1. Wild Blueberry Commission agrees to increased grower representation

     

    by Nancy Beal

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  2. Flash mob shopping success

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  3. Smith cleared of child assault charges

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    Seven charges against Jason Smith of East Machias have been dismissed and he has pled no contest to aggravated assault, for which he will be on probation for three years.

    Smith spent 125 days in the Washington County Jail after being charged with gross sexual assault, unlawful sexual conduct and assault, visual aggression against a child, solicitation of a child, and endangering the welfare of a child. The charges dated to an alleged incident in June, 2017.

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  4. The trail of Hannah and Rebecca Weston

    Editor’s note: With the support and encouragement of Charlie Robbins, Rep. Will Tuell has submitted legislation to honor the long walk of Hannah and Rebecca Weston by naming a stretch of Route 1 in their honor. For those of us unfamiliar with their story, Valdine Atwood brings us this account of the girls’ heroic journey, edited by Atwood and taken from the 1903 edition of “THE REVOLUTION - Life of Hannah Weston” by George W. Drisko, as related to him by grandchildren of Mrs. Weston.

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  5. Senator Collins hires Columbia Falls native

    U.S. Senator Susan Collins announced today that Hannah Hudson, a Columbia Falls native, has been hired as a legislative correspondent in her Washington, D.C. office.  Hannah is the daughter of Tom and Cheri Hudson of Columbia Falls.  She was previously a Senior Associate at The Cohen Group, a firm led by former Secretary of Defense and Maine Senator Bill Cohen.

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  6. Mosaic Making Workshop Offered at EAC

     

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  7. Legislation proposed by Rep. Will Tuell

    Representative Will Tuell (R-E. Machias) won re-election in November and sits on the Marine Resources Committee. Tuell represents House District 139, which includes the towns of Cutler, East Machias, Eastport, Lubec, Machias, Machiasport, Roque Bluffs, Whiting, and Trescott Township.

     

    An Act to Reopen the Downeast Correctional Facility 

     

    Resolve, Naming a Highway and Renaming a Bridge in the Town of Whiting

     

    An Act Concerning the Composition of the Criminal Law Advisory Commission 

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  8. Budget season, telebusiness center sale and vacant fifth seat top agenda at Machias selectboard meeting

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    During their bi-weekly meeting held Wednesday, Jan. 9 the Machias Board of Selectmen made plans to meet regularly to review the town’s 2019-20 budget.

    The board agreed to hold their budget review meetings on the first and third Wednesdays at 6 p.m., which means those meetings will alternate with their regular bi-weekly meetings on the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month. The full board was present at the meeting together with Machias Town Manager Christina Therrien.

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  9. Pierre Little, the newspaper's publisher, explains how to spot Fake News

    Fake News, Facebook and Newspapers

    Talk presented to member of the Machias Bay Chamber of Commerce January 10, 2019 at Helen's Restaurant in Machias, Maine.

    Thank you for having me, a special thank you to Sharon Mack and President Steve Richardson at the Machias Bay Chamber of Commerce for allowing me to speak to you this morning.

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  10. DECU CEO David Tozier retires

     

    by Lura Jackson

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  11. Mills goes for mustard

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  12. Ringing in the New Year

     

    by Wayne Smith

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  13. Fiddler to perform at H.D. Moore library

     

    The H. D. Moore Library and Community Center in Steuben will host a concert with Acadian fiddler Gus La Casse 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 20.

    La Casse, who is described as a passionate and masterful player who values tradition, has a repertoire that reflects his innovative spirit and dedication to the Cape Breton and Acadian fiddle traditions. He plays both standards of the genre and his original material.

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  14. Printing the Newspaper - January 9, 2019 issue.

    Printing January 8, 2019 8 a.m. Readers may not know, but we publish the newspaper on Tuesday's early in the morning so they are on the newsstands weather permitting every Tuesday by noon and mailed to subscribers.  Due to snow today, newspapers will be on the newsstands tomorrow before 11 am.  Subscribers are unnaffected and will be mailed today.

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  15. Fearing store’s closure, community rallies to support consignment shop

     

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    Elissa Sieber went online Dec. 27 to make a sad announcement. After struggling to stay open for many months, Sieber and her husband, Ryan Sieber, decided to close their Machias-based consignment shop, Posh: Home of the Frugal Fashionista, but an automated suggestion from Facebook changed their course.

    “As soon as I made the post, right on the top of it Facebook suggested ‘Ask your community for support,’” said Elissa Sieber, “and I thought well, I could try this one last thing.” 

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  16. New variables to challenge Bucks Harbor prison

    by Ruth Leubecker

    Shrouded in support, yet a cloud of uncertainty, the Downeast Correctional Facility looms as a prime topic on the agenda of Gov. Janet Mills’ administration.

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  17. Revenue sharing, childhood hunger and DCF top Moore’s legislative agenda

     

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    State Senator Marianne Moore (R-Washington) won election to the Maine Senate in November and has come out of the gate sponsoring 13 bills for the 2019 legislative session.

