Articles by Sharon Kiley Mack


Machias passes $4.47 million school budget in 12 minutes

By Sharon Kiley Mack on May 29, 2013, at 1 p.m.
In 12 minutes, without a single word of discussion or even one question, a tiny group of Machias residents passed the 2013-2014 proposed $4.47 million AOS 96 budget Tuesday night. Although three selectmen, the superintendent of schools and the adult education director were on hand to answer …
Richard Strout of the Machias Police

Second coed sues Machias police, town over officer’s ‘malicious, reckless’ conduct

By Sharon Kiley Mack on May 28, 2013, at 11:19 a.m.
For the second time in less than two weeks, a former University of Maine coed has filed a federal lawsuit against the town of Machias, its police chief and former police officer Richard Strout. Sarah Cotton, 24, of Columbia Falls alleges Strout violated her rights in May …
A small plane leaves Machias Valley Airport in this June 2011 file photo.

Machias business to rev up airport services

By Sharon Kiley Mack on May 24, 2013, at 11:38 a.m.
A local pilot has established a new business, Take Flight, that will be providing gasoline service, transportation for pilots, contract maintenance and general aircraft assistance at the Machias Valley Airport — services that have been nonexistent here for more than a decade. Michael St. Louis, former chief …

First Bay of Fundy International Marathon on June 23 gains Boston qualifier status

By Sharon Kiley Mack on May 23, 2013, at 11:31 a.m.
LUBEC | The first Bay of Fundy International Marathon, set for Lubec and Campobello Island on June 23, has been granted status as a qualifying race for the 2014 Boston Marathon. Hotel, inn and restaurant owners on the island of Campobello in New Brunswick and in the small town …
Cpt. Robert Gross (foreground), the Washington County Jail administrator, and Sgt. Karina Richardson, the jail’s clerk, listen to testimony on Jan. 17 during a hearing before the Washington County commissioners.

Fired Washington County jail clerk awarded unemployment benefits because purchases followed ‘prevailing practice’

By Sharon Kiley Mack on May 22, 2013, at 3:22 p.m.
MACHIAS | The former clerk of the Washington County jail who was fired for misuse of jail inmate funds was merely following “prevailing practice,” according to a Maine Department of Labor hearing officer. The officer also ruled last week, after an all-day unemployment compensation hearing, that Karina Richardson, 50, …

Former University of Maine at Machias student sues police, town officials, says officer broke her nose and groped friend

By Sharon Kiley Mack on May 22, 2013, at 12:09 p.m.
A long saga of turmoil, termination and lawsuits involving former Machias police Officer Richard Strout, who worked for the town for nearly eight years, continues this week. A former University of Maine at Machias student has filed a federal civil lawsuit accusing Strout of breaking her nose …
Susan Corbett, founder of Axiom Technolgies

Washington County woman creates user-friendly computer program for farmers, fishermen

By Sharon Kiley Mack on May 20, 2013, at 5:28 p.m.
MACHIAS | Susan Corbett of Axiom Technologies, referred to as the “Internet goddess” of Washington County, is hosting a party this week to celebrate reaching one major milestone and the launch of another. The event will mark the end of a grant that allowed her company to develop a …

Cherryfield voters overwhelmingly approve withdrawal from RSU 37

By Sharon Kiley Mack on May 16, 2013, at 8:16 p.m.
Voters in Cherryfield overwhelmingly approved their town’s withdrawal from RSU 37 on Tuesday. Town Clerk Mona West explained Thursday that the withdrawal needed to be approved by a two-thirds margin but was actually approved by 88 percent of those voting. The final tally was 259 for withdrawal …
Judge John V. Romei

Machias judge to retire after 21 years

By Sharon Kiley Mack on May 16, 2013, at 6:40 p.m.
“It has been a privilege to be a judge,” Machias District Court Judge John V. Romei said recently, looking ahead to his retirement from the bench. “Just the thought that people would have enough trust in me to make such important decisions is truly humbling.” Romei will …

