School bus, three cars involved in Columbia Falls accident

by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

The Maine State Police confirmed that an accident involving multiple passenger cars and a school bus took place on the afternoon of Thursday, Nov. 1 on Route 1 in Columbia Falls. The bus was transporting students from M.S.A.D 37 and no one was seriously injured, either on the bus or in the other cars involved.

Trooper Austin said that three vehicles were damaged, but the car that started the accident left the scene of the accident and was not found.

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Boggia doc reveals detailed plan to commit murder, intended victim

 

by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

A former Machias and Calais business owner arrested after a three-day manhunt in February has been charged with two new crimes in addition to the 12 already levied against him. Robert Boggia, owner of Downeast Smoke and Vape shop in Machias, was charged on Tuesday, Oct. 30 with conspiracy to commit murder.

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Boggia doc reveals murder plans, intended victim

 

by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

A former Machias and Calais business owner arrested after a three-day manhunt in February has been charged with two new crimes in addition to the 12 already levied against him. Robert Boggia, owner of Downeast Smoke and Vape shop in Machias, was charged on Tuesday, Oct. 30 with conspiracy to commit murder. 

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School bus, three cars involved in Columbia Falls accident

by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

The Maine State Police confirmed that an accident involving multiple passenger cars and a school bus took place on the afternoon of Thursday, Nov. 1 on Route 1 in Columbia Falls. The bus was transporting students from M.S.A.D 37 and no one was seriously injured, neither on the bus nor in the other cars involved.

Trooper Austin said that three vehicles were damaged, but the car that started the accident left the scene of the accident and was never found.

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Machias Community Christmas extravaganza around the corner

 

On Saturday, Nov. 17 the holiday spirit will take over Machias with the much-anticipated 2018 Community Christmas celebration.

A full day of fun will kick off when Santa Claus comes to town. He’ll be taking wishes at the Lee Pellon Center from noon to 5 p.m. and after chatting with St. Nick children can enjoy snacks, crafts and toys!

Porter Memorial Library will host its annual Holiday Open House from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. including hot cider, cookies, music and a chance to shop for early holiday gifts at a used and glossy book sale.

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The Editor's Desk

 

By Sarah Craighead Dedmon

Ahhhh, November. The holidays are just around the corner, and yet November seems like an oasis of calm after the flurry of activity that accompanies the election cycle, the fall sports season and pre-winter outdoor chores.

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Plurality punch of LePage could be a tough act to follow for next governor

by Ruth Leubecker

After eight years of bombastic bluster and overwhelming crudeness, Gov. Paul LePage termed out and relinquishing the helm, is leaving Maine with his promises kept.

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Veterans Day - Honoring all who served

In celebration of Veterans day, check out the November 7th issue of the Machias Valley News Observer for our tribute to all of the brave men and women who have served or are currently serving in our military

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‘When I think of leaving, I don’t want to leave these people’

 

by Ruth Leubecker

Jan Rhenow, not one to age in place, nonetheless has mixed feelings about leaving her parishioners at Jacksonville United Methodist Church.  

“This church and these people are just wonderful,” reflects Rhenow. “But I’m leaving. Finally retiring at the end of June. I want to play a little bit while I can.”

Rhenow, who has ministered at the Jacksonville church for three years, has been a spirited, somewhat unconventional presence in the church community. She admits to “a  very colorful past.”

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Deputy debate heats up, committee kicks budget back to county commissioners

 

by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

Less than two weeks before state law requires them to submit their recommendations, the county budget committee voted 9-1 to halt their work and send an unfinished budget back to the commissioners, cutting a scheduled three-hour meeting on Oct. 31 down to 32 minutes. Rep. Will Tuell (R - E. Machias) was the lone dissenting vote. 

Machias Finance Director Megan Dennison made the motion that shortened the meeting, saying the budget should go back to the commissioners for their recommendations for cuts. 

