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This week’s edition!

2021 Blue Mass featured heroes, dignitaries

Governors Mills and LePage and Senator Collins in attendance

From Portland Diocese

LEWISTON – A day of gratitude on Sunday, Sept. 19, honoring the fallen, and praying for the safety of heroes among us began with the sound of marching heels walking down the main aisle of the Basilica of Saints Peter & Paul.

Visible on the Bartlett Street side of the basilica were ladder trucks from the Lisbon and Lewiston Fire Departments displaying a massive American flag high in the air as a multi-jurisdictional honor guard comprised of members of four different public safety departments solemnly posted the colors in front of the sanctuary.

An assembly of hundreds stood in silence, with the pews full of either first responders or those wishing to thank them.

Moments later, Bishop Robert Deeley, priests, and deacons processed in, starting the 2021 Blue Mass venerable tradition in the Diocese of Portland that never loses its luster or lacks in meaning.

Policemen stand at attention as priests from the Portland Diocese start the Blue Mass at the Basilica of Saints Peter & Paul in Lewiston on Sunday, Sept. 19. (Photo courtesy of Portland Diocese).

The Blue Mass is named for the blue uniforms that firefighters, law enforcement and other first responders wear. It dates back to 1934 and recognizes the dedication and self-sacrifice of all first responders.

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Lewiston litter pick-up day Oct. 16

From City of Lewiston

LEWISTON – Lewiston Public Works is welcoming individuals and teams to again join them for a “Lewiston Citywide Litter Pick Up Day.”

The fall pick up event will take place Saturday, Oct. 16, from 8 a.m.-noon, and participants may pick up litter in their own neighborhood or anywhere in the city that they see a need.

Church or community groups are also encouraged to adopt an area. There is no fee to participate. Participants may register/agree to the event waiver online and identify the location they will clean at www.lewistonmaine.gov/litterevent

Lewiston Public Works staff will be on site at Kennedy Park on event day to distribute supplies: bags, gloves, pickers, and buckets.

A safety procedure flyer will be given out with supplies outlining safe practices for participation, as well as available online at www.lewistonmaine.gov/littersafety

In addition, a safety station pop-up tent will be on site at Kennedy Park. Items deemed unsafe for pick up should be “called into” Public Works Dispatch for same-day pick up by trained personnel (207) 513-3000, X3450. An event flyer and safety guidelines are attached.

Participants will also have disposal options for what they pick up.

Bags of collected litter may be returned to Kennedy Park for disposal at a drop-off site near park gazebo.

Public Works will pick up bags of litter at a specified location if previously stated on online registration/waiver form OR called into Public Works Dispatch the morning of the event (207) 513-3000, X3450.

Residents may put collected bags of litter at curbside with their regular weekly curbside pick-up.

Participating teams will be eligible to win a prize by posting pics of their team picking up litter and using a #nolitter tag! Prize categories are Biggest Team, Most Creative, Most Colorful!

Just-In-Time Recreation opens its doors

From LA Metro Chamber

LEWISTON – Just-In-Time Recreation at 24 Mollison Way in Lewiston officially opened its doors with a ribbon-cutting ceremony last week.

Justin Juray cuts the ribbon to celebrate the opening of the recently-renovated Just-In-Time Recreation, in a ceremony last week at the facility at 24 Mollison Way in Lewiston. (Photo courtesy of LA Metro Chamber)

 City of Lewiston Economic + Community Development Director Lincoln Jeffers was joined by the President + CEO of the LA Metro Chamber Shanna Cox, LA Metro Board Chair and CEO of Lucro Management Jessica Donovan, Karen Staples of Senator Susan Collins’ Office, and members of the public. 

 “Our goal at Just-In-Time is to provide a comfortable, relaxed, and welcome atmosphere for people to visit and spend time with one another while having a good time.  It’s a joy to see people smile and feel that they got what they paid for – and maybe a little more, whether it’s for a birthday party or a night out.  We are thrilled to support the LA area by partnering with local businesses including Blackies, Grants Bakery, Roopers Beverage, DeBlois Electric, and Nadeau’s Refrigeration for their products and services.  We see a bright future for the family-friendly game of bowling, as well as the region,” said owner Justin Juray.

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Maine leads the way in protecting right to vote

Guest Essay

By Sen. Libby

Dear Friend,

Tuesday of last week was National Voter Registration Day.

Maine has long been a leader in voter participation, with 78 percent of voters casting their ballots in the 2020 election. We also have some of the strongest voting laws in the nation, and I’m proud of the work we did this year to make sure Maine continues to lead the way in strengthening our democracy and protecting your right to vote.

