February 18, 2018  
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Maine Environmental News
Announcement - Sunday, February 18, 2018 

Thanks for visiting Maine Environmental News, a service of RESTORE: The North Woods. MEN is the most comprehensive online source available for links to Maine conservation and natural resource news and events. We have posted summaries and links to over 50,000 news articles and announcements. We also post breaking stories and exclusives. Be sure to check not only today's news, but take a look at the headlines from the past several days as well. Articles often come to our attention a few days after they are published. Follow us on Twitter @MaineEnviroNews. ~ Jym St. Pierre, Editor
Growing, Gathering and Using Plants as Medicine, Feb 25
Event - Posted - Sunday, February 18, 2018 

Workshop leader Lucretia Woodruff is a mother of four children and farmer at Milkweed Farm. She has been growing and gathering medicinal herbs and vegetables for over 20 years. At St. Paul’s Church, Brunswick, February 25, 2-3:30 pm, $5 donation. Sponsored by Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust.
History of Maine’s Forests, Mar 12
Event - Posted - Friday, February 16, 2018 

UMaine professor Richard Judd will talk about the history of Maine’s forests. At New England Region Council on Forest Engineering Workshop, University of Maine, Orono, March 12, 1 pm, $, pre-register by Feb 23.
Maple Sugaring for the Small Woodlot Owner, Feb 22
Event - Posted - Thursday, February 15, 2018 

Whether you want to tap two trees or twenty, this demonstration and tour will help get you started. At Simmons & Daughters Sugar House, Morrill, February 22, 2 pm.
Enduring Heights book talk, Feb 22
Event - Posted - Thursday, February 15, 2018 

A book talk and signing will be held for the book Enduring Heights by John and Cynthia Orcutt. At Carrabassett Valley Public Library, February 22, 4:30 pm.
Round the World Birding, Feb 22
Event - Posted - Thursday, February 15, 2018 

Becky Marvil will share her photos and stories of bird species from around the globe. At Viles Arboretum, Augusta, February 22, 7 pm. Sponsored by Augusta Bird Club.
Coffee & Climate meeting, Feb 21
Event - Posted - Wednesday, February 14, 2018 

In 2017, Maine Conservation Voters started Coffee & Climate to create community conversation about pressing conservation issues and facilitate opportunities for action. Meetings resume this year with a discussion about environment and climate issues. At Belfast Co-op, Feb. 21, 4:30-6 pm.
Tips for Hiking, Camping with Kids, Feb 17
Event - Posted - Saturday, February 10, 2018 

Damariscotta River Association will help parents prepare for a summer of hiking and camping with kids, “without the whine,” during a free workshop on February 17, 4-5:30 pm at DRA’s Great Salt Bay Farm.
Winter Carnival, Feb 17
Event - Posted - Saturday, February 10, 2018 

Maine Audubon's celebration of winter weather and wildlife. Learn, create, and play at indoor and outdoor activity stations, including a winter wildlife touch table, tracking activities, snow science and art, snowshoeing with L.L. Bean Outdoor Discovery School, and more. At Gilsland Farm, Falmouth, February 17, 10 am - 2 pm.
Scandinavian Holiday, Feb 16
Event - Posted - Friday, February 9, 2018 

Michael Perry will share his journey across Finland in the annual Border to Border event, starting out near the Russian Border and skiing west 250 miles to the Swedish border over seven days. At L.L. Bean, Freeport, February 16, 7 pm.
Appalachian Odyssey, Feb 15
Event - Posted - Thursday, February 8, 2018 

Jeff Ryan tells about two new hiking companions who went on a day hike of Katahdin in 1985. They had no idea they were starting a 28-year, 2,100-mile adventure. At Curtis Library, Brunswick, February 15, 6 pm. Sponsored by Appalachian Mountain Club Maine Chapter.
Woodland Stewardship Tour, Feb 15
Event - Posted - Thursday, February 8, 2018 

