Governor Jim Douglas today announced a new partnership with the Vermont Maple Sugar Makers Association that gives the go-ahead to expand tapping on some state land. The announcement came as the Governor kicked off the 8th annual Maple Open House Weekend at Marcia Maynard and Ken Denton s sugarhouse in Cabot. Maple sugaring is a vital piece of our agricultural and forest products economy, the Governor said. I am very pleased that the state will be able to make this modest contribution to this important industry with an agreement that promotes responsible stewardship of sugarbushes on state land.Under the agreement, the Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation will license sites that it deems appropriate in state forests and state parks to sugarmakers, who will be required to abide by state land policies and management efforts while operating the sugarbushes. The Department expects to have as many as 11 sites licensed and operational for next season. There are few things we take more seriously than our forests and our well-deserved acclaim for forest products like maple syrup and quality timber, said Jason Gibbs, commissioner of Forests, Parks and Recreation. This commonsense partnership recognizes this and strengthens the tradition of Vermont s working landscape.Vermont is the largest U.S. producer of maple syrup and approximately 500,000 gallons of 5.5 million pounds of syrup is produced annually, according to the Vermont Maple Sugar Makers Association. We have a proud tradition of sugarmaking here in Vermont, said Rick Marsh, president of the association. We re excited to be working with the state in taking the next step to promote and protect the Vermont maple syrup brand.
Mountain biking while on a lengthy sleep deficit turns out to be a bad idea.According to the Scientific American, “Sleep debt is the difference between the amount of sleep you should be getting and the amount you actually get. It’s a deficit that grows every time we skin extra minutes off our nightly slumber. Short-term sleep deprivation leads to a foggy brain, worsened vision, impaired driving, and trouble remembering. Long-term effects include obesity, insulin resistance, and heart disease. And most Americans suffer from chronic deprivation.”Well. Seeing as how I have a 3-year-old who doesn’t sleep, I’m pretty much stupid by now. As for the part about impaired driving, well I’m about to tell you what that does to a girl on a bicycle. I had finally gotten a good night’s sleep when I decided to try camping with the boys again. The 3-year-old slept during the last two camping trips, so I thought we were in the clear. I don’t know why I thought that when he hasn’t even been sleeping at home for the past month. He wakes at least twice a night to either scream or pee his bed. Maybe I thought the fresh air would let him sleep? Or the fact that he was running around like a banshee all day long with 16 little friends? No. He did not sleep. Although he slept fine up until the adults were ready to rack. That’s when he awoke, fussing about various problems with his diaper, the sleeping bag, the monsters, the dog, etc.But I was hell bent at meeting friends by 9:30 at the trailhead, because when it’s your day to ride, you ride. The sun rose, and my bladder woke me before the baby did, which is absolutely amazing in itself. I felt as though my bladder had grossly failed me. Not ten minutes after returning to a slight doze within my cocoon did Wyatt sit bolt up and announce his readiness to go fishing. His brother was up in the next breath. Now my choices were to try to sleep more or leave the madness and hit the trails.When it’s your day to ride, you ride.I stopped at a gas station for a cup of coffee and a quick freshening up in the bathroom. I scarfed down a banana and snagged a bag of pistachios to ensure a little protein and potassium in the system. Never mind the slight hangover I was battling. I made it to the trailhead first and took my time getting ready as the dog wore herself out running around the parking lot.Once we started riding my legs felt like lead, and my front wheel seemed to dive into every divet. I was having trouble even pulling my wheels up to hop roots. I shook it off to being off my bike for a while, but I could not get it together. I could not bear to use anything other than my granny gear on the climbs, and as I reached the technical rocky climb, I could not avoid being snatched off my bike by the rhododendron. When the climbing was done I reached for a tree and found my outside foot was stuck in the pedal. The outcome was me crashing to the ground, still clipped in. I wasn’t even riding.It was the first ten yards back on the bike that really screwed me up, causing a wreck very reminiscent of the early days of mountain biking. Ouch. Knowing it was my shoulder that would take the brunt, I thought of my massage clients and stuck my foot out instead. I snapped it so hard that the buckle snapped off of my shoe. I had to lie there suffering for a bit before making anybody wait too long. I was immediately angry at the thought of not being able to run or ride the rest of the week. I’m not even sure what caused me to wreck.The experts say that 8 hours of sleep is the most healthy. They also say that a sleep deficit can eventually be repaid. It’s not something that will recover after a weekend of sleep, but changing the sleep pattern over time, adding an hour or two each night. At first you are likely to need ten hours. However, if you go to bed when your body is tired and wake up without an alarm clock, after a few weeks your body will even out to however much nightly sleep it requires.Yeah. Explain this to Wyatt.
