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Author Archives: TCT Editorial Staff

Blue Mass in Lewiston Sept. 19

From Portland Diocese

LEWISTON—Hundreds of local, state, and federal law enforcement officers, firefighters, and emergency personnel will be recognized for their faithful commitment and self-sacrifice at the Blue Mass on Sunday, Sept. 19

The mass will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m., at the Basilica of Saints Peter & Paul on 122 Ash Street in Lewiston.

People of all faiths are invited to attend and join in showing gratitude to these dedicated heroes. All active and retired members of the public safety community are encouraged to come with their families and in uniform.

National, state, and local dignitaries and elected representatives will also attend the Mass, including Senator Susan Collins (R-ME).

The Blue Mass will be celebrated by Bishop Robert Deeley.

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Cities seek to name bridge in honor of Jenkins

From City of Auburn

AUBURN – The cities of Auburn and Lewiston were expected to honor and celebrate the legacy of John Jenkins, the late Maine state senator and mayor of both municipalities, by renaming a footbridge in his honor.

The cities planned to vote this week on renaming the pedestrian footbridge that connects the cities as the “John Jenkins Memorial Footbridge.”

The Lewiston and Auburn city councils were each to consider and vote on the proposed footbridge dedication during their meetings on Tuesday.

Jenkins, who died in September, 2020, following a short but valiant fight against cancer, was born and raised in Newark, New Jersey. He fell in love with the area while attending Bates College, graduating in 1974. He made Lewiston his home after traveling the world and competing in martial arts championships.

Jenkins was an exceptional athlete, becoming a member of the Lewiston-Auburn Sports Hall of Fame, World Martial Arts Hall of Fame, Maine State Sports Hall of Fame, and USA International Black Belt Hall of Fame. He also worked with local police departments, providing self-defense and de-escalation training and as a Maine Criminal Justice Academy instructor.

A mentor, community volunteer, personal trainer, martial arts instructor, motivational speaker, entrepreneur, and more, John Jenkins was a dedicated and enthusiastic member of the Auburn-Lewiston community, serving as mayor of each city, winning once as a write-in candidate. He also served as State Senator for Maine’s 21st District – the first African American ever to be elected to the Senate.

“John was inspiring to so many in our community and beyond,” said Auburn Mayor Jason Levesque. “Whether it was his motivational speeches to school kids or his advocacy as mayor and senator, his love for people and for community was evident to all. Naming this bridge after a man that connects and connected the two great cities he loved is not just fitting, it is appropriate.”

Healthcare workers push back against vaccine mandate

Many fear the rapid rollout of new vaccines

By Nathan Tsukroff

AUGUSTA – “Operation Warp Speed” was intended to facilitate and accelerate the creation and distribution of a COVD-19 vaccine.

That very same rush to the finish line now has a percentage of Americans, both healthcare workers and regular citizens, concerned that the vaccines have not been tested enough or been around long enough to be safe.

Then-President Donald Trump announced OWS in May 2020 from the White House Rose Garden.

This parternership between the Departments of Health and Human Services and Defense helped to motivate companies around the globe to develop anti-virus vaccines, and the start of manufacturing during clinical trials, along with concurrent clinical trials, led to an emergency use authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration by the end of the year for both the Pfizer-BioNtech and the Moderna vaccines. The Johnson and Johnson Janseen single-dose vaccine received emergency use authorization in February 2021.

Katie Rodzen of Greene, a registered nurse who started working at Maine General Hospital in Augusta shortly before the pandemic hit, said she doesn’t trust any of three vaccines against COVID-19

The current COVID-19 Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are manufactured, not made from small amounts of a virus.

