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Mechanics Savings Bank donates $2,500 to Sandcastle

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Mechanics Savings Bank’s Mona Leavitt (2nd from right) presents a $2,500 donation check to Sandcastle Clinical & Educational Services. Also pictured (l. to r.) are Sandcastle staff members Charlene O’Clair, Stephanie Gelinas, and Robert Baskett.

Sandcastle Clinical & Educational Services is a private, nonprofit agency committed to providing quality services for children with special needs and those at risk of developmental issues. Established in 1996, the organization provides education, early identification, prevention, and therapy to 600 children each year.Mechanics Savings Bank recently donated $2,500 to Sandcastle Clinical & Educational Services. The funds will be used to support the nonprofit’s only major fundraising event: Maine’s Got Talent. Lewiston-Auburn’s premier music competition will take place at the Ramada Conference Center in Lewiston on Saturday, March 8. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the show starts at 7:00. Tickets can be purchased online at www.sandcastlemaine.org. For more information, call 782-2150.

“Sandcastle is so appreciative of the ongoing support of Mechanics Savings Bank,” said Sandcastle Executive Director Stephanie Gelinas. “Mona Leavitt, the bank’s Chief Deposits Officer, has given endlessly of her time and talent, serving as the chair of our fundraising committee and sitting on our finance committee.”

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Op-ed: Culture Change in Augusta Leads to Big Drop in Workers’ Comp Rates

By Senator Garrett Mason

Workers’ compensation has long been considered one of the biggest financial drains on Maine businesses that have had to endure the high costs and bureaucratic red tape of an outdated system that no longer served the best interests of employers and workers.

But there is finally encouraging news for workers’ comp, and it would not have happened without a series of changes that began when Maine voters opted for Republican leadership in the Governor’s Office and Legislature in 2010.

The Maine Bureau of Insurance this month received a recommendation to decrease workers’ compensation rates by an average of 7.7 percent. This is expected to save Maine businesses more than $15 million. It’s the largest rate decrease since 1998. Maine is one of the few states in the nation that will see a rate reduction.

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Enough is Enough: Partnerships can create a new and vibrant Lewiston

By Robert E. Macdonald

Mayor of Lewiston

“We must continue to clean up blighted buildings and neighborhoods, but we must also work with our landlords and partners to create decent housing for those who work hard but have limited incomes.”

That quote is from this year’s mayoral inauguration address. These were not words designed for a sound bite. They are words from the heart. We must transform our downtown neighborhoods into neighborhoods of choice.

When I arrived in Lewiston 37 years ago, the mills were still Lewiston’s major employers. Many of our downtown residents worked on one of the mills’ three shifts. At shift’s end, they returned to their homes located in multi-dwelling apartment buildings. These neighborhoods were well kept, and apartments were neat and clean. These were neighborhoods filled with proud people of character.

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Post 153 honors APD military veterans

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Members of the American Legion William J Rogers Post 153 recently honored members of the Auburn Police Department who have served in the military by presenting them with money clips bearing the Auburn Police Department logo. Here (seated) are Post 153 members Colby Dill, Ed Desgrosslieres, and Paul R. Bernard and (standing) APD personnel Eric Bell, Bernice Westleigh, Richard Mercier, Benjamin Quinell, Jason Moore, Shawn Carll, Richard Coron, Phillip Crowell, Jr., Donald Cousins, and Terrence McCormick. Not pictured are Paul Caouette, Nicholas Gagnon, James Philips, Gregory Pealatere, Howard Kroll and Scott Laliberte, who is serving in Afghanistan.

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Film Fest sets stage with Sneak Preview

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Along with complimentary food and a silent auction, the Lewiston-Auburn Film Festival’s “Sneak Preview of Films & Fundraiser” on February 28 will provide a taste of the outstanding independent films coming to the Twin Cities in April.

The Lewiston-Auburn Film Festival (LAFF) will present its annual Sneak Preview of Films & Fundraiser on Friday, February 28 from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Skye Event Center at 855 Lisbon Street in Lewiston.

The event will feature preview trailers of many of the films to be presented at this year’s festival in April. Maine performer and comedian Mike Miclon, whose “Richard3” will make its world premiere at the festival on April 4, will be the host.

Complimentary food will be provided by Gritty’s and a cash bar will be available. Up for bid in a silent auction will be over $5,000 worth of gift cards and items donated by businesses and festival supporters, including Fuel, Gritty’s, Mac’s Grill, FX Marcotte, Downtown Homemade & Vintage, Jim Beam Brands, Ahimsa Custom Cakes, Katahdin Studio Furniture, Hilton Garden Inn, Sweet Pea Designs, and Lewiston-Auburn Magazine.

Admission to the preview is by a suggested donation of $5 at the door.

Now in its fourth year, the 2014 Festival will take place April 3 through 6. Festival founder and director Josh Shea notes that the quality of films submitted this year has been exceptional.

“This Preview will give local movie fans a taste of what they can expect to see in April,” said Shea. “Film lovers will be impressed with the overall creativity and technical aspects of many of the productions.”

