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Archive for October 2011

Mayor’s Corner: Vote Yes on 3 for Lewiston Casino, Jobs and Economic Development

By Laurent F. Gilbert Sr.

Mayor of Lewiston

That’s right! A “yes” vote on Question 3 for the Lewiston casino initiative will create jobs and economic development that we desperately need for this area of Maine.

The Lewiston Casino proposal is unique not just in Maine, but throughout the country. It adheres to the recommendations of organizations such as Grow Smart Maine, the Maine Development Foundation and our very own Lewiston-Auburn Growth Council. The LAEGC voted unanimously at its meeting a week ago for a resolve in support of Question 3 on the November 8 ballot. It simply is smart growth that these organizations represent.

The Lewiston casino initiative will allow us to reclaim an idle, vacant building that once housed hard-working people. It was only hours away from destruction until the casino proposal came forward. The casino proposal will now transform it into a productive economic enterprise, putting people in our communities locally back to work.

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Lewiston casino proponent responds to critics

By Peter Robinson

Peter Robinson is a partner in Great Falls Recreation and Redevelopment LLC, which is proposing the Lewiston casino initiative.

The people of this community have been misinformed about a number of things concerning our casino proposal, and I am writing to set the record straight.

This is a response to Lewiston School Committee Chairperson Jim Handy (“School committee chair questions plan for temporary casino,” TCT, Oct. 20, 2011, page 1):

On Tuesday, October 18, I attended the Lewiston City Council meeting and made it quite clear that there never have been any “secret plans” to build a temporary facility and that, furthermore, our agreement with the city does not give us a right to do that. I reiterated that the location has to be at Bates Mill No. 5 or I would oppose it.

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Riverfront Island Master Plan workshop is Nov. 16

The first public workshop to discuss the Lewiston Riverfront Island Master Plan will be held on November 16.

The City of Lewiston is developing a master plan for the riverfront area of Lewiston and has awarded this planning effort to consultant Goody Clancy of Boston. The master plan will help the city frame future development strategies, land use regulations and public investments in this vital but underutilized part of the city.

The public is invited to attend the first public workshop to discuss this planning effort on November 16 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Franco-American Heritage Center, 46 Cedar St., Lewiston. Goody Clancy will provide an overview of the master planning process and a summary of preliminary findings, followed by small-group discussions of opportunities for the Riverfront Island area.

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LETTER: Teachers’ contract is generous; school committee is complacent

To the Editor:

Our schools fail because of our teachers, our school committees and ourselves.

Most teachers I’ve known were good—at least two were saintly. Teachers are like snowflakes; they can be individually wonderful, but calamitous in great numbers. And, when they coalesce into a union, they shed both their personality and their good nature. They become self-serving and foreign to the purpose of teaching.

They do not change solely by themselves, but are complicit with their school committees. I know few school committee members and those only casually; I can’t testify to their individual qualities. I have to judge them by their group behavior, and by this judgment they are unattractive. Under their authority, our schools have failed for a decade or more.

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ALT, Bird Club to host “The Future of Maine’s North Woods”

“The Future of Maine’s North Woods” will be explored in a public forum on Monday, November 7 at 7 p.m. in Heritage Hall at the Franco American Heritage Center at 46 Cedar St., Lewiston.

The agenda for the evening will explore three major public policy issues involving Maine’s North Woods: the current status of public land ownership in Maine; the proposed feasibility study for a North Woods National Park; and the future of the Land Use Regulation Commission (LURC).

The event is being co-sponsored by the Androscoggin Land Trust, Stanton Bird Club and Harward Center for Community Partnerships at Bates College.

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School committee chair questions temporary casino

Lewiston School Committee Chairperson Jim Handy wrote to Mayor Larry Gilbert, who is the spokesman for the Lewiston “Yes on 3” casino proposal, to express his concerns about plans to establish a temporary casino in a location that has not been shared with the public.

Handy’s letter, dated Sunday, October 16, was a follow up to a phone conversation he had with Mayor Gilbert on Friday, October 14, during which the he said the mayor seemed unaware of plans for a temporary casino in Lewiston.

Handy, whose service on the school committee dates back to 1994, questioned in his letter what neighborhoods, schools and places of worship would be impacted by the opening of a casino as soon as this February. He also pressed Mayor Gilbert about the definition of “temporary,” suggesting that uncertainty about gambling expansion in Biddeford and redevelopment costs at Bates Mill No. 5 could leave a temporary facility operational in a Lewiston neighborhood indefinitely.

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YPLAA announces 2011 award recipients

The Young Professionals of the Lewiston-Auburn Area will award four individuals and one business with their annual awards at the YPLAA 2011 Annual Meeting.

The meeting will be held on Friday, October 28 at the Carriage House, 1119 Lisbon St., Lewiston. The evening begins with a social starting at 6:30 p.m., dinner at 7 p.m. and awards and comedians at 8 p.m.

This year’s YPLAA Award recipients are:

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LETTER: Teaching English should be first priority

To the Editor:

As hard as we try, we fail to provide an adequate public education for our immigrant children. These children and the adults responsible for their education face a problem so significant that only partial success is possible or expected. Because these children speak little or no English, any hope their parents and their teachers might have for their future must be restrained; in addition to the school lessons all beginning students must learn, they must also learn the language for those lessons.

If we are to understand their problem, we must first be aware of the learning difficulties encountered by children who begin school already speaking English. Educators know that the social economic standing of the family is the best predictor of a child’s academic success. This is so prevalent, it is said that a school can be judged, its academic success accurately predicted, just by observing the quality of automobiles in the student parking lot.

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LETTER: Maine People’s Alliance protests “voter suppression effort”

To the Editor:

I’m writing in response to State Rep. Richard M. Cebra’s unbelievable rant in the October 13, 2011 issue of the Twin City TIMES (Letter to the Editor: “Maine People’s Alliance doesn’t represent the people of Maine,” page 3).

For those of you who missed it, he equated the Maine People’s Alliance with a fringe group of anti-corporate hooligans. He cited an action that we undertook in June of this year at a Bank of America in Brunswick to help prove his point. He stretched this to try to invalidate the efforts of over 20 coalition partners in gathering more than enough signatures in just over three weeks this summer to get the election-day registration issue on the ballot.

I’m a proud member of the Maine People’s Alliance. I am a volunteer and not a professional protestor. I was one of the people who spoke at the Brunswick Bank of America this past June. We are part of the 99%.

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Mayor’s Corner: “American Jobs Act” killed on arrival by Senate Republicans

By Laurent F. Gilbert Sr.

Mayor of Lewiston

I’m mad as hell that the Senate Republicans killed President Barack Obama’s “American Jobs Act” upon its arrival in the U.S. Senate. Although the procedural vote passed by a 51-48, it needed 60 votes that would override a filibuster.

I’m mad as hell that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said in October 2010 that “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.”

He repeated it again on a Fox News Sunday program when asked about the charge made by Democrats that the Republicans are purposefully sabotaging the economy for political gain in 2012. He first admitted it by responding, “Well, that’s true,” then continued by saying that Republicans want to fix the economy first.

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