1. Washington County lags in census response

    by Nancy Beal

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  2. Rural Maine faces tough obstacles in health care turmoil

    by Ruth Leubecker

    Substandard broadband and ill-suited federal policies have seriously hampered information technology from bringing optimum health care to rural Maine.

    The hurdles for rural Mainers are often insurmountable, plagued by a lack of resources, generally hinging on insufficient manpower and funding.

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  3. J’pt, C’Falls sweeten their withdrawal offer from PRSWDD

    by Nancy Beal

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  4. Working on the frontline

    by Wayne Smith

    I caught up with one of my cousins. Tianna Muniz is 21 years old and works at Lawrence General Hospital in Massachusetts where she is a nurse’s aide. She works on the COVID-19 floor, and she talked about what she does there. She talked about how she has dealt with different situations and about how it takes a toll on her mentally and physically. She also speaks about where she gets her inspiration. She was brave to tell her story, at times her voice shook yet we got through it.

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  5. Out and About in Columbia

    by Ronie Strout

     

    We had quite a snowstorm on Thursday evening, April 9, into Friday so that we had to have a two-hour delay to deliver the school lunches. Some folks in the area lost power but we did not on the Ridge. Thank goodness, and hopefully, the next storm that is predicted will also not affect us. If we are getting high winds here then there is the chance that some trees will fall over onto the wires. As long as everyone stays safe is all that matters.

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  6. Multicolored Asian Lady Beetles find shelter in many homes

    by Natalie Boomer

    Many of us have noticed ladybugs in our homes recently. These bugs are actually a specific type of ladybug known as the Multicolored Asian Lady Beetle, and they become more common in New England homes during times of cold weather.

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  7. WCCC launches online business management program

    Technology is rapidly changing the business world. Team members are able to engage and productively collaborate with one another no matter where they are physically located. To foster a new generation of business leaders who are well-prepared to thrive in an online environment, Washington County Community College [WCCC] is now offering its popular Business Management program fully online.

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  8. Constrained supplies continue to slow widespread coronavirus testing

     

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    Washington County’s detected COVID-19 case count has not changed since one case was reported on April 2, leading many to wonder if there are actually any active cases in Washington County. 

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  9. Sewing circle makes face masks on virtual assembly line

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    Bags of fabric are crisscrossing Washington County along a virtual assembly line so precisely orchestrated, the people working on it never see each other. Working remotely, the Washington County Covid-19 Mask Sewing Circle has already delivered more than 500 cloth face masks, and taken orders for 1,200 more.

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  10. Jonesport selectmen ‘Zoom’ in on town business

    by Nancy Beal

    With guidance from Jared Guillette of the Washington County Council of Governments (WCCOG), the Jonesport selectmen met last week, linked by the video conferencing system known as Zoom, and the public was able to watch and join in. During their hour meeting, they dealt with recreational marina floats, an appraisal of the hoped-for commercial marina, and listened to another presentation on broadband.

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  11. Daredevil cyclist was born in West Quoddy Head Lighthouse

    by Ruth Leubecker

    Fittingly born a pioneering firecracker on the Fourth of July 1895, Hazel Marion Eaton also is distinguished by being the only person born in the West Quoddy Head Lighthouse. Not the family’s living quarters, but the tower itself.

    Her father, Edwin Eaton, assistant lighthouse keeper (1895-1900), was overseeing the painting of the main house when her mother became nauseous from the paint fumes. Eaton ushered his pregnant wife into the tower for some relief, where she promptly went into labor, and Hazel was soon born.  

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  12. $2T coronavirus relief package includes stimulus checks

    by Jayna Smith

    Within just a couple of weeks, many Americans will be receiving economic impact payments to help deal with the economic fallout as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. This money is part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act).