Named one of MovieMaker Magazine’s “Top 25 Coolest Film Festivals in the World” for 2013, the three-day event features dozens of independent films, including many U.S. and Maine premieres, screened at five venues throughout the Twin Cities. The festival also provides numerous opportunities for area film aficionados to meet with directors, producers, and actors from many of the films.

The Festival will kick off on Thursday, April 3 at 7 p.m. with “Survivorman” Les Stroud “in concert” at The Franco Center in Lewiston., when the popular TV show host and author will present a multimedia performance. A meet-and-greet in the Center’s Heritage Hall will immediately follow. Tickets are $22.

Another highlight will be the world premiere of Mike Miclon’s feature-length farce, “Richard3.” Based on the Shakespeare play and featuring area actors and locations, the movie will screen at The Franco Center on Friday, April 4 at 7 p.m. Receptions will take place both before and after the film in the Center’s Heritage Hall. Tickets are $22.

“Whether you’re a fan of ‘Richard3,’ ‘Hanover House,’ ‘How to Kill a Zombie,’ ‘Escape From Tomorrow,’ or TV’s ‘Survivorman,’ we urge you to buy tickets early,” Shea says. “Compared to last year, we are averaging double the traffic on our Facebook page and website, and tickets are selling ahead of expectations across the board.”

For more information about the Festival schedule, events or to purchase tickets, see lafilmfestival.org.

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Enough is Enough: City councilors cannot punt away budget problems

By Robert E. Macdonald

Mayor of Lewiston

Our city budget season is upon us. Seven women and men, elected from throughout Lewiston, will spend long days and sleepless nights scrutinizing the budgets of our various city departments. They will labor over what capital expenditures can be put off and what, if any, services can be cut or curtailed.

They have become the stewards of Lewiston’s fiscal health. All at some point will question what possessed them to run for the council and take on this thankless task.

Each year balancing the city’s needs against what property taxpayers can afford becomes harder. The Washington goose that at one time was very fertile has now gone sterile. Reality in Augusta is defined by vocal special interest groups who at the start of the legislative season take up residence inside the walls of the State House. Here they repeatedly present legislators with dubious facts which go unchallenged by the majority of the clueless we have representing us. This results in the passage of legislation which in the long run will shaft the majority of our taxpaying population.

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Earning laughs for a good cause

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Some of New England’s funniest comedians performed for a full house at the Auburn Fireside Inn on February 7, bringing in $712 for the Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope & Healing. Pictured here (l. to r.) are Comedy Fix founder Mark Turcotte, Stephen Cloutier, Dee Turcotte, Shawn Carter, Phoebe Angle, Paul Landwehr, Dempsey Center Youth and Family Services Coordinator Tookie Bright and Stephanie Doyle. The next show is scheduled for Friday, March 14. For more information, see http://comedyfixlive.com.

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F.A.B. Winter Dance Showcase breaks new ground

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This year’s F.A.B. Winter Dance Showcase on March 1 features a diverse line-up, including a piece that incorporates elements of traditional Franco-American dance.

The ninth annual “F.A.B.” Winter Dance Showcase will take place on Saturday, March 1 at 7:30 p.m. at the Franco Center in Lewiston. The event, whose name stands for “Franco-American and Bates,” is produced by the Franco Center in association with Bates College.

F.A.B. aims to bring the mid-Maine dance audience together with artists from around the region. Visually stunning and kinetically mesmerizing, the event energizes Lewiston’s most beautiful auditorium with a kaleidoscope of dance styles.

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Local 797 plans comedy shows

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Rob Steen, who has appeared on David Letterman seven times, will be one of three comedians performing at the Ramada Conference Center on Friday, May 23.

The Auburn Firefighters Local 797 Children’s Fund will present two 21+ comedy shows on Friday, May 23 at 7 and 9 p.m. at the Ramada Conference Center in Lewiston. The shows will feature three professional comedians, including Rob Steen, who have appeared on Letterman, Leno, at Foxwoods Casino and Mohegan Sun. Proceeds will benefit programs supported by the Children’s Fund.

Doors will open at 6 p.m. Tickets will be available at the door for a suggested donation of $10. Advance tickets can be purchased by calling (207) 432-6968 or emailing alex@ecmgevents.com.

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Josh Ritter concert set for March 2

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Singer-songwriter Josh Ritter performs acoustic versions of his acclaimed songs on Sunday, March 2 at Bates College’s Olin Arts Center.

Touring behind a 2013 recording celebrated for its fresh approach to the weary theme of love gone wrong, singer-songwriter Josh Ritter will perform on Sunday, March 2 at 7:30 p.m. in the Olin Arts Center Concert Hall at Bates College in Lewiston.

Named one of the “100 Greatest Living Songwriters” by Paste magazine in 2006, Ritter is an American musician and author known for his distinctive Americana style and storytelling lyrics. The Bates concert is part of an acoustic tour presenting Ritter’s songs in stripped down, intimate arrangements.

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