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If there be spirits, now’s the time to find them

Storm clouds shot lightning in the distance across the water that cool, damp evening. The flash of the camera was the only other light that pierced the night. Nothing could be seen in the screen except two small balls of light. But when the picture was enlarged, a man appeared: a bearded man in a long coat with — perhaps — a lantern in his outstretched arm. Later, this same face appeared in the photo of a window pane.     Those photographs were our reward on an early October ghost hunt at the historic Point Lookout Lighthouse.

Al ­DeCesaris is running down the East Coast for Sturge-Weber syndrome

Millions of people dump ice water on their heads to raise money for ALS. Hundreds of thousands walk for breast cancer. Can one lone person hope to make a difference? Especially fighting a plight out of the limelight?     Annapolis lawyer and St. Mary’s High School graduate Al DeCesaris knows he can.     For the second year in a row, he’s crossing vast distances under his own power to raise money for a condition most of us have never heard of, Sturge-Weber syndrome.

8th-grader’s plan wins statewide peace writing contest

“I hear a buzz. … It’s a group text but all the numbers are blocked. It reads check out this geek, and the picture connected to it is of my best friend Sarah.”     Those words, and the thousand following, won Central Middle School’s Jenna O’Connell first prize in this year’s Fred B. Benjamin Peace Writing Contest for Middle Schoolers.

Good neighbor provides trailside rest area

Get off your feet — or seat — at the new Allan and Edie Segree Rest Area behind the Broadneck Library on the Broadneck Trail. The 1.2-mile Broadneck Trail, running parallel to busy College Parkway, is a favorite path for bicyclists, joggers and walkers. Opened in 2013, it will connect with the B&A Trail eventually.     As well as a welcoming bench, the Segree Rest Area includes a picnic table, bike rack plus a water fountain for people and a hose for a pet dish, all on pavers and landscaping.

Meet the other Bernie Fowler

Five years ago, you knew Bernie Fowler Jr. as the son of a famous father and, maybe, a Southern Maryland building contractor. Today, the Patuxent River champion’s son is recognized as the leader of Farming 4 Hunger. His inspiration, innovation and success have fought hunger with over two million pounds of fresh food for two years. This year, Farming 4 Hunger is well on its way to topping a million pounds of fresh vegetables — primarily corn, potatoes and green beans. Man Meets Mission

Today’s oysterman is likely to be a woman — and a farmer rather than a hunter-gatherer

“Everything we did was by trial and error,” recalled Jill Buck of her and husband Andy’s early days as oyster farmers.     “We filled our cages to the brim with the seeds and put them out in the river,” Jill explained. “When we went back to check on them a few weeks later, the growing oysters had burst out of the cages.”     Lesson Number One: Spread a thin layer of seeds on the bottom of each cage.

Local artist Greg Harlin puts his stamp on the Battle of Baltimore

When we imagine the Battle of Baltimore, the bombardment of Fort McHenry and the penning of the Star Spangled Banner, we almost always see through the eyes of Francis Scott Key, miles away on the deck of a British warship. Annapolis artist Greg Harlin wanted to show another view.     “I wanted to flip that and try a view from a soldier’s viewpoint, to feel what it was like inside the Fort enduring the terrifying bombardment,” Harlin tells Bay Weekly.

Bay Weekly’s Labor Day parade of working people

Americans are working people. We chanced on this land as explorers and claimed it as settlers. In the unbroken land of the new world, the explorers’ dreams of gold demanded pursuit as strenuous as the settlers’ ambition of a place to call their own. We’re still at it. Work brings us our livelihood, supports our families, endows our futures, defines our identities.

Navy football coach Ken Niumatololo is already back to work for the new season

Few coaches in major-college football have had the success Ken Niumatololo has had in his first six years as head coach of Navy’s Midshipmen.     Since taking over in 2008 from former head coach Paul Johnson, Niumatololo has piled up 49 wins. That’s more wins than any other coach in Academy history has accumulated in his first six seasons. It puts him on the brink of history this season as Navy’s all-time winningest coach.

Back to school hasn’t been this exciting since kindergarten

    In Their Own Words was my first weekly column. It was a blast for me, and I hope you were inspired by our neighbors. We sure met some characters, didn’t we? The project reminded me that each of us has a story. A beautiful story. We just need someone to listen. That’s what In Their Own Words did. Thank you for listening.