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Archive for December 2010

LETTER: Red Tape Audit reveals burdensome regulations on businesses

To the Editor:

Last month a newly naturalized American of Austrian origins told me an interesting story about an uncle who dug a hole. This hole was meant for an outhouse to accommodate the needs of customers at his uncle’s modest ski resort.

This excavation, like most holes in the ground, offered little of inherent interest. What made the story interesting is that it required inspection by six separate and distinct Austrian officials, two of them with chauffeurs.

Maine has not yet reached this level of regulation, but judging from the Red Tape Audit or Inventory I attended in Farmington on December 14, Augusta has ambitions along those lines.

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Mayor’s Corner: “Receiving Communities” need more federal funding

By Laurent F. Gilbert Sr.

Mayor of Llewiston

Before I get onto the main subject of this column, I want to wish all readers of this column, whether you agree with me or not on the subjects I write about, a very Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year.

We are fortunate to live in a country where we can agree to disagree in a rational manner on issues of concern. In the end, we all consider ourselves to have been blessed to live life in America. For those who may not celebrate Christmas but do celebrate other religious holidays of faith that we are all free to practice in this country, I wish each and every one of you the happiest of holidays. If they have already passed, may I offer my belated good wishes.

Receiving communities—what are they? They are communities throughout our country, like Lewiston, Auburn and Portland, that have received refugees and secondary migrants, as well as undocumented and documented immigrants. The status is insignificant; the fact remains that we all live in one and the same community and we must find ways to co-exist.

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The remarkable Christmas Truce of 1914

By Jim Murphy

Today, the economics of the holiday season and the hoped-for signs of an improving economy seem to overpower any other possible message, including peace. While this should be a time of “peace on earth, good will toward men,” it feels as if it would take a miracle today to make peace happen.

Yet at Christmas time, nearly a century ago, there was just such a miracle. In the midst of World War I, weary soldiers from both sides put down their guns and declared a moment of peace. The story is likely to sound vaguely familiar because the Christmas Truce of 1914 has achieved all but legendary status.

However, the Christmas Truce is not the stuff of legend, but of history. And, regardless of how familiar you think you are with the particulars, the realities of this extraordinary occurrence nearly 100 years ago are even more remarkable and moving.

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Partnership preserves 625 acres as farmland

Maine Farmland Trust and Androscoggin Land Trust have partnered to preserve a 625-acre farm that runs along the Androscoggin River in Turner.

Adrian and Jennifer Wadsworth put together River Rise Farm by purchasing multiple parcels of fields and woods over the past 30 years. The property covers approximately 625 acres along nearly two miles of the Androscoggin River at the northern end of Gulf Island Pond. Operated most recently as a dairy farm, River Rise contains great soils that are well suited to a variety of agricultural uses.

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Dempsey Challenge, Specialized donates bicycles to police

The Dempsey Challenge, Specialized Bicycles and Gorham Bike and Ski donated two Specialized Rockhopper Pro bicycles, valued over $1,000 each, plus helmets and complimentary maintenance packages, to the Lewiston and Auburn Police Departments.

Bicycle donations: (l. to r.) Tim Corcoran, co-owner of Gorham Bike and Ski; Thomas C. Murphy, Lewiston PD Community Resource Officer; Wendy Tardif, Dempsey Challenge Event Manager; Jason Moen, Auburn PD Deputy Chie;f and Auburn PD Lt. Kevin Mulherin.

Auburn Deputy Chief Jason Moen and Lieutenant Kevin Mulherin joined Lewiston Community Resource Officer Thomas Murphy on Tuesday to accept the donation.

“We appreciate this gesture,” said Moen. “The Dempsey Challenge is a positive experience, and we’re glad to help out in any way we can.”

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$4.4B pension crisis looms over taxpayers

2,100 govt. employees to get $1 million pensions

By Rep. Rich Cebra

(R-Naples)

As a new Legislature begins, one of the most important discussions will involve the public pension system for teachers and state workers. The cost of the system has exploded recently and threatens to squeeze other government functions, such as schools and MaineCare.

Moreover, writing a new state budget in lean times will be greatly complicated by a pension system devouring ever-larger amounts of tax money, year after year.

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“An Advent Afternoon of Christmas Music” with Mitch Thomas and Friends

Mitch Thomas and Maddy Leslie (center) with Elias Thomas (left) and Bruce Gerry (right) will perform with several other beloved local performers. (Sarah Noyes Photo) The concert is Saturday, December 18 at 2:30 p.m. Free. Auburn United Methodist Church, 439 Park Ave., Auburn. The church is handicap accessible. Call 782-3972 or 838-1722 for more information.

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LETTER: Bates students should not vote in elections

To the Editor:

Voter registration tables in the Lewiston Armory were noticeably misbalanced. A table designated for Lewiston voters was staffed by a solitary figure; the other busier table designated for Bates College students appeared to have three attendants.

Larger staffing was necessary: of the perhaps 1,700 Bates College students, those that registered and voted two years before had no need of the table. But the new half of the student body, the freshmen and sophomores, did.

Voting is a biennial Bates College event. Students, in a continuous flow of congenial small groups, make the pilgrimage across campus to the armory, their concerted purpose facilitated by a specifically designated registration table that supports a kind of fast-track, one-stop-voting process. Biennially, this process tugs and sometimes yanks at my curiosity.

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LETTER: Abolish the Department of Education

To the Editor:

Let’s abolish the federal Department of Education.

The federal government, through the Department of Education, is mandating a new government program: the “Response to Intervention” (RTI) program.

RTI is a federally mandated program to ensure universal achievement for all students. This mandates that if a teacher has 22 students in a classroom, there must be 22 individual plans. More bureaucratic government intervention. This is the mandated “No Child Left Behind “program on steroids.

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LETTER: Senators urged to support the DREAM Act

To the Editor:

Senator Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) has come out publicly condemning the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, a bill that has over 70 percent of Americans behind it. This bill is the make-it-or-break-it opportunity for hundreds and thousands of young men and women from across the country, who today are as American as you and I. Yet they are facing deportation.

These children grew up in the land of hope and dreams, a land that to them is the only land they know. I cannot express to you how terrible this action makes me feel, as well as thousands of others in this state. We as people come from a country of immigrants, a state of immigrants, who live under the Constitution of protecting those who cannot protect themselves. I hope that the senator will take the time to read the bill and rethink her statement and decision.

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