George Smith's blog

Rockland's the Choice for Reading, Shopping, Eating

City or Town: 
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Rockland’s hasn’t just had a facelift. It’s had a personality transplant. Multiple visits over the past two decades have shown a town that has evolved into a tourist destination. And it’s a great place for Mainers to spend a day. That’s why we found ourselves there on Martin Luther King Day this year.

We went to Rockland specifically to eat at two restaurants we’d not visited in a decade, and to sandwich a visit to nearby Union to visit our daughter Rebekah and grandson Vishal in between the glutinous feasting. We also managed to make some purchases in favorite Rockland shops.

Woodcock, Wolves, and Whoopies

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I’m going to begin posting Monday blogs that update you on issues and inform you about what’s coming up in the week ahead. Here we go.

On Tuesday (February 8) I had expected Governor Paul LePage to announce his nominee for Commissioner of the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. But that announcement has been put off until next Monday (February 14), just coincidentally Valentine's Day. The Governor is engrossed in preparation of his biennial budget that will be presented to the legislature on Thursday of this week.

As I reported on January 28, the Governor has made a splendid choice in Chandler Woodcock. After the Governor’s press conference, I’ll file a complete report on this exciting development.

A Day in Augusta

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I had an interesting morning in Augusta today at the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and the legislature and will report now on the following:

Deer Action Plan

Hunting Rights in Baxter Park’s Katahdin Lake Parcel

Legislation on hunting with dogs

Representative Paul Davis, the sponsor of LD 55, An Act to Restore Hunting Rights in the Katahdin Lake Region, scheduled for a public hearing on Thursday, has withdrawn the bill. It would have forced Baxter Park to restore hunting in the Katahdin Lake parcel acquired by the Park after a contentious battle at the legislature two years ago.

Finally! It's Woodcock at DIF&W.

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Finally! It’s Woodcock at DIF&W.

 Former Senator and Republican gubernatorial candidate Chandler Woodcock will be Maine’s next Commissioner of the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

 Woodcock is an avid hunter and angler and a superb choice for this important position.

 It’s important that I report that Woodcock was not the source of this report. While the Governor’s search for a commissioner of this important agency dragged on, rumors ran rampant. Because no one at the Capitol can keep a secret, it wasn’t difficult to find out who the governor interviewed, or even what he was thinking about the candidates.

But it became clear, as the process continued, that he was looking for the strongest leader he could find. He wanted someone who can shake things up at DIF&W and bring real change to the agency.

Darryl Brown Gets Grilled in Augusta

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Darryl Brown Gets Grilled in Augusta. 

Darryl Brown got grilled in Augusta this afternoon, and by my estimate, he is now well done. Or should I say he’s done well?

 Brown, Governor Paul LePage’s nominee for Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection, was not well served by the Governor’s release – just one day before Brown’s hearing - of a lengthy list of regulatory reforms focused on the DEP and other natural resource agencies. That list alarmed environmentalists and provided a rich area of exploration for Democrats on the Natural Resources Committee, the committee that held a public hearing on Brown’s nomination today, and environmental groups in their testimony at the hearing.

Governor Paul LePage's Regulatory Reform Proposals

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Governor Paul LePage has presented a stunning list of regulatory reforms in the environmental and natural resource areas. Here is his proposal.

Administrative Procedures Act

Require all agencies to prepare and publish a Jobs Impact Analysis for every new ruleproposed and publish it at the time it is posted for rulemaking.

Require all agencies to provide a comprehensive fiscal impact report with each new ruleproposed and publish it at the time it is posted for rulemaking. This is currently looselyrequired under the Administrative Procedures Act, but not completed in practice.

Reduce the standard of deference to administrative agencies that is currently used in thecourt system on appeals and require a preponderance of evidence standard be applied bythe court on appeal.

Require landowner permission prior to gathering data that will be used in public venuesfor zoning and regulatory purposes. Specific examples including the mapping of deer yards and other wildlife habitat.


Prevent municipalities from creating retroactive ordinances.

Regulatory Ombudsman

Dunlap Takes Over at SAM

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Dunlap Takes Over At SAM

The Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine named former Secretary-of-State Matt Dunlap as its executive director today. Dunlap is in the center of the photo above, seen just after announcing the issuance of Maine's new sportsman's license plate.

Here is SAM’s announcement, issued in a press release.

Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine Announces New Leadership Changes
Board Keeps Pledge to Put Needs of Members First

AUGUSTA, MAINE—Jim Gorman, President of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, was joined by the Board of Directors in welcoming former board member and lifetime SAM member Matt Dunlap on board as interim Executive Director today.

“This marks another exciting chapter in our transition plan,” said Gorman. “As an organization, we’ve been focused on getting back to our grass-roots members and doing our best to serve them. Our search for professionals to represent the interests of conservationists in Augusta has been quite a journey, but we believe that Matt Dunlap will serve our members well.”

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