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Archive for April 2011

Downtown residents demand new code-enforcement officers

Local residents and members of the Neighborhood Housing League and Visible Community rallied outside 91 Knox St. on April 20 to highlight decrepit housing conditions in the downtown and to urge the Lewiston City Council to add two housing code officers to the city’s code enforcement department.

Residents complained that current staffing levels are well below half of the national average, while Lewiston’s housing stock is older and less safe than state averages.

“Unsafe housing conditions in Lewiston have a great cost, not only to residents, but to the whole community: through lowered property values, through healthcare issues like lead poisoning and by the strain our police and fire departments experience with frequent emergency calls,” said Shanna Rogers, resident coordinator of the Neighborhood Housing League.

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Maine Republicans offer tax-cut package

By Rep. L. Gary Knight

and Sen. David Trahan

Tax policy should reflect shared community values and encourage economic activity that benefits us all. The $203 Million tax-cut package unveiled by Maine Republicans last week better reflects the priorities of average Maine citizens seeking a better life for themselves, their families and future generations.

It does so by moving us closer to three long-held goals of an ideal system of taxation. Summarized in four words, these goals are: fairness, targeted investment and simplicity. Here are some of the highlights of our tax plan and how they address these goals:

Fairness

The GOP Tax Committee Plan provides a 100% income tax cut to 70,000 low-income tax filers who currently pay some state income tax, but would have $0 income tax liability beginning in 2012.

It allows a family of four to earn up to $35,750 a year before paying any state income taxes (current law allows only $21,400). This is a whopping 67% increase in tax-free livable income.

In 2013, it will give a family of four earning $50,000 a year a tax cut of $302. This is a 24.6% reduction in their state income taxes.

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LETTER: Mayor thrusts negativity on MAINEiacs, city

To the Editor:

It is growing increasingly difficult to sit on the sidelines and watch the figurehead of the City of Lewiston publicly bash one of this region’s best assets. In the past two editions of Twin City TIMES, Lewiston Mayor Larry Gilbert has thrust a negative spotlight on himself, the city and the MAINEiacs.

There is no questioning Gilbert’s love of hockey and of these players. There can be no questioning his passion and pride for the City of Lewiston. However, this latest temper tantrum has gone too far.

His sentiments certainly do not represent my views as a MAINEiacs fan, and I know that he definitely does not speak for others. As a former contracted employee for the MAINEiacs this past summer, I can shed a few insights that many people, including Gilbert, may not be aware of.

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LETTER: LePage is more like us than them

To the Editor:

Eight Republicans, politicians all, reassured and confident that they must be right because of their number, have like a noisy gaggle of gossips joined together to publicly complain about Governor LePage’s behavior. (Op/Ed: “Republican Senators express concern about Governor’s tone,” TCT, page 3, April 7, 2011.

The Governor, it is generally agreed, misbehaves; he is similar to the girls and women we found so interesting when we were very young, the kind that other women and girls whispered about, you know—easy.

Reporters delight in this; they deliberately and continuously provoke him until they have their way with him. And when they do, they rush to tell everyone, gleefully putting his unrestrained remarks into newspaper headlines.

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Mayor’s Corner: A return to Haiti with South Lewiston Baptist Church

This is the first of a two-part column about Mayor Gilbert’s trip with the South Lewiston Baptist Church to provide aid and assistance in Haiti. The second part will be published next week.

By Laurent F. Gilbert Sr.

Mayor of Lewiston

Last month I reported in the Twin City TIMES on a group of us visiting Les Cayes, Haiti, where Father Marc Boisvert, a Lewiston native, has been serving the people there for over 12 years. It is a four-hour drive from Port-au-Prince.

This second trip in as many months was with the same group that I went to Haiti with last year. The group is led by Andrew Letourneau from the South Lewiston Baptist Church (SLBC).

This mission group is prayerful, fun loving and hard working. They are all Republicans with the exception of Peter Geiger, who is an Independent, and I am the only Democrat. Needless to say, we banter back and forth in a well-mannered way about our politics.

