1. So long regular season, hello tourney time!

    Coach Jim Getchell’s Machias Bulldogs said goodbye to regular season play and will be competing in a preliminary game with hopes of heading to Bangor. This year Getchell became the winningest coach in Bulldog history with a total of 123 wins during his 20-year tenure. For all the local basketball news, enjoy our 2018 basketball insert included in this edition. Photo by Sarah Craighead Dedmon.

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  2. Rural roads big losers in upcoming rehab

    by Ruth Leubecker

    Although transportation dollars will be awarded once spring arrives, Maine’s rural roads will not be the big recipients of such funding. “They’re already starting to advertise,” said Maria Fuentes last week of the start of the process. 

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  3. Lawmakers, commissioners, move to contain damage after surprise prison closure

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    Only the legislature can formally close a state prison, but Governor LePage effectively closed Machiasport’s Downeast Correctional Facility (DCF) when he ordered the removal of its 63 prisoners on Friday, Feb. 5, and issued pink slips to its remaining 38 employees.

    Now, state representatives and county commissioners are exploring what can be done to minimize the damage. 

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  4. DOC proposes Machias jail closure

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    Though the words prison and jail are often used interchangeably, in the case of local facilities they refer to two different places. The Downeast Correctional Facility (DCF) in Machiasport is a state prison used for long-term incarceration, and the Washington County Jail in Machias is run by the county and used for shorter-term incarceration. 

    This week they have something more than geography in common—the state wants to close them both.

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  5. Jonesport responds to county’s push for more deputies

    by Nancy Beal

    Following two meetings hosted by the county commissioners last month on the increase in crime in Washington County because of the drug trade, county manager Betsy Fitzgerald wrote all 46 towns in the county with information about what the commissioners wanted to do in response, and to ask towns for their reaction. Jonesport’s letter was discussed at the selectmen’s February 7 meeting.

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  6. Porter Memorial Library news

     

    For gardeners in winter

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  7. Basketball tournament to benefit Arise Addiction Recovery

    Come on out to watch or play and join the fight against addiction in our community. Arise Addiction Recovery is hosting a three-on-three basketball tournament to support its services in the Machias.

    This will be a 20-team double elimination tournament, ages high school and up. There is an entry fee for each team, and spectator admission is by donation. $300 prize for the winning team!

    Two courts will be playing at once, basic tournament rules apply. Because it’s double elimination, there will be 38 total matches that will last nine minutes each.

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  8. Sawyer family to Jonesport: “Yes” to sale of campground

    by Nancy Beal

    The recently promised letter from the John Sawyer family responding to the Jonesport selectmen’s query about buying the campground and/or obtaining a release of the family’s right of first refusal on the sale of the marina arrived last week and was shared and discussed at their February 7 meeting.

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  9. New Lubec school and community organization seeks members

    Lubec Elementary School announces the formation of the Parent Teacher Community Collaboration (PTCC), a new group focused on bringing engaging programs and fun events to the children of the community.

    “We wanted to create something a little different than the traditional PTA (Parent Teacher Association),” said teacher Anna Street, “something that taps into the phenomenal pool of life experience in our community, while focusing on doing things for the children’s enrichment.”

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  10. Guest Voice - The Common Sense Coalition and the future of the senate

    by Sen. Angus King

    Sometimes, when a football team has a prolonged losing streak, it creates a cycle that’s hard to break. The good folks of New England haven’t recently experienced this challenge, but unfortunately, the United States Senate is currently dealing with exactly that problem.

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  11. Letter to the Editor - Statement from senate republican leaders on governor’s closing of DCF

     The people of Washington County deserve better than this. Maine senate republicans are currently looking at all available options.

     The Maine legislature’s commitment to keeping this facility open has been consistent. In addition to fighting for funding in the budget, legislators in 2016 reached agreement on a government facilities bond that mandated a correctional facility exist in Washington County. This action appears contrary to the agreement that was reached.

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  12. Editor's Desk

    Since governor LePage removed the inmates from the Machiasport prison last week, I’ve had occasion to speak with countless people working the situation. I’m thoroughly impressed by the care and concern shown for the employees most impacted by the prison’s closure. 

    There are so many people here working toward creating economic wellness here in Washington County, and I’m afraid one part of that team suffered a terrible blow last week. My heartfelt sympathies go out to the 38 people who woke up Friday morning expecting to spend the day at work.

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  13. Homeschoolers in the house

    Members of the Downeast Christian Homeschool Co-Op visited the offices of the Calais Advertiser and visited with Jessica Griffin, the whiz behind layout on the Machias Valley News Observer. 