See the results of a careful timber harvest. At Pemaquid Watershed Association's Bearce-Allen Preserve, Bristol, February 15, 2 pm. Sponsored by Knox-Lincoln Soil & Water Conservation District and Maine Forest Service.
We Love Maine Bats, Feb 14
Event - Posted - Wednesday, February 7, 2018 

Wildlife biologists Trevor Peterson and Steve Pelletier talk about bat, one of the most diverse and little understood groups of mammals globally. At Curtis Library, Brunswick, February 14, 7 pm. Sponsored by Friends of Merrymeeting Bay.
Allagash Tails, Feb 13
Event - Posted - Tuesday, February 6, 2018 

Learn about the Allagash, Maine's Wild River, with Tim Caverly, author of "Allagash Tails.” At Woodland Elementary School, February 13, 10 am.
Allagash Tails, Feb 10
Event - Posted - Saturday, February 3, 2018 

Learn about the Allagash, Maine's Wild River, with Tim Caverly, author of "Allagash Tails.” At Sunnybrook Village assisted living, Brunswick, February 10, 2 pm.
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News Items
Programs Helped More Than 100 Maine Plover Chicks Fledge
Associated Press - Tuesday, February 6, 2018 

Maine wildlife biologists say conservation programs and state partnerships helped more than 100 piping plover chicks fledge in the state last year. The piping plover is a shorebird that is on the state endangered species list and is listed as threatened at the federal level. The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife says southern Maine beaches hosted 64 nesting pairs last year and 102 chicks fledged. It was the third year in which there were more than 60 pairs and 100 chicks. The state says the work of volunteers was key.
Letter: President Trump’s speech ‘nailed it?’ He ignored climate change!
Portland Press Herald - Tuesday, February 6, 2018 

In response to Marc Thiessen’s commentary, “Trump’s speech nailed it," I have to ask how a speech that ignores America’s (and the world’s) most pressing problem could be said to have “nailed it.” Climate change is the elephant in the room that our administration has willfully refused to acknowledge, other than offhand references to it as a Chinese hoax. The most effective action Congress could take is to pass carbon fee and dividend legislation such as that proposed by Citizens’ Climate Lobby, which places a steadily rising fee on carbon-based fuel and passes it on to American households. ~ Sarah Braik, Portland
Letter: Maine PUC abandoning ratepayers to coddle the corporations
Portland Press Herald - Tuesday, February 6, 2018 

Re: “CMP says October windstorm cost it $69 million, and customers will help pay the cost”: The Maine Public Utilities Commission has obviously amended its mission statement to include a new formula – “P/C = A/R,” or “Pro-Corporate = Anti-Ratepayers” – allowing CMP to add a surcharge to the bills of ratepayers, recouping millions of dollars recovering from an event caused by Mother Nature. Should this request become reality, the Legislature should rename the PUC the “Corporate Utilities Commission.” ~ Ray Berard Sr., Windham
Letter: Take action against climate change
Bangor Daily News - Tuesday, February 6, 2018 

I’m 11 years old and go to Friends School of Portland. I am writing to tell you about the climate change petition send off, a gathering of about 100 people at Portland City Hall to present a petition for the Maine Legislature to create a law to reduce carbon emissions in Maine. The room was filled with extraordinarily passionate speakers. At my school, kids care about nature and want to help. We rallied every adult in our community to sign our petition. We collected more than 600 signatures. Way more than the 150 we needed. So far, the human race has been nothing but ignorant and destructive to the natural world. Join me in the fight. ~ Ben Medd, Portland
Letter: Put up monument signs
Bangor Daily News - Tuesday, February 6, 2018 

