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Governor’s Address: Let’s Ensure Maine’s Minimum Wage Law Does No Harm

We need to make sure that employees in Maine do not see the same cut in pay that’s happening to low-wage workers in Seattle.

The Department of Labor submitted a bill this year to establish a training wage and slow the increase of the minimum wage. It would also eliminate indexing once the wage rises to $12 an hour in 2020.

There’s a big difference in the cost of living in Aroostook and Cumberland Counties. One wage doesn’t fit all employers. Other states recognize that a statewide minimum wage poses a problem. New York State allows its Commissioner of Labor to set the wage for counties outside New York City and its three surrounding counties.

In 2019, Maine’s minimum wage will be the same as that of Massachusetts – and in 2020 it will be higher. Think about that.

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“Antique Chests and Their Stories” at Andro. Historical Society

Presenter Churchill Barton, inside the Brettuns Village Trunk Shop

Androscoggin Historical Society will host a program on “Antique Chests and Their Stories” on Tuesday, February 27 at 7 p.m. Presented by Churchill Barton of Brettuns Village Trunk Shop, the program will take place at the Society’s Davis-Wagg Museum on the third floor of the County Building.

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Senior College has a cure for the winter blues

Despite snow and ice, USM LAC Senior College members enjoyed many one-day winter term classes on a variety of subjects. From travelogues to painting, issues of health to historical insights, and three days of playing games old and new, members had fun exploring new ideas. Not a member? It’s not too late to join for the remainder of the academic year. A $25 membership opens the way to registering for spring classes and club memberships extending through the summer months. The catalog for spring courses was distributed recently and can be reviewed online at usm.maine.edu/seniorcollege.

Norlands offers Winter Living History Day

Visitors may take a horse-drawn sleigh ride, see traditional ice cutting demonstrations on nearby Bartlett Pond, and enjoy numerous other activities.

The Washburn-Norlands Living History Center in Livermore will be open on Saturday, February 24 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. for a “Cabin Fever Reliever” Winter Living History Day. Journey into the past for some old-time fun, led by interpreters in period clothing who will portray members of the Washburn Family and their neighbors c. 1870.

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Rotary Breakfast Club supports food pantry, children’s programs 

Club president Pete Preble (l.) presents a $2,500 donation check to Lee Upton of the High Street Food Pantry.

The Auburn-Lewiston Rotary Breakfast Club has donated almost $5,000 to community programs in the past month. These donations included $2,500 to the High Street Food Pantry, $1,000 to the Salvation Army heating assistance program, $1,000 to the Big Brothers Big Sisters program in Androscoggin County, and $250 to sponsor a team for Auburn Suburban Baseball and Softball.

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Governor’s Address: Tell the Legislature to Put Their Medicaid Expansion Funding Plan in Writing

It’s been 100 days since voters passed the referendum to expand Medicaid. So far, the legislature has done nothing to fund it.

Mainers who voted for Medicaid expansion are waiting to see signs of its implementation. But, as I have told the Legislature repeatedly, I cannot implement it without funding.

Medicaid expansion is the law, and I will execute the law. However, funding it is the Legislature’s constitutional duty. Folks, they have no idea how to fund it.

DHHS cannot hire and train the additional 105 staff needed to run the expanded Medicaid program without money. We cannot pay the state’s share of the new enrollees’ medical bills without funding.

It’s like the Legislature telling me to go to the store and buy the weekly groceries, but they won’t give me any money. The time to appropriate the money is now – not after the next election.

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Auburn Fire Chief completes four-year Executive Fire Officer Program

Auburn Fire Chief Geoffrey Low (l.), with Auburn City Manager Peter Crichton

The National Fire Academy has announced that Auburn Fire Chief Geoffrey Low has successfully completed its four-year Executive Fire Officer program. To earn the Executive Fire Officer designation, Low completed a unique series of advanced graduate-level courses.

“This intensive program is designed to provide senior fire officers with a broad perspective on various facets of fire administration,” says U.S. Fire Administrator G. Keith Bryant. “It provides fire service officers with the expertise they need to succeed in today’s challenging environment.”

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CMCC student wins HEAF scholarship 

Kristina Blais is an honor student and a guard on the CMCC women’s basketball team that last year won the USCAA Women’s Division II national championship.

Kristina Blais of Central Maine Community College has been awarded a 2017 Higher Education Assistance Foundation scholarship. A graduate of Lewiston High School, Blais has earned high honors as a student in the Business Administration and Management transfer program at CMCC. She is also a guard on the women’s basketball team that won last year’s USCAA Women’s Division II national championship. She plans to attend the University of Southern Maine after she graduates from CMCC this spring.

HEAF was founded in the 1950s by a group of banks, businesses, community organizations, and individuals. Now administered by the Maine Bankers Association of Westbrook, the foundation annually awards sixteen $1,000 scholarships to students majoring in business-related fields at select Maine colleges. Since 1990, it has awarded more than $350,000 in scholarship to Maine students.

Rotary Club supports Maine Alzheimer’s Association

Peter Baker of the Maine Alzheimer’s Association (c.) receives a donation check from Rotarians (from l.) Belinda Valee, Monica Millhime, Cheryl McKeone, and Tom MacDonald.

The Lewiston-Auburn Lunch Club Rotarians recently presented the Maine chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association with a $2,000 donation, raised over the past year through sales of its Rotary Community Cookbook, which was championed and compiled by first-year Rotarian Lorraine Bard.

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Tightest Five semifinals tonight at Bear Bones Beer

Maine Event Comedy’s Tightest Five contest at Bear Bones Beer continues with the semifinal round on Thursday, February 15 at 7 p.m. Mark Turcotte will host 10 hopefuls as they perform their best five minutes of original material, only five of whom will advance to the finals. Along with bragging rights, the winner’s prize package includes paid work, professional headshots, and craft beer.

The semifinal contestants are Brendan Williams, Jeff Medoff, AJ O’Connell, Jim Martin, Jed Bloom, Mike Johnson, Adam Hatch, David McLaughlin, Ryan Ellington, and Sam Pelletier.

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