3 killed in Machias, Jonesboro shooting rampage

by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

Three people were killed and a fourth injured in a shooting rampage that took place at three locations in Machias and Jonesboro on the morning of Monday, Feb. 3. 

Maine State Police Lt. Troy Gardner spoke at a press conference in front of the Washington County Courthouse Monday evening and said that suspect Thomas Bonfanti, 63, of Northfield,  has been arrested and charged with murder after the shooting deaths of Shawn Currey, 57, Samuel Powers, 33, and Jennifer Bryant Flynn, 49. A fourth victim, a female, was injured and is hospitalized.

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Locally-filmed ‘Lobster War’ explores grey zone conflict, now available online

by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

A movie filmed off the coast of Washington County is now available for streaming on all major online websites such as Amazon, iTunes, Vimeo and YouTube. “Lobster War: The Fight Over the World’s Richest Fishing Grounds,” tells the story of increasing tensions in the waters between Washington County and Canada, locally referred to as “the grey zone.”

“There's a longstanding, ongoing dispute out there,” said Cutler fisherman Brian Cates, who is featured in the film. “That’s why it’s called the grey zone.”

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Free ice fishing and winter fun on Chalk Pond

Take advantage of the free fishing weekend on Saturday, Feb. 15.  Discover the basics of ice fishing on Chalk Pond in Bedlington with the Downeast Salmon Federation(DSF). (Snow Date Sunday, Feb. 16). Join us from 12 to 4 p.m. and enjoy an afternoon out on the ice!  DSF Fish Biologist Brett Ciccotelli will provide equipment and advice to kids of all ages. Meanwhile, snowshoe enthusiasts can join Land Trust Director Tanya Rucosky exploring the nearby Little Narraguagus Preserve.

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3 WA wrestlers place at PVC championship

by Lupe Soto

Washington Academy Wrestling ended the regular Dual Meet season with a 17-8 record.

With the regular season behind them, the Raider wrestlers knew their fate was in their own hands. The team competed in the Penobscot Valley Conference Championship, held Saturday, Feb. 1 at Mt. Desert Island (MDI).

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Machias schools enact two lockdowns in two days

by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

A web-based threat sent Friday, Jan. 31 listed Machias and Jonesport-Beals schools as potential targets for violence along with eight other Maine schools. Both Machias and Jonesport-Beals responded by notifying parents that the threat occurred, that authorities deemed it not credible, and by going into “soft lockdown.” Local law enforcement was dispatched to protect them, and all after-school and weekend activities were canceled at both schools.

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Moosehead brookies

by V. Paul Reynolds

Henry David Thoreau, beholding Moosehead Lake for the first time, wrote this: “a gleaming silver platter at the end of the table.”

If only he could have seen the lake from the air! The first time that I saw the big lake from the air in a northbound ski-plane my jaw dropped. The expansiveness, not only of the lake itself but the entire north woods watershed, presents a panorama like no other.

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Rural Maine vets face suicide crisis

by Tanya Rucosky

Maine’s rural veterans are in the midst of a suicide crisis with counties like Washington and Aroostook at the epicenter. The Veterans Administration’s 2019 National Veteran Suicide Prevention Annual Report notes economic disparity, lack of health care access and community services all contribute to increased suicide rates in veterans. Sadly, economically challenged, rural areas concentrate on these difficulties in places like Downeast Maine.

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Machias PD confirms OUI arrest 3 days prior to murders, Bonfanti’s first appearance set

by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

Thomas Bonfanti of Northfield was charged with murder on Monday, Feb. 3, after a 30-minute shooting rampage that left two men and one woman dead, and another woman critically injured. The shootings took place at three different locations in Machias and Jonesboro, and Bonfanti was arrested at the American Legion on Court Street in Machias. 

Bonfanti will make his first appearance in court on Wednesday, Feb. 5 in Calais. He is represented by attorney Jeffrey Silverstein.

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Few details emerge in wake of triple homicide

by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

Thomas Bonfanti of Northfield was charged with murder on Monday, Feb. 3, after a 30-minute shooting rampage that left two men and one woman dead and another woman critically injured. The shootings took place at three different locations in Machias and Jonesboro.

Bonfanti was arrested at the American Legion Post #9 on Court Street in Machias.

What is known

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Groups offer reassurance, support in wake of local tragedies

by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

After a string of shootings rocked central Washington County on Monday, Feb. 3, the Community Caring Collaborative (CCC) quickly assembled a Community Response Debriefing event along with the support of AMHC. The event was held on Tuesday, Feb. 4 in Machias, and invitations were issued far and wide via Facebook and email.

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Machias to vote on spending, ordinance amendments at special town meeting

by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

Machias residents will vote on six articles at a special town meeting to be held Wednesday, Feb. 12 at 7 p.m. The meeting will be held at the Lee Pellon Center.
At a public hearing held Jan. 29, the board reviewed the articles and took questions from the eight Machias residents in attendance.

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Local documentary to air on Maine Public Television

When the Chevy Breaks (How Small Towns Fix Big Problems) tells a collection of stories ranging from Machias taking on the world’s most powerful navy (on a Sunday after church) to an amputee father waiting for his son to return from Afghanistan so they can hike up Mt. Katahdin together. All these stories of overcoming obstacles, big and small, are set against the spectacle of Downeast Coastal Maine including Eastport, Jonesport, Machias and way out west Kingfield — a parade of persistent people you’ll only meet here.

