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

Good stories to warm your holiday heart 
      Journalism is about good stories. For us writers and editors, the search for a good story has the urgency of a primal drive. The phrase a nose for news is high praise, alluding to the hound in a good reporter. Like bloodhound or beagle, we have it in our nature to sniff out what’s around. Catch a scent, and we can’t let it go. We need to know who’s doing what, when, where, how, why. Investigative reporters like our cofounder and mostly silent partner Bill...

On December 23, 1783, our first commander in chief resigned in Annapolis

     During the fall of 1783, 51-year-old General George Washington wanted nothing so much as to spend the upcoming Christmas at his Mount Vernon home. The Revolutionary War was all but over. Once the British evacuated New York and the peace treaty was signed in Paris, Washington could head for Annapolis to resign his commission as commander in chief. Only then would he ride home.        For the first time in eight and one-half years, Washington found time for...

Local teacher gives Santas a lesson

     He errs who thinks Santa enters through the chimney. Santa enters through the heart. –Charles W. Howard, 1937         Loud music, bright flashing lights, sensory stimulation, mounting excitement: The very things that make this time of year magical can become a recipe for distress for some children and their weary parents.       Even Santa can be over the top for some kiddies who visit him at public appearances.      ...

Eagles mark a turn toward the ­season of birth

     Editor’s note: Naturalist, artist and conservationist John W. ‘Bud’ Taylor left us this year, on October 28, but his legacy of hope survives. Bud’s keen observations of nature in Chesapeake Country tell us that spring begins here on the winter solstice, December 21, when daylight begins its six-month, minute-by-minute stretch. His book Chesapeake Spring collects his observations and paintings of that season.       In his memory, we...

A beautiful fairy tale for fish out of water 

     Orphan Elisa Esposito (Sally Hawkins: Maudie) knows hard times. Mute since a childhood throat slashing, she works as an unnoticed janitor at a secret government facility in Baltimore.       Her life ticks by in lonely minutes until agent Strickland (Michael Shannon: Nocturnal Animals) introduces an amphibious humanoid called the Asset. Worshiped as a god in South America, the Asset was captured to add to America’s Cold War arsenal.   ...

Empathy and imagination light the way 

     The perfect gift? Satisfying that standard is too heavy a burden to bear any time of the year, especially in this season dedicated to rekindling hope, faith and charity. The right gift will do just fine — if only I can find it. Actually, them — for it’s several people for whom I’m still seeking good matches.       Helping us all make good matches in these waning days of the season of gift seeking is our mission in this week’s...
A Bird (and Cat) Story      There seems to be a lot going on in the paper with birds lately. Here is my own bird story.        Returning from lunch out, we pulled into the driveway to discover a blue heron perched on our roof. Herons are common in the neighborhood, but this is the first time we had one on the house. When we opened the car doors, the noise and motion scared him off, but he didn’t go far. When we got in the house, we discovered him sitting...

’Tis the season for owls

     Santa’s not the only flyer of the December night skies. ‘Tis also the season for owls.      Most owls are hard to see, so we usually only hear them. But once the leaves fall, it’s a little easier to catch a glimpse of these secretive night hunters.  It’s easy to recognize great horned owls, with their pointy tuffs and large fluffy bodies. They are also quite vocal during pair-bonding rituals, often engaging in territorial hooting...
     You have 10 days to complete your gift-giving mission. Having difficulty coming up with brilliant ideas to wow and impress?       Here Bay Weekly helps you think outside the Big Box and impersonal online shopping sites by browsing and buying at small businesses and shops in Chesapeake Country. We talked to many of our favorites to find out what surprises you can find on their shelves.      Read on for great gifts, from stocking-stuffers to big-...

Gifts they’ll really appreciate

     What to give the dedicated Chesapeake Bay angler on your list?      The most helpful suggestion I can offer — if you haven’t already received exact, specific instructions from the individual in question — is to remember the Rule of Don’t.      Don’t guess. Don’t rely on your instincts (unless you fish a lot more than they do). Don’t ask a friend who kind of knows something about the sport. And don’...