1. The Nature of Phenology: Pruning fruit trees

    by Joseph Horn

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  2. David G. Warren

    April 26, 1940 – February 24, 2022

    A resident of East Machias, Maine, Dave Warren passed away suddenly at the age of 81 on Thursday, February 24.

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  3. Undercover investigation leads to 6 arrests in Calais drug bust

    Editor's note: This was just released from the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency. This is a developing story and will be updated as more information is available. SCD

    Working alongside local, county, state, tribal, and federal law enforcement partners, Maine Drug Enforcement Agency’s Downeast Task Force has arrested six (6) people in Washington County on felony drug trafficking charges following a two (2) month investigation into the sale of fentanyl and crack cocaine.

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  4. Media malpractice

    by Jonathan Reisman

     

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  5. Local crime filling county jail, ‘inseparably linked’ to drugs

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    The Washington County Jail is almost full. 

    Of 42 available beds, 38 are occupied, and nearly a quarter of its inmates — eight men and one woman — are charged with murder, setting a grim new record for the region.

    “We passed the old record three murders ago,” said Washington County Jail Administrator Rich Rolfe. “This is an unusual and inordinate amount of murder cases.”

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  6. Rocket company quits Jonesport quest; still seeks Sunrise County site

    by Nancy Beal

    By press release last week (March 8), bluShift, a Brunswick-based aerospace company that, since last October, has sought to set up a launch site in Jonesport, announced that it was abandoning the effort and looking elsewhere. 

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  7. After an injury benched him, WA senior signs to play for Thomas

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    Andon Wood hasn’t played basketball since tearing his ACL in July 2021. Even so, the high school senior has been recruited to play basketball for Thomas College in Waterville, and last week he signed on the dotted line. 

    College scouts aren’t the only ones impressed with Andon’s abilities, both on and off the court. Washington Academy basketball coach David Peppin took over the East Machias school’s varsity team this year and said Wood was indispensable, even from the bench.

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  8. Moosabec schools deal with public comment at board meetings; transgender facility ahead for JES?

    by Nancy Beal

    The committees that deal with Union 103’s three schools have dealt with two new policies this month. All three boards have approved one on circulating petitions in school, restricting the activity to non-tutorial slots in the daily schedule (recess, lunch, after last bell). Another, ensuring that the public can speak during school board meetings and governing how that happens, has generated much discussion.

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  9. DECH Auxiliary salutes Milbridge Medical Center

    Milbridge Medical Center is a small multi-faceted Rural Health Center that serves the people of Down East Maine in a friendly hometown manner. You know the people who work there, they are your neighbors and friends. But if you don’t know them when you go there, you soon will because the staff creates a friendly and inviting environment. Having over 80 years of combined experience, the staff of Milbridge Medical Center blends the newest technology with a friendly environment.

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  10. UMaine Extension hosts webinar about wildlife damage prevention April 1

    University of Maine Cooperative Extension will offer a webinar about wildlife damage prevention in home gardens from noon–1:15 p.m. April 1. 

    “Preventing Wildlife Damage to Home Gardens” will discuss methods to help reduce losses in home gardens from raccoons, deer, rabbits and woodchucks. Adam Vashon, a USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service wildlife biologist, will lead the workshop.

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  11. The Nature of Phenology: Winter bug survival

    by Hazel Stark

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  12. Mills proposes $3.5 million to keep Maine Veterans Homes in Caribou and Machias open

    Editor's note: The following was announced this hour by Governor Janet Mills. 

    Governor Janet Mills announced today that she will dedicate $3.5 million in her forthcoming change package to keep the Maine Veterans Homes in Caribou and Machias open. The Governor will propose $1.75 million in General Fund money, which will leverage $1.75 million in additional Federal funding, for a total of $3.5 million.

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  13. Washington County man arrested for murder in stabbing death of his father

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    Maine State Police report 36-year-old Darren Laney Jr. of Big Lake Township has been arrested and charged with murder in the stabbing death of his father, 62-year-old Darren Laney Sr. 

