Archive for February 2012
By Mayor Robert E. Macdonald
Mayor of Lewiston
During my career with the Lewiston Police Department, my partner and I were assigned to investigate a horrendous conflagration that destroyed or damaged 11 buildings in the Knox, Birch and Bates Streets area of Lewiston. Our prime suspect fled to Portland, trying to blend in amongst his relatives and acquaintances in order to become invisible.
We spent an entire week in Portland interviewing witnesses and trying to track down our suspect. Our investigation took us into neighborhoods that made many of Lewiston’s poorer neighborhoods appear to be high-rent districts.
Interview after interview were conducted in filthy apartments, sporting the latest in lay-about décor: little or no furniture, a table strewn with cigarette butts, ashtrays and liquor bottles, a state-of-the-art TV with a game box surrounded by large comfortable chairs. Many even had their own personal alarm/protection system—a large vicious dog. Add to this the aromatic scent of dog feces mixed with the faint whisper of urine; in their world, this was an apartment to die for!
By Rep. Rich Cebra
When Republicans captured control of the Maine House and Senate in 2010 for the first time in decades, we got to work quickly. The governor and legislature confronted major problems that had long been ignored or swept under the rug by the Democrats, and the people of Maine were paying the price—big time.
The GOP agenda, which had always been squashed by the ruling Democrats, finally could be enacted.
During last year’s first session, we rolled out an ambitious slate of bills to rescue the state from crushing health insurance rates, a public pension system that had billions of dollars in unfunded liabilities and a costly welfare system that trapped hundreds of thousands of Maine residents in poverty.
In its second time participating in the event, the team from Auburn Fire & Rescue Department earned an impressive second place at the 7th Annual Boston “Fight for Air” stair climb and fundraiser to benefit the America Lung Association.
The event, held on Saturday, Feb. 4 in Boston, attracted more than 1,500 entrants, including teams from 39 New England fire departments. The eight-member Auburn team, named “Maine’s Bravest,” came in second place in the firefighter team division by climbing 41 stories of stairs at One Boston Place in 42 minutes and 23 seconds.
They did this in their full firefighting gear, which weighed approximately 55 pounds.
To the Editor:
The test results of the New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP), administered to Lewiston’s grade-school children in October of last year, reveal that slightly more than half of our students failed math and only a little more than half passed reading.
This means in simple terms, and disregarding a few percentage points one way or the other, that Lewiston’s school children, on average, have a coin-toss chance of being able to read, write or calculate at their grade level. These results are both a warning of a failing school system and, unfortunately, a reliable predictor of our children’s academic and economic future.
We would like to believe that these failing children can, somehow, through some kind of intervention, be saved and ultimately become successful adults, but this is not the reality. The failures, once started, continue from grade to grade and only become worse. This is so ingrained and predictive that it is said penologists can accurately predict how many prison cells will be required based solely upon third-grade failures.
Romney declared winner of Maine GOP Caucuses
Maine Republican Chairman Charles M. Webster and Vice Chair Ruth Summers issued statements on Saturday announcing Mitt Romney as the winner of this year’s Republican caucus process. They declared that Romney won Maine caucuses with 39.2 percent of the vote.
“We would like to congratulate Governor Romney on his win in the Maine caucuses, and thank Ron Paul and Mitt Romney for making stops in Maine over the past several weeks,” said Maine GOP Chairman Charlie Webster. “Maine People were excited to cast their first vote against the Obama agenda and we look forward to working with our Republican presidential nominee to defeat Barack Obama in Maine
“We owe many thanks and congratulations to our volunteers across the state who worked so diligently organizing these caucuses,’ said Maine GOP Vice Chair Ruth Summers. “These caucuses would not have been possible without our State Committee, who promoted this concept. It was wonderful to see so many Maine people turn out to vote in the presidential straw poll and participate in the caucus business. We are truly a grassroots party and the work they started is critical to moving our party forward and winning in November.”
Spending Spree: Gift cards, catering and travel top list of hundreds of thousands in questionable Maine Housing expenses
By The Maine Wire
Documents obtained by The Maine Wire show the Maine State Housing Authority has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars per year on extraneous expenses – including gift cards, catering, travel, education, and consultants.
Data show MSHA made several high-dollar expenditures to Hannaford between 2008 and 2010, totaling $59,000. According to a source at Maine Housing, these payments were for gift cards that were handed out to employees, and many of the gift cards remain unaccounted for.
While an estimated 6,500 Maine families sit on a waiting list for affordable housing, and while federal cutbacks in low-income heating assistance mean needy families face a cold winter, Maine Housing, the agency in charge of mitigating both of these issues, has diverted a considerable amount of public money elsewhere.
Expenditure data released Tuesday gives a more detailed view of the massive amount of money spent by the quasi-state agency. It also raises serious questions about the financial management of the organization.
By Robert E. Macdonald
Mayor of Lewiston
A bottle of gin, a pair of dice and a straight razor, issued along with one’s monthly welfare check, was a popular solution designed to reduce welfare in the working-class neighborhood that I grew up in.
Wisdom, born of the street, it reflected the attitude of the average working man and woman towards those who expected to live by the fruits of their labors.
After reading the Sunday edition of Lewiston’s daily paper, it is clear that welfare reform is long overdue. (Stories included “The ins and outs of EBTs,” “Benefits can buy booze, cigarettes, anything legal” and “Welfare cheats: Maine ramps up battle against fraud.”)
Our career politicians in Augusta must immediately be replaced by people with a practical understanding of our problems and a clear, simple, common-sense vision of how to solve them.
Museum L-A invites the Twin Cities to a challenging way to have fun with a new event being planned for Sunday, June 24. Combining music with athletic competition, “Bands on the Run Half Marathon & 5K” will encourage participants and spectators to join in on the activities to benefit the museum’s work in the community.
Popular local bands of various genres will be stationed along a running course designed to offer spectacular views and varying terrain.
A military-style Kids’ Obstacle Course, immensely popular at last year’s L-A DU, will spur youngsters to test their fitness. The event will also showcase Museum L-A’s future location at 1 Beech Street, adjacent to Simard-Payne Park, where a festival-like atmosphere will prevail with live music, food and a variety of vendors. Competition gets under way with the Half Marathon starting at 8:30 a.m., followed by the 5K at 9 a.m. and the Kids’ Obstacle Course at 10 a.m.