Melena’s Jubilee by Zetta Elliot

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Children’s books these days are amazing, with beautiful illustrations, great stories, and often, important messages for kids. All of those descriptions fit Melena’s Jubilee by Zetta Elliot, published by Tilbury House and illustrated by Aaron Boyd.

Young Melena’s been a bad girl. She didn’t make her bed. She didn’t put her toys away and a friend of her grandmother tripped over one and banged into a table, breaking her mother’s favorite vase. “It seemed like everyone was mad at me,” she said. No kidding!

But then, she’s redeemed. “I never let the sun go down on my anger,” her grandmother tells her at breakfast the next day. “Today’s a new day, Melena,” says her mother, “and that means you’ve got a fresh start.” Lucky girl!

Controversies and conflicts ahead for new big game management plans

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 The December 9th meeting of DIF&W’s Big Game Management Steering Committee was interesting, enlightening, and concerning. We’ll get to all of that in a minute.

First, let me say that we are fortunate to have an exceptional staff in the agency’s Wildlife Division, led by Judy Camuso.  As the staff presented the preliminary goals, objectives, and strategies for deer, moose, bear, and turkeys, I marveled at their professionalism, knowledge, and friendly approach to any and all questions and challenges.

The members of the Steering Committee are also an excellent group, representing key organizations throughout the state, from the Farm Bureau to the Sporting Camp Association. And of course, SAM and the MPGA are at the table.

Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll tell you about each plan and what I learned at the meeting. Today we’ll offer some general information.

The Lucerne Inn now has one of our favorite chefs

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                We would follow Arturo Montez anywhere. One of our favorite chefs, Arturo cooked for years at the Looking Glass restaurant at Bar Harbor’s BlueNose Inn, but that place was closed in the winter, so he had to move here and there for winter employment. Finally, last year, he moved to the year-round position as chef at the Lucerne Inn just east of Bangor.

                Lucky for us, because the Lucerne Inn is also a favorite of ours. And because it has new owners and a new chef (ok, we are very familiar with him!), we thought it was important to revisit and bring you up-to-date on this place. Well, that was our excuse for returning a couple of weeks ago!

A History of Ambition in 50 Hoaxes by Gale Eaton

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 A book about hoaxes seems very appropriate these days. Just sayin’.

And boy, some of the hoaxes in Gale Eaton’s book, A History of Ambition in 50 Hoaxes, published by Tilbury House, are amazing.

You will have heard of some of them, the Trojan Horse, the Ponzi scheme. But do you know the entire story? Pretty entertaining, to say the least.

Eaton selected hoaxes that range through human history from Medieval times (wow, the pope’s authority was a hoax!) to modern times. I was particularly fascinated by the moon landing conspiracy theory. Nope, these folks didn’t believe we actually landed on the moon.

Amazing fly fishing available in and around our national parks

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 Amazing fly fishing available in and around our national parks

To 25 Best National Parks Fly Fish by Terry and Wendy Gunn

Apparently, as Linda and I and our kids were visiting some of our most amazing national parks, I should have had my fly rod along. Don’t I wish that this new book, 25 Best National Parks To Fly Fish by Terry and Wendy Gunn, were available back then!

Well, not really, because those were family vacations, and later, after the kids grew up, Linda and I did fish in one of the most spectacular places: Alaska. In several trips to Montana for conferences, I also was blessed to have fished there with my friend Joe Sowerby of Montana Fly Fishing Connection, who grew up in Maine.

Wildfire goes fishing – and catches a lot of big ones!

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 One of Maine’s most outspoken advocates for our native brook trout is the guest on our TV talk show Wildfire, airing for the first time tonight. Bob Mallard has been an avid angler all of his life, and a fierce proponent of protecting and enhancing Maine’s native brookies.

Bob once had a busy fly shop in Skowhegan, and notes that a half dozen fly shops in and around that watershed are now closed. We talked about that, and a lot of other issues, including a legislative bill he has proposed to extend the protection of brook trout in more lakes and ponds.

We also talked about my proposal to extend protection of brookies from the small ponds to the tributaries where they spawn. I wrote about that issue not long ago.

Christmas Ideas

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                Wondering what Christmas gifts to get for your loved ones? A gift certificate may be the answer. Maybe your grown children would love a dinner out alone with their spouses, a brief respite from a busy life. Or, perhaps you are thinking of a getaway for a night or two at a nice inn for yourselves!

                George often came up with just such a gift for me when the kids were little. He loved the fact that he got to enjoy this gift too! We went to the Spruce Point Inn in Boothbay Harbor one year and it is still a great getaway today, one we visit for our travel columns. The view and grounds are incredible and the restaurant is top notch.

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