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A “Thankful” Storywalk in Auburn

The City of Auburn, in collaboration with Walton Elementary School, is pleased to announce that “Thankful” is this month’s theme for the Auburn Storywalk along Auburn’s Riverwalk. 

During the month of November, our display cases will be featuring art and essays by Walton Elementary students about the importance of being thankful and giving back. 

For more information about Auburn’s Storywalk, contact Sabrina Best, Auburn Recreation Director at sbest@auburnmaine.gov or 333-6611. 

Gippers 12th Annual Basketball Tip-Off Classic

The Auburn Lewiston Sports Hall of Fame will present the Gippers 12th Annual Basketball Tip-Off Classic November 22 to 23.  This year’s tournament will be held at Edward Little High School Gymnasium, 77 Harris St, Auburn.  Local and area high school teams will be competing in games scheduled for the afternoon and evening of both dates. 

Daily admission will be $5 for adults, and $3 for students and senior citizens. The schedule for November 22, Girls Basketball: 3:30 p.m. Edward Little vs Gray – New Gloucester; 5 p.m. Poland vs. Lewiston; 6:30 p.m. Gray—New Gloucester vs. Lewiston; 8 p.m. Edward Little vs. Poland

The schedule for November 23, Boys Basketball: 11:30 a.m. Edward Little JV vs. Lewiston JV; 1 a.m. Gorham vs. Edward Little; 2:30 a.m. Poland vs. Fryeburg Academy; 4:30 a.m. Gorham vs. Lewiston; 6 p.m. Fryeburg Academy vs. Edward Little; 7:30 p.m. Poland vs. Lewiston.

The Auburn-Lewiston Sports Hall of Fame has been a part of the Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce since March of 1983.  Over the past 35 years, there have been 150 inductees to the Sports Hall of Fame.  The annual awards banquet takes place in late spring and also includes the Chamber President’s Award for outstanding current achievement, and the “Flashback to Fame” Team Award to the championship teams of the past.  Over the years, the Auburn Lewiston Sports Hall of Fame has become a major community activity of the Chamber. The Hall of Fame inductee plaques can be viewed at Gippers Sports Grill in Auburn.

The Androscoggin Readers Theater 11th season

Pictured left to right: front, Joel Goodman, High Keene, Director; Faith Towle, Curt Webber, Judy Webber; back, Christopher Lansley, Linda Jackson-Washburn, Nancy Daniels, Robert Gardner, Joanne Sabourin, Treasurer. Absent when photo was taken, Joanne Tetreault. 

Story and photos by Rachel Morin

The Androscoggin Readers Theater (ART), now in its 11th Season, is continuing to visit senior housing facilities to present performances of its original, humorous scripts that explore the quirks, peculiarities and idiosyncrasies of senior life, all in good fun! 

As requested, ART members returned to SeniorPlus, Lewiston, on November 11, Veteran’s Day, for an afternoon performance, open to the public. Despite the big storm, loyal fans attended and expressed their appreciation of the animated and fun-filled performance.  

Hugh Keene, newly appointed as Director of the group, succeeding Naomi York, long time director, introduced the group and acknowledged our Veterans on their day. The skits are the creations of Nancy Daniels and Joel Goodman.

Governor Mills: I look forward to hearing your thoughts on how we can foster economic growth in Maine

This past week I had a great discussion up at Blair Hill Inn and Restaurant in Greenville with business owners, residents, development leaders and local lawmakers. We focused on ideas and strategies for economic growth in rural Maine, particularly Western Maine.

You know diversifying our economy, empowering innovators and attracting young, talented people to live and work in Maine is crucial to the future of our state.

That’s why earlier this year, I directed the Department of Economic and Community Development to create the very first long-term statewide economic development plan in decades.

That plan, which will be finalized in the coming weeks, is being written with input from government agencies, business leaders, educational institutions, private organizations and individuals like yourselves. It will focus on strategies to enhance economic growth, particularly in rural Maine, and address Maine’s workforce challenges.

As we finalize that plan, I think it’s important for me to hear the voices of business leaders and residents all over Maine, to understand their challenges and to learn how state government can help.

