1. DECH seeks to acquire Calais Regional Hospital

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    In a written statement issued Friday, Down East Community Hospital (DECH) announced its intention to “acquire substantially” the assets of Calais Regional Hospital and to continue its operation as a critical-access hospital.

    DECH and CRH are the only two hospitals in Washington County. Both hospitals are the largest employers in their communities, CRH with 255 employees and DECH with 310.

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  2. For some, construction business booms as remote work opens doors

    by Celia Cummiskey

    March will mark one year since the World Health Organization officially declared COVID-19 a pandemic and the United States entered a state of national emergency. Since then much of daily life as we knew it has changed, including, for many, where they call home.

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  3. Family sleuths solve nickname mystery, a generation later

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    Laurence Johnson was nicknamed “Nonnie” on the day of his birth, but it was decades after his death before his children found out why. For Nonnie’s son Tommy Johnson, the answer came long after he’d given up hope of solving the puzzle.

    “My dad and all of his siblings had already died, and none of them ever knew why he was called Nonnie anyway,” says Tommy. “There was just no way at all to ever figure it out after all the parties involved had passed away.”

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  4. Reeves to be sentenced in Cherryfield murder

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    On Tuesday, Feb. 23, Carine Reeves will be sentenced for the murder of Sally Shaw whose body was found shot on the side of the road in Cherryfield in 2017. Shaw was 55 years old.

    A jury convicted Reeves in Oct. 2020 after four hours of deliberation.

    At the time of the murder, Maine State Police linked Shaw’s body with a black 2017 Chevrolet Impala found to have been in an accident at the intersection of routes 193 and 9, approximately 13 miles from where Shaw’s body was found. The car had been rented in Bangor.

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  5. Motorists urged to clear snow for safety, and with courtesy

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    A photo of a windshield smashed by in Machias was one of many that spurred Rep. Dustin White (R-Kittery) to submit late legislation that would penalize drivers who do not clean their car roofs of ice and snow.

    “I've never been one to try to legislate common sense, but unfortunately, there seems to be a small portion of our state that needs the threat of a financial penalty in order to take the time and effort to clean off their vehicles to protect surrounding motorists,” White said.

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  6. Do Black Lives Matter’s lies matter?

    by Jonathan Reisman

     

    Last month a controversy erupted in Hancock County, fueled by left-wing media and the wokerati whose operational motto is “Obey or be canceled.”

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  7. The Nature of Phenology: Nest boxes

    by Joseph Horn

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  8. Snowmobiling struggles as prime Maine moneymaker

    by Ruth Leubecker

    For decades Maine has openly recognized and profited from the economic engine of snowmobiling in Maine.

    In 2010, sledding generated over $356 million in revenue, and over the past decade that bottom line has increased impressively. According to a new study by the University of Maine in conjunction with the Maine Snowmobile Association, snowmobiling brought $459 in direct spending to the state’s economy, supporting 2,279 jobs in the 2028-19 season.

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  9. Mechanical upgrade to Moosabec area schools could cost $6.9M

    by Nancy Beal

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  10. Pandemic brings changes, upsides to local homeschooling community

    by Praise Moore

    Sadie Dunn is a mother of three who has been homeschooling for six years. She chose to homeschool her children because of their beliefs, she wanted to be close to her kids, able to tailor their education to each child’s strengths. When asked if COVID-19 has impacted the homeschool community, Dunn responded, “Yes and no.”

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  11. Budget committee vacancy leads to tension between selectboard members, Machias Police Department

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    With only weeks to go before the Machias town budget season begins, a vacancy on the town’s three-person budget committee led to heated exchanges at a meeting of the selectboard held Wednesday, Feb. 10.

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  12. Easter basket staple back after pandemic halted production

    by Jayna Smith

    Are you a lover of the marshmallow treat Peeps?  Those sugary treats that used to be found in stores leading up to Easter have made their way to shelves for every holiday in recent years, it seems, except throughout the pandemic.

    Prior to the pandemic, Peeps could be found at Halloween in the form of ghosts, at Christmas in the form of trees and other creations, and at Valentine’s in the form of hearts. Since the pandemic started, however, candy maker Just Born Quality Confection halted its Peep production.

