1. Local young woman fights back against sexual assault

    by Kaileigh Deacon 

    During the month of April, a light is shown on a topic that can often make people uncomfortable. April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, which gives a voice to survivors to share their stories, highlight means of support, and give strength to efforts for change. There is still a stigma around sexual assault despite progress having been made in the last several years, but thanks to survivors and their supporters, they are working to change that. 

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  2. BES board okays $998K budget, public to vote on May 17

    by Nancy Beal

    Last week, the Beals Elementary School board met and approved a proposed budget of $997,983 for the 2022-23 school year. This amount is an increase of $88,934 (9.78 percent) over last year’s bottom line of $909,049 and will cause taxpayers to foot a larger share of the total local appropriation.

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  3. Justin Day, RIP

    by Jonathan Reisman

     

    Justin Day, who served Down East Maine with honor and dignity for more than 50 years, passed away last week. He was 86 years old.

    Justin served as the First Selectman of Cooper for many years. He was also the primary assessor, land surveyor, a major landowner and blueberry grower, and the link between the Town County, and State government.

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  4. Palaver Strings’ statewide tour to include Eastport show

    Portland-based chamber orchestra Palaver Strings will present Welcome Here, a touring production celebrating Maine’s cultural diversity, resilience, and stewardship at 3 p.m., Sunday, May 1, at Eastport Arts Center.

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  5. 2022 DAR Good Citizens honored at Whiting reception

    The Hannah Weston Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution honored the Washington County high school seniors selected by their respective schools during the annual DAR Good Citizen reception held Tuesday, April 12, at the Whiting Community Center. The students had been named by the faculty and students as the school DAR Good Citizen for 2022 and were sponsored by the chapter in the state-wide selection of the 2022 Maine DAR Good Citizen.

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  6. The Nature of Phenology: Alder

    by Hazel Stark

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  7. The alternative to Not Brandon

    by Jonathan Reisman

     

    In 1994, Newt Gingrich led House Republicans out of 40 years of minority status with the Contract for America. Those mid-term elections pushed President Clinton back to the middle (like Brandon, he had run as a moderate but governed as a leftist) and set the stage for welfare reform, an actual budget surplus, bi-partisan policymaking, and political pluralism, where no one party was assumed to have a permanent monopoly grip on power.

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  8. Sen. Collins’ earmarks deliver nearly $5M Downeast

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    The quest for a crosswind runway in Machias soared one step closer to reality last month when Senator Susan Collins' office announced her first earmarks in a decade, including $1.25 million for the Machias Valley Municipal Airport, $1.125 million for a new Machiasport public works facility, and $2.5 million toward planning and design of a replacement fire station at the Cutler naval station.

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  9. Many local running races return for 2022

    by Phil Stuart

    The state of Maine road race schedule is much leaner than it was prior to the pandemic. Many races are coming back, but a lot are not as of late.

    A number of area runners mainly from the Bold Coast Running Club participated in the Annual Lamoine Half Marathon on March 5.

    Isaac Vaccaro of Bangor took first place honors in a time of 118.45, while Katie Norwood of Bar Harbor was the female champ in a time of 137.0.

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  10. bluShift Aerospace to seek bids from Downeast towns; launch from “lift boat” replaces land-based pad

    by Nancy Beal

    By email from the company’s spokesperson, bluShift Aerospace announced last week that it is developing a request for proposal application that towns can use to signal interest in bringing the Brunswick company to their borders. bluShift, a Maine start-up that plans to put small satellites (cubesats) into orbit for commercial and scientific purposes, had been looking seriously into a launch site in Jonesport, but strong opposition to the plan caused CEO Sascha Deri to withdraw it early last month.

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  11. East Machias girl breaks state cookie sales record

    Serenity Morse, a 10-year-old Juliette from East Machias, sold 2,083 boxes of cookies this year, setting a new record for the state of Maine and breaking Morse’s previous record of 2,023, and the state’s previous record of 2,033.

