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News Items
Book review: In ‘Still Mill,’ Bucksport voices tell of papermaking’s end
Maine Sunday Telegram - Sunday, December 17, 2017 

On Dec. 4, 2014, the Bucksport Enterprise carried a grim headline: “Rest in peace papermaking? Bucksport entering post-papermaking era/Mill machines go idle today.” Though Maine’s paper industry had been troubled for decades, still, it was a cold, sudden end after more than 80 years. The laborers and their families now had to scramble for new ways to make a living. Patricia Ranzoni has gathered recollections from townsfolks who were connected with the mill and has synthesized them into a powerful book that documents the vitality of the place of work within the community.
Bill Needleman deals with rising water in Portland
Maine Sunday Telegram - Sunday, December 17, 2017 

Earlier this month, during the king tide, Bill Needleman led a walking tour of Portland’s Bayside neighborhood to show Portlanders what impact the highest tides of the year have on the city’s waterfront. We wanted to know more about king tides and Needleman’s role as the city’s first waterfront coordinator, a job that includes managing what happens when water starts pooling around the city’s storm drains as climate change literally increases sea levels.
The truth about your online shopping carbon footprint
Maine Sunday Telegram - Sunday, December 17, 2017 

Online shopping is way up and contributing to a vast increase in deliveries – the U.S. Postal Service delivered 3.1 billion packages in 2010 and 5.2 billion in 2016. But researchers say online shopping, despite the environmental cost of those deliveries, is no worse than “regular” retail shopping and may, under ideal conditions, actually have a smaller carbon footprint, even half the size.
Column: Capital relief
Maine Sunday Telegram - Sunday, December 17, 2017 

There’s a rather unheralded conservation property in the Augusta region, an 840-acre gem with more than five miles of developed trails that is just a delightful place for a hike. The beautiful acreage of Jamies Pond Wildlife Management Area spans the three towns of Hallowell, Manchester and Farmingdale. Owned and managed by the Maine Dept. of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife, the central feature of the land is the pristine Jamies Pond. In the 1990s, money from the Land for Maine’s Future program along with assistance from the Kennebec Land Trust helped protect the land around the pond. ~ Carey Kish
Letter: Tax bill leaves no oats for sparrows
Morning Sentinel - Sunday, December 17, 2017 

Under the guise of a middle-class tax cut, the Senate passed a bill that adds a trillion dollars to the national debt, opens the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling, will lead to increases in insurance premiums with a reduction in revenue to rural hospitals, and will result in future cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. In the late 1800s, theory of “trickle-down economics” was known as the “horse and sparrow theory.” If you feed a horse oats, some will pass through undigested. The horse gets the oats and the sparrows get the excrement. Of course, the “horse” actually extracts every last bit of the “oats,” leaving precious little for the “sparrows.” ~ Earl Coombs, Winslow
Letter: Time to stop using harmful plastic bags
Kennebec Journal - Sunday, December 17, 2017 

Can anyone suggest a good reason that we continue to use single-use plastic shopping bags, other than convenience and habit? Twelve million barrels of oil are used annually to make these bags. Approximately 2.5 million of these bags are used in Waterville per year; 380 billion in the U.S. Most are discarded — only 5 percent are recycled — and unlike organic waste, they don’t break down, creating environmental hazards and unsightly trash. A dedicated group from the Sustain Mid Maine Coalition is proposing a Waterville ordinance for a partial ban on plastic shopping bags. ~ Bonnie Sammons, Belgrade
Last-minute Katahdin and Acadia gift ideas for the holidays
Acadia On My Mind Blog - Saturday, December 16, 2017 

Whether it’s a gift certificate to a Mount Desert Island business or a selection of Millinocket-made herbal soap, there’s no shortage of special Katahdin and Acadia gift ideas for the holidays for park lovers on your shopping list.
Hunter Charged with Manslaughter in Hebron Shooting Death
Associated Press - Saturday, December 16, 2017 

A Maine hunter charged with killing a woman he mistook for a deer has been formally charged with manslaughter. An Oxford County grand jury returned the indictment against 38-year-old Robert Trundy, of Hebron. He will be arraigned March 9. The shooting happened Oct. 28, the first day of deer hunting season for Maine residents. The 34-year-old victim, Karen Wrentzel, was digging for gemstones on her property when she was shot. Trundy told game wardens he thought he was firing at a deer, and his attorney said that the shooting wasn't reckless.
Maine hunters on the prowl for coyotes by moonlight
Associated Press - Saturday, December 16, 2017 