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  13. February fugue

    by Jonathan Reisman

     

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  14. New on the shelf at Porter Memorial Library

    Fiction for adults: Marauder-A Novel of the Oregon File by Clive Cussler; The Lightkeeper's Daughters by Jean Pendziwol; Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters by Ben H. Winters. Nonfiction for adults: Shredding Paper-The Rise and Fall of Maine's Mighty Paper Industry by Michael G. Hillard; on video DVD Masterpieces of Short Fiction, a Great Course taught by Michael Krasny; on video DVD Emerson, Thoreau, and the Transcendentalist Movement, a Great Course taught by Ashton Nichols.

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  15. Looking back in local history

    by Ronie Strout

    The following excerpts about our region are taking from the Machias Union Paper, one of the grandfathers of the Machias Valley News Observer.

    Aug. 1, 1876

    Worsters of Columbia.

    Daniel Worster and his sons, Ashiel and Zeno, own a small tract of land at Saco in Columbia. Gold-bearing quartz is supposed to exist there. Specimens of gold have already been picked up - one piece to the value of a dollar or more.

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  16. Maine Community Foundation offers more than 650 scholarships to Maine students

    The Maine Community Foundation offers more than 650 scholarships that support students pursuing studies in music, journalism, teaching, horticulture, technology, the arts, and many other fields. The scholarships are available for students who attend secondary, post-secondary, and graduate schools, as well as non-traditional programs.

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  17. The Nature of Phenology: Stick bouquet

    by Joseph Horn

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  18. Jonesboro’s ‘Four Girls’ more than halfway to goal of new playground

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    Exactly one year ago, four girls from Jonesboro Elementary School were giddy with success, having raised nearly $1,000 toward their goal of a new playground. Today, they fondly remember back to when they thought that was a lot of money.

    “I thought it was a lot, a LOT of money,” says Vanna Smith, age 9. “Like, a million dollars!”

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  19. Rural health care providers challenged by COVID-19 turmoil

    by Ruth Leubecker

    Rural hospitals and providers have long struggled with national rules and responses that largely do not take into account the uniqueness of their daily battle for survival.

    As the 21st century gains its toehold, issues like broadband expansion and complicated  technology have joined the chaos of a global pandemic and the closure of necessary hospital departments and specialties.

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  20. Machias girl runs thriving online business, Binkies Bunny Treats

    by Praise Moore

    At her house, every day you can hear the cha-ching of an Etsy notification sounding on the phone when Grace Moore gets a new order. Moore’s business, Binkies Bunny Treats, was founded on her love of bunnies. She sells foraged organic rabbit treats from right here in Washington County, to rabbit owners all over the world.

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  21. Downeast Maine eyed for National Heritage area

    by Nancy Beal

    The Sunrise County Economic Council is organizing an inquiry into the creation of a National Heritage Area in eastern Maine. The move was prompted over a year ago by participants of the wild blueberry industry in Washington County, who envisioned the designation as both fitting for the unique, centuries-old existence of wild blueberries and, at the same time, capable of reviving the family farms that are in danger of going extinct because of pressure from the world of big business.

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  22. Motorists reminded of ‘Move Over’ law

    by Jayna Smith

    Enacted in 2007, Maine’s “Move Over” law requires motorists to slow down to 20 miles per hour below the posted speed limit when encountering an emergency vehicle or public service vehicle stopped with flashing lights.  If possible, the law also requires drivers to move over at least one lane from the scene where the vehicle is working.  Drivers who fail to do so can face a fine of $326.

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  23. Freedom (in) Jeopardy

    by Jonathan Reisman

     

    In honor of the late Alex Trebek and the endangered Republic

    Truth, Justice and the American way- What is systemic racism?

    Don’t tug on Superman’s Cape- What is White fragility?

    White Supremacy and Extremism- What is rampant in the U.S. military amongst white males, according to our new Secretary of Defense.

    All White people- What is racist?

    Publicly disagreeing with progressive policy prescriptions or any BIPOC- What is racism?

