Northern Forest News Digest

The Center’s Northern Forest News Digest is a FREE weekly compendium of news about the Northern Forest and about national and international issues that affect the region. The Center’s staff scans more than 35 news sources—from local weekly newspapers to statewide dailies to the web—to deliver information about the forest industry, tourism, the environment, renewable energy, education, grant funding and events to keep you informed.

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Forestry & Industry

  • Maine startup confirms commitment to Millinocket bio-coal project - 04/23/14

    Maine
    By: Whit Richardson
    Despite the loss last week of $9 million in state-backed financing, Thermogen Industries says it is still committed to bringing its manufacturing project to fruition. Thermogen is a startup that wants to build a plant at the site of the former paper mill in Millinocket to manufacture black wood pellets, called bio-coal, for export to power plants in Europe and other customers that want a cleaner-burning alternative to coal.
    Portland Press Herald

  • Maine agency to reassess $25 million bond for Thermogen startup - 04/15/14

    Maine
    By: Whit Richardson
    A controversial $25 million bond the state planned to sell on behalf of a startup company that wants to launch a biomass fuel project in Millinocket is up in the air after the company announced a significant change in the project’s scope. A meeting on Thursday will determine if the state will continue its support of the project.
    Portland Press Herald

  • A maple bubble? How the syrup market works, and what it all might mean - 04/09/14

    Region
    By: Dave Sherwood
    After the leaves fall in October, the mountains that rise toward the Canadian border north of Jackman, Maine, begin to wear their maple like a fuzzy, gray wool blanket. Sugar and red maple are abundant here, but the trees grow mostly on high and inaccessible ridges. They’re often scraggly and malformed, with roots like bony fingers clinging to steep slopes and thin, rocky soil – a low-rent district compared to the deep, rich tills of the postcard-perfect Vermont countryside that’s more commonly associated with maple sugaring.
    Northern Woodlands

  • Cate Street must pay property taxes to get $25M loan guarantee for Millinocket pellet mill, FAME official says - 03/26/14

    Maine
    By: Nick Sambides, Jr.
    The New Hampshire investment firm proposing to build a $140 million pellet mill in Millinocket must pay $3 million in delinquent property taxes in the region before state officials can issue a state loan guarantee critical to the project, officials said Thursday.
    Bangor Daily News

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Tourism

  • Spring skiing in Tuckerman is best it's been in decades - 04/17/14

    New Hampshire
    By: Sam Evans-Brown
    It’s a given: on spring weekends, if there’s good weather forecast, by 7 am the Tuckerman’s Ravine parking lot will be overflowing with hundreds of cars...Skiing at Tuckerman’s peaks in April and early May, when avalanche danger drops but there’s still plenty of snow. This year, the old-timers say the snow is better than it’s been in decades.
    New Hampshire Public Radio

  • Maine's ‘best snowmobiling’ season in 20 years could stretch into May - 04/14/14

    Maine
    By: Rachel Ohm
    Snowmobile conditions in central Maine are deteriorating as temperatures rise, but in some northern and western parts of the state, riders are optimistic that the season could stretch into May.
    Portland Press Herald

  • Wind farm owner OK with expanding ski slopes at Balsams if safety isn't an issue - 04/08/14

    Maine
    By: Chris Jensen
    The company that owns the wind farm near the Balsams is open to reducing the buffer zone between its wind turbines and the slopes, a key to a developer’s plan to greatly expand the size of the ski resort. "As long as it is safe, we have no problems," Brookfield Renewable Power lawyer Harold Pachios said late Monday.
    New Hampshire Public Radio

  • Protect the future of Maine snowmobiling in an era of climate change - 04/06/14

    Opinion
    Maine
    By: David Sleeper
    The cold and snowy end of winter has been a boon for Maine’s snowmobilers. But it’s indeed too good to be true. In meetings earlier this winter between ecosystem scientists who study climate change at the 8,000-acre Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest in Woodstock, N.H., and members of the snowmobiling community, the group pondered the future of an industry that relies so heavily on cold air temperatures, sufficient snowfall, soil frost, and frozen lakes and wetlands.
    Bangor Daily News