The Wall Street Journal 4 January 2019Family First Comment: “The number of Americans who use cannabis heavily is soaring. In 2006, about 3 million Americans reported using the drug at least 300 times a year, the standard for daily use. By 2017, that number had increased to 8 million.”And the link to violence including family violence should cause NZ to pause and think.www.VoteNo.nzAs legalization spreads, more Americans are becoming heavy users of cannabis, despite its links to violence and mental illnessOver the past 30 years, a shrewd and expensive lobbying campaign has made Americans more tolerant of marijuana. In November 2018, Michigan became the 10th state to legalize recreational cannabis use; New Jersey and others may soon follow. Already, more than 200 million Americans live in states that have legalized marijuana for medical or recreational use. Yet even as marijuana use has become more socially acceptable, psychiatrists and epidemiologists have reached a consensus that it presents more serious risks than most people realize.Contrary to the predictions of both advocates and opponents, legalization hasn’t led to a huge increase in people using the drug casually. About 15% of Americans used cannabis at least once in 2017, up from 10% in 2006, according to the federal government’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health. By contrast, almost 70% of Americans had an alcoholic drink in the past year.But the number of Americans who use cannabis heavily is soaring. In 2006, about 3 million Americans reported using the drug at least 300 times a year, the standard for daily use. By 2017, that number had increased to 8 million—approaching the 12 million Americans who drank every day. Put another way, only one in 15 drinkers consumed alcohol daily; about one in five marijuana users used cannabis that often.And they are consuming cannabis that is far more potent than ever before, as measured by the amount of THC it contains. THC, or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, is the chemical responsible for the drug’s psychoactive effects. In the 1970s, most marijuana contained less than 2% THC. Today, marijuana routinely contains 20-25% THC, thanks to sophisticated farming and cloning techniques and to the demand of users to get a stronger high more quickly. In states where cannabis is legal, many users prefer extracts that are nearly pure THC.Cannabis advocates often argue that the drug can’t be as neurotoxic as studies suggest because otherwise Western countries would have seen population-wide increases in psychosis alongside rising marijuana use. In reality, accurately tracking psychosis cases is impossible in the U.S. The government carefully tracks diseases such as cancer with central registries, but no such system exists for schizophrenia or other severe mental illnesses.Some population-level data does exist, though. Research from Finland and Denmark, two countries that track mental illness more accurately, shows a significant increase in psychosis since 2000, following an increase in cannabis use. And last September, a large survey found a rise in serious mental illness in the U.S. too. In 2017, 7.5% of young adults met the criteria for serious mental illness, double the rate in 2008.None of these studies prove that rising cannabis use has caused population-wide increases in psychosis or other mental illness, although they do offer suggestive evidence of a link. What is clear is that, in individual cases, marijuana can cause psychosis, and psychosis is a high risk factor for violence. What’s more, much of that violence occurs when psychotic people are using drugs. As long as people with schizophrenia are avoiding recreational drugs, they are only moderately more likely to become violent than healthy people. But when they use drugs, their risk of violence skyrockets. The drug they are most likely to use is cannabis.The most obvious way that cannabis fuels violence in psychotic people is through its tendency to cause paranoia. Even marijuana advocates acknowledge that the drug can cause paranoia; the risk is so obvious that users joke about it, and dispensaries advertise certain strains as less likely to do so. But for people with psychotic disorders, paranoia can fuel extreme violence. A 2007 paper in the Medical Journal of Australia looked at 88 defendants who had committed homicide during psychotic episodes. It found that most of the killers believed they were in danger from the victim, and almost two-thirds reported misusing cannabis—more than alcohol and amphetamines combined.The link between marijuana and violence doesn’t appear limited to people with pre-existing psychosis. Researchers have studied alcohol and violence for generations, proving that alcohol is a risk factor for domestic abuse, assault and even murder. Far less work has been done on marijuana, in part because advocates have stigmatized anyone who raises the issue. Still, there are studies showing that marijuana use is a significant risk factor for violence.A 2012 paper in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence, examining a federal survey of more than 9,000 adolescents, found that marijuana use was associated with a doubling of domestic violence in the U.S. A 2017 paper in the journal Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, examining drivers of violence among 6,000 British and Chinese men, found that drug use was linked to a fivefold increase in violence, and the drug used was nearly always cannabis.Before states legalized recreational cannabis, advocates predicted that legalization would let police focus on hardened criminals rather than on marijuana smokers and thus reduce violent crime. Some advocates even claim that legalization has reduced violent crime: In a 2017 speech calling for federal legalization, Sen. Cory Booker (D., N.J.) said that “these states are seeing decreases in violent crime.”But Mr. Booker is wrong. The first four states to legalize marijuana for recreational use were Colorado and Washington in 2014 and Alaska and Oregon in 2015. Combined, those four states had about 450 murders and 30,300 aggravated assaults in 2013. In 2017, they had almost 620 murders and 38,000 aggravated assaults—an increase far greater than the national average.Knowing exactly how much of that increase is related to cannabis is impossible without researching every crime. But for centuries, people all over the world have understood that cannabis causes mental illness and violence—just as they’ve known that opiates cause addiction and overdose. Hard data on the relationship between marijuana and madness dates back 150 years, to British asylum registers in India.Yet 20 years ago, the U.S. moved to encourage wider use of cannabis and opiates. In both cases, we decided we could outsmart these drugs—enjoying their benefits without their costs. And in both cases, we were wrong. Opiates are riskier than cannabis, and the overdose deaths they cause are a more imminent crisis, so public and government attention have focused on them. Soon, the mental illness and violence that follow cannabis use also may be too widespread to ignore. —Mr. Berenson is a former New York Times reporter and the author of 12 novels. This essay is adapted from his new book, “Tell Your Children: The Truth About Marijuana, Mental Illness and Violence,” which will be published by Free Press on Jan. 8.https://www.wsj.com/articles/marijuana-is-more-dangerous-than-you-think-11546527075