Healthcare workers in front of the Maine State House protesting Gov. Janet Mill’s recent mandate that all healthcare workers must receive the COVID-19 vaccine by Oct. 1.  There have been several protests at the State House over the past couple of weeks.  (Photographs by Kayla Lawrence)

This process, referred to as mRNA, or messenger RNA, inserts synthetic nucleoside-modified messenger RNA (modRNA) into human cells using a coating of lipid nanoparticles. What is essentially a little piece of code created in the mRNA process is delivered to the cells in a person’s body. The code serves as an instruction manual for the immune system, teaching it to recognize the virus that causes COVID-19 and attack it, should it encounter the real thing.

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This summer camp is a family passion

By Nathan Tsukroff

RAYMOND – Summer camp is fun and educational. And for the Slovenski family, it’s a family passion.

After attending summer camps where their parents worked, the Slovenski brothers and sisters went on to become counselors, trustees and directors in Maine summer camps.

And then one of the brothers, Peter, who lives in Brunswick, opened a summer camp in Raymond.

Camp Hawthorne on the west side of Panther Pond in Raymond was closing, so Peter worked out a deal with the Plummer family to take over the camp in 2010, renaming it Slovenski Camps. The property is part of what used to be the Plummer family farm that was developed more than 200 years ago.

The story of camping goes back a generation, starting with parents Walter and Ruth.

Steven Slovenski chats with his mother, Ruth, outside the healthcare facility named in her honor at the Slovenski Camps, a summer camp for children in grades 3-11 on Panther Pond in Raymond. Ruth Slovenski was school nurse in the Lewiston and Lisbon school districts, and spent summers as a summer camp nurse in the Lakes Region area. (Tsukroff photo)

Walter Slovenski was raised in western Pennsylvania and attended Syracuse University after serving several years as a Seabee in the Pacific theater during World War II. He met Ruth, a nursing student at Syracuse School of Nursing, and they were married in 1949. Slovenski went on to earn a master’s degree at New York University and coached both basketball track at Oneonta State College in New York for two years, where their oldest son, Steven, was born.

The family moved to Lewiston in 1952 for Walter to take on the role of head track coach and assistant football coach at Bates College.

The other Slovenski children – Susan, Peter, Paul, Sally, and Patti – were born in Lewiston, where Ruth worked as a school nurse in first the Lewiston and then the Lisbon school districts.

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Cities seek to name bridge in honor of Jenkins

From City of Auburn

AUBURN – The cities of Auburn and Lewiston were expected to honor and celebrate the legacy of John Jenkins, the late Maine state senator and mayor of both municipalities, by renaming a footbridge in his honor.

The cities planned to vote this week on renaming the pedestrian footbridge that connects the cities as the “John Jenkins Memorial Footbridge.”

The Lewiston and Auburn city councils were each to consider and vote on the proposed footbridge dedication during their meetings on Tuesday.

Jenkins, who died in September, 2020, following a short but valiant fight against cancer, was born and raised in Newark, New Jersey. He fell in love with the area while attending Bates College, graduating in 1974. He made Lewiston his home after traveling the world and competing in martial arts championships.

Jenkins was an exceptional athlete, becoming a member of the Lewiston-Auburn Sports Hall of Fame, World Martial Arts Hall of Fame, Maine State Sports Hall of Fame, and USA International Black Belt Hall of Fame. He also worked with local police departments, providing self-defense and de-escalation training and as a Maine Criminal Justice Academy instructor.

A mentor, community volunteer, personal trainer, martial arts instructor, motivational speaker, entrepreneur, and more, John Jenkins was a dedicated and enthusiastic member of the Auburn-Lewiston community, serving as mayor of each city, winning once as a write-in candidate. He also served as State Senator for Maine’s 21st District – the first African American ever to be elected to the Senate.

“John was inspiring to so many in our community and beyond,” said Auburn Mayor Jason Levesque. “Whether it was his motivational speeches to school kids or his advocacy as mayor and senator, his love for people and for community was evident to all. Naming this bridge after a man that connects and connected the two great cities he loved is not just fitting, it is appropriate.”