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Election results reveal independent voter mindset Downeast

by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

Ballots cast in one of the most anticipated midterm elections in recent decades are still being counted around Maine, but local races are now safe to call with 75 percent of Washington County’s votes tabulated. From the central to eastern Washington County, voters elected a mix of Republicans and Democrats and often parted ways with the rest of Maine on statewide questions and candidates bound for Washington.

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BREAKING NEWS - MACHIAS SAVINGS BANK PROPOSES NEW $4M FACILITY ON MAIN STREET

 

On Wednesday, Nov. 7 Machias Savings Bank presented its next wave of investment in its hometown to the Machias Planning Board.

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MSB brings $4M expansion to Machias Planning Board

 

by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

Josh Bragg unrolled a stack of architectural renderings in front of the Machias Planning Board at their monthly meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 7. 

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Commissioners get creative, send county budget back to committee

by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

Nearing the close of a year-long, often heated debate over hiking taxes to add deputies to the sheriff’s office, the county commissioners have sent a revised budget proposal back to the Washington County Budget Committee with a new suggested county tax increase of 3.9 percent or $243,000. Previously the cost increase for the first year was more than 6 percent, or roughly $400,000. The first year increase is the highest because it includes the cost of cars and other gear.

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King earmarks three issues for bipartisan action

by Ruth Leubecker

Sen. Angus King, in a decisive victory at the polls, will return to the U.S. Senate to serve a second six-year term. And he has ambitious plans.

“I want to let everyone in Washington County know how excited I am to have carried Washington County,” he said in an exclusive interview with the Machias Valley News Observer on Friday. “I’m humbled, and I’m anxious for us all to be working together. Much remains to be done.”

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Homicide, rape, robbery on rise in rural areas

by Lura Jackson

Overall crime in Maine is continuing to decrease, according to a report released by the Uniform Crime Reporting division of the Maine State Police that records crimes in various categories in both the urban and rural sectors of the state. Some crimes, however, have increased, with particularly sharp rises in rural areas – defined as areas without their own police departments.

"Overall crime down by almost 50 percent in six years"

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Local election results reveal independent mindset Downeast

by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

Ballots from one of the most hotly anticipated midterm elections in decades were mostly tabulated by Wednesday, Nov. 7, with voter turnout numbers predicted to break the previous record from 2014 (59 percent). As of press time only Congressional District 2 remained undecided (Poliquin v. Golden).

From the center to the eastern edge of Washington County, voters elected a mix of Republicans and Democrats and often parted ways with the rest of Maine on statewide questions and candidates bound for Washington.

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Scallop draggers license lottery winners announced

 

The Maine Department of Marine Resources has announced the first new entrants into the scallop fishery since 2009.

The winners of a recent department lottery to apply for a license include Matthew Alley from Beals Island who holds a lobster license, Chase Fitzsimmons from Lubec who has crewed on a scallop boat, Johnathon Oliver from Deer Isle who holds a lobster license, and Frank Gott from Bar Harbor, who also holds a lobster license.

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‘History lives here’

 

by Sharon Mack

Machias Bay Area Chamber of Commerce Director Sharon Mack opened last week’s DownEast Acadia Regional Tourism Symposium with this speech welcoming tourism industry stakeholders to Machias. We print it here with her permission.

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The Lion and Tiger return home to Whitneyville

 

In the early 1980's University of Maine at Machias Art Professor Frank Hamabe

taught the children at the Whitneyville Public Library the art of puppetry.  A good friend to one of the library's founders, Dorothy (Dot) Bodger, Frank shared his love of art with the many children of  Whitneyville.

It was during that time that the Whitneyville Public Library received a  grant for Frank Hamabe to do a pictorial history of the steam engines, The Lion and The Tiger, and their journey on the Whitneyville and Machiasport railroad.

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Belanger takes the helm for UMM athletics

 

by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

Sports fans and fitness regulars are getting to know a friendly new face around the Reynolds Center. Mike Belanger assumed his role as the University of Maine at Machias Director of Athletics and Fitness in late September, and he can be found making the rounds of the fitess center morning, noon and night.

