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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Machias seeks airport planning and engineering consultant

by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

The town of Machias is seeking the services of a consultant who can help assess the feasibility of building a second runway at Machias Valley Municipal Airport.

“This is very preliminary, to see if a second runway can be built,” said Machias Airport Committee Chairman Michael Radeka. “It’s something we’ve been working toward for quite a while.”

Town manager Christina Therrien issued the Request for Proposal last week and said the town’s goal is to determine if a longer crosswind or “alternate” runway is even feasible.

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MSBFoundation Awards $150,000 in Community Development Grants

The Machias Savings Bank Foundation awarded 22 organizations with a total of more than $150,000 in Community Development Grants last month. The organizations are located in six different counties with statewide reach and impact.

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Christmas on Beals Island

by Wayne Smith

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Out and About in Columbia

by Ronie Strout

 

Another week has flown by, how does that happen? Is it because I am so busy that it flies by so quickly? I suppose that it would be a boring life if the days dragged on with me not doing anything constructive.

On Tuesday the 3rd school was canceled due to the storm that we had. I did get most of my Christmas cards made out and filled up my wood box for the stove. Sometimes it seems that when your usual routine is off a person just cannot get anything done during the day.

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This weekend’s Festival of Trees boasts more than 50 volunteers

Eastport Arts Center’s 10th Annual Festival of Trees, a festive silent auction of tabletop trees, will be held Saturday, Dec. 14 from 4:30-5:30 p.m. This year, the festival’s ‘forest’ of trees include decorating schemes to appeal to oenophiles, bookworms, Zentangle enthusiasts, art lovers, rock hounds, foodies, fabric art creators, aficionados of jewelry, dog families and globe-trotters. While browsing the array of trees, attendees can enjoy live music by the Moose Island House Players: Brandy and Ross Argir, Alice St.

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Students serve up pizza to raise funds

Students at the Cobscook Experiential Program invite the community to an all you can eat pizza and music fundraiser on Friday, Dec. 13, from 6 – 8 p.m. Students are raising money to support hands-on learning by building electric guitars. O’McCrelli and friends will entertain with a holiday sing-a-long. The suggested donation for the dinner is $10 per person or $20 per family.

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Tuell’s DA bill advances in emergency session

by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

A bill that could give Downeast voters a say in their district attorney coverage advanced past the state legislative council on Friday, Dec. 6.

“An Act to Create Separate Prosecutorial Districts in Downeast Maine,” sponsored by Rep. Will Tuell (R-E. Machias), was initially voted down by the committee, but passed on appeal last week. Tuell said he was especially pleased that the passing vote reflected bipartisan support.

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Lobsters crest variable wave of fluctuating risk, reward

by Ruth Leubecker

While warming waters may eventually contribute to a period of decline in lobster fishing in the Gulf of Maine, other factors enter into the viability of Maine’s premier crustacean.

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University of Maine at Machias hosting one-act play ‘The Dollar’

by Tyler Royle

The University of Maine at Machias is hosting a play that will be performed at the Performance Arts Center by the students in Instructor Eustacia Landrum’s class. “The Dollar” is a comedic play about a bunch of lost travelers fighting among themselves over the discovery of a dollar. The play is set to have a bunch of random skits that will be open to the public.

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Malcolm Stephen Holmes

 

EAST MACHIAS - Malcolm Stephen Holmes, passed away December 7, 2019, at home after a hard-fought battle against cancer.  He was surrounded by his family and was loved beyond measure until the very end.

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Five weeks on Bristol Bay: Downeast fishermen bring Alaskan salmon to Maine

by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

While blueberries ripened on Downeast barrens, two local fishermen were making their way to Alaska, exchanging the Sunrise County’s wooded waterfront for one even more remote. This summer, Captain Chris Mullen of Machias and Asher Molyneaux of East Machias spent five weeks fishing for salmon in the shallow waters of Bristol Bay, famed for its unspoiled beauty and abundant wildlife.

Mullen said the bay’s remote nature is part of what keeps it pristine.

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Pratt donation campaign brings in $16,000 for Washington County food pantries

by Jayna Smith

For the past several years, after realizing how great the need is for the food pantries in Washington County and in an effort to decrease food insecurity locally, businessman Ian Pratt has matched donations to local food pantries. Anyone taking part in his matching donation campaign could simply bring his or her donation to the Pratt car dealership throughout the month of November, where all donations would be matched, up to $3,000. This year, however, Pratt was able to increase his match to $5,000.