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Environment / Agriculture

  • Iconic Adirondack birds face sharp decline - 04/23/14

    New York
    By: Brian Mann
    A new study is raising alarm about the future of some of the Adirondack Park's most iconic birds. The report from the Wildlife Conservation Society's Adirondack Program found sharp decline among six bird species that live in the Park's boreal wetlands.
    North Country Public Radio

  • Five anthropogenic factors that will radically alter northern forests in 50 years - 04/23/14

    Region
    In the most densely forested and most densely populated quadrant of the United States, forests reflect two centuries of human needs, values and practices. Disturbances associated with those needs, such as logging and clearing forests for agriculture and development, have set the stage for management issues of considerable concern today, a U.S. Forest Service study reports.
    e! Science News

  • Advocates flog new Lake Champlain clean-up plan - 04/01/14

    Vermont
    By: Peter Hirschfeld
    Gov. Peter Shumlin has unveiled an updated plan to clean up Lake Champlain. And administration officials say it’s the most ambitious proposal yet. But clean water advocates say the report will do little to head off an ecological disaster in the state’s largest body of water.
    Vermont Public Radio

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Renewable Energy / Energy Efficiency

  • Wood-energy group to provide 'coaches' for wood-boiler installs - 04/23/14

    New Hampshire
    By: Sam Evans-Brown
    Thanks to a $250,000 dollar federal grant a new group is working to promote the burning of wood for heating in high-efficiency boilers in the Granite state. The New Hampshire Wood Energy Council consists of nearly fifty biomass supporters from state agencies, non-profit organizations, and industry representatives. Those representatives will serve as ambassadors for using wood-pellet and wood-chip boilers.
    New Hampshire Public Radio

  • Maine schools, other facilities slash heating bills with stimulus project - 04/20/14

    Maine
    By: Blake Davis
    Years after federal stimulus dollars funded a Maine Forest Service project to heat with local wood products, schools and other facilities report they have slashed energy bills in half while supporting jobs in the state’s struggling timber industry.
    Portland Press Herald

  • Pellet industry must become 'common and ordinary; embrace oil' - 04/10/14

    Region
    By: Anna Simet
    Though the biomass thermal industry is known for its progressive and forward-thinking nature, Les Otten, president of Maine Energy Systems, insists that in order to achieve its goals, the sector needs to embrace “disruptive thinking and technology.”
    Biomass Magazine

  • Portland energy expo plans to promote pellet heat systems - 04/09/14

    Maine
    By: Tux Turkel
    A conference touting the benefits of renewable energy opens Wednesday at the Cumberland County Civic Center, an opportunity being seized by advocates of Maine’s emerging pellet-fuel industry. In its first visit to Maine, the Northeast Biomass Heating Expo is expected to attract 400 professionals for tours of biomass heat installations, and to attend technical sessions and trade discussions.
    Portland Press Herald

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Infrastructure

  • Liquid natural gas fuel stations proposed for Gorham and Groveton - 02/27/14

    New Hampshire
    By: Barbara Tetreault
    Northern Community Investment Corporation and Clear Energy will apply for a federal Economic Development Administration grant to develop liquefied natural gas (LNG) fuel stations in Groveton and at the Gorham Paper and Tissue mill in Gorham.
    Berlin Daily Sun

  • High gas prices continue to hinder production at GPT - 02/24/14

    New Hampshire
    By: Barbara Tetreault
    High natural gas prices continue to hinder production at the Gorham Paper and Tissue mill but CEO Mike Cummings remains optimistic.
    Berlin Daily Sun

  • Proposed liquefied natural gas plant welcomed by Groveton residents - 02/12/14

    New Hampshire
    By: Barbara Tetreault
    A proposal to develop a $100 million liquefied natural gas production plant and a natural gas power plant that would create 84 jobs and pay $1.7 million annually in taxes received a warm reception from residents Tuesday night.
    Berlin Daily Sun

  • DOE Says It Will Reveal Alternate Northern Pass Routes - 02/05/14

    New Hampshire
    By: Chris Jensen
    Under pressure from New Hampshire’s congressional delegation, the U.S. Department of Energy says it will disclose which alternatives to the route favored by Northern Pass it plans to study. That is something opponents of the controversial project have been seeking.
    New Hampshire Public Radio

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Health

  • Lyme disease: A big problem caused by a tiny tick - 05/09/13

    Maine
    By: Jackie Farwell
    McDonald was one of more than a record-high 1,100 Maine residents diagnosed last year with Lyme disease. Public health officials are warning that the risk for Lyme has increased now that ticks have emerged for the season. A mild winter in 2011 led to a bumper crop of ticks that appeared early in the 2012 season.

