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This week’s edition!

CMCC Automotive Program earns national reaccreditation

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Students Kasandra Bernard and Eban Johnston, at work in CMCC’s automotive technology lab

Central Maine Community College has announced that its Automotive Technology program has been reaccredited by the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation.

Founded in 1983, NATEF examines the structure, resources and quality of training programs and evaluates them against standards established by the industry. These standards reflect the skills that students must master to be successful in the industry. The NATEF visiting team noted that the automotive program at CMCC excelled in the areas of 1) equipment available for learning, 2) the technical credentials of the faculty, and 3) the use of the Ford ASSET model to get students into the workforce early.

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Joan Macri to discuss “Decorating the White House” at APL

Joan Macri, a former American History teacher at Lewiston High School, had the opportunity to decorate one of the world’s most prestigious buildings this holiday season. On Thursday, January 28 at 6 p.m. in the Community Room at Auburn Public Library, she’ll describe that experience in a presentation called “Decorating the White House: An Insider’s View.”

Macri was one of 88 volunteers who spent three days in December decorating the White House. In her presentation, she will share how she was chosen and describe some of the decorations used to celebrate the holiday season at the White House, where the theme this year was “A Timeless Tradition.”

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DHHS Uncovers over $1.2 Million in Welfare Theft 

Unauthorized use of EBT cards, falsifying documents, lying about income, hidden trust funds and the act of “water dumping,” are just a few examples of the welfare fraud that DHHS has caught people committing in recent months.
In 2015, 130,413 EBT cards were issued and $311,664,909.00 was spent through EBT transactions this includes cash withdrawals. Prior to this administration, the state was not actively utilizing available EBT transaction data to find potential inappropriate usage or potential eligibility issues of clients. Now, DHHS is using state-of-the-art business analytics software to quickly find inappropriate usage including clients that may have moved out of state, potential drug trafficking activity and collusion with vendors to commit fraud.

Seventeen investigators spread out over 11 offices work tirelessly taking tips, investigating leads and tracking down millions of dollars in misused benefits.

On January 8th, the most recent case of welfare fraud ended with a conviction. Details can be viewed at http://www.maine.gov/dhhs/fraud-press-release.htm

Efficient and effective government requires accountability and transparency

Governor Paul R. LePage

Governor Paul R. LePage

I intend to let Mainers know what is going on in Augusta. They deserve to know how their elected officials are voting on important issues. Unfortunately, once these politicians get to Augusta, they are all too eager to hide their business from the Maine people.

They soon forget why they were elected and what they promised to do for their constituents. I was elected by hundreds of thousands of people from all corners of Maine. As your Governor, I don’t make decisions based on one person, one lobbyist, one community or one county, but rather what’s in the best interest of all 1.3 million Mainers.

I am all for accountability and transparency in government, and I have made that clear throughout my tenure as Governor. But the Legislature is not transparent.

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Judith Ivey directs Public Theatre’s “Ladies Foursome”

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Ivey has won Tony and Drama Desk Awards for her Broadway performances in “Steaming” and “Hurlyburly.”

The Public Theatre will have audiences forgetting those winter blues when it presents the New England premiere of the smart and sassy play “The Ladies Foursome” January 22 through 31. Written by Canada’s most produced playwright, Norm Foster, this fast-paced comedy juxtaposes belly laughs and touching moments to appeal to anyone who appreciates the joys and sorrows of friendship.

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Mechanics Savings Bank to award $17,000 in scholarships

Mechanics Savings Bank has announced that it will continue its long-standing tradition of offering Banking on the Future scholarships to local high school graduates pursuing their higher education goals. In 2016, a total of $17,000 will be awarded to graduates of participating high schools, including Edward Little, Lewiston, Gray-New Gloucester, Poland Regional, Brunswick, Mt. Ararat, Saint Dominic Academy, Leavitt, Lisbon, Oak Hill, and Windham.

Students are selected by their high school guidance department based upon their accomplishments in and out of the classroom. Candidates must demonstrate academic success, service to school, community and/or family, and involvement in extracurricular activities.

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Agora Grand Event Center to host Dempsey Challenge event

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The Champions for Hope celebration, a special event to honor top Dempsey Challenge fundraisers, will take place at the new event center, scheduled to open in May in the former St. Patrick’s Church of Lewiston.

The Dempsey Challenge has announced that its annual Champions for Hope celebration, a moving and special part of the annual Dempsey Challenge weekend, will take place for the first time this year in the all-new Agora Grand Event Center, scheduled to open in May in the former St. Patrick’s Church on Bates Street in Lewiston.

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Woodlands opens Memory Care of Lewiston, Phase II

Maine-based Woodlands Senior Living is preparing to open Phase II of Woodlands Memory Care of Lewiston, the family-owned company’s 11th Senior Living Facility in Maine and its sixth purpose-built memory care community in the state. Phase I opened in October of 2015, when half of the 64-bed community became available for residents. With Phase I already at capacity, the 32 additional beds of Phase II will be a welcome opportunity for potential residents in need of memory care.

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We will continue to root out corruption in Augusta

Governor Paul R. LePage

Governor Paul R. LePage

As the second session of the 127th Legislature opens, you can be sure it will be more political than last session. That’s because 2016 is an election year.

Politicians know how to provide lip service, and that’s exactly what they will be doing for the next few months as they use the session for their campaign soapbox.

I did not come to Augusta to provide lip service. I came to work for the Maine people. I also came to Augusta to root out crooked politicians and government corruption. I’ve upset their apple cart, and they don’t like it. They could not defeat me at the ballot box, so they are trying to destroy me any way they can. But, as the saying goes, when you point a finger at me, three fingers are pointing back at you. These politicians are the same people who are guilty of deceiving the Maine people.

They wasted six months of the taxpayers’ time and money on a political witch hunt, only to find no wrongdoing. They convened a kangaroo court, but shut it down as soon as the truth started to come out. They blundered on the budget. In June 2015, they orchestrated a secretive, back-room deal on the budget, which included wasteful spending of millions of taxpayer dollars.  They rejected real tax reform. We put up a bill to amend the Maine Constitution to eliminate the income tax. These politicians rejected the bill, denying Mainers a chance to vote on how much tax the government should take out of their paychecks.

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Media, Legislature vilify anyone who threatens status quo

By Robert E. Macdonald, Mayor of Lewiston

Robert E. Macdonald, Mayor of Lewiston

If it were not for newspapers, the history of America might have been quite different than what children currently study in school.

Back before radio, television and computers, the printed word was sought and relished by those who wanted to keep abreast of what was happening in the world, the country and their own backyards.

Newspapers printed the current happenings. They also printed uncensored, dueling letters in which both sides of an issue were presented. This back-and-forth free flow of ideas and opinions allowed readers to make educated decisions on the issues of the day.

In the 1770s it was an educated newspaper reading public that steeled the spines of our Founding Fathers when they had second thoughts about declaring independence from Great Britain.

But as time went by, newspapers evolved. They saturated news with sensationalism and untruths designed to keep the readers’ interest, raise their emotions and, most importantly, sell papers.

Times change. Today people get their news from television, radio, the Internet and the old standbys, beauty salons, barber shops and coffee shops. Exercising your brain via the written word seems to be going the way of the dinosaur.

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