So, during our discussion up in Greenville, I heard about the issues that town faces, from funding local schools without increasing property taxes to repairing aging roads and bridges to health care and energy costs. I listened and I shared what my Administration has done to date to address those challenges.

In the biennial budget for instance, we invested $115 million in K-12 education, we began raising the minimum teacher salary to $40,000, and we allocated $18 million to repair aging school infrastructure.

We also invested $75 million in property tax relief for Maine seniors, families, and small businesses. That’s money going back to you.

We fully funded the Medicaid expansion program and we restored Maine’s Low-Cost Drugs for the Elderly and Disabled Program. We enacted legislation to help lower the cost of prescription drugs, and we told the federal government that Maine will pursue its own state-based exchange to put us in the driver’s seat when it comes to health care.

And don’t forget to check www.CoverME.gov this week to find out what health insurance is available to you at the lowest cost and best coverage.

We also enacted—with the voters’ approval—a $105 million transportation bond to repair roads, highways and bridges, and to protect working waterfronts, and to restore commercial fishing wharfs.

Of course, we still have a lot to do. Every rural community has its strengths. For example, besides Greenville, I also visited Monson and Monson Arts which is located in downtown Monson and which offers four-week residencies to artists and writers from all over the place as well as intensive workshops and programs for local school kids and community members.

I met resident artists and writers and learned about the program’s work to spark educational growth, to attract people to rural Maine, and reinvigorate the economy of that town. I also visited Jemma Gascoine Pottery and Monson General Store on Main Street in Monson and talked about their experiences and their excitement about the future.

Undoubtedly the strategy to growing our rural economy will be multi-faceted, but one thing is clear. Supporting these rural communities as they build on their own strengths—as Monson and Greenville are doing—is critical.

Backing local businesses and organizations to attract talented people to live and work in rural Maine will expand our workforce, which is a key aspect of growing our economy statewide. There is a spot for everyone in Maine’s economy, and we need everyone to participate.

I want innovators and entrepreneurs, families, and business owners to know that Maine has not only an unmatched quality of life, but also unmatched opportunity in new industries across our state.

I look forward to visiting more communities and hearing your thoughts on how we can foster economic growth in Maine in the coming months.

“Why Socialism would destroy America’s economy & freedoms”

Fifty-two Republican and conservative groups and leaders will be hosting a public event on the topic “Why Socialism Would Destroy America’s Economy & Freedoms” at the Windham Veterans Center, at 35 Veterans Memorial Drive, Windham, Maine, on Wednesday, November 20. Refreshments will be at 6:00 p.m. and the main program will be from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tickets at the door are $1 (with larger donations gratefully accepted). The Veterans Center is behind the Hannafords on Route 302. 

Co-hosted by the Gray and Windham Republican Town Committees, the event has a broad range of co-sponsorship, including the Maine GOP, the Republican County Committees of Cumberland, York, Androscoggin, and Oxford, as well as thirty-one additional Republican Town Committees, six conservative nonprofits, and four current and former Maine State Representatives. 

WGAN Radio is a Media Partner of the event and the Emcee for the evening will be Joe Reagan, a WGAN Guest Host of “Inside Maine” and a Morning News Contributor. Reagan is a retired Army Captain who served in Afghanistan with military intelligence, where he was awarded a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart. 

The keynote speaker for the evening will be former Second District Republican Congressman Bruce Poliquin. Poliquin served in Congress from 2015 until 2019 and was the Maine State Treasurer from 2010 until 2012. 

Poliquin’s speech will be preceded by two introductory speakers. The first speaker will be Peter Falkenberg Brown, the Chairman of the Gray Republican Committee. Brown is a Portland native, a conservative writer and author, and the host of the YouTube video channel “Love, Freedom, & the World.” 

The second speaker will be Mr. José Mayoral. Mayoral is a conservative businessman from Venezuela living in York, Maine. He was a witness to Socialism’s destruction of Venezuela’s economy and his family’s business that employed hundreds of people. Mayoral will present a warning to Americans to not go down that road. 

