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Bob Evans Seafood’s story continues — with a surprise turn

If you were Eliza or Lori Evans, daughters of renowned Maryland waterman and single father Bob Evans, waking in the pitch of night to go crabbing was par for the course. From the age of three or four, the sisters, two years apart, were all but destined to work in the seafood industry.     Their part of the industry is Bob Evans Seafood, the family business since 1972, in Churchton since 1994. With customers from Virginia, D.C., Charles and Calvert counties, it is almost an institution in southern Anne Arundel County.

Two prize-winning July recipes — and the people behind them

July is a sizzler this year, running to set the record of the hottest. It’s also the month that explodes with the fresh foods we love best: berries and basil, corn, crabs, cantaloupe and cucumbers, peaches and perch, rockfish, tomatoes, watermelon.     You want to eat local, especially July 22 to 30, when the Buy Local Challenge ices the cake with prizes and recipes. But spend much time at the stove, and you could end up like a stick of butter left out in summer — melted.

Fame and fortune could be yours at the National Oyster Cook-off

Can you create an oyster recipe worth $1,300?          Suit the taste of this year’s judges at the 38th Annual National Oyster Cook-off, and that grand prize will be yours.     Last year, Tammy Davis of Chesapeake Beach earned all that money and enduring culinary fame for her Coconut Curry Oyster Soup.

In one of its many lives, it was the cool place to be

Millersville resident Joe Campbell and his high school buddies have fond memories of the former Harundale Mall in Glen Burnie, touted as the first enclosed mall on the East Coast.     “It was the go-to place on the weekends,” says Campbell, now 66 and the owner of a driving school. “We’d head straight for the soda fountain at G.C. Murphy’s five and dime store for ice cream sodas and 50-cent subs.”

Your old books benefit local libraries

Finding a taker for old books can be a challenge. Anne Arundel County Public Library now offers a solution.     Novels, children’s books, fiction, nonfiction, hardback, paperback, DVDs, CDs and audiobooks are all given new life after you donate them at the Discover Books blue collection bins at all county library branches.     Your books will be resold, redistributed or recycled by charitable organizations. Your library also makes a bit of profit.

Enjoy smart family fun at Anne Arundel County’s big regional parks

Summer is all about kicking back and enjoying extra time together as vacations begin and the weather warms.     But so many summer activities can mean trouble for the family budget. With some smart planning, a fun-filled summer doesn’t have to break the bank. In Anne Arundel County Recreation and Parks, I’ve found good, affordable fun for the whole family, even the dogs.

Capturing customers with a little of this, a little of that

The name Vintage Stew, colorfully scripted on the brick wall above an empty storefront in Deale, opened four years ago to numerous conversations about whom and what was moving in. Was it a new eatery serving stew?     “Like a big ol’ pot of stew …” says owner Shelley Daniels. But not the kind you eat.     “A mix of ingredients,” adds partner Barry Morrissey.

Unity Gardens grants up for grabs

Plants and flowers aren’t all that grow in gardens. Leadership and civic involvement can also bloom. That’s a motivating idea behind Unity Gardens, a nonprofit that backs its philosophy with dollars.     So twice each year when Unity Gardens gives away seed money, in the spring and fall, human growth potential is a top giving criteria.

Spa Creek Conservancy fights phrag

Crews and volunteers with Spa Creek Conserv­ancy are claiming success against a nasty foe.     Thick stands of the invasive reed phragmites, a common enemy across the Bay watershed, have been choking Spa Creek. The grasses quickly take over a marsh community, crowding out native plants, changing hydrology, altering wildlife habitat and increasing the danger of fires. Tall stems and dense growth block light to other plants. Its rhizomes spread rapidly.

For Annapolis town crier Squire ­Frederick, ­Independence Day is a joyous occasion

Folks who live and work in Annapolis, used to seeing guys in breeches and plumed tricorn hats, scarcely bat an eye when Town Crier Fred Taylor strolls by.     Tourists and school children are another story. They squeal in delight when meeting “Squire Frederick,” as Taylor’s known hereabouts.     Taylor’s town crier is hard to miss. He stands tall (a head taller than your average guy). His social behavior sets him further apart.