Sen. Nate Libby (D-Lewiston), Maine District 21, the City of Lewiston. (Photo courtesy of Sen. Libby)

This year, my colleagues and I voted to make permanent many of the innovative measures the state put in place to make voting accessible and safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. We also passed a law to join 40 other states in allowing online voter registration, which is set to go into effect in 2023.

If you’ve moved recently, now is a good time to register to vote at your new address. And as a reminder, Maine also has same-day voter registration, which means you can register to vote at your polling place the day of an election.

Our democracy only works when everyday people can make their voices heard and hold their elected leaders accountable. I’m proud of the work we’ve done this year, and I vote to continue to protect Maine voters’ rights.

If you have questions, concerns or ideas, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. You can always reach me at nathan.libby@legislature.maine.gov  or by phone at (207) 287-1515.

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Shelter hosts pet portrait fundraiser

From GAHS

LEWISTON – The Greater Androscoggin Humane Society is hosting a “Practically Purrfect Pet Portraits” fundraiser.

All funds raised during this whimsical fundraiser will go towards the purchase of a new industrial washing machine, dryer and generator for the shelter.

For $25 per pet, a pet’s photo will be randomly assigned one of more than 100 volunteer artists.  Ranging from professional artists to local students (or maybe even a GAHS staff member or volunteer!); pet owners will have their very own practically purrfect artistic rendering of your precious companion. 

To sign up for the fundraiser, submit payment at http://bitly.ws/gwIF

Once payment has been made, post a pet photo to the event’s Facebook page at http://bitly.ws/gwIH.

If someone doesn’t have access to Facebook, a photo can be emailed to giving@gahumane.org.

The event formally kicked off on Monday.

Once the picture has been posted to the event’s Facebook page, per owners can expect a digital copy of the portrait to be posted within 2 weeks. Depending on the artist, physical copies may also be available for pick-up at the shelter.

The Greater Androscoggin Humane Society provides a safe haven for over 3,000 sick, homeless, needy and abused animals in the greater Androscoggin area per year. The primary support for the Shelter comes from fundraising events and donations of caring citizens. 

The Humane Society is located at 55 Strawberry Avenue in Lewiston.

Anyone interested in volunteering as an artist, please call the shelter at 783-2311 or email giving@gahumane.org.

Anyone interested in adopting an animal should visit available pets on their website at www.SavingPetsInMaine.org.

Pet lovers can also join them on www.facebook/GAHumane.

Tutu time again for Dempsey Challenge rider

By Nathan Tsukroff

LEWISTON – It was tutu time again for Dennis Richardson of Turner as he rode for the seventh time in the Dempsey Challenge.

He’s been riding his bike in the annual Challenge since Patrick Dempsey, a childhood friend, challenged him to stop smoking in 2014.

Richardson participated last year wearing a pink tutu to signify the fight against breast cancer, and a purple tutu to represent the fight against pancreatic cancer.

This year, he wore just the pink tutu, with a pink tiara perched atop his bicycle helmet, and added pink pom-poms on his shoes, another gift from a friend and supporting fundraiser in New Jersey.

Dennis Richardson of Turner warms up for the Dempsey Challenge in a recent ride through downtown Lewiston, sporting the pink tutu and tiara he committed to wear if he met his fundraising goal for this year. Setting an initial goal of $10,000, Richardson had raised over $14,000 by Sunday, the day of the ride. (Tsukroff photo)

Despite his claims to “hate wearing the tutu,” Richardson rides with a smile as he acknowledges the waves and smiles of passers-by, and the honks of drivers.

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Dempsey Challenge 2021 is this weekend

Five things to know about this year’s event

From Dempsey Center

LEWISTON – The Dempsey Challenge presented by Amgen Oncology has been the flagship fundraising weekend in Lewiston for the Dempsey Center every year since 2009.

However, the pandemic forced the massively popular ride, run and walk event to become a virtual-only event for last year.

Almost 150,000 people participated in the virtual event in 2020, completing a months-long activity challenge on Strava, joining Dempsey Center founder Patrick Dempsey on an interactive Zwift ride or choosing their own fundraising challenge. Many missed the in-person camaraderie and spirit provided by the annual event, which raises money for the Dempsey Center.

The 2020 version of the Dempsey Challenge was still able to raise $1.2 million to continue their mission to make life better for people managing the impact of cancer. This includes cancer patients, survivors, care partners, and family members of all ages.

Needless to say, event organizers, Dempsey Center clients, riders, runners, walkers and volunteers alike are gearing up to be able to safely gather again for this year’s events. 

