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Archive for January 2013

CA$H Coalition to provide free tax prep, EITC assistance

For the 10th year in a row, IRS certified volunteer tax preparers under the direction of Site Coordinator KC Geiger will provide free Federal and State tax preparation and e-filing for low- to moderate-income workers (those earning $50,000 and under).

The phone line opens January 17, and Lewiston-Auburn-area residents may call 513-3160 to schedule their free appointment. Jacklyn Holt will be one of those calling.

“When I went to the free tax prep site and saw what my refund was after getting tax credits that I was eligible for, I cried,” said Jacklyn Holt who spoke at a January 8 press event sponsored by the Lewiston-Auburn CA$H Coalition.

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Enough is Enough: Setting the record straight on the proposed deal with Casella

By Robert E. Macdonald

Mayor of Lewiston

This is part one of a response to an article by Hilary Lister, “Out-of-state waste to be allowed at proposed Casella processing facility,” which ran on Page 1 in the January 3 issue of Twin City TIMES.

Hilary Lister’s commentary on the proposed Casella Processing Facility that appeared on the front page of last week’s Twin City TIMES is so full of incorrect and misleading statements—and so lacking in other information—that it is hard to know where to begin to set the record straight.

She starts by stating that the Lewiston City Council voted to enter into discussions with Casella in August of last year “with little public notification.” The facts: the council held a workshop on August 7 to discuss the proposal.

This meeting was announced in advance, normal public notice was provided and a number of individuals who had contacted members of the council about the proposal were also informed of the meeting. That workshop was televised and reported in the newspapers.

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LePage: Hardworking Mainers pay their bills—government should, too

By Gov. Paul LePage

This week, newly elected officials across our country and state started what is supposed to be the work of the people. Budget talk has dominated discussions for months, and the so called fiscal cliff is starting to hit home for many Mainers.

Maine’s average household income is about $48,000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and the federal payroll tax change will affect thousands of working families, leaving them with less money.

An average family will lose about $1,000 from their paycheck in 2013 because of the payroll tax change—a decrease that will likely make it difficult for Mainers to pay their own bills.

I am proud to share with Mainers that the tax cuts passed by the Maine Legislature in the last biennium will save a family of four with an income of $48,000 a little more than $300 annually.

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Bruce Poliquin: Together, We Made a Difference

By Bruce Poliquin

My two-year term as Maine State Treasurer ended Monday. I’ve been humbled and honored by the privilege to serve the State Legislature and the hard-working people of Maine.  I thank you deeply for this rewarding opportunity.

The Maine Legislature elects our four Constitutional Officers, including the State Treasurer. The November elections returned the legislative majority back to the Democrat Party, where it had been for most of the past 40 years.

The incoming majority elected the current State Auditor and former Democrat State Senator Neria Douglass as our next State Treasurer. I congratulate Treasurer-elect Douglass and have been pleased to assist with her smooth transition.

Two years ago, our Great State faced a number of daunting fiscal challenges: $4.1 billion of pension benefits had been promised to 70,000 active and retired public school teachers and state employees that Augusta did not have funds to cover.  State government owed roughly $500 million to Maine hospitals for Medicaid (MaineCare) services already provided to program enrollees. The increasing cost of our Medicaid program had been crowding out the State’s ability to fund other core services like road/bridge construction and repair.

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Monmouth Community Players to present “Steel Magnolias”

The cast of Monmouth Community Players’ upcoming production of “Steel Magnolias” is (clockwise from the left) Kathleen Nation (Ouiser), Julie Poulin (Truvy), Emily Trefethen (Annelle), Jeanne Fletcher (Clairee), Colleen Mahan (M’Lynn), and Sabrina Yocono (Shelby).

The Monmouth Community Players will present Robert Harling’s critically acclaimed play, “Steel Magnolias,” from February 1 through 10 at the historic Cumston Hall in Monmouth. Centering on the lives of six southern ladies who gather at a small-town beauty parlor, the play is alternately hilarious and touching – and, in the end, deeply revealing of the strength and purposefulness which underlies the antic banter of its characters.

Truvy runs a salon out of her carport in Chinquapin, Louisiana, where all the ladies who are “anybody” come to have their hair done. Assisted by her eager new apprentice Annelle, who may or may not be married, Truvy generously dispenses hairspray and pearls of wisdom to the ladies of the neighborhood. These include Ouiser, the town’s rich curmudgeon; Clairee, the former mayor’s wife who has a raging sweet tooth; M’Lynn, the local mental health professional who clashes regularly with her headstrong daughter, Shelby, who is about to marry a “good ole boy.”

