Howard Challenges Veteran County Commissioner Cassidy in GOP Primary

Jayna Smith

[email protected]

William “Billy” W. Howard III and Vinton E. Cassidy, both of Calais, are running in the Republican primary on June 11, 2024, for Washington County Commissioner District 1.  David Burns, of Whiting, is running unopposed in the Republican primary for Washington County Commissioner District 2.

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Greater Machias Community Participates in Memorial Day Parade

By Paul Sylvain & Will Tuell

It’s been said that everybody loves a parade, and that was never more evident than on May 27 in Machias. That’s when a crowd of parade-goers lined Court and Free streets, Colonial Way. and Main Street/Route1 to watch and cheer on the many community groups that participated in this year’s Memorial Day Parade.

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Re Find Furnishings Opens For Business on Court Street

By Paul Sylvain

Re Find Furnishings owner Michael Acebal would probably be the first to admit the road from his shop’s former home on 277 Main St. to its new location at 97 Court St. was much further and took a while longer to navigate than he expected.

Still, Acebal persevered and on June 4, opened shop at his new location, next door to the Machias post office on Court Street. 

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Discover the Magic of "Miss Rumphius" in June's StoryWalk® at Porter Memorial Library

For the month of June, the StoryWalk® at Porter Memorial Library in Machias will feature the award-winning children’s book, “Miss Rumphius,” by Barbara Cooney. Readers of all ages delight in the tale of Alice Rumphius, a woman who realized her childhood dreams of traveling the world, residing in a seaside house, and making the world more beautiful. The numerous lupines blooming along the Maine coastline stand as a testament to the real Miss Rumphius, Hilda Hamlin, known as the Lupine Lady, who sowed lupine seeds wherever she went, as well as Cooney's own experiences traveling the world.

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The Disunited Banana Republic

by Jonathan Reisman

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No Joke! Bucks Harbor Shopping Mall Served-Up Hot Coffee, Food, and Many ‘Sweet, Sweet Memories’

By Paul Sylvain

As long as anyone in the tiny fishing village of Bucks Harbor can remember, there has always been a mom-and-pop store at or near where a now-vacant, sun-faded yellow building stands at the intersection of Port and Small’s Point roads.

Many old-timers in town still remember Vincent Small’s store that stood further back from where Herb Rose would later build his own store.

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Summer Road Paving Misery Could Possibly Continue Through July 27

Area Motorists Taking Rolling Delays in Stride

By Paul Sylvain

As the saying goes, be careful what you wish for because the cure can often be more painful than the ailment. That’s especially true when it comes to Washington County’s roads.

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After Chaos, Beals Selectboard Brings Order to Town Business

By Nancy Beal

Following the ouster of an incumbent select person at the annual town meeting last March and the subsequent, sudden resignation of the other two select persons, the town of Beals is getting back on track under the leadership of new and old replacements.

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Residents, Staff ‘Heartbroken’ over Narraguagus Nursing Home Closure

By Wayne Smith

I caught up with workers and residents about the closing of Narraguagus Bay Health Care Facility in Milbridge. You want to know what is heartbreaking it’s seeing a 90-year-old lady hugging all the workers, telling each one she loves them, then bursting into tears because she’s got to go to her new home  And that was just a little bit of the emotions at Narraguagus Bay last week.

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A Lonely Cross: D-Day Remembered 80 Years Later

By 2nd Lt. Peter Duston, USA, Ret.  

This is the story of a lonely cross engraved: “Known but to God,” in remembrance of “D” Day, which began eighty years ago, on the 6th of June, 1944. 

In June 2018, my wife and I visited the U.S. military cemetery on the bluff overlooking Utah Beach on the Normandy coast where the D-Day invasion took place nearly 75 years earlier.  We were in France with the Washington County Children’s Chorus who were on a singing tour.   

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Beloved Educator, Finn, Retires from WA After 25 Years

This June, Washington Academy is celebrating the retirement of long-time educator Mrs. Marie Finn. Mrs. Finn is completing her twenty-fifth year of providing special educational services at the Academy. She is retiring as a special education department head and teacher who has mentored and significantly impacted learning for countless area youths, WA said in a statement earlier this month. 

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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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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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‘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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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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Post Primary Musings

by Jonathan Reisman

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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