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Archive for May 2012

Enough is Enough: Problems can’t be solved through rose-colored glasses

By Robert E. Macdonald

Mayor of Lewiston

Entering the hall he was met by a chorus of boos. He looked defiantly at the crowd and asked, “Is that the best you can do?” The boos grew louder.

A second challenge went out, bringing an even louder response. Finally the crowd quieted down and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie replied, “I tell you the truth and you boo me; they [entrenched politicians] lie to you and you cheer them.”

Governor Paul LePage is treated in a similar fashion. Unlike former gubernatorial candidate and the Maine media’s choice Elliot Cutler, LePage does not possess the polished image sought by The Press. No, he speaks and acts not like a politician, but the common man, honestly and right to the point.

Questions are answered quickly and from the heart, as opposed to entrenched politicians, who will give you an answer that is calculated to offend the least amount of voters, but is not necessarily the way they feel.

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Maine moves up in business ranking

In Chief Executive’s eighth annual survey of CEO Opinion of Best and Worst States in which to do business, Maine improved its ranking from 2011.

Maine placed 32nd, which is an improvement from last year’s rank of 36th. The development trend indicator gave Maine a positive outlook, citing the tax cuts passed by Governor Paul LePage and the Republican-led Legislature as gaining business favor and spurring some job growth.

The key Maine companies cited in this survey included IDEXX Laboratories, Camden National and Wright Express. Maine received two stars in the area of taxation and regulation, four stars in workforce quality and four stars in living environment.

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Vietnam vet’s name added to Memorial Stone

Richard B. Caron and his three brothers will be remembered for their military service, but Caron wanted recognition for his brother-in-law, too.

The names of Caron and his brothers are engraved in stone forever, but Roger J. Dumond’s name was missing. The brother of Caron’s wife, Juanita “June” Dumond Caron, he was killed in Vietnam in 1969.

After Caron joined forces with the William J. Rogers Post 153 of the American Legion, Dumond’s name will now be listed on the 23rd Veterans Memorial Stone at Veterans Memorial Park in Lewiston. The stone will be unveiled on Memorial Day, Monday, May 28.

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LETTER: Resorting to bonds is usually not necessary

To the Editor:

We have arrived at a place where our legislators see bonds as a necessary component of state government. Resorting to bonds to fund state government might sometimes be absolutely necessary, but usually is not. My own resistance to using bonds is based upon both a concept of how a state should conduct itself and a deep-seated, but ill-defined mistrust of politicians.

Every time we have a bond package, it is persuasively introduced as urgent funding for a noble enterprise. Sometimes, it is the very necessary need to repair roads and bridges. These repairs, we are told, if further delayed, will fester into conditions many times more expensive.

Frequently, the bonds are intended to fund one or more of the various elements of education. Sometimes, this is research, sometimes it’s to repair the university’s infrastructure, but we are usually told that any delay in funding will be imprudent and will have deleterious results. And the most persuasive reason, the one always used, is that if the bonds are authorized, they will create jobs.

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How to implement Riverfront Island Master Plan

The Lewiston Riverfront Island Master Plan Committee and consultants Goody Clancy have released a draft of the master plan that outlines an ambitious agenda to make Lewiston-Auburn into Maine’s premier urban riverfront destination.

The Riverfront Island master plan would be accomplished through four goals:

1. Tap the power of the river—through access to the water’s edge, a more active riverfront and stronger connections to downtown neighborhoods.

2. Attract a vital mix of new uses—including new housing, cultural destinations, workplaces, a new Canal Park, and the parking needed to support these new destinations—through reuse of older buildings and construction of new ones.

3. Make the district more walkable—to unlock the potential of Riverfront Island’s many assets

4. Insist on quality in both public and private investment—to attract desired businesses and visitors, and so that the Riverfront grows as a place the L-A community can take pride in.

In the past several weeks Twin City TIMES has published details of the goals. This week, TCT publishes the section of the report that recommends steps to implement the plan.

See the entire plan at http://www.lewistonmaine.gov/CivicAlerts.aspx?aid=193.

The Lewiston Riverfront Island Master Plan provides an overall framework for guiding change within the riverfront area over the next several years. The master plan is shaped by an overarching vision, but will be implemented in several steps—big and small.

