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This week’s edition!

Goodwill is more than just stores

By Nathan Tsukroff

GORHAM – Goodwill of Northern New England is more than just stores where used items are sold.

Goodwill NNE has multiple programs to help people and families in Maine, New Hampshire and northern Vermont to achieve better or more stable lives.

With a motto of, “A hand up, not a hand out”, Goodwill sees part of its mission as teaching people the skills to achieve personal stability, which includes skills like job preparedness and career training.

Nick Bennett, interim manager for the GoodTech department at the Goodwill NNE facility in Gorham, evaluates a donated video game system for possible resale. Donated computers, phones, games systems and peripherals are tested, refurbished if possible, and either sold in the stores or online. Items that can’t be refurbished are passed along to computer companies for parts, or to recycling companies. (Tsukroff photo)

Headquartered in an industrial park area on Hutcherson Drive in Gorham, Goodwill NNE has additional offices in central Maine and New Hampshire, with retail stores sprinkled throughout the three states.

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Roofing installed in LHS expansion

From Lewiston Schools

LEWISTON – Roofing and rooftop equipment is being installed in the new wing of Lewiston High School as the expansion continues toward a scheduled completion in November.

The renovation and expansion of the high school are on schedule and on budget, according to Jay Doherty, project lead architect for Lavallee/Brensinger Architects.

The renovation of the existing building and construction of the new main entrance will be ready for occupancy at the end of August, and the new wing is on schedule for completion this fall, according to clerk of the works, Tim Brochu.

Roofing materials and rooftop equipment are being completed on the new wing of Lewiston High School. Renovations on the existing building should be completed by August, ready for the opening of school in September. The new wing is expected to open for staff and students in November. (Photo courtesy of Lewiston Schools)

Brochu said, “On the exterior of the building, masons are completing the insulation and laying of the bricks.  Framers are working on the iconic blue arch, which will surround the main entrance,” he notes, adding that “roofing and rooftop equipment are being completed, and windows are being installed.”

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La Rencontre returns to the Franco Center

From Franco Center

LEWISTON – The La Rencontre luncheons return to the Dolard and Priscilla Gendron Franco Center on Thursday, Aug. 12.

La Rencontre (French for “the gathering”) as a way for our extended Franco-American family in the area to reconnect with each other and with our neighbors.

Meals and stories are shared, friends are reunited, and memories are made. La Rencontre is not restricted to French-speakers, or even those of Franco descent.

Entertainment will be provided by the well-known, and accomplished Nel Meservier and Mike Willette

The Meal will be lasagna, salad, roll, and desert. Coffee and tea are included with the meal. Full bar service will be available.

The fee for the meal and entertainment is $15. Parking is included in the price of the ticket. All proceeds to benefit the Franco Center.

The Franco Center is located at 46 Cedar Street in Lewiston.

Tickets can be purchased by contacting the Box Office at (207) 689-2000 or at www.francocenter.org. 

Johnny and the Rock-its! at Schooner Estates

Out and About

By Rachel Morin

AUBURN – Johnny and the Rock-its! played to a huge crowd in the Village Green at Schooner Estates Senior Living Community in Auburn in mid-July.

Many in the audience knew the Band from previous performances, and many knew the leader, not as Johnny, the fast-playing guitarist and singer, but as Schooner’s own Director of Operations.

 John was garbed in a black outfit with red accents and wore a black hat to complete his Rock-its! persona.

Well, I was taken aback!

John was good, and, truth be told, he was REALLY good! John (or is it Johnny?) played that guitar like a pro and his singing voice was great.

Carl Perry on drums, Marcel Gagne on bass guitar and vocals, and John Rice on guitar and vocals play non-stop for Schooner tenants who are ardent fans of the Rock-its! (Rachel Morin photo)

I settled back in my chair and enjoyed a wonderful afternoon listening to the Rock-its! as they played one popular song after another to the delight of the audience who kept time to the music, tapping their feet and swaying in their seats.

