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From 9/11 to St. Patrick’s Day

Among the lives changed September 11, 2001 were my Southern Maryland family’s. Our change was for the better.     “How would you feel if I learned how to play the bagpipes?”     My firefighter husband Bill had never picked up a musical instrument in his life — and he’s starting with the bagpipes?

Watermen sentenced to year-plus

Four commercial fishermen from Maryland’s Eastern Shore have been sentenced in federal court for illegally netting and selling more than 90 tons of rockfish and pocketing almost a half-million dollars in profits over four years.     The watermen used gill nets, particularly effective gear used in the Chesapeake since 1873. Gill nets snare fish by the gills in a mesh that allows the fish’s head to enter while preventing its body from following. Some 300 commercial gill-netters operate on the Chesapeake.

For years I have traveled throughout Maryland and seen the Maryland State Flag displayed improperly at private residences, on boats, at restaurants, fire departments, government buildings and even the Annapolis Visitors Center. Now that Under Armour has popularized the Maryland colors with their sports clothing it seems to be everywhere. So let’s do the right thing and fly the Maryland State Flag correctly.

One man is the difference between life and death for creatures great and small

Deep in the maze of Chesapeake Ranch Estates, St. Francis of Bay Country gives sanctuary and modern medicine to the creatures of our wild. From tiny to the mighty, all are welcome — within the guidelines of federal and state agencies and six permits that control the work of Orphaned Wildlife Rescue Center.     “My main thing is that every life form has a right to live,” says Ron Wexler, whose lifelong calling is giving “the helping hand that makes the difference between life and an ugly death.”

Learn from plantsman Bill Cullina and ­benefit Unity Gardens

This time of year gardeners feel the itch for warm weather. We’re wistful about anything green and have gardening books spread out in inconvenient places in eagerness for another season.     Scratch the itch by honing your design skills with plantsman, author and Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens executive director William Cullina. He comes to Annapolis March 7 to talk about the botany of design.

The road was long and never smooth for Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman made history as an abolitionist, as the first woman to lead an armed assault during the Civil War and as a suffragist. Now, over 100 years after her death, she is making history again.     In December 2014, Congress voted to establish the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park. It is the first national park honoring an African American woman.

Calvert Marine Museum lures big names to Solomons

It’s getting closer. The warm nights of spring and summer are just around the corner with Calvert Marine Museum’s announcement of its first two outdoor concerts.     Fast forward to Saturday, May 23, when Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Heart warm up the Waterside Pavilion. Heart sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson have wooed fans and topped charts since the 1970s with hits like Barracuda, These Dreams and 2012’s Red Velvet Car. Tickets go on sale March 24.

For Leg 3 of the Volvo Ocean Race, navigators had to break the 4,500-nautical-mile run into manageable pieces

Before leaving the dock, Brunel navigator Andrew Cape christened the 4,642-mile third leg of the Volvo Ocean Race, from Abu Dhabi to Sanya, China, the “s••••y leg.”     “We will encounter a lot of fishing boats,” he wrote. “Everywhere along the coast of India, Vietnam and Malaysia there are fishing nets and lines in which we can become snared.”

Kids draw natural gas hero Captain Mercaptan

Three methods are most likely to turn on the light bulb in the minds of elementary school youngsters: Use cartoon characters. Enlist the kids on projects. Reward their results.     To turn the light on safe use of natural gas, Baltimore Gas and Electric — the oldest gas utility in America — is waging a trifecta.     “BGE has a long-standing commitment to ensuring public safety and supporting educational initiatives in our communities,” says Calvin Butler Jr, the utility’s chief executive officer.

Tipton Airport expansion plan is ­pitting aviation against wildlife

A planned runway extension at ­Tipton Airport in Laurel is encountering turbulence.     In the 15 years since the former U.S. Army airfield at Fort George C. Meade reopened as a public-use general aviation airport, Tipton has steadily grown to the point where it is fully occupied.