1. Crystal Dawn Fitzgerald (Stanley)

    Crystal Dawn Fitzgerald (Stanley), 40, of Lubec, ME, passed away May 29th, 2024, with her loving husband by her side after the most courageous battle with cancer. To say courageous would be an understatement, Crystal was a fighting warrior until the very end. Crystal was born on a snowy day, in Machias, ME on January 6, 1984, to Gary & Almeda Stanley (Matthews). She grew up in Lubec, ME and attended Lubec Consolidated School. Crystal’s biggest joy in life was her two beautiful children, Dawson Lee Stanley and Laynee Rheann Stanley.

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  2. Re Find Furnishings Owner ‘Living the American Dream’

    Escaped Fidel Castro’s Cuba, Willing to Fight, Die for America

     

    By Paul Sylvain

    Imagine spending the first 22 years of your life under the iron-gripped communist dictatorship of Fidel Castro in Cuba. It was, and still is today, a beautiful country, but one that offers its citizens no individual freedoms or way to earn a living.

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  3. Family, Friends Celebrate MMHS Class of 2024

    By Will Tuell

    Friends, family, staff, students, and community members packed into the Machias Memorial High School gym June 2 to honor the 38 graduates who make up the school’s Class of 2024. The ceremony, organized and officiated by MMHS principal Nicole Case and AOS 96 Superintendent Scott Porter, featured tears, cheers, a video montage, plastic ducks several graduates presented to Case as a gag gift, and speeches by class members getting ready to embark on the next chapter of life, whether that’s college, work, or the military. 

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  4. Sensational Shimabukuro, Schwinn Toss Shutout as WA Advances to Class C North Championship

    By Will Tuell

    Freshman sensation Trevor Shimabukuro and senior stalwart Caden Schwinn pitched the Washington Academy Raiders baseball team into the Class C North championship game with a four-hit shutout of the Mount View Mustangs Saturday afternoon, putting Washington Academy two wins shy of their third state title in school history. 

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  5. Jonesport to Declare as A ‘Non-Sanctuary’ Town

    By Nancy Beal

    Jonesport will soon declare itself a non-sanctuary town. The request was first discussed at a selectmen’s meeting held May 22, when Chairman Harry Fish Jr. and Denise Cilley were presented with a petition from Carrie Peabody, which she said contained signatures of 10 percent of the town’s residents, asking for a declaration of support for the designation. (Typically, a non-sanctuary declaration indicates that a municipality will cooperate with immigration officials.) 

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  6. Machias Planners Begin Ordinance Reviews Mandated by LD2003

    Town-Wide Zoning Ordinance ‘Needed, but Will Never Happen’ Board Member Says

     

    By Paul Sylvain

    As far as Machias Planning Board meetings go, it took board members Arthur McCurdy, Ryle Mortland, Andrew Mulholland, Vice Chair James Jackson, and Chairman Harry Flowers seven minutes to breeze through and approve three building permits at the board’s June 5 session. 

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  7. Move to New Building Begins ‘The Final Chapter of ‘Rambo Smith’

    By Paul Sylvain

    When it comes to defending the First and Second Amendments, or telling you what he thinks of our current president and the ‘swamp rats’ in Washington, D.C., few people are more outspoken, and colorful, than Smitty’s Trading Post owner Stephen Smith.

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  8. Primary Follies

    by Jonathan Reisman

    This column is being written on Friday, June 7th, but will come out late on or after Election Day. It represents both my analysis and hopes.

    2nd Congressional District GOP primary- Soboleski vs. Theriault

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  9. Planning Board Approves Three Permits in 7 Minutes, Discuss Mobile Home Codes

    By Paul Sylvain

    The Machias Planning Board met on June 5 and quickly breezed through and approved three building permits in seven short minutes.

    Titus Jackson, who was the only permit applicant to attend the meeting, gained approval for a 45-foot by 28-foot, two-bedroom mobile home for his mother-in-law on a lot with an existing house and shed at 24 Hill Farm Road. However, approval didn’t come before a short discussion on a septic system to be installed as part of the plan.

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  10. Beloved Educator, Finn, Retires from WA After 25 Years

    This June, Washington Academy is celebrating the retirement of long-time educator Mrs. Marie Finn. Mrs. Finn is completing her twenty-fifth year of providing special educational services at the Academy. She is retiring as a special education department head and teacher who has mentored and significantly impacted learning for countless area youths, WA said in a statement earlier this month. 

