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This week’s edition!

Op-Ed: Lewiston-Auburn unification will result in lower, not higher, taxes

By Gabrielle Russell

ONE LA CAMPAIGN

Unifying Lewiston and Auburn would make us a leader in this state and nationwide.

Prior to the Joint Charter Commission, there have been three previous commissions tasked with looking at consolidation of municipal functions. Each effort found efficiencies and savings, but city councils did not move forward with the change.

This time the process is more grassroots, collecting the signatures of over 2,000 residents from Auburn and Lewiston to form the Joint Charter Commission. The next step is to let the voters of our communities shape our future by casting their vote, which is expected to be on the ballot in November.

The opposition frequently cites city mergers where taxes and municipal staff have increased. Why might that be? Naturally, prices rise over time and cities with increasing population need increased city staff to serve them. The unification of Lewiston-Auburn will lower taxes in the near term and over time will certainly save millions of dollars over what we would have paid.

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Governor’s Address: Now is the time to invest in Maine’s future

After years of fixing Maine’s balance sheet, now is the time to make investments in our economy.

Dear Maine Taxpayer,

During this past session, I supported three initiatives that focused on using bonds to invest in Maine families and our future: transportation; commercialization; and education.

Investing into our transportation system to maintain Maine’s infrastructure is critical. Our economy relies on transportation, and we must ensure our roads, bridges and ports are accessible, safe and reliable to transport goods to consumers.

The Department of Transportation has proven they can do it in a frugal, fiscally responsible way. In my budget proposal, I provided options to free up funding for the highway fund, but the legislature rejected these proposals and spent those funds on other things. That’s why I support a $100 million bond and encourage the Legislature to do the same.

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Enough is Enough: Project that would benefit seniors falls prey to “NIMBY”

By Robert E. Macdonald

Mayor of Lewiston

A week ago last Tuesday was a sad day in our quest to move Lewiston forward economically. The Lewiston City Council killed the type of development that has never materialized during the five-and-a-half years I have served as mayor.

This was a project by a private developer that did not ask for any federal, state or local tax money. Any and all costs were coming out of the developer’s pocket. Unlike many other developments throughout the city, whose purpose is the bottom line, Louis Ouellette’s objective was to provide quality apartments for his mother-in-law and some of her friends.

These tenants would have been seniors that were widowed or couples that realize the home in which they raised their families had outgrown them, necessitating them to downsize. This is due in part to their decreased ability to maintain their current homes.

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Bates Dance Festival artists return for Anniversary Gala

Patrick Widrig (Photo by Stan Barouh)

Some of the best known and loved dance artists from more than three decades of the Bates Dance Festival will return to celebrate the festival’s 35th anniversary by performing in its Anniversary Gala on Friday and Saturday, July 28 and 29, at 7:30 p.m. in Bates College’s air-conditioned Schaeffer Theatre.

The program will feature work, much of it new, by some of America’s top dancers and choreographers, including “Short Story,” a poignant duet by Doug Varone and Natalie Desch; an excerpt from “The Making Room,” by Bebe Miller and Angie Hauser; a glimpse of “Crazy Beautiful,” a new solo by Tania Isaac; excerpted solos by Larry Keigwin, Sara Pearson, Patrik Widrig, and Riley Watts; and a piece choreographed for students by festival veteran Michael Foley. A party will follow Saturday’s performance.

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Public Theatre’s summer program for teens to stage “How to Act Like a Child”

Participants in this year’s program are (l. to r., from front) Easton Dundore, Delaney Jacobson, Amy Fryda, Ashley DeSchamp, Alyssa Siggins, Abigail Dundore, Paige Gagnon, Elia Morgan, Autumn Tracey, Ayden Timberlake, Bobby Kane, Jacob DeMerchant, and Calvin Dundore.

