1. Washington County lawmakers appointed to policy committees

    by Will Tuell

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  2. District Attorney Granger, Sheriff Curtis sworn in

    by Will Tuell

    Newly-elected District Attorney Bob Granger and three-term Sheriff Barry Curtis were formally sworn in before an audience of county employees, legislators, and members of the public on New Year’s Day. The pair were sworn in by longtime county jail administrator Paula Johnson-Rolfe, who also serves as a notary public.

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  3. All a Twitter

    by Jonathan Reisman

    “Something is rotten in the State of Denmark”- Marcellus in Hamlet, Act I, Scene IV, William Shakespeare

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  4. Youth theater group to resume

    Stage East will begin a new session of Children’s Theater Workshop on Saturday, Jan. 14. The program will run Saturdays, 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., through Feb. 11. In this session, fierce debate will ensue! Topics like cats vs. dogs, best ice cream flavors, and weirdest siblings will provide fodder for these short scenes written by participants with help from the instructor, Mark Macey. 

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  5. In Lubec, Beekeeping 101 Workshop begins Jan. 19

    The Lubec Community Outreach Center is offering a Beekeeping 101 Workshop as the first of its educational offerings for 2023.  The 6-week series will be held on Thursday evenings from 6 to 7:30 p.m. beginning Jan. 19 (with two extra weeks added if weather requires).

    Lead instructor Andrew Dewey hails from Jonesboro and is a highly respected Master Beekeeper and naturalist. He is a member of the Maine Entomological Society and, along with his deep knowledge of honeybees and beekeeping, is a recognized expert on Bumblebees.

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  6. The Nature of Phenology: Holiday wreaths

    by  Zabet NeuCollins

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  7. Columbia Falls lays groundwork for possible March vote on large project moratorium

    by Joyce Kryszak, Maine Monitor

    Town officials in Columbia Falls on Tuesday began laying the groundwork for a moratorium on large-scale developments like the proposed Flagpole of Freedom Park, as their attorneys sketched out a timeline that would have voters consider the measure in March.

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  8. Area schools break for Christmas as COVID, flu, RSV surge

    by Will Tuell

    Area schools went on break last week as rates of COVID-19, flu, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) continue to challenge families, students, and administrators alike. The three illnesses – known popularly as a “tri-demic” have seen at least four small children from Down East Maine admitted to the pediatric ICU in Bangor while countless students and staff have been sidelined by one or more of the illnesses simultaneously. 

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  9. Broadband committee sought in Jonesport

    by Nancy Beal

    Jonesport selectmen continued their efforts to establish a town broadband committee last week, extending the invitation for committee volunteers into next month. Having initially advertised for three volunteers to come forward by today, December 28, and having received but one offer, last week, they agreed that the holiday period was a poor recruiting time, and looked forward to putting a group together in the new year. 

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  10. ‘Twas the week before Christmas

    by Jonathan Reisman

     

    With apologies to Clement Clarke Moore and any non-cynics left

    'Twas the week before Christmas, and all through the House

    The lame ducks were plotting, preparing to pounce;

    The earmarks were hung on the omnibus with care,

    In hopes that Pelosi and Schumer would share;

    Angus and Susan nestled snug on the Floor,

    With visions of earmarks hung on the door;

    And Chellie in her Pingree, and Jared in his flannel,

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  11. Wreaths Across America on-the-air

    Most Mainers are familiar with the annual Wreaths Across America convoy to Arlington National Cemetery and other veterans cemeteries across the nation, where they lay Christmas wreaths on the graves of America’s veterans. But did you know that the Wreaths Across America motto of “Remember-Honor-Teach” also flooded the airwaves this past weekend? 

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  12. Singers connect with community on Solstice Eve outreach tour

    A group of Quoddy Voices singers and friends visited Washington Place assisted living in Calais, and Eastport Memorial Nursing Home on December 20, with a program of seasonal music, offered as part of EAC’s outreach program. The group met the night before the mini-tour to work out some of the selections in four-part harmony and to finalize a set list; soprano Jenny Gillies led the group with laughter and cheer.