When I moved full time to Millinocket last February, I was so excited to regularly visit Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. It has been rewarding and great fun to meet people from all over the country, our state and, yes, even folks from other countries who share my excitement and are happy to experience the beauty, wildlife, woods, water and majestic views of the monument. People were not only eager to visit our North Woods jewel, but also to celebrate the new national destination of Katahdin Woods and Waters. But a common question I heard from people visiting was, “Why aren’t there signs to the monument?” How embarrassing to have to say our governor won’t allow them. ~ MaryAlice Mowry, Millinocket
Auburn officials talk 'smart growth' planning
Sun Journal - Monday, February 5, 2018 

On Monday, the Auburn City Council pondered becoming the first city in Maine designated as a “smart growth community.” Smart growth is a land development strategy that encourages sustainable growth and walkable downtown centers, while discouraging urban sprawl. It’s described as striking a balance between economic development and protecting agricultural land. Despite most of the council reacting favorably, Mayor Jason Levesque questioned the need for it. “There becomes a point when the only people that understand everything are the people who work in city government,” he said. “Are we controlling the free market too much?”
US Electric Vehicle Report Card: 2017
Other - Monday, February 5, 2018 

The goal of the keep-it-in-the-ground, anti-fossil-fuel lobby is electrification where renewable energy not only captures the electricity market but also the transportation market. While 15 percent of US power generation comes from renewables, virtually none of the motor-fuel market does, outside of (environmentally incorrect) ethanol. Mass electrification must substitute for natural gas/fuel oil in home heating and industrial uses, as well as for gasoline/diesel in transportation. Electric vehicles (EVs) is the politically correct, government-subsidized initiative of the day. But as Steve Goreham warns: "Electrification calls for a massive societal transformation from gasoline to electric vehicles, from traditional power plants to wind and solar generators, and from gas heating to electric and heat pump systems. There is no evidence that this transition will have any measurable effect on global temperatures."
Portland council takes stand against oil, gas drilling off coast
Portland Press Herald - Monday, February 5, 2018 

The Portland City Council unanimously adopted a resolution Monday opposing oil and gas drilling off the coast of Maine. The action came in response to an executive order signed in January by President Trump that would begin opening up U.S. coastal waters to oil and gas exploration. The executive order was opposed my many coastal states. Maine’s congressional delegation has voiced its opposition to the drilling plan.
Utilities faulted on response to storm that caused 500,000 outages
Portland Press Herald - Monday, February 5, 2018 

Municipal officials, union representatives and Maine’s public advocate said electric utilities were plagued by miscommunication, inadequate staffing and equipment failures after October’s windstorm that left some residents without power for 10 days. Buy CMP said 97 percent of customers had their electricity restored five days after the storm as estimated, and that the company’s website disclosed to visitors that they should not rely on the outage information.
Profiles in Scourges: James Watt
Other - Monday, February 5, 2018 

James Watt was by all accounts a plainspoken man. President Reagan made Watt Interior Secretary in 1981 to the delight of the "Sagebrush Rebellion," the groundswell that helped sweep Jimmy Carter out of office. Presaging Trump officials decades later, Watt's legal foundation had several pending lawsuits against the department he now ran. He fired dozens of attorneys involved in environmental enforcement and announced his intention to lease the entire U.S. coastline for oil drilling, whether Big Oil wanted it or not. Watt set up the Minerals Management Service, whose inept stewardship of energy resources blew up in a scandal involving drugs, porn, prostitutes and a rapidly revolving door between Big Oil and the government. He pushed for dramatic increases in coal leasing on public lands, and for a moratorium on new National Park land. In other words, he was a prototype for Trump-era governance.
Trump Administration Cuts Grazing Fees, Mulls Price Hikes for National Parks
Center for Biological Diversity - Monday, February 5, 2018 

The Trump administration is lowering livestock grazing fees on federal public lands by 25 percent. The new fee will be $1.41 a month for each cow and calf, horse or five sheep or goats. Costs to administer the grazing fee program exceed the money collected, resulting in taxpayer subsidies of about $100 million per year. The grazing fee reduction comes as the Trump administration considers an increase in entrance fees for 17 of the most popular national parks, including Acadia.
How The Last US Ice Cream Stick Manufacturer, Here In Maine, Stays Competitive
Maine Public - Monday, February 5, 2018 