Patrick Dempsey greets runner Jennifer Anne Jordan at a previous Dempsey Challenge event. The local Dempsey Challenge walking events on Saturday will be centered at Simard-Payne Park in Lewiston. (Photo courtesy of Dempsey Center)

It was announced in June that the two-day event would return, Sept. 25 and 26 in Lewiston, as well as a Global Challenge for anyone interested in participating who can’t make it to Maine during the fall.

“There’s this pent-up excitement about being back out and doing something as a community,” Dempsey Center events manager Deneka Deletetsky said.

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King pushes White House to open northern border

From Sen. King

WA S H I N G T O N , D.C. – The Office of U.S. Senator Angus King (I-ME) last week announced that Senator King and a group of his colleagues are urging President Joe Biden to begin allowing vacci­nated Canadians to travel to the U.S. through land ports of entry in the com­ing weeks.

Noting the economic and familial strains caused on states like Maine by the continued restrictions at the U.S.-Canada border, the Senators wrote a letter to the President urging him to lift travel restrictions at the end of this month, create a public plan to reopen land ports of entry to vaccinated Canadians, and appoint an interagency lead to spear­head coordination. In ad­dition to Senator King, the letter is signed by Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Jon Tester (D-MT), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Gary Peters (D-MI), Kirsten Gil­librand (D-NY), and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN).

“As Senators who represent states along the northern border, our com­munities have been deep­ly affected by the restric­tions on travel. Many of our communities maintain close professional and per­sonal ties with communi­ties in Canada. Canadians come to our states to con­duct business, enjoy recre­ational opportunities, buy goods, and visit friends and family. The restrictions on non-essential travel across the border have greatly curtailed these activities and led to economic and emotional strain in our communities,” the Sena­tors wrote.

“We appreciate the need to prioritize the health and safety of the American public through reasonable restrictions on internation­al travel,” the Senators continued. “However, we believe that fully vaccinat­ed Canadians should be al­lowed to safely travel into the United States via land ports of entry. We urge you to lift these restrictions before October, provide a plan for reopening land ports of entry and appoint an interagency lead on U.S.-Canadian border re­strictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

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Claxton earns perfect voting score

From Maine Senate 

AUGUSTA – Sen. Ned Claxton (D-Androscoggin) earned a perfect score from Democracy Maine’s 2021 Legislative Scorecard for his voting record to clean up state government, get money out of politics and safeguard democracy.

Sen. Claxton was one of 15 members of the Maine Senate to earn a perfect score.

“Throughout my time in the Senate, I have prioritized legislation to ensure we have accessible and secure elections throughout our state for generations to come,” said Sen. Claxton. “In Maine, with our town clerks working hard to ensure accurate vote counts, we have one of the highest voter turnout rates in the nation, and we ought to build on that. I will continue working toward growing the number of voters who participate in our elections, reducing the influence outside money has in our campaigns, and protecting the fundamental right every American citizen has to the ballot box. At the end of the day, the more folks who participate in our elections, the better off we all are.”

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Surviving the Mere Point Boat Launch

Seniors Not Acting Their Age

By Ron Chase

When my octogenarian friend, Carolyn Welch, invited me to join her and companions for a sea kayak trip to Crow Island in Merepoint Bay, I eagerly accepted. 

Although scheduled for hip surgery a few days later, I found kayaking manageable and the proposed excursion was a modest one.

Her plan was to depart from Mere Point Boat Launch near the southern end of Merepoint Neck in Brunswick.

Carolyn’s trips are extremely well-planned and organized. The weather forecast was exquisite. Her intention was to ride an incoming tide north to Crow Island in the morning and return on an outgoing tide early afternoon. In terms of construction, parking, and amenities, Mere Point Boat Launch is the Cadillac of boat landings.

I’ve been launching kayaks at Mere Point Boat Launch since it opened about a dozen years ago. My regular pattern has been to line up with other boat owners and load and unload on the paved ramps. Why would anyone do otherwise? At some point, I became vaguely aware that a separate loading and unloading zone had been designated for kayaks about 100 yards from the water. Frankly, I ignored that option (as did most others) because it created unsafe conditions for kayakers and was discriminatory since motorized watercraft owners were allowed to use the convenient paved ramps.


A team of paddlers assemble on a paved ramp at Mere Point Boat Launch. (Ron Chase photo)

When I arrived at the boat landing for this trip, a kayaker from another group informed me the harbormaster was now enforcing the burdensome loading and unloading rule for kayakers. Further, for the first time, I learned there was a designated launch site for kayakers that entailed trying to hold and slide a long heavy kayak down a steep narrow wooden ramp while negotiating equally steep cement steps that literally end in the water at high tide. This ridiculously dangerous contrivance was a bad accident waiting to happen.

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