Soctomah to Present Documentary for Sunday Series

EAC's Sunday Afternoons at the Arts Center series continues on Feb. 4 at 3 p.m., when Donald Soctomah will present a screening of Ntolonapemk: Our Ancestors’ Place, a 2006 film, which documents the cleanup of one of the most contaminated sites in Maine. In earlier times, Ntolonapemk was one of the sites of a Passamaquoddy village. For thousands of years, people would come to this spot to harvest great numbers of fish on their annual run up the Dennys River. A true success story, the film chronicles the site’s cleaning and return to the Passamaquoddy people.

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DECH Nurses Rally Public Support for ‘Safe Staffing’ in Midst of Contract Talks

Nurses Working Since October Without a Contract

 

By Paul Sylvain

Bone-chilling cold on Jan. 27 failed to deter at least 22 nurses and techs employed at Down East Community Hospital in Machias from rallying on the Jeremiah O’Brien Bridge. The nurses have been working without a contract since October and are trying to leverage public support for what they call “safe staffing” levels as part of their new contract. 

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Panthers Move to 12-1 with Thrilling Come-from-Behind Overtime Win over Calais

By Will Tuell

Cavernous, guttural roars swept through the Elm Street School gymnasium Thursday night as the Panther girls’ basketball team, down by 17 points with minutes to play, stormed back to beat Calais 58-57 in overtime, bringing Elm Street to an impressive 12-1 mark with one game to go before the playoffs. 

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Selectmen Renew Starboard Road Eminent Domain Proceedings

Public Hearing set for Feb. 5

 

By Paul Sylvain

For Machiasport’s selectmen, their Jan. 26 meeting must have seemed like deja vu all over again.

For the second time in six weeks, Machiasport’s three-member board, along with town attorney Stephen Wagner of Bangor, met to consider five legal motions aimed at taking by condemnation and eminent domain portions of private property at 1755 and 1759 Port Road in Starboard to build a public access road to the Point of Maine and a pair of islands accessible only at low tide.

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Extended Learning Opportunity Program Sends JBHS Students into the World

By Nancy Beal

High school education these days does not take place just within classrooms. Earlier this month, Corrie Hunkler described a program she supervises at Jonesport-Beals High School that offers instruction and reflection out in the real world, with a goal of guiding teenagers in directions that interest and challenge them—and that may steer them into career fields that are compatible and achievable for their individual make-ups. Her presentation was made at the school’s monthly board meeting on Jan. 17.

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Captain Jack is Back: Knot Tying Workshop Returns to the LCOC on Feb. 3

The Lubec Community Outreach Center (LCOC) is pleased to announce a Knot Tying Workshop on Saturday, Feb. 3, from 10 to 11:30 a.m. 

This is a repeat of an earlier knot tying workshop, which proved to be extremely well attended and much enjoyed. The LCOC is happy to bring back the workshop and its co-leaders, Captain John “Jack” Lynskey and retired fisherman Nathan Dunford, for a second round!

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UMM Professor Using DNA to Solve Wildlife Crimes

Gerry Zegers, associate research professor of biology at the University of Maine at Machias, knows that a career in biology is about more than just working in a lab. Zegers uses his DNA analysis skills to help solve wildlife-related crimes — and he is teaching his students how to do the same.

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Trumped

by Jonathan Reisman

With an eleven-point victory in the Granite State GOP primary over last woman standing, Nikki Haley, Donald Trump is the almost-certain-to-be Republican presidential nominee. I think he is a riskier choice than almost all the alternatives, especially Ron DeSantis. Riskier means potential variance in outcomes. 

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Quoddy Voices Community Chorus to Resume

Weekly rehearsals for Quoddy Voices’ spring season, under the direction of Gene Nichols, will begin Wednesday, Feb. 7, 6-8 p.m. at Eastport Arts Center. A diverse program celebrating 'People, Places, and Spring' is planned for the international community chorus. (Returning participants: please make note of the change from Tuesdays to Wednesdays). Performances are scheduled for May 3-5. The group welcomes new singers with no audition required.

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Northern Light Health Compromised by Hackers, Patient Data Secured

By Will Tuell

Northern Light Health announced on Feb. 2 that an unspecified number of its computer servers were compromised by hackers earlier in the day, adding that patient information is safe and that care would not be disrupted across Northern Light’s sprawling network of care providers. 

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Crunch Time as Downeast High School Basketball Teams Vie for Postseason Play, Position

By Phil Stuart

The regular season is winding down, and several area teams will be extending their season into the playoffs.

In Class B girls, Washington Academy is currently seeded ninth. If that position holds up, the Raiders will be on the road for a preliminary matchup. 

The Machias Lady Bulldogs are sixth in Class C with a 13-1 record and could possibly move up a notch. If Machias stays in the sixth spot, they would have a home preliminary contest against the 11th-seed.