When the doctor tells you to open up and say, “Ahhh,” pretty much anywhere in the world, there’s a chance that the wooden stick pressing on your tongue was made in Maine. And the wooden stick in that Creamsicle? Probably also from Maine. Hardwood Products Co. in Guilford has something of a split personality. The company is divided into two operations, one right across the road from the other. On one side, there’s Hardwood Products LLC. Over here, it’s all noisy trucks and bark flying off logs, while a suite of singular machines churns out flat, birch sticks at a rate of 1,200 per minute. On the other side of the road is Puritan Medical, a microbiology lab where you’re more likely to see folks running around in white coats. Both halves have played a role in Hardwood’s success.
UMaine Defends Itself after Report Questions Integrity of Bidding Process
Maine Public - Monday, February 5, 2018 

The University of Maine is defending the initial award of a $100 million contract to provide renewable energy to its Orono campus after a Portland Press Herald report raised questions about insider influence — but the university is also conducting a new audit of the bidding process. Last June, a university team chose an affiliate of the Con Edison company as the winning bidder over three other finalists for the multiyear energy contract. That didn’t seal the deal, but meant that Con Ed and the university would enter negotiations over a final contract. A Portland Press Herald article suggested a UMaine executive, Jake Ward, improperly communicated with ConEd’s team during the bidding process. “We made a determination that the information reported in the Press Herald was not credible and was not verifiable," says Jim Thelen, the university’s chief of staff.
Waterville RiverWalk gets $150,000 gift from Kennebec Savings Bank
Morning Sentinel - Monday, February 5, 2018 

Kennebec Savings Bank’s chief executive officer Andrew Silsby and Waterville City Manager Michael Roy on Monday announced the bank’s donation of $150,000 toward the RiverWalk project at Head of Falls park in Waterville. The $1.5 million RiverWalk will include a 150-seat amphitheater which will be named through the bank’s donation and which is slated for construction this year. The $150,000 donation, announced Monday at the bank’s Augusta location on State Street, puts the RiverWalk fundraising campaign at $750,000 — the half-way mark.
LL Bean starts employee buyouts, ends pension plan
Bangor Daily News - Monday, February 5, 2018 

L.L. Bean, Maine’s fifth-largest employer, has started an employee buyout plan and other belt-tightening measures after a couple years of flat sales. The measures, announced last February, started Jan. 1, with the aim of reducing its workforce by 500 full-time people, or 10 percent of its 5,000 employees, said L.L. Bean spokeswoman Carolyn Beem. At the same time, the company stopped contributing to its pension plan. L.L. Bean is boosting company contributions to 401(k) plans from 4 percent to as much as 8 percent of annual income, allowing more flex-time and leave for parental or elder care.
Lawmakers call for investigation into lucrative UMaine energy contract
Portland Press Herald - Monday, February 5, 2018 

Lawmakers are calling for an investigation into revelations that a University of Maine official provided inside information to help steer a lucrative energy contract for the Orono campus to one bidder. Additionally, the university system’s board of trustees is asking its audit committee to examine the same allegations, which arose from a Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram report that chronicles statements made during secret, recorded phone conversations by a business consultant working with the winning bidder. Jim Thelen, the university’s general counsel, said, “As far as we can tell the RFP (request for proposals) process was properly shielded from outside influence.”
Shed hunters, wardens rescue moose that was stuck in a spring hole
Bangor Daily News - Monday, February 5, 2018 

Dustin Reynolds and Ryan Murphy, both of Harrington, who were looking for antler “sheds” in the Maine woods last week found more than they bargained for, and their quick actions helped lead to the rescue of a cow moose that had become trapped in a muddy spring hole.
Industry: Keep state-funded lobster marketing group afloat
Associated Press - Monday, February 5, 2018 

