Friends of Cevonte Johnson remember him as ‘loving, friendly’

Submitted by Seth Barden on January 22, 2020 - 8:35pm
Linked from: FOX 22 - ABC 7

MILO – After being missing for just over two weeks, the body of a Milo man was found in the Sebec River last Tuesday.

“It kind of shocked us a lot and I’m still shocked about everything that happened,” said Josephine Rancourt, who knew Cevonte Johnson for four years.

Johnson was a graduate of Penquis High School and loved community member.

He was just 24 years old when he went missing and was found deceased in the Sebec River.

“He was always happy, always smiling and listening to music,” Rancourt continued. “He was always just dancing and bee-bopping around.”

“He was a real loving, friendly kid. He loved his sports. He loved writing poetry. He would take the shirt off his back if he knew you were cold,” said Tina Saunders, a family friend who knew Johnson for 16 years.

Since his passing, the community has come together in several ways to remember him.

On Sunday night, more than eighty people turned out for a candlelight vigil.

“I was very surprised there was that many people. We were very grateful, very appreciative,” Saunders continued. “Like I said, the love for that family.”

For now, the community is left with more questions than answers.

“What actually happened? Obviously we’re all waiting for those autopsy results to come back because we’re not going to have closure until we know,” Saunders said.

Authorities say the circumstances surrounding Johnson’s death are still under investigation.

There has been a GoFundMe page set up for his family.

Saunders said they are holding a spaghetti supper at Penquis High School on February 9. Entry is by donation.

Local businesses have also donated items to be raffled off.


Multiple days of dog sled races in Brownville Junction

Submitted by Seth Barden on January 20, 2020 - 6:42pm

Contributed, Special to the Piscataquis Observer • January 20, 2020

BROWNVILLE JUNCTION — The Maine Highlands Sled Dog Club will host a two-day sled dog race on Saturday, Jan. 25 and Sunday, Jan. 26 as part of Brownville’s annual 11th Dog Days of Winter celebration. Teams will leave Railroad Avenue in Brownville Junction at 10 a.m. both Saturday and Sunday, travel up to the KI Road along the converted rail bed and then return along the same trail.

Spectators are encouraged to come early to watch the mushers ready their teams for the 20-mile trip, and meet some of the best four-legged athletes from around New England doing what they love. Food will be available to purchase at the nearly American Legion Hall, and club members will be available to talk with interested folks about dog-powered sports.


Observer file photo/Stuart Hedstrom
MUSHING HIS TEAM TO VICTORY — Milo resident Rico Portalatin earned top honors in the longer distance competition of 34.2 miles during the 2018 Maine Highlands Sled Dog Club and the town of Brownville’s Brownville-KI and Beyond Sled Dog Race on the morning of Jan. 27. Portalatin’s team covered the route in 2 hours, 23 minutes and 27 seconds to win by over 29 minutes. This year’s races will be starting at 10 a.m. Jan. 25-26..


State gives green light to Mayo merger with Northern Light

Submitted by Seth Barden on January 20, 2020 - 6:41pm

Charles Eichacker, Bangor Daily News Staff • January 17, 2020

State regulators have cleared the way for Mayo Regional Hospital in Dover-Foxcroft to join Northern Light Health, the Brewer-based health system that includes nine other hospitals stretching from Portland to Presque Isle.

On Thursday, Jan. 16 the Maine Department of Health and Human said on its website that it had granted the necessary certificate for the merger, which also received final approval last month from the boards of both Northern Light Health and Mayo Regional Hospital. 

But the two organizations must still do additional work before the merger can be completed, according to Northern Light spokesman Chris Facchini. It was not immediately clear when the merger would actually take effect. 

The state approval was granted despite a lawsuit seeking to block the merger filed Dec. 20 by the town of Cambridge and nearly three dozen residents from the other communities that collectively own the 25-bed hospital and its associated medical practices. 

The lawsuit also attempted to block the state from authorizing the merger, but last month, a spokesman at Maine DHHS, Robert Long, said that the legal action would not affect the department’s review. 

The review process, which is required by law, is meant to ensure that major changes among the state’s health care providers do not negatively affect the availability and quality of care in the state. The state approval included the conditions that Northern Light file annual reports about Mayo’s quality improvements and finances for the first three years after the merger.  

Leaders of Mayo Regional Hospital have said that merging with a larger organization is critical to keeping the rural hospital afloat after it suffered operating losses every year since 2010. They have said that it would allow the hospital to cut its operating costs and bring in new sources of revenue. 

But a merger agreement between the quasi-municipal group that runs Mayo and Northern Light Health would only require Northern Light to keep operating the hospital in its current form for five years after the merger is complete. Also, research from around the country suggests that the merger could help to drive up the prices of health care in the region by giving Mayo more...

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Baseball Clinic with Cabral

Submitted by Seth Barden on January 20, 2020 - 6:33pm


Closed MKL Jr Day

Milo Library News
Submitted by Annette Banker on January 17, 2020 - 12:32pm

          LIBRARY CLOSED

     Monday, January 20th

         in observance of

  Martin Luther King, Jr Day


Body of missing man recovered from Milo river

Submitted by Seth Barden on January 15, 2020 - 7:08pm

Hailey Bryant, Bangor Daily News Staff • January 15, 2020

After more than two weeks of searching, divers from the Maine Warden Service and State Police found the body of a missing man in the Sebec River in Milo on Tuesday, according to Milo police.

The body has been identified as 24-year-old Cevonte Johnson, who was last seen on Park Street in Milo. Local police, as well as Johnson’s family and friends, had been searching since Dec. 29.

Divers from the Maine Warden Service and State Police recovered the body of 24-year-old Cevonte Johnson from the Sebec River in Milo on Tuesday afternoon.

“It is with a heavy heart and great sadness that I report that Cevonte has been found,” a representative from the Milo Police Department said in a Facebook statement. “We cannot and we will not speculate on anything regarding the circumstances, as this is still an active investigation.

“We will continue to work this with the Major Crimes Unit of the State Police until we have reached our conclusions.”


Penquis Valley junior raising funds to attend Stanford Law School summer program

Submitted by Seth Barden on January 15, 2020 - 7:07pm

Contributed, Special to the Piscataquis Observer • January 14, 2020

On Jan. 8 Penquis Valley High School junior Joslyn Black, 16, received an invitation in the mail from the education organization Envision. This group provides summer learning programs to students from elementary through high school. Black’s invitation is to the Stanford Law School outside of San Francisco, California to learn and engage in a 10-day intensive law and trial program.

This experience would be incredible for her and it is well deserved. Black has a 97 GPA, is ranked third in her class, serves as class secretary, is a member of Key Club and also participates in cheering in the winter and track & field in the spring. She recently presented her history project on at her school’s history fair and won Best in Show for both the junior and senior classes. 

The tuition for this program, which includes meals, room and board and all materials is expensive. Black started a GoFundMe campaign and has raised $460 in 48 hours, a great early effort but is not enough to register to save her spot. In order to enroll Black needs at least $870 by Jan. 29. Enrollment ends on Feb. 14, but without at least the down payment she will miss her opportunity to enroll.

Black will need $4,000 to participate in this program, which does not include airfare and the nights in a hotel the day before and after the program.

For more information, please see Black’s GoFundMe page at gofundme.com/f/1v2beimtw0.


Sled Dog Race - Jan. 25 & 26

Submitted by Seth Barden on January 15, 2020 - 7:05pm

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