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This week’s edition!

Stanton Bird Club Hosts Lecture on History of New Zealand

AUBURN, ME (November 25, 2022) — The Stanton Bird Club is hosting the second in its 2022-23 lecture series, this time with a focus on the natural and cultural history of New Zealand. President Jeri Maurer and Vice President Nancy Kleckner will be sharing photographs and experiences from their visits to New Zealand.

Land of geothermal areas, volcanoes and the Southern Alps, New Zealand is famed for its unusual birds including the national emblem of New Zealand, the Kiwi. One of the most isolated countries in the world and the last major land mass to be colonized by people, it is home to the M?ori people who began arriving in New Zealand about 1000 years ago.

The talk will be held on Monday, December 5 from 4-6pm at the Auburn Public Library. The public is welcome. The lecture series is free of charge. We encourage participants to wear masks. The Stanton Bird Club, a leader in environmental awareness, manages the Thorncrag Nature Sanctuary as well as the Woodbury Nature Sanctuary in Monmouth and Litchfield.

More information about other activities of the Club can be found at www.StantonBirdClub.org and on its Facebook page.

Kiwi, Photo by Jeri Maurer

Auburn is THE Place to be this Holiday Season

AUBURN, ME (November 20, 2022) — We are delighted to announce that the City of Auburn will be presenting our first annual “Christmas Shopping Village!” This special shopping experience, our version of a European Christmas Market, will be located in the heart of our downtown in Festival Plaza, with small “pop-up shops” sheds nestled around the Christmas tree. Think cocoa & coffee, unique gifts, wreaths, holiday music & more. There will be a grand opening for the Village on Saturday, December 3 as part of Auburn’s annual tree lighting event! 

Our good friend Santa will also be part of the Christmas Shopping Village! Visit with Santa and take your own FREE photos. Santa will help us light the Auburn tree on Saturday, December 3rd, then he’ll be around on some other dates, too. Check the schedule below and watch for the Santa hat so you know which days he will be here!

 Visit https://www.goauburn.me/christmas-village for more information.

Present Company to Perform at Holiday-Themed Luncheon

LEWISTON, ME (November 22, 2022)—A festive holiday-themed La Rencontre luncheon has been planned for 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 8, at the Franco Center. The event will include lunch and live holiday music in its downstairs Heritage Hall.  

La Rencontre (the gathering) is not restricted to French-speakers or even those of Franco descent. All are welcome to attend this event. Lunch is at 11:30 a.m. and will consist of tourtiere, butternut squash soup, and cake.   

After lunch, Present Company will provide entertainment. Members of this trio are three Franco-American cousins from Lewiston: Lorna Jollymore, Diane Meservier, and Margaret Dix.  They have been performing together in public as Present Company for almost 35 years. Their singing will be accompanied by Jollymore on the keyboards. 

Tickets for La Rencontre must be purchased by noon on Monday, Dec. 5, and are $15. Tickets will not be sold at the door. The price includes the meal and entertainment.  

Order tickets at www.francocenter.org/shows or 207-689-2000. Purchase tickets in person at our box office between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.  

Support for this event comes from FACE Foundation, Quebec Delegation Boston, and TV5Monde. Proceeds from ticket sales will benefit the Franco Center and its mission to preserve its home in the former St. Mary’s Church and to bring the best in arts and entertainment to the community.  

Other holiday events at the Franco Center include the Don Campbell Christmas Concert Dec. 16 followed by a fundraiser for the Franco called Sights & Sounds of Christmas on Dec. 17 and 18. Tickets are on sale now. 

The Franco Center is at 46 Cedar St. in Lewiston. The building is handicap accessible on the Lincoln St. Alley side. 

Present Company will provide musical entertainment at the Franco Center’s La Rencontre on Thursday, Dec. 8. The performing trio includes Lorna Jollymore, Diane Meservier, and Margaret Dix. Doors to the event open at 10 a.m. Lunch is at 11:30 followed by entertainment. 