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  14. Letter to the Editor - Pardon the deep state

    The country is in for a rough ride over the actions of senior Obama administration officials and leadership in the Department of Justice and the FBI. The resultant damage to the deep state would be well deserved, but President Trump can take one step to limit the damage and protect American institutions which might be needed to Make America Great Again: Pardon President Obama, Attorney General Lynch, President Clinton, Secretary Clinton, Susan Rice, Samantha Powers, James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Bruce Ohr, Sally Yates and Rod Rosenstein.  We need to Move on. Amnesty for all!

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  15. EMBRACing a changing demographic one step at a time

    Somewhere around 2005, when John Baldacci was governor, this reporter announced the horrifying, off-the-charts per-pupil cost in Machias as a little over $8,500.

    Now that number doesn’t look so horrifying, all things being relative. That figure’s been left in the dust as deficits and dollars skyrocket to keep pace with the times. All schools, factoring in everything from special needs to transportation, have undoubtedly at least doubled that amount. And recently Deer Isle-Stonington drove the point home when they announced a per-pupil cost of $24,000 to taxpayers.

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  16. Downeast Homeschool Co-Op Valentine’s Day love

    The Downeast Christian Homeschool Co-Op meets weekly on Fridays in Machiasport. Students age eight and up put together candy bar bouquets at last week’s gathering. “We plan to drop them off at doctor’s offices, the emergency room and the like to thank people who give to our community,” said Dawn Wright, one of the co-op’s teachers. “We’d like to show them love back on this Valentine’s Day as a thank you for all they do!” Photo courtesy Dawn Wright

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  17. Trees need space

    Whether in the forests, in our yards, or on our streets, all trees need their space. Pruning and thinning trees in our forests really help trees grow and be more productive in producing seeds and food for birds and other wildlife. Orchards and other trees in our yards also need space and pruning. February is the proper time to prune fruit trees to be more productive and produce quality fruit. Street trees in our communities, especially in our cities, benefit from having protective guards to keep people and pets from trampling and compacting soils near trees.

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  18. Letter to the Editor - An open letter regarding hunting along the Middle River

     

    To the Machias Board of Selectmen and the Downeast Coastal Conservancy,

    Where habitats intersect within our town boundary, should we begin a dialogue of designating these areas between town and the Middle River park and its trails as non-hunting areas?  Even at 15 feet, the width of the main trail is too close to hunting when considering safety. Our area houses children, people with animals walking the trail, motorized vehicles, propane tanks and the list goes on. Safety is the word.

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  19. Letter to the Editor - Reply to Jon Reismann’s letter to the editor

     In his letter to the MVNO published Feb. 7, Jon Reismann tries to draw a distinction between people taking a knee at the Portland Jetport with people greeting the troops at the Bangor Airport.  In Professor Reismann’s mind, somehow these two events are polar opposites and mutually exclusive.  

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  20. AARP warns of online Valentine’s Day scams

    It’s Valentine’s Day, and time to watch out for the “Sweetheart Scam” targeting people on dating websites.  Be careful about what information you reveal on social networks. On dating sites, take extra care.  If someone asks for money – particularly money that must be wired or provided by a credit card – it is probably a scam.  Beware what you share.  This Valentine’s Day, we want Cupid’s arrow to strike your heart, not your wallet.  

    Be a fraud fighter!  If you can spot a scam, you can stop a scam.  

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  21. Columbia News

    Condolences go out to April and Daniel Atwater of Unionville who lost their home and all of their processions to a fire on Feb. 3. There will be a Benefit Supper & Chinese Auction for them on Sunday, March 18, from 1-4 p.m. at the Ella Lewis Elementary in Steuben. This will be a pot luck meal for anyone that would like to add to the table to help these folks.  Contact Melissa Wright at 263-4387 or on Facebook. The Atwaters are staying at the Lamb House in Cherryfield for the time being.

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  22. Harrington News

    A happy birthday to Ronie Strout!  She is always busy.  I hope she had a great day.

    Tim and Dea attended a dance and dinner in Bangor this weekend.  Tim stopped in to say hello and show me some videos of the dance. They looked very handsome and beautiful.

    Kristine and Tyler were here to visit today.  It was lovely to see them.

    Cortney Hammond brought over a wonderful meal of deer meat and vegetables.  It was delicious.  Thank you Courtney.

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  23. Wesley News

    Kim Carlow was in Bangor Hospital on Jan. 31 and had surgery in a week. She hopes to be home in a weeks. Hope she’s up and about soon.

    There are eagles hanging around the snowmobile trail on Route 9 in Wesley, close to the cemetery. 

    Four tractor trailers were off the road on Route 9 on Friday, Feb. 2. The fire department was called out to Maine River to supply flashing lights to slow traffic down.Crawford and Beddington were another couple of places where trucks had trouble.