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Comedy fundraiser for Make-A-Wish

From Maine Event

LEWISTON – Uncle Andy’s Digest and Maine Event Comedy have once again partnered to present a night of stand-up comedy to benefit Make-A-Wish Maine.

The show is 7 p.m. today at the Gendron Franco Center in Lewiston. All proceeds will benefit Make-A-Wish.

The lineup includes Casey Crawford, who has appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live and Montreal’s Just for Laughs Festival, Mark Turcotte (World Series Comedy), Ryan Gartley (Comix at Foxwoods), Dawn Hartill (International Lady Laughs Festival), and Nic Dufault, who has opened for comedy legend Gilbert Gottfried.

“Uncle Andy’s Digest owner Jim Marston ran this idea by me two years ago and I jumped at the chance,” said Maine Event Comedy founder Mark Turcotte. “We sold out our first show in 2019, last year was called off due to the pandemic, and I couldn’t be more excited to be back, partnering with Jimbo for this wonderful cause. The Franco Center’s Heritage Hall is a perfect comedy venue and the lineup is outstanding.”

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It’s better to both live and work in L-A

By Nathan Tsukroff

Working for a company in Lewiston or Auburn is great. And both living and working in the Lewiston-Auburn area is even better.

  That’s the message from Katy Sperl, Chief Administrative Officer at Androscoggin Home Healthcare & Hospice in Auburn.

Speaking to members of the Lewiston-Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce at the group’s July breakfast meeting at the Ramada Inn in Lewistion, Sperl said moving to the L-A area some years ago meant, “I could now work in the community. I could be a part of the community.”

“I wasn’t having to leave in the middle of the day to go to a board meeting, or race after work to get to an activity, because I was right here,” she said. “And I also felt that I could support local businesses with my dollars.”

RJ Gagnon, the Chief Financial Officer at Androscoggin Home Healthcare & Hospice in Auburn, and Katy Sperl, Chief Administrative Officer at Androscoggin, spoke about the benefits of both living and working in the Lewiston-Auburn area in a question and answer session with members of the L-A Metro Chamber of Commerce at the chamber’s recent July breakfast meeting at the Ramada Inn in Lewiston. (Tsukroff photo)

Sperl and RJ Gagnon, the Chief Financial Officer at Androscoggin, were the featured speakers at the recent L-A Metro breakfast, which was a relaxed in-person event for the organization after more than a year of remote or hybrid meetings under COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. Vaccinated members were not required to wear masks, following recent Maine CDC guidelines.

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T-Acadie featured at Sunset Concert

From PSPA

The three-person band T-Acadie entertained a small crowd at the second of the Sunset Concert Series events at the gazebo at Poland Spring Resort last week.

T-Acadie (pron. TEE-ah-kah-DEE) is a dance band and folk trio from Maine, part of the region including the Canadian maritime provinces known as Acadia. The band’s name is Cajun slang for “a little Acadia”.

The Sunset Concert Series is hosted by the Poland Spring Preservation Society, and will feature various Maine Bands at the gazebo on the main campus of the resort on Monday nights through the end of August.

The cajun band T-Acadie played to a small crowd last week at the second of the Sunset Concert Series events at Poland Spring Resort. Hosted by the Poland Spring Preservation Society, the concerts will take place on Monday nights through the end of August, at the resort’s gazebo. (Tsukroff photo)

T-Acadie band members are Pam Weeks on fiddle, mountain dulcimer, guitar, and singing; Jim Joseph on button accordion, 5-string banjo, mandolin, fiddle, jaw harp, percussion, feet, and singing; and Bill Olson on guitar, bass, singing, calling, This versatile group is equally at home playing for concerts, contradances, or Cajun dances.

They play a variety of music including traditional French Canadian and New England dance tunes; Cajun waltzes, two steps, Cajun blues, and Zydeco tunes; old time southern tunes and songs often sung a Capella in 3 part harmony.

Original tunes are written by band “tune smith”, Weeks, which range from sizzling reels and jigs to mesmerizing aires and sweet waltzes.