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Machias Officials Mull Abandoning, Selling Town Office Building in Wake of January Floods

By Paul Sylvain

The Machias Town Office at 7 Court St. has been closed since the first of two storms ravaged the Shiretown on Jan. 10. Nearly a month later, its days appear numbered as town officials consider abandoning it for other options.

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School Subsidy Projections Show Gains, Losses in Machias Area

By Will Tuell

Each of the eleven towns that make up a confederation of local school systems known as AOS 96 has received subsidy projections from the Department of Education. The figures, based on a combination of student enrolment and local property valuation, give school budgeters an idea of what they will have to work with as they prepare school budgets for the upcoming fiscal year, set to begin July 1. 

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Rebecca Moores Receives 32-Year Sentence for Murdering Pembroke Woman

By Paul Sylvain

Rebecca Moores, the 43-year-old Robbinston woman who in December pled guilty to murdering her former lover and principal drug supplier in 2022, was sentenced Monday, Jan. 29 in Washington County Superior Court in Machias to serve 32 years in prison.

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Jonesport Officials Greenlight ‘Slightly Lower’ Budget for March 11 Town Meeting

By Nancy Beal 

Jonesport selectmen met on Jan. 31, finalized their budget, and, that evening, presented their suggestions to the town’s budget committee. Retired bank manager Wendy Beal was chosen chairman. Joining her were business owner and Union 103 infrastructure manager John Church, realtor and builder Paul Iossa, and assessor and former high school secretary Barbie Cirone. Shane Farris was absent.

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Good Grief

by Jonathan Reisman

It has been a month since Ernie, blessed be her memory, passed. I am in a state of grief, a distressed state of mind. The sea of sad tasks invokes memories, reflection, love, and tears but also actions and interactions that my maternal grandfather would have called “mitzvahs”- good deeds. Good grief, or so it seems.

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Washington County Republicans See Robust Turnout at Regional Caucuses

The Washington County Republican Committee has completed three of its four regional caucus meetings in Washington County. The purpose of town caucuses is to elect officers of each town committee, to elect Delegates and Alternates to the State Convention, to elect members to the Washington County Republican Committee, and to organize for the upcoming elections. 

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England and Powers Bring Energy to the Milbridge Theatre Stage

By Wayne Smith

I recently caught up with Jim England and Don Powers of the Bullseye Band when they played at the Milbridge Theatre and Community Arts Center. England and Powers talked about playing music together, entertaining live crowds, and the ups and downs of band life. 

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Machias Police Respond to 1,326 Calls in 2023

Selectboard Approves Hiring Ryan Allen as a Reserve Officer

 

By Paul Sylvain

According to a report presented to the Machias selectboard at its Jan. 29 meeting, the town’s police department responded to 1,326 calls for service in 2023. Put another way, each of the department’s four full-time officers, which includes Chief Keith Mercier, kept busy last year protecting and serving the town’s 2,200 citizens by handling an average of 331.5 calls.

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Size Matters: New Rules to Change How Lobstermen Measure Catch

Fishermen Skeptical of ‘Ropeless Gear’ Study at Zone A Council Meeting

By Will Tuell

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Proponents, Opponents Clash Over Eminent Domain at Tense Public Hearing Over Starboard Road

Town Attorney Claims DeFalcos, Aschettino ‘Offering Land They Do Not Own’

By Paul Sylvain

More than 100 of Machiasport’s estimated 1,000 citizens packed the Fort O’Brien School gymnasium on a bitterly cold evening on Feb. 5 for a tense and emotionally charged public hearing on eminent domain.

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High School Basketball Teams Vie for Top Honors in Playoff Action

By Phil Stuart

The 2024 high school basketball post-season is here, and it looks as though both teams from Jonesport-Beals, Machias, and Washington Academy will be in action.

The Washington Academy teams will both have to go through a preliminary round this week  in order to play at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor. The Woodland girls, Calais boys, and Narraguagus boys will also be in the hunt.

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Merchant Family Grieves Loss of Son Cole in December Auto Wreck

By Wayne Smith

On Dec. 10, 2023, the Merchant family of Sullivan’s lives were changed forever when they lost their son, Cole, in a car accident in Steuben. Two months later, Cole’s mother, Holly Merchant, decided it was the right time to tell her story. Speaking with her on the phone last week, she never sugarcoated the emotions that she is dealing with from the loss of her younger son. At times, I could feel the emotions running through the phone line as we talked.  

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February Follies

by Jonathan Reisman

To paraphrase Don McLean in American Pie, “February makes me shiver.” February has Groundhog Day (the rodent predicted at least six more years of relentless climate catastrophe propaganda following every storm), Valentine’s Day (the legacy media is embarrassing itself with its slobbering embrace and protection of Joe Biden), and President’s Day, (which will probably be celebrating mandated electric vehicle sales).

