1. East Machias Voters Act on 43-Article Warrant in 30-Minute Town Meeting

    Becomes Latest Town to Adopt Home-Grown Solar Ordinance

    By Paul Sylvain

    In about the time it takes to brew some coffee and scramble up some eggs and lobster, around 40 East Machias residents met and quickly passed the town’s 43-article annual town meeting warrant June 29.

    The meeting moved swiftly toward adjournment some 34 minutes after it started, thanks to consolidating into single votes the bulk of the school, and later town, budgets.

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  2. Surging Machias All Stars Win Little League Championships

    By Will Tuell

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  3. Bad Little Falls Park Summer Concert Series Returns July 11 with Hot Velvet

    By Paul Sylvain

    The outdoor stage overlooking the series of rapids and falls from which Machias earned its Abenaki name comes alive with nine weeks of smokin’ hot bands and cool tunes beginning with Hot Velvet on July 11.

    Yes, the Bad Little Falls Park Summer Concert Series is back and better than ever for its fourth straight year. From rock and blues to Americana, folk, and more, the lineup for 2024 features a broad variety of musical styles and genres. 

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  4. David Cale and ‘Fire Dog’ Petey Respond to Marshfield Fire

    By Will Tuell

    When last readers heard from Machiasport’s David Cale, the affable harbormaster, clam-digger, and commercial diver had enlisted with the town’s volunteer fire department and was learning the basics of fire protection as part of a regional training program several area departments were involved with. 

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  5. Volunteers Feted for Ridding Hadley Lake of Floating Camp

    By Paul Sylvain

    A group of volunteers, who earlier this year gave of their time and equipment to resolve a problem 11 years in the making, were honored at a June 25 ceremony at West Branch Farms in Machias. 

    “I just wanted this group to get some much-deserved recognition,” Maine Game Warden Joe McBrine explained after the ceremony. “They should be proud of what they did, and I am sure our community will appreciate hearing about it.”

    One of those volunteers was Justin Albee, who explained it best.

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  6. Groundwork Progresses on King Construction’s Newest Apartment Project

    By Paul Sylvain

    Groundwork on what will be a new four-unit apartment building on King Avenue in Machias entered the next phase on June 28 with the pouring of the building’s foundation.

    The project began on May 15 with work crews clearing trees and brush from the site, located behind King’s existing two-story, eight-unit apartment building at 10 King Ave. In the six weeks since work began, fill was brought in, the site leveled, and the foundation’s form set.

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  7. E Pluribus Unum

    by Jonathan Reisman

    I spent our 248th birthday in Cooper, eschewing parades and politics to marinate in memories, both happy and haunting. This past year of personal bereavement, filial weddings, and political angst has left me both pensive and emotional, occasionally even teary-eyed. I cycled through many years of July 4th memories, searching for solace and optimism.

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  8. Chen-Blake Featured Artist at Henry D. Moore Library in Steuben This Month

    Sandy Chen-Blake is the July Featured Artist at the Henry D. Moore Library in Steuben. A native of Taiwan and naturalized US citizen, Sandy enjoys oil painting and Chinese calligraphy. She is a part-time summer Steuben resident along with her husband Richard. Her flair for calligraphy stems from childhood from her talented father's tutoring, who migrated with Chiang Kai-shek to Taiwan.

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  9. A Band from Spain Coming to Milbridge

    By Wayne Smith

    On July 18 at 7 p.m., the Milbridge Theatre will be bringing Sam Lardiner and the Group Barcelona all the way from Barcelona, Spain, to town. 

    “The concert is at the Milbridge Theatre & Community Arts Center Auditorium and will be our first time hosting an international group,” Richard Bondurant said. “Sam and his group are like James Taylor, Paul Simon, and Lyle Lovett meet the Gypsy Kings, and they all go for a musical joyride.” 

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  10. Bees, Bats, and Moths — Oh, My! Porter Library Summer Program ‘Pollinating’ Young Minds

    By Paul Sylvain

    Besides bees, butterflies, and moths, you may want to include Porter Memorial Library in Machias as one of The Mighty Pollinators children learned about there on June 25.

    The book with that title, written by Helen Frost and featuring incredible photography by Rick Lieder, was the featured selection for last week’s Summer Reading Program session. This year’s program began June 18 and continues at 11 a.m. Tuesdays, through Aug. 27.

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  11. Always ‘Mission Ready’ Currier Prepares for Next Chapter after 32 Years as Forest Ranger

    By Will Tuell

    After 32 years wearing a uniform for the Maine Forest Service, rising from a field Ranger to one of the highest-ranking officers in the 66-man agency and becoming one of a handful of individuals around the country certified to manage air responses to some of the biggest wildfires and natural disasters across the country, Marion Township’s Jeff Currier signed off for the last time June 28. 