    Serenity was disappointed when her troop didn’t continue this year but loves being a Girl Scout, so she became a Juliette, a girl who participates in Girl Scouts as an individual member. She wanted to make sure that everyone in her community got a chance to support the movement by buying cookies. 

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  12. After four days lost Downeast, missing pup pair found

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    Miley Foss, age 8, and Waylon Foss age 3, two black labs from Brewer were visiting family Downeast when they were reported missing on Wednesday, April 6. Social media posts about the dogs were shared hundreds of times, in hopes of finding the pups who were lost in unfamiliar territory. 

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  13. Veteran stories: Marine vet Harlan Gardner, 100, lives to be kind

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    Harlan Gardner turns 100 this week, and though he’s worn many hats in all those years — Marine tail gunner, hearse driver, and mail carrier among them — it’s clear he’s also spent years honing his Downeast wit. He has a perpetual twinkle in his eye.

    “It’s a sad place to be, the last one of the line,” Harlan says, pausing. “I’m glad they picked a smart one to be on the end.”

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  14. Roque Bluffs Art Gallery announces 2022 programs

    The Roque Bluffs Art Gallery and Learning Center, (RBAG&LC), has a very ambitious schedule for this coming arts and crafts season. It starts off with a Youth Arts and Crafts Show Saturday, April 23. 

    “We want to support all the young artists and crafters by giving them a public platform to spotlight their talent”, says Bob McCollum, the Director of the RBAG&LC.

    “We’d like any young person under the age of 18 years old to participate by contacting me as soon as possible”, said McCollum.

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  15. The Nature of Phenology: Ring-necked ducks

    by Hazel Stark

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  16. MVH Board votes to keep Machias, Caribou veterans homes open

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    The Maine Veterans Homes in Machias and Caribou will remain open, instead of closing on April 15 and May 1 as announced in February. 

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  17. School urgently seeks donations to repair Machias softball field

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    Soon the weather will be warm enough — and the ground will be dry enough —  to practice softball outside. But for the Machias middle and high school softball teams, the conditions at Southside Field have rarely been optimal, no matter the weather.

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  18. $225,730 raised in Beals town meeting; town takes over post office lease

    by Nancy Beal

    Two dozen Beals citizens turned out for the annual town meeting March 28 and took two hours electing officers and raising $225,730. As usual, salaries and snow and solid waste removal commanded the highest figures, but two new issues surfaced. The now-defunct town office — an old 20-by-20-foot shed at the corner of Cemetery Road and Bridgeview Street that was replaced in the 1990s by a doublewide on the old school property — will be torn down. Also, the town will become the channel through which island postal service will continue to run.

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  19. ‘Destination Academy’ asks locals to envision sustainable tourism Downeast

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    Forty community leaders and business owners converged on the Cobscook Institute in Trescott March 15 for the first of three workshops in the “Way Downeast” Community Destination Academy, sponsored by the Maine Office of Tourism (MOT) and Maine Woods Consortium. Representatives from four communities — Machias, Lubec, Eastport, and Calais — were led through a series of presentations and exercises on the theme of tourism.

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  20. Jonesport marina grant effort needs support letters; inhouse squabble over appointment procedure settled

    by Nancy Beal

    The full Jonesport select board met last week for the first time since the March 14 town meeting, at which Logan Alley outpolled select chair Dwight Alley and ended his 12-year term on the three-person board. Logan had been out of town March 16 and 23 (selectmen meet each Wednesday), but the unexpired selectmen, Harry Fish and Billy Milliken met March 16. There was no meeting on March 23.

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  21. Eastport Coast Guard saves life on St. Croix River

    On the morning of Saturday, April 2, the U.S. Coast Guard Station Eastport received a call from Washington County Regional Communications Center reporting a person out of their boat with no lifejacket near St. Croix Island, in the tidal St. Croix River, which runs between Calais and Canada.

