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Archive for March 2012

LHS Cheerleaders show spirit, win big

By Celia McGuckian

TCT Contributor

Lewiston High School’s gym rocked with capacity crowds all day Saturday, March 24 as teams of cheerleaders from the very young to junior high school competed in the 11th Annual Maine Cheer Classic Invitational.

But the greatest excitement and loudest applause came at the very end when the LHS Cheerleaders, fresh from their triumphant, first-place finish at the New England Regional Championships the week before, made a special appearance.

Their win marked the first time ever that a Maine high school had beaten teams from all over New England to take the top prize in the highly competitive event.

As the 22 members of the championship team lined up on the mats Saturday and were officially recognized by the Maine Youth Cheer Coaches Association and the Maine Cheer Coaches Association for their tremendous achievement, the crowd roared and jumped to its feet.

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Enough is Enough: 37 years since the Vietnam War ended

By Robert E. Macdonald

Mayor of Lewiston

It marks a time in our nation’s history when social disorder became a daily occurrence. Family against family, neighbor against neighbor.

A time when scared boys became brave men only to be condemned by cowards trying to salvage their manhood in the eyes of the public. A time when answering your country’s call to serve brought on public condemnation.

Monday, April 30 marks the official end of the Vietnam War. Thirty-seven years have passed, and times have changed. Those once branded as “baby killers”, those once spat upon and pelted with bags of chicken blood, those who upon returning home were forced to hide their service in Vietnam in order to resume a normal life—they are now looked upon as heroes. Many who once condemned them, especially those with political ambitions, now wish they had served.

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Agreed, Mr. Mayor, a good school system is critical

To the Editor:

Lewiston Mayor Bob Macdonald is right in his view that a good school system is an essential component of Lewiston becoming an economically prosperous community (“Good school system is critical to a successful city,”page 5, Twin City TIMES, March 22, 2012).

I am pleased that the School Committee has given preliminary approval to next year’s budget, which moves us closer to this reality while keeping the school property tax mil rate unchanged.

The budget will not be finalized until after two workshop sessions (March 26 and April 26) with the City Council and Mayor, and we will have ample time to consider further revisions and some of the alternative approaches that the Mayor proposes.

The public is also invited to attend and provide input at the April 9 School Committee meeting and the May 1 City Council meeting, where the budget is scheduled for adoption. Residents will vote on the budget in a May 15 referendum at the Multi-Purpose Center.

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School system needs to be better than “fairly good”

To the Editor:

Mayor Macdonald, I must take issue with your article in the March 22 edition of Twin City TIMES (“Good school system is critical to a successful city,”page 5). Stating that “A superior, or at least a fairly good school system, is essential in order to grow Lewiston into an economically prosperous community”is an affront to our school system and, moreover, our students.

Since when do the people who settle for “at least fairly good” end up as winners? We need to demand a superior education for our children, and we need to demand reasons for and accountability for anything less. Settling for “fairly good”is the path to failure.

I’ve been a citizen of Lewiston since 1950, and I find your view of Lewiston decades ago rather tinted by rose-colored glasses. Yes, Lewiston was a safer town than it is right now; kids were free to bike all over town to play on PAL baseball games; there was far less traffic and only two-lane roads; and the city took a real lead in setting up activities for youth by providing ball fields and ice skating rinks in several locations in town.

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3rd Annual ChocoLArt fundraiser

SeniorsPlus 3rd Annual ChocoLArt Fundraiser will take place Sunday, April 1 from 2 to 4:30 p.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn in Auburn. Tickets are $35 and are available at www.seniorsplus.org, by phone at 1-800-427-1241, or in the SeniorsPlus office at 8 Falcon Road in Lewiston.

The event promises a delightful afternoon tasting chocolate creations from area restaurants and bakeries while enjoying the blissful sounds of the Three Point Trio jazz band. An auction will feature something for everyone: art, photography, jewelry, hand-crafted wood products, hand-knit and crocheted items, quilts, blankets, rugs, pottery and more. There will be door prizes, complimentary hors d’oeuvres, and a cash bar will be available.

All proceeds will benefit Meals on Wheels and other SeniorsPlus programs in Androscoggin, Franklin and Oxford counties, helping maintain independence, dignity, and quality of life for older adults and adults with disabilities. For more information, visit www.seniorsplus.org or call 795-4010 or 1-800-427-1241.

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Op/Ed: Setting the Record Straight about L/A Arts

By Odelle Bowman

Executive Director

L/A Arts

Last week, Auburn Mayor Jonathan P. LaBonté wrote a piece in his “Thoughts From the Mayor” section that requires a little clarification about L/A Arts and our impact on the Cities of Lewiston and Auburn.

