1. The Nature of Phenology: Red fox breeding season

    by Hazel Stark

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  2. Machias PD confirms OUI arrest 3 days prior to murders, Bonfanti’s first appearance set

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    Thomas Bonfanti of Northfield was charged with murder on Monday, Feb. 3, after a 30-minute shooting rampage that left two men and one woman dead, and another woman critically injured. The shootings took place at three different locations in Machias and Jonesboro, and Bonfanti was arrested at the American Legion on Court Street in Machias. 

    Bonfanti will make his first appearance in court on Wednesday, Feb. 5 in Calais. He is represented by attorney Jeffrey Silverstein.

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  3. Jonesport fish farmers to hold sessions on water system

    by Nancy Beal

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  4. Rural Maine vets face suicide crisis

    by Tanya Rucosky

    Maine’s rural veterans are in the midst of a suicide crisis with counties like Washington and Aroostook at the epicenter. The Veterans Administration’s 2019 National Veteran Suicide Prevention Annual Report notes economic disparity, lack of health care access and community services all contribute to increased suicide rates in veterans. Sadly, economically challenged, rural areas concentrate on these difficulties in places like Downeast Maine.

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  5. 50 years ago this week: The collapse of the old Toll Bridge

    by Valdine Atwood

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  6. Locally-filmed ‘Lobster War’ explores grey zone conflict, now available online

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    A movie filmed off the coast of Washington County is now available for streaming on all major online websites such as Amazon, iTunes, Vimeo and YouTube. “Lobster War: The Fight Over the World’s Richest Fishing Grounds,” tells the story of increasing tensions in the waters between Washington County and Canada, locally referred to as “the grey zone.”

    “There's a longstanding, ongoing dispute out there,” said Cutler fisherman Brian Cates, who is featured in the film. “That’s why it’s called the grey zone.”

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  7. Narraguagus basketball and family: a winning combination

    by Wayne Smith

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  8. Free ice fishing and winter fun on Chalk Pond

    Take advantage of the free fishing weekend on Saturday, Feb. 15.  Discover the basics of ice fishing on Chalk Pond in Bedlington with the Downeast Salmon Federation(DSF). (Snow Date Sunday, Feb. 16). Join us from 12 to 4 p.m. and enjoy an afternoon out on the ice!  DSF Fish Biologist Brett Ciccotelli will provide equipment and advice to kids of all ages. Meanwhile, snowshoe enthusiasts can join Land Trust Director Tanya Rucosky exploring the nearby Little Narraguagus Preserve.

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  9. 3 WA wrestlers place at PVC championship

    by Lupe Soto

    Washington Academy Wrestling ended the regular Dual Meet season with a 17-8 record.

    With the regular season behind them, the Raider wrestlers knew their fate was in their own hands. The team competed in the Penobscot Valley Conference Championship, held Saturday, Feb. 1 at Mt. Desert Island (MDI).

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  10. Machias schools enact two lockdowns in two days

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    A web-based threat sent Friday, Jan. 31 listed Machias and Jonesport-Beals schools as potential targets for violence along with eight other Maine schools. Both Machias and Jonesport-Beals responded by notifying parents that the threat occurred, that authorities deemed it not credible, and by going into “soft lockdown.” Local law enforcement was dispatched to protect them, and all after-school and weekend activities were canceled at both schools.

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  11. Moosehead brookies

    by V. Paul Reynolds

    Henry David Thoreau, beholding Moosehead Lake for the first time, wrote this: “a gleaming silver platter at the end of the table.”

    If only he could have seen the lake from the air! The first time that I saw the big lake from the air in a northbound ski-plane my jaw dropped. The expansiveness, not only of the lake itself but the entire north woods watershed, presents a panorama like no other.

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  12. The Nature of Phenology: Winter photosynthesis

    by Joseph Horn

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  13. 3 killed in Machias, Jonesboro shooting rampage

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    Three people were killed and a fourth injured in a shooting rampage that took place at three locations in Machias and Jonesboro on the morning of Monday, Feb. 3. 

    Maine State Police Lt. Troy Gardner spoke at a press conference in front of the Washington County Courthouse Monday evening and said that suspect Thomas Bonfanti, 63, of Northfield,  has been arrested and charged with murder after the shooting deaths of Shawn Currey, 57, Samuel Powers, 33, and Jennifer Bryant Flynn, 49. A fourth victim, a female, was injured and is hospitalized.

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  14. Press-Conference on Machias shooting with 3 dead and one in hospital

    Click here to view the press conference https://www.facebook.com/machiasnews/videos/194917595237717/

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  15. Roque Bluffs wins $1M grant to build fiber optic network

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

     

    Countless hours spent in pursuit of a federal grant have paid off for Roque Bluffs, now the winner of a $1M award that will enable the town to build its own broadband network. Axiom Technologies will administer the network which, when built, will offer every home in Roque Bluffs state-of-the-art internet service.

     

    “From my perspective this a game changer for Washington County,” said Axiom President Mark Ouellette. “Roque Bluffs is now going to have better connectivity than New York City.”

