Saturday, August 25, 2012

Dave wants you to try Redbox!

Redbox Refer-a-Friend Program
Redbox is the best - you can rent DVDs with no membership fees! You should try it out. If you click on my link and it's your first time renting online, they'll give you a free one-night online rental credit. And I'll get a free rental each time you rent via my link during the program.

Want to check it out? Click the link below! If you reserve a dvd, blu-ray or game online right after you click the link, you'll get a credit for a free one-day rental.

Not sure what Redbox is? Redbox is that bright red kiosk you've seen in and around places like supermarkets and convenience stores. Redbox is super easy to use: just pick a dvd, blu-ray or game, swipe your credit card and walk away with your disc. You can also reserve your rental online so it'll be ready for you when you get there.

Your friend thought you would be interested in this promotion. If you have any questions, send an email to, or write to:
625 Second St. Suite 101
San Francisco, CA 94107

Gov. Lynch Declares Public Health Threat Due to West Nile Virus

Gov. John Lynch on Friday concurred with a recommendation by the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, and in consultation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, that a public health situation exists in several communities in southern New Hampshire due to the detection of West Nile Virus in several mosquito batches.

Under state statute, by concurring with the recommendation, towns are allowed to take measures to address the threat, including spraying for mosquitoes.

The communities included in the declaration are Amherst, Atkinson, Auburn, Bedford, Brentwood, Candia, Chester, Danville, Derry, East Kingston, Epping, Exeter, Fremont, Goffstown, Greenland, Hampstead, Hampton, Hampton Falls, Hollis, Hooksett, Hudson, Kensington, Kingston, Litchfield, Londonderry, Manchester, Merrimack, Nashua, New Castle, Newfields, Newington, Newmarket, Newton, North Hampton, Pelham, Plaistow, Portsmouth, Raymond, Rye, Salem, Sandown, Seabrook, South Hampton, Stratham and Windham.

2012 West Nile virus update: as of August 21

Thus far in 2012, 47 states have reported West Nile virus infections in people, birds, or mosquitoes. A total of 1118 cases of West Nile virus disease in people, including 41 deaths, have been reported to CDC. Of these, 629 (56%) were classified as neuroinvasive disease (such as meningitis or encephalitis) and 489 (44%) were classified as non-neuroinvasive disease.

The 1118 cases reported thus far in 2012 is the highest number of West Nile virus disease cases reported to CDC through the third week in August since West Nile virus was first detected in the United States in 1999. Approximately 75 percent of the cases have been reported from 5 states (Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, South Dakota, and Oklahoma) and almost half of all cases have been reported from Texas.

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Friday, August 24, 2012

Baby panda born at the San Diego Zoo

Super cute video of a baby panda at the San Diego Zoo.

The newborn showed-off its strong lungs during its first exam.
Vets said the 25-day old cub is healthy.

Mother and cub can be seen 24-hours a day, on the San Diego Zoo's "Panda Cam".

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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

State forestry and environmental officials want photos of invasive insects

New Hampshire welcomes a lot of visitors in the summer, but there are a few they don’t want to see cross the border.

And officials are hoping anyone who spots these unwanted guests snaps a photo and sends it in.

At the top of the wanted list are the Asian longhorned beetle and the emerald ash borer.

Neither destructive insect has been found in New Hampshire, but forestry and environmental officials are on the lookout for a potential invasion — and they want residents to do the same.

There’s a website,, where residents can upload photos of suspicious insects. Experts will identify the bug in question and post the more interesting photos on the website. There already are dozens of photos up, many of an Asian longhorned beetle lookalike — the white spotted sawyer beetle, harmless and present throughout the Granite State.

The Asian longhorned beetle, commonly known as ALB, was found in Worcester, Mass., in 2008 and in Boston in 2010. It has the potential to decimate hardwood forests and maple trees are high on the list of susceptible trees.

The insect could cost the country 30 percent of its hardwood trees — some 1.2 billion trees, according to the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

New Hampshire has 2.5 million acres of northern hardwoods — birch, beech and maple trees, according to Fred Borman, a forestry educator with the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension office in Brentwood.