    “We’ve seen increases every year for the last four or five years,” said Dr. Stephen Sears, state epidemiologist. “There’s no reason to suspect that we won’t potentially see more cases because it appears that Lyme’s moving into parts of the state where it was not as common before.”

    Lyme first appeared in the southern part of Maine, and has consistently spread north and Down East. Lyme disease in humans now shows up in every county in the state thanks to hungry deer ticks that feed mostly during the summer months.
    Bangor Daily News article

  • Can the North Country make nursing homes work? - 05/03/13

    New York
    By: Chris Knight
    Many nursing homes around the state are seeing big financial losses, and the situation is the same, if not worse, here in the North Country.

    That's sparked a dialogue in the last few months among the region's long-term care leaders about ways they can partner, share services or even consolidate under one organization. Leaders of at least eight to 10 of the region's nursing homes have been involved in these talks.

    Some long-term care advocates believe North Country nursing homes are at a tipping point.
    North Country Public Radio article

  • Lyme Disease - 04/25/13

    Vermont
    By: Jane Lindholm and Sage Van Wing
    In 2002 there were 37 cases of Lyme disease in Vermont. In 2011 there were over 500. Experts aren’t sure why the numbers are rising so drastically, but they do agree that the disease is serious.

    If you know you’ve been bitten by a deer tick, and you develop a rash, you have likely been infected with Lyme disease. A short course of antibiotics, administered quickly after an infection, has proven effective at treating the disease at that stage. After that, though, there is some disagreement as to how the disease should be identified and treated.
    Vermont Public Radio article

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Education / Arts / Entertainment

  • Sick of Snow? Use it to track some winter wildlife! - 03/06/14

    New Hampshire
    By: Logan Shannon and Sam Evans-Brown
    While it may be March, it’s still very much wintertime. If you’ve been cursing the snow and ice and desperately longing for spring, you’re not alone. But let’s look at the bright side - all that frozen water offers certain opportunities that just aren’t available in the spring. And I’m not talking about expensive and time consuming snow-sports, I’m talking about wildlife tracking.
    New Hampshire Public Radio

  • City will explore purchasing Northern Forest Heritage Park in arrangement with chamber - 12/18/13

    New Hampshire
    By: Barbara Tetreault
    Mark Belanger and Lucy Letarte of the chamber presented a proposal to the council at Monday's work session. The pair noted that the park's current owner, Tri-County Community Action Program, has stated it wants to sell the park because it does not fit TCCAP's mission. Belanger said the chamber does not the money to buy or staff the park. Nor can the chamber use its revenues to operate the park.
    Berlin Daily Sun

  • White Mountain National Forest hosts mobile museum - 12/01/13

    New Hampshire
    By: The Associated Press
    A mobile museum that explores the history of forest land in northern New England and New York is hunkering down for the winter in New Hampshire's White Mountain National Forest. The museum, developed by the Northern Forest Center, is called "Ways of the Woods: People and the Land in the Northern Forest." It combines multi-media displays with educational kiosks, artifacts and children's activities to explain the changing relationships between people and the land across northern Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire and New York.
    Wall Street Journal

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Community/Economic Development

  • Sen. Gillibrand calls on USDA to declare agriculture disasters in Lewis and St. Lawrence Counties due to flooding - 04/17/14

    New York
    U.S. Sen. Kirsten E. Gillibrand, D-N.Y., a member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, called on the U.S. Department of Agriculture to declare an agricultural disaster in Lewis and St. Lawrence counties because of severe flooding.
    Watertown Daily Times

  • Restart of East Millinocket mill delayed as firms clash on electricity agreement - 04/16/14

    Maine
    By: Nick Sambides, Jr.
    Negotiations between two companies over electricity sales that would help restart a local paper mill have devolved into finger-pointing and delayed indefinitely the mill’s resumption of production, officials said Wednesday.
    Bangor Daily News