Here are a few other items that are giving me chills:

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Machias Savings Bank Donates $3,000 to Roque Bluffs Community Center

The Roque Bluffs Community Center received a $3,000 gift from Machias Savings Bank on Feb. 8. 

Sam Whitney, Assistant Vice President and Branch Manager of the bank’s Machias branch, made the award, which will help cover the cost of new flooring as part of renovations of the RBCC’s lower level. The Center said in a press release that its lower level is being converted into a permanent art gallery for the area and that most of the work is being done by community volunteers. 

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UMaine Extension 4-H Launches ‘Science Fridays’ Program Feb. 23

University of Maine Cooperative Extension 4-H will offer “Science Fridays” beginning Feb. 23. The in-person program is designed to engage youth, ages 9-14, in exploring various science topics and develop scientific skills. 

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Grant, Kenney Come from Long Line of 1,000 Point Scorers

By Phil Stuart

Many times, success on a basketball court is achieved because other family members have been involved in the game as well.

On Jan. 31, Kristin Grant of Machias scored her 1,000th career point as the Lady Bulldogs defeated Calais 50-36 at the “Doghouse.”

Grant, a native of Lubec, became the second member of her family to join the 1,000-point club.

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Machiasport Moves Special Town Meeting and Eminent Domain Vote to Feb. 26

By Paul Sylvain

A scheduled Feb. 15 special town meeting and vote by citizens of Machiasport on whether or not to take a 50-foot-wide strip of land from two property owners in the town’s Starboard district was abruptly canceled by town officials and rescheduled for Feb. 26.

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Machias Girls, Jonesport Boys Punch Tickets to Bangor as Area Teams Compete in Prelim Action

By Phil Stuart

Ten out of 14 Washington County high school girls' and boys’ basketball teams are qualified for post-season play based on the final point standings. Only the Jonesport-Beals girls, Machias boys, and Calais boys got automatic bids to the Cross Center, while the Narraguagus girls, Machias girls, Washington Academy girls, and Woodland girls had to play a preliminary game in order to qualify for the northern tournament along with the Narraguagus, Jonesport-Beals, and Washington Academy boys.

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Seaweed Farming Pitched to Beals Lobstermen, Questions Raised

By Nancy Beal

Amanda Smith is the wife of Beals lobster fisherman Richard Smith. She is also the Sunrise County Economic Council’s coastal opportunities advisor. In a recent meeting of the Beals’ Harbor Committee, she brought home something she had learned at work: an opportunity for lobstermen to make some money during the long, cold winters when their traps sit on the bank.

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Maine Indian Ed Superintendent Selected as Judge for Future Engineers Program

Dr. Reza Namin, Superintendent of Maine Indian Education and former University of Maine Machias chemistry professor, has been selected to serve as a judge for the Future Engineers Program. 

The Future Engineers Program was founded in 2015 by leading engineering associations to address the shortage of students pursuing engineering careers. Through an annual competition, students submit innovative proposals for tackling issues such as climate change, space exploration, and sustainability. Submissions are evaluated by a panel of engineers and STEM experts, including Dr. Namin.

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‘Rise Above’ Tourney to Benefit Local Rehab

By Will Tuell

Organizers of a charity volleyball tournament are hoping to raise money for, and awareness of, the faith-based Arise Addiction Recovery program in Machias next month. The “Rise Above” Volleyball tournament, in its sixth year, attracts participants from northern and eastern Maine who enjoy playing volleyball and want to support the rehab that has been helping people overcome addiction through Jesus Christ since 2015. 

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A House Divided

by Jonathan Reisman

“Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand.” - Matthew 12:25

“A house divided against itself, cannot stand.” - Senate candidate Abraham Lincoln, 1858

Friends and acquaintances from left, right, and middle have shared their anxiety and concerns concerning possible violence and social unrest this year. Fear of desolation is a rare area of unity in our otherwise divided American house.

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Open Stage for Writers Announces Next 3 Dates

All are invited to “Writers Read,” an open stage for creative writing, on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2-4 p.m., at Eastport Arts Center.  Writers of all kinds, whether seasoned wordsmiths or emerging talents, are invited to share their written work. The event aims to create an atmosphere of inspiration and connection and to celebrate creativity and the power of storytelling in all of its forms.

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Mason’s Downeast Holds Interviews for Planned Mid-March Opening in Machias

Selectboard Approves Liquor License, Entertainment Permit at Feb. 14 Meeting

By Paul Sylvain

What should have been a routine order of business on Feb. 14, involving a simple selectboard vote to approve an on-premises liquor license and a special entertainment permit in advance of Mason’s Brewing Company’s much anticipated mid-March opening Downeast, evolved into several moments of drama by selectboard member Ben Edwards.

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