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Central Maine Medical Family mourns Amanda Dempsey

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Amanda Dempsey, 1934-2014.

“The entire Central Maine Medical family mourns the passing of Amanda Dempsey,” said Peter Chalke, President and CEO of Central Maine Healthcare. “She was both a great lady and a determined fighter who displayed tremendous courage, class and grace during her long battle with cancer.”

Patrick Dempsey’s experiences dealing with his mother’s illness while living in California led to the creation of the Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope & Healing. In 2007, the Dempsey Family approached Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston with the idea of creating a local cancer support organization. Amanda had received cancer treatment at CMMC, and the family wished not only to help other families affected by cancer but also to give back to their local community. The Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope & Healing was founded in 2008 by Amanda’s children, Patrick, Mary and Alicia, in honor of Amanda and in partnership with CMMC.

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Group emerges to launch new Film Fest

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A group of community members determined to keep independent film alive in the Twin Cities has launched the Emerge Film Festival, set for Saturday, June 14 at the Franco Center. Pictured here (l. to r.) are Tamera Greishaber, Chip Morrison, Laura Davis, Ramsey Tripp, Michael Miclon, Sandra Marquis, Richard Martin and Katie Greenlaw.

With the recent cancellation of the Lewiston Auburn Film Festival (LAFF), a new festival has emerged as a forum for many who were planning to show films at this year’s LAFF to present their work.

At a recent press conference, Ramsey Tripp, speaking for a group of community members determined to keep independent film alive in the Twin Cities, announced that the Emerge Film Festival will take place on Saturday, June 14 at the Franco Center in Lewiston. Emerge is a completely separate entity from the Lewiston Auburn Film Festival.

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Assad Family brings Brazilian songbook to Bates

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This extraordinary family of guitarists, singers, and composers – brothers Sérgio and Odair Assad, their sister Badi, and their daughters, Clarice and Carolina – will perform a diverse program of Brazilian and Latin American music on Sunday, April 6 at Olin Arts Center.

Featuring brothers a Washington Post reviewer has called “the best two-guitar team in existence,” the Assad Family will bring an eclectic program of Brazilian and Latin American music to Bates College’s Olin Arts Center on Sunday, April 6 at 7 p.m.

Tickets for this Olin Arts Alive concert are $22, available at batestickets.com. Limited free tickets are available for students and seniors (ages 65-plus) at bit.ly/oacbates. Olin Arts Center is located at 75 Russell Street in Lewiston. For more information, call 786-6163 or email olinarts@bates.edu.

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Chamber makes $5,000 contribution to City of Lewiston

“Wow,” was the reaction of Mayor Robert E. Macdonald upon hearing that the Androscoggin County Chamber of Commerce had made a $5,000 contribution to the City of Lewiston. Located at 415 Lisbon Street in Lewiston, the Chamber is a non-profit organization and is thereby tax-exempt.

“Although the Chamber is tax-exempt, we use municipal services,” said Chamber president Charles “Chip” Morrison. “Our Board members are very community-minded, and they recognize the challenges posed by current municipal budgets. So they wanted to contribute to the cost of the services our organization benefits from.”

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Enough is Enough: Lewiston faces budget pressure; politicians deny welfare problems

By Robert E. Macdonald

Mayor of Lewiston

It is time for a no-holds-barred venting on welfare reform. It is time for an accounting from our Lewiston state legislative delegation as to what they have done to help alleviate our current welfare crisis.

Over the next eight weeks, seven Lewiston residents elected to our city council will debate, ponder and come up with a city budget that places minimum fiscal distress on local property taxpayers while providing services needed to make sure we function and grow as a community. This is Lewiston, not Lourdes—there will be no forthcoming miracles. Property taxes will increase. The only question is: How much?

Lewiston has one of the lowest property value rates in the state. This is why a house is Southern Maine is valued three times or more than a similar one in Lewiston. This undervalue is reflected in our mil rate. At the end of the day, that similar house in Southern Maine is paying about the same or slightly more in taxes than you do in your undervalued home.

