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This week’s edition!

Skelton Taintor & Abbott names scholarship recipient

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Here with scholarship award recipient Khadija Haji are (from l.) Skelton Taintor & Abbott Shareholder-Directors Ronald Lebel and Darcie Beaudin and Associate Attorney Jon Plourde.

Skelton Taintor & Abbott has announced that the fourth recipient of the annual Skelton, Taintor & Abbott-Lewiston High School Mock Trial Team MVP Scholarship Award is Khadija Haji. As the recipient of the Most Valiant Player award, she will receive a $1,000 college scholarship from the law firm.

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Franco Collection presents French-language discussion on immigration

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The panel will consist of five Francophone Africans who, through a local French Club, meet twice weekly with local Franco-Americans to compare heritages.

The Franco-American Collection at USM’s Lewiston-Auburn College will present a French-language panel discussion on “Challenges Facing New Immigrants to Local Areas” on Tuesday, February 14 from 4 to 5 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.

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Governor’s Address: Marijuana bill reveals politics at its worst

While politicians were scrambling to pass a moratorium on marijuana legalization, their credibility went up in smoke.

Dear Maine Taxpayer,

As usual, politicians in Augusta waited until the last minute to pass legislation on a very important issue. They approved a bill allowing Mainers to possess and grow marijuana, but they put a moratorium on buying and selling it until rules are developed to regulate retail sales.

The original legislation directs the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry to implement the regulations and enforcement of recreational marijuana. But ACF does not have the manpower or expertise to create and enforce these regulations. It would cost several million dollars for ACF to do this.

We have been saying since November that oversight should be transferred from ACF to the Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages and Lottery Operations (BABLO). BABLO already has the expertise to create the rules and manage licensing and enforcement. It would cost $1.5 million for BABLO to do this.

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Only Steps Forward: Commission charged with merging L-A still has a lot work to do

By Jonathan P. LaBonte

Mayor of Auburn

Last week, a meeting was held by the charter commission, which was established to propose a merger of Auburn and Lewiston. The primary focus of the meeting was to deliver a report on operational savings the commission projects might be possible and to explain how a new city, created out of Auburn and Lewiston, would function.

While there will be plenty of time to get into each detail of what problem a proposed merger may be attempting to solve and the pros and cons of how the commission proposed doing that, it might be valuable to highlight what the law states must be put forward by a merger commission. Keep in mind, the merger commission has been meeting for about two-and-a-half years to work on these items.

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Auburn P.D. earns “Gold Standard” for excellence

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Pictured here (l. to r.) are CALEA Executive Director Craig Hartley, Jr., APD Accreditation Manager Liz Allen, Deputy Chief Jason Moen, Chief Phil Crowell, and Newport News, VA Police Chief Richard Myers.

The Auburn Police Department has been awarded national re-accreditation “With Excellence,” considered the highest level of quality and professionalism in law enforcement, as determined by a Gold Standard process administered by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies.

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Bird Club plans February events

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Moose sightings are part of the Allagash Waterway slide show that photojournalist Michael Perry will present at the club’s meeting on Feb. 6. (Photo by Michael Perry)

The Stanton Bird Club of Lewiston and Auburn will hold two field trips and its monthly meeting in February. All three events are free and open to the public. For more information, find them on Facebook or see www.StantonBirdClub.org.

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Central Maine Healthcare hires new CFO

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David C. Thompson

David C. Thompson has joined Central Maine Healthcare as the system’s new Chief Financial Officer. Thompson comes to CMH from Centura Health in Englewood, CO, where he’s served as Chief Financial Officer since 2003. During his tenure at Centura, he also worked alongside Jeff Brickman, CMH’s new President and Chief Executive Officer.

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APL hosts “Origami by Children”

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The traveling exhibit is on display in the library’s Children’s Department through March 15.

Auburn Public Library is currently hosting a traveling exhibit of outstanding works of origami created by children from around the world. Called “Origami by Children,” the exhibit is sponsored by OrigamiUSA and may be viewed in the library’s Children’s Department through March 15.

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Governor’s Address: Experts recognize that lowering taxes would make Maine more competitive

Legislators may not understand how taxes work, but experts recognize the tax reforms in my budget would make Maine more competitive and more prosperous.

Dear Maine Taxpayer,

The non-partisan Tax Foundation has reviewed the tax changes in my budget, which reduces individual income taxes, lowers corporate taxes, broadens the sales tax and eliminates the death tax. They called my plan “a recipe for a more competitive state.”

They also liked my effort to simplify the income tax and reduce it to a flat tax of 5.75% in 2020. We have also proposed lowering the top corporate rate from 8.93% to 8.33%, which would still be relatively high compared to the national average.

But the Tax Foundation said this reduction would make Maine more competitive with its neighboring states.

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Only Steps Forward: Auburn’s city budget depends on citizens’ priorities

By Jonathan P. LaBonté

Mayor of Auburn

If you take the time to read this weekly report, odds are you aren’t just doing it out of boredom. Perhaps you are from Auburn and catching up on local issues. Or, most likely, you are an Auburn resident, business owner or taxpayer and you want to ensure you know more about what’s happening with your tax dollars.

While citizens elect a city council, and that council adopts a budget, your input as the investors paying those bills is essential for two reasons. Are the goals of the Auburn City Council and city manager ones that you support; if not, how do we align them? And if they are, how much should we ask of you in tax money to implement them?

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