1. The Lobster Lady Author Alexandra S.D. Hinrich Signs Books at Berry Vines

    Children’s Books Are Not Just For Children

     

    By Paul Sylvain

    Since moving to its new location this past summer, Berry Vines has hosted two book signing events featuring popular Maine authors. 

    In August, retired Bangor Detective Tim Cotton stopped by to chat with, and sign books for, Berry Vines customers. On Oct. 20 it was Bangor children’s author Alexandra S.D. Hinrichs’ turn at the autograph table with her featured book titled The Lobster Lady, among others that she’s written.

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  2. Undefeated Cross Country Runner Josie Ingrish Takes Pride in School and Family

    By Paul Sylvain

    Fort O’Brien School in Machiasport is not only “Home of the Comets,” but also the academic home of 12-year-old cross country runner Josie Ingrish, who might even be faster than a real comet.

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  3. The Nature of Phenology: Orionids

    by Joseph Horn

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  4. Raiders and Knights Set for Volleyball Playoffs, Three Local Schools Eye Deep Runs in Soccer Playoffs

    by Phil Stuart

    The Volleyball playoffs are here and two Washington County Schools  – Washington Academy of East Machias and Narraguagus of Harrington – could be crowned state champions in the very near future if their regular season records hold to form.  

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  5. Narraguagus Runners Shine at PVC

    By Phil Stuart

    Two Narraguagus High School runners cracked the top ten at the Penobscot Valley Conference (PVC) cross country championships in Ellsworth on Oct.14.  Alexa Johnson, a sophomore finished 7th in the girls race, while another sophomore, Lucas Pounder, came in tenth for the boys.

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  6. Thank You, Biden, for Placing the World on Tenterhooks

    by Jonathan Reisman

    Among President Biden’s first actions upon taking office was a set of executive orders, decisions and appointments keeping his campaign promises to cancel and reverse President Trump’s foreign and domestic policy, including his mean social media postings. Let’s see how that has worked out:

    The southern border was opened and remains open, despite the belated wailing of blue sanctuary cities. Gov. Mills wants to welcome 75,000 illegal immigrants to Maine with taxpayer financed housing, food and medical care.

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  7. Developer Blasts ‘Anti-Business’ Machias, Vows to Move Fremont Street Townhouses to Calais

    By Paul Sylvain

    It would be an understatement to say Machias housing developer Justin King was left with a foul taste in his mouth after his two recent meetings with the town’s planning board.

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  8. MVNO Picks up Dozen Awards at Maine Press Assoc. Gala

    By Will Tuell

    The Machias Valley News Observer received twelve first, second, or third place finishes at the Maine Press Association’s Annual Conference and Awards Presentation Oct. 14 in Portland. Our sister publication, The Calais Advertiser, also won or placed in eighteen categories at the gala. MVNO’s second-place finish in the “General Excellence for Print '' category and third-place showing in the “General Excellence in Advertising '' category topped the list of awards which span the publication year of April 2022 - March 2023. 

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  9. Youth Deer Hunting Days Oct 20-21

    By Will Tuell

    This fall, Maine kids will have twice as much time to hunt deer, thanks to a new state law the Legislature passed earlier this year. Under the bill, youths will be able to hunt Friday, Oct. 20 and Saturday, Oct. 21, the traditional youth deer day, which takes place a week before all Maine residents with deer hunting licenses can take to the woods. 

    The premise of the new law is simple -- give young hunters an extra day and they may stick with hunting as they grow older. 

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  10. Debate over Absent Student Participation in School Sports Dominates Jonesport-Beals Board

    By Nancy Beal

    If a student athlete misses school the day before or the day after a game, should the student be benched for the next game?

    That question dominated the discussion at an Oct. 11 Moosabec CSD school board meeting. The existing policy governing conduct during non-curricular activities, specifically sports, was one of several up for review. During the 20-minute public comment portion of the meeting, Kristi Carver-Kenney opined on the rules governing student participation after absences. 

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  11. Moore Proposes Bills to Address County Police, Dispatcher Shortage

    By Will Tuell

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  12. Early Plans for Second Airport Runway in Machias Aired at First of Many Public Hearings

    By Paul Sylvain

    In what everyone present agreed will be a long process with numerous public feedback sessions involved, Machias officials and its airport runway design engineers held a public hearing Oct. 12 on the proposed expansion of Machias Valley Airport.