Each speaker will present for twenty minutes, with five minutes of Q&A. There will be an extended Q&A session with all three speakers at the end. More information available at https://grayrepublicans.org.

Dempsey Center initiative seeks to ease burden of scars for cancer survivors

The Dempsey Center, responding to a growing need among cancer survivors in Maine, has launched a statewide initiative to help those who suffer from chronic pain and restrictions caused by surgical scars.

The effort includes three key components: Public workshops for cancer survivors to learn self-massage techniques for scars; Expanded scar therapy at the Dempsey Center in Lewiston and South Portland; And Trainings for massage therapists and other wellness providers from around Maine, so they can bring these scar therapy techniques back to their communities.

Kathleen Wing, manager of complementary therapies at the Dempsey Center, said the statewide initiative is timely, as more Mainers are living longer after a cancer diagnosis, thanks largely to early detection and advances in treatments. The number of cancer survivors in the U.S. has quadrupled since 1975 and will continue to grow, according to a recent Wall Street Journal report. Of the estimated 125,000 cancer survivors in Maine, many face difficult long term effects.

“Massage therapy has always been one of our most popular services, and we hear from clients that scars are a big issue. The physical limitations and pain from scars can sometimes prevent people from doing the activities they enjoy,” Wing said.

The Dempsey Center initiative teaches ScarWork, a collection of techniques developed by practitioner Sharon Wheeler of Seattle. It’s an individualized approach toward integrating scar tissue back into the surrounding healthy tissue.

At a clinic on November 16, a dozen practitioners who attended a previous Dempsey Center training on ScarWork will provide one-on-one therapy to cancer survivors at the South Portland location. Separate workshops on December 10 and January 28 are designed for survivors who want to learn self-massage.

“When people think about scars and massage, they might think it’s going to hurt. ScarWork techniques are different. They are gentle, rarely painful, and the improvements in appearance and mobility can be profound, even after one session,” said Maggie Miller, an oncology massage therapist at the Dempsey Center who has more than 30 years of experience in the field.

“The ScarWork initiative is all about collaboration,” Miller said. “We’re increasing our capacity to treat clients directly at the Dempsey Center, but the need is far greater than what we can provide. So, one of the goals here is to connect with the network of massage therapists and structural integration folks throughout Maine and have them bring this service to their clients.”

The November 16 clinic is full, but there are openings available at the December 10 and January 28 self-massage workshops. To register or to learn more about the Dempsey Center’s ScarWork initiative, email kwing@dempseycenter.org, or visit www.dempseycenter.org.

Journalists are invited to visit the Dempsey Center, 778 Main St., South Portland, between 11:15 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. on Nov. 16 to speak with clients and practitioners about the ScarWork clinic. Please contact Nancy Audet to make arrangements at naudet@dempseycenter.org, (207) 774-2200 or 1-877-336-7287.

The Dempsey Center is committed to making life better for people managing the impact of cancer. With locations in South Portland and Lewiston, Dempsey Center services help individuals and families maintain physical and emotional wellness as they deal with a cancer diagnosis. Understanding that cancer impacts the whole family, the Dempsey Center provides specialized services for children and teens and their families. All services are provided at no charge.

Milligan family of Gray wins award in The Fresh Air Fund’s annual photo contest

Gray residents, the Milligans, participated in The Fresh Air Fund’s Friendly Towns Program this past summer and were among the winners of the 2019 Photo Contest! All winners were selected from the hundreds of photos submitted by volunteer host families along the East Coast and Southern Canada. The photos capture the fun-filled experiences our volunteer host families shared with Fresh Air children this past summer. Categories include “Backyard Fun,” “Friendship,” “New Experiences,” “Exploring Nature,” “Swimming,” “The Beach” and “Ice Cream.”

The photo was selected as a winner in the “Summer Brother” category, and features Fresh Air child, Hunter (7), enjoying a day at the lake with his Fresh Air family, the Milligans, of Gray, Maine.

