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2014 CA$H Coalition reaps $3.5 million in refunds for local residents

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Coalition co-chairs Chris Adler (l.) and Dottie Perham-Whittier, with Site Coordinator KC Geiger

When the Lewiston-Auburn CA$H Coalition celebrated its 11th anniversary of free tax preparation and asset-building outreach on April 9, its IRS-certified local volunteers were recognized for preparing 2,042 returns, resulting in a total of $2,876,000 in Federal refunds and $701,000 in State refunds that will go back into the pockets of local residents.

Those numbers accounted for 43% of the total tax prep work done by Maine’s ten such coalitions during the 2014 tax season and brought the Coalition’s 11-year claim tally for L-A area residents to $22,561,674.

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Business-to-Business Trade Show set for June 12

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The 19th annual Androscoggin Business-to-Business Trade Show, “Building for the Future,” will take place on Thursday, June 12 from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston.

Presented by the Lewiston-Auburn Economic Growth Council and sold out the last eight years, Maine’s premier one-day business networking event has grown to attract 2,500 business professionals and nearly 200 exhibitors from throughout New England.

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Pack 111 works to mark graves of 1945 fire victims

Cub Scout Pack 111 of Auburn is planning a fundraising campaign to purchase headstones to mark the graves of victims of a tragic nursery fire that occurred during the final months of World War II.

Most Auburn residents are unaware that sixteen children, almost all of them babies, and one adult died in a horrific New Auburn fire on January 31, 1945. The early morning blaze spread quickly through a South Main Street home, then operating as a boarding home for babies of war workers and servicemen.

The tragedy shocked the nation, overshadowing war news of the day. Newspapers around the country reported the story on their front page. Arch Soutar, a reporter covering the fire for The Lewiston Evening Journal, wrote, “A shiver and a shudder has gone up from every home where a baby’s cry, or a child’s laugh, is heard.”

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Lamey-Wellehan celebrates 100

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Jim Wellehan, President of Lamey-Wellehan Shoes, recently received a legislative sentiment at the State House honoring his company on the centennial anniversary of its founding. Started by Wellehan’s father, Dan Wellehan, and Dan’s partner, Charlie Lamey, Lamey-Wellehan Shoes now has six stores with more than 100 employees. Wellehan is pictured here with Senator John Cleveland (D – Auburn).

 

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Enough is Enough: Welfare fraud, waste and abuse cannot be excused

By Robert E. Macdonald

Mayor of Lewiston

I like former mayor Larry Gilbert as a person. I simply dislike much of what he says and does.

His op-ed last week took TCT readers down a nostalgic trail of columns past, similar to airings of TV shows of the past.

It was classic —15 paragraphs long, eight of which were used to retell and remind us of the French kid who left Lewiston at an early age, moved to California and like the Prodigal Son made his way back to Lewiston becoming a renowned public figure. Upon concluding reading the column, like Clara of the Wendy’s TV commercials, I asked: “Where’s the beef?”

Upon reading the first two paragraphs, I came thought the former mayor was going to discuss students’ ability to learn when the distraction of spring arrives. Imagine my surprise upon reading the next paragraph, which began criticizing Governor Paul R. LePage and me for our “overly obsessive attitude towards welfare.”

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Mitch Thomas & Friends Concert features local talent

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Erin Menzer and Paul Kinney

Tickets can still be reserved in advance or purchased at the door for the Mitch Thomas & Friends Concert on Friday, April 11 at 7 p.m. at the Holy Family Parish Hall in Lewiston. This family-friendly event for all ages is presented by the Knights of Columbus to raise funds in support of causes connected to their ministries.

The concert will feature a number of talented local musicians, including trumpeter Jody Steidel, bassist Jeff Munson, guitarist Neil James and drummer Dr. Jeff Mayerson. Blues guitarist Paul Kinney will take the stage to play with the band and accompany singing sensation Erin Menzer. Also scheduled to perform are talented teenage vocalists Maddy and Mia-Angelina Leslie of Lewiston.

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Emerge Film Fest to kick off with “Horror Double Feature”

The Emerge Film Festival continues to take shape and promises to be a remarkable event. The festivities will kick off on Friday, June 13 with a “Friday the 13th Horror Film Double Feature & Beer Fest,” sponsored by Baxter Brewing.

Following a tour and reception for All-Access ticket-holders, filmmakers and event sponsors at the brewery, the festival will launch its movie lineup with a pair of horror films from Bonfire Films: the short film “Natal” and the feature-length film “The Hanover House.” Both films are directed by Maine filmmaker Corey Norman. Norman and members of the cast and crew of both films will be present at the event.

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Circus Olé! returns to South Paris

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This animal-free extravaganza showcases the circus arts while featuring giant theatrical animal puppets.

The third annual Circus Olé and Feast of Fools will take place on Saturday, April 26 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Community Forum of the Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School in South Paris.

This animal-free extravaganza showcases the circus arts while raising awareness about the mistreatment of circus animals. All Circus Olé animals are giant theatrical puppets created by Trash Into Art, a community collective founded by Rijah Newell that uses street theater to illuminate social and environmental issues.

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Hassan, Abdi win Girls Rock! Awards

At its recent Girls Rock! Weekend, Hardy Girls Healthy Women celebrated the outstanding accomplishments of five Maine girls with its annual Girls Rock! Awards. Two of those award recipients are from Lewiston.

The Entrepreneurship Award went to Sahro Hassan, a senior at Lewiston High School. Hassan saw a niche in the fashion market for designs for Muslim women that are both fashionable and modest, so she decided to start her own business, Fashionuji. Her goal was to empower young women to express their personalities and identities through fashion and to inspire other girls in her community to find their passions and work toward purposeful goals.

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Enough is Enough: Taxpayers, children will suffer without welfare reform

By Robert E. Macdonald

Mayor of Lewiston

Well, it’s official! The silver-spoon trust-funder, Senate President Justin Alfond, and his co-conspirator, Speaker of the House Mark Eves, have again won a battle in their war against Maine’s middle class. They successfully killed legislation that would have tightened up the rules of several state welfare programs in order to reduce fraud.

A collective sigh of relief by the Maine People’s Alliance, Maine Equal Justice and a host of other advocacy groups was heard reverberating throughout the halls of the State House. Their interests once again had trumped those of the state’s middle-class taxpayers. Yes, happiness reigned, thanks to the leadership of the progressive Democrats and their Lewiston-Auburn allies, our local Democratic legislative delegation (a.k.a. The Portland Puppets).

The aforementioned groups will now be allowed, for at least another year, unfettered access to picking the pockets of Maine’s middle class.

I must note at this time that three of L-A’s Democratic legislators may have broken rank and voted with Republicans to institute Governor LePage’s tightening of the General Assistance laws. Next week, if true, I will let you know their identities.

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