    Anti-Semitism- What is Black common sense?

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  24. UMaine, UNH Extensions offer webinar on edible native plants Feb. 24

    University of Maine Cooperative Extension and University of New Hampshire Extension will offer a webinar for home gardeners about edible native plants in the landscape from 6–7 p.m. Feb. 24.

    “Nibbling on Natives in Your Backyard and Beyond” identifies more than two dozen species of native edible wild plants suitable for adding to backyard landscapes and supporting native pollinators. Russ Cohen, expert forager and author of “Wild Plants I Have Known … and Eaten,” will lead the workshop.

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  25. Washington County students advocate for arts education

    Arts students from two Washington County schools will head to Augusta — virtually — for an Arts Education Advocacy Day hosted by the Maine Alliance for Arts Education on Feb. 17. The event kicks off a 10-day session in which high school-aged teams from all over the state—including Kali Wallander (freshman), Eastport, and Tristan Seavey (junior) and Hailey Calder (senior), Calais—will meet with state legislators to discuss the importance of arts in their schools, and how they’ve fared during this unusual year for arts education.

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  26. Ark saves pup missing for 2 wintry months

    When Christian Dior showed up at our shelter, we were so happy to have him as ours until we could get him adopted to the right family. Unfortunately, one of the worst things that could happen occurred a few days later: Christian escaped. Even with all efforts, community engagement, and awareness, we could not seem to capture Christian and get him back to safety. This was just the beginning of our sleepless nights and colder weather.

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  27. The Nature of Phenology: Chickadees in winter

    by Hazel Stark

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  28. Hospital urges 'sign up warriors' to assist elderly in vaccine registration

     

    Down East Community Hospital today, Feb. 3,  released the following letter concerning online registration for the COVID-19 vaccine. The hospital urges residents to assist any elderly who might have difficulty registering online for the vaccine clinics, which will take place as vaccine doses are made available to the hospital.

    Due to the volume of interest, the hospital is only taking vaccine registrations online, not via phone.

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  29. Police, airport fuel farm and transfer station top Machias board agenda

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    A relatively quiet Machias Board of Selectmen meeting hit two crescendos on Wednesday, Jan. 27.

    The first took place when, one hour into the event, five new attendees entered the Zoom waiting room. No sooner did chairman Joshua Rolfe admit them into the public meeting than the young people launched into their version of a prank phone call. Rolfe was seen forbearing their often-lewd comments with a sigh while working to remove them from the meeting.  

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  30. Pandemic advances Corbett’s goals to critical forefront

    by Ruth Leubecker

    For years pioneering Susan Corbett has impressively furthered her dream of providing broadband access to rural Mainers, but in these crisis days of the pandemic, new and fertile territory is enhancing those goals.

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  31. Expressions Floral prepares for busiest day of their year

    by Hailey Wood

    Being the owner of a successful flower shop demands skills and careful planning. One of the events that puts those skills to the test is the influx of orders around holidays, especially for the busiest day of florist’s year — Valentine’s Day.

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  32. Jonesport budget readied for voters

    by Nancy Beal

    The Jonesport budget committee spent 90 minutes with the town’s selectmen January 27, considering their suggestions and preparing a spending plan to put before voters next month. The total came to $767,113 but included $40,000 for rebate on taxes paid early, a discount that has been consistently voted down at town meeting in recent years.

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  33. Convicted Machiasport murderer dies in prison

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    Richard B. Uffelman has died in prison, according to the Maine Department of Corrections, which declined to give further details. He was roughly 74 years old.

    In 1992, Uffelman was convicted in the murders of his neighbors, Michael and Florence Phillips on Aug. 29, 1989, in Machiasport. According to contemporary reports, the murders were recorded by a video camera the Phillipses had set up in their kitchen to record acts of harassment by Uffelman in a feud between the neighbors.

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  34. Flushing 1776 down the Memory Hole

    Elections have consequences, and President Biden has decided that one consequence of the election that shall not be questioned is the elevation of the “America is systemically racist” falsehood to holy writ. He has appropriately chosen former UN Ambassador Susan Rice to lead that charge. The execrable Ms.

