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Cybersecurity Graduate Speaks To Lewiston Adult Education Graduates

LEWISTON, ME (June 17, 2022) — Lewiston Adult Education graduates heard words of encouragement on Tuesday night from a former graduate who started his educational journey in English Language classes at the Lewiston Adult Learning Center. Charles Ernesto graduated in May with an advanced degree in cybersecurity from the University of Maine at Augusta. 

Ernesto spoke to the graduates at the Lewiston High School gymnasium on Tuesday night about how he worried about his difficulty speaking English when he arrived in the United States in 2013.

“I went to Lewiston Adult Education to start from scratch so that I could do better, and that is where my whole journey of success started. I saw the difficulty but not the impossibility. At Lewiston Adult Education I met the teachers who had become family and the community that encouraged me to reach my goals.”

He thanked Lewiston Adult Education instructor Laurianne Champagne for her support, along with all of the teachers and staff at Lewiston Adult Education. He then encouraged the graduates to continue their learning, “Before we separate to follow our individual paths, I want to take this opportunity to challenge you to continue to learn and to pursue continued education.”

Lewiston Mayor Carl Sheline and Lewiston Public Schools Superintendent Jake Langlais also spoke to the graduates at the ceremony, acknowledging the graduates’ persistence and resilience. Lewiston Adult Education instructor Mary Hunter performed on the violin with student Ruth Kazadi the songs  “Annie Laurie,” “Speed the Plough,” and “Lamplighter’s Hornpipe.” Hunter, a retired Bowdoin College professor of music, volunteers at the center and taught a violin class during the winter-spring 2022 semester.

The faculty also presented several student awards to recognize individuals who demonstrated academic excellence and achievement, improvement, resilience, work ethic and character. Recipients included: Dakota Tyrrell, Academic Honors award; Othman Bustan, Academic Achievement award; Yanmei Ji, The “Yes I Can!” award;   Palmira de Carvalho, Homework Hero award; Gregory Anderson, Academic Support award, and Urgele Reningot, the Kindness Counts award. 

For more information about earning a high school equivalency degree, workforce training, college preparation or English Language classes contact Lewiston Adult Education at 207-795-4141.

BELOW: Charles Ernesto, a Lewiston Adult Education graduate who received his Master’s degree in cybersecurity from the University of Maine at Augusta in May 2022, spoke to Lewiston Adult Education graduates on Tuesday night. He encouraged them to continue their learning.

Protecting Mainers from Price Gouging

 Guest Column by Sen. Nate Libby

(June 17, 2022) — High gas prices are forcing many of us to make changes, whether that’s canceling a summer road trip, carpooling to work or cutting down on trips to the grocery store. There are many reasons prices are up, primarily global supply chain issues and the Russian invasion of Ukraine with its political and economic ramifications. But something isn’t adding up. While gas companies want us to think that we’re paying more simply because their costs are up, we can’t ignore the fact that at the same time these companies are raking in record profits. For example, Exxon Mobil’s first quarter profits this year are triple what they were during the first quarter of last year. When Mainers are giving up more and more at the pump while executives and investors line their pockets, it’s important we stop and consider what other factors may be at play. 

Whenever Mainers are struggling, it’s the responsibility of lawmakers to make sure we’re doing all we can to help ease the burden. Earlier this month, dozens of my legislative colleagues and I, including other members of Lewiston’s legislative delegation, wrote a letter to Maine Attorney General Aaron Frey asking his office to determine whether fuel companies are engaging in market manipulation. For those who don’t know, price gouging occurs when sellers charge much more than is fair for their product or service, often relying on the fact that consumers don’t have the opportunity to go without that good or service, or can’t purchase it elsewhere. Importantly, price gouging is also illegal. While fuel companies have every right to make a profit off of the product they sell, we must ensure that profit is earned fairly, not by extorting consumers for a commodity – like gas – that they can’t do without.  

In the meantime, there is some help on the way. The $850 checks authorized by the Legislature earlier this year have already begun arriving in mailboxes. Over 850,000 Mainers qualify for these checks, which are meant to provide some relief as we deal with the high price of gas and other pandemic-driven inflation. 

