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Archive for March 2011

LaBonte: How do you make an industrial city new again?

By Jonathan LaBonte

TCT columnist

A room full of people gathered in Downtown Lewiston on St. Patrick’s Day and, in this case, it was not to raise a pint of Guinness in honor of our local Irish heritage.

The Lewiston Public Library played host, as part of its Great Falls Forum series, to a delegation of business and civic leaders from the City of Lowell in Massachusetts. The topic: How do you take an industrial city and make it new again?

Actually, the presentation was a mix of laying out the history of Lowell’s development, a key factor in planning for any revitalization, and detailing how the painstaking and lengthy process of encouraging reinvestment gained traction of the last three decades.

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Chelsea Fournier wins “Launch L/A!” contest

Based on online votes from the community, Chelsea Fournier has been selected as the winner of the “Launch L/A!” young entrepreneur contest. She will receive nearly $100,000 in cash and in-kind services for her business venture, Lifestyles Massage.

Fournier plans to open and operate Lifestyles Massage, a massage therapy center focused on the sustainability of health, the local economy and the environment. Lifestyles Massage will provide clients with consistent and excellent care while minimizing common barriers increasing accessibility, quality and comfort.

Born and raised in Lewiston, Fournier was an active member of many community outreach groups and art organizations as a dancer and teaching assistant. After graduating from Lewiston High School, Fournier attended college in Massachusetts. She returned to Maine to receive her juris doctorate at the University of Maine Law School with the desire to use her skills to foster Maine’s small business economy.

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Op/Ed: On whose back should we balance the budget?

“Taxing the Rich is Sucker Bait”

By Prof. John Frary

I hope we can all agree on at least three things: 1) Maine’s Constitution requires the budget to be balanced; 2) the state has a really, really big bill to pay in the form of unfunded mandates; and 3) Paul LePage has no responsibility for the accumulation of these unfunded bills.

I know Number 3 will be tough for some people. But let’s face it, the bills accumulated long before he took office.

There’s no way that we are going to reach agreement about who’s responsible for this pile of debt. But we can agree, at least, that assigning responsibility is of no use in solving the problem.

The LePage budget proposal to raise the retirement age and increase the pension contributions of teachers has provoked protests that the budget should not be “balanced on the backs of the teachers.” Some Republican legislators, growing weak at the knees in reaction to phone calls from aggrieved teachers, have joined the cry.

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LETTER: In favor of sensible gun legislation

Letter to the Editor:

The following is my response to Lewiston Mayor Gilbert’s column on “sensible gun legislation” in the March 12, 2011 edition of Twin City TIMES.

Mayor Gilbert,

In response to your “Mayor’s Corner” weekly column in the Twin City TIMES, (“Patriots’ Ink sends subtle threat for my MAIG membership,” March 10, 2011) and to show that I support and agree with you about sensible gun legislation, I took your advice and signed the petition on the Fix Gun Checks website.

Unfortunately, folks like this Steven D. Lange of “Patriot’s Ink,” who you spoke about, and other similar organizations and their followers, who believe in the more radical approach of interpreting the Constitution, chose to ignore that the Founding Fathers were both reasonable and, more importantly, sensible about how they wanted the Constitution to be interpreted. “Sensible” being the operative word.

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Mayor’s Corner: Korea Free Trade Agreement is bad for jobs, democracy

By Laurent F. Gilbert Sr.

Mayor of Lewiston

Times are tough. The economic situation in our country mandates that we create jobs–good jobs—that will sustain families and our communities. Over the last two decades, we have outsourced manufacturing to foreign countries at an alarming rate.

The American worker is the collateral, and the result is an eroding middle class. Free-trade policies like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) have incentivized this reality. The ripple effects are far and wide. From a municipal perspective alone, the loss in well-paying jobs reduces our revenue stream and burdens our budget.

Most disturbing is that while Washington should be investing in job creation and securing a solid domestic manufacturing base, they are instead moving forward with the corporate-driven, free-trade agenda.

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Lewiston provides “Clean-Up Assistance Week”

The City of Lewiston will again provide Lewiston residents with “Clean-Up Assistance Week.”

From April 23 through April 30,  the city’s Solid Waste Facility at 424 River Road will waive tipping fees and use of the Punch Pass. In addition to the facility’s regular weekday hours of operation (7 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday), the Solid Waste Facility will be open on two Saturdays, April 23 and April 30, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The facility will not be open on Sunday.

Will this clean-up assistance be just for Lewiston residents? Yes! Clean-Up Assistance Week is for Lewiston residents only: proof of residence (driver’s license, tax receipt, utility bill) is required.

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Chamber After Hours is tonight at Pedro O’Hara’s!

TCT Publisher Laurie (McLean) Steele, right, and her sister Sharon (McLean) Lagasse, an advertising specialist at TCT, put aside their Scottish roots to join the St. Patrick’s Day celebration at Pedro O’Hara’s with owner Bill Welch. The After Hours tonight at Pedro’s promises just as much fun!

The Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours will be held tonight (Thursday, March 24) from 5 to 7 p.m. at Pedro O’Hara’s at 134 Main St., Lewiston. All are welcome to attend!

Pedro O’Hara’s features Mexican, Irish and American food and beverage favorites in a pub-style atmosphere. The Pedro O’Hara’s team promises fun, food and prizes, topped off by the opportunity to network. To learn more about Pedro’s, see

Come enjoy food, prizes and fun throughout the event, as well as sharing fellowship with friends and colleagues, old and new.

Business After Hours, which does not require advance registration, is considered one of the most valuable networking opportunities offered by The Chamber for members and non-members alike.

Governor LePage honored at Franco-American Heritage Center

Maine Governor Paul LePage was honored on March 16 at the Franco-American Heritage Center during “La Semaine de la Francophonie.” A Lewiston native, LePage grew up in Little Canada and attended church and school at St. Mary’s, which is now the home of the Franco-American Heritage Center. He was baptized in the church, served as an altar boy and made his first confession there. After a reception, the crowd moved to the performance hall, where LePage was asked to say a few words. He got laughs when he said that he was well-acquainted with the confessional in the corner. Pictured with the governor are his wife, Ann (left), and Rita Dube, executive director of the Franco-American Heritage Center. (TCT photo by Peter A. Steele)

Odelle Bowman to lead L/A Arts

Odelle Bowman

L/A Arts, Lewiston-Auburn’s local arts agency, is proud to announce Odelle Bowman as its new executive director. She will take over the position beginning, Tuesday, March 22.

Bowman believes in the power of the arts to transform, strengthen and foster positive growth in communities. “Lewiston-Auburn is at a crossroads and poised for growth,” she said. “We are a community that has many hidden treasures and new ones to develop. As we look to the future and hope to draw new community members and businesses to our area, quality of life must be considered. A quality of life that includes a cultural life filled with the arts, good schools that have enriching curriculum and opportunities for quality community interaction is what people are seeking.”

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Op/Ed: U.N. efforts have failed in Somalia

A Plan for Peace in Somalia

By Prof. Ali M. Mohamed Aden

As the director of the Centre for Democracy and Political Reconciliation in Somalia, I am here to propose an alternative peace initiative that will end the long and difficult Somali conflict.

CDPRS is poised to assist United Nations, European Union and the United States in the reconciliation process to bring peace, to re-institute Somali constitution and to rebuild the Somali Republic.

The United Nation’s policy on Somalia has failed. It did not bring peace—on the contrary, it has brought more chaos. The U.N.-supported transitional government (TG), which was based outside, has also failed to govern and bring peace. The TG has become part of the problem: it is now seen by the majority of Somali people as one of the warring factions.

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