Disappear our Dead is Profound

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 Gin Mackey’s new novel, Disappear our Dead, is profound. I know that’s an unusual adjective to apply to a novel, but this is much more than a great story.

The death of the husband of Abby who lives on the coast of Maine plunges her into grief, her life deteriorating into isolation, when she rarely got out of bed. But then her daughter gets her up and out, and she finds new life in performing home funerals and “awakes.”

I loved the idea of “awakes” which gather folks around a dying person to let that person know how much he or she meant to the folks. These were major events with music and lots of story telling, and clearly made a big difference as the end of a life neared. I also learned a lot about home funerals, something that was common in the old days but is rare today.

DIFW Rejects More Money for Moose Research and Management

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Moose permits have been cut in half and nothing is being done to save moose that are being killed in big numbers by ticks, but the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife says it needs no more money for moose research and management.

That was their testimony against LD 1065, a bill sponsored at my request by Representative Peter Lyford, to dedicate all the money raised from the moose lottery and permits to research and management of moose.

While the lottery brings in as much a $3 million a year, and the sale of permits $1.5 million, the department has spent only $1.2 million on moose research in the past six years. And of course, nothing is being spent or done to save our moose from being killed by ticks.

The draft of the new 15-year moose management plan includes this goal: “Generate a stable stream of funds dedicated for moose research as it relates to the management and health of Maine’s moose.” In the agency’s “expected outcomes” draft for the plan, one goal is to “implement management actions to stabilize or decrease winter tick effects on moose mortality.”

Restaurant Awards Banquet and Expo were great events!

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 George

            It’s become one of our favorite events of the year: the Maine Restaurant Association’s Annual Awards Banquet.

            Imagine wandering the room during the pre-dinner reception, eating amazing appetizers from some of the state’s best restaurants and chefs including the new chef at The Nonantum Resort, a spectacular place on the water in Kennebunkport, and the chefs at the Harraseeket, one of our very favorite inns, restaurants and taverns in Freeport.

Moose bills get some traction at legislature

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 Members of the legislature’s Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Department have sent us mixed messages on the many moose hunting bills considered this session.

In divided votes, the following moose bills were rejected by the committee:

A bill to double the number of moose permits auctioned by DIF&W for conservation camp scholarships for kids from 10 to 20;

A bill to allow those who trade permits to include, in the transaction, some cash payment.

On the other hand, the committee endorsed some changes, including these:

A bill that allows kids under 8 years of age to apply for moose permits and accrue points, but not win a permit.

Foraging on private land without permission is illegal

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 The debate has been brutal. And we’ve learned a lot.

Turns out it’s already illegal to forage on private land without permission. So Senator Tom Saviello pulled the bill he sponsored at my request. LD 128 would have required landowner permission before we pick their mushrooms, fiddleheads, or other crops.

The bill drew a strong and angry response from people who feel entitled to do this without permission, along with news stories from London to the Wall Street Journal.

Along the way, we learned that current law prohibits foraging on public lands and in state parks, but a policy allows it on public lands, while it remains illegal in state parks.

Most recently, we were all surprised to discover that foraging is already illegal on private land without permission. You’ll find that law in Title 14, Part 7, Chapter 739, Subchapter 2: Trespass. Here’s what it says:

You'll enjoy going to Camp at Sunday River

City or Town: 
Bethel
Newry
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 George

            Sunday River’s Grand Summit Hotel is certainly grand, and it was packed with skiers including many families with kids. Guests were there from all over the northeast, and we even saw three vehicles from Nova Scotia. The views are really spectacular here, and we enjoyed riding up and down the mountain to check out all the inns and restaurants.

Brook trout bill continues to stir debate

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The effort at the legislature to extend protection of Heritage brook trout continues to stir debate, focused on disappointment with the opposition and testimony of Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

Today I’m sharing testimony that Gary Corson provided to the IFW Committee after the hearing. Gary was listening to the hearing online and was deeply disappointed in the department’s testimony offered by Fisheries Division Director Francis Brautigam.

Gary was the driving force behind the successful effort by the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, when I was SAM’s executive director, and its Fisheries Initiative Committee to win legislative approval for SAM’s bill to name our native brook trout the state’s Heritage fish and protect them in nearly 300 waters that had never been stocked. DIF&W also opposed that bill.

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