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  11. No Joke! Bucks Harbor Shopping Mall Served-Up Hot Coffee, Food, and Many ‘Sweet, Sweet Memories’

    By Paul Sylvain

    As long as anyone in the tiny fishing village of Bucks Harbor can remember, there has always been a mom-and-pop store at or near where a now-vacant, sun-faded yellow building stands at the intersection of Port and Small’s Point roads.

    Many old-timers in town still remember Vincent Small’s store that stood further back from where Herb Rose would later build his own store.

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  12. Summer Road Paving Misery Could Possibly Continue Through July 27

    Area Motorists Taking Rolling Delays in Stride

    By Paul Sylvain

    As the saying goes, be careful what you wish for because the cure can often be more painful than the ailment. That’s especially true when it comes to Washington County’s roads.

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  13. After Chaos, Beals Selectboard Brings Order to Town Business

    By Nancy Beal

    Following the ouster of an incumbent select person at the annual town meeting last March and the subsequent, sudden resignation of the other two select persons, the town of Beals is getting back on track under the leadership of new and old replacements.

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  14. Residents, Staff ‘Heartbroken’ over Narraguagus Nursing Home Closure

    By Wayne Smith

    I caught up with workers and residents about the closing of Narraguagus Bay Health Care Facility in Milbridge. You want to know what is heartbreaking it’s seeing a 90-year-old lady hugging all the workers, telling each one she loves them, then bursting into tears because she’s got to go to her new home  And that was just a little bit of the emotions at Narraguagus Bay last week.

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  15. A Lonely Cross: D-Day Remembered 80 Years Later

    By 2nd Lt. Peter Duston, USA, Ret.  

    This is the story of a lonely cross engraved: “Known but to God,” in remembrance of “D” Day, which began eighty years ago, on the 6th of June, 1944. 

    In June 2018, my wife and I visited the U.S. military cemetery on the bluff overlooking Utah Beach on the Normandy coast where the D-Day invasion took place nearly 75 years earlier.  We were in France with the Washington County Children’s Chorus who were on a singing tour.   

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  16. The Disunited Banana Republic

    by Jonathan Reisman

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  17. Discover the Magic of "Miss Rumphius" in June's StoryWalk® at Porter Memorial Library

    For the month of June, the StoryWalk® at Porter Memorial Library in Machias will feature the award-winning children’s book, “Miss Rumphius,” by Barbara Cooney. Readers of all ages delight in the tale of Alice Rumphius, a woman who realized her childhood dreams of traveling the world, residing in a seaside house, and making the world more beautiful. The numerous lupines blooming along the Maine coastline stand as a testament to the real Miss Rumphius, Hilda Hamlin, known as the Lupine Lady, who sowed lupine seeds wherever she went, as well as Cooney's own experiences traveling the world.

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  18. Re Find Furnishings Opens For Business on Court Street

    By Paul Sylvain

    Re Find Furnishings owner Michael Acebal would probably be the first to admit the road from his shop’s former home on 277 Main St. to its new location at 97 Court St. was much further and took a while longer to navigate than he expected.

    Still, Acebal persevered and on June 4, opened shop at his new location, next door to the Machias post office on Court Street. 

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  19. Greater Machias Community Participates in Memorial Day Parade

    By Paul Sylvain & Will Tuell

    It’s been said that everybody loves a parade, and that was never more evident than on May 27 in Machias. That’s when a crowd of parade-goers lined Court and Free streets, Colonial Way. and Main Street/Route1 to watch and cheer on the many community groups that participated in this year’s Memorial Day Parade.

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  20. Howard Challenges Veteran County Commissioner Cassidy in GOP Primary

    Jayna Smith

    [email protected]

    William “Billy” W. Howard III and Vinton E. Cassidy, both of Calais, are running in the Republican primary on June 11, 2024, for Washington County Commissioner District 1.  David Burns, of Whiting, is running unopposed in the Republican primary for Washington County Commissioner District 2.

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  21. Climate Policy Emergency

    by Jonathan Reisman

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  22. Narraguagus Bay Health Care Facility to Close on July 22

    46 Residents Need to Find New Nursing Home

     

    By Paul Sylvain

    Residents, their families, and staff at Narraguagus Bay Health Care Facility on Main Street in Milbridge received word last week that the facility will close its doors permanently on July 22.

