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Archive for August 2011

Mayor’s Corner: It is high time for another “New Deal” to create jobs!

By Laurent F. Gilbert Sr.

Mayor of Lewiston

When we encounter a problem in our lives and we are in search of ways and means to solve it, we look for what has been tried and true in solving it. The same holds true in government; when we encounter an economic and jobs problem like we are in with our current recession, we need to look at our history for a means of solving it.

I firmly believe that we need another “New Deal” type of problem solving. With the current unemployment rate and our infrastructure needs in our country, we need a jobs-creating new deal. President Franklin D. Roosevelt with his “New Deal” brought us out of the “Great Depression.” We need bold leadership such as his to bring us out of our current depressed economic situation by creating a jobs recovery program. We also must not go back to what got us in this mess to begin with.

The infrastructure of our country is in dire need of help. Below I will demonstrate the deplorable state of Lewiston’s infrastructure—and we may even be in better shape than many major cities in our country. How then do we fix our infrastructure before it completely falls apart? Well, in my opinion, there is no better time than the present. You might say we can’t afford it, and I say we can’t afford not to do it. Americans need jobs; we have a dire need for infrastructure improvement, therefore, it can be a win/win that will get our dollars circulating again for the good of all. You might say it is naïve, but hey, it worked before and it can work again.

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LETTER: Washington “lets the robber barons rob”

To the Editor:

Apparently, State Treasurer Bruce Poliquin has spent so much of his life counting beans that he now is full of them. (“Treasurer: Maine is—thankfully—unlike Washington,” page 1, TCT, August 11, 2011.)

Granted, his assessment of the situation in Augusta, which constitutionally must balance its budget, seems to be essentially accurate, if bloated with praise for his own administration. I want to address two of Poliquin’s more gaseous talking points, made in last week’s piece about the imminent beatification of the LePage administration.

1. “This is the third year in a row that Washington spent at least $1 trillion more than it collected in tax revenues.” True, sadly. But the GOP’s answer is to rob from the poor, who are, we have been told and told, “given” too much already. Hence, the debt deal idea: cut military spending, cut programs like heating fuel assistance and Medicaid and raise all the boundaries on Social Security.

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Baxter Brewing, DaVinci’s, Squid Jiggers join for fundraiser during Balloon Festival

Baxter Brewing Co. is partnering with mill neighbors, DaVinci’s Eatery and Maine’s premier folk duo, The Squid Jiggers, in bringing Lewiston-Auburn an entertaining and tasty way to experience the first night of the annual Great Falls Balloon Festival, while raising money for another mill neighbor, Museum L-A.

On Friday night, August 19, a $30 ticket provides: a BBQ feast provided by DaVinci’s; two beers from Baxter (additional beer and wine available); a private tour of the Baxter facilities; free parking; and a concert under the night sky from the Squid Jiggers. A portion of proceeds from the event will benefit Museum L/A, which will also be hosting a benefit raffle during the evening.

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Adventure Bound Rafting and ALT to offer raft rides at Balloon Festival

With a shared purpose of introducing Mainers to our natural resources, Adventure Bound Rafting and the Androscoggin Land Trust will offer the opportunity to view the Great Falls Balloon Festival from the Androscoggin River on rafts traditionally meant for whitewater rafting.

Adventure Bound Rafting, Maine‚s premier outdoor adventure, camping and whitewater rafting company, and the Androscoggin Land Trust (ALT), a regional land trust in the Androscoggin River watershed, have partnered to provide this unique opportunity to view hot-air balloon launches during the festival, which runs August 19, 20 and 21.

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Treasurer: Maine is—thankfully—unlike Washington

By Bruce Poliquin

Maine State Treasurer

The lack of honesty and fiscal common sense in Washington is breathtaking. For weeks, spendthrift politicians insisted that our country was inches away from default: they said that on August 2 the federal coffers would run out of cash.

Therefore, the career politicians said they must allow themselves to borrow another $2.4 trillion to pay the bills.

Did they forget that $2.2 trillion of annual tax revenues easily covers $200 billion of interest owed on the $14 trillion national debt? Or maybe it was just too painful to cut enough spending to close this year’s $1.5 trillion budget deficit.

(This is the third year in a row that Washington spent at least $1 trillion more than it collected in tax revenues. The shortfalls have been funded by borrowing money by selling government bonds.)

