Those innocent-looking sippers are one of the Top 5 plastic ocean pollutants

The least you need to know about solar power

For more than 45 years, Bill Ticknor has kept the 326-year-old St. James’ Parish abreast of history

Plant milkweed to support this ­butterfly’s long migration

1,271 is this week’s magic number

­Put your hand where Nodosaurus tred

Just in time to see us through to spring

      The restaurants of Chesapeake Country are keeping my spirits up for February, which, were it not for its brevity, would be my least favorite month of the year, despite Groundhog Day’s tragi-comic good news that winter is half over.       Groundhogs and bears may continue hibernating, burning up their store of calories before they wake to a ravenous spring. You and I can find a better use for February: eating our way right through it.    ...

Craft Breweries Matter Even if You Don’t Drink Beer

         The legislative session is underway in Annapolis, and it is time to bring our thoughts back to beer. Coincidentally, last week’s issue of Bay Weekly covered this very subject, brewing.       Over the past year a rather intense debate has illuminated craft brewing in Maryland, blinding us from some of the more crucial issues surrounding this industry. I have often been asked why those who do not drink beer should concern themselves with...

I’m buying long rods to fish from shore the windy days of early ­trophy rockfish season

       My latest fishing quest originated in last year’s trophy rockfish season as I was putting in a supply of ice for my skiff’s fish box. Parking near an SUV, I had paused to compare notes with the occupants who were as eager to get into some action as I was, using a different sort of gear.       They were shore anglers, armed with the long surf-type fishing rods needed to get long casts off the shallow Bayside shorelines of the public areas...

Ideas, research and preparation

      It’s about that time of year when parents come to me seeking ideas for their child’s science project. Most of the time, they are desperate because their children procrastinated in announcing they had to turn in a project idea yesterday.        Here’s what I tell them:        A good science project should be simple, straightforward and accessible to facilities for conducting the experiment in question. Beyond...

Obsession, compulsion and love are stitched together in this fascinating drama

       Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis: Lincoln) is a creature of habit. He gets dressed in a precise ritual. He eats breakfast in silence, working on sketches and preparing for the day. He depends on praise and adoration to fuel his creativity.          Reynolds’ quirks are tolerated because he is the genius behind House of Woodcock, a fine London couturier. His workers are the finest seamstresses in Europe, and his designs are sought by...

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...

This time of year, a bird can’t be too particular

        I had followed the young hawk as it hunted along the Wildlife Drive at Blackwater Wildlife Refuge. It would sit on a low branch and look intently into the grasses below, then suddenly drop down. On this drop, it came back to the perch with a shrew.        I’m sure that it did not realize that it held one of the world’s four venomous mammals, and North America’s only one. The poison is a neurotoxin that can cause paralysis. The...
Repair on budget and early
       If you’re an Annapolis driver, you’ll be happy to hear that the repair work on the Weems Creek Bridge has been completed two weeks early. If you’re a Maryland taxpayer, you’ll be glad to know the work was finished on budget at $120,000.         This may be all you want to know. But if you’re an engineer or a gearhead or interested in things mechanical, there’s an interesting backstory here.      ...

Our roads have sweated through a real workout, and it shows

       Cutting salt use on roads 30 percent without compromising motorist safety.    That’s the target state, city and county road crews were shooting at.         So what’s with all the large amounts of residual salt on our roadways? How does that square with the salt-reduction program?        Two factors contribute to salt left on the roads: Very cold temperatures, and small snowfalls.      ...

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. That’s why Linda Barbour, executive director of Start the Adventure in Reading, and Anne Arundel County site coordinators Joanne Ward and Kit Gibson organize 150...