Like any new director, Belanger is spending time reviewing the programs he has and hatching plans for improvements, too. Belanger has a background in analysis, even though it is no longer his chosen career.

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Jonesport selectmen on storm drains, solid waste, holiday closures

by Nancy Beal

Jonesport selectmen began trying to get the Maine Department of Transportation (DOT) to fix several storm drains on Main Street well before the DOT paved Route 187 last August. Having no success and concerned that since the new tar was laid the holes are more treacherous than before the paving, they recently wrote directly to the DOT commissioner. Last week, they received a reply.

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Machias Valley News Observer and Calais Advertiser recognized by MPA

 

The Maine Press Association [MPA] has recognized two Washington County publications — the Calais Advertiser and the Machias Valley News Observer — for their exceptional journalism work between April 1st, 2017 and March 31st, 2018. The awards ceremony was held in Sunday River on October 20th. 

The Machias Valley News Observer received four awards. The paper’s cartoonist Bob Bryson took home second place in the Editorial Cartoonist category. One judge lauded Bryson saying, “These cartoons are simple, but pack a big punch.”  

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Golden declared winner after RCV tabulation

 

 

Jared Golden has been named the winner of Maine's U.S. House of Representatives CD2, defeating incumbent Bruce Poliquin following the tabulation of Ranked Choice votes. 

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Local holiday gift giving program now spans generations of children

by Ruth Leubecker

From 12 needy children to over 12,000, it’s taken Rhonda French 34 years to achieve a giving miracle of leading by example.

“It all began 34 years ago when I was just out of college and running my own nursery school, and one little boy said he’d like to give a toy to another little boy who wasn’t going to get one for Christmas,” says French, reflecting on what would become a momentous day. “Well, we helped 12 children that first season, and I gave the toys to the Salvation Army to distribute.”

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Young entrepreneur builds business success Downeast

 

by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

Tyler Farrington can make a wreath in just five minutes, but he knows someone who can do it even faster. “Beth Hawkins was about the best,” he said. “If I broke brush for her, she could make one in about three minutes.”

Speedy wreathing is something Farrington appreciates as the owner of Machias Bay Wreath, a business he founded in 2013 at the age of 20. Employing about 18 people this year, Machias Bay Wreath will produce thousands of wreaths for wholesale and retail customers before the season ends mid-December.

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Sports dominate Moosabec school news

by Nancy Beal

The separate school boards that govern the two elementary schools and joint high school in the Moosabec region met this month, and sports was much on the agenda. At the November 14 meeting of the Moosabec CSD, which oversees Jonesport-Beals High School, the board voted unanimously to join the Penobscot Valley (Athletic) Conference (PVC).

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Cora Proctor Quimby remembered

 

by Sandra K. Prescott

Cora Proctor was born on Thursday, March 4, 1909, in the Larrabee District of Machiasport. According to her birth certificate, her parents had eleven girls  and Cora was child number nine. Last Saturday a celebration of her life was held at the Larrabee Baptist Church and Cora Proctor Quimby returned home to Larrabee at the age of 109.

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Logbook of local shipwrecks recovered at Old Town auction

by Lura Jackson

In an area with as much history as Down East Maine, it isn’t uncommon to find remnants of past eras – although the quality of the contents wildly varies. Brian Smith of Baileyville recently found a piece of local history at auction that contains accounts of ill-fated voyages of vessels traveling through the area.

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New CEO takes helm of Down East Community Hospital

 

Steve Lail officially took the helm as Down East Community Hospital CEO on November 1, 2018.  With almost two weeks underway, everything is moving smoothly ahead.

Steve is no stranger to the forward movement of Down East Community Hospital.  His notable accomplishments as Chief Operating Officer at DECH was project lead for the Emergency Department expansion, the Rehabilitation expansion, and the transition of Arnold Memorial Medical Center.

