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Archive for February 2011

Mayor’s Corner: CDBG funds are of tremendous importance to Lewiston

By Laurent F. Gilbert Sr.

Mayor of Lewiston

According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development: “the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program is a flexible program that provides communities [like Lewiston] with resources to address a wide range of unique community development needs.”

Beginning in 1974, the CDBG program is one of the longest continuously run programs at HUD. The CDBG program provides annual grants on a formula basis to 1,209 general units of local government and states. Lewiston is one of those units, as we are an entitlement community.

A letter dated February 10, 2011 to members of Congress, sent from a coalition of the United States Conference of Mayors and nine other national organizations representing various forms of community development, offered the following facts:

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Weekly Review: Customer service; logging in; and 5 more weeks of winter!

By Glenn E. Aho

Auburn City Manager

Reducing the city’s tax burden is a goal of the Auburn City Council, and it’s the job of city administration to work toward meeting that goal.

It’s not easy, as government’s usual response to complaints is to simply add more money and more manpower to the budget to make those complaints go away. That doesn’t work any longer.

With the City Council’s goal of reducing the tax burden, our response to complaints must be a greater effort toward managing what money and manpower we already have. To make matters more challenging, we actually have fewer employees to address complaints and to work toward the City Council’s goal. City employees have worked exceedingly hard these past two years, and I’m pleased to say that we are doing a lot better than we were two years ago.

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LETTER: Gun law won’t deter violent crime

To the Editor:

This is in response to Mayor Larry Gilbert’s cry for politicians to enact more gun safety laws. (“Mayor’s Corner: How many more tragedies before politicians enact gun safety laws?” TCT, Feb. 3, 2011, page 5.)

Mayor Gilbert must believe that misguided individuals are not smart enough to get around this initiative. If a handgun is limited to a 10-round capacity, then someone could use two or more guns to accomplish what one gun cannot.

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Lewiston Casino Initiative heads to Legislature

Secretary of State Charles Summers announced on February 4 that enough valid signatures have been submitted to place “An Act Regarding Establishing a Slot Machine Facility” before the Maine State Legislature.

“After an exhaustive review, we have determined that 59,095 signatures on the petition have been determined valid,” Summers said. “I know what a difficult task this was for the organizers to meet the required threshold and I commend them on their efforts. I also want to thank Deputy Secretary of State Julie Flynn and her dedicated staff for all of their hard work in ensuring that the integrity of the process was preserved and the statutory deadline for the determination was met.”

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Public meeting on L-A/Montreal Passenger Rail Study

The Maine Department of Transportation and Androscoggin Valley Council of Governments invites the public to attend a meeting on the Lewiston/Auburn/Montreal Passenger Rail Feasibility Study.

The meeting is at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 16 at the Androscoggin Valley Council of Governments, 125 Manley Road, Auburn. All members of the public are invited to attend.

The purpose of the meeting is to present the findings of the study. The meeting will include a formal presentation followed by an opportunity for public comment on the information presented.

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A look behind the scenes of “To Kill a Mockingbird”

The performers may get all the glory, but it’s the backstage folks who make it happen!

(See photos in Digital Edition)

By Rachel Morin

TCT Columnist

Lewiston/Auburn Community Little Theatre presents the final weekend of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” the powerful Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Harper Lee, adapted for the stage by Christopher Sergel.

Directed by Linda Britt, the timeless story of “Mockingbird,” as relevant today as it was over 50 years ago, is especially meaningful to her, having grown up in the South and seeing and hearing the language of the times—not so long ago. Britt is recognized for directing plays that have a message.

A dramatic play she directed at CLT a few years ago about a young gay man brutally murdered received excellent reviews. Two dramatic plays Britt directed for Out of the Box Theater achieved the coveted Moss Hart Award in 2009 and 2010.

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Chamber awards honor business achievement

Peter Murphy of Neokraft Signs (center) was awarded the prestigious Ray Geiger Award. (Photo by David Sysko)

(See photos in Feb. 3, 2011 Digital Edition. Click on the front page of Digital Edition at top left, then click on the Archive tab at top right to find the Feb. 3 edition.)

The Androscoggin Chamber of Commerce presented its esteemed annual awards to local businesses large and small during its 2011 Annual Meeting, held Thursday, January 27 at the Ramada Conference Center in Lewiston.

The awards recognize the innovation, achievement and business excellence demonstrated by these individuals and businesses during the past year.

The Business Leadership Award for a larger company was presented to The Wal-Mart Distribution Center and General Manager Cathlin Foster. The distribution center has been one of the largest development projects in Maine in the last decade, and its impact on the Lewiston-Auburn employment has been monumental, bringing hundreds of good-paying jobs in the transportation/logistics sector.

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Mayor’s Corner: What political legacy did The Cutler Files leave on Maine?

By Laurent F. Gilbert Sr.

Mayor of Lewiston

“The Cutler Files,” a website created by former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Rosa Scarcelli’s husband and her political advisor, marked a new low in Maine campaigns. Is this the future of Maine politics?

In the spirit of full disclosure, I have been and continue to be a staunch Democrat, although I have deviated on a few occasions and voted for a Republican and an Independent candidate. It this latest gubernatorial election, I supported former Maine Attorney General Steve Rowe in the primary election, having worked with him in my capacity as the Associate Director of the Maine Community Policing Institute at the University of Maine at Augusta.

At the time of the Democratic Party campaign, both Democrats Rowe and Rosa Scarcelli visited me. Libby Mitchell and Pat McGowan both called me to meet; I was honest with them, telling them I was supporting Rowe.

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Mayor’s Corner: How many more tragedies before politicians enact gun safety laws?

By Laurent F. Gilbert Sr.

Mayor of Lewiston

For the readers of this column who were wondering when I would be writing about the need to enact gun safety laws after the Tucson massacre, well, here goes!

On January 20, 2011 the United States Conference of Mayors adopted the following resolution in the aftermath of the massacre in Tucson, Arizona. Here it is:

In Support of Gun Safety Legislation to Ban the Use of Large Capacity Magazines and Strengthen the National Background Check System

WHEREAS, on the morning of January 8, 2011, gunshots fired in one of our nation’s great cities reverberated through all of our cities; and

WHEREAS, a federal judge and a nine-year-old girl were among the six people killed that day in Tucson, and Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, the target of the shooting rampage, was among the 13 more who were wounded; and

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Weekly Review: Business as usual; paid snow days

By Glenn E. Aho

Auburn City Manager

Former NBC nightly news anchor Tom Brokaw used to say that it’s easier to make a buck than to make a difference. Wanting to make a difference in this world is perhaps the single-most important inspiration people pursue—at least I know it was for Gail Phoenix.

Gail spent her entire life working to make a difference, and she started to share that inspiration with the City of Auburn in 1986, when she was hired in the Community Development Block Grant office. Gail worked tirelessly to help low-income individuals purchase homes and to make critical upgrades to their existing homes. She even worked with others with commercial loans to start businesses.

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