School officials tell parents to throw away the yardsticks, they’re toxic

by Rep. Lawrence E. Lockman

Is it really “poisonous” for parents to compare student test scores in their local school district to test results in other districts across the state?

I don’t think so. But then, I’m not a credentialed education professional with advanced degrees, earning $80K or $90K toiling in the government school monopoly swamp.

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Medicaid expansion struggles amid sea of suits, strife

By Ruth Leubecker 

Health insurance for 70,000-plus Mainers may be the law of the land, but lawsuits and excessive legal postponements have prevented it from happening for over two years.

The latest date for possible positive action is December 5.

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Firefighters save home in Pembroke after vehicle engulfed in flames

 

by Lura Jackson

A Pembroke family escaped major catastrophe this past week following a fire that began in a vehicle parked between their home and their shed with only a few feet on either side as a buffer. A seemingly spontaneous fire ignited the Lingleys’ 2005 Ford Explorer Sport Trac in the morning of Wednesday, Nov. 28, but firefighters contained the blaze before it could spread.

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Moosabec teachers seek pay scale changes, negotiations ongoing since last winter

 

by Nancy Beal

Teachers in Union 103, the school unit that includes both elementary schools and the joint high school in Beals and Jonesport, are seeking a change in the 25-step pay scale under which the district has operated for years. Negotiations started last winter and, instead of lasting the usual couple of months and centering on the increase in pay and benefits, are snagged on a different issue which, teachers say, affect not just money, but their professionalism and the ability of the schools to attract and retain good teachers.

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‘Royal Bulldogs’ turn Jonesport, Machias schools into one winning team

 

by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

When students approached Cindy Moore-Rossi and asked her to coach their cross country running team, she wasn’t even a runner herself.

“There were four kids that wanted to run and they were told the program would fold if they couldn’t come up with a coach,” she said. At the time Moore-Rossi was working at Machias Memorial High School as a special education ed tech.

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Josh Kelley, Philip Kilton survive the sinking of their lobster boat 11 miles offshore

 

by Nancy Beal

The boat that sank out from under Beals lobsterman Josh Kelley and his sternman last month seven miles outside of Moosepeak Light was a 42-foot Novi-style boat that Kelley purchased in Lower Woods Hole, Nova Scotia in 2014. She was built by Stanley Greenwood, or “Chainsaw” Greenwood as he is familiarly known because he uses that tool for finish work.

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Local talent fires up UMM women’s basketball

 

by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

On their way to last week’s game, the University of Maine at Machias women’s basketball team anxiously awaited the latest USCAA power rankings. Coach Troy Alley had predicted their strong 6-2 record would land them in the national top 10, but when the rankings came out he heard they were actually number three. 

Five minutes later he realized his mistake. “Ladies, we’re not third,” said Alley. They were crestfallen. “We’re first.” 

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County committee on verge of completing controversial budget

 

by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

After a hiatus due to weather events, the Washington County Budget Committee convened on Thursday, Nov. 29 for what could be its next-to-last meeting this year. The 2019 budget process has taken longer than usual owing to a debate over the proposed addition of three deputies to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office. 

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County committee approves budget to include three sheriff's deputies

 

 

The final meeting of the Washington County Budget Committee took place in Machias on Tuesday, Dec. 4 and the 10-member committee spent two hours negotiating. Led by committee chairman Lewis Pinkham of Milbridge, the committee ultimately passed a budget that includes a near-zero increase of .1306 percent, but still includes the addition of three sheriff’s deputies.

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Machias votes in favor of medical marijuana

 

by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

Unusually long lines of voters delayed the start of a town meeting held in Machias on Wednesday. Dec. 5. More than 120 Machias residents and 30 non-residents attended the meeting, held to discuss and vote on the town’s proposed medical marijuana ordinance. As is customary the non-residents lined the bleachers of the Machias Memorial High School gymnasium, leaving a clear view to the Machias voters seated in rows of chairs down the middle of the room.

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Blueberry commission gives tentative OK for subcommittee of small growers sought by Addison’s Marie Emerson; bill to enlarge commission in the works

 

by Nancy Beal

Marie and Dell Emerson have been involved with wild blueberries for decades. For nearly 50 years before his retirement, Dell ran the experimental farm on Blueberry Hill in Jonesboro. The couple owns a 40-acre farm of their own at Wescogus Corner in Addison and manages other growers’ fields and buys berries from still others. They furnish berries for the fresh pack market and, after the harvest in August, sell fresh-frozen berries in bulk from their home.

