Abbott Memorial Library
Photo by Judy Wilbur Craig taken in Dexter, 2010
MAINE - Now is a great time to double check that your gear is legal and safe for loons! We are partnering with Maine Audubon and local tackle shops to help you make the switch. Participating local tackle shops are issuing a limited number of $10 store vouchers to customers who turn in one ounce or more of lead fishing tackle to purchase lead-free alternatives, including Indian Hill Trading Post at Moosehead Lake, Dag's Bait & Sport Goods in Auburn, and BackWoods Bait and Tackle in Chesterville.
You can also bring tackle to Kittery Trading Post’s Septemberfest Event on the weekend of September 12 and 13, between 10 am and 4 pm, and receive a $10 voucher toward the purchase of lead-free tackle in the store!
Lead that enters our lakes as lost or discarded fishing gear is a leading cause of death for adult common loons. To protect loons and other wildlife, Maine state law bans the use and sale of lead sinkers and bare (unpainted) lead-headed jigs that weigh one ounce or less, or that measure 2 ½ inches or less.
To find a participating retailer or for more information, visit fishleadfree.org/me.
AUGUSTA - On Wednesday, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) approved Maine's hemp production plans. With the approval, the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (DACF) assumes primary regulatory responsibility for hemp production within its jurisdiction, under the oversight of the USDA Domestic Hemp Production Program.
"Hemp is becoming an important part of Maine's agriculture sector. Approval of our hemp production plan means Maine's growers will have certainty about the expectations and guidelines for hemp cultivation for the coming years," commented DACF Commissioner Amanda Beal.
Because Maine allows for hemp production under existing state law, the Department must act to reconcile the differences between its existing program and the Interim Final Rule during the upcoming January 2021 legislative session. The statutory changes and subsequent rulemaking will authorize hemp production and provide the Department with the authority needed to regulate hemp production in a manner consistent with the 2018 Farm Bill and the USDA's Interim Final Rule that establishes the U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program.
Maine's hemp program has been in place since 2016, beginning with one grower who harvested seed from less than an acre. Today the program includes 110 outdoor licenses and 362 licensed acres of planted Hemp and seven indoor grower licenses, with over 22,700 licensed square feet planted. Hemp is grown in every one of Maine's 16 counties, and the varieties grown thrive in all parts of the state.
MAINE - The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC) urges Maine people to take steps to limit exposure to rabies during the time of year when bats are most active, which extends from August into early September. Maine CDC encourages people to be cautious around bats, enjoy them from a distance, and know what to do following an exposure to a bat.
Bats play an important role in local ecosystems, but they can spread viruses such as rabies, which can be fatal in humans, pets, and livestock. Timely treatment following a rabies exposure is effective in preventing disease in humans. Human rabies cases are rare in the United States, and Maine last reported a human rabies case in 1937. However, the rabies virus is naturally found in Maine wildlife including bats, foxes, raccoons, and skunks. In 2019, bats accounted for 40 percent of the 644 animals submitted to the Maine state lab for rabies testing, with nine bats testing positive for rabies.
The rabies virus spreads when infected mammals bite, and in some cases scratch, other mammals. Contact with an infected mammal's brain tissue or spinal cord can also transmit the virus to humans and pets. The virus is not transmitted in blood, urine, feces, skunk spray, or dried saliva. A rabid animal may show a variety of symptoms or no symptoms at all, so always be cautious around wildlife, including bats, or any animals you do not know.
It may be difficult in some situations to tell if a bat exposed a person or domestic animal. Therefore, bat exposures should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis and always treated with caution.
Contact your health care provider about any potential exposure. The following steps are recommended if you, someone under your care, or a pet is exposed to a bat.
Trapping and Releasing Bats
*Do not plant them and report it to Division of Animal and Plant Health*
AUGUSTA - In Maine and across the US, people are reporting receiving unsolicited packages containing seeds from China in the mail. The Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (DACF) Bureau of Agriculture is advising anyone who gets these packages to not open or plant the seeds. Recipients are asked to contact either DACF's Division of Animal and Plant Health, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m., at (207) 287-3200 or by emailing email@example.com or the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal Plant Health Inspection Service - Plant Protection and Quarantine office in Hermon, ME, at (207) 848-0008. Recipients should hold onto the seeds and packaging, including the mailing label, until someone from DACF or USDA gets in touch with further instructions. Please do not plant seeds from unknown origins.
The seeds are usually sent in white packages displaying Chinese lettering and the words "China Post." Most recipients say they did not order anything, and that the packaging was labeled as jewelry. Some recipients have reported ordering seeds on Amazon and receiving these seeds.
The United States Department of Agriculture's Animal Plant Health Inspection Service's Plant Protection and Quarantine Smuggling, Interdiction and Trade Compliance Unit is currently investigating this situation across the nation.
Note: this is NOT the safest possible route to take, but it is a good service and much better than never running a virus check.
To check your computer, go to housecall.antivirus.com
Many people think that if they have a virus program on their system they are safe, BUT you are only as safe as your latest update. Yes, you do have to update your virus program frequently. (I do it every day!)
Download a FREE virus program that works well at www.free.avg.com
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