Key next steps in moving from planning to implementation include:

Seek formal City Council support for the plan. The Lewiston City Council will play a key role in advancing several aspects of the master plan in the years to come. Council support will be very important to advancing the plan. While several elected officials have contributed to development of the plan, the completed plan should be presented to the council for its endorsement.

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Computer server farm, urban food center at Mill No. 5?

The public is invited to attend a three-part discussion series taking a fresh look at Bates Mill No. 5 as a potential premier economic generator of Lewiston and Auburn and cornerstone of the recently completed Lewiston Riverfront Island Master Plan.

The series takes will be held Thursdays at 6 p.m., beginning tonight, May 3 at Kimball Street Studios, 198 Lisbon St., Lewiston. Concurrently on display is an exhibit of Bates Mill No. 5’s original pen-and-ink architectural construction drawings on linen, 100 years after they were drawn.

Part 1, titled “What’s love got to do with it?” will be held Thursday, May 3. James Mangrum will discuss using the mill as a computer server farm that reclaims enough process energy to keep upper-level indoor gardens thriving throughout cold Maine winters.

Of all the mills along the Androscoggin River, it was Bates Mill No. 5 that grabbed the attention of James Mangrum of Providence, R.I. As an architecture student in Illinois, he developed his 2009 thesis project on a reactivation of Bates Mill No. 5, once the largest single manufacturing building in the northeast, because of its uniqueness to support a new, sustainable business model.

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L-A CA$H Coalition recognizes volunteers

On April 11, the Lewiston-Auburn CA$H Coalition recognized its volunteers for serving 1,595 residents of the L-A area during the 2012 tax season. IRS-certified volunteer tax preparers, CA$H coaches, greeters and tax prep appointment schedulers were lauded for their assistance to low- to moderate-income families within the Lewiston-Auburn area.

The L-A CA$H Coalition’s assistance in 2012 resulted in $2,162,000 in Federal and $436,000 in State refunds claimed. Taxes were prepared free of charge at Lewiston’s Multi-Purpose Center and Auburn City Hall from January 21 to March 31. From its inception in 2004, the Coalition has facilitated the claiming of over $15 million in refunds, providing a boost to household budgets and positively impacting the local economy.

Community partners who comprise the Coalition also promote the Earned Income Tax Credit, a Federal credit for low- to moderate-income workers that’s often referred to as the nation’s largest anti-poverty initiative. In addition, Coalition members provide asset-building information to interested individuals on topics including as savings accounts, budgeting classes, home ownership, debt management, business start-up, individual/family development accounts, etc.

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LETTER: Eliminating the income tax is not “easy peasy

To the Editor:

After hearing a radio news story about the very small decline in gas prices, my seven-year-old son asked, “Dad, why can’t everything just be free?” For a seven-year-old, that is a valid question.

After a quick conversation about how just about every society has a system of trade, barter or currency to aid in the exchange of goods, he was on to other things. As parents of two young boys, we often get questions or comments like the “why can’t everything be free” question. You know, the questions that make sense to ask as a child, the answer often too complicated for the seven-year-old mind to comprehend.

The very next day I found myself with the very same feeling, only it wasn’t my five- or seven-year-old with the comment, it came from the pages of Twin City TIMES. In the April 25 edition of TCT, Lance Dutson, CEO of The Maine Heritage Policy Center, shared the virtues and benefits of eliminating the income tax in Maine.

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Enough is Enough: National Day of Prayer

By Robert E. Macdonald

Mayor of Lewiston

On September 6, 1620, the Mayflower put to sea from Plymouth, England heading to what was at that time known as “The New World.” Its crew of 30 shuttled 102 men, women and children to a pristine land where they hoped to create a thriving colony in order to freely practice their religious views and beliefs.

During the first half of the voyage, the winds and waters were calm. The second half of the voyage turned the days and nights into terror. The ship navigated through heavy and sometimes violent storms. Death and sickness were also present.

At one point one of the main beams of the ship bowed and cracked. The passengers and crew continually prayed to Divine Providence to guide them safely to what was to be their new home.

On November 9, 1620, Divine Providence answered their prayers and guided the ship—after a harrowing two-month 2,750-mile Atlantic Ocean voyage—safely into Provincetown Harbor, at the tip end of what is now known as Cape Cod. Thus the hand of Providence had planted a tiny seed that would bloom, through prayer, into the greatest nation in the world.

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