In a contra dance setting, they will get everyone moving to the beat with Quebecois reels and old timey southern “hoedowns”, but the evening will often be punctuated by Weeks singing a Cajun waltz, or by a contra dance done to a set of old time Cajun reels started off with just fiddle and ti’ fer (triangle).

Major gift for Children’s Center

From Children’s CTR

AUGUSTA – Chil­dren’s Center, an early childhood intervention and family support services organization for children with special needs, has an­nounced a $250,000 gift toward the center’s plans to expand its Augusta facility.

Peter and Sandra Prescott, and TEAM EJP in Gardiner, made the gift in part to help more fami­lies in Central Maine ac­cess vital services for their children.

“Giving back to our community and lending a hand when it’s needed is an essential part of the cul­ture of EJP,” said Prescott. “We have seen the effects of the work done at the Children’s Center, and it is critical for kids with spe­cial needs. Knowing that there is a waiting list of about 100 kids just in the Greater Augusta Area is heartbreaking. We know we can help eliminate that waiting list by helping to fund this expansion, and that’s exactly what we’re going to do.”

“The Children’s Cen­ter literally changes lives,” Sandra Prescott added. “Children who aren’t ex­pected to walk learn to do so; non-verbal children learn to communicate; children who need a lit­tle extra help to discover themselves and develop the abilities needed to achieve independence get that help at the Children’s Center. Making these kids a priority says a lot about who we are as a communi­ty and I believe we’re the kind of community these children deserve.”

Children’s Center an­nounced its plans earlier in the year to expand its pri­mary location in Augusta to meet demand.

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First American female Olympic champ never knew it

By Tom Emery

She broke barriers in an era when few noticed. And she went to her grave never knowing that she was an Olympic champion.

Margaret Abbott of Chicago was the first American woman to win an Olympic event, capturing first place in women’s golf at the second of the modern Games, in Paris in 1900. Incredibly, she thought she was competing in a local amateur event, and not in the Olympics.

The scenario may be attributed to the incompetence of the organizers, as the Paris Games were a resounding failure. In addition, the traditional medals for the top three Olympic finishers – gold, silver, and bronze – were not awarded until the next Games, in St. Louis in 1904.

Dr. Paula Welch, professor emerita in Health and Human Performance at the University of Florida, has extensively researched and written on Abbott’s life. She notes that many of the winners at Paris were presented with works of art, not medals.

Margaret Abbott of Chicago captured first place in women’s golf at the second the modern Games, in Paris in 1900, to become the first American woman to win an Olympic event. She thought she was competing in a local amateur event, and never learned she had actually won in the Olympics. (Photo courtesy of Tom Emery)

“At the first modern Olympics, in Athens in 1896, a few medals were given,” said Welch, who has also extensively studied Olympic history. “But I’m not aware of any medals at Paris.”

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Maine abolishes civil forfeiture

From Maine Republicans

AUGUSTA – Maine has become only the fourth state in the US to abolish civil forfeiture.

Civil forfeiture enables law enforcement to confiscate millions of dollars of property without ever filing criminal charges.

Sponsored by Rep. Billy Bob Faulkingham (R-Winter Harbor), LD 1521, repeals Maine’s civil forfeiture laws, and bolsters its criminal forfeiture process. Under the new law, which took effect last week without the governor’s signature, civil forfeiture is only authorized after a criminal conviction, with some narrow exceptions, such as death or deportation. 

Rep. Billy Bob Faulkingham (R-Winter Harbor) sponsored LD 1521, which abolishes civil forfeiture in Maine. It became law last week without the signature of the governor. (Photo courtesy of Rep. Faulkingham)

“It’s a very simple concept; you don’t lose your property unless you used it in the commission of a crime, or knowingly allowed someone else to use it in the commission of a crime,” Faulkingham said. “This new law provides due process protection to property owners and helps ensure that only convicted criminals, not innocent Mainers, lose their property to forfeiture.”

Rep. Billy Bob Faulkingham serves Maine House District 136, which includes part of East Hancock, Fletchers Landing Township, Gouldsboro, Hancock, Mariaville, Osborn, Sorrento, Steuben, Sullivan, Waltham & Winter Harbor.


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