Chesapeake Bay's Independent Newspaper ~ Since 1993
1629 Forest Drive, Annapolis, MD 21403 ~ 410-626-9888

Volume XVII, Issue 51 ~ December 17 - December 23, 2009

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This Week’s Features . . .

Where We Live ~ by Steve Carr

The Old Oak

I followed 93-year-old Ned Hall’s
footsteps to manhood

Ned Hall, now 93, could charm the bark off a tree. Though not a teacher by trade, he has taught and nurtured a generation of Chesapeake Country environmentalists. Ned’s talent goes beyond knowing the names of all the local plants and animals; he knows the history of the lands where they’re found.

Building a
Better World

By Millard Fuller’s death last March, the Habitat for Humanity founder’s vision of justice housing had spread round the world. Habitat for Humanity chapters flourish in 90 countries. Maryland contributes 18 chapters to the 1,500 in the United States. In Habitat’s first 33 years, it has added 300,000 homes to our global village.

The Bay Gardener

by Dr. Frank Gouin

The Secret Life of Cones

Why you’re unlikely to grow your
Christmas tree from seed

Cones open in late summer or early fall while still on the tree, and the seeds are scattered by the wind. The winged seeds that rise from cones are called samaras. Thus, if you are going to collect seeds, you must climb the trees and collect cones while they are closed.

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by Dennis Doyle

Salt Never Sleeps

It’s time for your wintertime cleanup

Last season, every time you used your fishing tackle in Bay waters, some parts of it got wet. The water eventually evaporated, but the salt in that water remains behind in the tackle, accumulating. The more you used your gear, the more salt it gathered.

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Sky Watch

by J. Alex Knoll

Baby It's Cold

And winter’s just now got us in its grip

As the sun hovers directly above the Tropic of Capricorn Monday, December 21, winter officially takes hold. The sun rises at 7:21:24 and sets less than nine and a half hours later at 4:47:19. Back on summer solstice we enjoyed almost 15 hours of sunlight; the difference in daylight hours is why it’s so cold now — not how close we are to the sun.

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The Princess and the Frog

Disney works a little Voodoo to revivify its princess formula in this kid-friendly, if slightly stiff, fantasy.

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Patuxent Habitat for Humanity

In Calvert and St. Mary’s counties, Patuxent Habitat for Humanity sells houses to families at no profit and with interest-free loans. Families are chosen on three criteria: Need, ability to repay a no-interest mortgage and willingness to partner with the program.

Here, Donald and Melissa Holt cut the ribbon at their new home in St Mary’s County. The house is equipped with ramps, wide doorways and roomy hallways for Darnell, who is in a wheelchair.

Old-School Lessons

History was made
in this old building

The second-grade students of Calvert Elementary art teacher Shari Adams saw nothing they could recognize in the bits and pieces of the Old Wallville School, which opened last month, reconstructed for students of history. It will now continue to spark memories and fuel comparisons that help its visitors understand “the human condition.”

Harvey Makes for Joyous Company

Bay Theatre Company's performers make this cleverly written show.

Who doesn’t know that Harvey is a Pooka, an imaginary six-foot rabbit that accompanies Elwood P. Dowd everywhere, much to the consternation of Elwood’s family. His sister tries to commit him, but after many confused identities and cross-purposes, Elwood’s sweet, innocent nature wins the day. He and Harvey presumably live happily ever after.


Author Christopher White burrows so deeply into Bay history, culture and scientific miscellanea that there isn’t much remaining for other Bay lovers to write about.

This detailed narrative is a skipjack tale like no other. Of the several books I’ve read about Chesapeake boats and oyster harvesting (or orstering, as its practitioners would say), Skipjack is the one that encompasses just about everything a reader would want to know about life on and in the Bay.

from the Editor



Days a Week
calendar of events

by Diana Beechener

Music Notes
by Ashley Goodman

movie reviews and

Free Will Astrology©
by Rob Brezsny

News of the Weird©
by Chuck Shepherd


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