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YWCA’S Aqua Park open during February Vacation

LEWISTON, ME — The Aqua Park at YWCA Central Maine is back by popular demand! Please Join us for a special February Vacation event on Saturday, February 24th, and Sunday February 25th.

“Individuals and families looking for a fun, indoor activity to do during February vacation don’t have to look far. YWCA Central Maine invested in this unique Aqua Park that is unlike any other activity available in Central Maine in 2022. Brought out for special occasions we decided that February vacation was a great reason to set it up, and let people have fun for a weekend.” Said Jennifer Molloy, Chief Development and Communications Officer.

The park includes a trampoline, a tunnel, a rock wall, and a slide. There are 25 spots per session, so prior registration and reservation is required, and multiple lifeguards will be on duty.

Participation is for 8 years old and up.

To register go to our website and create an account in RecDesk and select “Aqua Park”. Registration is now open.

If you have further questions please call the front desk at 207-795-4050.

Filing deadline extended for FEMA Designated Disaster Areas 

 AUGUSTA, ME – The Department of Administrative and Financial Services (DAFS) announced today that Maine Revenue Services, a bureau of DAFS, will extend the deadline to file Maine state taxes, to match the recent Internal Revenue Service (IRS) federal tax extension deadline for Maine taxpayers who live in federally designated disaster areas in 10 Maine counties, until June 17, 2024.  

On February 5, 2024, the IRS announced federal tax relief for individuals and businesses in certain parts of Maine affected by severe storms and flooding that began on December 17, 2023.   

The tax relief applies to disaster areas in Maine designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in Androscoggin, Franklin, Hancock, Kennebec, Oxford, Penobscot, Piscataquis, Somerset, Waldo, and Washington counties. 

 For affected Maine taxpayers, tax returns and final or estimated payments originally due on or after December 17, 2023, and through April 17, 2024 for Individual Income Tax, Corporate Income Tax, Fiduciary Income Tax (trusts and estates) and Franchise Tax are postponed to June 17, 2024.   

 Any related penalties and interest will be abated for the period of December 18, 2023, through June 17, 2024 (Relief Period). Affected taxpayers are encouraged to file electronically. Affected taxpayers filing paper returns should write “MAINE FLOODING” across the top of their return. Affected taxpayers are still encouraged to make payments and file if they are able and prepared to do so before June 17, 2024. 

 Regardless of filing method, if any affected taxpayer receives a notice of assessment of penalties and/or interest for the Relief Period due to late returns or payments, please contact MRS immediately at income.tax@maine.gov (Income Tax programs) to request abatement. 

 Payment and filing deadlines for all other Maine tax types, including Maine sales tax and income tax withholding, remain unchanged.  

Taxpayers with questions about special federal tax relief associated with federally declared disaster areas should contact the IRS at (866) 562-5227 or go to the IRS website at www.irs.gov

New advisory services for credit unions, community banks

MAINE – Charles River CFO, is proud to announce the launch of its new Executive Advisory Services, designed specifically for Credit Unions and Community Banks. With financial institutions facing unique challenges in today’s dynamic finance environment, this service aims to provide seasoned expertise and strategic guidance tailored to their specific needs.

Charles River CFO’s Executive Advisory Services are designed to foster effective board leadership, improve CEO performance, and offer appropriate responses to audit and examiner concerns. The new service will also include board training sessions, weekly CEO coaching calls, and monthly strategic planning sessions tailored to the unique needs of each organization.

“Our services are about turning challenges into opportunities,” said Allen Sterling, Director of Community Banking/Credit Union Practice at Charles River CFO. “From filling leadership gaps with our Interim CEO and CFO services to providing comprehensive board training, we are dedicating our seasoned expertise to empower your organization and steer it towards success.”

One of the critical components of the new offering includes Audit Committee support, where the team will work closely with the Audit Committee members to define their responsibilities, evaluate CEO responses, and ensure effective monitoring of improvements.

Strategic planning is another vital aspect of the services. The Executive Advisors will provide insights on best practices for successful plan development, execution, and monitoring, ensuring that the organizations have an effective planning and budgeting process in place.

“Effective communication is key to any successful organization,” said Sterling. “Our Executive Advisory Service offers CEO coaching and works closely with your CEO to optimize their effectiveness in communicating with the board, outside examiners, and senior management.”

Charles River CFO invites credit unions and community banks to consider how we can amplify the impact of your leadership team. Connect with us at info@crcfo.com or call Jack Sullivan at (781) 431-0420 x1 to learn how our Executive Advisory Services can benefit your organization.

French trailblazers honored with Lewiston concert

PORTLAND, ME — The Franco-American Collection at the University of Southern Maine, in collaboration with the Franco Center, and the University of Southern Maine’s Osher School of Music and Bates College Department of Music, will host “Celebrating French Music, the History Makers, the History Changers” at the Franco Center in Lewiston at on Friday, March 1. The program will highlight the lives, music, and struggle for freedom of trailblazing French women composers who have been forgotten in history.