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  24. Cherryfield and Milbridge news

    On its third year anniversary, open mic in the small village of Cherryfield is a hit. It takes place in an ancient old building called the Community Center, which was once an old high school that has since  been fixed up. Musicians from all over perform on the second Thursday of the month from 6-8 p.m. Corrie Hunkler talked about that one day she drove past it in Cherryfield and got the idea. 

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  25. Whitneyville Library news

    The Friends of the Whitneyville Public Library would like to thank those that came out on Saturday, Feb. 10 for our Cabin Fever Craft Fair. Even though the weather was not the best, some of the library’s faithful came out to enjoy lunch and see the many crafters that were on hand. Due to the weather that day, the craft fair will be held again on Saturday, Feb. 24 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Hillgrove Community Center in Whitneyville. So if you missed the craft fair on the 10th come and join us on the 24th.

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  26. Doris Mae Ingalls - Bucks Harbor

    Doris Mae Ingalls, 98 , went to be with her Lord and Savior on February 4, 2018 at a Machias hospital. She was born March 9, 1919 the daughter of the late Guy and Alta (Colbeth) Clark. She worked at the sardine factory in Machiasport for many years, as well as the clam shop in Bucks Harbor. She was a faithful member of the Bucks Harbor Baptist Church. She enjoyed sewing, knitting, and crocheting, and volunteering time at the Sunrise Workshop.  She was a wonderful mother, and grandmother, and loved being a wife to her husband of 70 years Kenneth.

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  27. Joseph W. Ellsmore Machias

    Joseph W. Ellsmore, 83, passed away unexpectedly in Zephyrhills Florida on February 5, 2018 after cardiac surgery.  He was born in Machias on February 14, 1934 to Herbert and Beatrice Ellsmore. 

    He lived and worked in Machias and in his retirement years he enjoyed spending the cold winter months in Zephyrhills.  

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  28. Community Calendar

    Upcoming events

    • • • • • •

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  29. Jonesport-Beals schools take STEM to elementary kids

    by Steve Colhoun

       With the growth of knowledge, there are always changes to education, in both content and methods. Yet because of the rapid advances in technology in recent years, the teaching profession has struggled to adapt, as we witness ongoing teacher shortages along with the evolution of STEM curricula. The importance of science, technology, engineering and math  in school is unquestionable, but how to apply class time, and at what age, is still developing.

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  30. Balloons, drones, and rockets in Milbridge

    Kidz radioActive, a group based out of Milbridge, is planning a “Sky’s The Limit” project for the Downeast region to be held this summer. The group’s president, Phil Duggan, said that the project is intended to pique kids’ interest in science and technology and to get them outside and having fun.

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  31. Take the February #ReadtoME Challenge

    The Maine Department of Education is sponsoring the #ReadtoME challenge for the month of February to raise awareness of the importance of early childhood literacy.

     Reading aloud to children not only provides a bonding experience with caring adults, but the simple act of reading aloud to a child 15 minutes a day for five years results in 27,375 minutes of language exposure which can put children on the path to high literacy achievement. 

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  32. Washington Academy Raiders in action photos

    Pictured are the Washington Academy Raiders. Members include front left-right: Kyle Case, Micah Vose, Jim Lin, Ryan Easton, Nathan Lund, Nevin Rhodes, and Jeffrey Graham. Back left-right: Donald Soctomah, Brandon Allard, Joe Bragg, Marek Veal, Daniel Agyemang, Tihomir Babic, Milan Filipovich, and Coach Barry Terrill.

     

    Team Captains Kyle Case and Jim Lin are pictured with Coach Terrill.

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  33. Tourney contenders Downeast

    by Phil Stuart

    This year, as usual, several Downeast area high school teams are well qualified for the the postseason. But how many will actually set foot on the Cross Insurance Center floor and win a game or two? That will depend on how well they play the rest of the season and whether they can survive a preliminary round. 

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  34. Raiders improve to 11-5

    by Phil Stuart

    With recent victories over the Orono Red Riots and Calais Blue Devils, the Washington Academy Raider boys are currently 11-5 with road games remaining at Old Town and John Bapst. 

    On Jan. 25 Barry Terrell’s Raiders hosted the Orono Red Riots at Gardner Gym in East Machias which resulted in a great fourth quarter Raider comeback to pull out a win.

    Orono held a 14-10 first quarter lead and a 34-27 half-time.

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  35. Royal Boys sweep Tigers

    by Phil Stuart

    The Jonesport-Beals boys upped their regular season record to 12-2 with victories over the Shead Tiger’s on Jan. 25 in Eastport and Jan. 29 in Jonesport. On Jan. 25 the Royals and Shead switched home dates and played their first matchup of the season in the port city. This was a rough and physical foul plagued contest throughout but the Royals were able to survive. 

    The contest was relatively close the majority of the game but the superior depth of the Royals prevailed which resulted in a 66-56 win over Skip Alley’s club. 