    Just before 11 a.m. today, Thursday, March 10, an emergency call to Washington County Regional Communications Center reported the stabbing. Maine State Police Major Crimes Unit North was called to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death.

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  14. Machias sewer upgrades will benefit Machiasport clammers

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    Heavy rains on top of snow and frozen ground last month led to two sewage overflow events in Machias, then to clam flat closures in Machiasport, and finally, to financial hardship for some Machiasport clammers and the dealers who buy from them. 

    “Right now where clam digging is my full-time job, the closures are a big deal because they affect some of the best clamming we have in Machiasport,” said Alex Finlay. “This closure has cost us a bunch of days, and forced me to work other flats that are covered in ice and snow.”

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  15. Jonesport Elementary’s WinterKids bring home the gold and $10,000

    by Nancy Beal

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  16. Jonesport readies for town meeting

    by Nancy Beal

    Jonesporters will gather in the high school gymnasium for their annual town meeting next week (3 p.m., Monday, March 14) and the person at the podium will not be the customary Billy Milliken. Because the selectman and realtor has an interest in one of the items to be discussed and voted upon—the launching of nanorockets from one of the town’s outer islands that he owns—Milliken has indicated by Zoom from his vacation spot in Florida that he will not serve as moderator.

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  17. World’s largest cargo plane destroyed in Russian attack

    by Jayna Smith

    One and a half years ago, in August 2020, we shared details of the world’s largest plane — the Antonov An-225 — that had landed at Bangor International Airport (BIA).  

    On Monday, Feb. 28 Ukrainian authorities reported that the plane had been destroyed in a Russian attack on an airport near Kyiv.  The company that managed the Antonov An-225 said it will take five years and more than $3 billion to rebuild.

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  18. Pat’s Pizza, Healthy Acadia partner to curb underage drinking

    Pat’s Pizza in Machias wants to help stop underage drinking. If you’ve recently stopped into Pat's Pizza for lunch or dinner, you may have noticed a sticker on your pizza box emblazoned with, “Parents Who Host, Lose the Most,” and wondered what it was all about. For the second year in a row, the restaurant is partnering with Healthy Acadia to help curb underage drinking in our communities.

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  19. Local woman to hold bake sale to benefit Ukraine

    by Jayna Smith

    Concerns for civilians and families in the Ukraine have grown significantly as the Russian invasion has threatened more lives, and many across the world are helping those in need with food, water, shelter, and other types of aid.

    Locally, one woman is organizing an event that will provide financial assistance through the International Committee of the Red Cross Ukraine Crisis Fund.  

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  20. State of the Union: discontent

    by Jonathan Reisman

     

    President Brandon’s State of the Union address left me in a state of discontent and anger, which is probably appropriate since that is what 14 months of Brandon has done to the nation as a whole.

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  21. Uncovering the history of a 100-year-old quilt

    Forty-two 12-inch quilt blocks, all but one embroidered with an individual name, and sewn together to make a quilt topping. Some of the squares include a year – 1922 – that meant something special to the women who sewed the quilt blocks.

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  22. The Nature of Phenology: Birdhouse maintenance time

    by Hazel Stark

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  23. Jonesport is 80% ‘against’ rockets

    by Nancy Beal

    One hundred thirty-eight Jonesporters collected, completed and returned a survey on a proposed aerospace project that a committee charged with writing an ordinance on the subject asked its citizens to take part in. The survey was prompted by a proposal put forth by bluShift Aerospace, a small Brunswick company, to erect a rocket launch site on the town’s Water Island. The island is located at the ocean entrance to Eastern Bay next to Mistake Island where Moosepeak Lighthouse is located.

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  24. Florida family writes letters to find a home Downeast

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    When Nick Gustafson, his wife, and two children last summer visited Maine, they fell in love with the coast and resolved to buy a home Downeast. But a tight housing market meant they went home empty-handed. 

