Lots of cougars seen

by V. Paul Reynolds

In the monthly outdoor magazine, the Northwoods Sporting Journal a few months ago,  personal reports of cougar or mountain lion sightings in Maine were solicited.  As a result, more than 30 readers shared their cougar-sighting experiences! Some of these accounts, all of which appear to have a common ring of authenticity and credibility, will be published in the October issue of the Sporting Journal. (www.sportingjournal com).

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A little bit of everything

by Wayne Smith

As I walked into Country Hearts Antiques in Franklin, it was dark yet inviting, giving me a warm feeling. Antiques were everywhere: milk bottles, furniture, linens, collectibles and primitives. And there were a lot of dreams and hard work, sweat and adventure mixed up with it all. Soft country music came from a radio playing in the background, pleasant and nice. Everything was stacked together; years and years of work, the collecting of antiques with so much love and care.

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‘Spoon River Anthology’ takes to stage in Brewer

Ten Bucks Theatre and True North Theatre bring you Edgar Lee Masters’ “Spoon River Anthology,” adapted and directed by Julie Arnold Lisnet and Angela Bonacasa.

The residents of Spoon River have returned from the grave to share their lives with you. Through stories and songs, experience the tragic, heroic, and sometimes comic tales of the luminaries of Spoon River, which are sure to entertain. Based on a series of 246 free-form poems originally published in Reedy Mirror magazine from 1914-1915, “Spoon River Anthology” is sure to have something for everyone.

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Lisa Hanscom joins WBC as blueberry council expands

by Nancy Beal

When the Wild Blueberry Commission of Maine meets in Orono this week, its body will expand from eight to ten members, and half will be folks who grow the iconic Maine fruit and half will be those who process them. This change is pursuant to a law that took effect last January and to the appointment to fill the new positions by Amanda Beal, Commissioner of the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry.

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CDC opens formal investigation surrounding Baileyville mill

by Natalie Boomer & Jayna Smith

                                        
Seven contractors who worked at Woodland Pulp LLC and St. Croix Tissue in Baileyville have tested positive for COVID-19. So far, one local worker who was in close contact with those contractors also received a positive test result.

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Collins v. Gideon: an uncommon battle to the finish line

by Ruth Leubecker

Setting records while engendering unparalleled national attention, Maine’s embattled candidates, Senator Susan Collins and Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon, continue their escalating competition toward the grand finale on November 3.

The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal are among the national media focusing on the Collins/Gideon contest as it races to a head as the costliest race in Maine history.

A recent New York Times/Siena College poll has Collins at 44 percent, Gideon at 49 percent and 6 percent undecided.

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UMM reopens fitness center to community members

by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

The University of Maine at Machias fitness center members should dust off those running shoes, grab their masks and head back to campus because effective Monday, Oct. 5, gym workouts are back on the table.

UMM Director of Athletics and Fitness Michael Belanger said members can expect to see some changes.

“As you enter you’re going to go through a symptom screening questionnaire at the front desk, and if you are symptom-free you can come in and utilize the fitness center,” said Belanger.

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October

by Jonathan Reisman

 

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”- Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

“Surprise, Surprise, Surprise”- Gomer Pyle (Jim Nabors)

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In Princeton, state combats first invasive milfoil infestation east of Augusta

by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

For the first time ever, invasive milfoil has been discovered in Washington County, in Princeton’s Big Lake. Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) biologist John McPhedran says it’s not only the first known occurrence in the county, but in the eastern half of Maine. The next closest known infestation is in the Kennebec River, in Augusta.

“This is a big jump east, for sure,” said McPhedran, who works in the DEP’s Invasive Aquatic Species Program.

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Obituary of Dr. F. James Whalen

Dr. F. James Whalen, 80, died at home in Machias on October 6, 2020. He was born in Waukegan, Illinois on October 3, 1940, to Kemener (KJ) and Avis Whalen.

He attended Rutgers University on a swimming scholarship and earned a B.S. in Chemistry. He continued onto Georgetown for his residency in Orthopedics. He completed other programs to expand his medical expertise including a program in Paris specializing in hand surgery. He also proudly served in the United States Air Force from 1962 to 1965.

