They've turned an historic Portland church into an elegant restaurant

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Portland
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What do you get when you combine a beautiful and historic Methodist church with delicious creative food and superb service? Amazing Grace!

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Wildfire previews outdoor and environmental issues at the legislature

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 The key hunting, fishing, conservation, and environmental issues before the legislature this session are previewed on the current episode of Wildfire, the TV talk show I cohost with Harry Vanderweide. The show is owned and produced by Maine Audubon.

Audubon’s lobbyist, Jenn Gray (in the photo above), talks with us in the second half of the show about the environmental issues from mining to ocean temperatures. In the first half of the show, Harry and I discuss the hunting and fishing issues from licensing to rubber worms to exotic animals. Yes, we’ll be talking about rat snakes this session!

Not surprisingly, brook trout issues are on the list for both sportsmen and environmentalists.

Wildfire is aired on the Time Warner channel statewide (channel 9 in most places) on the following days and times: Sundays at 9:30 pm, Wednesdays at 7 pm, Fridays at 7:30 pm, and Saturdays at 2:30 pm. Each episode airs for a two week period, beginning on a Wednesday night.

Riding the wind at the Maine legislature - it's all about scenery

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The hearing room and the hallway outside were crowded with friends and foes of wind power today as the legislature’s Committee on Energy hosted hearings on two wind power bills. I got there early and snared one of the last seats. The hearing lasted all day with lots of proponents and opponents on both sides of the issues.

Even the environmental community was divided, with the Appalachian Mountain Club supporting the bills – one of which would substantially toughen the standards for scenery for wind tower developments (that’s the bill that drew most of the testimony) – and Sierra Club, Conservation Law Foundation, and Environment Maine opposing the bills.

I hung around all day and finally got to speak at 4:30 pm. Here’s what I had to say, focused on LD 1147 – the bill on scenery.

My Testimony

Moose Applications Down – Moose Population May Follow

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While Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife increased moose permits this year, applications declined.

DIF&W’s moose biologist Lee Kantar told legislators a year ago that he is confident Maine now has 75,000 moose. And although he opposed legislative bills calling for significant increases in permits this year, Lee did nudge up the number of permits.

Yet, surprisingly, interest in the hunt is on the decline. A total of 52,604 applications were received for moose permits in 2013, a 3 percent decline over 2012. Nonresident applicants declined most steeply, by 4 percent, dropping to 14,040. Applications from residents totaled 38,564, a 3 percent decline from the previous year.

This is, of course, a far cry from the 94,532 applications received in 1994. In that year, 74,424 residents applied for moose permits and 20,108 nonresidents.

Murder and mayhem in a small Maine town

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At a Christmas party hosted by Islandport Press for its authors, staff, and friends, I met William Andrews. And when he told me he’d written two novels, set in a small rural Maine town, I charged out into the warehouse and grabbed them off the shelf.

At that point I didn’t know if Andrews was a good writer – in fact, I really didn’t know who he is – but I’m a sucker for any book about Maine, fiction or nonfiction. Turns out he is a very good writer. I especially loved the extensive dialogue in both novels.

I guess I should not have been surprised, because he is the former president of Westbrook College and a longtime freelance editor and writer. He’s even authored three textbooks on management communications.

Legislature shoots down comprehensive hunting license

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Good ideas often take many years of persistent advocacy before winning legislative support. Someday Maine will offer an inexpensive easy-to-obtain comprehensive hunting license. But not in the next two years.

The legislature’s Committee on Inland Fisheries and Wildlife unanimously killed LD 153, a bill to establish a single hunting license covering all hunting opportunities that Representative Dennis Keschl submitted at my request, despite the fact that a survey of hunters by the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife found overwhelming support for the proposal.

Quite a few of the committee’s members actually supported the bill, but the inevitability of its defeat, and the lingering concern that many hunters would pay more than they do today for their hunting license, killed the bill. Governor Paul LePage had made it known that he would veto the bill if it was enacted, so there was little reason for legislators to stick their necks out on this controversial measure.

Escaping the ice and snow at Portland's Mariott at Sable Oaks

City or Town: 
Portland
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The Portland Marriott at Sable Oaks was a great escape from the ice storm.

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