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  23. ‘Practice Makes Progress’: Fulmer to Retire After 43 Years of Teaching

    By Will Tuell

    While most teachers and students are eagerly counting down the days until their summer vacation begins, Elm Street’s Karen Fulmer said in an interview last week that this, her forty-third -- and final -- year teaching a third- or fourth-grade classroom at the East Machias elementary school “will be bittersweet.” As much as Fulmer enjoys her students -- every day, every class is different -- she knows that physically she just can’t keep up with another class of energetic and inquisitive nine-year-olds. 

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  24. Beals Voters Nix Aquaculture Ordinance, Approve $1.3M for Elementary School

    By Nancy Beal

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  25. Machias PD Hires Retired Baltimore Officer, Detective Jim Frauenhoffer

    By Paul Sylvain

    The Machias selectboard, on May 22, authorized Police Chief Keith Mercier to hire Cutler resident Jim Frauenhoffer as a full-time patrol officer.

    Frauenhoffer is a 27-year veteran police officer and detective who retired from the Baltimore Police Department. Mercier told the board that Frauenhoffer moved Downeast around three years ago and only recently began working as a corrections officer at the county jail for the Washington County Sheriff’s Department.

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  26. Machias Moving Toward September Annual Town Meeting, Municipal Elections

    By Paul Sylvain

    Machias residents can expect to elect town officials and act on a 2024-‘25 budget warrant at the annual town meeting sometime in September.

    That’s according to Town Manager Bill Kitchen, following a special town meeting on May 20, at which a handful of residents authorized town officials to spend an amount “not to exceed” up to three months of the budget approved last year for the current fiscal year. The current fiscal year began on July 1, 2023, and ends on June 30.

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  27. Students Play and Learn about Maine

    By Jacquie Leighton

    On May 13 and again on May 17, students from two local elementary schools in SAD 37 visited the Milbridge Theater & Community Arts Center (MTCAC) for a Maine-themed game and a visit from a local celebrity, a teacher who taught Maine and United States History for more than forty years. 

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  28. Machias Voters Pass Combined Adult-Use, Medical Cannabis Ordinance at Sparsely-Attended Special Town Meeting

    By Paul Sylvain

    Medical cannabis shop owners, who last year lobbied Town Manager Bill Kitchen and the Machias selectboard to expand the town’s medical cannabis ordinance to include adult-use, recreational cannabis storefronts, got their wish May 20, when a handful of Machias residents voted 8-0 to adopt an all-inclusive cannabis ordinance

    The ordinance went into effect immediately upon passage by residents.

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  29. Colby Moholland Blasts WA Raiders Past Bucksport

    By Will Tuell

    In the 150 years since Charley Jones thumped two homers in the same inning for the long-defunct Boston Red Stockings, 61 Major League Baseball players have achieved the same feat. Last week, Washington Academy first baseman Colby Moholland ripped a pair of fourth inning home runs to put the high-flying Raiders squarely in the driver’s seat against the Golden Bucks of Bucksport. 

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  30. Downeasters Ready for Memorial Day Ceremonies

    By Will Tuell

    As May draws to a close, many Downeast communities and veterans’ organizations are planning to remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice defending our country. From the shores of Lubec to the barrens of Western Washington County -- and beyond -- there will be many ceremonies, parades, and commemorations throughout the weekend. While this is far from an exhaustive list, we have done our best to offer our readers the most complete schedule possible, and hope that you will make time this weekend to pay your respects to our fallen heroes. 

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  31. Washington County’s Newest Officers Welcomed with Pomp, Pageantry

    By Will Tuell

    Blue skies and a warm breeze greeted the 68 cadets -- soon to be law enforcement officers -- graduating from Maine’s Criminal Justice Academy on May 17. The graduates, with throngs of family and friends watching on, began their journey eighteen weeks ago in the dead of winter, leaving loved ones behind as they went through a rigorous training program designed to initiate them into the ranks of Maine’s law enforcement community. 

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  32. Fort O’Brien Students Release Atlantic Salmon in the East Machias River

    By Paul Sylvain

    If this story sounds a little “fishy” to you, it’s with good reason. On May 14, students in Tom Manship’s science and math class at Fort O’Brien School in Machiasport released 188 young, two-month-old Atlantic salmon into the East Machias River.

