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Archive for December 2012

OP/ED: Union busters are busting out all over

By Prof. John Frary

Most people know about the vanguard of the union-busting gang. They’ve seen the videos of corporate thugs in tasseled loafers beating up peaceful picketers and photos of Exxon vice presidents hurling bricks at white-haired school-marms. Members of Maine’s Mural Majority still grieve over the sacred icons removed from the office of the state’s labor department by the Blaine House Brute.

(If anyone’s still interested, those fateful murals now live somewhere in California under an SEIU mural protection program disguised as table-runners.)

What most people don’t know is how deep and pervasive this union-busting fury has grown among Democrats, even liberal Democrats. Gloria Romero, who served as California’s Senate majority leader from 2001 to 2008, stands out among them. Ms. Romero now heads the California chapter of Democrats for Education Reform, a coalition of liberals determined to improve accountability in public schools in the face of fierce opposition from the teachers’ unions.

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Out & About with Rachel Morin: Congregational Church performs first gay bi-racial marriage

Tony Brown and Langston Snodgrass

By Rachel Morin

Langston Snodgrass and Tony Brown of Lewiston were married Saturday, December 1 in Auburn at the High Street Congregational Church, United Church of Christ—a historic first for the church. Three celebrants took part in what is the very first gay, religious, bi-racial marriage ceremony at the Congregational Church.

The Rev. William Walsh Jr., pastor of Hampden Congregational United Church of Christ, was the celebrant, with the Rev. Stephen Carnahan, pastor of High Street Congregational Church, UCC Auburn, and the Rev. Dr. William Blaine-Wallace, multi-faith chaplain at Bates College, as co-celebrants.

This is the story of two men—articulate, educated, intellectual and spiritual, one black and one white—who met, fell in love and decided to marry in the presence of God, family and friends and to make the focus of the wedding ceremony God-centered, as well as love-centered.

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LAVA Fest serves up holiday laughs

AudioBody

Come laugh this holiday season with the Lewiston-Auburn Variety Arts Festival, formerly Phyzgig North, now known as LAVA Fest. This wonderfully funny vaudeville troupe, which sold out three packed houses last year, makes three return appearance on December 14 and 15 at 7:30 p.m. and on December 15 at 2 p.m. for a children’s matinee.

All three performances will take place at Bates College’s Schaeffer Theatre, 305 College Street in Lewiston. Tickets for the evening performances are $15 for adults and $10 for students and seniors; tickets for the matinee performance are $10 for adults and $8 for children under 14. To reserve tickets, call the L/A Arts box office at 782-7228 or see www.laarts.org.

LAVA Fest presents incredible illusions, captivating storytelling and side-splitting physical comedy featuring the talents of Leland Faulkner, Antonio Rocha, Karen Montanaro, Fred Garbo, “YoYo People” John and Rebecca Higby and Matt and Jason Tardy (a.k.a. “AudioBody”).

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Senator Snowe presented with “Distinguished Public Service Medal”

U.S. Senator Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine) was honored Tuesday with the “National Intelligence Distinguished Public Service Medal,” presented by Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper.

The prestigious award, which is the highest intelligence honor a non-career Federal employee or private citizen may receive, was given to Senator Snowe in recognition of her many contributions to improving our nation’s Intelligence Community, particularly through her legislation establishing the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community and her efforts to improve diplomatic and embassy security as a member of the House of Representatives in the mid-1980s.

Senator Snowe has served on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence since 2003, and she previously served on the Senate Armed Services (1997-2000), Senate Foreign Relations (1995-1996), and House Foreign Affairs (1981-1994) Committees.

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23 states opt out of Obamacare’s insurance exchanges

By Sally C. Pipes

Pacific Research Institute

The next act in the Obamacare saga is about to begin—and it’s going to be tragic. Friday, December 14 marks the deadline for states to reveal their plans for constructing insurance exchanges in line with the healthcare law’s dictates.

Many (including Maine) are opting out—leaving the federal government to set up exchanges for them. Others simply aren’t ready to establish their own.

And so these central components of Obamacare will soon stand as the latest examples of the president’s failure to make health insurance more accessible or affordable.

Obamacare’s insurance exchanges were intended to be state-based marketplaces where individuals and small businesses could choose from an array of coverage options. In theory, this structure would encourage states to experiment and to tailor their offerings to the unique needs of their populations.

But in reality, the exchanges are burdened with so many rules that experimentation and competition have been stifled. Given the cost of setting up an exchange—and of complying with all the federal regulations—it’s no surprise that many states are refusing to participate.

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Enough is Enough: Hospitals must be reimbursed; Democrats hire tracker

By Robert E. Macdonald

Mayor of Lewiston

In this Christmas and Hanukkah Season, a time when we celebrate the miracles of two great religions, we are sadly confronted by the fact that one of Lewiston’s largest employers, St. Mary’s Regional Hospital, is being forced to lay off 25 of our friends, neighbors and family members.

