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In its 4th year, the Annapolis Irish Festival draws an ever-larger crowd seeking Celtic music and heritage

Two past winners illustrate the magic of make-believe

Creativity comes out to play in Twin Beach Players’ Kids
Playwriting Festival

Talent Machine’s young actors are rehearsing for life

Summer’s darlings, winter’s pests

Fish recipes from the Chesapeake

For SMECO, it’s a big job feeding our demand for electricity

Something alien is growing in Calvert County. The aliens have sprouted up in the front yards of homes along quiet, winding Bowie Shop Road. Still more are appearing on Route 4. They are big, very big, towering over the landscape. Eventually there will be 23 of them. These aliens are behemoth power poles, erected by Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative in the name of progress. The new metal poles bear little resemblance to the old wooden poles they are replacing, and they don’t exist...

This weekend’s final First Sunday is your last chance to join the fusion of community and arts

From May through October, the First Sunday Arts Festival transforms inner West Street into an Annapolitan Casbah. Wandering down West Street, you find the normally high-traffic thoroughfare empty of cars, replaced by dozens of artisans’ tents. Despite the weather — rain to swelter to who knows what — swarms of people stroll the brick road, admiring the treasures on display. From earrings made of bottlenecks to children’s storybooks to paintings to decorative shutters,...

Life stinks for Marylanders

The brown marmorated stink bug has made itself Maryland’s least welcome invader of 2010. Fat from feasting on orchard and soybean crops, flocks of the Asian alien have invaded homes and gardens, causing more than a foul odor. “The populations this year have been astronomical when compared with years past,” says Dr. Joe Fiola, specialist in viticulture and small fruit for the University of Maryland Extension. “Multiple bugs per fruit, whereas with green stink bugs [the...

U.S. EPA says Stop spoiling the Chesapeake on junk food!

If pollutants were calories, our Chesapeake would be obese, short of breath and diabetic. So it’s good news that the Environmental Protection Agency’s new plan to require other states to follow Maryland’s lead in counting — and limiting — the junk they’re feeding the Chesapeake. In an historic front-page announcement, the EPA flunked the long-awaited plans of four states — Virginia, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Delaware and New York — on improving...

If at first you don’t succeed … try something different

Sundown was only a half-hour away as I steered my skiff toward another deserted shoreline. Well out, I switched over to my electric trolling motor and eased into casting range. My target was a rip forming over the nearest of a number of mostly submerged stone jetties jutting sharply out from the shoreline.  Fish Are Biting   Rockfish remain the stars of the fall bite. Live-lining, chumming and trolling are the preeminent methods of securing a limit as the water temperatures have...

Owls battle and soar in this beautiful tangle.

Soren (Jim Sturgess: 21) is a young barn owl from the forest of Tyto. The dreamer is just learning to spread his wings when he and his brother are kidnapped by agents of the Pure Ones, an evil flock of hawkish owls who snatch owlets for conscripts. It’s up to Soren, bolstered by bedtime stories about legendary heroes, to escape brainwashing and fly to the Guardians of Ga’Hoole to mount a rescue. His quest for help may forge Soren as a legend himself, as he strives to free the owlets...

Don’t welcome them!

If you thought the Japanese beetles (aka ladybugs) were bad last year, get ready for worse this fall, when invading stinkbugs join the Japanese beetles. This is the worst year I have ever witnessed for stinkbugs. Stinkbugs are harmless to humans and pets, but they are a nuisance and difficult to control. They derive their name from the foul odor they release when you squeeze the abdomen. It reminds me of smelly dirty socks with a slightly sweet odor.  I have hung a fly-swatter outside so...

The heavenly bull’s glare

As darkness settles, the bright glow of Jupiter pierces the east-southeast horizon, by far the brightest light in the sky, as the moon spends this week waning through pre-dawn skies. The gaseous giant is high in the south at midnight, and as dawn nears, it sets beneath the western horizon. Around 10pm, the star Aldebaran rises in the east. The red glaring eye of Taurus the bull is one of the oldest recognized stars within one of the oldest recognized constellations. Among the paintings found on...

Sometimes the crab catches you

  The sudden pain was excruciating. The Jimmie I was attempting to free from my net was not particularly large, but it had closed its pincer firmly across the tip of my middle finger and was bearing down with unbelievable pressure. Just a moment’s inattention, and I’d been caught like the rankest amateur crabber. It hurt like hell. I yelled out in agony. My right hand held the crab net that had captured the rascal, and I couldn’t let it go without adding even more...

A lot of factors explain this puzzle

  Summer solstice is still more than a week away, but the sun rises its earliest of the year just before 5:40 Monday the 14th. While solstice is the longest day of the year, it marks neither the earliest sunrise nor the latest sunset, which falls a week after solstice. This is due to several interacting factors cumulatively called the Equation of Time. Earth spins on its 231x2-degree tilt of rotational axis, which causes the changing seasons. It also affects the time of day that the sun...