Doors open at 5:30 p.m. There is no admission fee, but seats must be reserved. The music will begin at 6 p.m., with a reception to follow at 7:15 p.m. 

Soprano Malinda Haslett, director of USM’s Voice Program, and Osher School of Music seniors Josephine Lawrence, Bella StCyr, and Caroline Wood will honor the work of underrepresented musicians, including female Jewish composer and member of the French resistance, Claude Arrieu.

Haslett’s research and performances related to Arrieu earned her the USM Trustee Professorship in 2022-23. Arrieu was a founding member of the Front National des Musiciens, whose mission was to save artists and art from annihilation while preserving French culture and lifting morale. When the war ended, their music fell into obscurity. Yet, as Dr. Haslett’s work illuminates, Arrieu’s music lives on through her connection to Maine native, Dame Alice Esty, a soprano, philanthropist, and resident of Lewiston, who commissioned Arrieu to write for her after the war.

The evening program will celebrate Arrieu, Esty, and Maine’s contribution to the classical vocal music canon, and showcase the work of current young vocal artists here in Maine.

In honor of those who passed away after the tragic Lewiston shooting in October, the program will conclude with a rendition of Gabriel Fauré’s Requiem. In collaboration with friends and colleagues from Bates College, members of the USM Voice Program and students and faculty from Bates will come together to sing the Requiem as a musical memorial.

Conductor duties will be shared by Scott Wheatley, who serves on USM’s voice faculty and as a collaborative pianist, and Joëlle Morris, singer, choral conductor, music educator at Bates.

Following the event, there will be a reception and presentation by students who will share their research on undervalued women pioneers in music.

Support for this concert program comes from Maine Community Bank; Maine Advisory Associates; a Friend; TempleShalomAuburn.org; UMaine Judaic Studies; DentalLace.com; and UMaine Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Season Underwriter is Maple Way Dental Care; Media Sponsors are Sun Journal, Turner Publishing, Uncle Andy’s, Bennett Radio Group.

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. 


“The Women Who Risked Everything for Freedom” concert program featuring soprano Malinda Haslett, Scott Wheatley on piano, and a slideshow of women composers is a collaboration between Franco-American Collection at University of Southern Maine, the Franco Center, and the University of Southern Maine’s Osher School of Music. The program starts at 6 p.m. Friday, March 1. Admission is free but RSVP your seat at 207-689-2000 or www.francocenter.org/shows. Submitted photo. 

Maine MILL opens exhibit about unseen labor

LEWISTON, ME – The Maine Museum of Innovation, Learning and Labor opened on February 8 a new exhibit about unseen labor. The show expands the story of people working in Maine, and the story of their work—seen and unseen. It organizes such work thematically, with sections focused on the labor of Black people, children and unions, as well as unpaid labor in prisons and the domestic sphere. The show highlights and celebrates artwork by Candy Chang and Auburn-based Tanja Hollander. Both of these artists’ works relate directly to the museum’s memorial efforts following the October 25, 2023 mass shooting. A number of memorial items are also on display within the exhibit.

Rachel Ferrante, Maine MILL’s executive director shared, “We are thrilled to present Tanja’s Ephemera Project and Candy’s A Monument for the Anxious and Hopeful, each of which are so powerful on their own. Set against the backdrop of the complex themes of unseen labor, we hope the show will invite numerous opportunities for thought and dialogue. And our newly created memorial space will be available for the community throughout the run of the show.”

For more information about Maine MILL (formerly Museum L-A) and its events and exhibits, visit mainemill.org or call 207-333-3881. The museum is located at 35 Canal Street in Lewiston. Visitor hours are Wednesday through Saturday, 10am – 4pm.

Fill the Plate Breakfast to benefit Meals on Wheels

LEWISTON, ME – SeniorsPlus, the designated Agency on Aging for Western Maine, will hold a breakfast to benefit its Meals on Wheels nutrition program. The Fill the Plate Breakfast will be held on Friday, March 22, from 7 to 9 a.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn Riverwatch in Auburn. The breakfast will honor Lewiston resident Lucy Bisson with the 2024 Ikaria Award and feature a talk by beloved Maine humorist Gary Crocker. Tickets are $30 per person ($35 at the door) and are available at www.seniorsplus.org/march-for-meals or by calling 207-795-4010. Seats are limited and advance registration is recommended.

