2017 Year in Photos

Dec 31, 2017
Photo by: Ethan Andrews BELFAST — A small crowd gathers on High Street Aug. 21 to view the solar eclipse through protective glasses provided by Belfast Free Library.

As is tradition this time of year, the staff of The Journal is taking a look back through the archives and highlighting some of the past year's biggest stories.

LIBERTY -- More than 20 years ago, Danny McGovern launched Lake St. George Brewing Co., where he concocted a variety of beers in the basement of his home. In 1993, craft beers were relatively unknown, garnering only about 2 percent of the beer market, McGovern estimates. Despite winning numerous awards, including silver medals at the World Beer Festival, the brewery eventually shuttered and McGovern went on to brew beer for Belfast Bay Brewing Co. and then Marshall Wharf Brewing. More recently, McGovern helped his daughter and son-in-law launch Monhegan Brewing, which is now in its fifth season of operation. That brewery’s success led McGovern to consider turning his attention closer to home, culminating in the rebirth of Lake St. George Brewing Co. The company’s six owners purchased the former Local Roots Market & Café, and set to work remodeling the space for the brewery and tasting room, which opened in July. There are now a half-dozen small craft breweries operating in Waldo County. (Photo by: Ben Holbrook)
BELFAST -- Pizza Hut on Belmont Avenue closed its doors May 9, following a lease dispute between the franchise owner and building owner. The structure on Belmont Avenue (Route 3) remains vacant, as does a nearby space formerly occupied by a Wendy's franchise. Wendy's closed in November 2015 and the building owner initially planned to open a Taco Bell this past spring. (Photo by: Ben Holbrook)
SEARSPORT — When Jordan Messan Benissan was growing up in Togo, a small West African country near Cote d’Ivoire, he never dreamed he would end up restoring a historic homestead in New England to open a restaurant there. Me Lon Togo opened its doors July 8, and offers West African and European cuisine. (Photo by: Jordan Bailey)
UNITY — Owner Diane Jones poses at the entrance of Mammie's Country Kitchen Aug. 17. The name of the new restaurant sparked some backlash when representatives of Unity College reached out to Jones with concerns about negative connotations. Jones said her grandchildren call her Mammie, which means grandmother. (Photo by: Jordan Bailey)
LINCOLNVILLE -- Isabella Porter, right, a Belfast High School student, works full-time as a waitress at Lobster Pound in Lincolnville. At left is Theresa Mastricolo of Camden. Because of short staff in the kitchen, the restaurant did not seat more customers than it could comfortably serve, even if there were tables available. Because of county-wide shortages in staffing, many area business owners put in additional hours themselves or asked existing staff to fill gaps. Owners cited fewer foreign workers and fewer students in the workforce as the cause of labor shortages this summer. (Photo by: Jordan Bailey)
BELFAST — Police escort the alleged driver of a white Volvo that crashed into a light pole on Front Street the morning of March 28, from a cruiser to a nearby ambulance. Rebecca Hills, also known as Rebecca Simpson, 32, of Winterport, was charged with eluding an officer, failure to stop for a police officer, driving to endanger, reckless conduct with a dangerous weapon, operating under the influence, aggravated criminal mischief and refusing to submit to arrest or detention. Before the crash, pursuing officers followed the vehicle on an erratic trip through city streets. (Photo by: Ben Holbrook)
LIBERTY — A fire that destroyed the former Magnum Manufacturing building the evening of Jan. 8 was caused by a grill, investigators said. The structure was occupied at the time by a towing service. Sgt. Ken Grimes of the Fire Marshal's Office said the blaze was ignited by a barbecue grill being used inside the building.The fire spread from the grill to nearby combustible materials and eventually ignited pressurized gasses stored in the building, Grimes said. A man who was inside the building at the time of the fire managed to escape the flames, but suffered serious burns, according to the sergeant. Liberty Fire Chief Bill Gillespie said when firefighters arrived at the scene, five or more explosions rocked the building. Single-digit temperatures made it difficult to extinguish the fire, as air packs and hoses kept freezing. Icy conditions also made it difficult for crews to shuttle water from nearby Lake St. George. Also destroyed by fire in November 2016, Peavey's General Store reopened Jan. 13, 2017, at its new location across from Corner Scrap. (Source: Facebook)
Belfast Ambulance carries syringes of naloxone, used to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. Belfast Police began carrying Narcan, a nasal spray version of the drug, this year. Overdose deaths have increased in recent years, with five deaths reported in 2016 and the average age of those who overdosed 42. (Photo by: Jordan Bailey)