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  16. ‘Four Girls with a Goal’ lead campaign for new Jonesboro playground

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    It started with a third-grade classroom assignment: write a persuasive letter to your teacher about something you want.

    “We want more playground equipment because it’s not much fun on our side of the playground,” said Aynslee Emery, one of the Jonesboro Elementary students who have organized themselves into a fundraising team called “Four Girls with a Goal.”

    Principal and teacher Marjorie Hicks said the assignment wasn’t only about making a wish.

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  17. ‘We are not Washington. We are Maine.’

    by Ruth Leubecker

    In a proud tone, describing trying times and predicting unity and growth for Maine, the state’s first female governor presented her first State of the State address on Tuesday.

    “Maine’s economy is on a solid footing and growing,” said Gov. Janet Mills. “Revenues are up, gross domestic product is up, housing starts, construction and car sales are up, and the state budget has a healthy surplus.”

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  18. Jonesport budget set, goes to voters March 9

    by Nancy Beal

    Jonesport’s budget committee met with their selectmen and treasurer January 22 and reviewed and approved a slate of expenses for 2020-21 to be sent to the voters for action at the upcoming town meeting, scheduled for March 9 at 3:30 p.m. The grand total is $688,598 but that figure includes $40,000 in the off chance that voters break with recent tradition and approve a discount for taxes paid early. If the $40,000 is rejected, the 2020-21 budget will be under last year’s amount by $2,005.

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  19. Machias public hearing to discuss marijuana, ordinances and airport

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    The Machias Board of Selectmen will host a public hearing on Wednesday, Jan. 29, to take feedback on seven items, including proposed updates to three existing ordinances, and a new proposed adult use marijuana ordinance.

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  20. New Food Pantry Director Mommens speaks to Machias Rotary Club

    by Wayne Peters

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  21. Girl Scout cookie sales have begun

    by Jayna Smith

    Area Girl Scouts have begun their annual cookie sales campaign.  The girls are ready to demonstrate goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills, and business ethics--the “5 Skills" each Girl Scout learns through the cookie program.

    Girls will soon be selling cookies at booths, door-to-door, and through Digital Cookie, the national digital platform that enables girls to learn 21st-century skills while selling cookies through their own personalized cookie websites or face-to-face using a mobile transaction app.

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  22. Hearing voices at Hammond Hall

    by Wayne Smith

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  23. Downeast historian speaks in NYC

    Stephen Sanfilippo, known to many in our Downeast communities for his performances of historic music and his volunteer work with the Pembroke Historical Society, was a participant at the annual meeting and conference of the American Historical Association held in New York City in early January 2020. Stephen, who taught grades 9-12 history courses for many years, served as chair for a teacher training session on the use of local historical archives by high school, middle school and elementary school students.

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  24. Open Mic series continues

    EAC’s Second Saturday Open Mic series continues on February 8, from 6-8 p.m. Spectators and performers of all ages are invited to the family-friendly event, which is held downstairs at EAC. The opening act for February’s event will be Lauren Koss, singing and accompanying herself on her baritone ukulele. The series began January 10 with diverse performances and an enthusiastic audience. “Our talented January musicians were Brandy and Ross Argir, Dan Cashore, Audrey Bradbury, Beth Goodliff and Rachel Bailey,” noted organizer, Alison Brennan.

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  25. The Nature of Phenology: Black bear cubs being born

    by Hazel Stark

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  26. Dutch fish farmers mingle with Jonesporters

    by Nancy Beal

    Kingfish Zeeland, the Dutch company that aspires to build a $100 million land-based fish farm in Jonesport on 95 acres of waterfront on Chandler Bay and employ up to 70 local laborers, wants to be a good neighbor. Aware of the difficulties that similar ventures have encountered elsewhere on the Maine coast (read Belfast and Bucksport), Kingfish Zeeland’s managers have gone out of their way to extend an olive branch to the folks whose community their project would dramatically alter.

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  27. Roads slide into further disrepair as costs rise sharply

    by Ruth Leubecker

    As Maine’s embattled highways continue in a holding pattern for repairs, it becomes glaringly obvious that such a mode of operation is no longer sustainable.
    The Blue Ribbon Commission to Study and Recommend Funding Solutions for the State’s Transportation System is as wordy and challenging as its mission. Rep. Tom Martin (R-Greene) who sponsored the bill to create the commission reinforces that statement.

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  28. Local professor’s lawsuit on appeal to US Supreme Court

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    A case originally filed in Maine is on appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

    University of Maine at Machias Professor Jonathan Reisman is the plaintiff in Reisman v. Associated Faculties of the University of Maine (AFUM), et al, the union which represents all faculty members in the state university system. The University of Maine at Machias, Board of Trustees of the University of Maine, and the state of Maine are also parties to the suit.  

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  29. DMR lottery opens lucrative elver fishery

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    The Maine Department of Marine Resources (DMR) last week announced it would be conducting a lottery to award nine licenses into the lucrative elver fishery. Authorized by the legislature in 2017, the lottery will take the fishery to its legal limit of 425 licenses statewide. The lottery opened for entries on Jan. 16 and will close at 4:30 p.m. on Feb. 21.