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  36. Machias Memorial High School news

    The power of positivity and the power of PAWSitivity are the foundation for People Acting Wicked Super (P.A.W.S.), MMHS’s rewarding and fun system of ‘catching students doing something right’.  Staff give students a PAWSitivity PAW when they show acts of respect, responsibility and rapport.  Examples of behaviors that can earn a PAW include: showing acts of unity, kindness, inclusion and acceptance; being polite and considerate; volunteering;  being a positive team/club member; and helping others. When a large number of PAWS are earned, everyone gets to enjoy a PAWSitivity Pizza Party!

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  37. Machias Memorial High School news

    The power of positivity and the power of PAWSitivity are the foundation for People Acting Wicked Super (P.A.W.S.), MMHS’s rewarding and fun system of ‘catching students doing something right’.  Staff give students a PAWSitivity PAW when they show acts of respect, responsibility and rapport.  Examples of behaviors that can earn a PAW include: showing acts of unity, kindness, inclusion and acceptance; being polite and considerate; volunteering;  being a positive team/club member; and helping others. When a large number of PAWS are earned, everyone gets to enjoy a PAWSitivity Pizza Party!

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  38. Paper Orchestra offered for preschoolers

    The Paper Orchestra program, led by Alice St. Clair, director of Eastport Strings, will be the Eastport Arts Center’s KinderArts offering for February. The hands-on program is designed to engage younger children in the magic of music making, and will introduce stringed instruments and include singing, movement and crafting with the help of caregivers. The creativity based curriculum will help children begin to find their musical voice while starting the process of being instrument-ready.

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  39. Narraguagus Jr/Sr High School Second Quarter Honor Roll

    Grade 12: High Honors: Elizabeth Chartrand, Brittney Church, Emma Denbow, Sophia DeSchiffart, Mary Hammond. Honors:  Angel Alley, Shalynne Barbee Bamford, Tiah Bickford, Joshua Brooks, Taylor Colbeth, Sasha Crowley, River Fenton, Madison Leighton, Kegin Schoppee, Emily Williams. Grade 11: High Honors: Gabriel Blomgren, Kajsa Brown Morrison, Breanna Smith.

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  40. Washington County Gem and Mineral Society invites area rockhounds to join

     

    by Lura Jackson

    If you have ever found yourself scouring the ground for interesting rocks, then a newly-formed group may suit your fancy. The Washington County Gem and Minerals Society is looking for anyone with an interest in rockhounding or sharing specimens in group settings. The group held its first meeting at Washington County Community College at the end of January, and it will be meeting again on February 17th at the Cobscook Community Learning Center.

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  41. Three ways to cut hearing aid costs

    Dear Savvy Senior,

    I’ve heard that hearing aids will soon be available over-the-counter and will be much cheaper than they currently are. What can you tell me about this? My husband desperately needs hearing aids but we simply can’t afford them. 

                       Searching Spouse

    Dear Searching,

    Unfortunately, for many years the high cost of hearing aids has kept millions of Americans with hearing loss from getting hearing aids because they can’t afford them. 

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  42. Campground reservations opening for Maine State Parks

    The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry’s Bureau of Parks and Lands announced that campground reservations for the 2018 season will open for Sebago State Park on Feb. 1 and for all state parks on Feb. 5. 

    The Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands reservations system and call center will be open for Sebago Lake State Park campground reservations only on Thursday, Feb. 1 at 9 a.m. and for all state park campgrounds at 9:00 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 5.

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  43. The longest paddle

    by V. Paul Reynolds

    The Northern Forest Canoe Trail (NFCT) winds from Old Forge, New York to Fort Kent, Maine. Established in 2000, it is the longest mapped inland paddling route in the country: 740 miles.

    How would you like to paddle that? No thanks. The NFCT is the canoeist’s version of the Appalachian Trail,  another intimidating outdoor challenge that has never been on my bucket list, even though I enjoy hiking and paddling in small doses.

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  44. Scouts pack the Sheriff’s Office

    The Tigers and Lions from Pack 125 were given a tour of the Washington County Jail and the Machias Courthouse as part of their program to earn belt loops. The tour was guided by Sheriff Barry Curtis and Captain Rich Rolfe. The boys had lots of questions about what it takes to become a Police Officer; how do they arrest people, how they get them to jail and many others. The boys were accompanied the local Cub master and several parents. At the end of the tour the boys were given challenge coins from Sheriff Barry Curtis. 

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  45. Moose lottery application process now open

     

    Dreaming of the hunt of a lifetime? The 2018 Maine moose permit lottery application process is now open.

     Applications for the 2018 Maine moose permit lottery will be accepted online only.

    The online application process is fast and simple and you receive instant confirmation that you have successfully entered the lottery. 

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