They are also practical jokers. I happen to snore, which they knew from last year when we were there. We bring tents and air mattresses and sleep on the cement roof of the house of Pastor Nathan Chérélus, located in the Tabar section of Port-au-Prince. When we leave, we leave the tents and mattresses behind for the people of Haiti.

After a sleepless first night, in my absence the guys all moved their tents to one side of the roof and they segregated mine on the other side. Peter Geiger saved the remainder of the week by giving me “breathe right” bandages that stick on the nose to help breathing through the nostrils. I didn’t snore the rest of the week.

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Janet Gibson authors a history of Community Little Theatre

By Rachel Morin

TCT Columnist

Janet Gibson, historian and archivist at Lewiston-Auburn Community Little Theatre, has compiled an interesting history of CLT, which is celebrating its 71st season. The book covers the theater’s beginnings many decades ago through the present.

Understandably her book is not inclusive of everything, as it would take more than one book to accomplish that! The book is loaded with headshots of the actors, a large photo collection of plays throughout the seasons, clippings of special events and interesting memorabilia.

Janet’s amusing anecdotes of behind-the-scenes activity and descriptive glimpses into what happened in the early stages decades ago are entertaining reading. She has been a member of CLT since 1952, joining with the “Orchesis” dance group, led by JoAnne Prince.

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Mayor Gilbert upset at MAINEiacs, Part II

This is the second of a two-part column. The first part was published next week. Mayor Gilbert was upset that MAINEiacs President Bill Schurman had implied that the City of Lewiston had not helped the team enough. See the first part of Gilbert’s column at www.TwinCityTimes.com. Go to the Digital Edition, then go to Archives to find the April 14 edition.

By Laurent F. Gilbert Sr.

Mayor of Lewiston

The city had been losing some $500,000 a year as owners of the Colisée, and as mayor I advocated for its sale. We eventually sold it for $1 million to Jim Cain at Firland Management after no realistic proposals came in. We at least stopped the bleeding.

Just think, we have already saved nearly $2 million of taxpayer money that might not have been saved had we not sold the facility for the amount we did.

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LaBonte: Investors must get a seat at the planning table

By Jonathan P. LaBonte

TCT Columnist

There are two ways to see a vibrant Downtown Lewiston-Auburn that features shops, jobs, attractive residential areas, landscaped streets and paths, public parks and cultural amenities. The first would be to go back about 120 years.

The second would be to learn from the mechanics of building the cities in that era and see if any of those lessons apply today.

While there may be a land-use planning dissertation buried somewhere in that opening salvo, there are a couple of broad brush strokes that might be painted to illustrate these points without putting the readers to sleep over 20,000 words.

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LETTER: L-A, MAINEiacs have had their ups and downs

To the Editor:

I like Larry Gilbert a lot. He has been a great mayor and an excellent advocate for Lewiston. He has done a lot for our city, and I am proud to call him my friend.

Larry has also been a good friend and staunch supporter of the Lewiston MAINEiacs. He, as well as I, advocated for the team to come to Lewiston. Both of us bought season tickets in advance of their arrival to show our support for the move, and both of us have been season-ticket holders since day one. We have also expressed our loyalty to the team in many other ways.

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Great Tax Divide creates “retail oasis” in N.H.

The vast tax differential between Maine and neighboring New Hampshire has created a “retail desert” on the Maine side of the border, while helping to create a “retail oasis” in New Hampshire, according to a new report released by The Maine Heritage Policy Center.

The report, “The Great Tax Divide: Maine’s Retail Desert vs. New Hampshire’s Retail Oasis,” authored by MHPC Chief Economist Scott Moody, compares the sales tax, cigarette tax, gasoline tax, bottle tax and alcohol tax between the two states.

In all cases, New Hampshire’s tax rate is much lower than Maine’s, which has resulted in significant cross-border shopping, where Maine residents, particularly from border counties (Oxford and York), travel to New Hampshire to purchase goods at a much lower cost.

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