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  12. Happy Trails! Free-Wheelin’ ATVers Rock Machias Jamboree

    By Paul Sylvain

    For one weekend this year, an assortment of three-wheelers, four-wheelers, and even a dirt bike or two outnumbered black flies and ‘skeeters in the Shiretown, as scores of ATV enthusiasts turned out for the second annual Machias ATV Jamboree June 28-29.

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  13. People ‘All Fired Up’ for Cherryfield Days

    By Wayne Smith

    Cherryfield Days is this Friday and Saturday (July 5-6), and I could tell that a lot of people had the fever for it ahead of time and wanted to talk about some of their favorite memories about the town’s annual celebration. Cherryfield is a town with a lot of spirit and pride, that came through loud and clear when I spoke with people about it. This is some of what they had to say. 

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  14. $8.4 Million Machias School District Budget Passes in 14 Minutes

    By Paul Sylvain

    It took just 14 minutes for less than two dozen voting residents of Machias to quickly dispense with an 18-article warrant and pass an $8.4 million school budget for fiscal year 2024-25.

    The meeting was held on June 25 at the Rose M. Gaffney School gymnasium.

    After electing attorney Toff Toffolon as the meeting’s moderator, a motion was made to consolidate Articles 2 through 11, so that all ten of those funding articles would be voted up or down in a single vote without individual readings. 

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  15. Truckin’ to the Debate

    by Jonathan Reisman

    I stayed up way past my usual bedtime to watch the Presidential debate and take in the reaction and the spin.  One good friend, aware of my angst over this election and the polarized state of the country, asked me as the debate concluded, “Were you impressed?” to which I responded, “Not with anyone there actually.” Perhaps that was a little (but only a little) bit unfair. They all actually exceeded my low expectations.

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  16. WindowDressers is Coming Back to Machias

    Are your heating costs out of control?  Are you not able to be warm in your own home?  Well, you are in luck.  WindowDressers is coming back to Machias to build custom fit window inserts to keep you warm and save money at the same time.

    Thanks to the initiative of Machias Area Community Action Workers (MACAW) a new WindowDressers Community Build will take place in Machias Nov. 8-15, 2024, after a hiatus of several years.  Again, we are partnering with the Machias Savings Bank to host this event at the Edward L. Hennessey Building, 1 Colonial Way in Machias.

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  17. 40-Year Retrospective of Dennysville-Born Artist at EAC

    Eastport Arts Center’s Washington Street Gallery will feature S.A. Weir: A Retrospective, July 2-30, featuring 40 years of artwork in four mediums: watercolor, pastel, oil, and acrylic. A reception with the artist will be held on Sunday, July 7, from 2-4 p.m. 

    A native of Dennysville, Weir lived on her grandparent’s farm until her parents moved to coastal Beverly, Massachusetts, where she currently resides. She spends her summers in Perry. 

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  18. Excitement Builds as Currier, Davis, Shimabukuro Lead Machias All-Stars in Tourney Play

    By Will Tuell

    Fans of Machias Area Little League’s 10U baseball, 10U softball, and 12U baseball teams had a lot to cheer about last week whether it was back-to-back 1-hitters against Coastal and Ellsworth in the 12U baseball tourney to start off the week, Audrey Currier’s immaculate inning in 10U softball, or Jake Shimabukuro’s no-hitter against Ellsworth to put the 10U baseball squad in the driver’s seat during district championship play this week. 

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  19. Davis Out, Dedmon In: Machiasporters Vote to Change Direction on Selectboard at Town Meeting

    School Funding, Solar Ordinance Pass; Aquaculture Ordinance Rejected by Residents

    By Paul Sylvain

    It could have been a long evening, but in the end some 75 Machiasport residents breezed through a hefty 46-article warrant, passing all except a proposed commercial aquaculture ordinance in a meeting lasting around two hours and 15 minutes.

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  20. Lubec to Host Week-Long Fourth of July Celebration

    By Will Tuell

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  21. ATV Enthusiasts Set to Rock, Roll, and Ride at Annual Machias Jamboree June 28-29

    By Paul Sylvain

    Machias is no stranger to all-terrain vehicles. ATVs of all sizes and shapes can be found most anytime at local eateries, including Dunkin’s, Pat’s Pizza, Mason’s Downeast, Helen's Restaurant, and River’s Edge takeout. But since 2022, a dedicated group of local ATV enthusiasts has been mustering annually at a jamboree dedicated to their off-road trail machines.

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  22. Sanctuary Status Still a Hot Topic in Jonesport

    By Nancy Beal

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  23. Downeasters Drawn in Annual Moose Permit Lottery

    By Will Tuell

    While many dream of having their lucky numbers pulled whenever the next big jackpot comes along, roughly 70,000 souls from Maine and across the country are equally excited when the state’s annual moose lottery rolls around every June. That’s because, unlike deer, bear, or even partridge, the only way the vast majority of hunters can legally claim a moose is if their name is one of 4,000 or so drawn during the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife’s (IFW) moose lottery, which took place June 15 in Fort Kent. 

