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Leo James knows better than most what’s swimming down there

In gauging the chances of a successful fishing season, I have learned to distrust the forecasting of state and conservation officials as fraught with politics and self-interest. Worse, my own guesses have proven wrong so often that I’ve learned to stop making them. There has been, however, one source I rely on year after year.     I’ve come to think of this fellow with his thick mane of white hair as the Oracle of Mill Creek.

Up close and personal with nature’s most ­powerful birds

His talons are long. This six-week-old osprey already has the equipment he needs to fend off foes. But biologist Craig Koppie goes barehanded into the nest.     For Koppie, working with raptors has been a passion since he was a boy.     “I come from a family of pilots,” Koppie says. “Everybody has some kind of thrill for flying or fondness for nature, and I’ve been fascinated with flight ever since I knew about airplanes. Instead of piloting planes, some of us fly as biologists.”

Mary Davis transformed herself from a pack-a-day smoker to a ­winning bikini competitor

Today’s Mary Davis is not the Mary Davis she once was.     Chiseled and ripped, with no body fat that shows in a bikini, the 35-year-old mother and businesswoman is a trophy-winning competitive bodybuilder. This month she competes in the Organization of Competitive Bodybuilders Catonsville Conquer to add two more trophies to her legend. In last October’s competition, she came in second as a Novice, the only category she could enter as a newcomer to the sport.

In 40 years, Grace Cavalieri has interviewed and recorded more than 2,000 poets

Anne Arundel County neighbor Grace Cavalieri is poetry’s answer to NPR radio talk show host Diane Rehm — with this exception: Rehm retired last year after 37 years on air. Cavalieri is still going strong.

A night on the dance floor in Davidsonville is good exercise and a great bargain

Back in the woods, off a winding country road in Davidsonville, a bunch of happy people are cutting the rug in the former mess hall of a decommissioned Nike missile base.     It’s good times as usual with the Davidsonville Dance Club, which hosts weekly Saturday night dances, evening lessons during the week and occasional weekend workshops. Founded in 1980, the club’s membership is about 250, equally balanced between men and women.

And how should we spell her name?

Anne Arundel is a name we know hereabouts — in one spelling or another. There’s Anne Arundel County, Arundel roads galore and the Ann Arrundell Historical Society, to name a few.     Behind the name is a woman, Anne Arundell, who lived in England about the same time as Shakespeare. The Arundel family name had its impact on us due to Anne’s 1628 marriage into the influential Calvert family.

Peter Franchot tells us just what it is that a Comptroller does

By April 18, you’ll be communicating with Maryland’s Comptroller, likely writing him a check — or hoping he’ll write you one because you’ve already given him too much of your money. Our comptroller is our tax man. He — so far comptroller has always been a man — gets to count money and lead a big, smart and supportive staff in chasing bad guys.

Coloring Corner artist Sophia Openshaw makes her way

Sophia Openshaw caught our eye with a postcard illustration of a whimsical turtle playing a bass against an American Southwest backdrop. That turtle helped Bay Weekly launch its popular Coloring Corner nearly a year ago.     Openshaw, a 20-something Annapolitan, dreams of moving to the Big Apple. Meanwhile she balances the cozy comforts of home, surrounded by parents and pets, with new experiences in the big world.

Join the Armstrong family in ­recycling kids’ sporting gear

The Armstrong family is sporty. Children Elizabeth and Lachlan have been playing sports since they were preschoolers. As piles of used sports equipment stacked up, the Edgewater family made a plan.     “Sports equipment is expensive,” says 14-year-old Elizabeth, who plays basketball for the South River Shooters. “When we thought about all the sporting goods our family and friends’ families have, we realized that if we put in the effort, we might really make a difference.”

98-year-old Simeon Booker reported — and made — Black History

Simeon Booker has “changed the course of this nation.” Thus says Ohio Congresswoman Marcia Fudge, one of 17 bipartisan sponsors of a bill to honor the 98-and-one-half-year-old with the Congressional Gold Medal.