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  13. WWII vet Mac McKean prepares to celebrate 100th birthday in Florida

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    Francis “Mac” McKean had planned to celebrate his April 16 birthday in Machias with friends and his traditional birthday treat — a coconut cream pie from Helen’s Restaurant. But due to the coronavirus pandemic, those plans are indefinitely postponed. Instead, McKean will turn 100 in Florida where he spent the winter with his son. But even as he waits, McKean is hatching plans to travel back to Maine this summer so he can celebrate his birthday in grand style, with old friends.

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  14. Fires claim two Jonesboro homes

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    Jonesboro-Roque Bluffs Fire Chief Mike Schoppee said no people were injured in separate fires that destroyed two homes last week.

    Seven departments responded to a fire that destroyed the home of Joe and Janet Mawhinney in Jonesboro on Sunday, March 29. Chief Schoppee said a wood fire in an outbuilding spread to the main structure. “The [outbuilding] was fully engulfed when we arrived,” said Schoppee, “and the garage was already on fire, and it was attached to the house.”

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  15. WHRL becomes Women for Healthy Rural Living

    After 15 years of advancing opportunities for health and wellness in Downeast Maine, the Women’s Health Resource Library (WHRL) is changing its name. In 2005, the organization was born out of a desire to help women and families become active and informed partners in their own health care via a lending library. Over the years, WHRL realized that wellness is best advanced by going out into the community and helping people meet their most fundamental needs. This hands-on approach has proven far more effective than the lending library, which is now the least of their services.

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  16. DECH sets record straight on supply shortages

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    Down East Community Hospital spokesperson Julie Hixson last week took to social media to address inaccurate rumors that the hospital’s lack of PPEs (personal protective equipment) was due to financial constraints.

    “This couldn’t be further from the truth,” wrote Hixson. “We feel it is important to communicate to our staff and community members that our access to PPE has nothing, whatsoever, to do with our financial condition or decisions.”

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  17. Center strives to nourish arts community

    by Lauren Koss

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  18. New fishing regulations

    by V. Paul Reynolds

    Fishing regulations, like any rules or regulations, are not easy to love. Some time ago, as fishing law books got thicker and the water-by-water rules got increasingly complex with multiple S-codes and exceptions to the General Law, a cynic made the observation that a serious law-abiding angler needed two companions with him on the water: a Sherpa to carry the law book and a lawyer to interpret the regulations and S code for each body of water.

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  19. State ‘Stay Healthy at Home’ directive: What does it change Downeast?

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    Governor Janet Mills held a press conference yesterday announcing new, stricter measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Maine. Called the “Stay Healthy at Home” directive, the measure urges Mainers to self-isolate, extends the prohibition on classroom education until May 1, and puts specific headcount limitations on essential retail establishments like grocery stores and gas stations.

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  20. Schools working overtime to provide learning, food, and normalcy — from a distance

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    Teacher Caitlyn Roy reported to work on Friday, March 13 expecting a day of professional development workshops. Instead, she and her fellow teachers were told to prepare 15 days worth of lesson plans, and quickly.

    “We still didn’t know if [a shutdown] was happening, or when,” said Roy, who together with Kelly Woodward teaches fifth grade at Rose M. Gaffney Elementary (RMG) in Machias. “We had to create lesson plans for math, but we didn’t know what the lessons would be about, so we had to make plans that were fill-in-the-blank.”

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  21. 400 acres around Vining Lake acquired by Downeast Coastal Conservancy

    by Nancy Beal

    Several hundred acres surrounding a prime brook trout habitat that is also a popular ice fishing lake in the town of Cooper will be preserved for the people of Washington County and beyond through the sale last month to the Downeast Coastal Conservancy (DCC), the Sunrise County’s foremost land trust headquartered in Machias. DCC took title to the acreage around Vining Lake on March 12 from a couple who wanted the area to remain undeveloped and available to the public in perpetuity for low-impact recreational use.

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  22. Area residents weigh in on mounting coronavirus crisis

    by Ruth Leubecker

    While Washington County remains free of confirmed cases of coronavirus, the average person appears to be realistically appraising the inevitable.

