I hope that most readers are aware of the double pressure that our lobstermen and lobsterwomen are under, these days.

The federal government is looking to increase regulations on the way lobstering is done, in the hope of preserving the whales that scoot up and down the Gulf of Maine. On top of this, economic conditions in the fishery itself are making it harder for some fishers and dealers to thrive.

It’s a difficult debate, but the Maine Lobstermen’s Association’s principal argument is that Maine lobster fishing has not entangled and killed any whales in many light years, and boat owners have jumped through every new hoop required of them so far, yet the government wants to introduce more rules that will make lobstering harder than ever.

One of our Congressional representatives recently made this argument to the president when he ordered up a few hundred Maine lobsters for a state feast at the White House, in honor of the president of France, a country said to be located somewhere to the east of Rockland’s lighthouse.

In order to keep half an eye on this general situation which involves so many people up and down our coastline, I recently joined the Maine Lobstermen’s Association in a fit of partisan solidarity that would not be allowed if I were still a news reporter.

Several Maine banks have recently contributed at least three-quarters of a million dollars to the MLA’s legal fund, to help pay for professional representation of the agency and its members in their dealings with the feds. Numerous smaller groups, as well as individuals, have also been providing cash donations, and one of them is to be found here in the Blessed South End.

“The owners of Jess’s Market in Rockland decided that they wanted to help as well,” says an item in the most recent edition of the MLA’s monthly newspaper, called “Landings.”

“The market advertised to customers that it would donate 15% of all lobster sales, which included live, cooked, and meat bought in the store and online during one week in September. That week included Friday, Sept. 23, when people throughout Maine wore red to show solidarity with lobstermen. In the end, Jess’s donated $2,144 to the campaign.”

It is an interesting footnote to mention that the MLA was founded in Rockland during the city’s centennial year of 1954, with an office at 427 Main St., and that its principal legal counsel at that time was Alan Grossman, who was joined by another local attorney, John Knight, in the famous 1957 case when the federal government sued the MLA in federal court in Portland.

I have a very interesting book on this subject, on extended loan from the Prior Brothers Garage lending library in Cushing.

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The other week while making my regular delivery to the city dump, I swear I saw the doors to Wink’s Place wide open.

Wink’s was once our so-called “swap shop,” where members of the public could place items they no longer wanted but which somebody else might take a shine to. Personally, I obtained far too many books for my own good from the shelves at Wink’s.

The place has been closed several years now, apparently due to a kind of scuffle that took place there over who would get their paws on certain items. I think the real story also involves the difficulty of keeping the place tidy as well as free of fisticuffs. From time to time, city hall has made encouraging noises about the place possibly being reopened “some day” whenever enterprising citizens have inquired.

But since getting my hopes up that Wink’s might re-open, the doors remain firmly shut. Yet there is definitely a need for Wink’s to get back into business.

For example, neither Goodwill nor the Salvation Army thrift store will accept video tapes any more. I actually checked, as I have many of them stowed away up here in the concrete towers at the foot of Mechanic Street, where I am forced to live. I even own a VCR, which functions due to certain electrical supply arrangements that I prefer not to describe in detail.

It is likely there are still others who have VCRs who would probably take VHS tapes if they were available, although the market for these numerous relics of 20th century technology has certainly shrunk in recent years. But if we can no longer give them away to thrift stores, and Wink’s remains closed, what alternatives other than yard sales remain for distributing them to those who would still use them?

Mailing them anonymously to random individuals across town, and hoping not to be found out?

I think this glimpse into the twilight years of certain popular consumer products gives a fair idea of the complexities of the subject.

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I see that a Dunkin’ Donuts store has gone in where Taco Bell/KFC used to be, just over the town line in Rockport.

People keep opening food-service businesses such as this, but I am concerned that the already overloaded labor market cannot provide any promises of long-term staffing. There are plans, for example, to open a restaurant in the former Congregational Church building on Main Street, although at least three downtown restaurants of good quality closed this past year due to the lack of workers.

A café in Damariscotta recently closed, too. Chase’s Daily, a long-established café and fresh vegetable market in downtown Belfast, is apparently shutting down for three months in order to reassess the viability of the business.

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With the 2022 firearms season for deer now over, we are told that it set a record of around 42,875 deer taken. This just pips the 1959 record of 41,735. These numbers were reported in a respectable state newspaper and were given as preliminary estimates.

Knowing little about deer hunting, I once chose to closely follow the facts of the process for the dear old Courier. This was decades ago. It involved checking in with tagging stations all over the place, and printing regular reports and photos of who had shot what. It took me into places I had never been, and opened up conversations with people I had never met before, and so I think it was valuable to treat this state-regulated hunt in some detail.

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Speaking of restaurants and wild animals, a gentleman tells me that members of the St. George Business Alliance recently had their annual festive get-together at a respectable restaurant right here in Knox County, and were served from a menu that included alligator meat.

I was told that, like much other exotic game, ‘gator tastes rather like chicken.

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Speaking of chicken, a close contact tells me an attempt to buy chicken that was advertised on sale for $1.47 per pound at a local supermarket two weeks ago ended in abject failure, when meat counter staff said they had asked for 10 cases of the stuff to be delivered but received none.

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Last week I came upon a fellow who was taking mysterious measurements on Linden Street, who told me he is part of a plan to put in new sewer pipes, to divide raw sewage (which requires expensive treatment) from rainwater (which does not).

I remember the city spending good money to do exactly this sort of thing about 30 years ago and like a fool I assumed all of this had been taken care of long since. So, it seems likely we can look forward to roads in the South End being torn up this coming summer.

Well, if it means getting some more of our very iffy roads repaired, then I suppose it will be worth it. Sigh.

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Just a note of sincere thanks to the various readers who have spoken to me on the street, or have sent messages, expressing thanks that I am back on the treadmill, writing this column again. I am sure you are all welcome, but I am compelled to reflect on the cruel and relentless pressure of writing it every week.

Just as long as you all understand clearly how much of a martyr I am to this cause, it at least makes it all worthwhile. The Four Seagulls of the Apocalypse who live with me up in these towers certainly do nothing to make it any easier, constantly bothering me and pecking at my frigid fingers as I struggle to write on the insides of old cardboard cereal boxes.

Hmm, I wonder if they also taste like chicken?

David Grima is a former editor with Courier Publications. He can be reached at davidgrima@ymail.com.