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Governor’s Address: We must help keep the elderly in their own homes

We need to treat our elderly with respect and let them keep their dignity. And we must let them keep their homes.

I have submitted a bill to protect the elderly from tax lien foreclosures. It would protect elderly Mainers on fixed incomes from losing the equity in their home when they have trouble keeping up with ever-rising property taxes.

Last year, I learned about an elderly couple who lost their home through the tax lien foreclosure process. The husband is a disabled veteran and the wife is a former nurse with health issues. The couple was living on social security and fell behind on their property taxes. The town foreclosed on the home they had lived in for 33 years. The couple was evicted and the property sold for $6,500.

Maine law provides for an automatic municipal tax foreclosure process. When a homeowner does not pay back taxes within 18 months of the property-tax lien, the town automatically forecloses and the home becomes property of the town.

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Auburn Mayor’s office gets historic makeover 

From left: David Chittim and Douglas Hodgkin show Mayor Jason Levesque antique postcards of historic Auburn buildings.

In preparation for Auburn’s sesquicentennial, the mayor’s office is getting a new look. Since taking office in December, Mayor Jason Levesque has given direction and helped facilitate a makeover of his workspace on the second floor of Auburn Hall that will honor the city’s past through collaborations with private businesses and community groups.

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Quartet offers Singing Valentines

The award-winning Heart ‘n Soul Quartet are (l. to r.) Jan Flowers, Anne Danforth, Sue Staples, and Cathy Anderson.

Anne Danforth, Jan Flowers, Sue Staples, and Cathy Anderson, otherwise known as the Heart ‘n Soul Quartet, have shared their love of barbershop harmony throughout Maine, receiving the Image of Harmony Award for their community outreach.

As members of the Maine-ly Harmony women’s chorus, these four ladies will be out and about on Valentine’s Day delivering Singing Valentines and roses, courtesy of Augusta Florist, as part of the chorus’ annual fundraiser. To order a Singing Valentine and long-stemmed red rose, to be delivered to your loved one at home or work, all for $35, contact Nancie by February 12 at 293-4779 or

State St. Traditional Jazz Band brings romance of Mardi Gras to Franco Center

Those attending will be treated to the joyful sounds of the Big Easy, free-flowing spirits, and authentic Cajun cuisine.

Genuine Cajun cooking and the State Street Traditional Jazz Band will bring the flavor of Mardi Gras – with a Valentine’s Day twist – back to the Gendron Franco Center in Lewiston on Tuesday, February 13 at 7 p.m. The center will produce another of its unique, festive dinner-dance events with its “Mardi Gras-Sweetheart” evening in Heritage Hall. The evening is underwritten in part through the generosity of several community members, who will be recognized at the event. Seating is limited. Reserved tickets are $20 each, which includes the meal, show-dancing, and prizes.

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Friends of the Cobbossee offer kids’ Winter Day Camp

The culminating activity of each two-day session will be learning to ice fish with Ryan Burton of the Cobbossee Watershed District.

The Friends of the Cobbossee Watershed will present their annual Winter Nature Day Camp at Camp Mechuwana on Lower Narrows Pond in Winthrop during February’s school vacation week. Open to children in grades three through five, two-day camp sessions will be offered on Tuesday and Wednesday, February 20 and 21, and Thursday and Friday, February 22 and 23. The sessions will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day and will include a mixture of indoor and outdoor activities, including snowshoeing, winter tracking, and games. The culminating activity will be learning to ice fish with Ryan Burton of the Cobbossee Watershed District.

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Governor’s Address: We Must Act to Save Girls from Horrific Child Abuse

There’s a horrific type of child abuse happening right here in Maine, and we must stop it. It is graphic and disturbing.

No child should ever be subjected to violence, especially when it leaves them permanently disfigured and interferes with normal bodily functions. But young girls in Maine are being forced to undergo a procedure called “female genital mutilation,” and hundreds more are at risk.

Referred to as “FGM,” this heinous procedure involves partial or total removal of female genitalia for cultural or religious reasons. It is a practice common in many refugee populations, particularly those from East Africa, although the practice is pervasive around the world.

In 2013, Maine had 1,603 women at risk. Of those, 399 were under 18. Exact figures are hard to get because parents don’t report this kind of mutilation, and girls are unlikely to report their parents. But doctors and nurses in our hospitals have seen the brutal results, either on the exam table or in the Emergency Room after it has gone horribly wrong.

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“From Bandstand to Billboard” to revisit popular music from the 1950s through ’70s

The cast includes favorite Community Little Theatre musicians and actors, including Duane Glover, Eileen Messina, Gerry Therrien, and Sophie Messina.

“From Bandstand to Billboard – On the Flip Side” is a fun and sometimes romantic collection of big hits from Billboard Magazine and American Bandstand from the 1950s, ’60s, and ’70s. The widely-acclaimed show will appear for the third year at the Gendron Franco Center in Lewiston on Saturday, February 24 at 7:30 p.m. The theme of this year’s show is “From Doo-Wop to Disco.”

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E.L.H.S. senior represents Post 31 in Oratorical Contest

Bilal Hussein, a senior at Edward Little High School, represented American Legion Post 31 of Auburn recently in the American Legion Oratorical Contest. He won the District 3 contest and will deliver his speech on the U.S. Constitution at the Maine State Competition in February. He is shown here at Post 31 with Post Commander Calvin Hunter, Service Officer Bettyann Sheats, and Historian Pauline St. Pierre.

Maine Event Comedy at Baxter Brewing

Phoebe Angle is a rural Maine transplant now living in Beantown.

Maine Event Comedy will present Boston’s Phoebe Angle at Baxter Brewing on Friday, February 2 at 7 p.m. Also performing will be Mark Reilly, Sam Pelletier, Jed Bloom, and Mariel Cabral.

Angle is a comedian with more than just fantastic hair. A rural Maine transplant now living in Beantown, she entertains with a unique perspective, poking fun at everything from her rural upbringing to urban public transportation – but mostly herself. She’s performed in the Chicago Woman’s Funny Fest, the Limestone Comedy Festival, and the Seattle International Comedy Competition.

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Maine Highland Fiddlers at Village Coffeehouse

This group of seven strives to recapture the kitchen party atmosphere that is central to the Celtic tradition.

The Maine Highland Fiddlers will perform on Saturday, February 3 at 7:30 p.m. at the Village Coffeehouse, located at 19 Gloucester Hill Road in New Gloucester. Tickets are $10 at the door. This group of seven is part of the Celtic music revival that thrives throughout the North Atlantic rim. The traditional music of Scotland, Cape Breton, Ireland, and the Shetland Islands resonates well with the rich heritage of Maine’s early Celtic settlements. Along with fiddles, the group features guitar, bodhran, and piano.

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