view counter

Stories that need to be told

Agricultural program grows at Phoenix Academy

They’re out to trap cast-off ­monofilament line

Should we give up plastic bags?

A convenience that has gotten out of hand, plastic bags remind me of the Sorcerer’s Apprentice. The Disney cartoon from Fantasia is one of my favorite feats of imagination. In search of ease, Mickey Mouse, the apprentice, puts a spell on his mop and bucket. But he hasn’t learned enough sorcery to limit the spell, and his labor-saving devices multiply beyond his power to control them.     You and I both know how that feels. My ever-growing bag of plastic bags...

Make a habit of carrying out lunch, and you’ll be as bad as Jonas

Talk about leaving behind litter!         Snowstorm Jonas has left us tons to recycle. Mother Earth will do much of the job, melting the snow and filtering it into groundwater aquifers. Where the piles rise into mountains — as in RFK Stadium where D.C. snow is dumped — a tractor-trailer-sized melter hired from Indiana is speeding up the return of snow to water, which will then be treated before entering the stormwater sewer system that eventually leads...

The waterfowl hunter is a different sort of man — or woman

The sound of a half dozen rapid shots followed by a pause, then two or three more measured reports rolled in from the nearby Magothy River. I was drinking my first coffee that morning, still in my bathrobe and looking out the front window when I heard the gunfire. It was bitter cold, windy, overcast and an altogether miserable morning. The duck hunters must be in heaven, I thought.     Foul winter weather drives migrating waterfowl down the Atlantic Coast. It also moves birds...

Here’s how I know which to trust

In winter’s grip, there is nothing like a good nursery and seed catalog, full of colorful pictures of thriving plants, to put you in the mood for digging in the soil. These books may even encourage you to build a small greenhouse or hot bed to get started early.     Which is why mailboxes fill up with seed and nursery catalogs this time of year.     I receive many more catalogs than I keep because I discard those with altered images or illustrations to...

Five planets shine at dawn

Sirius the Dog Star, blazes high in the south by 10pm. The brightest star, Sirius is easy to spot, but if you have any trouble, follow the three belt stars of familiar Orion down and to the left.     Last week we traveled the Great Winter Circle, which encompasses Sirius. The Dog Star also anchors another asterism, the Winter Triangle. The other two points are Betelgeuse, marking Orion’s upper shoulder, and Procyon, the Little Dog in Canis Minor, which together with Sirius...

Four Coast Guardsmen attempt an impossible rescue in this stirring drama

In an intense Nor’easter, The Pendleton cracks in half off the coast of Cape Cod. The men on the stern watch in horror as massive swells swallow half of their oil tanker. As they’re taking on water fast, engineer Ray Sybert (Casey Affleck: Interstellar) knows that they have only hours afloat.     But all the Coast Guard’s large boats are working to save another oil tanker.     A small Massachusetts town sends out the only boat left, a 35-footer...

When the snow starts falling, the cavalry mount their plows to reclaim our roads

When snow falls, George Sharps goes to battle.     As you read weather reports, he is revving his plow to be ready to fight his nemesis.     Sharps is one of 350 Maryland State Highway Administration operators who brave conditions that should keep the rest of us home. His mission: to clear 17,000 miles of state roads. He has one request of the citizens of Maryland as we send him into battle: “Stay home and let us do our jobs.” Reducing Collateral...

Why do these home-bodies endure the ­rigors of a northern winter when they could fly south?

All birds are migratory to some extent. Some may travel great distances twice annually, from North to South America. Others may regularly move, as the seasons turn, from Canada to Mexico and farther. A few species merely move southward as cold weather advances. Still others wander about in search of a good food supply.     A smaller number do not travel much at all. They may spend their entire lives within a mile of their birthplace, expanding their range only as the population...

Sen. Thomas “Mac” Middleton, Charles County, has been elected this year’s chair of the Tri-State Chesapeake Bay Commission.     The commission serves as the legislative branch of the Chesapeake Bay Program, advising the U.S. Congress and the general assemblies of Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania.     Its mission is to identify critical environmental needs, evaluate public concerns and ensure state and federal actions to sustain the living...

Send your hope into the future. Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center at Grasonville seeks “passionate individuals” to come together on a mission to create a legacy of protecting the environment for future generations. Through nine weeks of “fascinating” educational sessions, the Class of 2016 will gain knowledge on restoration and stewardship of the Chesapeake Bay.     The free nine-week class includes morning lectures from visiting experts from local...