LYAC Holds Mental Health Awareness Conversation

LEWISTON, ME (November 22 2022) — Lewiston community members and mental health professionals will have an opportunity to discuss mental health challenges on December 8. A Be Kind To Your Mind mental health forum, hosted by the Lewiston Youth Advisory Council (LYAC), will be held at Connors Elementary School, 400 Bartlett Street, starting at 6 p.m. The forum is free to attend.

“The youth council believes that creating this open conversation will give everyone the opportunity to be involved and be heard,” said Elissa Nadeau, LYAC Chair. “You’re not alone, even if you tell yourself you are,” said LYAC member Asli Osman. In September, the youth council decided that their next project would focus on mental health awareness, expressing concern about peers and community members they’ve observed emotionally hurting.

“The fact that youth council members are stepping up to make positive connections regarding mental health awareness is huge. Not only are they in tune with community needs, but they are taking action. Their example is something that we can all learn from and emulate,” said Mayor Carl L. Sheline.

“I cried today and nobody knew,” was a statement that LYAC member Feysal Abdirahman recently heard an individual say that really impacted him.

“You don’t have to struggle in silence,” said LYAC member Destiney Graham. “The importance of mental health for students has a direct impact on how our kids take in new information, understand new concepts and master new skills. When our kids are struggling with depression, anxiety or mental health issues, it is almost impossible to achieve goals and navigate the challenges of everyday school life. We as adults and parents should always have the mental health of our kids as a priority, and when our own youth take the lead on this subject, we should support them in any way that we can,” said Linda Scott, City Councilor/School Committee member.

Councilor Scott is also the liaison between the City Council and the Lewiston Youth Advisory Council. Speakers at the forum lined up so far are: Colin O’Neill, Tri-County Mental Health Services Chief Clinical Officer; Amran Osman, Executive Director/Founder of Generational Noor; Lisa Escobar, Lewiston Public Schools Substance Use Coordinator/Licensed Counselor; Megan Parks, Licensed Social Worker/Substance Use Counselor/Clinical Supervisor; Lewiston Police Detective Joe Philippon; and LYAC Vice-Chair Ava Golder.

Also at the forum will be mental health resources, a Q & A period, related artwork, and wall-size post-its, providing an opportunity for attendees to share feelings when entering and exiting the forum (not required).

LYAC has also acquired a list of mental health resources that are available online at www.lewistonmaine.gov/lyac and through a QR Code. They have also established a lengthy list of positive affirmations that Lewiston School Superintendent Jake Langlais has been daily tweeting.

Ava Golder, LYAC Vice-Chair, has also filmed a social media video sharing her thoughts about mental health challenges.

“Building awareness about mental health concerns is clearly very important to the current LYAC membership. It’s impressive to observe them brainstorm about community outreach and express genuine concern about fellow community members. They want their Be Kind To Your Mind forum to provide encouragement and hope to others,” noted Dottie Perham-Whittier, Community Relations Coordinator/LYAC Advisor.

Hope is definitely on the mind of LYAC member Ahmed Hussein who quotes Confucius, “Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”

Sabattus Rec Running Club to Hold Annual Jingle Jog

SABATTUS, ME (November 16, 2022) — The Sabattus Rec Running Club will once again spread some holiday cheer around the Village area as members run/walk the local neighborhoods on Saturday, Dec. 17. The 7th Annual Jingle Jog will start at 10 a.m., from Mixer’s Nightclub parking lot on Sabattus Rd. Any and all ages are welcome to join in the fun, and are encouraged to dress in festive colors/apparel. Bells and lights are also encouraged.

The Jingle Jog (or walk) will last about 30 minutes. Participants will then return to Mixer’s for light refreshments and to see if Santa stopped by. The event is free.  

FMI, email running@sabattusrec.com.

$10,000 Donated to Make-A-Wish Maine, Granting New Wishes

LEWISTON, ME (November 17, 2022) — Thanks to the communities’ support, Lewiston’s Champoux Insurance Agency has officially awarded a $10,000 donation to Make-A-Wish Maine, a local organization dedicated to bringing hope, strength, and joy to children with life-threatening medical conditions. Make-A-Wish Maine serves children in 16 counties and this $10,000 donation will allow them to grant one wish to a child in their own state who has been diagnosed with a critical illness. 

