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Archive for May 2013

Enough is Enough: While politicians fiddle, taxpayers worry about property taxes.

By Robert E. Macdonald

Mayor of Lewiston
I have not seen this level of “tuning up” since I left the Lewiston Police Department. Senate President Justin Alfond and Speaker of the House Mark Eves are acting like a pair of street-wise, thug cops in an off-the-wall police show.  Their target, the short tempered Governor of Maine, Paul LePage.
I like Governor Paul LePage. Whether you agree with him or not, you must concede that he has brought to the forefront the dire fiscal mess we currently find ourselves in. His use of the bully pulpit wards off the ability of the Democrats to brush off our fiscal distress as nothing more than a bump in the road.
But Governor, you must learn to control your temper or it will become your downfall. Like experienced cops, Senator Alfond and Representative Eves have zeroed in on this major flaw and are going to exploit it for all it’s worth—along with their allies in the press—until they run you out of office.

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Letters: Bipartisan tax reform is flawed and predatory

To the Editor:

Politicians in Augusta want to reform the state tax code—again! What should ordinary folk make of this? We should believe that general truth, that fundamental principle, the one that states: whatever politicians say they are talking about, what they are really talking about is money: ours.

They propose collecting less money from here and more money from there. Is there anyone reading this, anyone who can count pocket change, who isn’t already convinced this shell game means that overall we will pay more taxes?
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Letters: Effective, productive communication needed in Augusta

To the Editor:

Effecting real change on issues in Washington, D.C., seems out of reach due to elected officials’ behavior; however, not in Augusta. We as citizens still have the ability to impact the behavior of Maine’s elected officials. To do so, however, we need to voice our opinions loudly and steadily.

Every community in this state is facing a tax shift never seen before with homeowners facing significant tax increases, and we need representatives that will conduct business for the good of all. It’s time for every taxpayer to tell our elected state officials to stop the ongoing rhetoric and move forward with a goal of compromise. If a fair, compromised budget is not attained, communities will be hugely impacted.

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Saint Dom students raise funds for cancer awareness

Students from Saint Dominic Academy in Auburn recently visited St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center to deliver a donation check of $1,662.55 to the hospital’s breast cancer awareness program.

Students from Saint Dominic Academy in Auburn recently visited St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center to deliver a donation check of $1,662.55 to the hospital’s breast cancer awareness program.

During the school year, athletic teams at the school held special cancer awareness events at field and ice hockey games.

“Each team dressed in pink or teal to signify a certain kind of cancer,” said Saint Dominic Academy principal Donald Fournier. “The gate money collected at each game was then pooled by the teams to make up the total amount.”

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American Legion Post 153 members seek to restore cemetery

Norman E. Rose (l.) and Post 153 Sergeant-at-Arms Don Beaulieu at Auburn Plains Cemetery.

Norman E. Rose (l.) and Post 153 Sergeant-at-Arms Don Beaulieu at Auburn Plains Cemetery.

Members of the American Legion William J. Rogers Post 153 received an unwelcome surprise recently when they visited a local cemetery to place flags at veterans’ graves.

“Our purpose was to flag the graves of veterans buried in the cemetery, but that changed when three family members with relatives buried there arrived and shared with us their pain over the cemetery’s condition,” said Post Commander Paul Bernard. Many of the cemetery’s headstones are lying on the ground and some are broken in several places.

Many of the cemetery’s headstones are lying on the ground and some are broken in several places.

Many of the cemetery’s headstones are lying on the ground and some are broken in several places.

“As we were looking the cemetery over, we were feeling the same pain,” Bernard continued. “It wasn’t the dollar figure for repairs that was so troubling, but the personal pain to the descendants.”

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Enough is Enough: College material, hospital debt and welfare expansion

By Robert E. Macdonald

Mayor of Lewiston

Enough is enough. The following is a list of our local lawmakers that are holding up meaningful welfare reform. Please call them and let them know your opinion on the below.

Senator John Cleveland, 782-3353 SenJohn.Cleveland@legislature.maine.gov

Senator Margaret Craven, 783-1897 SenMargaret.Craven@legislature.maine.gov

Representative Nathan Libby, 399-7993 RepNathan.Libby@legislature.maine.gov

Representative Michel Lajoie, 783-1927, RepMichel.Lajoie@legislature.maine.gov

Representative Michael Carey, 344-3017, RepMichael.Carey@legislature.maine.gov

Representative Brian Bolduc, 576-4907, bolduc74@yahoo.com

Representative Margaret Rotundo, 784-3259, mrotundo@bates.edu.

Representative Wayne Werts, 783-6931, rw556@aol.com.

Why is there so much pressure on our local students to attend and graduate from college? Why are they continually left with the assumption that without a piece of parchment from a “college” or “university” they will live life as a failure?
Many people living in Lewiston-Auburn own homes, cars, seasonal camps, retirement property to our south and have good jobs.  They live happily and comfortably.  But, unlike their peers, who have attended college, they have no degree—nor the enormous debt that goes with it.
Over the years the Lewiston School Committee has realized many students are not college material. Many who falter academically excel in the trades such as automotive, woodworking, sheet metal and, in case you’ve been away from the area for a few years, an extremely renowned culinary arts program that sends more of its students to the world renowned New York Institute of Culinary Arts than any school in the country.

Air Force and Army ROTC programs, along with the Law Enforcement Cadet Program, offer a career foundation to those who desire work away from the confines of an office.
With much fanfare iPads are now replacing computers currently used in our school system. What is hailed as an innovation and helpful to some students could prove to be a job killer to a majority of others. The reason? Students’ keyboarding skills will diminish, leaving them without the skills needed to qualify for nearly half of the jobs currently available in our community.
This lack of foresight would close the door to graduates seeking clerical or secretarial positions. Or it could force them to reach into their own pockets and pay to develop skills formerly offered as part of our public education system.