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  13. Turkey-a-Thon Raises over $35,000 to Help Washington County Families in Need

    By Jayna Smith

    In a display of community spirit and generosity, the 2023 Turkey-a-Thon event, held on Friday, October 6, proved impressive once again.  The event brought together local residents, schools, businesses, and organizations to make a significant impact on the lives of those facing food insecurity.

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  14. Of Moose and Men

    By Will Tuell 

    Scottish poet Robert Burns had it just about right when he wrote “the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry,” but he could just as easily have said “of moose and men” were he tramping through the hinterlands of the Allagash WIlderness some 227 years after his passing in search of a bull moose. That, of course, is a gentle way of saying, “We didn’t get the moose.” 

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  15. The Nature of Phenology: Divining Winter Weather

    by Joseph Horn

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  16. Porter Memorial Library Launches Monthly Storywalk for Children

    By Paul Sylvain

    Organizers behind Porter Memorial Library’s first-ever StoryWalk on Oct. 6, couldn’t have asked for a better day to launch the monthly event.

    On an otherwise gloomy day, the clouds gave way to clear, sunny skies as the 3 p.m. event got underway. 

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  17. Moosabec Ambulance Service Welcomes New Leadership

    by Nancy Beal

    The Moosabec Ambulance Service (MAS), emergency responders for the coastal towns of Jonesport and Beals, is approaching its 50th birthday with new leadership in the form of Chief Andrew Phillips and Assistant Chief Carlen Ray. “Andy” and “Charlie,” who ask to be called by their nicknames, were already familiar faces, having spent several years responding to the area’s emergencies.

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  18. Concerns over Impact on Local Fisheries Push Machiasport Selectmen to Renew Aquaculture Moratorium

    By Will Tuell

    Responding to the perceived environmental impact of large-scale commercial aquaculture and a feared loss of ocean-bottom, the Machiasport Board of Selectmen voted unanimously to move ahead with a moratorium on aquaculture Oct. 2, according to Town Clerk Marcia Hayward. The move comes after the board heard extensive testimony -- both for and against -- during a Sept. 25 public hearing, and gives the town up to six months to finalize an ordinance on future aquaculture activity in the seaside community. 

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  19. The Sky's the Limit for Machias Valley Airport Expansion, Public Info Session Set for Oct. 12

    By Paul Sylvain

    A big, blue sign at the Route 1 entrance to the Machias Valley Airport access road boasts, “A Runway That Saves Lives.” That may be true for med-flight helicopters, but the airport’s 2,900-foot by 60-foot asphalt runway comes up 1,400-feet short for LifeFlight of Maine to safely land its fixed-wing flying ambulances on it.

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  20. Autumnal Equinox

    by Jonathan Reisman

    The equinox occurs when the Earth is tilting neither toward nor away from the sun, and therefore receives almost an equal amount of daylight and darkness. In the spring, the days start getting longer than the nights; in the fall, our days get shorter as winter approaches. This past autumnal equinox took on particular significance for me; at 67, I know I am in the fall of my life, if not early winter.

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  21. Plath Named Milbridge Theatre & Community Arts Center Executive Director

    The Milbridge Theatre & Community Arts Center (MTCAC) is pleased to announce that David Plath of Hancock, Maine will assume the role of Executive Director beginning Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2023.

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  22. Local Scouts Win Award at Cobscook/Moosehorn Camporee

    Cobscook Bay State Park was the scenic locale for the 61st Annual Cobscook/Moosehorn International Scout Camporee recently. More than 140 Scouts and Scouters attended with some driving hours, or even days to attend, while a Machias-area troop picked took home the Bob McVicor Award during the “Dungeons and Dragons”-themed event.

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  23. Court Street Paving a Long Overdue Blessing

    By Paul Sylvain

    If Court Street had a theme song, it would be “Shake, Rattle and Roll” by Bill Haley & the Comets. Well, until last week, that is.

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  24. The Nature of Phenology: Wooly Bear Caterpillars

    by Hazel Stark

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  25. Pageantry, Fanfare as Generations Rededicate ‘Battle of Machias’ Monument

    By Paul Sylvain

    Amid a backdrop of Revolutionary War reenactors and members of the Hannah Weston Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, a plaque set in a granite stone monument was dedicated Sept. 27, to the memory of those townspeople killed in the Battle of Machias in June 1775.