  • Maine Senate kills controversial land sales bill - 04/08/14

    Maine
    By: A.J. Higgins
    Lawmakers in Augusta have killed a bill backed by Republicans that would have give the Maine Legislature final say on federal parks and other federal projects involving land. Democrats opposed the measure, arguing that requiring legislative approval for conveying more than 40 acres to the federal government infringes on the rights of private landowners. The debate got personal at times, as both sides claimed the measure struck at the core definition of "Americanism."
    Maine Public Broadcasting Network

  • 'Tap of the Town' taps community spirit - 03/06/14

    Maine
    By: Amy Chapman
    Although much of the maple syrup produced in New England today is made in commercial facilities that use modern methods to collect and boil the sap, maple sugaring time still evokes images of buckets hung on trees, horse-drawn sleighs, steam rolling from wood-fired evaporators, and friends and neighbors gathering for “sugaring-off” parties. A new local initiative called “Tap of the Town” aims to bring the community together to experience making maple syrup the old-fashioned way.
    Bethel Citizen

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Funding / Grant Opportunities

  • Request for Proposals for rural communities facing design challenges - 03/12/14

    Citizens' Institute on Rural Design Issues has issued a request for proposals to rural communities facing design challenges - such as Main Street revitalization, how to manage and direct growth, design community-supportive transportation systems, preserve natural and historic landscapes and buildings, and provide adequate and affordable housing - who are interested in hosting a local workshop in 2014-2015. Successful applicants will receive a $7,000 stipend and in-kind professional design expertise and technical expertise valued at $35,000.

    Deadline for submitting a proposal is Tuesday, May 6, 2014 at 9:00 pm
    Find the RFP and application guidelines at: http://rural-design.org/apply

  • Local Grant Proposals Sought in Champlain Valley - 10/23/13

    Champlain Valley
    The Lake Champlain Basin Program (LCBP) is seeking proposals for local grants to support the implementation of the long term management plan for Lake Champlain, Opportunities for Action. The LCBP anticipates awarding about 50 local grants totaling $395,000 to a variety of projects form eduction, the environment, to the region’s heritage.
    Grant guidelines and applications for each category are found on the Lake Champlain Basin Program’s website. For further information about these grant opportunities or to obtain hard copies of the guides and applications, please contact the Lake Champlain Basin Program office, 54 West Shore Road, Grand Isle, VT 05458 or call at (802) 372-3213 or call (800) 468-5227.

    For further information about these grant opportunities or to obtain hard copies of the guides and applications, please contact the Lake Champlain Basin Program office, 54 West Shore Road, Grand Isle, VT 05458 or call at (802) 372-3213 or call (800) 468-5227. - See more at: http://www.adirondackalmanack.com/2013/10/local-grant-proposals-sought-champlain-valley.html#sthash.BurQ2Auz.dpuf
  • Department of Agriculture Community Development Initiative - 08/14/13

    National
    This Notice announces the availability of $5,676,077 for competitive grant funds for the Rural Community Development Initiative (RCDI) program through the Rural Housing Service (RHS), an agency within the USDA Rural Development mission area herein referred to as the Agency.
    Link to Notice

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Network & Partner News

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Events

  • New Hampshire Biomass Boiler Operator's Workshop - 04/09/14

    When: April 24,2014 8:00am-1:30pm
    Where: Merrimack Valley High School, 105 Village St. Penacook, NH 03303
    Registration Required http://bit.ly/NHBoilerOperatorWorkshop

  • Northern Woodlands Writers' Conference - 04/09/14

    What: An event of writing workshops, readings and presentation, a nature illustration workshop, and plenty of informal conversations over meals around the campfire. Sponsored by Trust for Public Land
    When: October 17-19, 2014
    Where: Hulbert Outdoor Center in Fairlee, VT
    For more informaton: http://northernwoodlands.org/writersconference
     

  • Wellborn Ecology Conference - 04/09/14

    What: a full day of inspiration, innovation, and interactivity. Learn what everyone who's anyone in place-based ecology education has been up to.
    When: Friday, November 14, 2014
    Where: Enfield Shaker Museum in Enfield, NH
     

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