view counter

News

After being at the helm of the 8 Days a Week calendar for over a year, I feel as if I live and breathe calendars. So it’s a good thing I love a good calendar. One of the best tools for organization and prioritizing and goal setting, a calendar becomes a thing of beauty when used repeatedly. And beautiful they can be. We live in a region that lends itself spectacularly to photography. Those photos grace 12 months of pages in the wall calendars that came across my desk this month.

NORAD, Civil Air Patrol track Santa’s flight

When Santa enters North American airspace, the North American Aerospace Defense Command switches its defense mission to monitoring his travels around the world in his sleigh.     “Every year on December 24, 1,500 volunteers staff telephones and computers to answer calls and e-mails from around the world,” according to www.norad.mil. Live updates come in seven languages on the NORAD Tracks Santa website: www.noradsanta.org.

City Dock menorah-lighting ­celebrates the joy of Judaism

The Jewish holiday of Hanukkah begins at sunset on December 24 and continues through January 1, adding eight more days of lights, special meals and gift-giving to the festivities of the season. It’s an unusual extension, as Christmas and Hanukkah have overlapped only a handful of times over the last century. Starting on the 25th day of the Hebrew month of Kislev — which may occur at any time from late November to late December — Hanukkah is a moveable feast, while Christmas is a fixed date.

There’s room in the inn at local churches

Christmas is upon us; New Year’s to follow. It’s time for new beginnings.     Just ask Oliver Sellman, now of Severna Park, who made a tough choice one Christmas season and, in the process, turned his life around.     It happened in 2008, at a church along the Baltimore-Annapolis corridor, where Sellman was among the guests receiving shelter and spiritual support through Arundel House of Hope.

Good health or the Lemming Effect?

Charging into a nearly freezing body of water in the middle of the winter is a tradition for people around the world. Frequently, the plunge is made on New Year’s Day.     The first New Year’s Day Polar Bear Plunge is credited to Coney Island, New York, in 1903. Founder Bernarr Macfadden believed that a dip in the ocean during the winter could be “a boon to stamina, virility and immunity.” The Coney Island Polar Bear Club takes ocean plunges every Sunday from November through April, with the largest on New Year’s Day.

It all goes back to Hansel and Gretel

In one form or another, gingerbread has been popular since at least mediaeval times.     “Gingerbread was a favorite treat at festivals and fairs in medieval Europe — often shaped and decorated to look like flowers, birds, animals or even armor,” according to Smithsonian Magazine. “Several cities in France and England hosted regular gingerbread fairs for centuries.”

How I learned to make my own cookie cutter at the library

Fans of Star Trek are familiar with replicators, providing exotic drinks, gourmet meals, and practical and important objects for all sorts of purposes in the future. Give voice commands to the computer, and the objects appear.     In real life, you can take a first step toward this future by having your computer create solid objects.

Dashing through the cold for a good cause

The temperature shivered in the high 30s Saturday morning December 10 as some 200 runners stripped down to briefs for the annual run up Main Street, Annapolis.     Warmed by music from the kilted Chesapeake Caladonian Fife and Drum Band, they sped uphill from O’Brien’s to St. Anne’s Church, where they turned around and ran back down to O’Brien’s to celebrate the season and their daring.     Annapolis area children benefit from their chilly fun, as the race fee was an unwrapped toy donated to the Salvation Army.

Better options for bagging leaves become the rule

Be sure to ask Santa for compostable paper bags or a new bin for your yard waste in 2017. Beginning in January, neither Annapolis nor Anne Arundel County will accept plastic bags in its curbside pickup of grass clippings, leaves, Christmas trees and other yard waste.     The new regulations mean putting yard waste in a bin (but not your yellow one for recyclables), biodegradable paper bags or in a secure bundle tied with twine. Mark reusable containers with an X. In the city of Annapolis, you can request a 32-gallon green recycling cart for your yard waste.

Way better than the Elf on the Shelf

To support his parish, Father James Boric, associate pastor at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Severna Park, will do just about anything.