Schools working overtime to provide learning, food, and normalcy — from a distance

by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

Teacher Caitlyn Roy reported to work on Friday, March 13 expecting a day of professional development workshops. Instead, she and her fellow teachers were told to prepare 15 days worth of lesson plans, and quickly.

“We still didn’t know if [a shutdown] was happening, or when,” said Roy, who together with Kelly Woodward teaches fifth grade at Rose M. Gaffney Elementary (RMG) in Machias. “We had to create lesson plans for math, but we didn’t know what the lessons would be about, so we had to make plans that were fill-in-the-blank.”

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400 acres around Vining Lake acquired by Downeast Coastal Conservancy

by Nancy Beal

Several hundred acres surrounding a prime brook trout habitat that is also a popular ice fishing lake in the town of Cooper will be preserved for the people of Washington County and beyond through the sale last month to the Downeast Coastal Conservancy (DCC), the Sunrise County’s foremost land trust headquartered in Machias. DCC took title to the acreage around Vining Lake on March 12 from a couple who wanted the area to remain undeveloped and available to the public in perpetuity for low-impact recreational use.

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Area residents weigh in on mounting coronavirus crisis

by Ruth Leubecker

While Washington County remains free of confirmed cases of coronavirus, the average person appears to be realistically appraising the inevitable.

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‘Nimble’ agencies ramp to meet increasing needs Downeast

by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

In February, Washington County reported the highest level of unemployment of any county in Maine, registering 7.7 percent and up from 6.4 percent in 2019, according to the Maine Department of Labor. That number does not include fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic which began to close area businesses in mid-March.

As the economic impacts of COVID-19 closures hit home, Community Caring Collaborative (CCC) Director Charley Martin-Berry said Washington County agencies are ramping to help people struggling every day to make ends meet.

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Hanscom awarded bid for DCF demolition

by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

Representative Will Tuell (R-E. Machias) Sunday announced that Maine Department of Corrections has awarded a bid for demolition and abatement of the Downeast Correctional Facility (DCF) to local contractor Hanscom Construction.

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Without ICU, DECH prepares response to COVID-19

by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

Though no cases of COVID-19 have yet been detected in Washington County, Down East Community Hospital in Machias has implemented plans to respond.

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Help for fishermen affected by the pandemic

by Nancy Beal

Ordinarily around 6 a.m. this time of year, those living near the coast would begin to hear boat engines come to life, as lobstermen came out of their winter cocoons and began setting and hauling their traps. Not this spring.

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JBHS, JES board vote on employee hires, budget

by Nancy Beal

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Machias scavenger hunt set to repeat April 4-5

by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

Ben Bunker said he came up with the idea for a driving scavenger hunt as a way to draw families out of their houses during this time of social distancing.
“I’ve got a little extra time, and I thought, ‘This won’t take much to put together, and it’s something good for the kids,’” said Bunker, sales manager at Whitney TriTown Marine in Machias.

He reached out to area businesses, and the response was overwhelming. More than 30 agreed to participate, so Bunker is repeating the event this coming weekend, April 4-5.

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Geocaching, story trails, and scavenger hunts: local conservancy offers outdoor fun for ‘uncertain times’

by Sarah Craighead Dedmon

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, a local land conservancy is spreading the word that schools, libraries, and restaurants may be closed, but nature is not.

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