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This week’s edition!

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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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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