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Funding outlook for roads remains abysmal as plans falter

by Ruth Leubecker

Maine’s rural roads and bridges are among the worst in the nation but the plans to reverse this trend remain elusive and splintered.  

“While all of these plans have their supporters and opponents, it should be noted that the only funding mechanism that gets bipartisan support year after year is bonding,” says Rep. Will Tuell. “I know plenty of people do not like highway bonds, but to my mind, it is the lesser of many evils.”

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350 Downeast helps 32 families keep warm

From Dec. 5-10, 350 Downeast, a local non-profit dedicated to reducing our use of carbon-based fuels to protect the environment in coastal Washington Co., built 222 custom-made insulating window inserts for 32 families from Cherryfield to Calais.  Over half of the window inserts were provided free to low-income families thanks to grants from the New England Grassroots Environment Fund and other sources.  We also made window inserts for the Centre Street Congregational Church, United Church of Christ and Porter Memorial Library.

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WA Kicks off the wrestling regular season with 8-2 record in dual matches

by Coach Lupe Soto

As the 2019-20 wrestling season begins, the young Washington Academy

wrestling team is making its mark as a solid dual-meet wrestling team. With eight wins under their belt, they’re coming together as good individual wrestlers and are learning to work as a team to win matches.

You can have three of the best wrestlers in the state on the team, but if you don’t have any other team members you can’t win many dual matches. You can, however, score big in tournaments.

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Out and About in Columbia

by Ronie Strout

 

December is moving right along faster than I want it to.

I got my tabletop Christmas tree made on Tuesday and decorated, we are now enjoying it with the blue lights on it. This year I decorated it with tiny mittens, something different for a change. I also put up an artificial tree for the first time and got that all decorated on the same day.

Our son Zebadiah turned another year older, we got to chat with him in the afternoon via the telephone.

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Local author announces book release

by Marci Gaglione

Susan Grant, a local teacher and author, is pleased to announce the release of her first book, “100 Minutes with God.”

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A Celtic Christmas with Cape Breton's COIG

Calais Celtic Concerts will present Coig at the Calais High School, on Saturday, Dec. 21, at 6 p.m. Doors will open at 5 p.m. Eastern time.  

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PRSWDD recycling windows to close

by Nancy Beal

After nearly two decades of educating and encouraging people to separate recyclables from their regular household trash, the Pleasant River Solid Waste Disposal District (PRSWDD) will close all its recycling windows at the Route 1 transfer station as of the first of next year. This change of policy was approved at the board of directors’ December 9 meeting and is the result of technology and economics.

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Community mourns passing of teacher Malcolm Holmes

by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

Beloved Washington Academy science teacher Malcolm Holmes died on Saturday, Dec. 7 after a short but hard-fought battle with cancer. A celebration of life service in his honor is planned for Saturday, Dec. 21 at the school. The public is invited to attend.

Holmes’ wife, Katherine Holmes, said that the date was chosen to fall close to Malcolm’s birthday, on Dec. 22.

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Merger of Wesleyan churches in Beals and Jonesport

by Nancy Beal

Nearly a year ago, efforts began to merge the Wesleyan churches on either side of Moosabec Reach. The old structures (each over 100 years old) were debt-free, but attendance was down, especially on the island. During the last weekend of last January, a “merger exploration” was held, attended by the pastors, the governing bodies and the district supervisor. The following weekend, a town hall was held for anyone who wanted to listen to the proposal and ask questions.

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After 33 years, Tuell retires from Machias Savings Bank

by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

Last week at Machias Savings Bank, Jennifer Tuell greeted customers dressed as Mrs. Claus for the 15th time, and for the last time. The end of 2019  will also mark the end of Tuell’s long and — to hear her describe it — happy career at Machias Savings Bank. She began working for the bank in January 1987, and though she is technically a few days shy of her exact work anniversary, she said ending with the calendar year felt right.

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New year heralds bicentennial birthday

by Ruth Leubecker

Welcoming in 2020 is not just like greeting any other in the annual firmament.

This time around we celebrate 200 years of statehood. The actual date is March 15, 1820, but throughout this year galas from Kittery to Fort Kent will mark this special year, already steadily growing with scheduled events.

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Wesley News

by Camille Hawkins

My Christmas cards are all out and coming in steadily.

Linda and I went to Bangor on Sunday to pick up my new GE washing machine. Richard and Dustin unloaded it and put it down cellar for me. Thank you both. Got it hooked up on Monday and have done three loads. Merry Christmas to me. Thank you Warren and helper for working on my flush, it had to have all new innards in the tank.

I got a small tree this year; it's sitting on the puzzle table. The cats are taking turns sleeping under it.

