Making beer is fun. Can it also be a means to make a living?

       For beer lovers, this is a heady time. Some 1.15 million Americans brew beer at home, in their kitchens, garages and porches, according to the American Homebrew Association. Most are guys, and most older than 30.        “Access to information and equipment has never been better,” says John Morehead, the Association’s competition director, noting that in those areas, “the lines between professional and amateur bleed into each other.”

Help second-graders develop a ­lifelong love of the printed word

       When did you learn to read?        That lifelong magic happens very young, at five or six. Young as it is, seven may be too late. The high school dropout rate for kids who haven’t learned to read at grade level by the third grade is 40 percent higher than for those who do.
Surprised Allison Felton wins the Oscar of Education
        “Could it be me …” Allison Felton wondered in amazement as eyes turned her way in the Annapolis High School auditorium Wednesday, January 24. “When I first started teaching, I really questioned whether teaching was for me, but thanks to support from my colleagues I decided to stick with it,” she said through tears.          Felton, an algebra teacher at Annapolis High School, had just found out she was the winner of the $25,000 Milken Educator Award.
Is cursive an evolutionary dodo?
       Can you sign your name in cursive?

Fourth-grade student artists tell it four ways

       Kathy Wolfstone-Smith took an artistic gamble last summer.        Wolfstone-Smith, who teaches arts and humanities at Shady Side Elementary, asked the Captain Avery Museum to display her students’ work.         “Kudos to them for being so supportive,” she says. “At the time we set this up, I had no way of knowing how it was going to turn out.”

Rich or poor, Owensville ­Primary Care turns no one away

Over $10,000. That’s what the average American spent for health care in 2016, and up is where that number is heading.      “My wife’s health insurance jumped 38.9 percent,” laments a friend recently retired. “My pension is disappearing.”      Across the age spectrum, you hear endless variationa of the same story.

Annapolis hears two powerful local African American choruses in one weekend

     The civil rights movement raised its courage and renewed its hope on the music of faith that sustained black America through slavery, Jim Crow and oppression. The national Martin Luther King Jr. holiday makes this a weekend to hear that music loud and clear.       Two local African American choruses sing in Annapolis this weekend, both at St. John’s College.  

"If we don’t tell these stories, no one will know what life was really like"

      Important African American history is being lost with each passing year. You can help preserve the past before it disappears forever by sharing a story about the civil rights era and historic sites in Anne Arundel County.       The Lost Towns Project wants to hear your stories about African American history for two grants sponsored by the National Park Service Civil Rights African American Historic Preservation Program and the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority. 

It’s not always a straight path 

      Like a holiday box of chocolates (thanks Bill Vance, Betsy and Alex), this week’s paper brings you a variety of choices, all I hope to your taste. (And none, I hope, that sticky cough-medicine flavor that makes you say yuck!)

(And dogs)

      All the best stories are about dogs. This is the opinion of my 10-year-old daughter, so her claim carries some weight.       But for me, all the best stories take place at Christmas. Whether I am watching Southern High School’s production of A Christmas Carol or reading the story of Nativity from the Gospel of Luke, I am reminded that miracles happen in the presence of those who believe, and all the best stories contain miracles.