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Before ringing in the new year, tour HdG churches on Dec. 29

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Happy new year dear readers!

Good luck in 2014. May you accomplish all your new year's resolutions.

On Dec. 29, the Susquehanna Ministerium hosts an open house of Havre de Grace churches, 2 to 4 p.m., 410 939-2464. This is a self-guided tour of HdG's 19th and 20th century churches featuring beautiful stained glass windows and nativity scenes decorated for Christ's birth.

The illuminated Havre de Grace duck will drop over the city on New Year's Eve, Tuesday, Dec. 31, counting to midnight beginning at 11:30 p.m. with fireworks at the HdG Middle School/Activity Center, 451 Lewis Lane. Thank you Susquehanna Hose Company volunteers for continuing this tradition in Havre de Grace.

Some folks birthdays are part of the new year festivities: Gordon Leffler, Dec. 29; Paul Martin, Tammy Brickman and David Lynch, Dec. 30; Kara Lynch and Charlotte Ann Stratton, Dec. 31; Edmund Oudin, Jan. 2; Barbara Pollitt, Jan. 3; and Robin Burke and Laura Starkey, Jan. 4. Happy birthday to all!

Many thanks to Brigitte Peters, Cathy Vincenti and Lauri Orziewicz, who hosted a holiday thank you party for the volunteers provided by area businesses: Laurrapin Grille, MacGregor's, Big House Signs, Desserts by Rita's, WXCY FM Radio, Tidewater Grille, The Bayou and Goll's Bakery. The location was Tidewater Marina's new meeting and banquet room on the river. Thank you all.

Jan. 1 through 3 is Japanese New Year, celebrating the 26th year of Emperor Akihito's reign. In Japan, people decorate their entrances, wear ceremonial attire, visit shrines and listen to temple bells ring 108 times.

Celebrate Jan. 2 as Science Fiction Day with a DVD and a visit to Washington Street Bookstore, 131 N. Washington St., 410-939-6215, where John and Kathy Klisavage will show you science fiction comics, Star Wars regalia and novels by Ray Bradbury at the speed of light. Beam yourself there!

As you celebrate Jan. 1, New Year's Day, did you know that President Abraham Lincoln chose Jan. 1, 1863 to issue his famous Emancipation Proclamation, freeing the slaves in the 11 rebellious Confederate states. Slaves in border, slave states like Maryland and Delaware were not freed by the proclamation; freedom for them came in 1865 with the passage of the 13th amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

How many of our ancestors came through Ellis Island, which celebrates Ellis Island Day, Jan. 1, 1892, when a 15-year-old Irish lass named Annie Moore was the first immigrant to pass through the New York is land station into America?

Calling all polar bears! Joe Kochendferfer will lead HdG's polar team to brave frigid temperatures on Jan. 11 at 10 a.m. for a "Frost Bite Walk of the North Park Trail." This guided Ice Age nature and historical walk is free to the public and endures the chill for approximately one frosty hour. Meet at the icy Lock House on nippy Erie and Conesteo streets for this blustery, Arctic walk. Phone 410-939-5780 or email director@lockhouse museum.org. You could even celebrate the anniversary of Alaska becoming the 49th state on Jan. 3, 1959 while en route. Brrr!

On Saturday, Feb. 8, at 6 p.m., Boy Scout Troop 967 will be holding a dinner commemorating the closing of the troop. This will be a "Canada style" dinner to be held at the Havre de Grace United Methodist Church, which has sponsored the troop for more than 50 years. There is no charge; however, seating is limited to 120. Bring your memories and stories. Please RSVP to Clark Old, Scoutmaster, at oldranger1@comcast.net by Dec. 30. Please pass this message on to others who may not receive this information.

Our Caribbean neighbor, the Republic of Haiti, has celebrated its independence day on Jan. 1 since 1804 from France. The Aveilhe-Goldsborough House at 333 N. Union Ave. in Havre de Grace reflects in its design and style the French, Caribbean ancestry of its original owner, Baptiste Aveilhe, who fled Haiti for HdG during the Haitian Revolution's trouble times.

New Year's Eve marked the official end of World War II. It took President Harry S. Truman until Dec. 31, 1946 to get the paperwork finalized.

Mmm, mmm, good! Celebrate January as National Soup Month with a bow at one of our local eateries. Grace Place Serving Center at St. John's Episcopal Church, 114 N. Union Ave., 410-939-2107 will serve a free hot lunch, Dec. 31, 11:15 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. to those in need.

Listen and learn! On Jan. 16, enjoy a lecture of the Ellsworth B. Shank historical lecture series, 7 p.m. at City hall, 711 Pennington Ave., 410-939-5780 for details and topic. Sponsored by the Susquehanna Museum at the Lock House, http://www.thelockhousemuseum.org or lockhouse museum@gmail.com

The Polar Bear Plunge, Havre de Grace-style, the Susquehanna Hose Company Duck Dunk, and fundraiser for the volunteer fire company, will be held Jan. 18, 9 a.m. to noon at the HdG Yacht Basin's launch ramp.

It's not too early to plan for the HdG Mardi Gras Parade March 4 at 6:30 p.m. Interested in participating? Phone me.

Twenty-six years ago, Dec. 28, 1987, the HdG Maritime Museum became official. Happy anniversary. A gift membership to the museum would be a great holiday gift. Call 410-939-4800 for details.

Rosie Deal informed me that on Jan. 4 and 18 the American Legion, 501 St. John St., will host bingo from 6 to 10 p.m. Open to the public: refreshments are available; 410-939-0234.

Good luck with those new year resolutions. Keep me updated at 410-939-6562 or drop a note at 226 N. Union Ave. May 2014 be a wonderful year for you and yours. Prospero Ano Nuevo. See ya in 2014!

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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