1. Innovative library contest brings overdue book back to East Machias after 21 years

    by Tyler Royle

    Florence Sturdivant Public Library held a contest back in September in order to track down overdue library books. The contest was that the person who turned in the most overdue library book would win a prize without suffering any repercussions. The contest was advertised in the Machias Valley News Observer in the months of September and October in hopes of bringing in those people who still had overdue books.

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  2. Machias prepares for this weekend’s community Christmas extravaganza

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    This year, several traditional Machias holiday festivities — and one brand new event  — have combined together to form one gigantic community-wide Christmas celebration.

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  3. Governor committed to helping uninsured Mainers

    by Ruth Leubecker

    Describing specific plans in exclusive remarks to the MVNO, Gov. Janet Mills has outlined her intentions for bringing health care to all Mainers.

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  4. New Ark administrator aims for loving, permanent pet homes

    by Tanya Rucosky

    New Shelter Administrator for the Ark Animal Shelter, Shaina Mugford, is working hard to keep the 35-year-old no-kill shelter finding pets good homes. Coming from Narraguagus High School with a background in animal welfare and a member of the Underhound Railroad, Shaina, “Lives and breathes for the Ark Animal Shelter.”

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  5. Birds in exquisite detail: La Farge’s ‘Scientific Illustrations’ on exhibit in Machias

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    Bird watchers are made of hardy stock, willing to brave thorn, brush, vine or snow for the sight of one elusive species. This month, though, Downeast bird lovers have easier delights within their grasp. An art show featuring the illustrations of Machias artist Margaret La Farge is tucked warmly within the art gallery at the top of College Hill.

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  6. Jonesport’s “car wash” culvert floods Route 187

    by Nancy Beal

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  7. A word from old St. Nick

    by Wayne Smith

    I have interviewed high school basketball players, Red Sox Players, Stephen King, Don Imus (Imus in the Morning), and the average Joes off the street. I’ve covered town meetings, board meetings, had my picture taken with Peter, Paul and Mary, Olympia Snowe, Warren Zevon, a Penthouse Pet Amy Lynn, Roger Clements, Carlton Willey and even went on a lobster boat.

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  8. Washington County Children’s Chorus to perform 2019 Christmas concert Dec. 15

    The Washington County Children’s Chorus will perform its annual Christmas concert on Sunday, Dec. 15, in Machias.

    This unique chorus is comprised of more than 30 youth who travel from all over the county to rehearse each Sunday afternoon, under the instruction of chorus director Christine Guy, who founded the chorus more than 30 years ago with her husband, Douglas. Both were honored in October with the News Center Maine 2019 “2 Those Who Care Award” for their extraordinary efforts on behalf of Washington County youth.

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  9. UMM filmmakers to be featured in University of Maine Film Festival

    Two films produced by students at the University of Maine at Machias have been selected as finalists for the 2019 University of Maine Film Festival.

    “A Journey in Darkness Through Music” and “When the Chevy Breaks (How Small Towns Fix Big Problems)” will be screened at the free public festival in Orono at UMaine’s Corbett Business Building, room 100, from 9 a.m.–3 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 7.

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  10. The Nature of Phenology: Geminid meteor showers

    by Joseph Horn

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  11. Dutch ‘fish farmers’ share $100M plan for Jonesport

    by Nancy Beal

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  12. Volunteers care for Machias cat colonies

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    A small band of local volunteers has been quietly working to care for and reduce the massive feral cat population in Machias with low-cost spay and neuter clinics, and now they’re offering a low-cost rabies vaccination clinic to be held Sunday, Dec. 8, and their final spay and neuter clinic of 2019 to be held on Monday, Dec. 9. More clinics are already in the pipeline for 2020.

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  13. Vigil to honor memories of children who left too soon

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    A candlelight vigil planned for Sunday, Dec. 8, will bring bereaved families together to honor the memories of their children. Set to take place at the University of Maine at Machias Performing Arts Center, the Machias event is timed to coincide with a worldwide vigil organized by The Compassionate Friends, a group that offers support to families after a child dies.

    “It’s believed to be the biggest candlelight vigil in the world,” said Shelley Roberts, one of the local organizers.

