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Captain Preston Hartge keeps Smith Bros. tugboats chugging along

Drive down Galesville Road, and everything seems unassuming and in its proper place. The old churches, the auto shop, the town hall, the post office, the country bungalows and older homes, the boats in yards: the ambiance is old-school and peaceful.     At Woodfield Road, a small sign with an arrow points to Smith Bros. but doesn’t say what Smith Bros. does. Drive down a couple of residential blocks until you are head on with Hartge Yacht Yard, and another small Smith Bros. sign and arrow point left.

Calvert protects 100-plus more acres

Calvert County has a plan to get people back to nature. The county comprehensive plan sets 40,000 acres of prime forest and farm as its preservation goal.     More than 28,000 acres is already preserved or protected. That total includes property protected by the county and state as well as land privately owned by American Chestnut Land Trust and the Nature Conservancy.     Now the Calvert Nature Society has swelled the roll of land preservation groups, purchasing the 107 acres of forest, field and farm known as Keim Forest.

Remembering when at Mayo beaches

Anne Arundel’s little known Beverly Beach and Triton Beach were once some of the largest resorts on the East Coast. Vacationers came to the popular Beverly Beach Club to swim, play, dance and gamble.

In his model boats, Norman Gross records maritime history

Watermen name their boats for their wives and girlfriends. There was a time when Norman Gross thought it a romantic gesture. Now, he’s not so sure.     “Why did the men name the boats after their wives? Was it because they loved them? Or was it because they say stuff on the boat they couldn’t say at home?” the 58-year-old Gross wonders.

Middle-schooler’s project reminds us that we owe today’s big stripers to ’80s moratorium

Eighth-grader Brian Zagalsky has been fishing since he was three years old. Now his love of reeling in big fish is paying double dividends.     The Annapolis Middle Schooler’s class project for National History Day grew into a prize-winning exploration of Maryland’s five-year rockfish moratorium launched in 1985.

Southern Maryland volunteers strut 70 years of service

When a volunteer fire department and a small town come together to host the 70th anniversary of the Southern Maryland Volunteer Fire Department, the result is not your average party but a big city, bright lights affair.     Hosting all 40 departments from Calvert, Charles and St. Mary’s counties for the first time since 1987, the Huntingtown Volunteer Fire Department promises two days, April 29 and 30, rife with tradition and ceremony.

Anne Arundel invests $1.5 million in dredging it from our waterways

No matter how willing your spirit or ready your boat, you’ve got to have a clear channel to get back to the water.     Water flows downhill, carrying all it can find, including sediment that chokes waterways and undermines water quality.     Removing silt and sediment is a heavy-duty dredging job requiring heavy equipment, some place to put the dredge spoils and lots of money.     The money comes first.

Competitors in the Highland Games put brawn in their brag

You can wear a kilt, dance a jig or play a bagpipe to show the Celt in you. Or you can throw a tree, caber in Celtic parlance. You simply pick it up by the small end and run with it, then flip it end over end.     You’ll see all those gradations and more this Saturday at the 39th Southern Maryland Celtic Festival and Highland Games.

Species depend on your yard and you

What if your backyard were the last place for wildlife to live? What if now were your last chance to help?     It is, and it is.     So says Doug Tallamy, the University of Delaware entomology professor, who comes to Bowie for Earth Day to explain why.     “He has identified an environmental storm front the likes of Silent Spring,” says Elmer Dengler of the Bowie-Crofton Garden Club, a sponsor of Tallamy’s April 21 visit.

That’s the goal of Pirate’s Cove’s Pigs & Pearls Fundraiser to benefit the West & Rhode Riverkeeper

They say it was a hungry man who was the first to eat an oyster, but I disagree. I say it was a smart man, one who figured out how to set a bunch of oysters on a flat rock by a fire, cover them over with wet leaves and let them steam until they popped open, then slurped down all those succulent bits of salty goodness. Come to think of it, that was probably one smart woman who figured that out.