What once was a bright outlook for the holiday season and the future has turned to darkness and anxiety for these neighbors and their families.

The administration at St. Mary’s—and other hospitals throughout the state—have performed fiscal miracles to keep their staffs employed. But St. Mary’s, like every other hospital in Maine, has been forced to carry a debt, in this case $23 million. This debt was accrued because of the deadbeat policies of past State of Maine legislators when dealing with our hospitals.

In their race to promote themselves in Maine as benevolent benefactors, they made it easier to qualify for our state’s welfare programs, creating a promise land for the idle and a Dante’s Inferno for those expected to pay the bills.

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LETTER: Make your generosity during the holidays more effective

To the Editor:

This holiday season (Christmas) you should consider being a help and not a hindrance with your charitable handout. I would like to think that the faithful would not fall prey to the fraudulent at this festive time of year. Not only children have Christmas wish lists, but so do criminals.

I have worked in the area of urban youth ministry for 18 years through the vehicle of the Jesus Party and have seen my fair share of sad stories. I am not comfortable with just tossing gifts out the front door of our ministry to every Tom, Dick, and Harry that shows up looking for holiday assistance. I always take into consideration the generosity of the giver, and I go to great lengths to protect the integrity of the donation.

These are hard times for the giver, as well as the receiver, and I want to do everything I can to assure people that their giving becomes a blessing and not a blunder. There are people who go from church to church and organization to organization registering for help. I have been in homes that have received more turkeys than they have room for in their freezer. I have watched people snatch up clothes for their children without even looking at sizes to assure they fit, only to find the clothes in the trash.

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Farmers’ Market features holiday gift ideas

Still looking for unique, locally-made holiday gift ideas for family and friends? If so, plan to stop by the Lewiston Winter Farmers’ Market Holiday Extravaganza on Thursday, December 20 from 5 to 7:30 p.m. at St. Mary’s Nutrition Center, 208 Bates Street in Lewiston.

Search for great stocking stuffers among handmade soaps, body lotions and holiday scented wax melts; for that perfect gift of wellness among herbal teas, extracts and syrups, bath oils, salves and herbal rice bags; or for that final touch of holiday décor among balsam wreaths, swags and arches, Celtic Christmas ornaments and beautiful Asiatic lilies.

The Lewiston Winter Farmers Market brings together 25 vendors selling Maine-grown and -made products, including fresh fruits and veggies, pasture-raised meats, eggs, seafood, live lobster, milk and artisan cheeses, fresh bread, handmade desserts and maple syrup. Other great gifts ideas and holiday supplies available will include one-of-a-kind pottery items, jewelry, fiber art and needle felting kits, strudel, pies, preserves, pickles and, of course, handmade holiday cards.

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Annual Christmas concert with Mitch Thomas and Friends

Mitch Thomas (Stacey Kane Photo)

You won’t want to miss “An Advent Afternoon of Christmas Music” with Mitch Thomas and Friends. The annual concert will take place on Saturday, December 22 at 2:30 p.m. at the Auburn United Methodist Church at 439 Park Avenue.

Thomas will perform several seasonal favorites, including some of his own compositions and arrangements.  The free event features several other local artists, including: Maddy Leslie, who just finished starring the Public Theatre’s A Christmas Carol; her sister, Mia-Angelina Leslie; Tiffany Warren, who was “Dorothy” in Community Little Theatre’s The Wiz; Nakesha (Kay) Myrick, Warren’s sister, who has appeared in and directs shows at CLT and her home church; and Lena Warren, Tiffany and Kay’s mother, who was “Auntie Em” in The Wiz.

Also performing are popular local singers, Kristen Thomas and Caroline Young Coffin; bassist, Jeff Munson; guitarist, Neil James; organists, Norma Rice-Gould and Jon Whitmore; and vocalists, Hayden and Elias Thomas.

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UU Theater presents “Ho Ho Holiday Drag Show”

Miss Jacinda, among others, will appear in the Ho Ho Holiday Drag Show.

UU Theater will present a “Ho Ho Holiday Drag Show” on Saturday, December 8 at 7 p.m. Christopher Dufour will host this seasonal extravaganza, featuring performances by Shaneeda Diet, Daveena, Jacinda, Miss Eon, Roxie Devoe and Mystyk. This buffet of beauties in fabulous frocks will bring the season to life with inspiring fun and holiday music.

Admission is $5. Proceeds will benefit the home of UU Theater, the First Universalist Church of Auburn. The church is located at 169 Pleasant Street (enter on Spring Street across from the Dairy Joy). Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. Ample free parking is available and the building is accessible. For more information, call 783-0461 or see www.auburnuu.org.

 

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