    The nine available licenses are the result of licenses that were not renewed in 2018 and 2019.

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  30. MaineCF grants available for Washington County nonprofits

    Nonprofit and public organizations seeking funding for projects that strengthen communities are encouraged to apply to the Maine Community Foundation’s Community Building Grant Program.

    A volunteer committee of Washington County residents and community leaders reviews grants and makes recommendations for funding. The deadline for applying is February 15, 2020. Application, guidelines, and a list of 2019 grants are available at www.mainecf.org.

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  31. Richard Stacey, live and unplugged

    by Wayne Smith

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  32. Whitneyville Library News

    Winter has finally settled in as the Friends of the Library are getting ready for their Valentine's candy sale.  It will be chocolate and baked goods on Friday, Feb. 7 and Saturday, Feb. 8 at the library. If you are looking for something special to get your sweetie or loved one, how about some homemade candies.  Our regular chocolates as well as caramels, needhams, peppermint patties and peanut butter balls will also be for sale along with some baked goods.

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  33. Bold Coast Yoga School opens for applications

    Samantha Williams, owner of Bold Coast Yoga, is pleased to announce she will offer two yoga teacher training programs, a 200-hour and 300-hour course, beginning in April at West Quoddy Station in Lubec. The 200-hour training program is for those who want to become yoga teachers or learn more about yoga, while the 300-hour training is for those who have already completed the 200-hour level training. Participants will be guided through a wide range of yoga-focused topics including anatomy, alignment, teaching techniques and methodology, and yogic philosophy.

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  34. WIth grant, Washington Academy to launch mobile app development training program for local businesses

    Washington Academy has received a $10,000 grant from the Maine Community Foundation to develop a mobile app development training program for local small businesses in Washington County. The funds are through the combination of the Downeast Innovation Fund ($6,605) and the Belvedere Natural Resource Preservation Fund Downeast ($3,395).

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  35. CCLC is now Cobscook Institute

    Cobscook Community Learning Center (CCLC) in Trescott was created more than 20 years ago to find ways to improve life in the rural region of Downeast Maine. As the organization grew and matured, it developed into something far more than a community learning center, and they believe their name should reflect that. So effective January 15, CCLC is changing its name to Cobscook Institute.

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  36. The Nature of Phenology: Snowflake formation

    by Joseph Horn

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  37. Ray Reynolds

    August 19, 1931 - December 1, 2019

     

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  38. Welcome Initiative works to draw new workforce, residents Downeast

    by Tanya Rucosky

    Mano en Mano and Sunrise County Economic Council (SCEC) are partnering to grow the year-round workforce in Washington County by building affordable housing for seasonal workers through their new Welcome Initiative. “When you look at the big picture demographics,” said Charles Rudelitch, SCEC’s Executive Director, “we see the population of Washington County, and particularly the workforce going down.”

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  39. Skidgel family thanks community for ‘overwhelming support’ after loss

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    Speaking on behalf of her entire family, Angela Skidgel said she was “forever grateful” for the outpouring of support, sympathy and kindness showered on them after the deaths of her grandfather Darold Ames and son Gavin Skidgel in a car accident that took place on Friday, Jan. 3.

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  40. Healthcare top priority in Augusta as consumers struggle

    by Ruth Leubecker

    Dominating the legislative agenda even as nonpolitical leaders strive to make a bigger difference, healthcare in Maine still remains an out-of-reach necessity for many.

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  41. Machias Food Pantry makes plans for the future

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    The numbers are bleak: One in six Maine seniors don’t have enough to eat; one in five Maine children go hungry, and 37 percent of Maine’s food-insecure population does not qualify for public assistance. The numbers also hit close to home. Since she began volunteering in 2017, Machias Food Pantry Director Eunice Mommens has seen a significant increase in the number of clientele using the pantry’s services.

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  42. Downeast Wind TIF hearing draws crowds to county courthouse

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    Washington County Commissioner Chris Gardner opened a public hearing last week explaining what the hearing was — and was not — for.

    “I understand the large number of people in this room tonight is because there are some strong feelings on this subject. I want to make it clear that the commissioners are not the committee of jurisdiction for approving or disapproving this project,” said Gardner. “It’s approved or disapproved by the DEP and the LUPC.”

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  43. Machias talks police department, airport bids and special meeting

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    At their first meeting of the new year, the Machias Board of Selectmen heard from Machias Police Chief Todd Hand who was hired last year and this month assumed the role full-time. Hand’s background includes 25 years in Florida law enforcement, as well as several years teaching at Florida State Law Enforcement Academy, Saint Leo University, and Unity College.

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  44. Eagles dying from lead bullets — without being shot

    by Jayna Smith

    Avian Haven (avianhaven.org), located in Freedom, is a rehabilitation center dedicated to the return of injured and orphaned wild birds to their natural roles in the wild.  Last week, the center admitted two bald eagles from two separate areas, each experiencing symptoms due to lead poisoning.  Unfortunately, one of the birds did not survive.

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  45. My brother David

    by Wayne Smith

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