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  35. Pembroke Historical society offers online program Feb 24: Abolition and the Underground Railroad in Maine

    The Pembroke Historical Society will continue its popular Zoom history series on Wednesday, Feb. 24, with Dr. Mary T. Freeman presenting "Abolition and the Underground Railroad in Maine: Memory, Myth, and History." Dr. Freeman, who received her doctorate at Columbia University, is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Maine, in Orono, and Managing Editor for the Maine History journal, published by the Maine Historical Society.

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  36. Ballot box biology

    by V. Paul Reynolds

    In Maine and in a number of Western states, ballot box biology continues unabated.

    What is ballot box biology? Put simply, it is when well-intentioned but misguided animal rights activists use the democratic process to unilaterally impose wildlife management policies that rightfully should be left to professional wildlife biologists and policymakers.

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  37. The Nature of Phenology: Winter birds

    by Hazel Stark

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  38. Deaths still surge, vaccines up for elderly, but sites a logistical challenge

    by Ruth Leubecker

    With demand already exceeding supply, then 4,400 doses of COVID vaccine arriving in Maine unusable, this has been a week of crisis as the state continues to battle the virus.

    “We decided 35 of the 50 shipments to Maine had exceeded the safe temperature,” explained Dr. Nirav Shah in his January 19 briefing. “That’s 4,400 doses over the required minimum storage temperature on the Moderna vaccine. We should be receiving replacement shipments over the next two days.”

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  39. Sen. Moore prioritizes constituent requests with ten 1st session bills

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    Sen. Marianne Moore (R-Washington) is back on the road between Augusta and Calais, this week meeting with committees and members of the Washington County delegation to take up the work of Maine’s first legislative session. Though most of the legislature’s winter work will be done virtually, Moore says she’s delighted to get a little face time, too.

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  40. Proposed Jonesport budget up $88.5k

    by Nancy Beal

    At their January 20 meeting, Jonesport selectmen completed the requests that they will recommend to the budget committee this week for consideration by the town next March. The grand total is $762,113, an increase of $88,515 over last year’s amount. If voters follow the pattern of late years and choose not to raise $40,000 as rebate for early-paid taxes paid, the increase will be $48,515.

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  41. Hospital: ‘We’re ready. We just need vaccines.’

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    Down East Community Hospital’s website is set up to accept reservations for public vaccinations, beginning with people 70 and older. But before they open the floodgates, hospital officials say they want vaccines in hand.

    Spokesperson Julie Hixson said the Machias hospital learned a painful lesson when they were promised delivery of 200 doses and so took 200 reservations for health care workers and other members of Maine Center for Disease Control (CDC) vaccine phase 1a, the first phase to be vaccinated.

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  42. UPS drivers save man’s life after motor vehicle accident

    by Jayna Smith

    Our local UPS drivers are always greatly appreciated for their delivery service, day in and day out bringing us our awaited packages. However, on one day just recently, two UPS drivers did much more than that and are credited with saving the lives of a man and his dog.

    Two weeks ago, UPS driver Josh Gillespie made a stop at an East Machias home. This particular stop was not supposed to be part of Gillespie’s route that day, so he took care of it very first thing.

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  43. Unity?

    by Jonathan Reisman

     

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  44. Catching up with 2 Vietnam vets

    by Wayne Smith

    It was an unseasonably warm January night that I caught up with Albert Walker and Dan Handy, both of Milbridge. I walked up Main Street. The nursing home still had its Christmas Tree lit in beautiful colors. As I entered the driveway of Walker and Handy a vehicle tooted the horn at me. I had a couple of vets that wanted to tell their story to me. I really didn’t know what to expect. I sat down in a chair. Handy was to the right of me, and Walker was to the left. It was my chance to ask the questions.

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  45. Owl-themed ‘Craft Along’ for kids video released

    Nia Aretakis, instructor of EAC’s KinderArts Craft Along video series, presents her latest—Winter Owl Art. Viewers’ curiosity about owls will be piqued as they’re inspired to make their own wee owls of cardboard, felt and paint.

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