Qualifying for the check is straightforward and easy: As long as you meet the income guidelines and file your 2021 Maine individual income taxes, you will automatically receive your check in the mail. To qualify, you must have earned less than $100,000 if filing singly, less than $150,000 if filing as head of household, or less than a combined $200,000 if you’re a couple filing jointly. If you still have questions, you can visit portal.maine.gov/refundstatus/payment to confirm your eligibility. 

If you haven’t filed your 2021 taxes yet, you have until Oct. 31 of this year to do so. For people who receive Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, or who otherwise don’t usually make enough money to file taxes, you will have to file in order to receive the check. If you need help filing, call 2-1-1 or visit www.cashmaine.org to find free, qualified help. For other questions about the checks, visit www.maine.gov/governor/mills/relief-checks, call Maine Revenue Services at (207) 624-9924, or reach out to my office any time.

 I know times are difficult, and there is no easy solution to the problems we face in this global market. If you or your family need help finding resources to get by, you can also reach out to my office any time by calling (207) 287-1515 or emailing me at Nathan.Libby@legislature.maine.gov. You can also visit mainesenate.org to sign up for my regular e-newsletter, which contains the latest information about programs that may be able to help you and your family.

Taylor Pond: Wildlife, Water Quality & Recreation

AUBURN, ME (June 16, 2022) — Coming to Taylor Pond since first moving to Maine 30 years ago, naturalist Dana Little will talk about the natural history of the pond, including its geological origins, Native American history, colonial history, ecology, wildlife diversity, water quality and recreation. His experience as President of the Taylor Pond Association, membership in the Lake Stewards of Maine, life-long bird-watcher and natural history observer have provided him with extensive knowledge of this precious resource in Auburn.

Dana grew up in Amherst, Massachusetts, and became a bird-watcher when his grandfather gave him opera glasses when he was 6. Since then, he has never stopped observing and learning about the natural world! His undergraduate study was in zoology with an emphasis on ecology and limnology (the study of lakes). In addition to having served as President of the Taylor Pond Association for the past 15 years, Dana also is a board member of Androscoggin Land Trust, which works to preserve wild places for people to enjoy and agricultural areas to help sustain local farms.

This program will be presented as part of our Adult Summer Reading Program, “Oceans of Possibilities” wherein adults will spend time exploring Maine’s waterways. It will take place in person, in the Androscoggin Community Room, and registration is required.

For more information about this or other programs which are part of this summer series or to register for this talk, visit the Events page of the Auburn Public Library website – www.auburnpubliclibrary.org, or call the Reference Desk at 207-333-6640, ext. 4.

Lewiston Celebrates Kings and Queens Hairstudio with Ribbon Cutting

 LEWISTON, ME (June 17, 2022) — A ribbon cutting ceremony was held for the opening of Kings and Queens Hairstudio’s second location in Lewiston on Wednesday, June 15, 2022. Lewiston Mayor Carl Sheline was joined by Lewiston City Administrator Heather Hunter, Lewiston Assistant Director of Economic & Community Development Misty Parker, President + CEO of the LA Metro Chamber Shanna Cox, friends and family of the Kings & Queens team, and members of the public.  

Opening their first location in Brunswick in 2016, Kings and Queens Hairstudio is excited to celebrate the expansion of their business to Lewiston.  

“It is a pleasure to be here today, and I am excited that Kings and Queens’ new Maine location is here in Lewiston. Lewiston is a vibrant and welcoming city, and with each new business that opens, it underscores the fact that vast opportunities exist within our community. With the salon’s proven track record in Brunswick, we anticipate your presence as another asset to Lewiston’s many offerings,” remarked Mayor Sheline. 

“I am so thrilled to be here, not only because you have the best welcome music I have ever had, but after opening and running a really successful business in Brunswick, you decided to open your second location here in the heart of Lewiston – and that really means a lot to me,” said Shanna Cox. 

 Their experienced barbers and stylists are ready to give you the perfect look – from the basic men’s cut, fades, and designs, to women’s cut and color, and everything in between. Their team is focused on all the hottest and latest trends, and guarantees you’ll feel like royalty when you leave their shop. 

