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For Annapolis Maritime Museum, a giant step across the creek

With the flourish of a pen, Annapolis Maritime Museum took a giant step into the future. From two-thirds of an acre — its Eastport campus on Back Creek — the 26-year-old environmental education center grew to almost 13 acres.     Like a small snake swallowing an elephant, the Museum made the ambitious expansion in a single bite. That bite is the Ellen Moyer Nature Park.

The Patuxents used to live here; some still do

How hard is it to prove a hunch?     It took 75 holes a foot deep by a foot wide followed by five three-by-five-foot excavation pits dug with exacting symmetry in the unyielding earth to document the late naturalist Mitzi Poole’s suspicion. Her girlhood swimming hole on Battle Creek might, she believed, be a Native American site.

Enroll in the Calvert County Citizens Academy

Who knew back in high school civics class that you’ve got to know how government works to make government work for you? Now’s your chance to re-learn how government works as an inaugural student in the Calvert County Government Citizens Academy.

Study your ballot at www.vote411.org

Who’s on your ballot?     This year’s contentious top-line race has obscured who’s who — and who stands for what — in the down-ticket races. Yet from local government on up, the winners in these elections have far more immediate say on how we live our daily lives.

Maryland ghost-chasers shed light on hauntings

The modern ghost hunter, also called a paranormal investigator, has many tools to help detect a spirit. These include infrared cameras, electromagnetic field detectors, thermometers, recorders and spirit boxes.     However, common sense and your senses remain your greatest tool.     “In most cases, smells, cold spots or seeing and hearing things are the first signs of paranormal activity,” reports Bill Hartley, founder and lead investigator of the Greater Maryland Paranormal Society.

The judges’ rule: Don’t overcook — or overwhelm — the oyster

On an ideal October weekend, up to 20,000 people thronged the 50th anniversary St. Mary’s Country fairgrounds for the U.S. Oyster Festival, sponsored by the Rotary Club of Lexington Park. Festival-goers stood in long lines to gobble oysters raw and steamed and — if they were lucky — to sample the inventive recipes competing in the National Oyster Cook-off.

Award-winning cakes are this third-grade teacher’s sideline

When Terry Tuttle went back to school, his third-graders at Shady Side Elementary had to settle for map studies instead of cake frosting.     Tuttle’s cake work begins after the kids run free at 3:40pm. Then, after his own children are settled into their after-school routine in his Churchton home, he creates masterpieces out of batter and frosting.     Today’s creation is a four-layer Italian buttercream with amaretto and almond flavoring.

Every half-shell you save makes a home for 10 baby oysters

Oysters don’t like to live alone. “They are very social,” says Oyster Recovery Partnership executive director Stephan Abel.     They also like to be close to their families. Oysters grow up together, indeed bonded together, on reefs constructed by generations before them. With the destruction of reefs through centuries of all-out harvesting, new generations of oysters depend on us to supply new reefs of old shell for them to grow on.

For $1,000, maybe you should try

Could you write a play? It’s a tough job, as you’ve got to create plot, characters and conflict. Tougher still, you’ve got to do it all in dialogue.     Would winning a $1,000 cash prize make the challenge any easier?

Beekeepers political activism rewarded

Buzzing through the halls of the Maryland Statehouse during the 2016 legislative session were some distinctive lobbyists: beekeepers, dressed in full regalia, advocating for a Maryland ban on home use of bee-killing neonicotinoid pesticides.