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Archive for November 2011

Twin Cities Holiday Celebration is November 30

The 5th Annual Twin Cities Holiday Celebration is on tap for November 30, beginning at 6 p.m. featuring the Parade of Lights and numerous holiday activities. Oxford Networks is once again the event’s premiere sponsor, and company employees will lead the parade.

As the parade assembles on Lisbon Street, Lewiston, at approximately 5:30 p.m., refreshments will be available compliments of the Salvation Army. The rain date for the event is December 1.

Following the lighting of the Lewiston Christmas tree by Mayor Laurent F. Gilbert Sr. and Auburn Mayor Richard Gleason at 6 p.m. in Dufresne Plaza, the parade will step-off from Lisbon Street, turn left onto Main Street, cross the Longley Bridge, proceed by the Auburn Hilton, turn left onto Auburn’s Turner Street, proceed down Mechanic’s Row, turn left onto Auburn’s Main Street and arrive at Festival Plaza.

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Pathway Vineyard Church presents “Nativity 2011!”

Pathway Vineyard Church, located at 12 Foss Road in Lewiston, will present its fifteenth annual community Christmas event,  “Nativity 2011,” beginning on Thursday, Dec. 8.

The church will open its Lewiston campus for a presentation of a new look at the familiar Nativity story. This year’s event, which has become a yearly holiday tradition for thousands of Central Maine residents, is filled with cultural music and drumming, drama, dance, and, as always, live animals.

Following the unique half-hour presentation, complimentary cider and cookies, caroling and an exhibit demonstrating “Christmas Around the World” await guests in the festively lit foyer. Draft horse wagon rides around the lighted Lewiston campus will also be featured along with a live petting zoo and an outdoor Christmas village.

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Local firefighters open Fire House Grille

For 25 years, co-owner of the Fire House Grille Victor Mathieu has fought fires throughout the Lewiston-Auburn area. Today he answers a new call as he reaches for the telephone to answer another curious customer’s question. “Yes, the dart league will be back” he says with a smile. “Andy’s baked beans too.”

In the works for over a year, former Auburn Battalion Chief Victor Mathieu and John Roy, a current lieutenant with the Auburn fire department, celebrated their November 3 ribbon cutting with fanfare and smiles as they officially opened the doors to Lewiston-Auburn’s newest restaurant and pub at 47 Broad Street in Auburn, the former home of Andy’s Baked Beans.

Roy said the new restaurant, which will serve lunch and dinner, will have a few differences from the previous eatery, but feature many of the dishes familiar to longtime customers of the famed establishment.

“Andy’s was here for over 30 years,” said Roy. “At lunch or dinner, people knew they could come to this location to get good food at the right price. I think once the public sees the lights on again, that dedicated client base will be back.”

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Mayor’s Corner: Governor LePage, please “Don’t steal our candy!”

By Laurent F. Gilbert Sr.

Mayor of Lewiston

Last year, not long after he was sworn into office, Governor LePage said during an event at the Franco-American Heritage Center in Lewiston that when he was a youngster at Halloween time, he use to hide between apartment buildings in the Lincoln Street area and would jump younger kids and steal their Halloween candy. He thought he was being comical when he said it to a large audience.

One gentleman yelled out to him and said, “Don’t steal our candy, governor!” The governor replied, “There is nothing left to steal.”

Well, from my readings of late, it looks like he is lurking to find ways to steal some form of revenue sharing from the state to municipalities. In his job-creation forums, the governor has suggested that municipalities with strict regulations on business could see less state revenue sharing. He has said that his administration would submit legislation in the next session of the legislature that would reduce state revenue sharing to cities and towns with regulations stricter than the state’s.

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Collins: Protect taxpayers from fraud, waste and abuse in federal contracts

By U.S. Senator Susan M. Collins

(R-Maine)

Protecting taxpayers’ hard-earned money by ensuring that federal contracts are awarded only to ethical, competent businesses or individuals should be a congressional priority. After all, the federal government awards nearly a trillion dollars in contracts and grants each year.

Some 30 years ago, when I served as subcommittee staff director to Senator Bill Cohen, we held a series of Senate hearings to investigate bad actors in federal contracting.