The emerald ash borer is equally unwelcome. It is only interested in ash trees and has killed millions of those trees in the Midwest.

There was a report earlier this year of a small population of emerald ash borer on the east side of the Hudson River in New York, Borman said.

“It’s a matter of time. The emerald ash borer has a much faster spread rate than ALB,” he said. “Adult females tend to stay on same tree until the tree dies, about five to seven years. Emerald ash borers, both male and female, are very food fliers and they will travel up to 2,000 feet to find a new host. ALB are lay fliers.”

There’s a third insect that concerns forestry experts — the hemlock woolly adelgid, but it’s already here.

“We’re at a point where we’re monitoring it; we can’t control it,” Borman said. “We hope for a really cold January.”

August is a particularly active time for ALB and they might be found in an unlikely spot — swimming pool filters.

After ALB was discovered in Worcester, a public swimming pool worker told experts he had been collecting the nasty beetle for years in the pool filters.

Education and awareness are key to combatting these unwanted insects, according to Karen Bennett, a forestry specialist with UNH Cooperative Extension.

“Look at your trees all the time, year round. Be skeptical, if the tree doesn’t look good, ask someone,” Bennett said. “We really try, through the website, to make it easy for people. Take pictures of suspected .insects. We have an entomologist who looks at everything and gets back to folks.”

Adult insects would be active now through the end of August, she said, and if they’re here, they’d be flying.

“I have reason no reason to think they are, and no reason to think they aren’t,” Bennett said. “We really don’t know and that’s part of the frustrating thing.”

But experts do know the hemlock woolly adelgid is here and spreading through Southern New Hampshire.

“Extreme cold keeps them under control; it definitely depresses the population,” Bennett said. “This past winter was anything but.”

Asked to rank the unwanted insects, Bennett said, “They’re all pretty bad, as far as I’m concerned.”

“Anybody interested in white ash would rank emerald ash borer as the worst threat because you have dead trees in a short period of time,” she said. “But, in the overall scheme of things, ash is a pretty small percentage of our forest. I personally think the emerald ash borer is potentially worse than hemlock woolly adelgid or ALB.”

But all non-native insects are cause for grave concern, she said, because they don’t have natural predators.

So, experts are counting on the public to remain vigilant and help them keep tabs on the state’s insect population.

What to look for:

Asian longhorned beetle:
It's large, between 0.75 and 1.25 inches long. It has very long black and white antennae. The beetle's body is glossy black with irregular white spots.

Emerald ash borer:
The metallic green adult beetle is about an inch long. Its body is bullet shaped.

Hemlock woolly adelgid:
The adult adelgid is reddish-purple and only about 1/32 of an inch long. It's usually recognized by the dry, white woolly substance it secretes. The mass is usually found at the base of needles and resembles the tip of a cotton swab.

A morning walk on the Windham NH Rail Trail

It was a great morning for a walk! I decided that the Cocker needed some exercise so she could shed some of her hair in the outdoors instead of in the livingroom.

At the beginning of our walk at 8:05am it was a cool 67 degree's and not a soul was on the trail. As we began our walk onto the trail it was evident the birds had been fluttering about undisturbed and uninterested in us adventuring in there playground.

Within minutes of the walk we were greeted by a pair of Downy Woodpeckers that were working on there tactical maneuvers diving through the woods from tree to tree chasing each other as if they were synchronized swimming. More likely it was a parent teaching it's young.

Further along the trail we passed through a section of the old railroad bed that had been cut through the ledge with great walls of rock on both sides of us. This area normally has water dripping from the stone and moss growing on the walls, but today they were only damp at best.

Signs of fall are already becoming evident as the leaves are beginning to fall and turn yellow and brown. Wear-as it has been so dry this summer it would lead one to believe the fall colors this year are going to be short lived as most are falling without any color.

The chipmunks and squirrels appear to be preparing for the coming months, as they are darting in and out of the trail collecting the acorns that are dropping from the trees.  It may just be my imagination but wildlife seems to be desensitized to human interaction.  They have no fear anymore of us and almost seem to be daring us to try and bother them.