Maine humorist Gary Crocker will be the keynote speaker. Born in Lewiston and raised in North Monmouth, Crocker will offer remarks and observations about his beloved Maine and her people in the classic Maine tradition. After teaching public speaking at Cony HS in Augusta, he joined the Waterville Police Department. Crocker then served as Adult Ed Director at CMVTI (now CMCC) in Auburn and eventually became the spokesman for the Community College System at the Maine State Legislature. “These experiences put me in touch with people from all walks of life and prepared me to become a Maine humorist,” he said.

The event includes the presentation of the 2024 Ikaria Award, which recognizes an individual or organization for singular and outstanding contributions toward improving the lives of older adults, to Bisson, a longtime SeniorsPlus volunteer and current Executive Director of the Lewiston/Auburn Senior College.

Ikaria is a Greek island in the Aegean Sea. It is considered one of the world’s five “Blue Zones”—places where an estimated one in three members of the population regularly lives an active life into their 90s.

The Fill the Plate Breakfast is presented in conjunction with March for Meals, a national campaign of Meals on Wheels America.

Last year, SeniorsPlus delivered more than 170,000 meals to 1,800 homebound older adults and adults with disabilities in Androscoggin, Franklin and Oxford counties through its Meals on Wheels program.  Each meal provides one-third of the recommended daily allowance of nutrition, a safety check, and a visit to these vulnerable adults. The majority of the clients of Meals on Wheels are lower income or on fixed income.

The overall program goal of SeniorsPlus is to assist older adults and adults with disabilities in our tri-county area to remain at home safely for as long as possible.  The overwhelming majority of older adults (greater than 95% in an AARP survey) wish to remain at home until they die. The Meals on Wheels program provides nourishment, socialization and regular safety checks.

Since 1972, SeniorsPlus has been improving the lives of older adults and adults with disabilities. As the designated Area Agency on Aging for Western Maine, SeniorsPlus provides statewide services with an emphasis on Androscoggin, Franklin and Oxford counties for core services (ie nutrition and information and assistance) that support independent living, healthy aging, and fight isolation. The mission of SeniorsPlus is to enrich the lives of older people and adults with disabilities, their families and communities, and to support them to make informed choices. SeniorsPlus envisions a future where all older adults and individuals with disabilities are engaged and respected while living quality, independent lives in the communities of their choice. Annually, SeniorsPlus serves 8,000 individuals and fields 170,000 phone inquiries. SeniorsPlus offers a network of support, including information and assistance, short-term care management, Medicare counseling, caregiver support and respite, health and wellness education, benefits counseling, and Meals on Wheels and congregate dining. 

Maine humorist Gary Crockerwill be the featured speaker on March 22 at the 2024 Fill the Plate Breakfast to benefit Meals on Wheels at SeniorsPlus.

The breakfast will honor Lewiston resident Lucy Bisson with the 2024 Ikaria Award.

LPL hosting Valentine’s Baby Keepsake program

LEWISTON, ME — On Friday, February 23rd from 10:00am – 11:30am, the Lewiston Public Library Children’s Department will be offering a Valentine’s Baby Keepsake program. Caregivers and their young children will be able to create their own version of Maine artist Robert Indiana’s famous stacked LOVE art on canvas using handprints and footprints.

The program is recommended for kids ages birth to 5 years and their caregivers. Siblings are also welcome to attend.

This program will take place in the back of the Children’s Department on the third floor of the library. This activity is free, all materials will be provided, and there is no registration required.

Openings still available on Lewiston boards, committees

LEWISTON, ME – Lewiston Mayor Sheline is seeking resident volunteers to serve as members of the City’s various boards and committees. The following city boards and committees have current openings: Board of Appeals, Board of Assessment Review, and Historic Preservation Review Board. 

The Board of Appeals is charged with hearing citizen appeals regarding orders, rules, or failures of certain municipal entities to act relating to the zoning and land use code, building code, property maintenance, fire prevention codes, etc. The board has limited authority in granting conditional use permits and variances of zoning setbacks and related requirements. Due to residency requirements in the City Charter, the Board of Appeals may have more than two members serving simultaneously from the same wards. This provision is to ensure adequate and balanced representation from all sections of the city. At present, the Board of Appeals is at membership capacity for members from ward four. Residents of all other wards are encouraged to apply.  

 The Board of Assessment Review hears appeals from taxpayers challenging the decision of the City Tax Assessor on their request for property tax abatement. The board reviews cases and decides if the Assessor’s findings are correct or need to be adjusted. Members shall have a working knowledge of local property values, appraisal procedures, and tax structure.  

 The Historic Preservation Review Board works with city staff to preserve, protect, and enhance buildings and areas that represent or reflect distinctive and important elements of the city’s architectural, archaeological, cultural, social, economic, ethnic, and political history, working to safeguard the city’s historic and cultural heritage and to provide procedures for local review of changes to significant structures and of new construction, reconstruction, building alternation, and demolition within designated historic districts. All members should have knowledge and experience in the architectural, archeological, cultural, social, economic, ethnic, or political history of Lewiston.