    At the top of Moore’s list are two bills that would restore full revenue sharing to Maine municipalities. Under Governor LePage, revenue sharing was cut from 5 percent to 2 percent, creating a reduction in municipal revenues. 

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  18. Machias veterinarian receives $10,000 fine for negligence, practicing without a license

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    The Maine Board of Veterinary Medicine has issued a formal reprimand to Dr. Cynthia Teer for practicing veterinary medicine without a license and for “gross negligence, incompetence, misconduct or violation of an applicable code of ethics.” Dr. Teer practices at the Machias Animal Hospital.

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  19. Welcome, Baby New Year 2019!

    Matt and Molly Hall and their three daughters welcomed Ezra James Hall to their family on January 1, 2019 at Down East Community Hospital in Machias. Pictured left to right, with a basket full of gifts from DECH and local businesses, are Molly, Ezra, Gianna, Bella, Matt and Delia Hall. See story page 4. Submitted photo

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  20. Lane Construction Plants, Paving Division sold for $555 million

    by Lura Jackson

    One of the area’s most steady paving operations – that of Lane Construction – has been acquired by international paving giant Eurovia for $555 million. The sale and transfer of Lane’s plants and paving division were announced by Lane Construction Corporation – itself a part of Italy’s Salini Impregilo Group – in August of last year.

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  21. Jonesport Elementary students to take part in WinterKids

    by Nancy Beal

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  22. Hayward retires from RCC after 33 years of service

     

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    Larry Hayward did not want a big fuss when he retired from the Washington County Regional Communications Center (RCC) last month, but Deputy Director Joshua Rolfe didn’t let the occasion go unmarked.

    “They had an awful lot of fun with my retirement,” said Hayward, who lives in Lubec. Hayward retired from the position of Emergency Communications Specialist but served as the Operational Supervisor for most of his 33 years at the RCC. 

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  23. UMM Lady Clippers play seven home games in January

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    The majority of the Lady Clippers’ games will be played in Machias for the month of January. Basketball fans will want to mark their calendars for six of their seven remaining home games.

    The University of Maine at Machias women’s basketball team defeated Green Mountain College in Machias 70-62 on Sunday, Jan. 6, bringing their season record to 7-5. 

    The Lady Clippers will play at home against Paul Smith’s College on Friday, Jan. 11 at noon. 

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  24. Nature of Phenology: Ice

     

    by Joe Horn

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  25. Leaving 2018: a bittersweet departure

    by Ruth Leubecker

    It was a year with record-breaking events and divisive issues -- issues that promise great tumult in 2019.

    But first, looking in the rearview mirror, the year 2018 began with a dramatic international incident when a brining shed collapsed in a storm and sailed to Campobello. Tempers flared and dialogue festered, but not for long after the battered shed -- such as it was -- came home to Lubec.

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  26. All charges dismissed after Crowley’s arrest, detention for marijuana trafficking

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    Drug trafficking charges against Kristian Crowley of Jonesport have been dismissed by the state. Crowley was arrested and charged with unlawful trafficking of scheduled drugs, in this case marijuana, on Sept. 11, 2018.

    Bail was initially set at $25,000, then reduced to $3,000 on Tuesday, Sept. 12. Ultimately, Crowley was held in the Washington County Jail for 10 days.

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  27. Jonesport seeks volunteers for campground committee

     

    by Nancy Beal

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  28. Soil and water celebrates 70 years of service to Washington County

    The Washington County Soil and Water Conservation District is celebrating 70 years of voluntary conservation services to the people of Washington County. There are over 3,000 districts across the United States, dating back to the “ Dust Bowl” days. They were organized by local volunteers to provide access to federal and state agencies for local people. In Maine, the 16 soil and water districts are organized under Chapter 12 Maine Conservation Law.

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  29. DMR approves Machias Bay aquaculture leases

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    Department of Marine Resources (DMR) Commissioner Patrick Keliher signed an experimental lease approval on Dec. 18 for a 3.7-acre sugar kelp operation to be located west of Hog Island in Machiasport. The site will be used for the cultivation of sugar kelp using suspended culture techniques and will be one of many already approved in the Machias Bay.  

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  30. What can we learn from the midterms? Discussion to take place Jan. 5

    Join us for this lecture and discussion presented by Dr. Robert B. Arseneau as we take a look back at the 2018 midterm election and forward to what it may portend. This event will be held on Saturday, January 5 in Science 102 at the University of Maine at Machias Campus beginning at 1:30 p.m.

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  31. New state law eases restrictions on medical marijuana

    by Lura Jackson

    On Dec. 12, Maine patients’ ability to access medical marijuana became significantly easier as a new law, L.D. 1539, went into effect. The new law makes it easier for patients to receive medical certification by removing the list of qualifying conditions and leaving medical providers with more freedom to prescribe medical marijuana themselves.

