Many of you may remember the cartoon “School House Rock” and the song “How a Bill Becomes a Law.” Without commentary on the dysfunction of Washington and whether that is still the process today, the topic of public idea to implementation is worth revisiting.
As the song goes, some local residents had an idea and they brought it to their elected representative. Their representative turned that idea into a bill, which was sent to a committee to be reviewed, researched, debated and voted up or down back to the full elected body, in that case, Congress.
For the public, there’s a clear link between how an idea gets shared and ultimately gets to a yes or no from all of the elected officials. An idea becomes a bill. A bill goes to a committee made up of a small number of elected officials. The committee votes it back to the full body. And all the while the process is clear and the public knows how to provide its input to their officials.
In my four years so far as mayor, one of the most concerning aspects of trying to work with an elected city council of seven is that there is no process for an elected official, or a citizen, to propose an idea and have it worked through a defined process.
Four recent graduates of the Maine College of Health Professions Nursing Assistant course have passed the Maine competency examination. Completing the training program were Jennifer Blais of Winthrop, Bernadette Burks of Saco, and Lindsay Monaghan and Casey Trip, both of Auburn.
Androscoggin Bank’s MainStreet Foundation has announced the recipients of its quarterly awards for the fourth quarter of 2015. Recognizing a need for at-risk kids in Maine to be safe, healthy, active, happy, educated and nourished, the MainStreet Foundation awards impact grants four times each year to organizations actively working to help kids thrive. The grants vary based upon the need and are awarded in amounts of up to $5,000. In November, a total of $12,500 was awarded to the following four nonprofit organizations.
Junior Achievement of Maine. $5,000 was awarded to this Portland-based organization focused on reaching and educating Maine school children about entrepreneurship, work readiness and financial literacy. The funds will allow JAME to bring Education, Career & Financial Skills programming to 160 Lewiston-Auburn third and fourth graders. The teachers and schools provide access to their classroom while businesses and professionals volunteer as presenters.
Viles Arboretum in Augusta will present its popular annual Table Tour on Sunday, February 7. Last year, over three hundred participants gathered to snowshoe, ski or hike on the groomed trails while sampling culinary delights supplied by a variety of restaurants and food providers from the Capital City area.
After enjoying delicious fare from hearty chowder to fresh baked breads, no one leaves the event with an appetite, especially after ending with a dessert and a cup of freshly brewed coffee or other warm beverage. It’s a great way to get some fun outdoor activity before settling down to watch the big game. Trails will open at 11 a.m., trail foods will be served until 1 p.m., and desserts, coffee and hot beverages will be served at the main building, located at the end of the course, until 2 p.m.
The Maine Warden Service and the Maine Snowmobile Association are reminding snowmobilers to operate their snowmobiles safely and responsibly this winter. The most common contributing factors associated with snowmobile incidents in Maine are operating too fast for conditions, driving beyond the effectiveness of headlights, driving beyond operator abilities, and operating on unfamiliar bodies of water. Also, they encourage operators to be especially aware of thin ice, trip preparation, and landowner relations.
Thin Ice: Be mindful of early season and mild weather hazards, specifically thin ice and open water, especially when operating on unfamiliar rivers, ponds, or lakes. Be sure to respect warning signs, especially near hydropower facilities.
Employees from the Poland Spring bottling plant donned Santa hats and went out into the community recently to make two special holiday deliveries. Their first stop was at the Poland Community Church Food Bank, where they presented a check for $1,800 to Rose Frost, director of the Mannafed program, which provides backpacks of food to RSU 16 students to bring home on weekends and during school vacations. Their second visit was to Poland Community School, where they unloaded gifts of toys, books and clothing to benefit three local families in need.
Family members are organizing a Spaghetti Supper & Raffle to benefit Shayna Newton on Saturday, January 23. Shayna is battling Rasmussen encephalitis, a rare disorder of the central nervous system; proceeds from the event will assist with her medical expenses and monthly travel to the Boston Children’s Hospital.
The supper will be served from 4:30 to 6 p.m. and the raffle will be drawn at 6:30; you need not be present to win. The meal will include spaghetti & meatballs, macaroni & cheese, casseroles, salad, sides, dessert and beverages. A cash bar and take-out will be available. Tickets are $7 for adults and $4 for children. They may be purchased at the door. The event will take place at VFW Post 1603 at 588 Minot Avenue in Auburn.
To inaugurate the Holy Year of Mercy declared by Pope Francis, Bishop Robert P. Deeley opened the fourth and final holy door in the Diocese of Portland when he celebrated Mass at the Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul in Lewiston on December 20, the fourth Sunday of Advent.
On Thursday, December 31, the Franco Center will celebrate New Year’s Eve and ring in 2016 with a year-ending “Dinner, Dance, Drop and Draw!” After the doors and bar open for a fun and elegant evening at 7 p.m., a delicious buffet dinner, prepared and served by the Franco Center staff, will be served from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. After that, guests will dance to live music from across the decades, performed by nine-piece band Every Other Sunday.
Then, just before midnight, everyone will ascend to the center’s magnificent Performance Hall, with its own “balloon drop,” champagne toast and drawing of the evening’s New Year’s L/A prize, for the Times Square countdown to 2016 on the big screen.
Elementary students of Saint Dominic Academy present their annual Christmas Pageant at the school’s Auburn campus recently. Open to the public, the annual performance, which takes place on the Sunday after the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, is one of many special activities students take part in during the Christmas season.