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  14. Gateway Milbridge hails the season with $50,000 matching grant and cash calendar fundraiser

    by Ruth Leubecker

    An anonymous donor, a stage move to the waterfront and a coveted recognition for transparency and results have honored the volunteer efforts of Gateway Milbridge.
    “The donor has offered us a $50,000 matching grant opportunity,” says Richard Bondurant of the grant proposal which was announced back in September, but has special significance over the holiday season. “We have until December 31 to fulfill the match. Some supporters have said they’ll donate toward the match challenge as part of their year-end gift giving.”

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  15. Bad Little Boards brings skate culture to Main Street

    by Tyler Royle

    Two Machias men have banded together to bring a new kind of shop to Main Street. Aaron Ackley and Brendon Sohre opened the doors on Bad Little Boards earlier this year, building on their shared love of skateboarding. Ackley has been working with skateboards for the last twenty years and is responsible for building and fixing skateboards. Sohre runs the merchandising side of the company by selling different types of branding, from clothes to gemstones.

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  16. Deputies make drug arrests, K-9 Runa treated for suspected heroin exposure

    On Wednesday, Nov. 20 at 3:44 p.m. Deputies Matthew Carter and Toni Bridges of the Washington County Sheriff's Office were conducting a traffic stop on Water Street in Addison. The deputies requested the assistance of Deputy Ryan Allen and his K-9 Runa for a vehicle search. Runa is trained and certified to detect illegal drugs.

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  17. Pet owners encouraged to respond to Machias pet survey

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    Despite last week’s windy weather, representatives of a New England animal welfare organization set up tables around Machias, sharing information about a survey they’re conducting.

    “We want to understand what people think about different pet issues, what they’re seeing as problems in the community, and what’s going on with their own pets if they have them,” said Hanna Lentz of Impact by Design, the research firm conducting the Machias Pet Survey.

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  18. Volunteers sought to set up Machias skating rink

     After a prolonged absence due to insurance difficulties, the Town of Machias and the Machias Bay Area Chamber of Commerce are pleased to announce the return of the public ice skating rink to Southside Ball Field.

    “It broke our hearts that the rink was not able to be installed for the last several years,” said MBACC Executive Director Sharon Mack. “This was a very popular place in the past and offered great outdoor recreation for many children and families.”

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  19. Washington Academy Wrestlers bring home the hardware

    The Washington Academy Raiders have a mix of new and returning wrestlers, both boys and girls, competing in the Class B North Division. WA is starting off the season with the largest squad in recent history. At the Penobscot Valley High School Pre-Season Invitational Wrestling Tournament, the WA wrestlers showed up determined to get their first win.

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  20. The Nature of Phenology: Crows roosting

    by Joseph Horn

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  21. Shuttered Jonesport nursing home will be converted

    by Nancy Beal

    A small but serious group of Moosabeckers is working diligently to reopen Jonesport’s Sunrise Care Facility (SCF) as a 24-bed assisted living center. SCF, formerly Resthaven Nursing Home, was rescued from a sea of red ink by Down East Community Hospital nearly two decades ago, but in the summer of 2017, the hospital decided that the debt threatened its own finances and, reluctantly, shuttered the home and delivered its residents to facilities in Machias and Milbridge.

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  22. Expanded Advantage coverage a boon for rural Maine

    by Ruth Leubecker

    When Renata Lahner came to Washington County last week she brought good news for many.

    The certified Medicare specialist, with better than 20 years of experience in the field, was here to explain the Medicare Advantage plans that will come into effect in 2020. “For those who are eligible, this is a big thing for Washington and Piscataquis counties,” she explained, “because they’re going to have more options.”

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  23. Want to open a child care business? Now might be the time

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    A lack of available, quality child care can prevent parents from fully participating in the rural workforce, and that can have a negative impact on rural economies, particularly in times of low unemployment.

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  24. Sunrise County Economic Summit looks at where we are now, where we’re going next

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    After a decade hiatus, the Sunrise County Economic Council renewed its tradition of hosting an economic summit focused exclusively on the issues and opportunities in front of Washington County.

