1. The Nature of Phenology: Silver maples flowering

    by Joseph Horn

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  2. At meeting, Machias town manager submits resignation letter 

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    Machias Town Manager Christina Therrien will resign her position effective June 30, according to a letter she submitted to the board of selectmen Wednesday, March 10.

    Therrien emailed the letter to board chairman Joshua Rolfe during the “other business” portion of the board’s bi-monthly meeting, which fell earlier than usual in the evening due to a planned adult-use marijuana workshop session.

    With Therrien’s permission, Rolfe read the resignation aloud.

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  3. Earle’s Fresh Seafood is a winter standout on the Machias dike

    by Celia Cummiskey

    Earle Faulkingham’s Chevy Silverado and neon pink sign declaring “Earle’s Fresh Seafood'' are a familiar sight on the Machias dike. Faulkingham sells fresh seafood from large coolers in the back of his truck, with customers rolling through drive-through style or parking to stop for a chat.

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  4. Boards vote after Moosabeckers hear plans for $6.6M school upgrade

    by Nancy Beal

    In two separate informational meetings last week, citizens of Beals and Jonesport heard from the engineers who surveyed the insides of their schools and determined which systems needed to be replaced and the price tags that went with the upgrades. Their recommendations involved replacement of ventilation, lighting, insulation, boilers, and system controls.

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  5. Whitney pivots business to create year-round opportunites Downeast

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    In late fall and early winter, Route 1 motorists see trucks overflowing with balsam tips pulling into Whitney Wreath, then pulling out loaded with Christmas wreaths. CEO David Whitney’s wreathing business keeps his Whitneyville factory hopping at the end of the year. Recently, however, Whitney has expanded his companies’ offerings to keep the factory humming all year long.

    “We haven’t taken the focus off of balsam, but we had to take the blinders off and broaden our view,” Whitney says.

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  6. Cultivated by pandemic, lobster domestic market climbs

    by Ruth Leubecker

    While nationwide, international lobster markets severely declined in 2020, Maine rose to the occasion by shifting focus and zeroing in on new challenges.
    “We never did focus too much on the China market,” says Kristan Porter, longtime Cutler lobsterman, and first fisherman to be president of the Maine Fishermen’s Forum board of directors. “Restaurant sales were nonexistent through the summer, so we focused on home sales, which pulled us through.”

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  7. Washington County DA bill passes committee unanimously

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    A bill to give Hancock and Washington Counties their own district attorneys last week passed Maine’s Joint Standing Committee on Judiciary 11-0. The two counties currently share one district attorney as members of Maine’s Prosecutorial District 7.

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  8. Fire consumes Larrabee home under high winds

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    Gusts of 45-50 miles per hour reduced visibility for crews battling a blaze in Machiasport’s Larrabee village on Tuesday, March 2. Machiasport Fire Chief Dave Nielsen said the burning home was reported around 3:15 p.m., and he immediately called for mutual aid. East Machias, Jonesboro/Roque Bluffs, Machias, and Marshfield fire departments responded to the call.

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  9. Poking the green hornets’ nest

    by Jonathan Reisman

     

    Last week I poked the green hornets’ nest by testifying in support of LD 324, An Act to Limit Public Land Ownership in Maine. The environmental left was outraged that any such sentiment would even be considered and suggested that the legislation was unneeded, counterproductive, overly broad, a burden on democracy, local governance, and efforts to confront the climate apocalypse.

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  10. EAC’s free craft along series teaches collage

    Eastport Arts Center’s KinderArts program, which launched a video series in October, continues with ‘Craft-along: Collage a Scene,’ set for a March 19 release. KinderArts video instructor Nia Aretakis will demonstrate a technique for creating a landscape collage scene using basic materials: fabric scraps, patterned paper, tissue paper and craft glue. Free materials kits available from EAC include sufficient supplies for the participant to both follow along with Nia’s instruction and to create

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  11. The Nature of Phenology: Fishers

    by Hazel Stark

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  12. NOTICE OF INTENT TO FILE

     

    AIR EMISSIONS, NATURAL RESOURCES PROTECTION and SITE LOCATION

     PERMIT APPLICATIONS

     

    Please take note that:

    Gartley & Dorsky Engineering & Surveying

    59 Union St. Unit #1

    Camden, ME 04843

    (207) 236-4365

     

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  13. Maine lobstermen respond to feds’ whale plan

    by Nancy Beal

    Lobstermen on the coast of Maine got the chance last week to express their displeasure with proposed federal guidelines that would impose expensive gear changes, limit fishing practices and territories, and potentially threaten the industry’s existence and the viability of the communities they live in.