Members of Maine’s lifeblood lobster industry said Monday the state should keep funding a marketing group that uses fees from industry members to promote the seafood all over the country. Fishermen, dealers and processors pay to fund the Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative, which has an annual budget of $2.2 million and has been the subject of criticism from some members who say they don’t see enough return on that investment. But the industry came out in support of the collaborative, which needs legislative approval to keep operating past this year.
Group hopes to ban boiling lobsters in U.K. Will this movement gain steam?
Associated Press - Monday, February 5, 2018 

The United Kingdom is considering action to make it illegal to boil live lobsters. Crustacean Compassion, an animal welfare organization based in the U.K., is looking to follow Switzerland’s lead and convince government officials to ban the practice of boiling lobsters alive. Scientists with the Lobster Institute at the University of Maine say the animals aren’t developed enough to feel pain.
Maine's Camping Season Promises to Be in Tents in 2018
Associated Press - Monday, February 5, 2018 

The state of Maine is starting to take reservations for campgrounds for the new year. The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry's Bureau of Parks and Lands says it began taking reservations for Sebago Lake State Park on Feb. 1. It's taking reservations for all other state park campgrounds at 9 a.m. on Monday.
Red wolves may be going extinct in the wild — again
Washington Post - Monday, February 5, 2018 

A few weeks after the 30th anniversary of reintroduction, there is serious doubt that the only distinctively American wolf, which once ranged throughout the southeast United States, can survive outside zoos. If wild red wolves are lost, it would mark one of the biggest and most dramatic failures for a federal endangered species recovery plan. Wolves have been shot by hunters and private landowners. They’ve also been run over on roads and trapped and removed by federal officials after doing what comes naturally to wolves: roaming to find new territory.
Reshaping Portland's waterfront: A flurry of development east to west in Maine's largest city
Mainebiz - Monday, February 5, 2018 

Brothers Charlie and Malcolm Poole lease space to 25 tenants and 15 boats that tie up on the pier, all part of Portland's prized working waterfront. The brothers are having a three-story office built at the adjacent Widgery Wharf, which they also own. They're planning two more buildings of commercial and retail space on Commercial Street. That puts the siblings front and center of a waterfront development boom set to reshape Portland, as Maine's biggest city struggles to strike the right balance between attracting more tourists and businesses and keeping neighborhoods livable and affordable.
Tollef Olson has a knack for turning seaweed into products that are in demand
Mainebiz - Monday, February 5, 2018 

Tollef Olson has started and sold a variety of businesses, including Aqua Farms LLC (producer of Bangs Island Mussels) and Ocean Approved. In 2016, he co-founded Ocean's Balance, which a year ago started producing a Kelp Puree made from wild seaweed he harvests. Ocean's Balance is part of a wave of companies coming up with seaweed products aimed at health-conscious consumers.
Mark Murrell of GetMaineLobster.com ready to expand beyond crustaceans
Mainebiz - Monday, February 5, 2018 

Mark Murrell founded GetMaineLobster.com in 2009, but plans to expand well beyond crustaceans to grass-fed beef and exotic game. Through a network of suppliers and distributors, Murrell and his Portland team ship product via FedEx and UPS for next-day delivery. With five employees plus several contractors handling customer experience and technology, the model has successfully leveraged online shopping trends into the live lobster market, with customers from across the nation. Murrell was anecdotally told by one shipper that his holiday 2017 shipment numbers ranked No. 2, behind only L.L.Bean.
Potato industry seeks low-interest loan boost
Mainebiz - Monday, February 5, 2018 

Senate Democratic Leader Troy Jackson of Allagash has submitted LR 2828, "An Act To Amend the Law Regarding the Interest Rate for State Loans under the Potato Marketing Improvement Fund," to help the Maine Potato Board offer lower-interest loans to Maine potato farmers. The interest rate is fixed at 5% for the term of the loan. Jackson's bill will attempt to amend the law so that farmers can access low interest state loans under the PMIF.
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