1. Dutch fish farmers mingle with Jonesporters

    by Nancy Beal

    Kingfish Zeeland, the Dutch company that aspires to build a $100 million land-based fish farm in Jonesport on 95 acres of waterfront on Chandler Bay and employ up to 70 local laborers, wants to be a good neighbor. Aware of the difficulties that similar ventures have encountered elsewhere on the Maine coast (read Belfast and Bucksport), Kingfish Zeeland’s managers have gone out of their way to extend an olive branch to the folks whose community their project would dramatically alter.

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  2. Roads slide into further disrepair as costs rise sharply

    by Ruth Leubecker

    As Maine’s embattled highways continue in a holding pattern for repairs, it becomes glaringly obvious that such a mode of operation is no longer sustainable.
    The Blue Ribbon Commission to Study and Recommend Funding Solutions for the State’s Transportation System is as wordy and challenging as its mission. Rep. Tom Martin (R-Greene) who sponsored the bill to create the commission reinforces that statement.

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  3. Local professor’s lawsuit on appeal to US Supreme Court

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    A case originally filed in Maine is on appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

    University of Maine at Machias Professor Jonathan Reisman is the plaintiff in Reisman v. Associated Faculties of the University of Maine (AFUM), et al, the union which represents all faculty members in the state university system. The University of Maine at Machias, Board of Trustees of the University of Maine, and the state of Maine are also parties to the suit.  

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  4. DMR lottery opens lucrative elver fishery

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    The Maine Department of Marine Resources (DMR) last week announced it would be conducting a lottery to award nine licenses into the lucrative elver fishery. Authorized by the legislature in 2017, the lottery will take the fishery to its legal limit of 425 licenses statewide. The lottery opened for entries on Jan. 16 and will close at 4:30 p.m. on Feb. 21.

    The nine available licenses are the result of licenses that were not renewed in 2018 and 2019.

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  5. MaineCF grants available for Washington County nonprofits

    Nonprofit and public organizations seeking funding for projects that strengthen communities are encouraged to apply to the Maine Community Foundation’s Community Building Grant Program.

    A volunteer committee of Washington County residents and community leaders reviews grants and makes recommendations for funding. The deadline for applying is February 15, 2020. Application, guidelines, and a list of 2019 grants are available at www.mainecf.org.

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  6. Richard Stacey, live and unplugged

    by Wayne Smith

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  7. Whitneyville Library News

    Winter has finally settled in as the Friends of the Library are getting ready for their Valentine's candy sale.  It will be chocolate and baked goods on Friday, Feb. 7 and Saturday, Feb. 8 at the library. If you are looking for something special to get your sweetie or loved one, how about some homemade candies.  Our regular chocolates as well as caramels, needhams, peppermint patties and peanut butter balls will also be for sale along with some baked goods.

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  8. Bold Coast Yoga School opens for applications

    Samantha Williams, owner of Bold Coast Yoga, is pleased to announce she will offer two yoga teacher training programs, a 200-hour and 300-hour course, beginning in April at West Quoddy Station in Lubec. The 200-hour training program is for those who want to become yoga teachers or learn more about yoga, while the 300-hour training is for those who have already completed the 200-hour level training. Participants will be guided through a wide range of yoga-focused topics including anatomy, alignment, teaching techniques and methodology, and yogic philosophy.

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  9. WIth grant, Washington Academy to launch mobile app development training program for local businesses

    Washington Academy has received a $10,000 grant from the Maine Community Foundation to develop a mobile app development training program for local small businesses in Washington County. The funds are through the combination of the Downeast Innovation Fund ($6,605) and the Belvedere Natural Resource Preservation Fund Downeast ($3,395).

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  10. CCLC is now Cobscook Institute

    Cobscook Community Learning Center (CCLC) in Trescott was created more than 20 years ago to find ways to improve life in the rural region of Downeast Maine. As the organization grew and matured, it developed into something far more than a community learning center, and they believe their name should reflect that. So effective January 15, CCLC is changing its name to Cobscook Institute.

