Chamber members and guests gathered at the Ramada Conference Center on Thursday, January 24 for the 125th Annual Meeting and Awards program —The Chamber’s largest event of the year.
The Annual Meeting featured The Chamber Awards program, emceed by Chamber Board Chair Mary LaFontaine of the Lewiston Career Center. Those being recognized include: The Chamber’s new members in 2012; past and present Chamber leaders; and the distinguished community members who will receive The Chamber’s highest awards.
New this year, The Young Professionals of the Lewiston Auburn area presented their annual awards at The Chamber annual meeting. The first will be presented to Travis Dow, who is most notably recognized as the head of sales for Uncle Andy’s Digest. In the past two years Travis has launched two new businesses “The Maine Home Show” and “MenusinLA.com.” Both of these ventures were enormous undertakings that were launched for the principal purpose of helping promote local small businesses.
Improved fiscal management at the Maine Department of Environmental Protection will save Mainers millions of dollars this year when they fill up on fuel to heat their homes and power their cars.
For the first time in seven years, DEP has turned off the 20-cent-per-barrel surcharge on gasoline imported into the state and the 10-cent-per-barrel surcharge on all other petroleum products—including home heating oil.
That move will prevent an estimated $5.5 million in surcharges in 2013 and is supported by the Fund Insurance Review Board (FIRB), the independent board that oversees the State’s Groundwater Oil Clean-Up Fund, administered by DEP to pay for cleaning up discharges of oil from storage tanks.
The fund is supported by a 38-cent-per-barrel base fee on gasoline and a 19-cent base fee on all other petroleum products. When its balance drops below $5 million for more than a month, by state law the additional surcharges kick on.
By Robert E. Macdonald
Mayor of Lewiston
In the spring of 1966 many of us dumb, adventurous, carefree neighborhood guys were weeks away from graduation. Our conquest of the world lay before us. We pondered our next move. What road should we follow? Every Irish kid’s dream: a civil service job? College? The military?
A combination of foolishness and testosterone overcame common sense. There was a war going on in a country few had heard of and fewer could find on a map. The Marines needed a few good boys to turn into fighting men. The Marines had a solid combat reputation and great-looking uniforms which, combined with a few medals, made an exceptional “chick magnet.”
The physical training applied in the infantry pushes recruits beyond what would be characterized as their physical limits. Once this is accomplished, the next phase necessitates stripping them of emotions that would cause them to view their enemy as human. Once this was complete, additional training followed and you were ready for combat.
By Laurent F. Gilbert
The NRA’s war against America. That’s right, the new National Rifle Association is not the old NRA that published an outstanding magazine called “Field and Stream.” It enjoyed the support of hunters and sports enthusiasts all over the country.
As time wore on, the leadership got into bed with the gun-making industry and through its minions went to war on any and all gun legislation under the guise of protecting the rights guaranteed by the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Even strict constructionist and right-leaning Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has said that the right to bear arms isn’t absolute and could be changed in the future. As far as I’m concerned, the future is now.
When will we, as law-abiding citizens, demand that our legislators develop enough intestinal fortitude and political will to enact legislation to hopefully reduce the needless deaths that occur daily in our country? That’s right, 34 people are killed every day with the use of guns. That’s well over 12,000 people killed with the use of guns every year. Add to that another 18,000 suicides for a total of 30,000 deaths. That comes close to the entire population of Lewiston wiped out in one year. The NRA fights everything and anything that could reduce these needless deaths. To me, that is their war on America!
The Atrium Art Gallery at the University of Southern Maine’s Lewiston-Auburn College is displaying the work of 78 artists from Androscoggin, Franklin, and Oxford Counties in its biennial exhibition, “Area Artists 2013.”
The exhibition, which began January 18 and continues through March 21, includes paintings, prints, drawings, photographs, and works in clay, wood, fiber, metal, and mixed media. It presents works in a variety of styles, from representational to abstract, with landscapes, figure studies and portraits, still lifes, and sculptural work. To celebrate the 25th anniversary of USM’s Lewiston-Auburn campus, the Atrium Art Gallery will be offering works in the exhibition for sale, with proceeds going to the artists and the Lewiston-Auburn College Scholarship Fund.
Spiller’s president Ray Martel remarked that his company is proud of its ongoing support for the biennial exhibition series and for the advancement of the arts and artists in the tri-county area. The series, which began in 1994, has highlighted the work of hundreds of artists from Androscoggin, Franklin and Oxford Counties.
Museum L-A will host a free opening reception to unveil a new exhibition exploring America’s work history on Friday, February 8 from 4 to 7 p.m. “The Way We Worked” is a Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibit depicting how the changing nature of work has informed American ideas about history, culture and identity.
Adapted from an original exhibition developed by the National Archives and Records Administration, the exhibition explores how work has become a central element in American culture. It traces the many changes that have affected the workforce and work environments over the past 150 years, including the growth of manufacturing and increasing use of technology.
The exhibition draws from the Archives’ rich collections, including historical photographs, archival accounts of workers, film, audio and interactive components, to tell the compelling story of how work impacts our individual lives and the historical and cultural fabric of our communities.
“If you don’t know where you’re putting your slippers at night, you can’t do algebra,” said Mary Seaman, director of the Lewiston High School STEP Program, following the documentary debut of “Homeless Youth in Lewiston” on January 17 at Lewiston City Hall.
The 30-minute documentary was produced by the Lewiston Youth Advisory Council (LYAC) to build awareness about the approximately 200 homeless youth in Lewiston. Before the video was shown, LYAC members shared what an eye-opening experience making the documentary had been. According to the National Coalition for the Homeless, one out of every three homeless persons are under the age of 18, and nationwide, over 1.6 million people under age 18 experience homelessness each year.
The documentary featured Kat Borghoff and Kendra Sprague, both previously homeless teens, who received life-changing support from New Beginnings and Volunteers of America Northern New England. Borghoff and Sprague shared elements of their personal journeys, which included living in a car and sleeping on a kitchen floor.
By Governor Paul R. LePage
Many Mainers know what it is like to juggle their bills until payday arrives. Imagine waiting four years.
That’s the reality for Maine’s 39 community hospitals. It is difficult to believe, but hospitals in dozens of Maine communities have not received payment from the State for Medicaid services they provided dating back to 2009.
Central Maine Medical Center is owed $50.2 million; St. Mary’s Medical Center, $28.9 million; Franklin Memorial Hospital in Farmington, $15.4 million; Stephens Memorial in Norway, $6 million; and Bridgton and Rumford hospitals, $4.2 million apiece.
That’s more than $100 million in outstanding debt owed to the hospitals in Androscoggin, Franklin and Oxford Counties and a substantial portion of the total $484 million due statewide.
By Robert E. Macdonald
Mayor of Lewiston
Lewiston, we have a problem! It appears to be a major problem.
Our Governor, Paul LePage, has dared to shatter the rose-colored glasses used by career politicians to assure the taxpaying public that everything is fine. After years of smoke and mirrors and dishonesty, the ugly truth stands before us—the State of Maine is broke.
Like the emperor in the fairy tale, the Legislative Branch stands naked before the public bickering and fiercely fighting amongst each other over how best to clothe themselves. This would be amusing if their decisions didn’t have such dire consequences on the public they claim to be serving.
The question is whether our legislators are going to “man up” and take responsibility for the mess they have created over the years and raise state taxes to deal with the problems. Or will they, like Pontius Pilate, wash their responsibilities away passing the crisis on to the municipalities to deal with and solve?