May 27, 2017  
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News Items
With clams under siege, Maine’s Casco Bay is seeing an oyster boom
Bangor Daily News - Saturday, May 27, 2017 

Since Pat Scanlan established the Quahog Bay Conservancy and began cleaning up the bay, about 70,000 of the original 200,000 Snow Island Oysters have been sold and shipped as far away as Chicago and Texas. Last year the oyster farmers started another 100,000 seed, and plan to start another 100,000 in July. A couple of peninsulas south, at the tip of Mere Point, about 6,000 of Doug Niven’s oysters also are flourishing in Casco Bay’s cold, salty water. Mere Point and Snow Island are just two of many oyster farms bubbling up in the cold, clear water of Casco Bay.
Despite uncertain future, Katahdin monument fully open for Memorial Day weekend
Portland Press Herald - Friday, May 26, 2017 

Its future may still be uncertain, but the Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument has fully opened just before Memorial Day weekend. Tim Hudson, the monument’s superintendent, said Friday that the opening of the facility’s 21-mile Loop Road will increase access for casual visitors and hardcore hikers or paddlers, alike. The north gate, another main point of entry, has been open since May 13.
Land for Maine’s Future Puts Out Call for Project Proposals
Maine Public - Friday, May 26, 2017 

A 30-year-old land conservation program, whose last two rounds of voter-approved bond funding were delayed in a political battle with Gov. Paul LePage, says it should have the cash in hand this fall. Land for Maine’s Future Director Sarah Demers says the group is putting out a call for new project proposals focused on protecting important land resources.
Maine expecting strong tourist season, with gas prices steady and consumers ready to spend
Portland Press Herald - Friday, May 26, 2017 

Tourism officials predict a steady start to another strong summer travel season, buoyed by high consumer confidence and stable gas prices. More than 1.6 million New Englanders are expected to hit the road this Memorial Day weekend, 2.7 percent more than last year, according to the American Automobile Association. A big chunk of those road trippers are coming to Maine, with about 960,000 vehicles expected to travel Interstate 95 from Friday to Monday. That would be a 3.1 percent increase in travel over last year. Since 2012, the number of visitors to Maine has increased by about 6 percent annually. In 2016, Maine hosted almost 36 million visitors. An estimated 5 million of those came to Maine for the first time.
In Europe, World Leaders Try To Change Trump's Mind On Climate Change
National Public Radio - Friday, May 26, 2017 

On one side, leaders of Canada, Japan, France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom, plus two EU representatives. On the other side, President Trump. Up for debate, the peril of climate change and the urgency of the U.S. commitment to the Paris accord to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. After that conversation, Trump economic adviser Gary Cohn said the president's views are "evolving" and that he feels "much, much more knowledgeable" after the conversation with world leaders. The Paris accord, created in 2015 after lengthy negotiations, calls on 196 nations to ratchet back greenhouse gas emissions. The goal is to keep the rise in global temperatures no higher than 2 degrees Celsius, as compared with pre-industrial levels. The global average temperature has already increased about 1 degree Celsius.
Lawmakers Critical of Maine Mining Bill Unenroll From Democratic Party
Maine Public - Friday, May 26, 2017 

The Democratic majority in the Maine House of Representatives now totals just four votes following a decision by two members to unenroll from the party. Representatives Denise Harlow, of Portland, and Ralph Chapman, of Brooksville, announced Friday that they're unenrolling from the party. Harlow and Chapman have been outspoken opponents of a bill that would ban open-pit mines, as well as mining, on state-owned lands or under lakes and rivers. Harlow and Chapman have pushed for an outright ban on metallic mining.
Land for Maine’s Future Board Issues Call for Proposals
Other - Friday, May 26, 2017 

The Land for Maine’s Future Board announces a Call for Proposals for land conservation projects, with approximately $4.25 million in Land for Maine’s Future (LMF) funds available for new projects. Deadline September 1, 2017, 5pm.
Two Maine Democratic lawmakers drop from the party
Portland Press Herald - Friday, May 26, 2017 

Rep. Denise Harlow, of Portland, and Rep. Ralph Chapman, of Brooksville – two veteran lawmakers and progressive members of the Democratic caucus – have dropped their party affiliations. Both lawmakers are heavily involved in environmental issues and recently split with the majority of their party by opposing a bipartisan bill to overhaul Maine’s metallic mining regulations. It narrows the majority of Democrats over Republicans but does not significantly altering the political balance.
Two House Democrats unenroll, eliminating party’s outright majority
Bangor Daily News - Friday, May 26, 2017 