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  13. Maine Criminal Justice Academy celebrates Maine’s 62 newest Law Enforcement Officers

    On Friday, December 16, 62 cadets graduated from the Basic Law Enforcement Training Program (BLETP) at the Maine Criminal Justice Academy in Vassalboro. The 18-week intensive residential training program teaches and trains cadets to deal with the rigors of the job. The class began in August with 70 cadets. Sixty-two cadets completed the program and graduated Friday, including nine females.

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  14. 4 WCCC criminal justice students attend International Association of Identification Conference

    Four Criminal Justice students from Washington County Community College were chosen to attend the 28th Annual NEDIAI, or the New England Division of the International Association of Identification. 

    Taylor LeBlanc, Rose Adams, Mackenzie Hewitt, and Connor Cook were chosen by Criminal Justice and Conservation Law Instructor, Wayde Carter, and Jason Fowler of the Maine State Police and adjunct professor at WCCC. The two came together to choose these four students based on their academic performance and professionalism.

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  15. The Nature of Phenology: Snow buntings

    by Joseph Horn

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  16. The Machias Valley News Observer: 170 years old and counting

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    Machias readers 141 years ago would be reaching for their copy of The Machias Union, then in its 29th year, and sporting its motto, “Our Home, Our State, Our Country, and Our Brother Man.” 

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  17. Pediatrician Joann Kaplan, MD, joins DECH

    We are excited to announce that our full-time Pediatrician, Joann Kaplan, M.D., will begin seeing patients at Down East Community Pediatrics in January.

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  18. $20,000 brought in for local food pantries by annual Pratt campaign

    by Jayna Smith

    For over ten years, Ian Pratt at Pratt Cars has held a donation-match campaign throughout the month of November that helps bring in needed funds to area food pantries.  His idea came to fruition after realizing how great the needs are for the pantries in Washington County.  

    Anyone taking part in his matching-donation campaign could simply bring his or her donation to the front desk at the Pratt car dealership throughout the month of November, where all donations would be matched up to $10,000 — an increase from last year’s $5,000.  

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  19. Yiddish Wisdom for Augusta: Chutzpah, Mensch, Putz, Schmuck and Kochleffel

    by Jonathan Reisman

    My maternal Grandfather was born in 1898 in Brooklyn, New York, and named Abraham Lincoln Plaut by his German –Jewish immigrant parents. His father was a kosher butcher, and he became an entrepreneur, author, English teacher, and baseball coach. He idolized Woodrow Wilson, but nobody is perfect. He taught me pinochle, bridge, baseball, and how to read a financial statement. His best gift was Yiddish, which linked me to my ethnic immigrant past and gave me a rich lexicon of expressions still serving me all these years later.

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  20. Portland Press Herald names Corey Schwinn Volleyball Coach of the Year

    For Washington Academy Coach Corey Schwinn, volleyball is a year-round sport. He is a winning coach with four state championships and one large school championship in eight years. His commitment to performance and his players knows no season. For these reasons, he has been selected as the Portland Press Herald 2022 Volleyball Coach of the Year. 

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  21. Union 103 board elects officers, hires superintendent, sets central office budget

    by Nancy Beal 

    The Union 103 board that oversees the central office running Jonesport-Beals High School, Jonesport, and Beals Elementary Schools held its annual meeting Dec. 14 to elect officers, hire a superintendent for the 2023-2024 school year and pronounce its expectation of the amount of time he or she spends in each school unit.

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  22. The Nature of Phenology: Common mergansers and tomcod

    by Joseph Horn

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  23. Mills’ bill to provide fuel assistance stalls in senate

    by Will Tuell 

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  24. Bad Little Brewing closes its doors

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    Monday, Dec. 12, was the final day of operations for one of Machias’ newest businesses. Through a Dec. 1 Facebook post, Bad Little Brewing Company (BLB) co-owner Kathryn Toppan announced their intentions to close.

