Every morning I start my day in front of our large kitchen window, enjoying the birds at our feeders, a hot cup of coffee, wild animals walking through our yard, and my Kennebec Journal.

But, boy, I do miss the positive stories about all the good things happening in my state.

I remember when many newspapers had a lady in every town reporting on the wonderful events that happened in their town. Those reports are long gone. And we get very little positive news about our state. The papers today are mostly about murder and mayhem, Donald Trump and chaos around the world.

I still read my KJ from front to back, and the day I wrote this column, the front section of the paper contained these stories: demonstrators killed in Iran, Trump dismissing contacts with Rudy Giuliani, a judge stopping a planned private border wall, world leaders saying bad things about each other at a NATO conference, new federal rules that will cause 668,000 people to lose their food assistance, carmakers cutting 20,000 jobs, a man in Tennessee murdered by his next-door neighbor over a dispute about lawn mowing, and the French bulldogs that were stolen in Florida. And of course, there were stories about Trump’s impeachment.

I always hope for better news in the local and state section, but that day there was a story about a Maine Catholic bishop who will retire over mishandling child sexual abuse allegations; the trial of Sharon Carrillo, who is charged with killing her 10-year-old daughter; Maine’s opioid crisis; solid waste problems in Kingfield; the arrest of a young man in the Concord bus station; a half a page reporting police arrests; and a 97% drop in the sale of Maine blueberries to China.

In that story, Sen. Angus King noted that the federal government had provided lots of money to farmers hurt by our fight with China, for everything from cranberries to hogs, but nothing for blueberry growers.

There were a few positive stories, the best being a column by Liz Soares about how nice Mainers are. I always enjoy the positive columns by Liz and Amy Calder. I just wish that we could have more positive uplifting stories. Today even the sports pages contain negative stories.

On the back page of the paper that day was story about how they are shooting barred owls to save spotted owls, which are being displaced by barred owls. On that page there was a  good story about 19 people rescued after being snowed in at their camp.

All I can say is, thank goodness for the comics!

Now please don’t misunderstand me. I still couldn’t start my day without my KJ, and I appreciate the staff’s hard work to get me that newspaper every day. And I’m grateful for the guy who delivers my paper every morning before I get up. Even snowstorms can’t stop him.

We’re also lucky that Reade Brower has purchased so many of Maine’s newspapers, because now they can all share stories. I’m sure you’ve noticed stories in the KJ written by Lewiston Sun Journal and Portland Press Herald reporters.

And of course, I have the same complaints about the TV news. I watch Maine news on channels 5, 6 and 8, and a lot of their stories are national. Quite often I’ll see a national news story on the Maine news, and the same story on the national news. I don’t understand why they can’t give us all Maine news. Channel 6 calls itself “Your Maine connection,” and then spends half  their time giving us national news. That’s not the Maine connection I want.

The day I finished this column there was a nice column in the Maine Sunday Telegram by outdoor writer Deirdre Fleming. She asked some of us if we had a favorite author and book, and published those in her column, including my response. Her column was also in the KJ and Sentinel but they cut it short, leaving out my response. So I’m going to share it with you today.

My all-time favorite author is Gene Letourneau, who wrote about hunting and fishing for central and southern Maine newspapers every day for 50 years. Growing up, Gene was my hero. He wrote several books, and “Sportsmen Say” is my favorite.

This book is full of great stories about fishing, hunting, and wildlife. One of my favorites is about Gov. Percival Baxter’s 8-pound brook trout that he caught when he was 7 years old. The photos are wonderful too, including the cover photo of Gene’s daughter Julie hauling in a beautiful brook trout in the Allagash.

You will read this book many times, enjoying Gene’s stories which are sure to bring back memories of your own outdoor adventures. In fact, I’m going to read “Sportsmen Say” again right now!

George Smith can be reached at 34 Blake Hill Road, Mount Vernon 04352, or [email protected] Read more of Smith’s writings at www.georgesmithmaine.com.


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