Kacey LePage, Account Executive for Champoux Insurance Agency, originally received a $5,000 donation for Make-A-Wish Maine thanks to a submission process with Liberty Mutual® and Safeco Insurance® through their 2022 Make More Happen™ Awards. A story of their local partnership was featured on the official Make More Happen microsite, www.agentgiving.com/Champoux-Insurance-Agency, where Champoux Insurance Agency had the opportunity to raise an additional $5,000 by conducting a local awareness campaign for the nonprofit. Together with the community, the goal was met increasing the total donation to $10,000 for Make-A-Wish Maine!

 Throughout 2022, Liberty Mutual® and Safeco Insurance® will select up to 37 independent agents nationwide for a Make More Happen Award and Liberty Mutual® and Safeco Insurance® will donate up to $370,000 to the nonprofits supported by independent insurance agents. Agencies became eligible for the award by submitting an application and photos demonstrating their commitment to a specific nonprofit.

Make-A-Wish Maine was awarded a $10,000 donation from Champoux Insurance Agency through the 2022 Liberty Mutual® and Safeco Insurance® Make More Happen Awards program. (L-R): Sarah Toomey, Maine Liberty Mutual Senior Territory Manager; Stephanie Davis, Maine Safeco Insurance Senior Territory Manager; Dick Albert, Champoux Insurance Senior Vice President; Diane Champoux, Champoux Insurance President; Nichole Rutherford, Make-A-Wish Maine Director of Development and Kacey LePage, Champoux Insurance Personal Lines Account Executive.

Kick off the Holiday Season at Brunswick’s Tree Lighting

BRUNSWICK, ME  (November 17, 2022) – The Brunswick Downtown Association, (BDA) is pleased to present its Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony on the Brunswick Town Mall on Saturday, November 26th. 

BDA’s Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony is a heart-warming way to kick-off the holiday season in downtown Brunswick. The event will feature performances by the Brunswick High School Chorus and the Una Voce Chamber Choir, free cookies and cocoa, an ice carving demonstration, time with Frosty and Mrs. Claus, and a magical visit from Santa when he arrives on a Firetruck!  At 5:00 Santa will flip the ceremonial switch and light up Brunswick’s Christmas Tree. 

Adults and children of all ages are invited to celebrate the season at this festive community event. 

2 to 5 PM: Free hot cocoa and cookies (provided by Sunnybrook Retirement Community), ice carving, and rides in BDA’s Polar Express Bus! 

2:30 PM: Santa will arrive on a Brunswick Fire Truck. Children are welcome to visit with Santa in the Gazebo until 5 p.m. 

3 PM: Una Voce Chamber Choir performance

4 PM:  Brunswick High School Chorus performance of carols and holiday songs

5 PM: The countdown to the tree lighting begins – Santa will flip the ceremonial switch and light up the Tree! 

Event Sponsors: Presenting: Northeast Bank & The Davis Fund; Supporting: Mechanics Savings; Food Sponsor: Sunnybrook Retirement Community; Christmas Tree Sponsor: Dead River Company. 

November 26th is also Small Business Saturday – a day to celebrate and support small businesses and all they do for our community. Let’s go #ShopSmall this November 26th and all season long! 

More than half of Americans either own or work for a small business, and small businesses create about two-thirds of new jobs in the U.S. each year. Visit Downtown Brunswick on the BIG day to Shop Small! 

 The BDA is a 501(c)3, non-profit organization. For more information about the Brunswick Downtown Association, please visit www.brunswickdowntown.org or call 729-4439.

CMMC Earns 9th Consecutive “A” Grade

LEWISTON, ME, (November 16, 2022) – Central Maine Medical Center (CMMC) received its ninth consecutive “A” for hospital safety from The Leapfrog Group. This national distinction recognizes CMMC’s success with protecting patients from harm and errors in the hospital. CMMC has received “A” grades for Hospital Safety from Leapfrog Group continuously since Fall 2018. 

“Safety is the number one consideration in everything we do at Central Maine Healthcare,” said Steve Littleson, DBA, FACHE, president and CEO, Central Maine Healthcare. “Getting an “A” grade from the Leapfrog Group nine consecutive times does not happen by accident; it reflects the professionalism and high standards all of our team members practice every day. I could not be prouder of this team for their continued focus on safety that earned them this grade, particularly at this time of unprecedented challenges in the healthcare industry.”