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  11. The Nature of Phenology: Snowflake formation

    by Joseph Horn

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  12. Ray Reynolds

    August 19, 1931 - December 1, 2019

     

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  13. Welcome Initiative works to draw new workforce, residents Downeast

    by Tanya Rucosky

    Mano en Mano and Sunrise County Economic Council (SCEC) are partnering to grow the year-round workforce in Washington County by building affordable housing for seasonal workers through their new Welcome Initiative. “When you look at the big picture demographics,” said Charles Rudelitch, SCEC’s Executive Director, “we see the population of Washington County, and particularly the workforce going down.”

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  14. Skidgel family thanks community for ‘overwhelming support’ after loss

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    Speaking on behalf of her entire family, Angela Skidgel said she was “forever grateful” for the outpouring of support, sympathy and kindness showered on them after the deaths of her grandfather Darold Ames and son Gavin Skidgel in a car accident that took place on Friday, Jan. 3.

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  15. Healthcare top priority in Augusta as consumers struggle

    by Ruth Leubecker

    Dominating the legislative agenda even as nonpolitical leaders strive to make a bigger difference, healthcare in Maine still remains an out-of-reach necessity for many.

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  16. Machias Food Pantry makes plans for the future

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    The numbers are bleak: One in six Maine seniors don’t have enough to eat; one in five Maine children go hungry, and 37 percent of Maine’s food-insecure population does not qualify for public assistance. The numbers also hit close to home. Since she began volunteering in 2017, Machias Food Pantry Director Eunice Mommens has seen a significant increase in the number of clientele using the pantry’s services.

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  17. Downeast Wind TIF hearing draws crowds to county courthouse

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    Washington County Commissioner Chris Gardner opened a public hearing last week explaining what the hearing was — and was not — for.

    “I understand the large number of people in this room tonight is because there are some strong feelings on this subject. I want to make it clear that the commissioners are not the committee of jurisdiction for approving or disapproving this project,” said Gardner. “It’s approved or disapproved by the DEP and the LUPC.”

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  18. Machias talks police department, airport bids and special meeting

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    At their first meeting of the new year, the Machias Board of Selectmen heard from Machias Police Chief Todd Hand who was hired last year and this month assumed the role full-time. Hand’s background includes 25 years in Florida law enforcement, as well as several years teaching at Florida State Law Enforcement Academy, Saint Leo University, and Unity College.

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  19. Eagles dying from lead bullets — without being shot

    by Jayna Smith

    Avian Haven (avianhaven.org), located in Freedom, is a rehabilitation center dedicated to the return of injured and orphaned wild birds to their natural roles in the wild.  Last week, the center admitted two bald eagles from two separate areas, each experiencing symptoms due to lead poisoning.  Unfortunately, one of the birds did not survive.

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  20. My brother David

    by Wayne Smith

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  21. Hudson Museum highlights shell heaps containing Wabanaki, environmental history

    For generations, indigenous Wabanaki people hunted, caught fish, and harvested clams and oysters along the coast of what’s now called Maine. And they left behind middens — heaps of shells — that sometimes contain tools, ceramic shards and bones of animals.

    Alice Kelley and Bonnie Newsom are in a race against time and tides to document the cultural and paleoenvironmental information contained in the shell heaps before they’re swept out to sea.

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  22. The Nature of Phenology: What exactly is the ‘January thaw’?

    by Hazel Stark

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  23. DMR’s whale plan goes to feds

    by Nancy Beal

    Shortly after Christmas, the Maine Department of Marine Resources (DMR) officially submitted to federal authorities its alternative plan to reduce the danger to Atlantic right whales from Maine lobster gear. As recently reported in these pages (MNVO, Dec. 11, 2019), the DMR initially agreed to a plan that was crafted by federal fisheries managers and lobstermen in Rhode Island last spring, then rejected it on science and safety grounds.