The show is sponsored by Monmouth Federal Credit Union and directed by Adam P. Blais, who also serves as scenic designer. Emily Trefethen is the costume designer, Paula Masselli is the property designer, and Josie French is the stage manager. Original music will be composed by Mike French.

Cumston Hall is located at 796 Main Street in Monmouth. Performances will take place on Fridays and Saturdays, February 1, 2, 8, and 9 at 7:30 p.m.; and on Sundays, February 3 and 10 at 2 p.m. General seating tickets are $12/10. For more information, call (207) 514-4929 or see www.monmouthcommunityplayers.com.

 

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Flamenco Vivo will present “La Pasion Flamenca” on Thursday, February 28 at 7:30 p.m. at Lewiston Middle School, just one of the performances in a winter schedule by L/A Arts that is sure to heat up this season’s coldest nights. See story in the Digital Edition, page 10.

 

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Senator Olympia J. Snowe recalls “The Greatest Privilege of My Life”

By U.S. Senator Olympia J. Snowe

As I conclude my nearly 40 years in elective office, I want to convey how thankful and blessed I feel to have had the opportunity to serve as your Senator.

It has been difficult to envision saying farewell, just as it was impossible to imagine I would one day become a Senator as I was growing up in Maine. But such is the miracle of America that a young girl of a Greek immigrant and a first-generation American, who was orphaned at the age of nine could, in time, be elected to serve in the greatest deliberative body the world has ever known—and become the third-longest-serving woman in the history of the United States Congress.

I want to thank you, the people of Maine, for allowing me to be your voice, your vote and your champion for 16 years in the U.S. House of Representatives and for three terms in the United States Senate. One of the definitions of the word “trust” is “a charge or duty imposed in faith or confidence.” And to have had your trust, as you have placed your faith and confidence in me, is an honor of indescribable magnitude. Indeed, serving our magnificent state over the past 34 years in the halls of Congress has been the greatest privilege of my life.

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Out-of-state waste to be allowed at proposed Casella processing facility

Lewiston council to vote on 20-year contract on Jan. 22

By Hillary Lister

Don’t Waste ME

On Tuesday, January 22, the Lewiston City Council is expected to vote on whether to enter into a 20-year contract with Casella Waste, allowing the debt-ridden company to expand operations at the Lewiston Transfer Station on River Road.

In August, with little public notification, the council voted to enter discussions with Casella for a plan that was marketed as building a recycling center that would take in only Maine waste. On December 11, the city council held a work session on the proposed contract, providing more details on the plan.

According to City Administrator Ed Barrett, Casella would build a 4,000-foot expansion to the city’s shredding facility and lease the building and three surrounding acres for $60,000 a year. Out-of-state waste from Casella’s KTI Bio Fuels operation in Lewiston would be allowed in the proposed single-stream center.

Last year, KTI imported over 180,000 tons of waste from southern New England, most of which ended up in the state-owned, Casella-operated JRL dump in Old Town. JRL is only allowed to take in Maine waste, but thanks to lobbying efforts by Casella, waste that is “processed” in Maine facilities like KTI legally becomes Maine waste; therefore, it is allowed in the state dump.

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Enough is Enough: Speaking up for the elderly, the working poor, the truly needy

By Robert E. Macdonald

Mayor of Lewiston

I hope all the TCT readers had a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year.

My wife and I play Mr. and Mrs. Claus for the children of several organizations. We find this uplifting, and it adds to the joy of the season. This year, for me, it came to a screeching halt.

Two little girls, one a polite outgoing two-year-old, the other a bubbling, energetic six-month-old baby, were having fun enjoying the gifts they had received. My joy turned to sadness when I found out both were foster children. The six-month-old was going to spend time on Christmas with her family from whom she had been taken from as an infant.

I hope these children and others like them are soon adopted, saving them from possibly being condemned to a life of poverty and hopelessness.

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Op/Ed: Rational gun control debate requires a more detached examination

By Prof. John Frary

“It’s time to talk about gun control.” This was the title of a Washington Post editorial published on December 14. The editors acknowledge objections to exploiting tragedies for political purposes, but argue that there has been too little said or done on the issue and the time has come.

The time has come because “… the country would be safer with fewer guns … that it is not the Second Amendment but political cowardice that precludes sensible regulation.”

Talk, of course, has been flowing fast and furious (lots of furious) across the nation. In Maine Ethan Strimling, a senator from 2002 to 2008 whose gun regulation bills were routinely thwarted, proposes a petition drive to “force the legislature’s hand.” The presidents of Bates, Bowdoin, Colby, St. Joseph’s, UNE and College of the Atlantic have signed a letter along with more than 160 other college presidents announcing that “it’s time for Americans to live free from the threat of gun violence.”

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