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Archive for February 2012

LETTER: GOP discredits potential votes

To the Editor:

It is an absolute outrage that the Maine State GOP thinks that with only 83% of Maine’s votes for the 2012 Presidential Preference Poll, that they can discredit the potential votes of 8,000 members of their party, especially with only 194 votes between first and second place.

It is even more of an outrage that the Maine State GOP can ‘call’ a winner based on only that 83% reported. At a time when the GOP needs to come together more than ever to clear out the current Obama administration, and at a time when the GOP needs to gain strength and the trust of it’s members, it has made a blatant and irreversible mistake.

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“Piano Men” to perform Elton John, Billy Joel songs

The L/A Arts annual fundraiser on March 17 features a revival of the best songs from the 1970s by music legends Billy Joel and Elton John.

L/A Arts will host the fundraiser reception and performance at the Franco American Heritage Center, 46 Cedar St., Lewiston. Following the 6 p.m. reception will be a fantastic performance of the best songs of the 1970s by musical legends Billy Joel and Elton John in a performance of Piano Men featuring Joe Boucher, Chris Eastburn and the Southern Maine Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Robert Lehmann.

Elton John and Billy Joel have combined to sell over 350 million records worldwide. For four decades they have been a large part of the musical landscape, topping the album charts and playing to sold out audiences while continuing to receive heavy airplay on classic rock radio.

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Maine State Housing Authority payroll jumps 30% since 2005

The Maine Heritage Policy Center has released data showing that the total payroll cost of Maine State Housing Authority has increased 30% in just five years.

MaineOpenGov.org, a MHPC website that shows the pay of state employees, has been updated and expanded to show five years of salary and benefits data for employees of the Maine State Housing Authority.

The data from Maine Housing was provided in response to a Freedom of Access Act request made by The Maine Heritage Policy Center. The data shows that in the past five calendar years (2005 to 2010), total payroll and benefits costs of Maine State Housing Authority employees grew by 30%, from $7.1 million in 2005 to $9.4 million in 2010.

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Enough is Enough: L-A needs money for market-rate housing, not more Section 8

By Robert Macdonald

Mayor of Lewiston

There are two new sheriffs in Lewiston-Auburn. We have heard your anger and concerns. We are now in the process of addressing them.

Auburn Mayor Jonathan LaBonté and myself have agreed to work together, like conjoined twins, to start the process of transforming Lewiston-Auburn into a prosperous, vibrant community that will transform from mere exits on the Maine Turnpike and dots on a map into a desirous destination for Mainers and out-of-staters to live, work and establish a business.

This was underscored at a recent meeting with the director and staff of the New England area U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Department. After the HUD director and staff introduced themselves, we were advised that they had come to Lewiston-Auburn with funds to help us in developing our communities.

They were then bluntly advised that if the money they intended to give us was earmarked for additional Section 8 housing—or whatever it is now called—they had wasted a trip. Read the rest of this entry »

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“Cool Happenings on Lisbon Street”

The 2011-12 Lewiston Youth Advisory Council will debut its 24-minute video, entitled “Cool Happenings on Lisbon Street,” on Saturday, February 11 at 2:30 p.m. at The Downstage at LA Arts, 5 Canal Street Alley, Lewiston. Members of the public are encouraged to attend the free event.

Why film what’s happening on Lisbon Street? LYAC members have heard about Lisbon Street bustling with activity years ago. They wanted to remind residents and visitors alike that today’s Lisbon Street is being rejuvenated one storefront at a time and wanted to capture that activity as an image booster for Lewiston. The video was both filmed and edited by youth council members in partnership with Great Falls TV.

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Art Walk Lewiston Auburn honored with Chamber Award

The planning committee of Art Walk Lewiston Auburn will receive the Androscoggin Chamber of Commerce’s Community Service Leadership Award tonight, February 9, at the Chamber’s 2012 Annual Meeting, which starts at 5 p.m. at the Ramada Conference Center in Lewiston.