Lewiston-Auburn redevelopment staffs have worked hard to bring new jobs to our area. TD Bank and Argo have and will bring hundreds of new jobs needed to boost our local economy.  It’s time to return to the realization that not all our children are college material. Let’s continue teaching the basic skills needed to insure that every student possess the skills that will move our community forward.

The last thing we don’t want to see in the windows of future employers is a sign stating, “Lewiston and EL graduates need not apply.”
“We’ll have to pass it to find out what’s in it.”  Thus spoke former Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi when asked about Obamacare.  Well, they did, and now we’re finding out that this is not quite what was promised. Now the very liberal Congressional Democrats who voted for Obamacare are now becoming infuriated by many of its regulations.

But that’s what happens when you’re not held accountable by the voting public. I mean, why waste time reading the bill? They have campaign cash to raise.
Now let’s fast forward to last week in Augusta.
“I am willing to take a chance.”  Thus stated Senator John Patrick D-Rumford in casting an affirmative vote in the Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee to link paying the hospitals to the expansion of Medicaid. What chance? The chance that the current administration in Washington, D.C. is telling the truth.

If they’re not able to back up their claims, taxpayers—that’s Maine taxpayers—will be on the hook for providing expanded coverage to the thousands added to the current rolls.  Which side of error do you wish to side on?
A Sun Journal editorial on Saturday May 18, 2013 seems to be pandering to this plan. It linked Governor Paul LePage to other evil Tea Party governors who oppose the plan. Apparently the Sun Journal has not received the new talking points: Tea Party, patriotic and good guys; the Executive Branch in Washington D.C., bad guys.
Being the Mayor of Lewiston I am incensed that paying the State debt owed to our hospitals will not stand alone as a separate issue. My job is to shout when the livelihood of residents and the city’s economy is threatened. Well, I’m shouting!
In Lewiston we have experienced the good intentions of our Federal government. Promises made have turned certain areas of our city (and other cities throughout the country) into decaying shells of once-vibrant neighborhoods. We are forced to support people who no longer have (assuming that they once had) the ability or the will to support themselves. Taxes go up, and our dependents multiply.

Two things must happen. First, Governor LePage cannot waiver and must veto the bill. Second, it’s time for you to join the fight. Start calling your State Representatives and let them know how you feel.

We have spent two legislative sessions attempting to pass legislation that would prohibit those coming off five years of TANF being added to Lewiston’s welfare rolls. We have asked that 200-plus jobs and stabilization of our local hospitals that can only happen by paying off the debt owed to them for the last several years.

Finally, the Chief Executive of our State, Governor Paul LePage was denied on Sunday the opportunity to testify in front of the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee. The subject was the financial distress at the Department of Health and Human Services.

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Governor attends Eagle Scout ceremony

Lepage.scout

Governor Paul R. LePage attended the Eagle Scout ceremony for Nicholas P. Corey on Saturday, May 11 at Holy Trinity Parish in Lisbon Falls. The Governor is a first cousin to Nick’s grandmother, Carmen Saindon. Nick attained his rank of Eagle Scout, Scouting’s highest achievement, in December. Pictured are (l. to r.) Nick Corey; Governor LePage; Muriel Michaud, Nick’s mother; and Alex Corey, Nick’s brother, who is a U.S. Navy Ceremonial Honor Guard and fellow Eagle Scout. TCT photo by Laurie A. Steele

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Dempsey Center volunteers receive Maine Governor’s Award

Richard Lavoie and Phyllis Benoit of Lewiston are presented with the Maine Governor's Award for Service and Volunteerism by Mary Dempsey.

Richard Lavoie and Phyllis Benoit of Lewiston are presented with the Maine Governor’s Award for Service and Volunteerism by Mary Dempsey.

Two Dempsey Center volunteers were recognized recently with the Maine Governor’s Award for Service and Volunteerism. The award is given to volunteers with at least 500 hours of service in one year. Richard Lavoie and Phyllis Benoit, both of Lewiston, were presented with the award by Mary Dempsey on May 7 among fellow volunteers and Center staff. Two other Dempsey Center volunteers will receive their award in June.

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Enough is Enough: Mayors asked for funds to tear down fire hazards

By Robert E. Macdonald

Mayor of Lewiston

When you were a child, unless your parents were grifters, you were taught that honesty is the best policy. Your parents told you repeatedly that the best way to earn the respect of others was through truthfulness and honesty.

Apparently, this standard does not apply to Governor Paul LePage, at least as far as the press and his political enemies are concerned.

Unless you have been living in a cave or been hospitalized in a coma for the last few years, you know that Maine is broke. After surveying the fire destruction in Downtown Lewiston, Governor LePage announced the state was broke, but he would try and find some money and resources to help us out.

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“Haiku, Hip Hop and Hotdogs” at The Public Theatre

Sgt. Pepperoni leads his troops

Sgt. Pepperoni leads his troops

Well-known children’s poems will spring to life when the Crabgrass Puppet Theatre brings their delightful new show, “Haiku, Hip Hop and Hotdogs” to The Public Theatre on Sunday, May 19 at 2 p.m.

Perfect for families with children in pre-K through fifth grade, this show provides an exciting introduction to the magic of poetry and theatre. In Crabgrass’s exciting new production, the world, action, and emotion of poems by Jack Prelutsky, David McCord, Calef Brown, and Beatrice Schenk de Regniers spring vividly to life as young audiences thrill to the adventures of Fearless Flying Hotdogs, a dancing Funky Snowman, and a Goblin who must overcomes his fear to make friends with the terrifying boy on top of his bed.

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