Important changes as we begin the new school year

Guest Column

By Sen. Ned Claxton

Another Maine summer has come and gone, and that means one thing – kids are back at school!

Though we all wish students were heading back to the classroom under better circumstances, I am thankful to all those who have and continue to work hard to ensure that everyone can learn, teach and excel while staying healthy. It won’t be an easy school year, but I’m confident that we can do it.

During the past session in the Legislature, we took some important steps to ensure all Maine children can learn and grow to their fullest potential. I wanted to use this space to share some of those changes that you should be aware of.

First, we took a big step in our fight to address child hunger in Maine. No child should ever go hungry, but today, nearly 1 in 6 Maine children are food insecure. This is completely unacceptable. We took action, and in the bipartisan biennial budget that we passed earlier this year, we made all school meals free for every student.


Sen. Ned Claxton (D-Androscoggin), Maine District 20, Auburn, Mechanic Falls, Minot, New Gloucester, and Poland (Photo courtesy of Sen. Claxton)

Traditionally, only certain students qualified for free or reduced lunches through the National School Lunch Program. While this has certainly helped generations of students, many still fall through the cracks. Certain students may be right above the cutoff for qualifying, yet still face challenging financial situations at home. Other students who do qualify for meals may not always get them.

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Maine celebrates with bicentennial parade

By Nathan Tsukroff

AUBURN/LEWISTON – It’s official! Maine is now 200 years old, and citizens have finally celebrated this milestone, although a year late.

After being rescheduled twice due to the pandemic, the Maine Bicentennial Parade, presented by Poland Spring, wound its way through Auburn and Lewiston on Saturday as Mainers celebrated the state’s transition from a territory of Massachusetts to the 23rd state.

The state was created under the Missouri Compromise of 1820, which allowed Maine to join the Union as a free state, with Missouri entering a year later as a slave state to preserve the numerical balance between free and slave states.

Governor Jane Mills (D) led the parade as the Grand Marshall, followed by a string of floats and marching bands.

Mills rode in a 3-D printed boat created at the University of Maine. The float was followed by Mainers protesting her recent mandate that all healthcare workers must be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Oct. 1.

Also in the parade were several local bands, clowns, unicyclists, and veterans groups.

Some 30,000 visitors had been expected to line the parade route, which started at 10 a.m. at Mills and Broad Streets in Auburn, moved up Main Street to cross the Androscoggin River into Lewison, and ended up about a block from Central Maine Medical Center.

Photographs by Twin City Times staff member Suzanne Murray, and Roxann McDonough of RAM McDonough Photography.

Celebrating Maine’s Bicentennial and Lewiston’s History

Guest Column

By Sen. Libby

This past weekend, we were finally able to celebrate Maine’s Bicentennial – our 200th birthday – with the parade right here in Lewiston and our sister city Auburn.

After all the hardships we have endured over the past year, it felt special to see our communities come out and celebrate our state and its unique history with such joy. The state of Maine and Lewiston have rich histories, and I can think of no place more fitting to have hosted this event than right here in town.

 The Bicentennial celebration gave me some time to reflect on our city’s history and fortunately there’s a detailed outline on Lewiston’s website provided by local historian, Douglas I. Hodgkin. I strongly encourage you to check it out, and thank Prof. Hodgkin for his dedicated work to the city of Lewiston and for providing a source of information for us to learn about our city’s story.

 Before diving into the details, it is important to recognize and acknowledge that Native Americans lived and belonged on this land far before any European settlers arrived. In fact, “Androscoggin,” the name of Lewiston’s river and county, is the contemporary word describing a Native American tribe that lived in New Hampshire, Maine and southern Quebec. The tribe was likely absorbed by neighboring tribes by the 18th century.