 Lewiston residents who are interested in applying can contact the City Clerk’s Department to complete a committee volunteer application. Application forms are also available on the Boards and Committees page of the City’s website at www.lewistonmaine.gov/boardsandcommittees. Full committee descriptions, meeting times, and other information about committee service are also available on the City’s website.  Applications can be submitted at any time and will be accepted until the positions are filled.

  Residents are welcome to contact the City Clerk’s Department at 513-3124 with any questions they may have regarding the committee appointment process.  Completed applications shall be submitted to the City Clerk’s Office for processing. Office hours are Mon. – Fri., 8:30 AM – 4 PM, and the City Clerk’s Department is located at City Hall, 27 Pine Street, Lewiston.

Sen. Rotundo welcomes Dr. Joe Anderson to the State House 

AUGUSTA, ME — On Thursday, Sen. Peggy Rotundo, D-Lewiston, welcomed Dr. Joe Anderson, a pediatrician at Central Maine Medical Center (CMMC) in Lewiston and chair of Maine Providers for Gun Safety, to the State House as part of Health Care Advocacy Day.

“The doctors and nurses at Central Maine Medical Center, including Dr. Anderson, made an enormous difference on the tragic night of the Lewiston mass shooting, providing the treatment that enabled many of the victims to survive,” said Sen. Rotundo. “These providers are still there, at CMMC and in hospitals and facilities all over the state, making a difference and helping Mainers live their best lives. I have enormous gratitude for all the work they did on that night and continue to do to help these victims and the entire Lewiston community heal from this tragedy.”

Dr. Anderson was working at CMMC on October 25 when the shooting victims began to arrive. He and the hospital staff worked through the night to save as many lives as possible. The majority of the victims were taken to CMMC. The last of the surviving victims was discharged in December.

Sen. Peggy Rotundo and Dr. Joe Anderson in the Senate Chamber

Mediterranean theatrical dance coming to Franco Center 

LEWISTON, ME—A Mystical Journey of the Magic Lantern and the Quest of the Golden Veils, A Theatrical Dance Performance by Imari & the Sahara Desert Dancers is coming to the Franco Center for a fundraising performance to benefit the Franco Center at 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 10.    

“Don’t miss one of the most mesmerizing and colorful family events in New England, brought to life with enchanting dancing by Imari & the Sahara Desert Dancers and live music by Tribal Moon.  Let us bring you along on a journey to mystical places across the beautiful Mediterranean Sea, full of shimmies, sparkles, and smiles!” said Imari, spokesperson for the dance group. The dancers use their stage names in public. 

Imari & the Sahara Desert Dancers have committed 22 years to sharing the beautiful art of belly dancing with nursing homes and hospitals throughout Maine on a volunteer basis. The dancers spend their summers entertaining at family festivals, nursing homes, and charity events region-wide.  

“I am very proud to say that we have raised thousands of dollars for local charities such as the CMMC Unrestricted Annual Fund, Salvation Army, The United Way, Odd Fellows Nursing Home, St. Mary’s Hospital Breast Health Program and Make-A-Wish® Maine.  I am blessed with a truly beautiful and amazing group of women who are my sisters in dance,” said Imari.  “The women who make up my dance troupe vary in age, each balancing professional and family lives, and together we have formed an undeniably strong bond in striving to make a positive difference in our community, and beyond.  We simply enjoy sharing our love for our dance with our audiences and we cannot wait to light up the stage with our upcoming show at the beautiful Franco Center!  Please join us!” 

Learn more about the group at www.imaribellyancing.com. 

Doors and cash bar open at noon. Tickets range from $15 to $30. Tickets can be purchased through the Franco Center’s box office in person from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays or call 207-689-2000. Ticket purchases can also be made online at www.francocenter.org/shows.    

The Franco Center is at 46 Cedar Street, Lewiston. Parking is in the mill lot across the street. Handicap access is on the Lincoln Street Alley side of the building.  

A snow date is planned for 1 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 11, if the Saturday event is cancelled due to bad driving weather. 

Season Underwriter is Maple Way Dental Care; media sponsors are Bennett Radio Group; Sun Journal; Turner Publishing; and Uncle Andy’s Digest. Show sponsors are Androscoggin Bank and DaVinci’s Eatery.

Imari & the Sahara Desert Dancers will bring a theatrical dance performance featuring the art of belly dancing to the Franco Center at 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 10. Dancers in the group are Shuruq, Adair, Sephira, Anahita, Imari, Asisa, and Bilqees. Tickets for their fundraising performance (to benefit the Franco Center) range from $15 to $30 and can be purchased at 207-689-2000 and www.francocenter.org. The Franco Center is at 46 Cedar St., Lewiston. Chad Cummings photo.   


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