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  33. Northfield Developer Planning 4-Unit Apartment Building in Machias

    By Paul Sylvain

    Northfield developer Justin King is eyeing a patch of land he owns on King Avenue in Machias to build a “Scandinavian-style” apartment building featuring four 800-square-foot, one-bedroom apartments.

    A building permit application was presented to the town’s planning board in April but was denied. The permit was discussed again earlier this month and was granted conditionally over flood zone concerns, King said in an interview last week. King claims those concerns are non-existent in that elevated section of land off Court Street.

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  34. Former Bad Little Brewing Company Location on the Auction Block

    By Will Tuell

    The former location of a once-promising Machias brewpub will be up for auction next month per a listing with Tranzon Auction Properties. Located at 101 Court Street in Machias, the Clark Perry House, which served as the home of the Bad Little Brewing Company from Jan. 31 to Dec. 22, 2022, will be auctioned off June 25 at 1 p.m. 

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  35. Adrift Amongst Internet Flotsam

    by Jonathan Reisman

    A 5 a.m. trip to the garden (the black flies are not early/cool morning risers) sometimes clears the head and fuels the column, but when horticultural discipline fails to inspire, careful inspection of the inbox and assorted internet flotsam offers copious column fodder.

    Possible People’s Veto of National Popular Vote 

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  36. King Construction Services Settles In at New Location

    By Paul Sylvain

    King Construction Services and IMK Properties have moved from their former, more cramped, and noisy College Hill offices on Dublin Street to more spacious and modern quarters on Outer Dublin Street/Route 1, near the Machias-Whitneyville town line.

    In the coming weeks, expect to see landscaping, paving, and a big, shiny, new roadside sign at his new location. Receptionist Amy Hall will be the first to tell you there are a lot fewer distractions and much less noise at their new location.

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  37. Third Annual Rhubarb Festival Celebrates Local Art, Food, and Fun

    The countdown has begun for the much-anticipated third annual Rhubarb Festival, set to take place on June 1, from 12-5 p.m. at Kendall Farm in Perry. This spring event promises a day filled with vibrant art, delicious rhubarb creations, live music, and family-friendly activities.

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  38. No Hitters, Rallies, Perfect Games Highlight Exciting Week of Baseball, Softball at WA

    By Will Tuell

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  39. Catching up with Cale: Putting Out Fires with Machiasport’s Harbormaster

    By Will Tuell

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  40. Commence…What?

    by Jonathan Reisman

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  41. Sunrise Trail Opens for ATV Use

    By Will Tuell

    In yet another sure sign of spring, state officials have opened the Down East Sunrise Trail to ATV use. Game Warden Joe McBrine of the Maine Warden Service said in a message prior to the trail’s reopening that, despite severe flooding in January which caused extensive damage to the throughway, ATVers could expect things to be fully back to normal by early-to-mid summer. 

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  42. Feds Identify 100 Illegal Marijuana Growing Operations in Maine

    By Jayna Smith

    An extensive investigation conducted by various levels of law enforcement, including local, state, and federal agencies, has uncovered approximately 100 illegal marijuana growing operations in Maine.  While federal authorities are exploring potential links to organized crime, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Maine has clarified that there is no indication of illegal immigration or human trafficking involvement in these illicit activities.

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  43. JBHS Board Talks Auditor, Teachers, Coaches

    By Nancy Beal

    Conversation (and disagreement) recently reported about Union 103 (Jonesport-Beals High School and the Beals and Jonesport elementary schools) and the auditor who reviews its books was prompted by a decision by the superintendent, not by the high school board, as reported in these pages last week (see “Jonesport Selectmen Disagree with High School’s Auditor Change,” Machias Valley News Observer, May 8, 2024). 

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  44. May is a Busy Month at Beals Elementary

    By Nancy Beal

    May is a busy month for students and teachers at Beals Elementary School. There are only 38 pupils in the pre-K-through-grade 8 island school (next year 45 are expected), but Principal Christopher Crowley and his staff make sure they get exposed to the same range of studies and activities as students in larger schools.

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  45. Elm Street Students Perform ‘The Curse of the Frog Prince’

    By Will Tuell

    After months of practice, students from Elm Street School in East Machias (and the surrounding homeschool community) regaled audiences last week with “The Curse of the Frog Prince” -- an adaption of the classic Grimm Brothers’ fairy tale published in the early 1800s that follows a spoiled princess, a cursed frog prince, and their efforts to reverse the curse. The performance was directed by Melina Neilson and produced by Eustacia Landrum.

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