Two Democratic House representatives have unenrolled from their party, eliminating the party’s outright majority in the chamber and reducing their advantage over Republicans to four representatives. Reps. Denise Harlow, I-Portland, and Ralph Chapman, U-Brooksville, confirmed their withdrawal from the party Friday. The move leaves the House with 71 Republican representatives, 75 Democratic representatives and then the five unaffiliated representatives, including three Independents, one Common Sense Independent and one unenrolled.
Among the puffins
Down East - Friday, May 26, 2017 

From windswept islands in a warming Gulf of Maine, photographer Derrick Z. Jackson documents Maine’s puffin colonies in intimate, dazzling detail.
Bugs, diseases, and tree injuries, oh my
Maine Government News - Friday, May 26, 2017 

The new Invasive Species Portal on gives citizens easy access to invasive species-related work of state agencies. The portal can help you find resources about destructive flora and fauna that have invaded our state or could be coming very soon. You can access the resource at
Good news! Only half of our moose calves died this winter
Bangor Daily News - Friday, May 26, 2017 

State moose biologist Lee Kantar says that only half of the moose calves he studied this past winter died, something that is apparently considered to be good news. Associated Press reporter Patrick Whittle interviewed Lee and published a news story about this in mid-May. I have asked DIF&W for a report on the most recent moose research, but have not yet received anything.
North Woods national monument opens fully to the public
Bangor Daily News - Friday, May 26, 2017 

Amid an ongoing federal review and contention over the signs advertising it, Maine’s national monument opened fully for its first full year on Thursday with a handful of visitors more interested in nature than politics. About a half dozen people came to Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument on Thursday, Superintendent Tim Hudson said, adding that attendance will likely increase this Memorial Day weekend. The Loop Road was the last entrance to open. The monument’s north gate opened on May 13.
Opinion: Five-cent deposit on ‘nips’ would reduce Maine’s roadside litter
Portland Press Herald - Friday, May 26, 2017 

In 2016, almost 7 million nips were sold in Maine for a net profit of nearly $4 million for the state-owned liquor business. In addition, 120 Maine citizens are employed at the facility that bottles nips. Great, but many consumers are buying these nips, consuming them while driving and tossing the empty bottle out the window, littering Maine roads. Our amendment provides for a 5-cent deposit on nips starting Jan. 1, 2019, giving companies time to change their labels. The governor may veto the bill. He says if the Legislature overrides the veto, he will work to ban the nip-sized bottles. He sees the nips as a drinking and driving problem and doesn’t believe the deposit will stop this practice. If this is his only concern, why stop with the nips? In the meantime, let the deposit go forward. ~ Sen. Thomas Saviello, R-Wilton, co-chairman, Environment and Natural Resources Committee
Letter: LePage threatens devastation in Katahdin region
Bangor Daily News - Friday, May 26, 2017 

On one of last September’s most crystalline days, my companion and I headed north to the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. I have made four trips to the region, purchasing a memento for my companion. Gas, food, souvenirs. We distributed several hundred dollars to Medway, Millinocket, Patten and Shin Pond. Clearly, we weren’t alone. Years ago, the closing of paper mills devastated the region. This monument offers a renaissance — one with private funding, even. In lobbying against this gift to Maine, Gov. Paul LePage is threatening a second devastation. Why would he do that? What is he thinking? ~ Donna Gold, Stockton Springs
Letter: Protect our national monuments
Bangor Daily News - Friday, May 26, 2017 

President Donald Trump’s recent imbroglios so dominate the news that little attention is being paid to his attack on the national monuments that have been created over the past 20 years. This include Katahdin Woods and Waters in Maine and Grand Staircase Escalante and Bears Ears in Utah. While the size and topography of these monuments are very different, they all deserve protection. Please let Congress and Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke know you want these lands protected. These monuments were created only after an exhaustive consultation process. The decision has been made — respect it. ~ Edward Riggs, Albion
Blog: Paddling down Stephen King’s river
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, May 25, 2017 

The Royal River runs 39 miles from Sabbathday Lake, in New Gloucester, to the sea in Yarmouth. It’s possible to paddle the upper stretches but there has to be enough water. The lower part, after the dam at Elm Street in Yarmouth, is crazy with waterfalls and tidal currents. The bit we did — from Route 9 to Elm Street — is passable all summer and easy going. The Royal River appears in many Stephen King stories, flowing near his imagined town of Castle Rock. King grew up in these parts. The classic 80s movie “Stand By Me” and the story that inspired it — “The Body” — were set here. We didn’t find any bodies. All we saw were osprey, cormorants and ducks. ~ Troy R. Bennett
Proposed waterfront park would cost $16 million, Portland officials say
Portland Press Herald - Thursday, May 25, 2017 

