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How did 2015 work out?

Back on January 2, when this year was new, we couldn’t help but wonder whether this might just be the one to make us healthy, wealthy and wise.     Were we alone in that wishful thinking? Or does the coming of a new year make optimists of us all?     We were curious.     So we turned to friends and neighbors to ask what each expected his new year to bring. With our inquiry came a condition. We’d follow up at year’s end to ask just how this year turned out.

Turning other people’s trash into a holiday display

“You may not feel the Christmas spirit when you come in here,” says  Casey Dillard, “but you will have it when you leave.”     Dillard may have a future with the Island of Misfit Toys.     The Calvert County Solid Waste employee has given new life to Christmas castoffs — the wreaths we didn’t like, the lights that stopped working, artificial trees outmoded in this year’s decorating scheme.

Eighth-grader Kelsey ­Cashman’s tops Anne Arundel Library’s makeFashion Showcase

When Kelsey Cashman walks her dog Declan on a cold dark, winter night, they’ll both be comfortable. Declan wears the long fur coat of a golden retreiver. His 13-year-old mistress is warm as just-popped toast in the heated cape that took the St. Mary’s School eight-grader to the top of the class in STEM fashion     Cashman won’t need a flashlight to light their way, for her blue herringbone self-warming cape is trimmed in LED lights.

Navy Captain Fred foote uses poetry to soothe the battle-scarred

Loader and gunner, brothers from boot camp days, they came in one platoon to the shock of war; daily they clung to each other for strength and grace — each promised to bring the other home once more. Now both return: two versions of amputee –from “Bonded,” by Fred Foote  

Come, learn and share your history

Seven hundred were way more guests than Maryland State Archives director of outreach Emily Oland Squires planned for at last year’s innaugural Family History ­Festival.     “I would have been happy if we had more people than staff,” she told Bay Weekly in 11th-hour planning for the second festival.     No matter how many people come to the Archives, in Annapolis, Saturday, November 7, she and Archives staff will have room. Especially for you.

Lighthouse keeper John White returns to his one-time home after four decades

In John White’s boyhood in Charlotte, North Carolina, schools and water fountains were separated for whites and colored. Rising from the final years of segregation, he could not imagine his future self, as the first black man in command of Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse, ushering in its 100th year of service in 1975.     He got a glimpse of his future when his two older brothers were drafted into the Army for the Vietnam War.     In 1969, the year he graduated high school, White too was drafted.

Timothy Hyman’s 66 years on the job

If you’re under the age of 50, can you imagine life without the Chesapeake Bay Bridge? Or I-95 connecting us to the rest of the East Coast? Timothy Hyman remembers. He was there as the bridge — originally only one span, now carrying traffic eastward — was built. And as seven decades worth of interstates opened to motorists. Doing his job as state highway administration photographer, he captured now-iconic images of the roads and bridges that take us where we want to go.

Dreams come true in Los Angeles

Maryland Olympians swelled with power and pride in competition among 6,500 athletes from 165 countries at this summer’s Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles.     “I became a leader,” says Chris Dooley of Denton. In competition, the kayaker won a bronze medal in his 200-meter singles race.

Bay Weekly’s Labor Day Parade of Success Stories

Labor Day is perfectly placed as an end note to summer. Change is in the air, riding shorter days, clearer air and cooler nights. The rhythms of human time are changing, too, with vacations over and kids back in school.     Such synchronicity makes us forgetful that this national holiday celebrates working people and our hard-won rewards — from the weekend to child-labor laws.

Hiking the Appalachian Trail prepared him for his next journey as a Navy SEAL

Evan Metz’s awakening came on the Appalachian Trail.     To be exact, 125 awakenings. One each morning as he hiked the trail in the 41⁄2 months after his 2014 graduation from Calvert High School. Each morning and every mile brought the 19-year-old closer to embodying the values he sought to reach his goal of becoming a Navy SEAL.     With his Navy ship-out postponed, Metz had chaffed. To pass the months, family friend Steven Vilsack challenged Metz to an Appalachian Trail hike.