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Op/Ed: What we can all learn from the TEA Party

By Tim Lajoie, Chairman

Lewiston Republican City Committee

The recent battle over raising the federal debt ceiling thrust the TEA Party into the limelight—and not in a good way.

Vice-President Joe Biden called the TEA Party terrorists. Democratic Leader Senator Harry Reid called the TEA Party “unfair and disconcerting.” The major news outlets blamed the TEA Party for holding up the debt ceiling deal because of their “extreme” positions.

Massachusetts Senator John Kerry suggested—apparently forgetting that we have a 1st Amendment right not only to speak out against our government, but also to peaceably confront it—that the news outlets stop talking about TEA Party members because he said their arguments were not credible.

Lost in all of this hyperbolic rhetoric is some valuable truth, truth that only the TEA Party is not willing to abdicate for the sake of political compromise. I submit that every American, for the good of the country, take a real hard look at what the TEA Party stands for and learn some lessons from them.

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ALT hosts Youth Fishing Day on the Androscoggin

Continuing efforts to reconnect communities of the Androscoggin River to the recreational potential of this major Maine river, the Androscoggin Land Trust (ALT) and its river and trail planning partner, the National Park Service, were scheduled to host today what might be Downtown Lewiston-Auburn’s first Youth Fishing Day.

Through a year-long effort to assess potential land trail and water access to the Androscoggin River between the Androscoggin Riverlands State Park in Turner and Downtown Lewiston-Auburn, a series of community-based events are being coordinated by ALT to reconnect residents to the Androscoggin and solicit their feedback on the experience.

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Paddle After Hours is Thursday night at Festival Plaza

As the 16th Annual Source to Sea Trek, sponsored by the Androscoggin River Watershed Council (ARWC), makes its way to Merrymeeting Bay, it will make a brief layover today, Thursday, August 4, in Downtown Lewiston-Auburn.

In partnership with the Great Falls Paddling Society, the canoe and kayak program of the Androscoggin Land Trust (ALT), two events are being offered to get local residents and visitors out on the Androscoggin River in the heart of Maine’s second-largest urban area.

When the business day comes to an end, ARWC and ALT, in partnership with the Young Professionals of the Lewiston-Auburn Area (YPLAA) invite paddling enthusiasts to meet them behind Festival Plaza in Downtown Auburn at 5:30 p.m. with their boats for the second installment of Paddle After Hours, sponsored by Gritty’s and the Hilton Garden Inn.

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Great Falls Balloon Festival planned for Aug. 19-21

The 19th Annual Great Falls Balloon Festival will be held along the banks of the Androscoggin River once again, with balloons launching twice per day from Simard Payne Memorial Park in Lewiston at 6 a.m. and 6 p.m., weather permitting.

The festival kicks off Friday morning, August 19 and will run through the early evening of Sunday, August 21. This year’s theme, “Critters in the Clouds,” is a reference to the special-shaped balloons: Hootie the Owl, Annie the Ladybug and Bud E. Beaver.

A full slate of entertainment and activities will take place at both Simard Payne Park and Festival Plaza in Auburn. Local favorites Denny Breau, Terry & The Telstars and The Don Campbell Band will join more than 20 other musicians, local organizations and other entertainers to provide three days worth of enjoyment to crowds expected to exceed 100,000 people.

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People’s Veto: Be careful what you wish for

To the Editor:

The legislative session just closed passed LD 1376 with Republican votes alone. This bill ended “same-day registration.” That is, it required voters to register no later than the previous Thursday and not on the same day that elections are held. Maine’s Secretary of State Charles Summers supported the legislation because he felt a flood of new registration on Election Day overburdens the town clerks.

The Republican State Committee Chairman, Charles Webster, backed LD 1376 on different grounds. He believes that “flooding” the polling place on Election Day makes it impossible for the town clerks to properly check the brand-new voters. It opens the door to fraudulent practices.

Democrats support same-day registration in the legislature and the Maine Usual Suspects Alliance, along with other progressive groups, have started a petition drive to put a People’s Veto of LD 1376 on the ballot. The progressives (people formerly known as “liberals”) accuse Republicans of trying to “disenfranchise” voters—the old, the young, the handicapped and students (especially students). Some tie this in with a national GOP disenfranchisement scheme.

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