BELFAST — Despite community and staff concerns about loss of local control, the governing board of Waldo County General Hospital and Pen Bay Medical Center approved joining with MaineHealth's board. At a forum in Belfast Aug. 24, residents took the chance to speak against the proposal, also citing a desire for financial independence. (Photo by: Jordan Bailey)
Crowds lined High Street June 17, for the Anah Shrine Summer Ceremonial Parade, which featured clowns, bagpipes, brass bands, mini-cars and other spectacles.The Shriners help support children's hospitals in Boston and Springfield, Massachusetts. (Photo by: Ben Holbrook)
BELFAST -- Long-shuttered Crosby High School reopened as the Crosby Center under the ownership of Kiril Lozanov, pictured at right, who bought the building in December 2016. After a soft opening July 9, the auditorium of the 94-year-old building played host to live music concerts and theater performances of "Frankenstein," "The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe" and the one-man show "Darrow." The center also hosted the annual Church Street Festival, a victory party for Mayor Samantha Paradis after her upset win in November and a reunion of the Crosby High School Class of '67. At year's end, the auditorium was added to the list of venues for Belfast's New Year's by the Bay celebration. (Photo by: Ethan Andrews)
A half-dozen new "dollar" stores popped up in the Midcoast as the region got its share of a major nationwide expansion by Dollar General. As branches of the discount retailer opened in Belmont, Searsport, Winterport (pictured above), Union, Hampden and Clinton, we speculated that Waldo County had, by some measure, witnessed the arrival of the closest thing it would ever get to a Walmart. (Photo by: Ethan Andrews)
BELFAST -- Master documentarian Frederick Wiseman attended local screenings of his 1999 time capsule "Belfast, Maine" at the Colonial Theatre. Above, Wiseman, left, with theater owner and City Councilor Mike Hurley, fields questions about the film at one of the showings. (Photo by: Ethan Andrews)
The Republican Journal revived the traditional shipping news column, keeping tabs on the comings and goings of commercial ship traffic in Searsport and Bucksport. (Photos by: Ethan Andrews)
A driver involved in a crash on Route 137 wound up hanging upside down, pinned between a pickup truck and a house. Despite the dramatic scene, no one was seriously injured. The house was spared by the foresight of the owner, who had surrounded it with a cordon of concrete barriers, apparently for just such an occurrence. (Photo by: Ethan Andrews)
The former Masonic Temple sold in January to a Florida investor for $837,000. Workers spent the year making repairs to the 139-year-old building at Main and High streets, including a full roof replacement, pictured above. A corner space occupied for 40 years by the law firm of Blake & Hazard closed, opening one of the most prime storefront locations in the city. At year's end the space was undergoing renovations in preparation for an as-yet-unnamed future tenant. (Photo by: Ethan Andrews)
A freak windstorm in late October pulled boats from their moorings and left much of the county without power for days. Above, Dylan Troy and other volunteers pick up the pieces of a powerboat that was dashed to pieces on the Belfast breakwater. (Photo by: Ethan Andrews)
Belfast Mayor Samantha Paradis talks with former Mayor Monroe "Mike" Hall in the Council Chamber at City Hall Nov. 13 after her swearing-in. Paradis, in her first bid for office, defeated longtime Mayor Walter Ash. Another former "Mayor Mike," Ward 4 City Councilor Mike Hurley, right, was sworn in along with Ward 3 Councilor Eric Sanders, both for their fifth terms. (Photo by: Ethan Andrews)
Guests at a private party of the new "Belfast Yacht Club" remove a section of fence between the former coal storage property at 15 Front St. and Heritage Park, opening a public crossing in the long-closed property May 19. An hour into the informal first soiree of a new tongue-in-cheek yacht club, Paul Naron got out a handsaw and announced he was opening his waterfront property to public parks on either side. The move was intended to join two sections of Belfast Harbor Walk separated by private property that necessitated a looping detour in the public path between Heritage Park and Steamboat Landing Park. Guests then took turns sawing through two thick timbers separating Naron's property from the adjacent Steamboat Landing Park, while onlookers riffed on Ronald Reagan's Cold War demand, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" (Photo by: Ethan Andrews)
Walter Ash gives a parting wave Nov. 21 at a celebration of his decade-long tenure as Belfast mayor. Behind Ash are City Councilors Neal Harkness, left, and Eric Sanders. City staff and elected officials gave Ash a key to the city. (Photo by: Ethan Andrews)
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