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  24. Bills, budget process battle will dictate upcoming session

    by Ruth Leubecker

    With hundreds of bills outstripping funds available, the upcoming legislative session promises a challenging performance of jockeying for center stage.

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  25. DECH welcomes the first Downeast baby of 2020

    Down East Community Hospital welcomes its first baby of 2020!  Alison Furman, of Princeton, gave birth to Chase Alexander Furman at 9:14 a.m. on January 3.  Chase, who is cuddly and very sweet, weighed in at 6 pounds and 13 ounces.

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  26. 105-year-old says secret to longevity is to follow doctor’s orders

    by Jayna Smith

     Ruth Muller just celebrated her 105th birthday. This likely makes her the oldest person in the City of Calais, possibly even in the state.

    Born in Germany on January 3, 1915, Ms. Muller immigrated to the United States with her parents and two sisters through Ellis Island. Like others at that time, her parents were in search of a better life for her family. Ms. Muller was eight years old and did not speak a word of English.

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  27. Community mourns two killed in Columbia

    The Washington County Sheriff's Office released a statement following a crash that took place in Columbia on the afternoon of Friday, Jan. 3, killing two and closing Route 1 for several hours.

    The incident took place at approximately 1 p.m. when a Ford Explorer driven by Angela Skidgel, 43, of East Machias crossed into the path of a tractor-trailer owned by the JB Hunt Corporation and driven by Sean Kelly, 56, who was traveling west on Route 1. According to the Sheriff’s Office, the tractor-trailer was unable to avoid the collision.

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  28. Man finds late brother’s identification in ocean

    by Natalie Boomer

    Frank Miliano of Pleasant Point recently made a Facebook post that has gone viral.

    On Dec. 27, Miliano came across something that he could not believe. While out on the ocean on his fishing boat, "Aptuamkon,” the Passamaquoddy word for sea serpent, he discovered his late brother’s health care card.

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  29. Steuben rocks in the New Year

    by Wayne Smith

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  30. Newcomers and veterans alike drawn to Stage East’s ‘Wonderful Life’

    by Lauren Koss

    With a swift rehearsal period of just one month, and only Saturday afternoons for the first three weeks, Stage East’s It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play was a chance for a group of 20 performers to participate, without a production’s usual staggering time commitment, in a crowd-pleasing holiday tale. Several of the cast were new to the stage, including Don Bailey, who played the villain of the piece—Henry F. Potter—as well as the angel, Joseph, and several other small roles, and helped with the sound effects.

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  31. MSB bids CFO Reynolds a fond farewell

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    After attending plenty of celebrations during his 33-year career, Machias Savings Bank Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President Donny Reynolds attended his own retirement party on Saturday, Jan. 4 where fellow board members and MSB coworkers recalled a career filled with kindness, integrity, and fond friendships.

    “There is nobody I respect more,” said former MSB President and Board Chairman Ed Hennessey, who hired Reynolds 33 years ago. “Donny Reynolds brought credibility to everybody he dealt with.”

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  32. The Nature of Phenology: Cedar Waxwings

    by Joseph Horn

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  33. Apex presents plans for $85M windmill project in Columbia, Township 19

    by Tanya Rucosky

    Apex Clean Energy presented its proposed Downeast Wind Project at the Columbia Town Office on December 19. Apex Energy staff made presentations regarding the environmental and economic impact the proposed turbines will have on the local communities. Senior development manager Paul Williams explained the 130-megawatt project in Columbia and Township 19 will include 30 wind turbines. He said it will provide enough clean electricity to power 36,000 homes.

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  34. Jonesport OKs medical marijuana growing facilities; recreational marijuana ordinance in the offing

    by Nancy Beal

    The Jonesport planning board tentatively approved permits for two medical marijuana growing facilities on Alexander Avenue last month, and on December 18 selectmen voted to grant the necessary town licenses to grow cannabis in the structures. The licensing permits, sought by the Batson family, will each cost $5,000 a year, according to the medical marijuana ordinance approved by voters earlier last year.