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  26. All Hands on Deck: Navy Commissions USS Augusta in Fog-Shrouded Ceremony in Eastport

    By Paul Sylvain

    Downeast Maine is known for its sometimes unyielding coastal fog and Saturday dawned with a thick veil of it shrouding Eastport’s downtown pier and waterfront. In other words, it was a perfect day for commissioning a Navy ship.

    The cool, raw, foggy morning also failed to deter a large crowd of spectators from coming out to witness the tradition-filled, hour-long event on Sept. 30.

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  27. Reduced Presence by State Police Driving Up Sheriff’s Department’s Budget

    By Paul Sylvain

    Asked how his department's budget looked for the coming year, Washington County Sheriff Barry Curtis chuckled and replied, “I think it looks great.”

    The Sheriff’s Department’s proposed budget for 2024 is up 14 percent over the 2023  budget. In dollars and cents, Curtis is asking for $2,536,901, which is up $315,994 from this year.

    “Unfortunately it had to go up,” Curtis said in an interview with this publication Sept. 28. “It’s just the nature of the beast, where things are changing with coverage here in Washington County.”

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  28. Jonesport Selectmen Hear Broadband Pitch, State Approves Comprehensive Plan

    By Nancy Beal

    Jonesport Selectman Harry Fish told those attending the Sept. 27 selectmen's meeting that the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (DACF) had reviewed the town’s newly-revised comprehensive plan and pronounced it “complete and consistent” with the standards of the state’s Growth Management Act. 

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  29. ‘Clock is Ticking’ on Machias Selectboard Marijuana Ordinance Overhaul

    By Paul Sylvain

    The clock is ticking down for the Machias Selectboard to present to town voters a revised marijuana ordinance that is expected to include both adult-use — or “legal” — marijuana storefronts as well as medical marijuana storefronts.

    The handful of residents who attended a special town meeting on Sept. 14, voted unanimously in favor of placing a 180-day moratorium on accepting any new applications for medical marijuana businesses in Machias. Town officials said at the time there were no new applications pending before them.

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  30. Machias Selectboard Snaps Up 2014 Ambulance Despite Questions

    By Paul Sylvain

    Without having the more detailed “financial picture” it requested two weeks ago but did not receive, the Machias selectboard on Sept. 27, finally agreed to seal the deal on the purchase of a 2014 Chevy ambulance from Brooks Ambulance Inc., for $30,000.

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  31. Who Will Defend Us From Our Defenders?

    by Jonathan Reisman

    If you think area chambers of commerce, prominent banking institutions, and government-supported nonprofits, such as the Sunrise County Economic Council, are doing everything they can to defend Washington County’s way of life based on America’s founding principles, think again.

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  32. Direct Descendant of Patriot Wounded in the 1775 Battle of Machias Tells History of the Taking of HMS Margaretta

    By Paul Sylvain

    Nathan Beal of East Machias is a local historian and direct descendant of Ebeneezer Beal, who was wounded by a hand grenade tossed by HMS Margaretta’s commander, Midshipman James Moore, in the June 1775 Battle of Machias. He shared the story of the events of that historic day at the Sept. 27 rededication of a monument in memory of John McNeil, James Coolbroth and Robert Avery, who were killed in that battle, and Ebeneezer Beal and John Berry Jr., who were wounded. Here is a transcript of McNeil’s telling of the story in his own words. 

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  33. The Nature of Phenology: Green-Stain Fungus Fruiting

    By Hazel Stark

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  34. King Wins Conditional Permit for Townhouse Apartments in Fiery Planning Board Meeting

    Accuses Appeals Board Chairman of Conflict of Interest

    By Paul Sylvain

    It took two meetings in as many weeks and several fiery exchanges, but Northfield developer Justin King finally won conditional planning board approval on Sept. 20 for a multi-unit townhouse-style apartment complex at 53 Fremont St. in Machias.

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  35. State Police Push Back at Commissioner Chair Gardner

    Deny They’re ‘Pulling Out’ of Washington County

    By Will Tuell

    In a September 21 interview with this publication, Maine State Police Lieutenant Michael Johnston soundly rejected the idea that Maine State Police (MSP) is “pulling out’”of Washington County

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  36. Machias Food Pantry Opens on Kennebec Road

    By Paul Sylvain

    The Machias Food Pantry opened its doors Sept. 23 for a grand opening celebration from its new home on 43 Kennebec Rd. The new building, which began construction last year, was the realization of a three-year dream for the pantry’s own stand-alone building

    Originally begun 37 years ago in 1986 by three women from the Centre Street Congregational Church’s mission committee, the Machias Food Pantry has grown from helping “a few needy families” in Machias to serving around 150 families weekly in Machias and 11 surrounding towns.

