1. Gravedigger Hall

    by Wayne Smith

    With over 50 years of digging graves, 76-year-old Everard Hall of Milbridge has dug over 2,500 graves. He has a gravedigger's scrapbook with obituaries and photos. Hall tells his story to me in his own words. He grew up poor as he quit school to take care of his family. Hall has a special tool that helps him dig graves. He calls it Everard, after his first name.

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  2. Pembroke historian keeps sea chanties alive Downeast

    by Praise Moore

    Stephen Sanfilippoand his wife have been singing sea chanties since their early twenties. Now, Sanfilippo will be 73 in September. As he pulled out his banjo, guitar, and a whole bag filled with books and papers on sea chanties, anyone could see how passionate he was on the subject.

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  3. Former UMM professor named new MIE Superintendent

    The former University of Maine at Machias Chemistry Professor and Machias resident, Dr. Reza Namin Named New Superintendent of Maine Indian Education. Maine Indian Education serving Passamaquoddy, Penobscot, Wabanaki Nations and has three schools Indian Island School, Indian Township School, and the current Beatrice Rafferty School under new school construction to be named Sipayik Elementary School.

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  4. The Nature of Phenology: Dandelions

    by Hazel Stark

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  5. Canceled due to COVID-19: Machias Wild Blueberry Festival 2021

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    The Machias Wild Blueberry Festival will not happen for the second year in a row due to the COVID-19 pandemic, festival organizers announced today, April 9.

    “It was a hard decision. We really just did not see how we could safely put on a festival,” said festival committee chair Ellen Farnsworth, pointing to festival events that take place in close quarters, like the blueberry musical. “That couldn’t have happened. Even the vendors, how could we guarantee that we were keeping our vendors safe? There were just too many things.”

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  6. Recently reunited, Jonesport’s ‘Palmer Twins’ prepare to celebrate 90 years

    by Nancy Beal

    Identical twins Rosalie Carver and Lucille Woodward were born in Jonesport 90 years ago and have lived there all their lives. Inseparable until the coronavirus pandemic-imposed isolation on their world, they had been in contact, physically, nearly every day of their lives. Last week, after the expiration of the two-week waiting period following administration of the COVID-19 vaccine they couldn’t get soon enough, they celebrated with huge hugs. This weekend, they will celebrate their 90th birthday together with family.

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  7. Maritime Family Fiber in Cutler carries on family wool tradition

    by Praise Moore

    When entering the Glidden’s Cutler home, I was informed by one of the children that her mommy is a “yarn worker”.

    Lacie Glidden, the mother of three, has been a distributor of Briggs and Little Woolen Mills since 2017, but she has been traveling across the border to Briggs and Little since she was a baby, going with her parents who raise sheep at Wild Wind Farm in Bucks Harbor. “They would trade wool for yarn because obviously, you get a lot more wool than you can spin,” Glidden said.

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  8. Opioid crisis numbers climb as ‘preventable disease’ gains force

    by Ruth Leubecker

    Nationally the opioid crisis has achieved new heights, but in Maine the numbers are climbing at an even more devastating rate.

    Between 2014 until 2019, drug overdoses claimed 1,630 lives in Maine. In 2015 alone, 272 Mainers died by drug overdose. But by 2020, in that year alone a record 502 deaths by overdose motivated Gov. Janet Mills to include in her budget $2 million to promote OPTIONS (Overdose Prevention Through Intensive Outreach Naloxone & Safety).

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  9. At town meeting, Beals voters raise $109k for steel floats

    by Nancy Beal

    Floats for the town landing generated the most discussion at the Beals town meeting March 29, as well as the highest single appropriation. After nearly an hour’s back-and-forth over types of floats, the 16 citizens that attended the two-and-a-half-hour session voted to raise $105,000 for seven steel floats and tacked on $4,000 for their delivery. Jenny Fagonde, who served as clerk and made the motion for the floats, expressed the hope that a matching grant could be obtained that would pay for seven more floats.

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  10. As warmer weather nears, local swim coach hosts water safety Q&A for parents with small children

    by Natalie Boomer

    As summer approaches us here in Maine, many locals will be introducing their young children to the water.

    Maine Families of Washington County has partnered with lifeguard, swim instructor, and USA swimming coach, Lindsay McMahon to host a water safety question and answer for parents who want to learn how to keep their children safe around water.

    McMahon will lead an interactive group discussion over Zoom on Wednesday, April 14 at 10 am.

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  11. Coastie worked at Maine Staples in Downeast Maine

    Bostonian Robert W. Hall felt fortunate to grow up along the New England coast. He and his family enjoyed so many summers on nearby Cape Cod that it’s no wonder that he went on to join the U.S. Coast Guard.

    His parents, William and Ruth Hall, had family on the Cape, and Robert spent a great deal of his time fishing for stripers and hunting with his cousin. He attended schools in Milton and graduated from Milton High School in 1955.