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  23. ‘Nimble’ agencies ramp to meet increasing needs Downeast

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    In February, Washington County reported the highest level of unemployment of any county in Maine, registering 7.7 percent and up from 6.4 percent in 2019, according to the Maine Department of Labor. That number does not include fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic which began to close area businesses in mid-March.

    As the economic impacts of COVID-19 closures hit home, Community Caring Collaborative (CCC) Director Charley Martin-Berry said Washington County agencies are ramping to help people struggling every day to make ends meet.

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  24. Hanscom awarded bid for DCF demolition

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    Representative Will Tuell (R-E. Machias) Sunday announced that Maine Department of Corrections has awarded a bid for demolition and abatement of the Downeast Correctional Facility (DCF) to local contractor Hanscom Construction.

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  25. In changing times, East Machias selectboard broadcasts meeting online

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    Video can be watched here: https://www.facebook.com/eastmachias/videos/747019195704104/

    The East Machias Board of Selectmen held a meeting on Thursday, March 26 and streamed the proceeding so that residents could watch from a safe distance. The state has prohibited all gatherings of 10 or more people and strongly urged everyone to avoid non-essential gatherings of any size to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

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  26. Without ICU, DECH prepares response to COVID-19

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    Though no cases of COVID-19 have yet been detected in Washington County, Down East Community Hospital in Machias has implemented plans to respond.

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  27. Jonesport selectmen go to the video

    by Nancy Beal

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  28. Help for fishermen affected by the pandemic

    by Nancy Beal

    Ordinarily around 6 a.m. this time of year, those living near the coast would begin to hear boat engines come to life, as lobstermen came out of their winter cocoons and began setting and hauling their traps. Not this spring.

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  29. JBHS, JES board vote on employee hires, budget

    by Nancy Beal

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  30. Machias scavenger hunt set to repeat April 4-5

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    Ben Bunker said he came up with the idea for a driving scavenger hunt as a way to draw families out of their houses during this time of social distancing.
    “I’ve got a little extra time, and I thought, ‘This won’t take much to put together, and it’s something good for the kids,’” said Bunker, sales manager at Whitney TriTown Marine in Machias.

    He reached out to area businesses, and the response was overwhelming. More than 30 agreed to participate, so Bunker is repeating the event this coming weekend, April 4-5.

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  31. AC Inc. open for business, ‘It’s important to be here’

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    Fourth-generation Beals business A.C. Inc. is open and will continue to operate in the coming weeks, according to owner Albert Carver. As a seafood buyer and wholesaler, A.C. Inc. is deemed an essential service and will continue operations during a two-week state mandate that shuttered non-essential retail establishments on March 24.

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  32. Tuesday update: Maine active COVID-19 count climbs to 118

     

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention today announced active COVID-19 counts have risen to 118, and 11-case increase over the day prior. Seven people have recovered from the illness, making Maine’s total known cases 125 since it was first detected here on March 12.

     Cumberland County remains the most affected, with a total of 74 active cases, and five recoveries.

     No cases have yet been detected in Washington County, though experts say it is likely here.

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  33. Geocaching, story trails, and scavenger hunts: local conservancy offers outdoor fun for ‘uncertain times’

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    In response to the coronavirus pandemic, a local land conservancy is spreading the word that schools, libraries, and restaurants may be closed, but nature is not.

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  34. DEI’s ‘gold’ mussel could open national markets to Downeast aquaculture

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    You walk into an upscale eatery and order mussels dressed in garlic almond butter. A bowl of steamy shellfish comes to your table, but first, they could have come from anywhere in the world: Spain, New Zealand, Chile or, most likely, eastern Canada.