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Machias votes in favor of medical marijuana storefronts

 

by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

Unusually long lines of voters delayed the start of a town meeting held in Machias on Wednesday, Dec. 5. More than 100 Machias residents and 30 non-residents attended the meeting, held to discuss and vote on the town’s proposed medical marijuana ordinance. As is customary, the non-residents lined the bleachers of the Machias Memorial High School gymnasium, leaving a clear view to the Machias voters seated in rows of chairs down the middle of the room.

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Tackling infrastructure gap a tough and growing challenge

by Ruth Leubecker

Many millions have been allotted to bring Maine’s transportation infrastructure up to par, but most of those voter-approved bonds have yet to be sold.

Meanwhile, although Maine may have a debt obligation that’s low compared to other states, it can no longer ignore infrastructure goal lists that have barely moved over the last six years. As of 2017, the state was 70 percent toward its goal of making 1,400 miles of priority highway miles serviceable by 2022. 

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EPA makes progress with Meddybemps Superfund site

 

by Lura Jackson

The EPA has issued an update on N’tolonapemk, also known as the Eastern Surplus Superfund site in Meddybemps. The site was used for a storage and salvage yard for decades before being declared an environmental Superfund site, meaning it had high levels of toxicity and was thus a high priority for the governmental organization to remediate. The process of environmental remediation has been successful and its end is in sight, depending on how well the most recent efforts are received by the land.

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County committee approves budget with three deputies, cuts to governmental third parties

 

by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

The final meeting of the Washington County Budget Committee took place in Machias on Tuesday, Dec. 4 and the 10-member committee spent two hours in negotiations. Led by committee chairman Lewis Pinkham of Milbridge, the committee ultimately passed a budget that includes a near-zero increase of .1306 percent, but still includes the addition of three sheriff’s deputies. The budget will now return to the three county commissioners for their approval.

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‘Deck the Falls’ contest, telebusiness center dominate selectboard discussion

by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

Local businessman Bill Burke presented to the Machias Board of Selectmen at their bi-weekly meeting held Wednesday, Nov. 28. Burke is the owner of Pat’s Pizza and the founder of the Downeast Lobstah Drop, which will take place on New Year’s Eve for the fourth time.

Burke said that this year the indoor kids’ activities will be held in the gymnasium of the Rose M. Gaffney Elementary School. Burke is also talking to law enforcement and hopes to bring a demonstration of drug dogs to the event.  

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Jonesport has interim CEO, talks marijuana, allots charitable donations

by Nancy Beal

In addition to having been a founder and president of the Jonesport Historical Society, past-president of the Greenwood Cemetery Society, retired merchant mariner and local historian, Donald Woodward was Jonesport’s code enforcement officer before his tragic passing last month after a battle with cancer. Last week, Jonesport selectmen struck a deal with a long term fill-in for the code officer position.

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Collaborative book launch leads to new Washington County publishing enterprise

 

by Lura Jackson

Local author and life coach Lanette Pottle is making new strides in putting Washington County on the map of personal empowerment with the publication of her newest book, Small Steps Big Impact. In the creation of the book, Pottle collaborated with two other Washington County women, Laurel Robinson and Ashley Hinson Dahkal, and simultaneously developed her own publishing enterprise: Positivity Lady Press.

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Machias Planning Board approves MSB’s Main Street office building construction project in 4-1 vote

by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

The Machias Planning Board approved a $4M construction project request from Machias Savings Bank at their regular meeting held Wednesday, Dec. 5.

The bank’s construction will create a two-story office building with five parking spaces on the vacant Ford Garage lot located across from the Thirsty Moose and next to the Machias Hardware Co. building.  [See “MSB brings $4M expansion to Machias Planning Board,” MVNO Nov. 14, 2018.]

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Wesley’s Tree Festival draws thousands, raises thousands at weekend event

 

by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

The Lee Pellon Center was quiet on Monday morning, with sunlight streaming in on 55 empty tree boxes and dozens of undecorated Christmas trees waiting to be packed away by volunteers. But Friday, Saturday and Sunday were a different story altogether. 

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