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The Nature of Phenology: Poisonous mushrooms

by Hazel Stark

Nature is full of trick or treating opportunities year-round. A patch of ripe blueberries at the top of a mountain or the discovery of a forgotten apple tree? Those are treats. Tripping over loops of hobblebush branches in the ground or getting surprised by the exploding seed capsules of jewelweed? Those are tricks. But there is one kingdom in Maine whose dark door you best avoid on a fanciful trick or treating adventure: the taxonomic kingdom of fungi.

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Youth explore relationships to nature and community

Amidst the uncertainty about returning to school and after a months-long stint of physical distancing, seven youth gathered this summer at Machias River Preserve with Corrie Hunkler, Youth Engagement Coordinator for Healthy Acadia, and Hazel Stark, Co-Founder of Maine Outdoor School, for a three-day, Restorative Practices in Nature and our Community Program. The program paired Maine Youth Action Network’s Restorative Practices curriculum with fun and engaging activities such as hiking, listening, reflecting, being curious, and responding to our natural surroundings.

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Preserve your photo memories at ‘Croptoberfest’

by Jayna Smith

There is a fun group of ladies who meet quite regularly, all sharing the hobby of scrapbooking. Coming up at the end of the month, the group is inviting others to join in on the fun for an annual Croptoberfest.

According to organizer Dawn Smith, this is the biggest event of the year and attendees will create many different projects. “Each person will also get some exclusive gifts for their scrapbooking, and I always have door prizes, product specials, and lots of surprises,” she said.

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Leaving the Washington County bubble

Last week saw a quick trip through Southern Maine, coastal New Hampshire and Northern Massachusetts (no that is not the same as Southern Maine) to Logan airport and back. I watched the political signs, heard the results of $90 million dollars spent in the Maine Senate race, saw the pandemic-stricken and struggling airline and hospitality industries and a slice of the health care sector that minimized face-to-face interactions wherever possible.
Monday: Cooper to Scarborough

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Celebrate World Fish Migration Day by cleaning a local river

by Natalie Boomer

Downeast Salmon Federation will be hosting a river cleanup to celebrate World Fish Migration Day on Sunday, Oct. 25.

World Fish Migration Day is a global-local event made to create awareness on migratory fish and the importance of free-flowing rivers. This simple river cleanup project will consist of cleaning up litter along the Orange River in Whiting. Open to all who are interested, volunteers are asked to meet at the Whiting Store on 136 US Route 1 in Whiting at 1 p.m.

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Adult Ed opens up umbrella of opportunities, options

by Ruth Leubecker

Lack of funding can close doors, but often opens others, and that’s what happened when Washington County Adult Education and Training debuted on the local scene.

“We opened in 2014 when Machias Adult Ed was going to close due to lack of money to keep going,” said Jane Blackwood, executive director of the small nonprofit. “We started from scratch. I hired new staff, and since then we’ve been expanding. I just want people to understand what we do and what we have to offer.”

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Families invited to hike and learn along the way

by Natalie Boomer

The Maine Outdoor School and the Milbridge Public Library have come together to host Summits and Stories, a hike up a local mountain along with a story told at the summit.

Two hikes have already taken place in September and another is scheduled on October 17 at Tunk Mountain at 10 a.m.

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Wild Blueberry Commission ponders probe into import impact

by Nancy Beal

The 10 members of Maine’s Wild Blueberry Commission (WBC) met for a day-long session in Orono last week — masked and socially distanced with the public listening in via Zoom and telephone. From 8:30 to noon, Jane Haskell, a facilitator formerly with the University of Maine Extension Service, led them through what was billed as a strategic planning session. The session involved examining the wild blueberry industry for strengths and goals and, through interactive break-out sessions, reaching a broad consensus for the industry’s future.

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Community mourns loss of ‘compassionate, tireless’ Dr. James Whalen

by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

He was born in Illinois, educated in New Jersey, Washington, D.C. and Paris, but for 42 years he made Machias his home. Dr. F. James Whalen, or just “Doc” about town, died at home on October 6. He was 80 years old.

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