 The process for Maine to become a state had been underway for some time, but it wasn’t until July 26, 1819, that voters were first able to decide if they wanted to separate from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. After a successful vote, the district of Maine still had a few barriers between it and official statehood. Maine was tasked with drafting a state Constitution as well as awaiting additional approval from Congress. Finally, on March 15, 1820, as a result of the Maine-Missouri Compromise, Maine officially became the 23rd state of the United States.

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Lewiston seeks Ward 2 Councilor replacement

From City of Lewiston

LEWISTON – Calling his service as a public servant his “highest honor,” Zachary T. Pettengill resigned his seat as Lewiston’s Ward 2 City Councilor on Aug. 13.

Pettengill said he will cherish his time serving in municipal government. “The decision does not come lightly, but after much deliberation and careful consideration, I must face the facts and realize that I can no longer continue to ‘burn the candle at both ends.’ After spending six years at City Hall first as a Planning Board member and then a City Councilor, I believe the time has come for me to step aside.”

Mayor Mark Cayer sajd be was sad to hear the news, and praised Councilor Pettengill’s long-time commitment to representing the residents of Lewiston. “Councilor Pettengill will be missed. His love of community and willingness to share years from his busy schedule to strengthen our community for the better is to be commended.”

With a municipal election, including Council seats, scheduled for November, Section 2.06 (d) of the City Charter defines the process for appointment in the vacancy of a City Councilor: “If a vacancy in the office occurs less than one (1) year prior to the next regular municipal election, the remaining members of the Council may appoint an eligible person to fill the unexpired term within thirty (30) calendar days after the vacancy exists. If the Council fails to make such appointment within said thirty (30) calendar days, the Mayor shall appoint an eligible person to fill the unexpired term within ten (10) calendar days thereafter.”

Under those rules, Council President Michel Lajoie is currently accepting applications from registered voters in Ward 2 who are interested in being considered for appointment to the Lewiston City Council.

Applications are available immediately from the City Clerk’s Office, 27 Pine Street, and on the City’s website at www.lewistonmaine.gov/publicboard.

This opening is for the remainder of Pettingill’s current two-year term that expires January 2022. All eligible applicants must be at least 20 years old and must be registered voters of Ward 2 in Lewiston. Applications must be submitted to the City Clerk’s Office no later than 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 1.  The appointment is scheduled to be on the City Council meeting agenda of Sept. 7.

  Questions regarding the appointment procedure as well as the tasks and duties of a City Councilor may be directed to the City Clerk’s Office at (207) 513-3124. 

The vaccine mandate is
. . . complicated

Touching Base

Op-ed by Nathan Tsukroff

In the Maine Republican’s weekly radio address last Friday, this is what we heard:

“This is State Representative Kathleen Dillingham, of Oxford, with the Weekly Republican Radio Address. Recently, the Governor, and her administration, used the Department of Health and Human Services public health emergency issued July 1, 2021, to mandate that all healthcare employers require their employees receive the COVID-19 vaccine, and those employees who do not, will lose their jobs. That is an estimated 10,000 healthcare employees.”

Mandates of any kind can be . . . complicated.

And the recent mandate by Gov. Mills that all healthcare workers must be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Oct. 1 adds to the complication.

Let’s look at the facts –

As we found in the State of Maine’s statement on the vaccine mandate, “The State of Maine has long required the immunization of employees of designated health care facilities to reduce the risk of exposure to, and possible transmission of, vaccine-preventable diseases. These immunizations include measles, mumps, rubella, chickenpox, hepatitis B, and influenza. This existing rule has been amended to include the COVID-19 vaccine. The organizations to which this requirement applies must ensure that each employee is vaccinated, with this requirement being enforced as a condition of the facilities’ licensure.”

Dillingham’s statement is at odds with the governor’s mandate, since the mandate DOES NOT refer to firings, but rather to licensure of a healthcare facility.

In other words, the governor did not tell healthcare workers to be vaccinated or they would be fired.

However, that doesn’t mean healthcare workers can be secure in their jobs.

Here’s where it starts to get complicated.

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