Patty Limerick has a fracking good sense of humor

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Patty Limerick is not a standup comedian, but she could be. I met Patty years ago at a conference for journalists, sponsored by The Property and Environment Research Center, and held at Lone Mountain Ranch in Big Sky, Montana. Since that time I have followed, and valued, the work of the Center of the American West that Patty cofounded at the University of Colorado in Boulder. She continues to serve the Center as the Faculty Director and a member of the Board.

Consider the Center’s mission statement: “the creation of forums for the respectful exchange of ideas and perspectives in the pursuit of solutions to the region’s difficulties.”

Don’t you think Maine could use something like this?

Let's Do Lunch - at the Broad Arrow Cafe

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If you are Christmas shopping in Freeport, save time for lunch at the Harraseeket Inn's Broad Affow Tavern - and treat yourself to the exceptional buffet. You deserve it!

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I'm dreaming of a fly fishing Christmas!

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Most of us who fly fish have far more rods and reels than we need – and for sure, we’ve got hundreds if not thousands of flies. So a good choice of gift this Christmas for that fly fisher in your family is D. Dauphinee’s new book, Stoneflies & Turtleheads, published by North Country Press in Unity. Or you can just buy it for yourself!

This is neither a “my best fishing stories” book, nor a “how-to” boring and tedious recitation. For starters, Denis Dauphinee wrote the book for himself. While he’s done a bit of writing before, he says Stoneflies & Turtleheads “is my first attempt at writing something which I’ve wanted to write.”

His passion for fly fishing and writing combine very nicely in this unusual collection of interesting – and sometimes fascinating – stories. There is a bit of how-to here, well presented, and plenty of truth telling about getting skunked. I particularly related to those stories!

Paul Betit writes great novels

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If you thought a sports writer could only write about sports, I’ve got news for you. Veteran sports writer Paul Betit is cranking out some great novels. And the best news of all is this: he retired from the Portland Press Herald in November and can now devote even more time to writing these novels.

I just finished Paul’s first novel, Phu Bai. The novel is well written, a good story and compelling read. Honestly, I couldn’t put it down.

Normally, I am skeptical about self-published novels. They generally suffer from poor or no editing and are too long. All of us who write benefit from good editing. Paul’s first novel is just 214 pages long, easily consumed in a couple of evenings. But I do have to confess that it kept me up an hour beyond my normal bedtime the second evening, because I just had to find out how it ended.

Legislature tackles issues from brook trout to bears to boa constrictors

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When the Maine legislature convenes in early January, things promise to be ugly. It’s an election year, the Governor and legislative leaders are feuding, the budget is short at least $40 million, and there are lots of problems at the Health and Human Services Department. I plan to hunker down in Room 206 where the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee will tackle some very interesting issues.

This is the second of a two-part series looking at some of those interesting issues. Part one was posted on Wednesday of this week.

Brook Trout

A management plan for wild brook trout in waters that haven’t been stocked in 25 years, the so-called “B list,” along with a list of those waters, is due for delivery to the IFW Committee by January 15. This will be a hot topic, focused on the use of live fish as bait in some of those waters.

Legislature will tackle lots of outdoor issues

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                The legislature returns to Augusta in early January with an interesting agenda of outdoor issues. Sure, the session will be all about the budget, health care and human services, and taxes, and election year politics and posturing will dominate, but in Room 206 of the State Office Building, the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee will tackle issues from book trout to hunting licenses.

                This is the first of two columns on legislative issues of primary interest to sportsmen.

Our grandsons will get these books for Christmas

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Please don’t tell my grandsons. We’re giving them these books for Christmas.

At the ages of 6 and 9, both Addison and Vishal are avid readers. Linda and I enjoy giving them books and both reading to them and having them read to us.

They’ve both been helping me review kids’ books too. For some of those reviews, just flip back through the book reviews posted here. There are some great choices for Christmas gifts there, in addition to the books reviewed in this column.

After plowing through a stack of kids’ books, here are the ones that Addi and V will find under their Christmas tree from Grampy and Nana Smith.

Mert the Anxious Evergreen

This is perfect for all Maine kids. The story and message hits very close to home.

Written and beautifully illustrated by Clair Bowman, the story features the young evergreen tree, Mert, and his desperate effort to save the farm he’s on and become a Christmas tree.

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