 The Leapfrog Group, an independent national watchdog organization, assigns an “A,” “B,” “C,” “D,” or “F” grade to general hospitals across the country based on more than 30 national performance measures reflecting errors, injuries, accidents and infections, as well as systems hospitals have in place to prevent harm. 

“The Healthcare Purchaser Alliance is grateful for CMHC’s commitment to quality transparency and for the hard work of ensuring safe protocols are followed in the care of their patients,” said Peter Hayes, president and CEO, Healthcare Purchaser Alliance of Maine. “Quality is of utmost importance to the Alliance’s membership, and CMMC’s achievement is great news for everyone they serve.”

 The Leapfrog Group has also ranked Bridgton Hospital and Rumford Hospital, both part of the Central Maine Healthcare system, among the “Top Rural Hospitals” in the U.S.   

Developed under the guidance of a national expert panel, the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade uses evidence-based measures of publicly available hospital safety data to assign grades to more than 2,700 U.S. acute- care hospitals twice a year. The Hospital Safety Grade’s methodology is peer-reviewed and fully transparent. The results are free to the public.

Tom Petty Tribute Band to Perform at the Franco Center

LEWISTON, ME (November 7, 2022) – The Franco Center has announced that Runnin’ Down a Dream: The Tom Petty Tribute Band will perform on its stage at 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022.   

This Maine-based band includes members Mike Boucher on lead vocals and guitar; Harry Coddington on lead guitar; Roger Howard on drums; Marty Mclellan on guitar and vocals; and Steve Brown on keyboard and vocals. For over 40 years, Tom Petty created timeless classics with the Heartbreakers, Mudcrutch, The Traveling Wilburys, and released solo albums until his unfortunate death in 2017.  

When five veteran musicians from Maine, with local and national experience, play Petty’s music together, the feeling, meaning, and very soul of these songs are undeniable. “Our show faithfully replicates the style and feel of a Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers concert, allowing the audience to experience the music of this extraordinary artist,” said Roger Howard. 

Mike Boucher started playing Tom Petty songs in his high school cover band. During the 1990s, Boucher began to focus his talents on song writing and has continued to sing and play his music for audiences on the East and West coasts.  

In 2007, Boucher called on Harry Coddington to lend his versatile guitar-playing talents to the alt-country band The Gaffers. Most recently, Boucher has been performing around the Portland area with his roots rock band Jeezum Crow. Boucher is also the owner of Sonic Pictures, a video production company based in Portland, Maine.  

Coddington started playing guitar shortly after seeing The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show in 1964 when he was six years old. Initially, he was impressed by the bands of the 1960s and ‘70s such as Rolling Stones, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Cream, The Hollies, The Zombies, The Eagles, Jimi Hendrix, Derek & The Dominos, and the Allman Brothers. He also loved country and instrumental bands such as Johnny Cash, The Ventures, Willy Nelson, The Hellecasters,  Brad Paisley, Ricky Skaggs, Vince Gill, The New Nashville Cats, and Johnny Hiland.  

Coddington won the Downeast Country Music Association’s first place “New Country Instrumentalist” for the year 2000. He’s played in many different bands in Florida and now in Maine. He has an affinity for Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, which made dreaming up this band just feel natural.  

Roger Howard started taking drum lessons at age 12 and joined his first garage band at 16. From there he went on to play in an assortment of bands in five states. His wide variety of musical styles include blues, country, alternative, rock, and rhythm and blues.    

Since settling in Maine in the 1980s, Howard has been part of the Maine music scene. His stage experiences have taken him from local bars and clubs to private functions, town fairs, campgrounds, festivals, tour boats, and just about anywhere he can set up a drum set. From early on, Howard had his mind on the business aspect of the being in a band, always willing to go out and meet club owners, managers, and booking agents.   

Playing in Runnin’ Down A Dream is the culmination of everything Howard has learned and experienced over many decades in his extensive musical career.      