East Machias man indicted for manslaughter in 2012 fatal crash

By Sharon Kiley Mack on May 16, 2013, at 3:09 p.m.
An East Machias man who was the driver in a fatal crash that killed Francis Finn, 16, of Whiting in February 2012 was indicted this week on charges of manslaughter, reckless conduct and driving to endanger. Finn was a passenger in a pickup truck driven by Aaron …

In midnight e-mail, Washington County sheriff lambastes officials on courthouse plan

By Sharon Kiley Mack on May 14, 2013, at 12:28 p.m.
MACHIAS | Washington County Sheriff Donnie Smith, livid that he had not been informed or invited to attend an emergency meeting of the county commissioners on Monday, fired off a midnight email to the Washington County board of visitors, some members of the county legislative delegation, the chairman of …

Washington County commissioners sign land lease to allow courthouse expansion

By Sharon Kiley Mack on May 13, 2013, at 4:42 p.m.
MACHIAS | After a two and a half hour executive session Monday, The Washington County commissioners signed a 99-year lease with the state of Maine that will allow an $8.5 million courthouse expansion and renovation to proceed. Last week, the commissioners expressed concern over just who would control the …

Cherryfield woman sentenced to nine months in prison on tax fraud scheme

By Sharon Kiley Mack on May 13, 2013, at 12:07 p.m.
MACHIAS | A Cherryfield woman has been sentenced to serve nine months and a day in prison and ordered to pay $28,318 in restitution after pleading guilty earlier this month to filing fraudulent state and federal tax forms. Amy Metcalf-Perry, 41, pleaded guilty to an eight count indictment that …

Signing of Washington County courthouse lease delayed over state funding concerns

By Sharon Kiley Mack on May 10, 2013, at 2:48 p.m.
MACHIAS | The Washington County commissioners opted Thursday to have an emergency meeting with their attorney next week rather than sign a lease with the state that is part of proposed county courthouse renovations. “We are wary now,” Chairman Chris Gardner told Ted Glessner and Jeff Henthorn of the …

Rain relieves danger as Maine Forest Service investigates suspicious fires

By Sharon Kiley Mack on May 09, 2013, at 3:14 p.m.
JONESBORO | Heavy overnight fog and a solid rain Thursday relieved an extremely high fire danger in Washington County, giving forest rangers a break after two weeks of wildfires, grass fires and out-of-control burns. District Ranger Courtney Hammond said multiple fires have been fought over the last two weeks …
Retiring Calais Free Library librarian Marilyn Sotirelis

Longtime Calais librarian to retire

By Sharon Kiley Mack on May 09, 2013, at 1:31 p.m.
When Marilyn Sotirelis retires at the end of June — after 34 years as the Calais city librarian — she plans on doing two things: heading off to volunteer at the Calais Elementary School library, and sitting down to read a good book. As she reminisced this …

Structure fire claims Lubec home

By Sharon Kiley Mack on May 08, 2013, at 4:39 p.m.
A quickly moving fire Wednesday morning claimed the Straight Bay Road home of Robert and Janet Blake. The fire was first reported about 9 a.m. and firefighters were still at the smouldering ruins of the two-story wooden home at 2 p.m. There were no reported injuries. Garry …

Gay former prison guard files discrimination lawsuit against state

By Sharon Kiley Mack on May 07, 2013, at 12:32 p.m.
MACHIAS | A gay former prison guard has filed a civil rights discrimination suit against the Maine Department of Corrections after she was fired from her position at Downeast Correctional Facility in Machiasport, where both she and her attorney say “an old boy culture of disrespect for women” is …

Group seeks to develop homeless shelter in Washington County

By Sharon Kiley Mack on May 06, 2013, at 8:58 a.m.
MACHIAS | Nearly two years after homelessness was first identified as a priority, an offshoot of the Washington County Food and Fuel Alliance has found a possible location for a homeless shelter, the first to serve non-tribal members in the county. Homelessness may not be in-your-face visible in Washington …

Farmers, producers in Washington County join statewide push to promote, produce more local food

By Sharon Kiley Mack on May 03, 2013, at 4:42 p.m.
MACHIAS | Building on an effort throughout New England to increase local food production and promote healthier eating, farmers, producers, nutritionists and consumers gathered here Thursday to set goals and develop a strategy for Washington County. The regional effort has a goal of having the six New England states …