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What to do with your household’s excess baggage

Can Marie Kondo’s KonMari Method work for you?

How to manage too much 

Expect congestion in downtown Annapolis

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$10K helps make veteran-service dog matches

      Trained to retrieve items, alert their partner to important sounds such as a doorbell or alarm, operate light switches and seek help in an emergency, service dogs help many veterans and first responders with disabilities achieve independence. Partnering with a service dog is free.        But preparing those dogs is an expensive and specialized business. The cost of the dog, medical fees and training can run close to $25,000.       Now,...

And learn to politely disagree

       A debate on Asian oysters engaged Sunderland Elementary School students in reading, writing and speaking — skills the world’s first universities considered essential for leading and for promoting the best ideas.       Rising to the challenge, students went beyond arguing pro or con.      “Teams got a graphic organizer and a list of social roles to play — restaurant owner, waterman, environmentalist and scientist,...

The longer your boat’s operated reliably, the sooner you can expect a failure

      Pulling the weather cover off the stern of my skiff, I saw the first of my problems. Some time last fall I must have had to get into the winter-prepped boat. Why I’m not sure, but it was well forward in the console. That I could tell from the muddy tracks. Since the trail remained on my deck all winter, I knew it was going to take some elbow grease to get it scrubbed out. That job became No. 1 on my shakedown list.      Next came batteries. Putting a...

Freshly dug potatoes from your ­garden will spoil you

      Visiting Provence, France, many years ago, I was overwhelmed by the potatoes in the farmers markets. I saw so many beautiful varieties of potatoes, including bright red ones, soft pink ones, dark blue, lavender, yellow and all shades of brown. As well as colors, potatoes come in many shapes, including petite tubular potatoes known as fingerlings. Today you can find many of these different varieties in most grocery stores.       But once you taste a freshly...

See the tense reality behind America’s ­successful moon landing 

      President John F. Kennedy promised that America would send a man to the moon by the end of the 1960s. To reach that goal, breaching the heavens and exploring the universe beyond, America made a massive investment: $23 billion. NASA was born, and its astronauts became the stars of American pop culture.       In 1969, that dream was close. Apollo 11 astronauts would touch the moon — or die trying.        Apollo 11 is a riveting...

At home or on the town

      St. Patrick’s Day, celebrated on March 17, is the anniversary of the death of the patron saint of Ireland. Kidnapped as a teen, Saint Patrick was brought to Ireland but eventually escaped to his native Britain. He later returned to Ireland and is credited with bringing Christianity to the Irish. He died in the fifth century. But on March 17, at least in America, everybody is Irish. Indeed, more than 30 million Americans have predominantly Irish roots. Between 1820 and...

19th-century ne’er-do-well fathered Australian cricket legend

      With its roots as a British penal colony, Australia might be less scandalized than conservative Annapolis by the carryings on of Gilbert Murdock, whose shenanigans played in both locales as he hopped continents and countries. Murdock was born in Annapolis in 1826, but he’s left less trace here than in Australia. There a book revealing his shady past has just been published, and his son, William Lloyd ‘Billy’ Murdoch, has just been inducted into the...

These flying cigars eat their weight in pesky bugs each day

     You hear them before you see them, as if they’re part of summer’s soundtrack. Chimney swifts, resembling flying cigars, chitter as they swoop and swerve overhead. Joan Cwi, past president of the Baltimore Bird Club, has studied these strange little birds for 20-plus years.        Share her inside knowledge in her photo- and video-illustrated talk, The Ordinary, Extraordinary Chimney Swift, Anne Arundel Bird Club’s March 20 program at...
This is the time to see their courtship dance
      Several years ago I was standing quietly on a path in an open mature woods. About 20 yards ahead of me a child was kicking leaves. Suddenly a large brownish bird erupted, flew at me and landed in leaves right next to me       I saw it fly and I saw where it landed, but when I tried to get a photo of it I couldn’t find it again. I looked for a good 10 minutes, even using a grid method. Eventually, I took a step in the direction of the bird, and it...

Giant Atlantic sturgeon spotting hopeful signs

      A sturgeon is not a pretty fish. It’s long and bony with a sharp, upturned snout and whiskers. A prehistoric fish, they have been around for more than 100 million years. Once, Atlantic sturgeon were common in Chesapeake Bay and its rivers, the biggest fish that swam here in modern times.       But they are exceedingly rare, an endangered species all but wiped out by pollution, low oxygen and overfishing to collect their eggs for caviar....