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  22. Spring

    by Jonathan Reisman

     

    When I was growing up in Philadelphia, March and April meant spring. In my high school years in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, warmer temperatures and longer days corresponded to tennis practice and matches. By mid to late April, temperatures in the high 70s and low 80s were not uncommon. The City of Brotherly Love was fully greened and often sweltering by May Day.

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  23. Submissions wanted for blueberry festival t-shirt design

    The 45th Annual Machias Wild Blueberry Festival seeks designs for this year’s t-shirt. The winning design will be used for the Machias Wild Blueberry Festival 2022 T-shirts. These shirts have become collector's items for many.

    The design will also be used for a United States Postal Cancellation stamp that is available during the festival, and for one month after the festival at the Machias, ME post office.

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  24. Downeast historic film series continues in Machias

    The Machias Bay Chamber is hosting a 2022 Historic Film and Discussion Series. We will be showing a film at 6:30 p.m. each Friday in April at the train station, borrowed from the collection at Northeast Historic Film in Bucksport. Each movie will be followed by a discussion and refreshments with an expert on each topic. These events are partially funded through a Downeast Wind community grant. Space is limited to 45 people; the event is free but donations will happily be accepted. Upcoming showings and speakers include:

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  25. The Nature of Phenology: Hibernators waking up

    by Hazel Stark

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  26. Machias and Caribou veterans homes to remain open

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    The Maine Veterans Homes in Machias and Caribou will stay open, not closing operations as in February announced, according to a letter from MVH CEO Kelly J. Kash.

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  27. 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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  28. Governor signs veterans home bill; unclear if Machias closure will be avoided

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    A bill signed today by Governor Janet Mills paves the way to send $3.5 million in state and federal funding to Maine Veterans Homes, but it is unclear whether LD 2001 will halt the planned closures of the MVH facilities in Machias and Caribou, set to shut down April 15 and May 1 respectively. 

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  29. 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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  30. School urgently seeks donations to repair Machias softball field

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    Soon the weather will be warm enough — and the ground will be dry enough —  to practice softball outside. But for the Machias middle and high school softball teams, the conditions at Southside Feld have never been optimal, no matter the weather.

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  31. Aerospace moratorium enacted in Beals

    by Nancy Beal

    For the second time in four months, a Moosabec town has placed a moratorium on the development of aerospace within its borders. On March 21, by a vote of 19-0, Beals residents enacted a 180-day pause in the introduction of rocketry into the area, during which time the town will develop an ordinance regulating aerospace activity. Jonesport passed a similar measure last December.

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  32. Machias voters to weigh in on costs to repair school gym roof

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    At a special town meeting to be held Tuesday, March 29, Machias voters will be asked to weigh in on the cost of restoration and repairs to the gymnasium roof at Rose M. Gaffney Elementary School.

    The need to repair and restore the roof has been on the town’s radar for several years, at least. Most of the roof is well over 30 years old, says A.O.S. 96 Superintendent Scott Porter. 

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  33. Washington County’s McBrine named 2021 Maine Game Warden of the Year

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    Joe McBrine was hunting, fishing, and trapping before most people learn their state capitols, often racing off early before school to set traps along the Middle River, then checking them again at night. He was in the 5th grade when he first considered becoming a game warden, and it looks like he made the right decision. Last week the Maine Warden Service named McBrine the 2021 Maine Game Warden of the Year, honoring his commitment, skill, and 27-plus years of service protecting the people and wild places of Washington County. 

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  34. Equity and social justice at Maine’s public universities

    by Jonathan Reisman

     

    Over the last year, frequent communications from University of Maine System leaders Chancellor Malloy and UM/UMM President Ferrini-Mundy endorsed “equity” and “social justice” without ever actually defining those terms. Since the vast majority of the academic community is left of center and those who are not are well advised to keep their mouths shut, it is unlikely that the President and Chancellor heard any dissenting or differing (as in diverse) points of view.