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Feeding corn to deer could be fatal

by Kaileigh Deacon

As the ground freezes and snow starts to fall, the appearance of animals becomes more of a rare sight, and when people get a chance to see them they get excited. Oftentimes that excitement leads to people leaving food out for the animals, feeling they are helping.

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Gideon campaigns Downeast at ‘Supper with Sara’

by Tanya Rucosky

Speaker of the Maine House of Representatives, Sara Gideon, held a “Supper with Sara” event at the Harrington VFW on February 4th as part of her national senate campaign.  

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Phillips Academy Summer Session official visits nine area high schools

Anneke Skidmore, Dean of Admissions and Assistant Director for the Phillips Academy Andover Summer Session, visited nine high schools in Washington County and Charlotte County to promote the new Unobskey Scholars Program.  The Unobskey Scholars Program offers all-expenses-paid scholarships to the prestigious five-week summer session at Phillips Academy for 12 high-achieving ninth graders.  

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Recycling changes at PRSWDD explained

by Tanya Rucosky

Residents in municipalities served by the Pleasant River Solid Waste Disposal District (PRSWDD) have embarked on a new, counter-intuitive approach to recycling.

“You put it all in the trash?” asked incredulous Addison resident Theresa Williams.

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PRSWDD, Jonesport, Columbia Falls at odds over withdrawal agreement

by Nancy Beal

At the February 5 selectmen’s meeting in Jonesport, Harry Fish reported to his colleagues the latest development in their town’s year-long effort to withdraw from the Pleasant River Solid Waste Disposal District (PRSWDD). In addition to being a selectman, Fish is Jonesport’s representative to PRSWDD’s board of directors, and he was clearly displeased as he delivered the news from the town’s attorney to his colleagues that carried price tag nearly five times what Jonesport had anticipated.

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Youth center effort draws supporters

by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

A meeting at the East Machias Municipal Building last month drew together enthusiastic individuals and groups who all want the same thing — a local youth recreation center. Co-organizer Liz Henry said she was impressed by the array of talented people in attendance.

“I think we couldn’t have asked for a better group,” said Henry. “It takes a village to raise a child, and that's how I see this project, it’ll take everybody.”

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Hit me with your best shot: Jonesport-Beals basketball

by Wayne Smith

The second part of the story of the Jonesport-Beals Royals basketball team features senior Kaiden Crowley, the point guard, and senior Ryan Alley, a guard/forward, as they talk about what it takes to be a basketball player for the Royals. They discussed what it takes to be on top and how they might want it to end, the stories of success in the past, and what kinds of things make this team special.

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LCOC: Working together for each other

The Lubec Community Outreach Center (LCOC) has started off the new year with a bang! The end of the year festivities that included the veteran/senior meal, which was attended by over 120 community members, and the monthly meal, which served over 195 community members, didn’t slow down this volunteer-based organization.

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“Bear, Coyote, Raven” reading coming to Machias

by Natalie Boomer

Poet Jason Grundstrom-Whitney, will be reading from his book, “Bear, Coyote, Raven”, at the University of Maine at Machias on Thursday, March 12 at 4 p.m.

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Golden-crowned Kinglets

by Joseph Horn

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Listening for right whales in the Gulf of Maine

Two passive acoustic data collection efforts are underway in the Gulf of Maine to gather information on North Atlantic right whales. One will deploy fixed archival-acoustic recorders mounted on the ocean bottom for a specific period of time. The other will use autonomous underwater vehicles called gliders, equipped to record acoustic information and report it back in near real-time.

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Machias vet fined for unlicensed practice

by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

Dr. Cynthia Teer of the Machias Animal Hospital has been found in contempt of court and fined $10,000 for practicing veterinary medicine without a license.

Teer’s license was suspended by the state in Jan. 2018, and revoked in Oct. 2019 following a September hearing of the Maine Board of Veterinary Medicine. Six pages of court documents from the Jan. 21 hearing held in Kennebec Superior Court list the state’s evidence, including prior disciplinary action against Teer in 2014.  

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History in the making: She’s 95 years and still counting

by Ruth Leubeker

Like a vintage wine — or a fine antique automobile, Amy Graham sees a few good years ahead.

Party day is March 7. It’s a celebration of her 95th birthday that may have started out as a surprise, but like many elderly, she now is totally on top of it. That’s from 1-4 p.m. at the Jacksonville United Methodist Church, and everyone’s invited.

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Voters adopt five articles in 10 minutes at town meeting

by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

A lack of controversial agenda items might explain how five Machias selectboard members outnumbered the voters who turned up for a special town meeting held Feb. 12 at the Lee Pellon Center.

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25 years apart, two Machias Bulldogs join to research cures for MS, hearing loss

by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

Even before she met him, Catherine Luce knew she would find common ground with her chief medical officer because he, too, was from Maine. Luce is a senior scientist at Frequency Therapeutics in Woburn, Massachusetts and a Machias Bulldog, Class of 1996.

“Everyone had been talking about him being a blueberry farmer and said that he was from Maine, so we figured we would have something in common,” said Luce. “Then, lo and behold, we were both born and raised in Machias.”

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