At about the halfway point of our trip this morning as shown on the map below there are bodies of water on both sides of the trail.  Once again the telltale signs of a dry summer have become terribly obvious as the lily pads are choking out each other attempting to stay wet in the vanishing water.  The levels are down a good 12-16 inches below the normal levels this time of year.  The frogs are plentiful and everywhere in the shallows of the two ponds, and jumping from lily pad to lily pad without falling through due to the density of the pads.  In some areas the pads are so thick that they are pushing each other up out of the water.

Even with the drought conditions on the water the area was bustling with life.  While on site today there were a number of Belted Kingfisher's, Great Blue Heron, and Swallow's galore.  The Kingfisher's were scanning the ponds for small fish and the Heron's would call out to each other occasionally.

I was quite surprised that I did not see any snakes along the banks today sunning but it was a bit early and the sun wasn't very high in the sky.  Being cold blooded they lay in the sun to soak up warmth usually in the height of the sun.

There was no sign of the hawks that frequent the area, but that is probably why so many chipmunks could be seen.  They tend to stay in there boroughs when they sense they could be somebody's lunch.

There is always something to see along the trail, it is paved and is very accessible for bikes, wheelchairs, roller-blading, jogging, dog walking, and just plain walking.  More information can be found at:

The Rail Trail PDF can be found at this link: Trail Map

Get out and enjoy the weather while there is still time.  Fall will be here soon then old man winter will be knocking on our door.

Have fun!
- Dave

View Windham Trail in a larger map

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Sunday, August 19, 2012

Great Falls Balloon Festival begins (Video Update)

LEWISTON, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The 20th annual Great Falls Balloon Festival takes flight this weekend. The first balloons lifted off Friday morning.

The festival runs through Sunday, with balloon launches scheduled every day at 6 AM and 6 PM, weather permitting.

The theme of this year's parade is "Celebrating 20 Years of Flight".
It will be held Saturday at 11am. The one-mile parade route goes from Spring Street at the Auburn Public Library, down Court Street across the Longley Bridge, onto Lincoln Street.

The main launch site for the festival is Simard-Payne Memorial Park (formerly Railroad Park), off Oxford Street in Lewiston.

From Points North
Take the Maine Turnpike (I-95) to Exit 80, Lewiston. At the light, turn left and follow ME-196 W/Lisbon Street downtown (about 2.5 mi.). At the intersection of Lisbon Street and Main, turn left. At the next light, turn left onto Lincoln Street. Simard-Payne Memorial Park is located off Oxford Street, one block over from Lincoln.

From Points South
Take the Maine Turnpike (I-95) to Exit 75, Auburn. At the light, turn left and follow US-202/ME-4/ME-100/Auburn (Washington Street and Minot Avenue) for about 4.75 mi., to the intersection with Court Street. Turn right onto Court Street. Cross the bridge into Lewiston. Take the first right onto Lincoln Street. Simard-Payne Memorial Park is located off Oxford Street, one block over from Lincoln.

View Larger Map

Moose viewing hotspots added to NH itineraries

LANCASTER, N.H. (AP) — An organization that promotes northern New Hampshire activities has added a new moose viewing itinerary to its website.

Highlighted roadways for viewing are in Pittsburg, Errol, Gorham, Twin Mountain and Bretton Woods.

The New Hampshire Grand site advises when to set out to see moose and what environments best attract them. It also has information on the 21st annual North Country Moose Festival taking place Aug. 24-26 in Colebrook and the neighboring towns of Pittsburg, West Stewartstown and Errol in New Hampshire, and just across the Connecticut River in Canaan, Vt.

The itinerary can be found on

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Maine TV game wardens to appear at state game park

GRAY, Maine (AP) — Some of the Maine game wardens featured on the Animal Planet TV show North Woods Law will meet with the public this week at the Maine Wildlife Park in Gray.

State game officials say the event will take place Thursday afternoon. Officials have received a lot of requests for the event from parents of children who watch the Discovery cable TV program.

Visitors will have the chance to meet several of the featured game wardens and a couple of their K9s to learn more about them and their job.

There will be special items for children as well as the opportunity to get autographs and photographs with the wardens.

There is no extra fee for this event, but regular park admission will apply.

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