A proposed city park next to Ocean Gateway that includes event space, sailing facilities and elevated berms to protect against sea surge would cost about $16 million, city officials said Thursday. “This is a very different space than we originally thought,” said Bill Needelman, the city’s waterfront coordinator. The design, he said, was driven by the need for “resiliency” in the face of flooding or rising waters.
Lobstering ban near coral gardens could cost industry almost $9 million a year, fishermen say
Portland Press Herald - Thursday, May 25, 2017 

The financial toll of a lobster fishing ban near deep-sea coral gardens in the Gulf of Maine could top $8 million a year, almost double what was originally projected by the regional regulatory group that is considering the ban, a Maine fishing representative said Thursday. The 50 Maine lobster boats that fish Outer Schoodic Ridge and Mount Desert Rock – the areas where fragile coral colonies have been found – drop more traps there for more months of the year than originally estimated, said Pat Keliher, Maine’s top fisheries official.
NRCM Speaks Out Against Trump’s Proposed Cuts to EPA
WABI-TV5 - Thursday, May 25, 2017 

The White House plans to cut $2.6 billion from the EPA’s budget, eliminating more than 50 environmental protection programs. The Natural Resources Council of Maine says that could cause widespread damage, especially in Maine. The group was joined by area residents Thursday at the Cianbro Facility in Brewer, voicing concern over President Trump’s budget plan.
Libra Foundation begins effort to revitalize Monson as hub for artists
Portland Press Herald - Thursday, May 25, 2017 

The Libra Foundation has launched an effort to revitalize the town of Monson by creating a hub for artists. The Portland-based philanthropic foundation already has purchased about 12 downtown properties and is renovating them into artists’ residences and studios. The hope is that once an artists’ community is populated, it will draw economic investment into the poorest county in Maine, Piscataquis. Besides being the gateway to the Moosehead region, Monson has the only downtown that is traversed by the Appalachian Trail. It is a provisioning station and boarding stop on the 2,200-mile trek from Georgia to Mount Katahdin. “It’s right at the cusp of the 100-Mile Wilderness,” said Jere Michelson, president of the Libra Foundation.
Lawmakers Draft Letters to Interior Secretary Defending National Monuments
Maine Public - Thursday, May 25, 2017 

Democratic U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree of Maine’s 1st District and 85 of her colleagues have sent a letter to the interior secretary warning him that only Congress has the “Constitutional authority to revoke or shrink a national monument.” Independent U.S. Sen. Angus King of Maine has also written a letter to defend it. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is currently reviewing 27 national monuments, including Katahdin Woods and Waters in Maine.
Environmental Activiists protest Trump's proposed EPA cuts
WCSH-TV6 - Thursday, May 25, 2017 

Environmental Activists gathered in Brewer today at the Cianbro Eastern Manufacturing plant to criticize President Trumps proposed cuts to the EPA. The group chose the Cianbro site because it was successfully redeveloped using federal brownfield grants which they say are targeted for deep cuts in Trump's budget proposal. Among those who spoke were health care professionals including doctors and nurses who've seen the impact of environmental hazards to human health.One nurse talked about seeing an increase in asthma cases and a doctor talked about the impacts of childhood lead poisoning when lead paint programs are cut.
Maine rice farm to hold rice paddy transplanting party
Morning Sentinel - Thursday, May 25, 2017 

When you think of farms throughout Maine, crops such as blueberries and potatoes are probably the first things that come to mind. But at a farm in Kennebec County, the specialty crop is probably the last one that comes to mind for the state: rice. Ben Rooney, co-owner and farm manager for Wild Folk Farm in Benton, said he began farming rice simply to try it out. It wasn’t something he had planned to do, but when the farm was founded five years ago, Rooney said the intent was to try different things.
Blog: New campground gives Milo more to boast about
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, May 25, 2017 

On Saturday, May 20th, I spent the day with Dennis and Ellen Gonyaw, both originally from Vermont. They had been vacationing in Milo for years, and had often talked about one day owning a campground. When a closed-down campground in Milo went on the market, they knew it was time. ~ Denise Buzzelli
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