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The State We’re In: Maine Stories by Ann Beattie, Scribner, 2015.

A Review by RJ Heller

“No day failed to contain the unexpected,” says it all about this book. Sometimes situations in real life never really resolve themselves; they just keep on going with no end in sight. Or the unexpected happens and another situation intercedes and takes over without the first one seeing closure. Much can be said of life and it is reflected beautifully in a new book by Ann Beattie.

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River Otters

 

by Hazel Stark

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Green Team nurtures plants, community

by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

The Machias Green Team worked all summer weeding, planting and watering to beautify flower beds around Machias, but what they’re really hoping will blossom is a sense of hometown pride.

“We care about creating a community spirit,” said committee co-chair Sandi Malagara. “We have so much good here in Machias. We want everybody to know what a wonderful place it is.”

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A heady mix of new and old will greet 129th Legislature on opening day

by Ruth Leubecker

New decisions and old issues will mix this time around with new and returning legislators as the 129th session prepares for a potpourri of challenges ahead.

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Machias medical marijuana ordinance headed for town vote

 

by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

Editor's note: This article has been updated to clarify that the existing medical marijuana storefronts in Machias are not grandfathered to continue operation. If the town votes no on medical marijuana, the five existing medical marijuana storefronts will have to close, per Town of Machias legal counsel. 

More than 40 people turned out for a Machias public hearing on Monday, Nov. 19 to learn about the town’s proposal for governing medical marijuana. 

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Lobster vessel sinks off Jonesport

by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

The U.S. Coast Guard Northeast District used Twitter to break the news that the F/V Overtimer sunk 11 miles off the coast of Jonesport on Sunday, Nov. 15. 

Josh Kelley of Beals is the F/V Overtimer’s captain and Phillip Kilton is its sternman.

The boat was loaded with lobster traps and when it took on heavy waves, it began to sink. The two-person crew donned survival suits and according to a USCG spokesperson got into a life raft before being rescued by F/V Bad Behavior, owned by Richard Smith of Beals.

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Fire at the Centre Street Church

 

The following excerpts from one of this paper’s antecedents, The Machias Republican, tell the story of a devastating fire that took place at the Centre Street Congregational Church and the subsequent rebuilding. The church is still located today on the corner of Court and Centre Streets in Machias. 

MACHIAS REPUBLICAN – December 28, 1865

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A true Thanksgiving tale of giving

by Anonymous

Editor’s note: The names in this heartwarming story of “paying it forward” have been changed, but the facts are unaltered. This took place last week, and the author lives in the Machias area.

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Good Read: Summer Wind: A Soldier’s Road from Indiana to Vietnam by Randy and Roxanne Mills, Blue River Press, 2017

by Charles W, Lightner, Friend of Porter Memorial Library

As we approach once more the celebratory holiday season, I thought a word of caution might be in order. A Machias friend, Laurel Robinson, the proofreading editor, suggested I might read this excellent biographic story of a time which we all would rather forget - Vietnam. Here is a tough chunk of our country’s history we would all do well to remember!

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MMHS golfers named DAC All-Stars

 

by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

Both members of the Machias Memorial High School golf team ranked in the top five of all players in the Downeast Athletic Conference, making MMHS senior Evan Dray and junior Jacob Sinford DAC Golf All-Stars.

Coach Tony Roy said both students have played golf for all of their respective years in high school. 

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Selectmen pass resolution on Route 1 burned property at emergency meeting in East Machias

by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

The East Machias Board of Selectmen held an emergency meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 27 to discuss the matter of a burned property located on Route 1. Deputy Code Enforcement Officer Brodie was also in attendance.

Selectman Will Tuell read from a document drawn up by the town’s legal council, Bryan Dench of Skelton Taintor & Abbott.

In it Dench states that because the property owner has not picked up certified mail and has been non-responsive, the town is within its rights to adopt a resolution.

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