1. Panthers, Blue Devils Prevail in Junior High Basketball East Region Final

    By Will Tuell

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  2. 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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  3. 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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  4. 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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  5. 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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  6. 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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  7. 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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  8. 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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  9. 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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  10. 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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  11. 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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  12. 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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  13. 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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  14. 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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  15. 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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  16. 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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  17. 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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  18. 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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  19. Elm Street Boys, Girls Tune up for Playoffs

    By Will Tuell

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  20. 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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  21. 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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  22. 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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  23. 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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  24. 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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  25. 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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  26. 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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  27. 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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  28. 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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  29. 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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  30. Washington County GOP Region 2 Caucus Rescheduled, Monthly Meeting in Calais Feb. 8

    The Washington County Region 2 Republican Caucus originally scheduled for Jan. 26 has been rescheduled for Feb. 8 at 4:30 p.m. at Calais High School. Following the caucus, the committee will have a potluck supper at 5:30 and regular monthly meeting at 6 p.m. As of press time, Representative Austin Theriault (R-Fort Kent) who is vying for the Republican nomination for Maine’s Second Congressional district with fellow Republican Mike Soboleski of Phillips, will be in attendance, as will Republican candidates for state office.

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  31. Five Months Later, ‘National Trust’ Won’t Say Who Funded Takeover of Maine Newspapers

    By Steve Robinson

    Five months after telling its staff and readers that it planned to disclose “the funders” behind the purchase of five Maine daily newspapers, the nonprofit trust now controlling several of Maine’s oldest news brands hasn’t kept the promise.

    The sale of the Portland Press Herald, Lewiston Sun Journal, Kennebec Journal, and other Maine news brands to the “National Trust for Local News” was completed last summer.

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  32. Eminent Domain Hearing on Port Road Properties in Starboard Divides Town

    By Paul Sylvain

    Citing “an abundance of caution” and in an effort “to ensure transparency,” Machiasport town officials moved late on Jan. 19 to postpone a public hearing scheduled three days later to consider taking, by eminent domain, private property in Starboard to preserve public access to Starboard Beach, the Point of Maine, and a pair of islands accessible at low tide.

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  33. Washington County Community College Helping to Address Local Officer Shortage

    By Will Tuell

    It’s a common refrain in law enforcement circles that the number of applicants for open police and corrections officer positions is dwindling while the demand for qualified officers continues to rise. Whether it’s the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, any one of Downeast Maine’s small-town police departments, or state law enforcement agencies, the demand for officers is high while interest is sagging. 

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  34. Storm Relief, Windfarm Ordinance, Marijuana License Fees, and More Top J’Port Selectboard Agenda

    By Nancy Beal

    Jonesport selectmen are no longer meeting weekly but have changed to a schedule that brings them in at 4 p.m. every first and third Wednesday of the month. Maine Emergency Management point person, Dan Thibodeau, joined their most recent meeting on Jan. 17 and told how folks who sustained damage in the Jan. 10 and 13 coastal storms could begin making the extent of that damage known to the state. The state will use the information to bolster a federal disaster claim.

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  35. Storm of the Century Devastates Chipman’s Wharf, Kelley’s Lobster Pound

    By Wayne Smith

    I caught up with Amity Chipman of Chipman’s Wharf in Milbridge and Charles Kelley of Kelley’s Lobster Pound in Steuben last week, and their stories of the Jan. 10 storm illustrate just how bad it was in our area. They tell the story of heartache and survival, of picking up the pieces and going forward, as it had a direct impact on their businesses.  

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  36. Meet the Administrator of Maine Veterans’ Homes: Machias, Arlena Fickett

    By Wayne Smith

    I recently caught up with Arlena Fickett, the Administrator of Maine Veterans’ Homes: Machias. She had quite a bit to say about life after the pandemic, getting residents back into the community, and the home’s philosophy of caring for its residents and their families. 

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  37. Bordering on the Absurd

    by Jonathan Reisman

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  38. Last Saturday Contra Dance Planned for Jan. 27

    Eastport Arts Center will host a Contra Dance with the Moose Island Contra Etc. (MICE) band, on Saturday, Jan. 27, from 6-9 p.m. Band members are Alice Schuth on fiddle, Susan Luthin on octave mandolin and whistle, Joan Lowden on bass, Kara McCrimmon on piano accordion, guitar, and Irish whistle, and Jim O’Neil on banjo, button accordion, and guitar. Eustacia Landrum will grace the hall as caller. All dances will be taught, and everyone of all ages and abilities is welcome.

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  39. Fort O’Brien Elementary School Announces First ‘Star Student’ Recipients

    Fort O’Brien Elementary School in Machiasport has begun a new program to recognize students at the school who truly shine like stars as peer role models for other students at the school to aspire to. In fact, the school is even calling it the “Star Students” program.

    “Students were chosen based on academic performance, kindness, and willingness to help in their own classroom and in the school,” said Suzanne Reynolds, who teaches combined first and second grades at Fort O’Brien. “These students are all ‘well rounded’ and show excellence in all aspects of school and community.”

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  40. February StoryWalk® at Porter Memorial Library will Feature a Children’s Winter Favorite

    The February 2024 StoryWalk® at Porter Memorial Library in Machias will feature the beloved children’s book The Mitten by Jan Brett. This charming children's book tells the story of a lost mitten that becomes a cozy shelter for various woodland animals. As the mitten stretches to accommodate more creatures, the tale explores themes of kindness, sharing, and the interconnectedness of nature in a delightful and visually rich narrative. 

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  41. Twin Storms Bash Downeast Closing Dike Bridge, Destroying Chipman’s Wharf

    By Paul Sylvain

    When you think of winter storms in Downeast Maine, most people think of a good, old-fashioned nor'easter with a foot or two of snow and telephone pole-high drifts. But as Mother Nature proved last week, the destructive might and power of winter storms can come in many different forms.

    The Washington County coast was assaulted last week by the full brunt of two such storms three days apart. The first arrived on Jan. 10 and the second on Jan. 13. They could have been named Winter Storm “Peat” and “Repeat”. 

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  42. Roots Run Deep in Downeast Maine’s Often Overlooked Scallop Industry

    By Will Tuell

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  43. Steuben Man Raises $3,700 for Machias Veterans Home

    By Wayne Smith

    Johnny Brooks Jr. of Steuben brought some of the best musical talent to the stage at The Franklin Vets Club recently to raise $3,700 for the Machias Veterans Home activities fund. The music was amazing, and for many, including several residents from the home itself, the “Johnny Dream Show” came true. 

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  44. SCEC Launches Recovery Friendly Workplace Network, Linking Employers with Recovering Addicts

    by Nancy Beal

    An effort to bring together and benefit people recovering from substance use disorder and folks willing to hire them will soon be launched in Washington County. The effort, led by the Sunrise County Economic Council, will be known as the Recovery Friendly Workplace Network. It is designed to benefit prospective employees, their employers, and, by extension, the community beyond.

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  45. Cooperation, Respect Mark New Era in Machias PD-Selectboard Relations

    By Paul Sylvain

    It wasn’t that long ago that the working relationship between the Machias Police Department and town officials was contentious at best. Selectboard meetings with past police chiefs and former board members were often confrontational and punctuated by fiery exchanges between both sides.

    The Machias community at large was usually supportive of whoever the chief and the department’s officers were at the time; however, the same could not be said of the selectmen. 

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