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Archive for January 2011

More Storms Coming to the East into February

By Alex Sosnowski

Senior Expert Meteorologist

for AccuWeather.com

AccuWeather says that if you are thinking the stormy winter pattern will end soon over the Plains, Midwest and East, guess again. Things may get worse, if you don’t like snow and cold.

There have been many winters where there were only a handful of major storms the entire season. It seems this winter is taking the cake for frequent travel problems associated with multiple major and minor storms.

We have had two storm tracks thus far. One modest track brings storms in from the Pacific, then cross country over the Upper Midwest. A second track has had storms forming along the Gulf Coast then tracking up the Atlantic Seaboard.

Usually one or the other track will dominate. However, it seems we have been flipping back and forth between the two. The result has been light to moderate snow events over the Midwest and episodes of heavy snow along the Atlantic Seaboard.

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Artists needed for Auburn Art Wall Project

L/A Arts and The City of Auburn invite local artists to submit work for a new public art project, designed to enhance the Main Street Auburn Wall. Two-dimensional work in any medium will be considered. Work submitted should fit the broad theme: “Androscoggin: Our Living River.”

Work that is selected will be reproduced on panels attached to the masonry wall adjacent to the sidewalk. There will be nine painted aluminum framed sections that will house the images: nine 4 ft. x 24 ft. (divided into smaller sections) and five 4 ft. x 4 ft. sections.

Artwork will be reproduced as vinyl images with a clear vinyl overlay. This project is open to all artists living in the Androscoggin area.

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Turnpike projects include work at L-A exits, bridges

Growth in E-ZPass usage has led the Maine Turnpike Authority (MTA) to schedule a conversion of the New Gloucester toll plaza to an Open Road Toll collection facility.

This conversion will allow E-ZPass patrons to proceed through the toll plaza at highway speeds without stopping. This is a $5 million project, which is scheduled to be advertised in the spring of 2011 with the construction starting in summer 2011. The MTA anticipates this being completed by Memorial Day 2012.

Lewiston-Auburn Interchange. With the conclusion of several studies in the Lewiston and Auburn area, the Maine Turnpike Authority has programmed several improvement projects at Exit 75 in Auburn and Exit 80 in Lewiston. A $17 million four-year Turnpike project will get underway in 2011 to reconstruct the Lewiston Exit 80 and a smaller project, lead by MaineDOT, will get underway in Auburn at Exit 75.

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Former teacher Libby Goldman dies at 102

By Rachel Morin

TCT Columnist

Libby Goldman, beloved teacher to thousands of former Walton and Edward Little students and a friend to many more, died January 5 in Lewiston. She was 102.

A Memorial Service for her will be held April 22 in Auburn on what would have been her 103rd birthday. In May 2008, Twin City TIMES ran an article on Libby Goldman’s 100th birthday.

She turned 100 on April 22, 2008. The beloved Edward Little High School and Walton Junior High School teacher was rich beyond measure with the love of friends and former students.

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LETTER: Great news from the mayor

To the Editor:

I just opened the January 6 issue of Twin City TIMES and was pleasantly surprised to see that Mayor Larry Gilbert wasn’t patting himself on the back for all that he has done or telling us about his good buddy Mayor Bloomberg down in New York City or telling us that we need to pass the DREAM Act so we can let people who are in the country illegally go to college on our dime or telling us that we need more federal funding for so-called refugees at the same time our country is running a $14 trillion-plus deficit.

It is good to see that we have until January 20 before we have to read more pat me on the back, I’m important, tax-and-spend, illegal is not illegal, it’s an immigrant. Much like a bank robber isn’t a felon, but in fact a withdrawal artist.

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Griffiths on Cremation, Luxury Trucks and Oysters

By Dave Griffith

TCT Columnist

Whew. It’s been a few months since my last column. I’ll blame travel and other diversions, but that’s probably not good enough. My New Year’s resolution is to get organized. Sure.