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  25. Jonesporters upset over grade 3 post; swarm school board, demand answers

    by Nancy Beal

    The third-grade teaching position wasn’t on the agenda of the Jonesport Elementary School board meeting last week, but the near-20 parents and teachers who crowded into the school’s library Dec. 7 clearly thought it should have been.

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  26. Area legislators take office

    by Will Tuell

    After months of intense campaigning, the 186 men and women of Maine’s 131st Legislature were sworn into office last week. The constitutionally prescribed ceremony, set for the first Wednesday in December, proved heavy on pomp, pageantry – and politics – as policymakers also deliberated on the merits of Gov. Janet Mills's (D-Farmington) nearly half billion supplemental budget designed to offer relief for those struggling with soaring energy costs. 

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  27. WA establishes the Agnes Walsh Scholarship Fund

    Agnes Ann Walsh passed away at 100 years of age on June 30, 2021. Miss Walsh generously bequeathed $50,000 to Washington Academy to support a scholarship fund for students pursuing post-secondary classics/romance language majors. Additionally, she has provided $200,000 to help support students studying this discipline at the University of Maine, at Orono (UMO), with priority given to Washington Academy graduates. Miss Walsh also provided a sizable gift, allowing UMO to endow a chair in the classics and romance languages department. 

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  28. DECH Auxiliary Holiday Craft Fair a spirited success

    The Down East Community Hospital Auxiliary’s 49th Annual Holiday Craft Fair was one of the holiday events that filled Machias’ calendar on Dec. 3.  The gym and halls were filled with a total of 41 crafters displaying their crafts, a six-item “Drop-in-the-Bucket” auction (aka Chinese Auction), a “Take home your Saturday night bean supper” table with all the fixings, and a very well-stocked kitchen offering lunch which included lobster rolls made with fresh local lobster.

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  29. Stories for 2023

    by Jonathan Reisman

    Several stories came across my laptop as 2022 wanes. They were not much mentioned by the legacy media, or they were spun as overwrought conservative conspiracy theories. 

    • Governor Mills seeks to regulate and muzzle the less-than-obedient press. 

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  30. Calais Celtic Concerts presents a Celtic Christmas Show Dec. 17

    Calais Celtic Concerts is extremely pleased to present the Internationally acclaimed, award-winning, musical sister-duo of Cassie and Maggie MacDonald, who are no strangers to Celtic Christmas, Holiday Magic! The sisters are part of a multi-generational musical dynasty, in which Christmas was always a time to gather near and sing boisterously, as in the days of old. The doors were always open to company when the New Year was just around the corner.

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  31. The Nature of Phenology: Rock polypody fern

    by Hazel Stark

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  32. Lubec man pleads guilty to stealing firearms from Machias True Value, threatening witness

    A Lubec man pleaded guilty today, Friday, Dec. 9,  in U.S. District Court in Bangor to stealing firearms from a federal firearms licensee, witness tampering, and retaliating against a witness.

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  33. Wesley Tree Festival raises an estimated $100,000 to support local youth

    by Will Tuell

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  34. District Attorney-elect Granger announces preliminary swearing-in plans

    By Will Tuell

    Newly elected Hancock-Washington County District Attorney Bob Granger, who narrowly ousted two-term incumbent Matt Foster in the November election, announced Saturday that he would be officially sworn into his post at the Hancock County Superior Courthouse in Ellsworth Sunday, January 1 at 9 a.m. Granger will also hold an “unofficial” swearing-in ceremony in Machias “later that day,” though plans have not been finalized as yet. 

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  35. Worcester Resources warns proposed moratorium endangers flagpole project

    by David Dahl, Maine Monitor

    The development company that wants to build a giant “Flagpole of Freedom” park in Columbia Falls warned Monday night that a proposed moratorium on major projects in the town could derail the venture.