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  32. Transaction fees add up for small businesses

    by Lura Jackson

    With the holiday shopping season well underway and a bounty of opportunities to shop local among the many fine small businesses of Washington County, it’s a prime time to consider one simple method of supporting those small businesses even more: by using cash. Every credit and debit card transaction comes with an additional fee that small businesses have to absorb – a fee that, while relatively small, still affects their bottom line.

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  33. In the year ahead, it’s time to pick up the pieces

    by Ruth Leubecker

    Everyone loves Will’s newsletter, and most could guess what he led off with recently. “2018 was a tough year for everyone associated with the Downeast Correctional Facility,” said the East Machias legislator. “2019 is our chance to pick up the pieces, start over again, and turn heartache into joy. Trials and challenges turn around with good people fighting to turn them around. Each of us is up to the task, our community is up for the task, and the rest of the state will see that again in 2019.”

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  34. Redeemed

    Editor’s note: During the long, dark months of winter we will feature the work of local artists and writers here in the Arts & Entertainment section. Snow, ice and chilly temps can make it harder to go out in a Downeast winter, so please enjoy a bit of our local arts scene here, from the warmth of your own home.

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    by Steve Parrott

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  35. 26 local homes receive free insulating window inserts, just in time for winter

     

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    The carpeted floor of Machias Savings Bank’s training center was covered with protective plastic while busy volunteers moved around half a dozen tables set with tools. Working in shifts over three days, volunteers assembled 183 insulating window inserts last week. Those window inserts will go into 26 local homes for a collective savings of roughly 1,900 gallons of oil. 

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  36. Downeast Lobstah Drop offers full day of free New Year’s fun for families

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    The Fourth Annual Downeast Lobstah Drop lineup is set and volunteers are ready to greet New Year’s revelers on Monday, Dec. 31 in Machias. Activities will run from 9 a.m. to midnight, and all are free of charge to attend.

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  37. A defining reality Downeast could be rural broadband

    by Ruth Leubecker

    Closing the digital service gap just became significantly more likely with Sen. Angus King’s latest move to make affordable broadband more accessible.

    King, a founder and co-chair of the Senate Broadband Caucus, has long touted the vital necessity of bringing high-speed, affordable broadband to Washington County. Many thousands of Internet users remain deprived of such a connection, viewed increasingly as an economic imperative.

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  38. Wild blueberry growers, processors prepare legislation remaking WBC

     

    by Nancy Beal

    A dozen small wild blueberry growers beat their way through a snowstorm to the Blueberry Hill Farm research station in Jonesboro December 18 to discuss legislation revamping the Wild Blueberry Commission (WBC). Also present were two members of that commission, two WBC staffers and half a dozen observers, including the area’s state representatives and individuals from Washington County Indivisible, a grassroots political action committee interested in local issues.

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  39. Meeting Mencken just wasn’t destined to happen

    by Ruth Leubecker

    Everyone has someone they wish they might’ve met -- but he died before they could get there. In my case it was H.L. Mencken who died in his sleep five years before I moved to the hometown he never left. Baltimore. 

    We would have almost certainly met otherwise, because we would’ve been working in the same newspaper circles. Bill Zorzi, a fellow reporter friend of mine, could recall him covering the police beat at the News American.

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  40. Life in Milbridge

    by Wayne Smith

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  41. 4th Annual Downeast Lobstah Drop

    Check out the digital version of the December 26 issue of the Machias Valley News Observer for the schedule of events for the 4th Annual Downeast Lobstah Drop happening on New Year's Eve!

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  42. Last holdout joins PVC

    by Phil Stuart

    Jonesport-Beals High School recently became the last Washington County School to be a dual conference member. The Royals were forced to give up their independent status when a couple of their opponents were unable to field either varsity boys' or girls' squads.

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  43. Ice: Is it safe?

    by V. Paul Reynolds

    Each year about this time, the Maine Warden Service urges us to use extreme caution before venturing out onto any ice that may be covering Maine’s waterways.

    This is timely advice. Two winters ago, three night-time snow sledders all perished in one night on Rangeley Lake when they and their machines broke through thin ice.

    Many of Maine’s lakes and ponds may appear to be frozen, however safe ice conditions cannot be assumed. 

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  44. ‘Frostfish’ spawning season peaks in the dark days of winter

     

    by  Joseph Horn

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  45. ‘Helen’s Elves’ draw community into Christmas giving

     

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    Walk into the Holy Name Parish Hall in early December and you might think you’ve walked into Santa’s workshop. Volunteers bustle between tables stacked with piles of baby dolls, books and snow boots filling orders that will be delivered around the county. This year the Community Christmas Giving Tree will create Christmas for more than 500 children, senior citizens and special-needs adults in towns from Lubec to Jonesboro and everywhere in between, and they’ll do it with the help of more than 50 volunteers.

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