Deer, LURC, SWOAM, and DIF&W Reorganization

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While Governor Paul LePage dithers on DIF&W’s reorganization, we’ve got several interesting events coming up next week.

At 9 am on Monday morning (January 9), the legislature’s Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee gets a status report on the Maine Game Plan for Deer. If you want to know what they’ll hear, read my blog posts about the December meeting of DIF&W’s Deer Task Force (in the archives of this blog). I will be there and will post a report immediately following the briefing, although I don’t expect to hear anything new.

The Lobstering Life

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Let’s hope The Lobstering Life doesn’t turn out to be a nostalgic look at an industry and way of life that once defined Maine.

This exceptional book, published in 2011 by The Countryman Press, is a gorgeous photographic presentation of lobstering. David Middleton and Brenda Berry are professional photographers whose evocative photos may cause you to want to drop everything to become a sternman on a Maine lobster boat.

Well, look a bit closer, because it’s not all gorgeous sunny days on the water! Check page 22, for example, called “winter storm.” Oh yea, they lobster in the winter. Or page 29, “steaming out at dawn.” Oh yea, they are up well before the sun. Or page 107, “unloading the catch after a long day out.” Oh yea, the sun has set before they return to the dock.

IFW Committee Quickly Dispatches Carried-Over Bills

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The legislature’s Fish and Wildlife Committee gathered in work session this afternoon to tackle 7 bills carried over from the 2012 legislative session. The room was packed with staff of the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, led by Commissioner Chandler Woodcock, and lobbyists for organizations ranging from the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to the Maine Forest Products Council. Chandler introduced Jim Connolly, IFW’s new Wildlife Division Director, and Mike Brown, the new Fisheries Division Director.

Of special note, Dave Trahan was attending his first F&W Committee member as SAM’s lobbyist, having recently resigned his Senate seat and membership on the committee, and Don Kleiner was there as the new lobbyist for the Maine Professional Guides Association. Skip Trask has stepped down from that position, although he will continue to lobby for the Maine Trappers Association.

Maine Legislature at the Starting Gate

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And they’re off! Perhaps way off.

The Maine legislature’s 2012 “short session” kicks off this week, sure to be dominated by significant financial problems, while a bunch of outdoor and environmental issues play out largely beneath the radar.

I will be there, to keep you posted.

The Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee holds a work session on Wednesday (January 4) at 1 pm in Room 206 of the Cross Building, to tackle carried over bills. Megan Jackman is back as the committee’s clerk and can be reached at 207-287-1338, or megan.jackman@legislature.maine.gov. You can also listen to hearings, work sessions, and House and Senate debates, at the legislature’s website.

Here’s the lineup for Wednesday’s work session.

Mainely Brews. Great Pub. Great Grub.

City or Town: 
Waterville
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If Luke Duplessis could turn every Post Office location that is closing into a Mainely Brews, people would happily forget about the mail.

After several friends and readers of this column told us how much they like Mainely Brews Tavern, located in Waterville’s old post office, we scheduled a visit last week. This is a fun place with a  great pub atmosphere, superb micro-brews, and a surprising (and enticing) menu.

Favorite Maine Quotes of 2011

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 From my monthly Quotable Sportsman column in The Maine Sportsman, here are some of my favorite quotes of 2011.

 I trust the wisdom of nature, the wisdom of Creation, far more than the selfish and arrogant desires of George Smith and the extremist wing of the Maine hunting community that has gone off the deep end in its unethical and inhumane demonization, persecution and massacre of natural predators such as coyotes.

 Robert Goldman of South Portland, testifying in support of legislation requiring hound hunters and others to have permission to access private land.

 Best bets for backcountry bucks: North Maine Woods.

 Darren Warner story, Outdoor Life, November 2011.

Nothing Fine-ah than the China Dine-ah!

City or Town: 
China
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The China Dine-ah will surprise you. It’s a lot more than a diner, from food to atmosphere.

And it’s a true reflection of owner Norm Elvin, who modeled some of the restaurant on his Palermo camp, and who puts his personal stamp on every aspect from service (excellent) to the menu (huge) to the restrooms (immaculate). And the food is exceptional.

Who would have thought that the longtime owner of G&E Roofing would become a foodie!

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Photo at top of column: Norm Elvin (center) shares a laugh with Linda Smith, Cate and Ed Pineau (left to right).

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