1. 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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  2. Washington Academy Raiders bring home the state title!

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  3. Selectboard talks school-zone speeding, selling the telebusiness center, and marijuana

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    During their bi-weekly meeting held Wednesday, Oct. 24, the Machias Board of Selectmen resolved to ask the Machias Police Department to enforce the speed limit on Court Street with regular patrols.

    In recent weeks a speed-measuring sign was placed in two different locations in Machias. Over a 12-day period on Court Street, the sign counted 15,253 cars with 10,833 of them breaking the speed limit. 

    “That’s two-thirds of the people speeding, coming into a school zone,” said Machias Town Manager Christina Therrien.

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  4. Maine Lobster Union honors drowned fisherman, talks fishing politics

     

    by Nancy Beal

    The local branch of the Maine Lobstermen’s Union (MLU) opened their monthly meeting in the library of Jonesport-Beals High School October 26 with a moment of silence in memory of Scott Chandler, the 51-year-old Jonesport fisherman who had drowned out of his 20-foot lobster boat in Moosabec Reach two days earlier. Afterward, the hat was passed around and the two dozen fishermen present donated a total of $527 for his family.

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  5. Local candidates share views, common ground at UMM forum

     

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    A congenial tone permeated the two-hour local candidate forum hosted by the University of Maine at Machias on Thursday, Oct. 25. Nine of ten local House and Senate candidates attended the event, representing Senate District 6 and House Districts 138-140. The event was also live-streamed on www.machias.edu. 

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  6. Machias Valley News Observer Voter's Guide

    A look at the candidates’ contests

    by Lura Jackson

    Upon opening your ballot this year you’ll see a bit of the familiar – and a bit of the new. Along with the customary dance of the incumbents and their challengers, this year’s midterm election is the first in which Mainers will be utilizing the Ranked Choice Voting system.

    The local races

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  7. Raider teams enjoy banner weekend

     

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    On Saturday, Oct. 27 the Washington Academy volleyball, football and track teams all took their games to the next level. In the case of volleyball, they took it all the way to the pinnacle, bringing home the state championship title for the second time in four years.

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  8. Trick or Treat Main Street

    This chilling sight was seen standing like this up and down Main Street

    The town of Machias joined in the festivities with the Machias Bay Area Chamber of Commerce’s scarecrow contest, this year featuring a band of mischievous minions, characters from the popular “Despicable Me” movie series. Photos by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

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  9. Washington Academy Raiders are playoff bound!

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  10. Donation gives Machias’ Nash building new life on Main Street

     

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    The historic Nash building will soon pivot from a symbol of Main Street decline to an agent of change for the wider Washington County business community. Last week Machias Savings Bank announced it has partnered with the Sunrise County Economic Council (SCEC), and that the Nash Building, located at the end of Centre Street and Main Street in Machias, will be given new life as the Machias Valley Center for Entrepreneurship. The bank purchased the building in June, 2017.

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  11. Library a crowning achievement in Whitneyville

     

    by Ruth Leubecker

    Years of struggle, letter-writing and slow-but-steady progress have paid great dividends in the tiny community of Whitneyville and its ever-evolving library.

    The Whitneyville Library and Whatnot Shop, 52 years old and still counting, officially opened its 4,000-square-foot new building on October 20. “We’re completely handicapped-accessible, and we have two bathrooms,” says longtime librarian Pat Brightly, obviously and rightfully proud. 

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  12. Wesley horse takes national title in Oklahoma

     

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    Janine Hawkins and her daughter Emily have always had big dreams for their family horse farm in Wesley. Janine dreamed of breeding a horse to compete at the Morgan Grand Nationals in Oklahoma, and Emily dreamed of training a horse she would ride in the grand nationals, a contest considered the pinnacle of achievement in the Morgan horse world. 

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  13. New cancer treatments described at WaCo Cancer Conference

     

    by Nancy Beal

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  14. Shed permit kicks off town planning dialogue

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    A permit request for a storage shed spurred a lively conversation about town planning at a special meeting of the Machias Planning Board meeting held Thursday, Oct. 11.

    Nancy Manchester, owner of Smoke Solutions LLC, requested the addition of a storage shed to her property, which contains a retail medical marijuana business as well as a greenhouse. 

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  15. The Editor’s Desk

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    Every year the Maine Press Association holds a day-long conference somewhere in Maine, this year at the Sunday River Resort in Bethel. It’s widely attended by journalists from papers in cities and small towns, and I attended the event last weekend together with a small group that included the editor of the Calais Advertiser and our publisher, Pierre Little. 

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  16. Machias Valley Christian School celebrates autumn with apples

    Wyatt Fritz works on his lace-up apple craft.

    Students and teachers visited Antill’s Orchard in Wesley for an apple-picking field trip. Submitted photos

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  17. Historic Nash building, grandfather to Main Street

     

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    Long before Machias’ Nash Building became a local symbol of Main Street decline and revitalization, it held a fruit and confectionary store operated by Italian immigrants. 