    Gustafson decided to get creative with their house-hunting strategy. A licensed real estate broker in both Florida and Maine, he mailed letters directly to dozens of homeowners, asking if they were willing to sell.

    “I was trying to think a little outside of the box,” he said.

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  25. Maine hard hat discovered on beach in northern Europe

    by Jayna Smith

    Beachcombing can yield neat and interesting items of all kinds, but for one man about 3,300 miles away, his beach find originated from the great State of Maine.

    Back in August, Sigbjørn Eide, who resides in the Nordic country of Norway in Northern Europe, was working his first day as a beach cleaner.  On the beach, he discovered a hard hat with markings indicating it belonged to the Maine Department of Transportation (DOT).

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  26. Eastport Health Care opens pediatric clinic on UMaine Machias campus

    Beloved local pediatric provider Alf Wakeman will soon be seeing patients through Eastport Health Care in a new medical facility on the campus of the University of Maine at Machias. Eastport Health Care Inc., now has two locations in Machias, including a new pediatric clinic located on the first floor of Sennett Hall.

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  27. Freedom quotes and notes

    by Jonathan Reisman

     

    Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose- Kris Kristofferson

    Freedom, oh Freedom…that’s just some people talking- Glenn Frey, Desperado

    Freedom is Slavery- George Orwell, 1984

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  28. Acrylics are next EAC workshop

    Artist Anne Black will lead a workshop, Joy of Acrylics, from 1-4 p.m., Saturday, March 5, at Eastport Arts Center. Black will take attendees on an exhilarating journey into the magic world of acrylic paints and mediums. “We will explore the incredible versatility of these materials with quick, playful warm-up pieces,” notes Black, who will then guide participants in creating a series of three small paintings using different techniques and combinations of acrylics and mixed media materials.

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  29. Washington County teens shine at national leadership forum

    A group of local teens made their voices heard at the national level earlier this month. Eight high school students from Washington County were chosen to present at the 2022 CADCA National Leadership Forum, a four-day workshop that connects a nationwide network of youth leaders and allies from across the U.S. 

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  30. The Nature of Phenology: Common Redpolls

    by Joseph Horn

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  31. The Editor's Desk: Remembering Ruth

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    Newspaperwoman Ruth Leubecker was a journalist’s journalist. Born and raised in the Machias area, she went on to create and run a magazine in Singapore, edit multiple daily and weekly newspapers abroad and at home, especially in Maryland, lunching annually with part-owner Walter Cronkite, and create and host a cable news program, before returning Downeast and into the pages of the Machias Valley News Observer where she has been the backbone of this newspaper for decades.

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  32. In Memory: The storied career of MVNO journalist Ruth Leubecker

    Editor's note: It is with great sadness we write to say that today, Feb. 27, newspaperwoman Ruth Leubecker died at the age of 80. As a journalist, Leubecker dedicated decades of her life to telling the stories of the Machias region. Her impact on this newspaper and this community cannot be overstated. We send our deep sympathies to her families and friends and mourn with them tonight. To shine a light on her memory, we republish this piece from 2020 which tells only a fraction of her impressive accomplishments. - Sarah Craighead Dedmon / MVNO Editor

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  33. County, state, and Congress apply pressure to keep Caribou and Machias vets’ homes open

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    News that veteran homes in Machias and Caribou will close later this spring has drawn criticism and pressure from Washington County to Augusta to Washington D.C.

    The official announcement that Maine Veterans Homes Machias would close on April 15 and Caribou on May 1 came Thursday, Feb. 24, but the news broke unofficially the day before after employees and families spread word of the impending closures on social media.

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  34. News of Machias veterans home closure met with sadness, calls to action

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    Leaked news that the Machias and Caribou Maine Veterans Homes will close was confirmed today, Thursday, Feb. 24, in an official release from Maine Veterans Homes. News of the closure was met with a wide range of emotions Downeast, including sadness, shock, outrage, and calls to action, especially from the Washington County Commissioners' office. 