Anyway, as always, I’ve got something to say about national politics, but I’m going to resist that urge for now and stick with more serious topics, such as:

Where to send my corporeal self for eternity. Being a great admirer of our 16th president, I just finished Doris Kearns Goodwin’s splendid “Team of Rivals,” about Lincoln’s War Cabinet. What she has to say about Abe’s political instincts makes for compelling reading, but I was particularly intrigued by Lincoln’s fascination with his own death and premonitions about lying in state at the White House.

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Mayor’s Corner: Barrett reflects on first year, Part II

This is the second of a two-part column in which Lewiston Mayor Larry Gilbert interviewed City Administrator Ed Barrett after completion of Barrett’s first year on the job. The first part ran last week.

By Laurent F. Gilbert Sr.

Mayor of Lewiston

What is your long term vision for the City of Lewiston in five years and beyond?

One of the strongest things I have seen since coming to Lewiston is the deep roots that many who live here have in this community, its culture and its history. Generations of families have been born here and have chosen to stay here. We need to work to make sure that future generations will be able to continue to make Lewiston their home.

This means that the economic transition of the community must continue to ensure that jobs are available not only for today’s residents, but also for tomorrow’s.

The educational opportunities that are essential to economic success will be provided through outstanding schools, colleges and universities and the educational and economic aspirations of our young people will increase.

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Weekly Review: City vehicles, Christmas trees and operational inefficiencies

By Glenn E. Aho

Auburn City Manager

Earlier this month the New York Times printed an article titled, “Top 10 Reasons Small Businesses Fail.” It was sobering that six of the 10 reasons could be said of how local government functions and continues to “function” in spite its private-sector counterpart failing.

The article begged the question: What is a failed or a successful local government? The top 10 reasons for small business failures included poor accounting, poor management, poor operational inefficiencies and poor planning, to name a few. Since local government provides public service, and the public’s expectations, needs and wants are always changing, it could be argued a “failed” local government is one that is non-responsive and does what’s always been done, regardless of what’s changed.

Local government is not immune from poor business practices, only the public’s knowledge of those poor practices, or so it seems. To really identify what reasons for “failure” might exist in local government, we need to look beneath the waterline to expose the problems.

Enough has changed in this nation to warrant near-wholesale changes in government at all levels—even so, much has remained the same. Residents need to ask tough questions of their local government: “What are you doing differently today as compared to a year ago? Before the economy declined? Since the last TABOR initiative? Since the last time higher fiscal accountability was called for?”

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Auburn Police Dept. offers Citizens’ Police Academy

The Auburn Police Department proudly announces the newest session of the Citizens’ Police Academy (CPA). This exciting 10-week program, which is scheduled to begin on Monday, February 7, offers community members insight into how local police officers perform their duties and how this outstanding department serves the community.

The goal of the CPA is to foster better communication between citizens and police through education. Graduates of the academy learn about the structure and activities of their police department, share their knowledge and experiences with their friends and neighbors, and quite often go on to become volunteers with the department.

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The Legislature: Unwieldy and Over-Extended

“Reinventing Maine Government,” a bipartisan report by Envision Maine was released in September, detailing major problems that make our state government inefficient, ineffective and too expensive. Twin City TIMES has published several sections of the report over the past few months.

Published before the election in an attempt to educate and guide candidates, the report provides a blueprint on how to completely reinvent Maine government and transform it into a streamlined and cost-effective organization. With the election over and a new regime in Augusta, we will continue to publish sections of the report.

According to the report, the size and cost of the Legislature is one of the state’s major problems. (See much more detail in the report at www.envisionmaine.org.)

Maine ranks 40th in total population in the country, but our legislature is the nation’s 10th largest.

The cost of the legislature, relative to income, is 132% higher than the U.S. average and 68% higher than the average of similarly rural states. Part of the reason why is that the Legislature tries to tackle too many issues for a “part-time” citizen body.

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