    So it was that on Friday, Nov. 8 the parking lot of Cobscook Community Learning Center in Trescott was full to overflowing, and the conference rooms inside were buzzing with almost 100 attendees, all interested in some or all aspects of life in the Sunrise County.

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  25. Wesley FD seeks votes to win fire truck

    by Jayna Smith

    Economy Motors in Hermon is giving away a fire truck to one lucky Maine town.

    The truck was acquired by Economy Motors, and the family-owned business wanted to give back to one Maine town.  Those interested in having a chance of winning the truck for their town had to email a letter on department letterhead to be considered.

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  26. Machias signs purchase and sale for cell tower lot

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    At their regular bi-weekly meeting held Wednesday, Nov. 13, the Machias Board of Selectmen signed an agreement to sell 2.63 acres of land to Rising Tide Towers, LLC. The land is located behind the Machias Telebusiness Center on Stackpole Road, and Robert Parsloe of Rising Tide Towers said it will be used to construct a cell tower that will carry the signal for FirstNet, a nationwide wireless broadband network dedicated to public safety.

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  27. DECH brings a smidgen of Potter Dec. 10

    Down East Community Hospital invites the community to attend our annual Light A Life Celebration on Tuesday, Dec. 10 at 4:30 p.m.  It will be an evening filled with holiday entertainment.

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  28. Birch Corner sells thousands of signs

    by Natalie Boomer

    Tyler Mann, of St. Stephen, has turned a hobby into a full-blown business.

    “Birch Corner started as a little side hustle for me in 2017. I make farmhouse style signs and farmhouse style tables. It started with me just selling off of a Facebook page, hand-delivering every sign,” said Mann.

    Last holiday season Mann delivered nearly 1,000 signs in the two months prior to Christmas.
    “I grew Birch Corner from one design to over 150 currently,” he said.

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  29. Following in a father’s footsteps

    by Wayne Smith

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  30. Cape Breton Celtic show comes to Calais Nov. 23

    Calais Celtic Concerts will bring a little bit of Cape Breton's Celtic Colours to Calais as it presents the award-winning trio group of  Miller/MacDonald/Cormier to the Knights of Columbus Hall on Saturday, Nov. 23.  The group is regarded as one of the most important folk acts on Cape Breton Island today by CBC Mainstreet.

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  31. The Nature of Phenology: Wild turkeys

    by Hazel Stark

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  32. Beals lobsterman plucked from icy water by fellow fishermen

    by Nancy Beal

    Anthony Beal celebrated his 72nd birthday on November 4. Two days later, the Beals lobsterman celebrated those years in a different way after getting dumped into the water in Barney’s Cove off the northwest corner of Beals Island. A life jacket that very few fishermen wear and quick action on the part of friends and fellow fishermen combined to save his life.

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  33. Partners focus on sustainable goals as foundation’s funding ends

    by Ruth Leubecker

    After three years of productive MeHAF funding, Downeast Community Partners are coming together to determine what’s reasonable to sustain and what is not.

    The Maine Health Access Foundation has given $100,000 for each of the past three years to the Community Caring Collaborative and its partners. The money has been earmarked to support collaborations throughout Washington County, identifying the necessary resources and strengths to nurture thriving in place.

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  34. Multi-million-dollar fish farm proposed for Jonesport

    by Nancy Beal

    A Dutch aquaculture company will be in Jonesport next week to introduce Moosabeckers to what it hopes will be an extensive land-based fish farm that will command scores of jobs without affecting the environment. The company is Kingfish Zeeland, a fish producer already in production in the Netherlands, producing fresh fish that it has branded “Dutch yellowtail” for its citizens and surrounding European companies.

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  35. County committee finalizes 2020 budget

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    Clocking in one full month ahead of last year, the Washington County Budget Committee has finalized its recommendations for the 2020 county budget. Now the budget will go to the commissioners for final approval.

    Committee chairman Lewis Pinkham said this year’s process went quickly and smoothly because the individual county departments “did a good job of keeping their budgets down,” so their reserves from last year’s budget carried forward to this year.

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  36. Down East Quilters deliver cuddly comfort for kids in cruisers

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    In the course of any given workweek, Washington County Sheriff Barry Curtis deals with all kinds of characters, not all of them friendly. But Curtis was in cheery company last week when he took delivery of 54 fuzzy teddy bears, each one lovingly handcrafted by members of the Down East Quilters group.