The Fresh Air Fund, an independent, not-for-profit agency, has provided free summer experiences to more than 1.8 million New York City children from low-income communities since 1877. To learn more about hosting a Fresh Air child next summer, please contact Dawn Hansen at 207-608-0004 or visit The Fresh Air Fund at www.FreshAir.org.

Fiddle music and dancing

Folks of all ages are invited to enjoy an afternoon of old-time fiddle music and dancing on Sunday, November 17, at the Danville Junction Grange in Auburn.

The featured musicians are the Mighty Folquemeisters, who range in age from 6 to 60-plus and perform on fiddles, guitars, mandolin, banjo, Scottish small pipes, bodhran (Irish hand drum) and spoons.

The program will kick off at 2 p.m. with a 40-minute concert of lively Celtic jigs and reels as well as some French-Canadian favorites. Then caller Cindy Larock will invite attendees up onto the floor to try out some traditional New England and Quebecois contra and square dances. “I plan to start off with some fun-and-easy dances that are guaranteed to be user-friendly for everyone, even if they’ve never danced before,” said Larock, who was designated several years ago by the Maine Arts Commission as a Master Artist in folk dancing. 

Since dancers are likely to work up an appetite before the afternoon is over, Grange members will have a table of delectable home-baked goods available for purchase, as well as coffee and cold drinks.

As an added bonus, there will be a plant sale boasting an array of colorful cyclamens and, in anticipation of the Christmas holidays, a special “Bible Collection” featuring angel-wing begonias, prayer plants, wandering Jews and Moses-in-the-Bullrushes. Also offered will be an assortment of vintage house plants such as Swedish ivy, beefsteak begonias and spider plants. Proceeds from the plant sale are earmarked to benefit Whiting Farm/John F. Murphy Homes and the youth music program of the Maine Folque Co-op, which provides mentoring for the Mighty Folquemeisters.

Admission to the concert and dance is $6, or $20 for a family of four, with children under age 10 admitted free of charge. The Danville Junction Grange is located at 15 Grange Street, off Old Danville Road in Auburn. 

This event is cosponsored by the Danville Junction Grange and the Maine Folque Co-op. More information is available by calling (207) 782-0386.

Governor Mills: To all Maine veterans—thank you for your service and your sacrifice

Monday, November 11 marked an important day in Maine and around the nation—it was Veterans Day.

On this Veterans Day, as we do every day, we recognized the men and women who faithfully served our state and nation in the Armed Forces. Let’s join together to thank them and their families for their sacrifice, their bravery, and their devotion to our country.

Today, our state can proudly say that we are home to more than 114,000 veterans—more than 11 percent of our adult population and one of the highest number of veterans per capita of any state in the nation.

But when you consider Maine’s long and proud history of military service, that comes as no surprise.

During the Civil War, more than 2.8 million people served, and more than 620,000 people gave, as Lincoln said, “the last full measure of devotion.” Many of those men came from Maine. Our state contributed a higher proportion of our citizens to the Union army than any other state in the nation.

One of my predecessors, General Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, led the 20th Maine Volunteer Infantry Regiment during the Civil War and he is credited with saving the Union at Little Round Top during the Battle of Gettysburg.

From the Revolutionary War to the Civil War to World War I and World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan—Maine people have stood up to defend our nation and its ideals and our state has shouldered its responsibility to protect our country.

President Lincoln also understood the toll these wars have on people and their families, and he also knew that bringing an end to the war would not bring an end to our support for those who served.

“Let us strive on to finish the work we are in,” he said, “to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.”

Today, we care for those who have borne the battle and honor what they fought for—so many rights which all are too fragile and too often taken for granted.

The right to disagree…the right to express an opinion, whether anyone listens or not. The right to pray. Or not to pray. The right to personal privacy. And in the fundamental decisions of life. The right to ask for governmental assistance, and the right to be free of governmental intrusion.

Maine veterans teach all of us to cherish our rights, to remember those who gave their lives for these freedoms. They teach us to remember that our sons and daughters still defend those rights on battlefields and potential battlefields a world away and in postings across the globe.They teach us by their example the self-sufficiency they learned in combat preparation, and the strong sense of responsibility that comes from hard work and hard times.They teach us honor. They show us dignity. They teach us service.

