers,” said Karla Raettig, executive director of Maryland League of Conservation Voters.     “Unfortunately, the General Assembly killed or weakened many other environmental priorities.”

Bridges to become waterway access points

As cars rumble over newly built bridges, Marylanders will be paddling beneath them. As soon as 2014, bridges will no longer be only routes over rivers. They will also be places where Marylanders can safely get down to the water to fish, canoe and kayak.     That’s the result of one of more than 350 bills passed by the Maryland General Assembly this year. Passed almost unanimously, only three nays were cast, all in the House, one by Calvert Del. Tony O’Donnell.

Helping cats and kittens on their way to adoption

Perfection: our younger son, a philosophy major, insists there is no such thing. I disagree, because nature provided kittens.     True, kittens don’t stay kittens for as long as I’d like. Our house is too small to continually add more. So until we can retire to a cat ranch, my husband and I enjoy perpetual kittens as part of a five-county foster-home network. The payoff is twofold: along with contributing to an orphan’s bright future, we get the playtime fun a pet naturally inspires.