Archive for December 2012
Rainbow Bicycle and Fitness, an independent bicycle shop, officially celebrated the grand opening of its new location in Downtown Lewiston last week. City officials, friends and local bike enthusiasts were on hand to celebrate. Owner John Grenier, who purchased the business in 1998, moved the store from its former location on the busy corridor of outer Center Street to its new, in-town location in mid-November.
“I think the downtown is still in the early stages of a massive revitalization,” said Grenier. “There’s a huge amount of positive energy here. We wanted to be a leader rather than a follower, and the support from the other businesses here along Lisbon Street has made all the difference in our decision.”
Perhaps best known as the home of the Reid and Hughes Department Store from 1953 to 1982, the store’s new venue at 97 Lisbon Street has housed a number of businesses through the years. Music Works occupied the building until moving to Auburn in 1989, and more recent tenant Drapeau’s Costumes of Maine moved to Lisbon in 2007. All occupants have taken advantage of the large plate-glass windows at the front of the store.
The economy and gas prices may have been a challenge this year, but Maine citizens remained committed volunteers, according to “Volunteering and Civic Life in America,” the most comprehensive annual report charting volunteer activity in the U.S.
Nearly 350,000 people in Maine contributed $1 billion in time and talent to local activities, ranging from collecting and distributing food (26.7 percent of volunteers) to offering pro bono professional and management services to supporting local programs (21.5 percent of volunteers). The rate of volunteering earned Maine a rank of 12th among all states and the District of Columbia, a move up of four places from the 2011 report.
There report held several good pieces of news for Maine:
By Robert E. Macdonald
Mayor of Lewiston
“I would like to talk on behalf of all those veterans and say that several months ago in Detroit we had an investigation at which over 150 honorably discharged, and many very highly decorated, veterans testified to war crimes committed in Southeast Asia.” Thus John Kerry began his testimony before the Senate Committee of Foreign Relations on April 23, 1971.
Kerry had returned home from Vietnam a highly decorated officer (as opposed to enlisted men, who serve on the same battlefields but arrive home with far fewer decorations). His goal was to get into politics by running for office and following the footsteps of his hero, John F. Kennedy.
But in 1971 the “fruit salad” (rows of colorful military ribbons and medals) adorning one’s uniform had now became a liability. Unlike during World War II and Korea, where this type of display identified a person as a warrior and patriot, these decorations now identified one as a war criminal, baby killer and psychopath. These accusations were leveled at law-abiding, selfless, patriotic young men (and women) by those trying to defend their lack of intestinal fortitude.
To the Editor:
As sad and horrible as Friday, December 14 was in Newtown, Conn., new firearms laws will not stop this kind of tragedy from happening again.
If the government takes away our right to defend ourselves, then only the mentally disturbed and criminals will have firearms, and more of this will happen. I prefer to call police to tell them that I have a criminal in custody at my home or place of work, rather than have someone find my body and have to call the police to identify me. Laws protect no one if the predator does not obey the law.
If the government takes away our right to own semi-automatic firearms, then we will be left to defend ourselves with a revolver, which is not a sufficient defense in close quarters against a criminal armed with a semi-automatic firearm. (By the way, fully automatic firearms are already illegal to own without a federal permit.) No laws would have protected the school full of children from the deeply disturbed young man on Friday, Dec. 14.
The Lewiston City Council voted unanimously last week to officially change the name of Pierce Street Park to “Mark W. Paradis Park,” in honor of the long-time Lewiston resident and public servant who died in 2011 while running for mayor.
The name change came about as a result of a recommendation by the Lewiston Youth Advisory Council (LYAC) who, in the course of working with the Downtown Neighborhood Action Committee (DNAC) to make improvements to the park, sponsored a contest for Lewiston school students to supply the park with a more attention-getting name. The winning entry was submitted by Nicole Morin, now a student at Lewiston Middle School.
On hand for the occasion was Paradis’ wife, Ronalla, and their son, Phillip. While extending her appreciation to Morin and the LYAC for honoring her husband’s legacy, Mrs. Paradis encouraged the youth of Lewiston to set an example by getting along peacefully and following her husband’s example of treating others respectfully. At the meeting, LYAC Chair Kon Maiwan also presented Nicole Morin with a congratulatory certificate and award.
The Frenette Family of Lewiston was one of 10 families across the country to be declared winners in the 2012 Red Ribbon Week national contest. Families were invited to participate in the contest by decorating their homes according to this year’s theme, submitting photos of their efforts to www.redribbon.org, and then encouraging their friends to vote online. Entries with the most online votes won.
The theme of this year’s contest was “The Best Me is Drug Free.” As winners, the Frenettes won an iPad for their family and a $1,000 drug prevention grant for their local school, Martel Elementary. The contest was sponsored by the National Family Partnership and the federal Drug Enforcement Agency.
Maine Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner George Gervais presented the Cities of Auburn and Lewiston with their “Certified Business-Friendly Community” certificates and road signs on Monday in the Hall of Flags at the State House.
Assistant City Manager Howard Kroll and Economic Development Director Roland Miller accepted the certification on behalf of the City of Auburn. Mayor Robert Macdonald and Economic Development Director Lincoln Jeffers accepted the certification on behalf of the City of Lewiston.
“As certified business friendly, we hope you use the designation in every way to attract businesses to your community,” said Commissioner Gervais at the ceremony. “And we hope you proudly display these signs. You have earned it.
“If the application process made you think, if it made you pause and take a critical look at all areas of your business strategy and examine all the ways in which your community interacts with businesses, then this program has been a success,” Gervais said.
Oak Park Apartments to be rehabilitated
Thanks to new leadership at the Maine State Housing Authority, the cost of developing or rehabilitating affordable housing units in Maine has been reduced by 36 percent and 148 more units than last year will be available to low-income families.
Last year, 177 units were available. This year, 325 will be available—and they will cost almost $74,000 per unit less to create.
The significantly reduced costs and increased units result from a year-long effort by MaineHousing’s Board of Commissioners and staff, in partnership with Maine’s development community, to place incentives on lowering costs.
Six affordable housing projects—including Oak Park Apartments in Lewiston—will receive a share of $2.9 million in federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC), which help leverage approximately $25 million in private investment into Maine.
By Robert E. Macdonald
Mayor of Lewiston
Well, I made the news again! Not just locally, but around New England, too.
Last Wednesday evening, I went to a meeting at the Geiger School hosted by school Superintendent Bill Webster to discuss and explain the upcoming Lewiston redistricting. I was drawn to the meeting after hearing in various coffee shops over the week that the parents of the Geiger School students were very upset about the redistricting.
For over two hours I listened to parents, their emotions running high, expressing their concerns about the upcoming redistricting. Their remarks and criticism towards the program were straightforward; politically correct be damned.
When speakers expressed a position criticizing the program, many parents would show their support by banging on the tables. They were going to fight for their schools and neighborhoods. They were my kind of people.