    “Some of us did the sewing, some of us did the stuffing, and some of us were finishing them off,” said Linda Throckmorton, one of the founding members of the group. “They’re small, as you can see, and they’re very soft.”

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  37. Machias area residents to receive insulating window inserts

    How can you beat a deal that will save you money, keep you warm, and reduce the amount of heating fuel being burned?  350 Downeast and Machias Savings Bank are offering such a deal again this year with a WindowDresser workshop, December 5-10.  With expertise from Windowdressers, a non-profit in Rockland, Maine we will be assembling more than 200 window inserts to insulate draughty windows in the Machias area.  Last year WindowDressers held 33 workshops across the state with over 1,000 community volunteers making 7,597 window inserts with 34% provided free to low-income households.  Those wi

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  38. November court date set for State v. Teer

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    Dr. Cynthia Teer is scheduled to appear in Kennebec County Superior Court later this month for a contempt hearing, according to Maine Office of the Attorney General (OAG) spokesperson Marc Malon.

    Teer’s license to practice veterinary medicine was suspended by the state in Jan. 2018, and revoked following a Sept. 25 hearing of the Maine Board of Veterinary Medicine.

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  39. MSB donates to Community Christmas Giving Tree program

    The employees of the Machias Branch of Machias Savings Bank raise funds by contributing to the bank’s Dress Down on Fridays Program, and then they donate to a program that is making a difference in the community.  The Community Christmas Giving Tree Program is proud and excited to share that they are the recipients of $1,500 raised by the employees this year.  “We are honored by your gift,” said charity volunteer Debra Echkart. “Thanks so much to all of you!  This is a tremendous boost to our program.”

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  40. Out and About in Columbia

    by Ronie Strout

    I guess it is time, I waited till the 5th to build my first fire in the kitchen cookstove. We have a Union Crawford cast iron stove that puts out a lot of heat in the downstairs area. Now we will do most of our cooking on this as it is quicker than the gas stove. Now I must ready my wood box for the load of wood that I can place in it from the woodshed and bring in my bundle of kindling that I put in a huge cast iron pot beside the stove to start the fire with. Let it snow, I am prepared…

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  41. Ticks in the deer woods

    by V. Paul Reynolds

    Most of us who spend time deer hunting have had encounters with deer ticks, the bad ones, or know someone with Lyme disease. Earlier this fall, University of Maine Professor Jim Dill, a tick expert, appeared as a guest on my Sunday night call-in radio program, Maine Outdoors. The phones rang constantly the entire hour as listeners cued up to ask their questions of Professor Dill. Dill heads up a new diagnostics research facility at the University of Maine that opened this past April.

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  42. The Nature of Phenology: Winterberry

    by Hazel Stark

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  43. Meet the new Machias Chief of Police

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    We all know someone who had their fill of Maine winters and moved south to sunny Florida, but people migrating north are harder to find. Yet that’s just what Todd Hand did when, after more than 25 years in Florida law enforcement, he became an associate professor and relocated to Unity, Maine. Now, he’s ready to move even farther north, into his new position as the Machias Chief of Police.

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  44. Just in time for winter, new yarn shop brings Wooleez warmth to Main Street

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    Beginning Friday, Nov. 8, knitters, crocheters and other yarn enthusiasts will have a wooly destination to tide them over between stops in Ellsworth and Lubec. That’s the day Melissa Molinari will celebrate the grand opening of Machias’ own yarn shop, Wooleez, which will be located on Main Street next to Sew Fetch Dog Co.

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  45. Maine economy bears brunt of lost pot sales

    by Ruth Leubecker

    Although a handful of pot shops regularly conduct business Downeast, they all sell medical marijuana, not recreational or adult use, because after three years Maine is still not ready to authorize those sales. In the meantime, the town of Machias is preparing for the state rollout by drafting an ordinance, which will then be presented to the voters.

    There are presently four cannabis shops in Machias, all licensed to sell medical marijuana: Lake Smoke, Indian Trail, Bold Coast Cannabis and Smoke Solutions.

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