Maine CDC confirms fatal case of tickborne Powassan virus in Waldo County 

The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC) has confirmed a fatal case of Powassan virus infection in a Waldo County resident. The adult developed neurologic symptoms and died while in the hospital. This person likely became infected in Maine.

Cases of Powassan virus are rare in the United States, with about 25 cases reported each year since 2015. Maine has identified 14 cases since 2010. Humans become infected with Powassan through the bite of an infected deer or woodchuck tick.

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Officials plead with relic collectors: stop taking chunks of Route 1

by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

Route 1 has fallen into disrepair as collectors and dealers are chipping away pieces for themselves and to sell as “true relics” of Maine's historic coastal highway. Now, local officials are speaking out to stop the damage.

“We know Route 1 has a special place in the hearts of Mainers and visitors, but they have got to stop taking chunks of it home with them,” said Machias Town Manager Bill Kitchen, who last week had to replace a wheel on his car. “It’s ripping apart Main Street.”

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Avian bird flu detected in Washington County; flock owners advised to build shelter

by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

Anyone keeping poultry in their backyard or on their farm should act now to protect their flock from Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), which is spread by migratory birds.

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Worcesters reveal plans to build world’s tallest flagpole in $1B ‘Flagpole of Freedom Park’  

by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

The Worcester family has unveiled plans to fly the world’s largest American flag atop the world’s tallest flagpole at the center of a 2,500-acre park to be located in the town of Columbia Falls. Details about the project were publicly announced at a press conference held Tuesday at the Augusta Civic Center.

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Mills proposes $3.5 million to keep Maine Veterans Homes in Caribou and Machias open

Editor's note: The following was announced this hour by Governor Janet Mills. 

Governor Janet Mills announced today that she will dedicate $3.5 million in her forthcoming change package to keep the Maine Veterans Homes in Caribou and Machias open. The Governor will propose $1.75 million in General Fund money, which will leverage $1.75 million in additional Federal funding, for a total of $3.5 million.

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In Memory: The storied career of MVNO journalist Ruth Leubecker

Editor's note: It is with great sadness we write to say that today, Feb. 27, newspaperwoman Ruth Leubecker died at the age of 80. As a journalist, Leubecker dedicated decades of her life to telling the stories of the Machias region. Her impact on this newspaper and this community cannot be overstated. We send our deep sympathies to her families and friends and mourn with them tonight. To shine a light on her memory, we republish this piece from 2020 which tells only a fraction of her impressive accomplishments. - Sarah Craighead Dedmon / MVNO Editor

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County, state, and Congress apply pressure to keep Caribou and Machias vets’ homes open

by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

News that veteran homes in Machias and Caribou will close later this spring has drawn criticism and pressure from Washington County to Augusta to Washington D.C.

The official announcement that Maine Veterans Homes Machias would close on April 15 and Caribou on May 1 came Thursday, Feb. 24, but the news broke unofficially the day before after employees and families spread word of the impending closures on social media.

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News of Machias veterans home closure met with sadness, calls to action

by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

Leaked news that the Machias and Caribou Maine Veterans Homes will close was confirmed today, Thursday, Feb. 24, in an official release from Maine Veterans Homes. News of the closure was met with a wide range of emotions Downeast, including sadness, shock, outrage, and calls to action, especially from the Washington County Commissioners' office. 

Families and employees of the Machias home were informed in advance of the public release, which said the decision was made “after several years of consideration.”

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Washington County’s largest schools announce end to mask mandates

by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

When Machias and Washington Academy students return from winter break on Monday, Feb. 28, whether or not they wear a mask will be up to them. 

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Pembroke woman's death named homicide, say Maine State Police

by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

Maine State Police tonight state the Feb. 9 death of a Pembroke woman is being ruled a homicide, following a Thursday autopsy.

On Wednesday near 5:30 p.m., the Washington County Sheriff's Office Wednesday responded to 515 Leighton Point Road in Pembroke to a report of an unresponsive female, who died under suspicious circumstances. The victim has been identified as Paula Johnson, 53, of Pembroke.

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