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  12. Inconvenient questions and politically incorrect answers

    by Jonathan Reisman

     

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  13. Rain sticks are EAC craft-along’s April Project

    Eastport Arts Center’s KinderArts program, which launched a video series in October, continues with a customizable rain stick project for April. KinderArts video instructor Nia Aretakis will demonstrate a technique for creating a child-sized rainstick out of simple household materials, and encourages participants to experiment with different ‘fillings’ for their sticks to create different sounds. Free materials kits are available from EAC, or participants can easily assemble needed supplies at home.

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  14. Online drawing group regulars discuss inspiration & connectedness

    “Assignments really help me. I get lost in too many options,” writes Sue Riddle of Pembroke, Maine, one of several artists who have participated for a year or more in the Eastport Arts Center (EAC) online portrait drawing group, interacting each week with a close-knit community formed despite social and physical distance. “I was desperately missing the arts and crafts programming I usually get through EAC and Peavey Library,” noted Riddle.

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  15. The Nature of Phenology: Kingfishers returning

    by Joseph Horn

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  16. ‘Not again!’ cries Ever Given captain, now lodged in Machias River

    by Dewey Foolem

     The Machias Police Department is directing Route 1 traffic today, Thursday, April 1, due to the spectacle of a large container vessel lodged in the Machias River below Bad Little Falls. No one knows exactly when or how the Ever Given arrived in Washington County, apparently traveling downriver from the north. 

     “I thought I heard something go by last night,” said Michael Hoyt, speaking from his riverside camp in Centerville. “Usually the container ships make more noise.”

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  17. DOT seeks public feedback on Machias dike alternatives

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    Fourteen options for repairing the Machias dike bridge, ranging from small changes to full removal of the causeway, are outlined in an online public hearing available until April 30.

    The Machias dike bridge carries Route 1 and the Downeast Sunrise Trail over the confluence of the Middle and Machias rivers. A causeway has spanned the 1,000-foot gap since 1868, but the current structure was built of timber cribbing, rubble, and dirt in 1930, then widened in 1944.

    On average, 8,600 vehicles cross the dike every day.

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  18. Lack of high-speed Internet unyielding in holding back Maine

    by Ruth Leubecker

    Fifteen years ago, John Baldacci was governor and the Dirigo health plan was struggling with spiraling costs. But the hot-button issue was high-speed Internet.

    All these years later, a new governor deals with issues never dreamed of back then and health costs are still scaling new heights. But the hot-button issue is still high-speed Internet.

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  19. Grow your own garden with help from WHRL and CCC

    by Natalie Boomer

    Community Caring Collaborative (CCC) and Women for Healthy Rural Living (WHRL) have combined their resources to create a project to help Washington County families with children start their very own gardens.

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  20. Jonesport takes no action on 2nd Amendment resolution

    by Nancy Beal

    Earlier this month, Jonesport Selectman Billy Milliken was asked by an out-of-towner to bring a resolution supportive of the Second Amendment before his board. The towns of Steuben and Harrington have already approved such a resolution, he said, which affirms the right of citizens to bear arms.

    Harry Fish said he supported the amendment but would not commit to the resolution without the support of the townspeople and suggested that the select board table the motion. “We could be stepping into a quagmire,” he said.

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  21. Crumbs in Calais set to reopen this week

    by Jayna Smith

    The popular eatery Crumbs is set to reopen at a new location, with a new look, and with a slight change to its name. Crumbs Cafe & Bake Shoppe is now officially Crumbs Cafe & Coffee Bar and has moved to the other end of downtown, to 405 Main Street, right across from the triangle park. The cafe will reopen at 7 a.m. on Thursday, April 1.

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  22. Pratt donation to annual Cobscook Bay races benefits Down East Hospice

    by Jayna Smith

    Last week, Ian Pratt, of Pratt Family Dealership, presented a $500 donation to Barbara Barnett, Director of Volunteer Services at Down East Hospice Volunteers (DEHV).  The donation is for sponsorship of the Cobscook Bay Races - Challenge 2021.

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  23. Filibusters and April Fool’s folly

    by Jonathan Reisman

     

    Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely”- Lord Acton

    Power is the Ultimate Aphrodisiac”- Henry Kissinger

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  24. ‘Entangled’ right whale movie screenings available now

    Porter Memorial Library in Machias will offer discounted online viewings of a new film, Entangled, which chronicles efforts to protect North Atlantic right whales from extinction, the impacts of those efforts on the lobster industry, and how the National Marine Fisheries Service has struggled to balance the vying interests.

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  25. Scholarships Available for Washington County Students

    Applications are currently being accepted for four Maine Community Foundation scholarships that support Washington County students.

