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Archive for February 2012

Portland developer to begin work on Lofts at Bates Mill

The Szanton Company, a Portland-based real estate development company, has completed acquisition of 65,000 square feet—about one-and-a half-acres—of Bates Mill No. 2. The company plans to begin construction immediately on 48 apartments overlooking Fountain Park and Riverfront Island.

“We are thrilled to have reached this point,” said Nathan Szanton, president of the company. “It was a very complicated transaction—both the real estate and the financing. We had a huge amount of help from Tom Platz, our seller, from the City of Lewiston, from MaineHousing and from many others involved in the deal. Now we begin to build.”

The project, called The Lofts at Bates Mill, will be the first of its kind in Lewiston. “There is no rental housing like this in Lewiston,” said Szanton. “The apartments will have 13-foot ceilings, exposed wooden carrying beams and oversized windows, but it will also have modern amenities like an elevator, fitness center, community room, wi-fi and separate storage, all included in the rent.”

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Government watchdog group to investigate MaineHousing expenses

By Terrilyn Simpson

OPEGA has initiated a rapid response review of Maine State Housing Authority vendor expenditures following the release of a list of questionable expenses revealed in a MaineWire story. The vendor list was obtained through a Freedom of Access request submitted by the Maine Heritage Policy Center to MaineHousing.

The list of vendors includes: Caesars Palace. The luxury boutique hotel George. Posh hotel accommodations throughout the country. BYOB dance clubs. Funtown/Splashtown USA. Portland Pirates hockey team. The Great Falls Balloon Festival. Sunday River Ski Resort. A magician. A masseuse. High-priced motivational speakers and corporate training companies. Pricey bed and breakfasts. Donations to political groups. Donations to theaters and social justice groups and arts and theater organizations. It goes on and on.

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Enough is Enough: Limit on TANF may increase General Assistance

By Robert Macdonald

Mayor of Lewiston

An alcoholic can be defined as a person addicted to alcohol. Alcoholism is a terrible affliction.

It is very difficult to overcome the addiction to alcohol, especially if the alcoholic lives with an “enabler.” An enabler often protects the alcoholic, calling in sick when the alcoholic is too hung over to go to work or buying the daily bottle for the alcoholic.

Welfare is also very addictive. It is easy to stay home or party with friends, rather than go to work and put up with “Da Man” all day. The longer a person is out of work, the harder it is to return to the workforce again. Welfare becomes sweeter and sweeter by the month.

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LETTER: Residential property is key to Riverfront Redevelopment

To the Editor:

I am delighted to hear about the “Riverfront Redevelopment Initiative.” What a great way to boost Lewiston’s image. Having lived in Lewiston for a good part of my life, I still maintain strong family, community and business ties there, even though I now live and work in New York City.

Over the years, I have closely followed Lewiston’s economic ups and downs as well as the city’s efforts to attract more business and economic development. I have traveled extensively throughout New England, and I am familiar with other successful redevelopment riverfront projects such as those in Manchester, N.H. and Pawtucket, R.I. I always hoped that someday Lewiston would follow suit. It is evident that there has been significant social, cultural and economic rebirth in these once struggling cities.

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LA Trails to host day and night snowshoe adventures

Walk the historic Oak Hill Cemetery by morning and Simard-Payne (Railroad) Park under the full moon

LA Trails, the urban trails program of the Androscoggin Land Trust, will host two snowshoe excursions on Saturday, February 4, as part of continued efforts to raise awareness about the Androscoggin Greenway project in Lewiston-Auburn.

The first snowshoe hike will begin at the Walton School parking lot in New Auburn at 10 a.m. The trip will loop through the rolling hills and river views of the Oak Hill Cemetery, final resting place of some of Lewiston-Auburn’s most significant leaders, including Edward Little, and onto the adjacent Huston Farm Conservation Area.

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“LA 101” educates citizens on local government

If you’re curious as to how the Cities of Lewiston and Auburn operate, then LA 101 may be for you. If you’re a curious resident with a desire to learn and engage, LA 101 is definitely for you!

Lewiston/Auburn 101 is a 10-week exploration with participants visiting various municipal departments in Lewiston and Auburn and engaging with municipal staff and officials. The 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. weekly sessions commence on February 29 and run through May 2.

The program is sponsored by The League of Young Voters Education Fund in partnership with the Twin Cities. Nicola Wells, executive director of the League, will serve as facilitator. “Over the last year, the Maine League of Young Voters Education Fund has met with countless young people in the Lewiston/Auburn area and asked them what we could do to help achieve their goals for the community,” Wells said. “An overwhelming majority of residents said that they wanted an opportunity to better understand how municipal government works and the mechanisms available to them to get involved.”

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Franco Center presents “Mardi Gras in L/A”

The Franco Center will present another unique, festive and must-experience event with its offering of “Mardi Gras in L/A” at 6 p.m. on Saturday, February 18 in the center’s Heritage Hall. In the tradition of New Orleans, Mardi Gras audiences will be treated to Cajun cuisine, spirits and music.

As many know, Mardi Gras means “Fat Tuesday” en Francais. However, this holiday has a much wider historical and international appeal beyond the Francophone diaspora. Traditionally, Mardi Gras is the last decadent or “fat” feast before the fasting that often accompanies the season of Lent.

The Franco Center takes this as a serious endeavor and, for several years, has presented the most notable Mardi Gras celebrations in the Lewiston-Auburn area. This year will be no exception!

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