Unfortunately, it seems that he more things change, the more they stay the same. Back then, Senator Cohen said: “In this time of economic crisis and huge government deficits, when both Congress and the administration are looking for equitable ways to reduce government spending, we certainly welcome this opportunity to evaluate and propose mechanisms by which the government can protect itself from dealing with proven irresponsible firms.” Those words still ring true today.

Federal contracts should always be awarded based on the best value to the taxpayer—whether it’s a contract for a Navy destroyer or a services agreement to cut the grass in front of a federal building.

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Kora Shriners FEZtival of Trees opens Saturday

Featuring over 70 decorated Christmas trees, the 6th Annual Kora Shriners FEZtival of Trees kicks off the holiday season on Saturday, Nov. 19 and will run through the following Saturday, Nov. 26.

In addition to over 70 decorated trees, the FEZtival will offer a silent auction room, craft fair and food court. There will also be plenty of musical entertainment for your listening pleasure, as well as special visits from Mr. and Mrs. Claus.

Every day is kid’s day at the FEZtival! Santa will be there every day the FEZtival is open. Come and get your pictures with Santa and take a turn in the fishing pond.

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Op/Ed: Treasurer questions $314,000 “affordable housing” apartments

By Bruce Poliquin

State Treasurer

During the past 18 months, Maine State Housing Authority (MSHA) has been helping to develop the Elm Terrace affordable housing project in Portland. Architects, engineers, developers and lawyers have already spent over $600,000 on the project. The 35 mostly one- and two-bedroom apartments are planned to be constructed within an historic building on downtown Congress Street.

Here’s the problem: Each “affordable” apartment is budgeted to cost $314,000. (This was reported in an October 27 Sun Journal article, “Affordable Housing Project Overrun Raises Stakes for Maine Housing, McCormick.”)

MSHA is one of the eight quasi-independent authorities created by the Legislature to provide valuable services to the people of Maine. MSHA is a complex entity with 143 employees, a $14 million operating budget and $1.6 billion of outstanding bonds that it has sold to help fund its programs.

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LETTER: Macdonald thanks voters, vows to curb “affordable housing”

To the Editor:

To all the voters who supported my candidacy for Mayor of Lewiston, I send my heartfelt thanks to you. As a veteran of the Vietnam conflict, I know firsthand the pain and sacrifice that our men and women undergo to preserve the right and duty to vote in America.

Now, on to the run-off election on December 13. If you voted for me on November 8, please make a special effort to return to the polls, or vote absentee, on December 13. If everyone who voted for me in November returns to the polls and repeats the vote, we should all benefit from your generosity.

We are going to hear many promises made in the upcoming weeks from our opponent. Choo-choo trains on Lincoln Street, jobs galore and good times for all—everyone getting along here in a wonderful Camelot on the right bank of the Androscoggin River.

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LETTER: Don’t tell Mainers how to vote on casinos

To the Editor:

Regarding the defeat of Question 3 at the polls, which proposed a casino in Lewiston, it was interesting to read in Mayor Gilbert’s Twin City TIMES column on November 10, 2011 that neither he nor governor Lepage are “gamblers.”

Here are a couple of revealing quotes from this column. First, from Mayor Gilbert: “As for gambling. I do. Here is the extent of it, I spent $15 in the machines during one week in Las Vegas, and I buy one State of Maine Megabucks ticket weekly and a Powerball ticket when I think of it.”

Second, from Governor LePage: “I do not gamble. The only gambling I do is I get up in the morning and go to work and hope I get home safely. That’s my biggest gamble.”

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LETTER: Why bankrupt Social Security sooner?

To the Editor:

Whenever Congress mentions lowering Social Security benefits, we are urged to call Congress and tell them to leave Social Security alone. For decades we have heard Social Security was “going broke.”

The Social Security system, from its beginning, was based on equal contributions by employers and employees, most recently at 6.2 percent of wages. If these contributions were smaller, wouldn’t Social Security be bankrupt sooner?

The December 2010 tax changes and this year’s “American Jobs Act” do just that. To offset the small 2011 increase in workers’ income tax withholding, Social Security withholding was adjusted all year and “for only one year” from 6.2 percent to 4.2 percent.

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