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Harvard center lauds CA$H Coalition

The Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government recently recognized the L-A CA$H Coalition as one of its 2015 “Bright Ideas in Government.”

The City of Lewiston facilitated the launching of the L-A CA$H “community team” partnership in 2003 after then-Lewiston City Councilors Renee Bernier, Lillian O’Brien and Ronald Jean attended an informational meeting at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston regarding the use of free tax return preparation to promote the Earned Income Tax Credit.

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Legislators honor Berman & Simmons


Pictured here (l. to r., from front) are Craig Bramley, Sen. Nate Libby, James O’Connell, Michael Bigos, Rep. Heidi Brooks, Timothy Kenlan, Rep. Jared Golden and Daniel Kagan.

State legislators visited the Berman & Simmons law firm recently to congratulate members on its 100th anniversary. The firm has been a fixture on Lisbon Street in Lewiston since its founding in 1914. Sen. Nate Libby (D-Lewiston), Rep. Jared Golden (D-Lewiston) and Rep. Heidi Brooks (D-Lewiston) presented the lawyers at Berman & Simmons with a certificate of recognition signed by the officers of the Maine Senate and House. The recognition was sponsored by Libby, Golden and Brooks, as well as Rep. Peggy Rotundo (D-Lewiston) and Rep. Michel Lajoie (D-Lewiston). Berman & Simmons lawyers represent plaintiffs in personal injury, medical malpractice and other civil cases throughout the state.

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Scouts, community mark 70th anniversary of tragic nursery fire


A member of Pack 111 places a flower for one of the victims on the bronze memorial plaque.

On February 7, St. Peter’s Cemetery hosted a 70th anniversary memorial service for the seventeen victims of a tragic nursery fire that occurred in Auburn, shocking the nation in the final months of World War II. Organized by Cub Scout Pack 111 of Auburn, Matthew Richard of the Fortin Group and Gerard Raymond of St. Peter’s Cemetery., the event remembered the victims, sixteen of whom were infants, of the tragic fire at Lacoste Babies Home in New Auburn on January 31, 1945.

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WGME visits St. Dom’s for School Spirit Challenge


A teacher gladly pays $10 to “pie” the student of her choice.

WGME-TV recently visited Saint Dominic Academy’s Auburn campus to report on the school’s progress in the Great School Spirit Challenge, an effort to collect food donations for the Good Shepherd Food Bank. Staff and students arrived early at the school to set up and prepare for the day’s events, which attended by students from both campuses, along with parents and board members.

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Thomas sings anthem at State House

n.Franco.StHouseFranco Center director Mitch Thomas was at the State House recently to deliver the opening prayer and sing the national anthem in the House Chamber. An accomplished singer-musician, Thomas (c.) is pictured here with (l. to r.) Reps. Heidi Brooks (D-Lewiston), Bruce Bickford (R-Auburn), Peggy Rotundo (D-Lewiston), Gina Melaragno (D-Auburn), Mike Lajoie (D-Lewiston) and Jared Golden (D-Lewiston).

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Tree Street Youth receives $400k grant


Members of Tree Street Youth stand before the agency’s building at 144 Howe Street. Plans are underway to expand the building to accommodate the growing number of students attending its after school programs.

The Next Generation Foundation of Maine has awarded a $400,000 grant to Tree Street Youth to support the planned remodeling and expansion of its building at 144 Howe Street in Lewiston. Tree Street Youth purchased the building in August of 2014 with support and financing from the Genesis Community Loan Fund. The expansion project has been supported by Harriman Associates, who is working closely with the agency on preliminary design work.

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Rotundo welcomes honorary page


Rep. Peggy Rotundo, D-Lewiston, welcomes Tia Mendros to the State House to serve as an honorary page in the House of Representatives. Mendros is the daughter of former Rep. Stavros Mendros.



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Mechanics, Biddeford Savings to form Maine Community Bancorp

Biddeford Savings Bank and Mechanics Savings Bank have entered into an agreement to form Maine Community Bancorp, a Mutual Holding Company that will own both banks.

Approved by each bank’s Board of Directors, the agreement is still subject to approval by each bank’s corporators and depositors, as well as the State of Maine’s Bureau of Financial Institutions, the FDIC and the Federal Reserve. Closing on the transaction is targeted for early 2016.

Once finalized, Maine Community Bancorp will draw equally from each Board and Management team. Richard J. Vail, President and CEO of Mechanics Savings Bank, and Charles M. Petersen, President and CEO of Biddeford Savings Bank, will serve as co-CEOs of Maine Community Bancorp, the first multi-bank mutual holding company in Maine history. Each affiliate bank will retain its name and state charter, and each bank’s Board of Directors and senior management will continue to oversee the operations of their respective banks.

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New book profiles “Franco-Americans of Lewiston-Auburn”


James Myall and Mary Rice-Defosse will discuss their new book, “The Franco-Americans of Lewiston-Auburn,” on Wednesday, February 18 at 6:30 p.m. at Freeport Community Library. The event, which is free and open to the public, will be accompanied by an exhibit of dozens of historic images featured in the book.

The book is the only comprehensive, approachable account of an immigrant group that had a major impact on the state’s history while, in cities like Lewiston and Auburn, forming a distinct ethnic cultural community with its own story. Although the book focuses on the Twin Cities of Lewiston and Auburn, the trends and issues described are relevant to Franco-Americans across the state and will be of interest to anyone of French-Canadian descent or with an interest in Maine history.

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Enough is Enough: Back to normal after a bigger-than-usual storm

By Robert E. Macdonald

Mayor of Lewiston

Here comes Suzie Snowflake, dressed in a snow-white gown, tap, tap, tapping at your windowpane to tell you she’s around.

As a kid in the 1950s, she was a welcome visitor. Her appearance signaled sledding, tobogganing and skiing. If you were a hockey player, it meant a bit of shoveling on a pond. Your labor was rewarded by the creation of a defined area in which to play.

Kids built sturdy snow forts—forts that stood up to neighborhood marauding youths. They were such great places to hang out, your parents had to come and drag you home.

Television was in its infant stage. There were no computers or Xboxes. The absence of these things enabled kids in the 1950s to develop not only social skills, but also imagination. Suzie’s arrival signaled freedom from being cooped up in the house all day with little to do.

Things change. Little Suzie Snowflake matured into a bitter, spiteful woman. Gone were her childlike traits. Suzie traded her snow-white gown for curlers and an oversized housecoat, becoming Mother Nature.

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