    A lawyer for Worcester Resources told town officials that a moratorium would be “devastating” for the Flagpole park project because it could scare away potential investors, a warning echoed by a member of the Worcester family.  

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  36. Machias considers land purchase, sewer abatements

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon 

    The estate of Barbara L. Smith has offered to sell a half-acre lot to the town of Machias, partially in exchange for unpaid property tax and sewer bills related to other Smith properties. 

    At the Machias Board of Selectmen’s Nov. 9 meeting, realtor Nicole Ball spoke on the family’s behalf, offering 114 Dublin Street to the town for the reduced price of $85,000, down from a list price of $99,000 for the .54-acre lot.

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  37. Jonesport planners conditionally OK fish farm application; discussion on additional test sites, consultant continue

    by Nancy Beal 

    Three years and a week following an initial presentation by a Dutch company called Kingfish for a multi-million dollar land-based fish farm on 94 acres on the shore of Jonesport’s Eastern Bay, and after eight meetings on the ensuing application with the town’s planning board starting last July, Kingfish finally achieved a building permit for their monster project.

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  38. Climate COP Out

    by Jonathan Reisman

     

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  39. Eastport Arts Center to offer festive fundraiser

    Organizers of Eastport Arts Center's 13th Annual Festival of Trees are thrilled to have received the names and themes of this year's trees, as follows. In addition to the ‘main event’ of lovingly decorated tabletop trees available by silent bid, the event will feature a ticket raffle of gift-worthy items donated by local individuals and groups, live music, and take-out snacks. The event will be held from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., Saturday, December 10, and is a key fundraiser for the Center’s year-round programming for all ages. 

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  40. Classic drama continues for second weekend

    Stage East’s run of Tennessee Williams’ classic The Glass Menagerie will continue with shows on Friday, December 9, and Saturday, December 10, at 7 p.m., and Sunday, December 12, at 2 p.m., at 34 Water Street, downtown Eastport (across from the WaCo Diner. The production features familiar Stage East performers Jenie M.

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  41. The Nature of Phenology: Birch polypores

    by Hazel Stark

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  42. ‘Hungry Now’ documentary will have local premiere this Friday at UMM

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    You won’t hear documentary filmmaker Alan Kryszak’s voice in his fifth film, “Hungry Now”, which will have its regional premiere at UMaine Machias at 7 p.m. this Friday, Dec. 2. Instead, audiences will hear directly from the film’s subjects — people talking about or living with poverty, hunger, and homelessness, like Suzie, an adult student at UMaine Machias.

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  43. Medical office opens in Jonesport

    by Nancy Beal 

    For about a month, folks in the extended Moosabec area have had a new option when seeking medical treatment. At the end of October, BreAnna Libby opened Moosabec Medical Family Practice in Jonesport, across Main Street from the Jonesport Shipyard, in the little building behind the original (now vacant) Moosabec Video structure that once housed the school superintendent’s office.

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  44. County says no to four deputies, approves one deputy citing rising cost of everything

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    The Washington County Sheriff’s Office will hire one new deputy in 2023, not four, as requested by Sheriff Barry Curtis, following a vigorous debate and a 5 to 3 vote from the county budget advisory committee (BAC) on Monday, Nov. 21. 

    With the additional deputy, the 2022-23 county budget will total $13,429,218.50 (including just over $3 million in restricted federal ARPA funds), an expenditure increase of $962,343 over the prior year, and a net increase to taxation of $674,902.27, or 10.24 percent. 

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  45. Washington Academy detects unsafe levels of PFAS in school water supply

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    This month, Washington Academy Head of School Judson McBrine notified students and parents that the school’s water supply has tested above safe limits for Per-and Polyfluorinated Substances, known more commonly as PFAS or “Forever Chemicals.”

    “Today [Nov. 17] we received water test results that showed that we had 21.9 parts PFAS per trillion parts water, which is above the state’s threshold of 20 parts per trillion,” wrote McBrine. “The federal threshold is 70 parts per trillion.”

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