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  35. Maine Maple Sunday weekend was a hit

    by Ronie Strout

    Saturday and Sunday March 26-27 was Sugar Maple Weekend, for Lewis Church and his crew at Church’s Sugar Shack. It is located right off Route one in Columbia Falls.

    Anyone that stopped by, all 471 of them, could learn the process of making maple syrup, from tapping the trees and gathering the sap to the products that can be made from it.

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  36. Pembroke Historical Society presentation to look at archaeology at local indigenous sites April 21

    Most Pembroke Historical Society programs have been about the late 18th through early 20th centuries, with such topics as the American Revolution, the Civil War, the Abolition of Slavery, and the Women's Suffrage Movement, but on Thursday evening, April 21st, on ZOOM, PHS will travel much further back for some "Really, Really Old History" with a presentation on archaeology at Pembroke sites of settlement by Indigenous Peoples, including Reversing Falls.

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  37. U.S. Senate backs shift to permanent daylight saving time

    by Ariana Figueroa

    The U.S. Senate with little debate on March 15 unanimously supported a permanent change to daylight saving time, several days after Americans once again went through the hated “spring forward” ritual of changing their clocks.

    If the bill, the Sunshine Protection Act, clears the House, it would mean most states would stay on daylight saving time throughout the year — giving them an extra hour of sunlight in the evening. 

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  38. Lauren Beal receives MPA Principal’s Award

    Lauren Beal of Beals, a senior at Jonesport-Beals High School, has been selected to receive the 2022 Principal's Award, Principal Michael Kelley announced today.  The award, sponsored by the Maine Principals' Association, is given in recognition of a high school senior's academic achievement and citizenship.

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  39. The Nature of Phenology: Spring bark harvesting

    by Joseph Horn

    For many New Englanders, late winter and early spring is the season for sap flow. Their bodies buzz with excitement as they dust off their pales and set taps as they begin the maple sugaring season. But it’s not just syrup-producing trees that are experiencing a rush of sap this time of year; just about all our trees do as they push water and nutrients from their roots and the soil into their tissues in preparation for new spring growth. As a result, this also happens to be the prime time for gathering tree bark.

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  40. 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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  41. Machias festival season coming back in a big way

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    There’s nothing like summer dreaming to make the drab days of March feel a little bit better so get ready to shake off the late-winter doldrums! After a two-year pandemic hiatus, the Machias area summer festivities are coming back in a big way from June through August, including the iconic Machias Wild Blueberry Festival. Here, you’ll find what you need to mark your calendar for Machias summer fun, listed in chronological order. Stay tuned to future editions for a calendar of the entire county’s summer events, too.

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  42. Three offices change hands in Jonesport; aerospace ops nixed by wide margin

    by Nancy Beal

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  43. Testing to enter Canada soon to be a thing of the past

    by Jayna Smith

    The requirement of a negative COVID-19 test to enter Canada will finally come to an end on April 1.  

    Entry into Canada will still require the use of the ArriveCAN app or website.  As well, those who travel into Canada or into the United States will still need to be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.  

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  44. King begins work on new Machias apartment building

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    For those hunting for a place to live in Machias, some relief is on the horizon. King Construction Services has broken ground on an eight-unit apartment building located at 63 Court Street. 

    Justin King, CEO of King Construction, said he hopes to have the Court Street property completed later this year, and that it is only the first of many apartments his company plans to build.

    “We have plans to develop between 50 and 100 apartments in the area over the next five years,” said King.

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  45. When stagecoaches traveled the ‘Shoreland Route’

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    The St. Croix Historical Society in Calais recently drew social media attention to a Concord Coach that, in the mid-1800s, regularly traveled “the Shoreland Route” from Bangor to Ellsworth to Machias, finally arriving in Calais. Painted in its signature red, the roof of the coach is painted “Bangor, Machias, & Calais.” Nothing is known about where the coach stopped in Machias.

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