Each year the Chamber of Commerce hosts an Annual Meeting, where members are invited to attend a social hour, a dinner and awards ceremony. Art Walk Lewiston Auburn will be honored at tonight’s event for their creativity, resourcefulness and ability to engage the community in creating a downtown art event each month during the summer.

During the summer of 2011, Art Walk Lewiston Auburn—a grassroots endeavor run completely by volunteers—transformed Lisbon Street into an impressive arts district, making over local businesses and storefronts into galleries featuring exclusively local artists. By the end of the summer, the Art Walk had attracted over 1,500 people, sold over $6,000 of local art and captured the attention of art organizations around the entire State of Maine.

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LETTER: Proposing a solution for health care

To the Editor:

Friends, who nevertheless enjoy seeing me squirm, have challenged me to propose a way to solve the problems of public welfare. Accordingly, since I am not an expert, the nature of this suggestion, and any others I may propose, will be the caliber of those that heatedly pass around the table when retired men gather on early mornings over coffee for the opportunity to playfully harangue each other while collaterally solving world problems.

I recognize that proposing a solution will obviously not be as easy as it was, when earlier I blithely recommended reducing welfare. I also know that when considering a solution it soon becomes obvious that solving welfare problems first requires a solution for health care.

Both the illnesses we encounter and their expenses are unpredictable. This is the attraction of medical insurance; a catastrophic illness can bankrupt any but the wealthiest. Thus, medical insurance is the inventive vehicle that allows individuals and families to jointly assume and average the cost of medical expenses, while unintentionally enriching insurance companies and their executives.

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Snowshoe Series at Androscoggin Riverlands begins Saturday

The Androscoggin Land Trust will host three snowshoe outings at the Androscoggin Riverlands to highlight the cultural and natural aspects of Maine’s fifth largest state park, just 20 minutes from Downtown Lewiston-Auburn. Take part in one or all of a three-part series exploring the Riverlands and learning about its natural and cultural history.

Each event will begin at the park entrance off Center Bridge Road in Turner and be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., highlighting a different aspect of the conservation land. These events are free and open to the public.

February 11: Legends of the Riverlands. Learn about what life used to be like at the Riverlands in the 1800s, when a small village, saw mill and schools existed along the river’s banks. In the 1920s, the village was destroyed to make way for the rising water behind the new Gulf Island Dam. Join the search for the homestead foundations that still remain in the park.

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Explore a bog in the heart of Lewiston

Join the Androscoggin Land Trust and Thorncrag Nature Sanctuary as they team up for a morning of tracking wildlife in the Garcelon Bog.

On Saturday, February 11, Susan Hayward, Thorncrag environmental educator, and Mike Auger, ALT’s stewardship director, will lead a snowshoe along the boardwalk in Garcelon Bog to look for signs and tracks of the animals that call the bog their home.

Fresh snow will give up its secrets as the tracks and signs from the previous night are identified. Meet at 9 a.m. at the cul-de-sac at the end of Russell Street. This event is free and open to the public. Please dress for the weather and bring snowshoes (may not be necessary), as well as snacks and water. The program that will end around 10:30 a.m.

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Open House at Benoit’s Bakery & Wine Cellar

Benoit’s Bakery & Wine Cellar at 72 Lisbon Road in Lisbon hosted an Open House on January 25, where attendees were treated to wine, freshly baked goods and gourmet food. After transforming the former greenhouse behind Benoit’s Farm Stand into the bakery and wine cellar, owner Nick Benoit has created a one-stop shop featuring the freshest produce, amazing pastries, artisan breads, mouth-watering fudge, cheese and a huge wine selection that boasts 500 labels. Benoit’s Bakery & Wine Cellar has something for everyone: wines range from $3 to $300, and pastries are offered in two affordably priced sizes. Pictured are owner Nick Benoit (right) and manager Greg Hird. (TCT photo by Jen Pike)

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