The Public Theatre’s Professional Theatre Training Program for Teens will present “How to Act Like a Child: Lessons in NOT Being a Grown-up,” a compilation of hip and entertaining stories inspired by children’s book author Shel Silverstein and others, on Friday, July 28 at 6 p.m. Also included in the performance will be several songs spotlighting the vocal skills the students are learning.

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Auburn Police to host National Night Out at Festival Plaza

On Tuesday, August 1, Festival Plaza and Main Street will be the scene for the Auburn Police Department’s National Night Out against crime. The event, which will begin at 5:30 p.m. and go until dusk, will draw Auburn residents downtown for food, fun, live music, and a family-friendly block party.

This is the 14th year that the Auburn Police Department has hosted National Night Out, which is a free anti-crime public safety event. Department staff and volunteers will serve up hot dogs, beverages, and plenty of family-style fun. There will be police equipment on display, and the Auburn Fire Department and other community partners will be on hand. Other highlights will include popcorn from an Auburn treasure, the Marshall Popcorn Truck; face painting; games and activities; a bounce house; and an inflatable “boot camp” obstacle course. Volunteers will provide child ID kits, balloons and lots of give-aways. Live music will create a fun and festive atmosphere.

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Hip-hop dance standouts to perform at Celebration Barn

Identical twins Billy and Bobby McClain, aka the Wondertwins, have come a long way since they started performing at family cookouts at age six. 

Celebration Barn Theater in South Paris will present hip-hop dance luminaries the Wondertwins on Saturday, July 29 at 7:30 p.m. Identical twins Billy and Bobby McClain grew up in Boston in the 1970s, where their dance career started on a very small stage as they began performing at family cookouts at age six. Two years later, they had their first real show at the Cyclorama in the South End. Wearing matching silk brown sweat suits, they finished their first contest with a win, judged by none other than the legend, Kurtis Blow.

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LTE: One L-A will save money, create biggest city in 2nd District

To the Editor:

I went to college in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, home of Winston cigarettes and Salem cigarettes, but not much else. Historically, the industry of the area has been tobacco. Though recently, this is less and less the case.

Having grown up in the L-A area and lived in Winston-Salem for several years, it was clear to me the communities were almost identical. Both have the skeleton of a long-forgotten manufacturing infrastructure, and a young arts scene that has blossomed in its place, encouraging economic activity. Both have long and unique histories that date back far longer than anyone walking this earth could possibly recall.

The difference is that long ago, the people of Winston-Salem saw a true merger was best for everybody.

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LTE: L-A doesn’t have to merge to work together

To the Editor:

When it comes to combining the two cities, I can’t help but think of all the addresses that will change—all of them! At the very least, everyone will have to change the name of his/her city.

Now, think of all the streets with duplicate names in both cities: Main, Pine, Elm, Ash, Pleasant, Russell, etc. Either those will have to change, or East, West, North or South must be added. I pity cab drivers who will have to find these new addresses!

What about GPS usage? 911 response times? Local mapping and business advertising will be incorrect. The costs just keep multiplying for taxpayers.

Two people in support of the joint charter commission’s consultant’s claims that they will save between $2.3 and $4.2 million a year have never participated in a municipal budget. They stated in a newspaper article published on April 7 they felt the consultant’s estimates were right “on target.” How would they even know that?

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Governor’s Address: Maine products add to economy, provide good jobs

Maine-made products are known for quality.

Dear Maine Taxpayer,

We have hundreds of products made in Maine, and our economy benefits greatly from Maine ingenuity.

Our Maine farmers are the stewards of 1.25 million acres, and the industry has a $1.2 billion impact on the state’s economy.

Maine’s commercially harvested marine resources topped $700 million in overall value in 2016, and that reflects yet another all-time high and an increase of nearly $100 million in value over 2015.

Mainers should take great pride in the success of all of our industries. Farming, fishing and logging are three of our most successful industries. Through the years, the hard-working men and women have established Maine as a leader in the responsible management of our land.

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