Marty Mclellan made his debut at a coffee house performing covers of Neil Young, Grateful Dead, Jim Croce and James Taylor at Hobart College in Geneva, New York in 1982. Following that gig, he was fortunate to hook up with a local musicians club and formed his first band, Xtra Stok.  

In 1995, Mclellan began to jam with local musician Ken Goodman in what would eventually become Blues Barn. The band acquired a new drummer and a new name. Dirty McCurdy marked Mclellan’s first real experience as a frontman. The band covered mostly rock and roll, but also some original material while it continued to adhere to the blues standards it had established in the Blues Barn years.  

Steve Brown’s music career began in the late 1970s when he joined the band White Water in Central Maine playing a beat-up old Wurlitzer electric piano. This led to a brief Holiday Inn tour with an Elvis Presley tribute show.   

Over the years, Brown became an in-demand keyboard player in the New England region. He was a member of some well-known bands including Ricky and the Giants, Elmore Twist Band, Gary Black and the Blues, 43 North and the LA Harley Band. He has been a first-call keyboard fill-in for dozens more bands.   

These five musicians together on the Franco stage will perform the music of Tom Petty with authentic renditions from every stage of his career. Doors and cash bar open an hour before showtime.  

Support for this concert comes from Androscoggin Bank, Maple Way Dental Care, Bennett Radio Group, Sun Journal, Turner Publishing, and Uncle Andy’s Digest, according to Franco Center staff. 

Tickets are $30 in advance and $35 at the door day of show and can be purchased online at www.francocenter.org/shows or by phone at 207-689-2000. Tickets can also be purchased in person at our box office between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.  

The Franco Center is at 46 Cedar St., Lewiston. Parking is available in the mill lot. The building is handicap accessible on the Lincoln St. Alley side. 

Runnin’ Down a Dream, a Tom Petty tribute band from Maine, will perform at 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 19, at the Franco Center, 46 Cedar St., Lewiston. Submitted photo.

 LA Businesses to Lead “Stuff the Bus” Holiday Donation Drive

LEWISTON, ME (November 10, 2022) — The LA Metro Chamber has joined forces with Northeast Bank and the new Target Auburn to help those in need during the holidays this year for the annual “Stuff the Bus”. Northeast Bank’s generous support of Stuff the Bus helps the LA Metro Chamber reach businesses and residents through print, TV, and radio. This initiative invites anyone who would like to donate new toys and clothing to help families during the holidays to drop off their items at the Chamber or at one of the partner drop-off locations listed on their website https://discoverlamaine.com/stuff-the-bus/.  Donations can also be purchased online through the Target Stuff the Bus Wishlist Registry.

In conjunction with the collection of new toys, winter clothing, and items for seniors and pets, the LA Metro Chamber and WIGY Radio are teaming up Tuesday, November 29, starting at 7 AM for a Stuff the Bus Radiothon. Radio host Mark Turcotte and Chamber President + CEO Shanna Cox will be joined in the studio by representatives from the mission-based organizations who help distribute the donated items to local individuals and families. Listeners tuning in will hear more about the Stuff the Bus partners, their mission, and their involvement, which will support more than 1,500 local families, teens, and seniors this year. 

The WIGY radiothon will introduce listeners to the events’ distribution partners – Community Concepts, Kaydenz Kitchen, Lewiston Housing, MAINE Community Integration, New Beginnings, Promise Early Education Center, Safe Voices, Sandcastle Clinical and Educational Services, The Root Cellar, Tri-County Mental Health Services, Trinity Jubilee Center, and the YWCA.

On December 13th, the LA Metro Chamber Team will travel around LA on a Northeast Charter bus, collecting all of the donated gifts from the public drop-off locations and participating businesses and sort the items.  On December 14th the public is invited to the Stuff the Bus Business After Hours at the Hilton Garden Inn Auburn Riverwatch to see the donations first hand and to network with the Stuff the Bus collecting businesses, bus stops, and distribution partners, as well as members of the Chamber Board of Directors and staff.

On December 15th all of the collected community donations will be given to LA’s distribution partner organizations.

To learn more and find out how you can participate, visit https://discoverlamaine.com/stuff-the-bus/


Northeast Bank kicks off Stuff the Bus with a check presentation 


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