    Families and employees of the Machias home were informed in advance of the public release, which said the decision was made “after several years of consideration.”

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  35. Maine Senate kills county DA bill in midst of rising crime Downeast

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    First established in 1987 and unchanged in 35 years, Maine’s eight prosecutorial districts now seem certain to survive another year unaltered. Last week, the Maine Senate voted 14-16 to leave LD 272, An Act To Establish Separate Prosecutorial Districts in Downeast Maine on the table, where it will likely die. 

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  36. Three local girls seek help to travel to horse show in Oklahoma

    by Natalie Boomer

    Three young girls from The Future Stars Horse Club at Little Oak Farm in Wesley are looking to their community for help in making their dreams a reality. 

    They have been busy selling raffle tickets to raise money for a very special trip.  These girls, and their beloved horses, would love to compete in the Morgan Youth Oklahoma Championship Show in October. 

    Thirteen-year-old Aria Lombardo has a gray Morgan colt who was born right on the farm. She hopes to show at Worlds in Hand, and possibly Harness. 

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  37. Nursing shortages ‘created’ by hospital practices

    by Ruth Leubecker

    Complicated by COVID and a nationally spiraling need, hospital nurses have become an attractive commodity, often rewarded handsomely to rethink where they work.

    Registered nurses make up the largest segment of the healthcare workforce, with more than three million nationally on the job. However, burnout and multiple back-to-back shifts are exacting their toll, and millions are retiring at the average age of 51.

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  38. Commissioners support ‘Sheriff’s Garden’, wage increases

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    Healthy Acadia’s Food Program Manager Regina Grabrovac was the first to present at this month’s meeting of the Washington County Commissioners, held Thursday, Feb. 10, at the county courthouse in Machias.

    Grabrovac, who is well known throughout the county for her work on behalf of food security and Downeast farmers, attended the meeting to deliver a Healthy Acadia proposal that would create a community gardening project on county land.

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  39. At Sipayik, Edison phonograph will help tell Passamaquoddy history

    By Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    Dwayne Tomah is delighted. 

    He’s on his way home from Jonesport, where the local historical society has just offered to lend him an original 1901 Edison phonograph. Passing through Machias, he can’t resist stopping to share the excitement with fellow history enthusiast, Carlene Holmes, who organizes Machias’ Revolutionary-era history festival, Margaretta Days.

    Holmes is delighted, too.

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  40. Expensive, unreliable energy: Thank you climate alarmists and President Brandon

    by Jonathan Reisman

     

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  41. PML awarded restoration grant by Davis Family Foundation

    Porter Memorial Library in Machias is the recipient of a $15,000 grant from the Davis Family Foundation. The funds will be used to repair damage around the reading room chimney. 

    “We are so grateful to the Davis Family Foundation for assisting us in this repair to one of Machias’ most beautiful and historic structures,” said board president Sarah Craighead Dedmon. “Taking good care of this building enables Porter Memorial Library to continue its vital economic and cultural work in Machias, as it has done since 1893.”

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  42. UMaine Extension series for next generation of farmers starts March 4

    University of Maine Cooperative Extension will host an eight-session series online for Maine farming, fishing or forestry producers ages 20–35 who are interested in agricultural business training. Webinars are scheduled 10 a.m.–noon starting March 4 and continuing each Friday through April 22.

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  43. The Nature of Phenology: Skunks breeding

    by Hazel Stark

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  44. Six-player Royals team takes it all the way to Bangor

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    A trophy case inside the Jonesport-Beals High School holds 13 championship gold balls — three won by the girls’ basketball teams, and 10 won by the boys. The collection won’t expand this year, but boys’ basketball coach Skipper Alley says this team has a lot to be proud of. For one thing, there are only six of them, and they made it all the way to the regional playoffs. 

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  45. Washington County’s largest schools announce end to mask mandates

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    When Machias and Washington Academy students return from winter break on Monday, Feb. 28, whether or not they wear a mask will be up to them. 

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