That is why I have officially proclaimed this week—November 10 through November 16—as Veterans Week. Please join with me in commemorating these heroic men and women who have served our state and our nation.

To all Maine veterans—thank you for your service from the bottom of my heart and thank you for your sacrifice and that of your families. To all those who have served and to those who continue to serve our country: our hearts are with you this Veterans Week.

Come Out Swingin’! to premiere at the Franco Center

Come Out Swingin’! a new musical set in Lewiston during the Muhammad Ali-Sonny Liston heavyweight championship boxing match, will be presented at the Gendron Franco Center, November 22 to 24. 

It’s the spring of 1965, two weeks before Ali?then still widely known as Cassius Clay—is scheduled to defend his heavyweight title in a rematch against the notorious Liston. Controversy surrounding Liston and some licensing problems in Massachusetts have forced the promoters to quickly find another venue for the fight. They choose St. Dom’s Arena (now the Androscoggin Bank Colisée) in Lewiston, just about the unlikeliest venue ever for a heavyweight championship bout!

A co-production of the Franco Center and the L-A Community Little Theatre, the show is about a lot more than boxing. “It’s a musical comedy with lots of laughs, and it’s set against the tectonic shifts happening in America in the 1960s,” says Brian Daly, who wrote the show. “But beneath the fun on the surface, it invites the audience to recognize our common humanity.”

“It’s more a story of the people of Lewiston and their reaction to that historic event. It’s really a story about Lewiston,” notes Richard Martin, who is directing the show. He points out that the full title of the show is “ ‘Come Out Swingin’; A Lewiston Story,” because the real focus is on how Lewiston residents coped with all the excitement, media scrutiny, and how visitors perceived the city and its residents. 

In the show we meet Lewiston City Hall staffer Mickey St. Pierre (played by Zachariah Stearns), who thinks the fight could really put Lewiston on the map. While he works to gin up enthusiasm for the fight among local residents and to get the city ready for all the big-time sportswriters and other celebrities who will be descending on Lewiston, he discovers that professional hit men may be coming to Lewiston to murder Ali in the ring.

Some of the other colorful characters in the show include Rita (Lucy Poland), a wisecracking owner of a Lewiston coffee shop; Phil the barber (Ernie Gagne) and his grumpy wife, Germaine (Bre Allard); Sarge the Lewiston cop (Dan Crawford); local know-it-all “Teddy One Thing” (Bill McCue); and a bombastic stripper named Boom Boom Vavoom (Erin Marenghi).

“Then the big night comes, and everything goes wrong,” according to the musical’s synopsis. “Robert Goulet mangles the national anthem, Liston appears to take a dive, referee Jersey Joe Walcott mishandles the count, the fans cry ‘Fix!’ and the fight is over before Boom Boom gets a chance to strut her stuff.” 

The sportswriters who had nothing but praise for Lewiston turn on the community. That is when the people of Lewiston stand up for themselves. They were not responsible for this boxing fiasco. Other people blew it and then tried to blame the locals.

The show features twenty original songs written by Daly, a published author who has written other screenplays and stage productions, including the screenplay adaptation of his book “Big and Hairy” for a Showtime feature of the same title starring Richard Thomas.

Daly and Martin emphasize that the show maintains its unique Lewiston flavor throughout, even when the bizarre events threaten to spell disaster for the city. In the end, after the media circus has left town, Mickey and friends are prouder than ever to live and love in Lewiston, Maine!

“The Gendron Franco Center for Heritage, Culture, and the Performing Arts is rooted in the traditions of Maine’s French-speaking ancestors,” Martin says, “so it’s the perfect venue for this show. There are even a couple of scenes set in St. Mary’s Church, which is now the Franco Center!”

Performances of Come Out Swingin will be held on November 22 and 23 at 7:30 p.m. and November 24 at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are $20.00 and available online at http://www.francocenter.org/events/come-out-swingin-2/. For more information, please call the Franco Center Box Office at (207) 689-2000.  


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