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  37. Augusta Coming to Eastport for Historic Commissioning Ceremeony On Sept. 30

    By Will Tuell

    Country singer Alan Jackson’s ‘90s hit “Dallas” where the singer pines for his lost love (Dallas)  to rejoin him in Tennessee -- to the point where he even wants to “move Texas east”, may not be the most direct comparison, but for one week -- Sept. 25 to Oct. 2 -- Augusta -- the USS Augusta that is -- will be in Washington County, and thousands of curious Downeasters will converge on the county’s easternmost city for a historic commissioning, slated for 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 30

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  38. ‘A Dream Come True!’: Lubec 7th Grader Gets Sworn In As Junior Game Warden For a Day

    By Joe McBrine

    Connor Haskins dreams of becoming a game warden one day, and his mother, Ashley Handzlik, wants to see her child’s dreams to come true. 

    That’s why Handzlik recently contacted Maine Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Game Warden Matthew Tenan to see if Connor could spend some time with him to see what being a game warden is all about.

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  39. A Ride to Remember One of Their Own -- Garret Sprague

    By Paul Sylvain

    Undeterred by a tropical storm that showed up like an uninvited guest downeast a week before, more than 40 four-wheeling, all-terrain vehicle drivers and their passengers took to the trail from Machias to Harrington Sunday for their fourth “Ride for Garret.” 

    The ride was originally scheduled for Sept. 17, but was postponed a week to Sept. 24 because of tropical storm Lee.

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  40. Machias Board of Appeals Voice Frustration Over Lack of Planning Board Documents

    Appeal Hearing Postponed on Sandwich Shop, Used Furniture Store

     

    By Paul Sylvain

    Michael Acebal thought he was good to go with his plans for a small take-out sandwich shop and used furniture store at 97 Court St. when the Machias Planning Board approved his application for a permit on July 12.

    More than two months later, Acebal is still waiting to begin the project after Mary Angarola, who resides across the street from where the sandwich shop and furniture store would be located, appealed the decision.

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  41. Downeast Atlantic Salmon Habitat Restoration Groups to Receive Half-Million Dollars

    By Paul Sylvain

    Project SHARE (Salmon Habitat and River Enhancement) and Downeast Salmon Federation will be receiving a combined $541,000 of the nearly $1.2 million from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Maritime Fisheries Service for restoring and preserving wild Atlantic salmon  habitat in Maine.

    On Sept. 20, Maine Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King announced that in all, $1.196,000 would be going to four Maine organizations to aid habitat restoration efforts in the state. 

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  42. The Nature of Phenology: Northern Harriers Migrating

    By Hazel Stark

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  43. End of an Era as Bluebird Ranch Family Restaurant Sold, to Close Doors Oct. 1

    By Will Tuell

    Proprietress Beth (Prout) Foss sent shockwaves through the Machias Valley this past week as she announced that she is selling the Bluebird Ranch Family Restaurant to Mason’s Brewing of Brewer. 

    Even with the restaurant’s pending closure, Foss and her crew showed their continuing commitment to the community late Saturday afternoon by preparing lunches-to-go for crews busy restoring power to homes and businesses that lost power because of Hurricane Lee.

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  44. Heroic K-9 Credited with Rescuing Missing DECH Patient

    By Paul Sylvain

    A Sheriff’s K-9 named Kia is credited with tracking down and rescuing a seriously ill patient who disappeared from Down East Community Hospital (DECH) in Machias on Sept. 12.

    Machias is fortunate to have both a town police department as well as access to resources at the Washington County Sheriff's Department, also based in Machias. The spirit of interdepartmental cooperation between the two law enforcement entities in Machias came into play Sept. 12, in saving the unidentified patient.

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  45. Lawmakers Hail Joe McBrine as North American Wildlife Officer of the Year

    By Paul Sylvain

    Framed against woodland trees and a fast-flowing river, Mill Park in East Machias was the perfect setting to honor town native-son and Maine Game Warden Joe McBrine on Sept. 12. 

    McBrine, who was born and raised in East Machias, has been a Maine game warden for 28 years. His resume even includes appearing for a couple of seasons on the Maine edition of the TV reality show North Woods Law.

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