    Joseph Toschi came to Machias in the late 1800s with his children and son-in-law, Ernest Mugnai. According to Mugnai’s great-grandson, Michael Hoyt, Mugnai imported fruit and candy by train from Boston to sell in his Machias fruit store.

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  18. Public invited to discuss new deputies at countywide meeting Oct. 30

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    The Washington County Commissioners have scheduled another public discussion to gather feedback on the proposed addition of three new deputies to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.

    Early this year the commissioners held a series of public conversations about the possibility of adding three new deputies to the county law enforcement branch. The addition would increase the countywide tax by approximately $400,000 in 2019 when all of the necessary equipment must also be purchased, then go down in 2020 and 2021.

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  19. What would it cost you to add three more deputies?

    County taxes are calculated based on a town’s valuation, which is determined annually by the state. Though the valuations for 2019 are not yet finalized, the county worked up this spreadsheet to show towns what their share of the new deputies would be based on the 2018 numbers.  

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  20. Debating more deputies: County commissioners ask for feedback

     

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    A months-long debate weighing the rise in crime against a proposed increase in county taxes continued at last week’s budget meeting. The nine-member committee met in Machias on Thursday, Oct. 11 and breezed through the office of deeds budget, then devoted two hours to discussing three proposed deputy positions for the Washington County Sheriff’s Office (SO). 

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  21. Porter Memorial embraces expansion toward new future

     

    by Ruth Leubecker

    Launching an ambitious capital expansion focused on accessibility and enhanced community involvement, Porter Memorial Library may be an aging Machias dowager, but her sights are set on the future.

    “This is long overdue. Many boards have struggled over the past 20 years (with the issues of expanding the library),” says Sarah Dedmon, in her third year as library board president.

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  22. Jonesport clammers seek path, not road, to shore

     

    by Nancy Beal

    On and on for months, Jonesport selectmen have talked about providing access to the shore and clam flats off the Jewett Road in Masons Bay on behalf of the town’s clam harvesters. They have reached out to a landowner in the area, exploring the acquisition of land for a road that would allow them to drive to the shore. Early last month, after sensing confusion about what the diggers wanted, they penned a letter to the town shellfish committee, asking what was actually sought.

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  23. Passamaquoddy website offers new cultural resource

    by Lura Jackson

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  24. The extraordinary history of Columbia’s Epping Baseline

    Editor’s note: This concise history of the Epping Baseline is excerpted from an article written by Burni Andres for the 150th anniversary of the baseline in 2007. It is reprinted here with permission of the Cherryfield Narraguagus Historical Society. The full text can be found on their website, www.cherryfieldhistorical.com.

    In the early 1800s the accuracy of existing nautical charts was poor.

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  25. Visiting the Epping Base Line with Nancy Willey - Columbia’s historic and natural wonder

     

    by Ronie Strout

    Saturday, Sept. 29 started with a foggy morning with the fog soon burning off. Sixteen folks got on a bus to hear Nancy Willey speak about the Epping Base Line in Columbia. The bus tour started at the Union Hall in Columbia Falls at 9 a.m. and we traveled up to Centerville to begin learning about kames, kettle holes and to ride across a natural bridge.

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  26. Undeniable and Savage Management bring rap show back to Eastport Arts Center

     

    Eastport Arts Center will host Octobris Natus, a live rap show, on Friday, Oct. 26 at 7 p.m. The organizers are planning a Halloween-themed event with costumes encouraged; the concert is dedicated to raising awareness of suicide in memory of Cedric Altvater, cousin of Ashton Altvater (AKA Undeniable) and good friend to Sebastian Francis of Savage Music.

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  27. The trail provides: A season of miracles on the Pacific Crest Trail

     

    by Amy Dowley

    Editor’s note: Local hiker Amy Dowley recently completed the renowned Pacific Crest Trail, the western cousin to Maine’s beloved Appalachian Trail. I asked her to share her extraordinary and impressive experience with us, and am very pleased to bring it to you here in the first of this two-part series.

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  28. Saying goodbye to a friend

     

    by Wayne Smith

    You think that friends will live forever but sometimes they can go in a blink of an eye, just like a light switch. Alvah Fickett was a friend who grew up about two miles from the farm where I lived who recently passed away unexpectedly. He was 52 years old.

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  29. Birch Boletes

    by Hazel Stark

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  30. Beloved local couple celebrates 70th wedding anniversary

     

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    It’s no accident that the 70th wedding anniversary is marked with one of the most precious metals on earth — platinum — because couples who reach their 70th anniversary are part of a small, exclusive club. So small, in fact, that the U.S. Census Bureau doesn’t have statistics on marriages that last so long.

