Governor Paul LePage’s quote of the day. Read it and weep.

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 “He has no communication whatsoever with (the commission) in terms of decision-making. He puts people in place who are qualified for the task at hand and he has the utmost confidence in those commissioners.”

That’s what Adrienne Bennett, Governor Paul LePage’s spokeswoman, said yesterday when asked if the Governor has any role in the recent vote of the Public Utilities Commission that sharply cut funding for Efficiency Maine. According to a news report today by Steve Mistler and Kevin Miller of the Portland Press Herald, last year the Efficiency Maine Trust helped homeowners buy 2.5 million discounted low-energy light bulbs and 3,000 businesses reduce their costs for electricity with rebates or subsidies for a wide range of energy-saving improvements.

Governor puts the brakes on two dozen conservation projects.

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The room was packed, most unusual for a meeting of the Land for Maine’s Future Board. Extra chairs were squeezed into the small room, bit some folks still had to stand. The news that Governor Paul LePage was refusing to permit the LMF Board to use bond money to complete its projects drew attention from the media, environmental and sportsmen’s groups, landowners, and legislators. Today, unfortunately, we learned that the news was true.

Fascinating stories from the other end of Dana Wilde’s driveway.

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Dana Wilde’s stories are cerebral, serene, and oftentimes fascinating. Most fascinating for me, in his book The Other End of the Driveway, are stories about wild creatures including Blue jays, Hummingbirds, Horseshoe crabs, and spiders. Yes, spiders can be fascinating!

Consider this from the spider story. This is not paranoia. I’m being watched… involuntarily I glance back… and for no reason my eyes fix on the eave above the door. Upside down there in her web is a huge garden spider… She’s not after me. But still. She looks huge and witchlike, with her eight eyes seeming to scope my every move and thought.

Eight eyes? Yikes!

We know when and where they die - Collared moose tracked on Google

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“If we just took the (dead moose) results of last year, we would have concerns. And we do have concerns, but it’s going to take some time” to figure this out.

Those were the words of Lee Kantar, moose biologist for Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, who briefed the legislature’s Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee on March 3, 2015. Lee was talking about his “Moose Survival Project.” This year he is tracking about 70 collared moose using helicopters.

Last year the department collared 30 adult cows and 30 calves. Nine of the cows (30 percent) and 21 of the calves (70 percent) died by the end of last winter from tick infestations. That shocking result caused the agency to sharply reduce moose permits in 2014 from 4,100 to 3,095, an unprecedented reduction in a single year. Permits have been reduced by another 270 this year.

Harry Vanderweide's long battle with chronic Lyme disease

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 Yesterday morning, I sat down with my long-time friend and colleague, Harry Vanderweide, to write his Lyme disease story so it could be shared with legislators next Tuesday at a public hearing on a Lyme disease bill. Harry is probably the state’s best-known sportsman. He edited The Maine Sportsman magazine for four decades, hosted his own outdoor TV show for 25 years, and was a founder of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine. For the last 14 years Harry has co-hosted the TV talk show Wildfire with me. I have been blessed to have hunted and fished with Harry for a very long time. And it has been tough to see the impact of Lyme disease as Harry has struggled with it over the last 5 years. Here is Harry’s story, in his own words, as he told it to me yesterday.

Harry’s Story

A recreational paradise in Maine’s great North Woods

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 Matt Polstein is the perfect example of what it takes to succeed these days in the sporting camp business. Matt has renovated most of the old cabins that were part of Twin Pine Camps, constructed new cabins and luxurious 3-bedroom houses, added a superb restaurant, and partnered with conservation groups to protect surrounding lands and with outdoor recreation groups to add experiences to the traditional pursuits of hunting and fishing.

                When we were there a few weeks ago, it was clear that the New England Outdoor Center is a major destination for snowmobilers. While Matt rents snowmobiles, many of his guests arrive with huge trailers full of them. Some bring two for each member of their party, in case one breaks down!

Lyme Disease news is all bad and getting worse

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Lyme disease – delivered by deer ticks – is a growing problem in Maine and the nation. When a legislative committee hosts a hearing next Tuesday on An Act To Improve Access to Treatments for Lyme disease, committee members better be prepared for some horror stories.

I talked with the bill’s sponsor, Representative Deb Sanderson of Chelsea, earlier this week about her concerns and her bill. But before I get to that, consider the most recent news.

Snow Helped Ticks

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