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  35. Report claims healthcare plan could reduce costs, cover everyone in Maine

    by Ruth Leubecker

    An all-encompassing healthcare proposal could save Maine $1.5 billion in healthcare spending, according to a new analysis released by Maine AllCare.
    “When every Mainer is covered, and there is never a bill to patients. When doctors are paid promptly, and everyone contributes on a sliding scale, we will truly have a caring and cost-effective system,” says Joe Lendvai, stressing the plan’s simplicity and fairness.

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  36. DECH Implements Safe Sleep Program for Infants

    Machias - Down East Community Hospital is taking part in the National Safe Sleep Hospital Certification Program!

    The Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is implementing a safe sleep program and Down East Community Hospital wants to support this initiative by becoming a Safe Sleep Certified Hospital through the Cribs for Kids National Safe Sleep Hospital Certification Program.

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  37. DECH Auxiliary pays pledge a year early and kicks in an additional $1,000

    Down East Community Hospital (DECH) recently received $5,000 from the DECH Auxiliary.

    Amid the hustle and bustle of the holidays, the Down East Community Hospital Auxiliary surprised the hospital with $4,000 to pay off their $10,000 pledge to the emergency department campaign a full year early.  Not only did they pull off that monumental task, but they also kicked in an additional $1,000 to the hospital’s annual Light A Life fundraiser!

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  38. The winter blues

    by Wayne Smith

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  39. Students at Bay Ridge Elementary are going for the gold in the 3rd Annual WinterKids Winter Games

    Cutler Students from Bay Ridge Elementary are participating in the WinterKids Winter Games for the month of January. Students will compete in a four-week series of outdoor physical activity and nutrition challenges designed to help them be active in the winter and learn healthy habits.  Each school is encouraged to involve volunteers, parents, healthy eating and active living organizations in their community, and hold a winter carnival to close out the month’s events. This year’s WinterKids Winter Games theme is STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math).

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  40. Join Judy outside: opting out every day

    by Commissioner Judy Camuso, Inland Fisheries & Wildlife

    Last week, I had to push myself to get outside and go for a walk.  It was a crappy weather day; my least favorite. Cold rain. I don’t mind a nice warm rain; when I could still run, running in a warm rain was always my favorite. It was cold though, not quite cold enough for snow, but cold sleety precipitation dropping from the sky. The air was raw, and the sky was gray and gloomy. Not a day that screams “let’s go for a walk.”

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  41. The Nature of Phenology: Owls courting

    by Hazel Stark

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  42. The storied career of our journalist Ruth Leubecker

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

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  43. Merger of Wesleyan churches in Beals and Jonesport

    by Nancy Beal

    Nearly a year ago, efforts began to merge the Wesleyan churches on either side of Moosabec Reach. The old structures (each over 100 years old) were debt-free, but attendance was down, especially on the island. During the last weekend of last January, a “merger exploration” was held, attended by the pastors, the governing bodies and the district supervisor. The following weekend, a town hall was held for anyone who wanted to listen to the proposal and ask questions.

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  44. After 33 years, Tuell retires from Machias Savings Bank

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    Last week at Machias Savings Bank, Jennifer Tuell greeted customers dressed as Mrs. Claus for the 15th time, and for the last time. The end of 2019  will also mark the end of Tuell’s long and — to hear her describe it — happy career at Machias Savings Bank. She began working for the bank in January 1987, and though she is technically a few days shy of her exact work anniversary, she said ending with the calendar year felt right.

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  45. New year heralds bicentennial birthday

    by Ruth Leubecker

    Welcoming in 2020 is not just like greeting any other in the annual firmament.

    This time around we celebrate 200 years of statehood. The actual date is March 15, 1820, but throughout this year galas from Kittery to Fort Kent will mark this special year, already steadily growing with scheduled events.

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