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Forest for the trees
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Today's show about forests in the state prompted lots of great phone calls, and interesting conversation with our forest experts.  It wasn't until after the show - talking with the guests - that I realized I live where I live because of a state forest. People's State Forest in Barkhamsted is a remarkable, 3,000 acre park, which includes - in their words, "includes upland evergreen and hardwood forests with wetlands and streams that support diverse wildlife populations and plant communities. It is open to the public for picnicking, hiking, camping, fishing, hunting, snowmobiling and cross-country skiing."  I've been coming here for years, well before my move to Litchfield County in 1999.

The history of this park is worth exploring, too.  And I haven't really done much of that until now.  For instance, when you hike someplace everyday, you get used to signs for the "Agnes Bowen" or "Jesse Gerard" trails.  You know where they go, but who were these folks...well:

"Alain White of Litchfield and Mrs. Franklin W. Gerard (Jessie Gerard) of New Haven brought about another Connecticut first. They proposed that a state forest be established using donations from private individuals, with an opportunity for people of modest means to contribute. In 1922, a fund was established by the Connecticut Forest Association under the leadership of White and Gerard with the understanding that an $8 donation would buy one acre in the new people's forest - a forest of the people. Agnes Bowen, then the secretary of the Barkhamsted Chamber of Commerce and a strong advocate for forest management to ensure a timber base for the town's wood products industries, influenced the selection of Barkhamsted as the site of the new People's State Forest. The name People's State Forest broke with the practice of choosing Native American names for State Forests, such as Meshomasic, Pachaug, Cockaponset, and Shenipsit."

There's a tribal burial ground, an old restored tavern, the site of a lighthouse, the history of a stagecoach road, a stone house which serves as a museum...and a number of locals who keep the place going.  There's a guy who rolls around in his SUV, his dog next to him, who stops to ask each hiker "Didya see anything interesting today?"  The answer is always "Yes."

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The national press can't get enough of the is-Joe-in-or-is-Joe-out story.  Here's John Nichols in the Nation.  Meanwhile, we'll be talking to the Courant's Jesse Hamilton about the vote (no matter how it goes) on Wednesday in the final segment.  Get your phones ready, I'm sure we'll have some interesting comments about the junior Senator.  

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Also on Wednesday, the state of the state's budget, heading into a special session.  Big cuts proposed by Governor Rell, and judging by this report, the state OPM seems to think it's pretty bad.  Governor Rell has called it "one of the worst" fiscal periods in state history, and the OPM uses the word "unprecedented."  

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Our conservative news analyst, Dean Pagani is back to blogging.  He says he's "reactivated my blog for continuing coverage of the transition, state budget, the Republican re-build and other issues of note. Daily briefings, more commentary and interviews." So here it is, his blog Media Attache.