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Dempsey to receive Maine Creative Industries Award

The Maine Center for Creativity (MCC) recently announced that actor and cancer activist Patrick Dempsey will be one of the co-recipients of this year’s Maine Creative Industries Award, a prestigious biennial honor that recognizes exceptional people and organizations who enrich Maine’s growing reputation as a state where the arts and enterprise meet and flourish.

The other recipient of the award will be Jackson Laboratory, a leading-edge genetics research laboratory located in Bar Harbor. The awards will be presented on November 15 at a gala celebration in Portland.

“These exemplary honorees showcase Maine’s creativity in separate ways – Mr. Dempsey as a product of our rich performing arts community, which led to his success and ability to found the Dempsey Center, and Jackson Laboratory as an example of our world-class research and development industry,” said Jean Maginnis, founder and executive director of MCC. “Their common accomplishment is their imaginative approach to bringing comfort, care and the pursuit of a cure to cancer patients in Maine and beyond.”

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LAC, ELHS students convene for civil rights workshop

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Students from ELHS and LAC take part in a civil rights workshop hosted recently by LAC’s Druker Office of Community Engagement. From l. to r. are Ayuub Sharlot (EL), Angela Hamel (LAC), Jessica Sinclair (LAC and EL), Sierra-Lynn Frost (EL), Morgan Laferierre (EL), Patrick Garner (EL), Dante Baskett (EL), Allie Flowers (EL), and Riley McCurdy (EL). Standing in back are Renee Morin (LAC) and Pamela Lebourdais (LAC).

The Druker Office of Community Engagement at the University of Southern Maine’s Lewiston-Auburn College (USM LAC) recently hosted a daylong workshop about civil rights for students from the college and Edward Little High School (ELHS). Called “Bringing it Home: Civil Rights Struggles from Birmingham to Maine,” the workshop examined similarities and differences between civil rights struggles in Lewiston-Auburn, the United States, and globally 50 years ago and today.

Funded by a USM Diversity Mini Grant, the workshop brought together approximately 50 students from ELHS and 25 students from USM, along with staff from both schools, to build community among students while exploring the ethics and history of civil rights movements.

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Rice-DeFossé enters Franco Hall of Fame

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Lewiston legislators congratulate Mary Rice-Defossé (c.) on becoming one of seven new members inducted into the Franco-American Hall of Fame this year. Pictured with Rice-DeFossé are (l. to r.) Representative Nathan Libby, Patricia DeFossé, Senator Margaret Craven and Representative Michel Lajoie. Rice-DeFossé is a French professor at Bates College in Lewiston.

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Enough is Enough: Mother Nature wreaks havoc on education system

By Robert E. Macdonald

Mayor of Lewiston

School daze: A condition that will soon be coming to a school near you. No school will be immune. It will spread throughout the entire Maine school system faster than students being dismissed for the day.

There is no known cure for it. In some cases it can be limited, although this year it is on track to reach epic proportions. This year’s students will be infected by the most powerful strain of this scourge: Mother Nature.

Over the past school year, Mother Nature has wreaked havoc on the steady, consistently measured flow of educational knowledge imparted on our students by their teachers. This educational flow is only successful if it is allowed to continue with few interruptions. However, this academic year Mother Nature has been exceptionally cruel to our educational system. There is still a chance Mother Nature may rain down another catastrophe upon us. As I write, a major Nor’easter is forming with the potential of hitting Maine hard.

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Enough is Enough: Fight drug problem by targeting dealers, not making excuses

By Robert E. Macdonald

Mayor of Lewiston

I’m beginning to come to the realization that anything Governor Paul LePage tries to do to make Maine safer, less costly and create a more business-friendly environment is immediately pounced on and declared evil by academics, shyster politicians, cognac-sniffing elitists, arrogant nobodies that declare themselves community leaders and those with both hands in the working men/women’s pockets.

They look down on those who tediously labor daily and exhibit common sense: men and women whose perception of Maine is formed by their daily community interaction, not by some theoretical academic fancy put forth in the classroom. The above-mentioned groups work hard to bring those who do not share their views over to their way of thinking. They try to modify opponents’ thoughts so that reality is looked on as nothing more than an aberration.

Their latest attack on Governor LePage involves his plan to add 14 drug agents, four judges and four prosecutors to deal with Maine’s dangerous and growing drug problem.

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