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  26. The Nature of Phenology: White suckers

    by Joseph Horn

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  27. Machias alum awarded prestigious defense medal for exceptional service

    by Celia Cummiskey

    Machias Memorial High School graduate Martin Holmes was recently awarded the Office of the Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Civil Service. Holmes, who works as a Space Policy Analyst within the Department of Defense, says he was completely surprised by the announcement that he was to receive the highest honorary award for career civilian employees given by the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

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  28. Proposed Jonesport fish farmers, Kingfish Maine, share building plans

    by Nancy Beal

    Principals in Kingfish Maine, a Dutch company that proposes to build a $100 million land-based fish farm in Jonesport on Chandler Bay, were in town last week to hold an informational meeting, a requirement on their quest for three permits needed to build and operate the facility they hope to create. They brought with them architectural renderings of what the plant and associated outbuildings would look like—from the ground and from the air.

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  29. Corrections commissioner Liberty meets daily with CDC, inmate shots this week

    by Ruth Leubecker

    Eight positive cases of Covid at the Maine State Prison recently nudged the Department of Corrections back to the forefront of questioning coronavirus preparedness.

    “Everyone’s wearing masks. We continue to have excessive hygiene. We’ve stayed the course,” says Department of Corrections Comm. Randy Liberty. “When employees come in we do a temperature check, and everyone’s wearing masks 24/7.”

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  30. Miss Bartlett: East Machias art teacher

    by Praise Moore

    Lisa Bartlett is the art teacher of Elm Street Elementary School in East Machias. When asked how she started teaching, she answered: “For a job I feel I was destined to do — I love it so much, I really do — I didn’t start until I was forty.” After she and her husband moved from Wales

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  31. Library’s chest highlights Machias naval history

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    For the second time in 124 years, a camphor wood chest has been delivered to Porter Memorial Library in Machias. The crate arrived first in 1897, delivered with great pomp and circumstance by U.S.S. Machias Commander Charles Train, who was entertained by local officials and the governor of Maine, Llewellyn Powers.

    Last month the chest was delivered again, this time more quietly, by Kathleen Garcelon of Machiasport, who lovingly restored the piece over the course of a year.

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  32. The border closure: one year later and no plans for reopening

    by Jayna Smith

    March 20 marked one year since the closure of the U.S./Canada border in an effort to minimize the spread of COVID-19, and the order has been extended every month since. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau suggested in a news conference last week a reopening date is not in sight.

    “We’re all eager to be able to travel again, but I think we’re all going to wait patiently until such time as the health situation allows us to loosen border restrictions internationally. That’ll be eventually, but not for today,” Trudeau said.

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  33. Charts and tables across my desk

    by Jonathan Reisman

     

    I get quite a bit of information and political agitprop across my desk.

    Pictures speak a 1000 words

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  34. Public meeting will present options for reworking the Machias dike

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    There are nearly 20 ways to engineer a reconstruction of the Machias dike, and the Maine Department of Transportation will present all of them via an online public hearing, available beginning March 29.

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  35. The Nature of Phenology: Turkey vultures

    by Hazel Stark

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  36. Machias town manager resigns

    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 9.

    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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  37. Coronavirus response grants create breaks for small business

    by Ruth Leubecker

    More opportunities for Maine farmers are on the horizon, with agricultural grants also creating greater availability of single business development.

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  38. Local marijuana shops fear industry damage from proposed new rules

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    A state public hearing set for March 22 will take feedback on proposed changes to Maine’s medical marijuana program, changes local businesses believe will put them at a competitive disadvantage, especially against large corporations.

    “They’re going to shut down the small businesses in Maine,” says David Finlay, owner of Indian Trail Farms in Machias, who is not alone in his frustration. Last week, several dozen people marched outside the Augusta Civic Center to protest the proposed changes.

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  39. Marina floats an issue at upcoming Beals town meeting

    by Nancy Beal

    Replacing aging floats at the Beals town landing in the Alleys Bay District of town will be a major topic at the annual town meeting this year. The Beals select board—Paula McCormack, Agnes Smith, and Sandra Woodward — has scheduled the session for 6 p.m., Monday, March 29 in the elementary school gymnasium. The meeting will be in-person only with seating in socially distanced chairs six feet apart.

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  40. Family affected by vaccine legislation begins charter school

    by Praise Moore

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  41. DECH receives the 2021 Women’s Choice Award as one of America’s best hospitals for emergency care

    Down East Community Hospital (DECH) has been named one of America’s Best Hospitals for Emergency Care by the Women’s Choice Award®, America’s trusted referral source for the best in healthcare.  The award signifies that DECH is in the top 5% of 4,542 U.S. hospitals offering emergency care services.

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  42. The man (in the horsey mask) who knew too much: remembering Stephen Copel

    by Alan Kryszak

    You don’t ask inventive artist/musicians like Stephen Copel why his dog pictures are in classic artistic settings, or why he wears a horsey mask on shopping day. You don’t ask Little Seavey Lake’s master guitarist and troubadour with way too many stories why his voice sounds like it floated off of a 1970s blues album and his guitar sounds like the lost Allman brother.

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  43. A shot in the arm for the Ides of March

    by Jonathan Reisman

     

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  44. The Nature of Phenology: Silver maples flowering

    by Joseph Horn

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  45. 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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