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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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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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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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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‘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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