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Whitneyville Library News

It was all you could eat chowders, soups and stews at the last public supper for 2019. Everyone got to enjoy some seafood, fish and corn chowders as well as the very popular cheeseburger soup, chop suey, chili and some beef and hamburger stews. Janet's rolls and biscuits topped out the meal along with homemade pies and cakes. This supper, along with all the eight other public suppers, was put on by the Friends of the Whitneyville Public Library. In 2020, the suppers will once again begin on April 4th. So keep watch in this article and paper for the public announcement.

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Out and About in Columbia

by Ronie Strout

I have been busy reorganizing my woodshed since I got my freezer on Tuesday. Not sure if it will be completely done before the New Year as I need to do some picking up inside. Thank goodness they took the old freezer away so I don’t need to get that done by myself. Little things like that make me happy.

Schools closed on December 20 for Christmas vacation and will reopen on January 2. Hopefully, all the little children will be ready to return to school. We do need this break right now, or rather I do.

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From tragedy to a Christmas carol: The story of Longfellow’s ‘Christmas Bells’

by Jen Simone

In times of intense despair, it can seem impossible to have any hope. All of us get caught up in the tragedies occurring all around us and begin to believe that life is a constant struggle without any good in it. Christmas time, though often a time of mourning for people who have recently lost loved ones, also is a time of restored hope for many.

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Join Judy outside: opting out every day

by Commissioner Judy Camuso, Inland Fisheries & Wildlife

Last week, I had to push myself to get outside and go for a walk.  It was a crappy weather day; my least favorite. Cold rain. I don’t mind a nice warm rain; when I could still run, running in a warm rain was always my favorite. It was cold though, not quite cold enough for snow, but cold sleety precipitation dropping from the sky. The air was raw, and the sky was gray and gloomy. Not a day that screams “let’s go for a walk.”

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Jonesport OKs medical marijuana growing facilities; recreational marijuana ordinance in the offing

by Nancy Beal

The Jonesport planning board tentatively approved permits for two medical marijuana growing facilities on Alexander Avenue last month, and on December 18 selectmen voted to grant the necessary town licenses to grow cannabis in the structures. The licensing permits, sought by the Batson family, will each cost $5,000 a year, according to the medical marijuana ordinance approved by voters earlier last year.

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Report claims healthcare plan could reduce costs, cover everyone in Maine

by Ruth Leubecker

An all-encompassing healthcare proposal could save Maine $1.5 billion in healthcare spending, according to a new analysis released by Maine AllCare.
“When every Mainer is covered, and there is never a bill to patients. When doctors are paid promptly, and everyone contributes on a sliding scale, we will truly have a caring and cost-effective system,” says Joe Lendvai, stressing the plan’s simplicity and fairness.

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DECH Implements Safe Sleep Program for Infants

Machias - Down East Community Hospital is taking part in the National Safe Sleep Hospital Certification Program!

The Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is implementing a safe sleep program and Down East Community Hospital wants to support this initiative by becoming a Safe Sleep Certified Hospital through the Cribs for Kids National Safe Sleep Hospital Certification Program.

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DECH Auxiliary pays pledge a year early and kicks in an additional $1,000

Down East Community Hospital (DECH) recently received $5,000 from the DECH Auxiliary.

Amid the hustle and bustle of the holidays, the Down East Community Hospital Auxiliary surprised the hospital with $4,000 to pay off their $10,000 pledge to the emergency department campaign a full year early.  Not only did they pull off that monumental task, but they also kicked in an additional $1,000 to the hospital’s annual Light A Life fundraiser!

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The winter blues

by Wayne Smith

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Students at Bay Ridge Elementary are going for the gold in the 3rd Annual WinterKids Winter Games

Cutler Students from Bay Ridge Elementary are participating in the WinterKids Winter Games for the month of January. Students will compete in a four-week series of outdoor physical activity and nutrition challenges designed to help them be active in the winter and learn healthy habits.  Each school is encouraged to involve volunteers, parents, healthy eating and active living organizations in their community, and hold a winter carnival to close out the month’s events. This year’s WinterKids Winter Games theme is STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math).

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Apex presents plans for $85M windmill project in Columbia, Township 19

by Tanya Rucosky

Apex Clean Energy presented its proposed Downeast Wind Project at the Columbia Town Office on December 19. Apex Energy staff made presentations regarding the environmental and economic impact the proposed turbines will have on the local communities. Senior development manager Paul Williams explained the 130-megawatt project in Columbia and Township 19 will include 30 wind turbines. He said it will provide enough clean electricity to power 36,000 homes.

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