Maine hunters are on the prowl for coyotes. The state’s annual “night hunt” for coyotes begins on Saturday. It’s legal to hunt coyotes all year, but it’s only legal at night from Dec. 16 to Aug. 31. The state has no bag or possession limit on coyotes, which live all over the state. The state has about 15,000 coyotes.
Cycling, Rail Advocates On Collision Course Over Proposed Portland-Yarmouth Bike Path
Maine Public - Friday, December 15, 2017 

A proposal to create a new bike path along an existing rail line between Portland and Yarmouth is drawing strong interest from the communities it would pass through. It’s also raising worries that it would interfere with a plan to extend passenger train service from Portland to the Lewiston-Auburn area.
York Land Trust Preserving 220 Forest Acres In Southern Maine
Maine Public - Friday, December 15, 2017 

The York Land Trust has acquired more than 200 acres of forested land in York, to create one of its largest preserves. York Land Trust Executive Director Doreen MacGillis says the trust was able to buy the land thanks in part to a big contribution from the people of York. "There was a town referendum where we asked the voters in York to approve a $300,000 contribution from the town toward the project," MacGillis says, and that passed with overwhelming support."
Portland elver trafficker caught in sting gets jail, another Mainer pleads guilty
Portland Press Herald - Friday, December 15, 2017 

Operation Broken Glass, an interagency sting of a national elver trafficking ring based in Maine, has yielded two more jail sentences and a guilty plea this week. Yarann Im, a Portland seafood dealer, was sentenced to six months in jail for illegally trafficking 480 pounds of elvers. Thomas Choi, a seafood dealer from Maryland, was sentenced to six months in prison with a $25,000 fine for trafficking in $1.26 million of elvers. Maine fisherman Albert Cray pleaded guilty to trafficking more than $250,000 worth of illegally harvested elvers.
When driving on rural Maine roads, beware of bison, pigs and goats
Bangor Daily News - Friday, December 15, 2017 

When it comes to livestock, animal escape artists come with the territory. And sooner or later, they are going to find their way onto a Maine road. In the cases of wildlife, those numbers are far greater with drivers statewide involved in accidents with 4,542 deer, 296 moose, 43 wild turkeys and 33 bears in 2016.
Maine Senator Renews Push for More Energy Independence
Associated Press - Friday, December 15, 2017 

Sen. Angus King is introducing a bill he says will create a push for greater energy independence. King, an independent, is calling the legislation the Next Generation Grid Resources and Infrastructure Development Act, or the GRID Act. He says it's designed to use federal resources to support an electricity grid that's more resilient. The bill would establish parameters for the governance of distributed energy resources, such as solar. King says that would provide guidance to the states and allow for more development of energy technologies. He also says it would grow energy independence "at the personal level."
Opinion: It might sound crazy, but here’s how Maine can transform its economy
Bangor Daily News - Friday, December 15, 2017 

Maine residents prioritize a peaceful lifestyle and preservation of the state’s natural beauty, both of which demand a limited population. But by mathematical definition, a limited population restricts economic output. The Republic of Ireland is a picture-perfect template for Maine’s tech-focused economic transformation. Three key technologies, with enormous multi-decade growth potential, are in the early stages of development: artificial intelligence (i.e., robotics); the internet of things (i.e., IBM’s “Watson”), and blockchain (i.e., the technology behind Bitcoin). By focusing its development of a “Silicon Valley of the East” north of Bangor on these three key technologies, Maine will put itself in strong position to attract global investment capital, university R&D funding and a youthful workforce. ~ Benjamin J. Michaud, Cumberland
Letter: Federal actions put lakes in peril
Kennebec Journal - Friday, December 15, 2017 

There are two federal actions that could greatly hurt Maine lakes. The first is a 31 percent cut to the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget. In Maine, $1.7 million in funds comes from the EPA. Half of these funds pay for the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, while the other half goes directly to on-the-ground projects through competitive matching grants. These are the only funds available for restoring impaired waters and correcting sources of nutrient and pollutant loading in Maine lakes. The second action is the repeal of the Clean Waters Rule. If headwaters are developed, or loaded with nutrients, all the waters downstream will suffer. Contact Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King, and urge them to oppose the budget cuts to EPA and the repeal of the Clean Waters Rule. ~ Toni Pied, Gardiner
Jensen Bissell, Baxter State Park director since 2005, to retire this month
Portland Press Herald - Thursday, December 14, 2017 

