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This week’s edition!

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


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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Good government requires active input from citizens

By Jonathan P. LaBonté, Mayor of Auburn

Jonathan P. LaBonté, Mayor of Auburn

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.

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CNA grads complete state exam


Here on Aloha Day at Clover Manor with “Santa Bones” and course instructor Evawn Young, R.N., B.S.N. (r.)  are MCHP Nursing Assistant course graduates (l. to r.) Jennifer Blais, Lindsay Monaghan, Bernadette Burks and Casey Trip.


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.

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MainStreet announces fourth quarter grants

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.

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Viles Arboretum offers annual Table Tour


Food tables along the course allow participants to sample culinary delights from a variety of Capital City eateries.

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.

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Warden Service urges snowmobilers to ride responsibly

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.

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