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  31. Lobstermen tell Cooke ‘No!’ to salmon pen proposal

    by Nancy Beal

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  32. UMM tackles ‘acute’ statewide shortage with new engineering program

     

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    Emma Rogers was in high school when the University of Maine started looking at ways to attract students into the field of engineering. By the time she was ready to apply to college, the new Engineering Pathways program looked like a perfect fit. 

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  33. Calais votes against retail recreational marijuana sales

    by Lura Jackson

    The City of Calais will not allow recreational retail marijuana sales following a public hearing and vote on Thursday, Sept. 27. While the 6-1 vote against the ordinance was decisive, the discussion yielded pros and cons. The medicinal marijuana outlets will continue operations without interruption. 

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  34. Man with a mission running in rural Congressional District 2

    by Ruth Leubecker

    Up against two favored major party candidates, Will Hoar is relying on a strong double-pronged message in his candidacy for Maine’s congressional District 2 seat.

    Rep. Bruce Poliquin, the GOP incumbent running for a third term, faces Jared Golden, a young Democrat, politically backgrounded, aiming to make government more responsive. They both have healthy financial coffers and prime-time advertising running nearly non-stop as November 6 approaches.

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  35. Machias Downtown Resilience and Renewal community meeting Oct. 15

    Are you a business owner, resident or property owner in downtown Machias? Are you concerned about flooding and erosion issues in downtown Machias? Please make time for a community meeting on October 15 from 5-7 p.m.  in Science 102 at the University of Maine at Machias.

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  36. When the lights came on in Machias

     

    A very interesting story of how and when electric lights first came to Machias appeared in a January 31, 1903 issue of the Machias Republican. The following is a condensed version of that article.   

    MACHIAS ELECTRIC COMPANY

    In the 1890’s interest in electric power grew very strong in Washington County and it was in that decade that electric companies began operating in a number of towns throughout the county.

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  37. One weekend in September

     

    by Wayne Smith

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  38. KinderArts’ Tiny Yogis extended into November

     

    The Eastport Arts Center’s KinderArts program’s popular Tiny Yogis sessions have been extended and will run weekly on Thursdays from 9:30-10:15 a.m. through November 15. Instructor Caroline DiLio will teach yoga through music, dance and storybooks, and young participants will even learn meditation.

    Owner of Maine Moon Kids Yoga, DiLio is a certified children’s yoga teacher and a mother of three. She takes a creative approach to teaching children, including games, crafts and sometimes even Minecraft poses. Learn more about her at mainemoonkidsyoga.weebly.com.

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  39. Next Step shines a light on domestic violence Downeast

     

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    A march organized by the Next Step Domestic Violence Project left Station 1898 in Machias and received cheers and supportive honks as the marchers made their way up College Hill to the university lawn. There, Next Step Prevention and Education Advocate Cheyenne Robinson-Bauman lit a tree wrapped in purple lights in recognition of the 1,000 people assisted each year by the Next Step’s shelters in Washington and Hancock County. 

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  40. Moosabec lobstermen to fight proposed salmon pens

    by Nancy Beal

    The Canadian aquaculture giant Cooke Aquaculture, currently the holder of three licenses for salmon pens in Eastern Bay between Beals Island and Jonesport’s Head Harbor Island, is poised to ask for a fourth site: 44.4 acres in the middle of Mud Hole Channel between Mink Island and Beals’ Mud Hole Point, the southern bound of a long inlet known as the Mud Hole.

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  41. Board moves to put Machias on electric vehicle map

     

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    On Wednesday, Sept. 26 Gordon Beck of Mt. Desert nonprofit A Climate to Thrive presented a proposal to the Machias Board of Selectmen at their regular bi-monthly meeting. 

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  42. Slow Money invited to Machias to exchange growth ideas

    by Ruth Leubecker

    In a significant step forward, Slow Money Maine will come to Machias on October 10  to confer with stakeholders about connecting to funding sources and building technical food systems and flourishing communities.

    Over the past nine years, SMM, a statewide network of more than 1,700 people, has focused on food deficiencies and communities that need a boost. Since 2010 the group has connected more than 366 farmers, fishermen and related food businesses to funding sources. 

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  43. County committee kicks off annual budget review

     

    by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

    The Washington County Budget Committee met in Machias on Thursday, Sept. 26 to begin combing through a thick binder containing the proposed county budget for the 2019 fiscal year.

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  44. PML readies for Downeast Fashion Show Gala capital campaign kick-off

    On Friday, Oct. 19 hometown pride teams up with the local funny bone when Porter Memorial Library presents The Downeast Fashion Show Gala to kick off its capital fundraising campaign. The library is raising money for major construction at its 92 Court Street location. The expansion will create access for everyone by means of a new addition and elevator.

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  45. Rotary meetings feature local candidates

     

    On Tuesday, Sept. 25 district attorney Matthew Foster presented to the Rotary. The public is invited to attend the meetings which begin with socializing and dinner ordered individually from the menu at 5:15 p.m., and a speaker presentation at 6 p.m. Photos by Bob McCollum

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