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  24. New Barber Shop Opens in Columbia Falls

    By Wayne Smith

    I caught up with Matty Galbraith, owner of Matty’s Barber Shop in Columbia Falls, recently, and he talked about barbering and his hobby of playing music from behind the barber’s chair during our chat. 

    Matty said that he started barber school when he was sixteen. He got his license thirty years ago and started cutting hair in a family-run barbershop that opened in the 1950s.

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  25. Control and the Outer Limits

    by Jonathan Reisman

    In the early sixties, I watched a Cold War pseudo-sci-fi drama series on our black-and-white TV. The Outer Limits opened with the following: 

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  26. Officer Tim Mace Becomes MPD’s First-Ever Lieutenant, Second-in-Command

    By Paul Sylvain

    There’s a new lieutenant in town, thanks to approval by the Machias selectboard on June 12 to promote Machias Patrol Officer Tim Mace to that position.

    Mace began his law enforcement career with the Machias Police Department in 2013.  He left the MPD to join the Washington County Sheriff’s Dept. in 2016 but returned to the Machias PD as a patrol officer in 2021.

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  27. Wild Blueberry Dome Opening Doors for 2024 Season

    Now known as the Wild Blueberry Heritage Center, the iconic “blueberry dome” of Downeast Maine is opening its doors for the season on Thursday, June 27. Owners and wild blueberry growers Dell and Marie Emerson founded the 501c3 nonprofit in 2017 with the mission to provide a deeper understanding of the history, science, and culture of Maine’s 10,000-year-old wild blueberry ecosystem. 

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  28. Groundbreaking Held for New Washington County Sheriff’s Office

    County Expects Completion Under Budget in March 2025

    By Paul Sylvain

    County officials and elected representatives gathered June 13 at the Court Street site of the future Washington County Safety Building to formally break ground on the $5.5 million project. 

    Funding for the project is coming from the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) signed by President Joe Biden in 2021, as part of a COVID stimulus deal.

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  29. Victory Smells Like Campfires, Gunsmoke, and Bacon at 2024 Margaretta Days Celebration

    By Paul Sylvain

    Rebellion, in the name of independence, doesn’t wait for perfect weather. And cloudy skies and a little drizzle or rain was not going to prevent Margaretta Days festivities from taking place June 14 and 15 in and around the shire town.

    The annual celebration honors events that culminated on the morning of June 12, 1775, with the Battle of the Margaretta, months after the more famous battles of Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts, which are widely considered to be the start of the Revolutionary War. 

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  30. New Pet Store Opens in Milbridge

    By Wayne Smith

    A new pet store aptly named Maine’s Best Friend has opened up in Milbridge at 1 Main Street. It has been open for nearly a month. I caught up with owner Heather Albright and her daughter Maya and found out all about their new store. 

    “I always wanted to open up a pet store,” said Heather Albright, of Milbridge. “It has been my dream for a long time. I saw there was a need. I couldn't even get a cat pan. I had to go all the way to Ellsworth. Maybe my dream could happen here. I always wanted to be a part of the community.”

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  31. Washington Academy Celebrates Class of 2024

    By Will Tuell

    Over a thousand family, friends, and community members gathered in Washington Academy’s Gardner gym on Sunday, June 9, to honor the school’s class of 72 graduates. While weather may have interfered with original plans to hold the ceremony outside on the school’s football field, enthusiasm was high as faculty and students paid tribute to WA’s Class of 2024. 

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  32. Beals Selectmen Deal with Marina, Other Issues

    By Nancy Beal

    The Beals selectmen who were unexpectedly thrust into office in late April following the resignation of their predecessors, continue to get a handle on the town’s business, meeting recently on May 28 and June 11.

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  33. Elm Street Eighth Graders Hailed as ‘Exceptional, Fantastic Group’ in Send-Off Ceremony

    By Will Tuell

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  34. Post Primary Musings

    by Jonathan Reisman

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  35. MMHS Students Come to the Aid of Former Principal

    One time Machias Memorial High School Principal Bill Prescott received some much-needed help recently in the form of home repairs following a March storm that did extensive damage to his Machiasport home. Prescott, whom his wife Sandra says has gone through numerous health issues in recent years and is unable to get around like he used to, received an unexpected boost from the students, who set to work repairing his home earlier this spring. 

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  36. ‘JEOPARODY!’ is the Name of the Game as Rehearsals Begin for This Year’s BB Festival Musical

    By Paul Sylvain

    When it comes to a play on names, puns, and assorted musical mayhem in the key of whatever, look no further than former UMM music professor Gene Nichols of Machiasport. 

    As he did last year, Nichols is once again directing the annual Machias Blueberry Festival musical, which this year is titled JEOPARODY! No, your eyes are not deceiving you and that is not a typo.

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  37. 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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  38. 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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  39. 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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  40. 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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  41. 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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  42. 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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  43. 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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  44. 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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  45. 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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