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  35. PRSWDD’s fate on the bubble as Columbia decides to stay or leave; Jonesport, Columbia Falls question tonnage

    by Nancy Beal

    There has been no overt movement on the year-long attempt of Jonesport and Columbia Falls to leave the Pleasant River Solid Waste Disposal District (PRSWDD) in recent weeks. The arena has moved from the board room to behind the closed doors of lawyers hired by each side to represent their interests.

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  36. DECH recognized for third year as standout in Donate Life

    by Ruth Leubecker

    “When I came here to work, Sue Dorr was the liaison for the New England Organ Bank,” says Donna Renshaw, operating room nurse at Down East Community Hospital. “Every death at the hospital needed to be reported to the organ bank.”

    Twenty-five-plus years later, the organ bank is now New England Donor Services. Sue Dorr has long retired, Renshaw has assumed her role as liaison, and the Machias hospital has been recognized nationally as a topflight winner in promoting organ donation.

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  37. Wild salmon seeding efforts rely on innovation, collaboration

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    It’s a cold winter morning, and three scientists are in a pickup truck, bouncing their way over miles of frozen blueberry barrens. They stop next to a shuttered cabin and prepare for work, donning insulated waders and hoisting backpacks. Once they’ve loaded their sled with gear they set off, carrying 30,000 eggs toward the Pleasant River.

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  38. Machias talks PD move, CDBG grant

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    Members of the Machias selectboard spoke with Machias Police Chief Todd Hand at their regular bi-monthly meeting held Wednesday, March 11. Hand walked the board through building modifications that would make the Machias Telebusiness Center into a suitable new police department.

    Chairman Joshua Rolfe said the board is largely in favor of moving the police department into the more modern facility, located on Stackpole Road, but has not taken a formal vote on the matter.

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  39. EAC’s Youth Art Exhibition to open online

    Despite widespread COVID-19 closures, Eastport Arts Center’s Washington Street Gallery will nevertheless celebrate Youth Art Month with its 6th annual exhibition of young artists’ works. The art has been photographed by Robin Farrin, a frequent documenter of EAC events, and is being compiled as an online exhibition on the center’s site so that all can enjoy.

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  40. Moosabec area mostly closed for business

    by Nancy Beal

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  41. Maine CDC: ‘No one should be waiting to prepare’

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    As of Monday, no cases of coronavirus have been detected within Washington County, a fact which should not stop people from preparing themselves, said Maine Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Executive Director Dr. Nirav Shah.

    "[A lack of cases] could provide folks with a false sense of security," he said.

    Shah warned the CDC fully expects to see new cases develop in counties that have none today, and to see increasing rates of infection in counties with known cases.

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  42. Monday update: 107 cases, ‘Live your life as if you have the disease’

     

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Executive Director Dr. Niravh Shah today announced 107 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Maine, an 18-case increase over the day before. Twelve people are currently hospitalized for the virus.

    Maine has conducted 2,791 negative tests.

    For comparison, Shah said there were 89 positive cases across the United States on March 1, and today there are 35,000.

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  43. Sunday update: Maine COVID-19 cases climb to 89, CDC warns ‘no one should be waiting to prepare’ 

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Executive Director Dr. Niravh Shah today held a press conference to discuss coronavirus and announced 89 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Maine, a 19-case increase over the day before. Eight of those patients are hospitalized. Yesterday the CDC announced three patients have also recovered.

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  44. Saturday update: Maine COVID-19 cases climb to 70, none yet confirmed in Washington County

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    On Saturday, March 21, Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released its daily coronavirus case numbers, with a new addition to its chart. Today the CDC site lists 70 cases of confirmed positive COVID-19, a 14-case increase over the day before, and now three cases in the "recovered" column. 

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  45. Friday update: CDC announces 4 new COVID-19 cases, none yet confirmed in Wash. Co.

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    During a daily press conference held Friday, March 20, Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Nirav Shah said Maine has 56 cases of confirmed and presumptive positive COVID-19, a four-case increase over the day before and representing the smallest day-over-day increase this week.

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