Franco 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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
Celebrating the opening of A & L Laboratory of Auburn are (l. to r.) City Councilor Tizz Crowley, Radon Specialist Tom Thornton, Lab President John Lyons, Lab Director Rebecca Labranche, Lab Technician Arthur Baker, Chamber President Chip Morrison, Client Services Rep Kerri Pawlina and Patti Gagne (TCT photo by Jen Pike).
Bates College recently received national recognition from a federal agency and a major foundation for its efforts to build community engagement into the education of its students.
The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching has selected Bates for its Community Engagement Classification for the second time, a distinction held by only two colleges in Maine and 157 colleges nationwide. The recognition is based on myriad aspects of community engagement, from impacts on student learning, to ways in which a college evaluates and rewards faculty involvement, to the community’s assessments of a college’s value as a partner.
The Nor’Easters Open Juvenile Team won their first ever medal at the U.S. Eastern Synchronized Skating Sectional Championships, held January 22 through 24 at the Olympic Center in Lake Placid, New York. After finishing third among a deep field of 29 teams in their qualifying round, the Open Juvenile Team stormed to the pewter medal with a fourth place finish in the Championship Round. The Nor’Easters Open Adult Team also competed, earning sixth place in their division.
The Franco Center in Lewiston will host a tribute to Congressman Michael H. Michaud on Friday, February 6 at 6:30 p.m. The event is open to the public.
Michaud recently retired from Congress after serving as the U.S. Representative for Maine’s 2nd Congressional District from 2003 to 2015. This primarily rural district, including the cities of Lewiston, Auburn, Bangor and Presque Isle, comprises nearly 80 percent of the state by area and is the largest Congressional district by area east of the Mississippi River.