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  14. Pat’s Pizza partners to prevent underage drinking

    by Natalie Boomer

    Last time you picked up a pizza from Pat’s Pizza in Machias did you notice a new sticker on the box?

    Pat’s has teamed up with Healthy Acadia to prevent underage drinking and reduce the use of tobacco products.

    “Parents who host, lose the most” is the saying on the stickers going out to customers at the local restaurant.   

     
    According to the Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey of 2019, 1 in 4 high school students in Washington County reported that they had consumed alcohol within the preceding 30 days.

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  15. Elm Street School’s Tony Maker talks teaching in 2021

    by Praise Moore

    Tony Maker, principal of Elm Street School, started teaching in 1989. When asked what the most challenging thing about teaching is, he replied, “If we could pretend the whole COVID situation didn’t exist, even in a normal classroom setting, the challenge with kids is to keep their attention,” says Maker. Those challenges are more pronounced today, especially, he says. There are so many things demanding student’s attention that having kids sit, listen, and discuss is difficult and according to Maker, even more difficult in an online classroom.

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  16. Mills’ address hails panoply of spending, towing the line

    by Ruth Leubecker

    After a year like no other and a bottom line marked with unknowns, Gov. Janet Mills last week delivered her State of the Budget with optimism and promise.

    “We, like the rest of the nation, were dealt a bad hand last year,” said Mills, referring to the year of COVID, a crippled economy, evictions, severe isolation and ensuing fear. “But we are pushing through. We will get to that other side. We will not only survive, but rise a better, greater state for all that we have endured, all that we have learned, all whom we have saved.”

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  17. More ages eligible as state changes COVID-19 vaccine strategy

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    Maine has moved from a vaccine schedule based on age, occupation, and health conditions to one based strictly on age. Governor Janet Mills announced the change on Friday, Feb. 26 to take effect this week.

    “A review of recent data by the Maine CDC indicates that age is a significant predictor of whether someone will become seriously sick or is more likely to die if they contract COVID-19,” said Mills in a written statement.

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  18. Heavens to Murgatroyd!

    The 1960’s Hanna-Barbara cartoon character Snagglepuss had several trademark lines. “Heavens to Murgatroyd”, which traces to medieval England, Gilbert and Sullivan, and MGM actor Bert Lahr (the Cowardly Lion in the Wizard of Oz), was used to express the proto Pink Panther’s disbelief or utter bewilderment.

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  19. OWL: Outdoor Women Lead expands to include an outing club and summer day camp

    Women for Healthy Rural Living (WHRL) and Maine Outdoor School, L3C have expanded their OWL: Outdoor Women Lead offerings. A free women’s outing club will begin this spring and a free day camp for girls will occur twice this summer.

    OWL started in 2020 as a series of videos, blog posts, and interactive activities that taught outdoor and naturalist skills. The goal of OWL is to strengthen women and girls’ confidence outside because everyone deserves to feel comfortable and empowered in the outdoors.

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  20. Sunrise Senior College course: All the King's Men

    by Joan Miller

    This spring semester course will begin on March 8 and will continue for seven more weeks, on Mondays from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

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  21. Celebrating before the pandemic

    by Wayne Smith

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  22. The Nature of Phenology: Winter cutworms

    by Joseph Horn

    Winter is a lot of things for a lot of different people. For some, it is an opportunity for outdoor recreation, from skiing, snowshoeing, ice skating, and ice fishing to snowmobiling. For others, it is an opportunity to hunker down with a pile of good books next to a roaring woodstove and take a respite from the hustle and bustle of the short northern summer months. And for still others, winter and its constant battle of ice, snow, and keeping warm cannot end soon enough.

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  23. Jonesport nursing home reborn as assisted living facility

    by Nancy Beal

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  24. Bills tackle mounting issues of aging in Maine

    by Ruth Leubecker

    More than 200 bills related to the state’s growing elderly demographic are waiting for attention from the 130th Maine Legislature.

    They represent a vast array of subject matter, ranging from excessive drug prices and expanding dental health coverage to improving access to bariatric care in nursing homes and the long-term impact of economic abuse.

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  25. 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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  26. 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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  27. 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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  28. 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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  29. 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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  30. 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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  31. The Nature of Phenology: Nest boxes

    by Joseph Horn

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

    by Nancy Beal

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  34. 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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  35. 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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  36. 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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  37. February fugue

    by Jonathan Reisman

     

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  38. 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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  39. 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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  40. 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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  41. The Nature of Phenology: Stick bouquet

    by Joseph Horn

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  42. 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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  43. 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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  44. 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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  45. 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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