Unfortunately, Mayor LaBonté did not wait for the due date for responses from the City Council on March 14 at 3 p.m. before writing his remarks, and therefore much misinformation has been presented.

There are many organizations providing arts programming, but none that offer the diversity of initiatives meant to support the arts and the community across a wide array of disciplines as L/A Arts; such is the role of an arts agency. Additionally, we lend support and are strong collaborative partners to many arts and cultural organizations in the community and have done so for 38 years.

Mayor LaBonté suggested that L/A Arts is not the designated arts agency for both the Cities of Lewiston and Auburn. When the Joint Agency Budget Review Committee asked for documentation supporting this designation, I provided documentation from The National Endowment for the Arts, as well as support material from The Maine Arts Commission.

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Perspective: Cost of Obamacare much higher than promised

By Rep. Rich Cebra

(r-naples)

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree has some explaining to do.

On March 14, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) revealed that the cost of the so-called Obamacare initiative has doubled. Two years ago, when the Affordable Care Act passed the U.S. House of Representatives by a razor thin margin—with no Republican votes—we were told that the 10-year cost of the plan would be $940 billion.

Democrats turned cartwheels around the Capitol because the grand total came in under $1 trillion. President Obama said if the cost had been higher, he would not have signed the bill.

It is now clear that the Democrats deliberately used phony numbers to drag this monstrosity across the line. The non-partisan CBO was told to “score” the 10-year cost from 2011 to 2020. But Obamacare does not start until 2014, so the CBO’s projection actually accounted for just six years of cost.

Now we’re told that Obamacare will cost $1.76 trillion from 2013 to 2022, the first nine years. Most likely the total from 2014 to 2023 will exceed $2 trillion, considering that the 2022 cost is now pegged at $265 billion.

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Enough is Enough: Good school system is critical to a successful city

By Robert E. Macdonald

mayor of lewiston

A superior, or at least a fairly good school system, is essential in order to grow Lewiston into an economically prosperous community. People of means with the financial ability and the business savvy needed to uplift our city will look for a good school system for their children, a system in which their children are given the educational tools needed to obtain skills equal or better than their parents.

Decades ago Lewiston embraced a program called Model Cities. This well-intentioned program, designed by bureaucrats heavy into theory but lacking common sense, a key ingredient in the success of any program, lead Lewiston into the abyss of poverty and decay.

At the start of 1960s, you could eat off the floor or street in any neighborhood in the city. By the end of the ’60s you could not see the floor or street, as they were covered by dirt or trash. Model Cities spent millions of dollars to replace cleanliness with filth, a population rife with not only a philosophy of entitlement, but also no appreciation, nor need, for an education.

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Griffths on the distinction between hearing and listening

By Dave Griffiths

tct columnist

Greetings for the first time since last July. It’s been too long, but my business travel schedule (writing classes for the feds) ramped up, and I let certain obligations slide. So now I’m back. And thanks to those of you who’ve been asking about the column.

What got me going this time was blatant rudeness, which, like negativity, is an attitude that many of us find way too easy to adopt. Allow me to give you a couple instances, then I’ll link the whole thing to boring people.

Up until a few weeks ago, I was a steady fan of a certain sports talk show out of Portland. Two hosts and a crazy cast of callers display wide knowledge and the sort of irreverent humor that I’ve found lacking on other such shows around the country. Well, one Monday morning, someone called in with a theory about the Red Sox. I don’t recall the details, but I do remember that one of the hosts—never averse to a high-pitch, slam-dunk, ranting put-down of athletes and callers alike—took his sarcasm to an extreme. The caller had a reasonable point of view, but the host didn’t care about reason that morning and kept interrupting and talking over the guest. At one point, the caller said, “You’re acting like a two-year-old.”

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Out and About with Rachel Morin: Pearl Tibbetts Sawyer, 90, publishes poetry collection

Pearl Tibbetts Sawyer and Rich Livingston

At February’s end, I joined friends, colleagues and family members in Auburn Public Library’s Androscoggin Community Room to hear poet Pearl Tibbetts Sawyer read from her latest book, “A Long String of Pearls.”

The appearance of this, her ninth published collection, coincided with her 90th birthday. Her first book, “Driftwood Chips,” came out in 2002, her 80th year, and she has been writing steadily ever since. “When I write about my life, my memories, my experiences, it is real, honest, and genuine,” she says of her work.

“A Long String of Pearls” includes 100 poems that are fresh, personal and deeply appreciative of the natural world. She has also included a few favorites from her previous publications, which are now out of print. Sawyer explains that her poems are not hers, but become the reader’s once they are read, based upon the reader’s feelings and interpretation.

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