Baxter State Park will soon launch only its second search for a new director in more than 30 years.
Jensen Bissell announced recently that he will retire on Dec. 29 after a dozen years as park director and another 18 years helping manage the forests on the park’s northern end. Soft-spoken yet a staunch defender of the 209,644-acre park’s wilderness mandate, Bissell took over as Baxter’s director in 2005 following Irvin “Buzz” Caverly’s retirement after 24 years as park director. Alec Giffen, a former Maine Forest Service director who served on the Baxter State Park Authority, said, “In my view, it is hard to imagine anybody better-suited to the job. He is thoughtful, he is apolitical…and is open to thoughts that are outside of the box.”
Sappi executive named 2018 Woman of Distinction by Girl Scouts of Maine
Morning Sentinel - Thursday, December 14, 2017 

Laura Thompson, director of sustainable development and policy initiatives at Sappi North America, has been named the 2018 Woman of Distinction by Girl Scouts of Maine.
Maine lobster council to keep funding marketing effort despite critics
Portland Press Herald - Thursday, December 14, 2017 

Despite grumbling from lobster dealers, the state Lobster Advisory Council voted unanimously Thursday to continue funding the Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative. The collaborative is about to begin the final year of its five-year mission to promote the state’s signature product. It wants the Legislature to renew its authorization, and its $2.2 million a year budget funded by surcharges on state-issued lobster licenses. But some fishermen and dealers say any benefits aren't worth the cost.
Surge seen in icebergs drifting into North Atlantic ship lanes
Associated Press - Thursday, December 14, 2017 

1,008 icebergs, up from 687 icebergs in 2016, drifted into the North Atlantic shipping lanes this year, marking the fourth consecutive “extreme” ice season, U.S. Coast Guard officials said Thursday. Greenland glaciers are retreating, and storms broke up significant amounts of sea ice in 2017, freeing many icebergs.
As Cobbossee Trail plans near completion in Gardiner, officials seek public input
Kennebec Journal - Thursday, December 14, 2017 

City officials are planning to seek input from business owners as the trail design takes shape.
Column: Changing ranges of bird species tells a tale
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, December 14, 2017 

It would be easy to blame climate change for the northward expansion of southern birds, but there are other causes, too. As suburban sprawl and backyard bird-feeding expands, so does the range of birds that tolerate human-induced changes to the environment. It’s also normal for the ranges of birds to expand and contract. Maine is about to start its own second atlas of birds. We’re way overdue. Birds are a good indicator of what is going on in the environment. If you want to know what’s going right and wrong, sometimes the fastest and cheapest way to find out is to ask the birds. ~ Bob Duchesne
A year of car vs. moose: See where Maine moose crashes happened
Portland Press Herald - Thursday, December 14, 2017 

Crash data compiled from police reports from September 2016 through Labor Day weekend of 2017 indicate that motorists are most likely to crash into moose during the evening hours and during the month of June. There were 291 moose-car collisions for this period – a slight decline from the 305 crashes during the same period in 2015-16. Forty-seven of those crashes caused injury to the driver, including one fatality that occurred on I-95 in Howland. In 2017, moose crashes happened most frequently in the evening hours from 7 to 9 p.m.
Blog: Maine bear hunters might get a second shot
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, December 14, 2017 

Maine is seeing over a thousand bears a year being added to the population – and that is with the longest open season on a big game animal. In 2011, a new law went into effect that allowed two bears to be taken during the season if one was by trapping. So should the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife recommend increasing the bag limit by hunting to two bear? Why not? ~ John Floyd
Baxter State Park Director announces retirement after 30 years
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, December 14, 2017 

Baxter State Park Director Jensen Bissell is retiring at the end of this year after 30 years working for park administration and 12 years as park director. Bissell’s last day will be Dec. 29. He says that will give the Baxter State Park Authority about four quiet months, when park visitation is at a minimum, to conduct their search for the next director, who will oversee the day-to-day operations of one of Maine’s most beloved wild spaces and hiking destinations. “Baxter State Park has thrived under his leadership,” said Aaron Megquier, executive director of the nonprofit organization Friends of Baxter State Park. “He’s done an exceptional job of stewarding the park and staying true to its forever wild mission.”
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