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Water quality up to D+

Slight improvement with a long way to go to in water quality. That’s the news in the just-released 2014 West/Rhode Rivers report card.     The annual report, funded by the Chesapeake Bay Trust, once again flags the rivers’ health with a D+. Water clarity, dissolved oxygen and nutrient levels were all slightly better or the same as last year’s. But the rivers are still failing in restoring underwater grasses.

Colonial Players awards $1,000 to 2015 contest winner Mark Costello

Over 67 years, The Colonial Players of Annapolis has made its reputation by producing top-quality plays and musicals like The Liar, which earned the British Embassy’s 2015 Ruby Griffith Award as the best overall community theater production in the Washington-Baltimore area.     The all-volunteer company also encourages new works. Since 1973 it has sponsored a biennial Promising Playwright competition. 2015’s winner was in the spotlight last weekend.

Slow speed ahead

The honchos of the Chesapeake region met last week to decide if the Bay is still worth saving.     The good news is that the heads of state and policy in the Chesapeake watershed reaffirmed the commitment made by their predecessors in 1983 to restore the Bay.

Don’t get steamed with summer travel delays

Whether you’re hitting the road for a late summer vacation or slogging through your daily commute, traffic delays are not in your plan. Maryland State Highway Administration’s MD511 service can help you avoid road work, backups and trouble.

Turning a pop phenomenon into challenging life lessons

Clark Kent emerged from a phone booth as Superman. Sean Darling-Hammond, 30, sheds his suit to become an American Ninja Warrior.     In the 1930s, when Superman was debuted in DC Comics, not every Sean, Chris and Tony could be superheros. Nowadays, it’s a wide open field. Anyone can become a ninja (I was one for a day and could have stayed one if I had put in the work). You can, too — if you’re willing to travel to White Marsh, north of Baltimore.

Highway medians become home to the birds, bees, butterflies

The tiniest employees of the Maryland State Highway Administration are hard at work while we sit in traffic. Glance out the window to see them buzzing about their daily routines. In exchange for their work, MSHA provides room and board — in the medians of state highways.     Important work is happening in these often overlooked parcels of land: over 100 acres along Maryland highways are now wildlife habitat for pollinators.

Yumi Hogan shares her favorite Korean recipes for the Governor’s Buy Local Week Challenge

When Maryland’s governor and first lady throw a party, it’s not often Mrs. Guv will be doing the cooking.     First Lady Yumi Hogan proves the exception to that rule. This week, for the eighth Annual Buy Local Cookout, she prepares and serves her own adaptation of pork bulgogyi, which she calls “a classic household dish for a Korean family.”

See how nature treats him on the Weather Channel July 19

Anne Arundel County cop Ron ­Gamble, of Arnold, always considered himself a fat guy. Now the ­Weather Channel has made him a Fat Guy in the Woods. In the reality show episode airing July 19 Gamble and two other fat guys venture into Kentucky cave country guided by survival expert Creek Stewart. Stewart — who is neither a fat guy nor a cop — intends to teach them “the skills that make a man a man.” Here Gamble previews his week-long experience — from ordering room service to hunting crickets for dinner.

Fishing with the Charlotte Hall Vets

The Bay Gardener took a day off from gardening to go fishing with 15 heroes and four staffers from the Charlotte Hall Veterans Home. The Lothian Ruritan Club sponsored the fishing trip.

How Eddie McGowan made a local stop on the Celtic circuit

There may be nothing quite as rousing as men in kilts wailing away on bagpipes — at least to Eddie McGowan.     A group of bagpipers walked into a bar, and he was smitten. “I knew I had to learn how to play,” says McGowan, whose appreciation of all things Celtic has grown into the Annapolis Irish Festival.     Back in 2010, McGowan talked a few bands into coming to Annapolis for a weekend of music.