The L-A CA$H Coalition held a press conference recently to kick off this year’s tax filing season. Once again, the Coalition will provide free tax preparation and e-filing of Federal and State income tax returns for low-to-moderate income residents. Tax preparation by the program’s IRS-certified volunteer tax preparers will begin on January 24 at the Lewiston Memorial Armory and Auburn City Hall. Tax returns will be prepared by appointment only; no walk-ins will be accepted. Appointments can be made by calling 513-3160 on or after January 15. For more information, see www.lewistonmaine.gov/lacash.
College seniors Hannah L. Martin of Auburn and Patricia DeCarvalho of Worcester, Massachusetts, both LEEP Fellows at Clark University, have refreshed and rebranded “The Fashion Cookbook,” a fashion and lifestyle blog that Martin started as a junior at Edward Little High School. The two presented their LEEP Project, “Launching and Branding ‘The Fashion Cookbook’,” at Clark’s annual Fall Fest academic showcase.
Martin is a member of Clark’s class of 2015. She is currently enrolled in Clark’s accelerated B.A./Master’s program, where she is pursuing a degree in professional communications with a focus in marketing. The blog began as a venue to document Martin’s developing personal style and to combine her two interests, cooking and fashion. Because of her blogging efforts, she was invited as a high school senior to attend Teen Vogue’s Fashion University in Manhattan.
The Safe Voices Board of Directors has announced the retirement of Executive Director Jane Morrison after five years serving and advocating for domestic violence victims throughout central Maine.
Morrison, who plans to step down this June, has played an integral role in raising awareness of domestic violence and promoting Safe Voices’ services across communities in Androscoggin, Oxford and Franklin counties. Under her leadership, Safe Voices has developed a reputation for sound fiscal management and commitment to community partnerships while delivering best-practice services to men, women and children affected by domestic violence.
School Committee Chairperson Traci Austin (c.) has the ceremonial honor of breaking ground for Lisbon High School’s new gymnasium on Saturday, January 3. Joining her are (l. to r., from front) Superintendent Richard Green; Town Manager Diane Barnes; School Committee Asst. Chair Kathi Yergin; former School Committee member Marcey Crosskill; Asst. Superintendent Heather Wilmot; School Committee member Pete Reed; Denis Landry of Contractor Landry/French; Eric Dube of Casco Bay Engineering; School Committee member George Caron; Ryan Kanteres, Nathanial Cram and Scott Simmons of Scott Simmons Architect; and Dillon Pesce of the Lisbon Town Council.
The Good Food Council of Lewiston-Auburn recently added five newly elected members to its ranks. The 20-member council, made up of representatives from a variety of businesses, agencies, sectors and walks of life, was created in the summer of 2012 in response to an in-depth Community Food Assessment that identified areas for improvement in the local food system. They group works to educate the public, serve as a forum for discussing issues, foster coordination between sectors, evaluate and influence policy and support programs that meet local needs.
Muna Mohamed of Lewiston and Andrew Sandweiss of Bangor have been selected as Maine’s delegates to the 53rd Annual United States Senate Youth Program. In March, Mohamed and Sandweiss will join 102 other students from across the country in spending a week in the nation’s capital, where they will have an opportunity to study the American political process first-hand.
Muna Mohamed attends Lewiston High School, where she serves as the Senior Class president and is the Student Representative for her School Board. She is involved with Mock Trial, the Civil Rights and Speech Teams and other projects and community service activities. She enjoys public speaking and says she found her voice after attending Seeds of Peace, a conflict resolution camp. Her future plans include pursuing her interests in education, political science and international affairs.
At the Auburn City Council Meeting on January 5, Cub Scout Pack 111 presented the City of Auburn with a bronze memorial plaque dedicated to the 17 victims of the tragic Auburn nursery fire of 1945. The plaque will be permanently displayed at Auburn City Hall.
Pack 111 is planning a public memorial ceremony to mark the 70th anniversary of the fire on Saturday, January 31 at 8 a.m. inside the Mausoleum at St. Peter’s Cemetery in Lewiston. Following the ceremony., those attending are invited to gather at The Fortin Group at 9:30 a.m. for coffee and donuts. The Fortin Group is located at the corner of Turner and Center Streets in Auburn. The public is invited to attend both the ceremony and the gathering.
The St. Dom’s community was deeply saddened by the sudden loss of Saint Dominic Academy student Casey Cloutier (age 14) and his father, Ghislain (Gus) Cloutier (age 49), who died in a tragic car accident on Route 202 on the morning of Tuesday, December 30 while on their way to a Junior Varsity hockey tournament.
Although the ninth grader had just enrolled at the school in August, he was already well liked. In the aftermath of the tragedy, friends, teammates and the broader community came together to offer support in a variety of ways. A memory wall was established where friends, teachers, teammates, coaches and family members could post messages and memories, and over 120 students and staff attended Casey and Gus’s funeral in Winthrop on January 6. A memorial Mass was held at St. Dom’s on the following day.
“From the moment you walked through the doors last fall, you became part of the St. Dom’s Family,” said Principal Joline Girouard to the Cloutier Family after the school Mass. “And you always will be.”
On New Year’s Eve, the façade of the former St. Louis Church in New Auburn was bathed in light, signaling a new beginning for the now vacant building that served as the heart of the neighborhood’s Catholic community for nearly 100 years.
The symbolic event was arranged by the building’s new ownership group, Pilotage, consisting of Mary Callahan, Daniel Dube, Christine Holden, Donna LeBrun and Noel Smith. The group, which bought the building for $75 from the Diocese of Portland, plans to engage local residents in an effort to repurpose the structure to play an active, ongoing role in the life of the community.
Lewiston Police Chief Michael Bussiere has appointed Brian O’Malley to the rank of Deputy Police Chief effective January 1. O’Malley is a 25-year veteran of the Lewiston Police Department who has held a variety of positions within the agency, including Patrol Officer, Detective, Patrol Sergeant and, most recently, Sergeant of Detectives in the Criminal Investigations Division.
O’Malley has a B.A. in Political Science from Providence College and attended the Command Training Program at Roger Williams University. He has advanced training certifications in Crisis Negotiation and Practical Homicide Investigations and is a certified Civil Rights Officer. He has received numerous departmental commendations and citations, as well as the Colonel Award from the Maine State Police, the New Hampshire Congressional Law Enforcement Award, and the Community Advocate Award from Androscoggin County Sexual Assault Prevention and Response. He has actively supported Special Olympics of Maine for over 20 years and was inducted as a volunteer into the Special Olympics Hall of Fame.