“My dream was to open a barber shop, and once I accomplished that, I realized my guys needed help, so I started to teach them the trade. They inspired me as I watched them grow. And because of them, I am inspired to open an academy. I am inspired to develop my community. And I’m inspired to put people to work,” says owner, Adrian Reyes.

 The team at Kings and Queens Hairstudio take great pride in their work and are dedicated to welcoming people of any background and gender.

Laurel Libby to Run for Re-Election 

AUBURN, ME (June 6, 2022) — State Representative Laurel Libby (R-Auburn) has announced that she is seeking re-election in House District 90, part of Auburn and Minot. Libby, a known advocate for disenfranchised communities, is completing her first term in the Maine House of Representatives, where she serves on the Joint Standing Committee on Judiciary.

“The best decisions are made when everyone has had the opportunity to participate in their government,” said Rep. Libby. “Whether it’s lowering gas prices by 30 cents a gallon, promoting educational choice, or supporting our elderly citizens, I am not shy about bucking the establishment in order to give voice to those who feel shut-out of the political process. Maine citizens are smarter than the people who have been making decisions for them, and smarter with their own money. If re-elected, I will support economic policies that grow our economy by increasing family budgets.”

Libby owns an interior decorating business, with a focus on real estate staging. A strong advocate for educational choice, Libby is a homeschooler. She previously worked as a registered nurse and was part of a federal disaster relief team. Both born and raised in Maine, Libby and her husband John are raising five children in Auburn.

On June 3rd, Libby held a re-election launch party with 200 supporters in attendance. The Libby campaign has seen unprecedented support, quickly becoming one of the leading recipients of small, first-time donations from Mainers seeking to become involved for the first time. Supporters are drawn to Laurel Libby because of her efforts to give voice to the concerns of her constituents and opportunities for them to be heard in Augusta.

For more information on how to support Laurel Libby and bring about a change in state government, contact her at (207) 632-7619 or by email laurel@laurellibby.com

Auburn Savings Employees Donate $1000 to Local Organizations

AUBURN, MAINE (June 7, 2022)—Auburn Savings bank employees Sherri Vaughan and Julia Rathbun each chose to donate $500 of awarded funds as winners of the bank’s “U Make Us Better” employee recognition program to local organizations Canton Volunteer Fire Department Auxiliary and Androscoggin Home Healthcare and Hospice.

The donated funds are awarded quarterly as part of the bank’s “U Make Us Better” program created by Auburn Savings bank to honor employees who go above and beyond in their work and display a commitment to our community. Recognized employees get to choose the organization that funds are donated to.

“I am a member of both the fire department as their secretary and the Auxiliary as their treasurer. My husband and son are both members of the department,” said Vaughan. “Small volunteer departments need help, both financially and with personnel. This donation helps them purchase things that are important but not required without affecting their operating budget.”

The donation to the Canton Volunteer Fire Department Auxiliary is planned to be used to purchase signs to alert drivers approaching emergency scenes. Androscoggin Home Healthcare and Hospice plans to use the funds to support their mission.

“Androscoggin Home Healthcare + Hospice is grateful for the ongoing support from our community,” said Executive Director Ken Albert. “Thanks to the kindness and generosity of partners like Auburn Savings Bank, we are able to continue our mission of enhancing quality of life by providing innovative and compassionate medical care for all—regardless of ability to pay.”

Below: Androscoggin Home Healthcare and Hospice Development & Community Relations Manager Jillian Netherland accepts a five hundred dollar donation from Auburn Savings bank, represented by Julia Rathbun.

Lewiston Adult Ed. Awarded $1.3 Million for Apprenticeship Training 

LEWISTON, ME (June 7, 2022) – Governor  Janet Mills on Friday announced $12.3 million in grants to 14 organizations to expand apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs across Maine.

Lewiston Adult Education is one of the recipients. It has received a $1.3 million grant to create pre-apprenticeship programs in the construction trades and healthcare occupations, including personal support specialist, certified nursing assistant and medical assistant.

Mills announced the grants during a visit to Lewiston Adult Education’s Adult Learning Center at Longley School on June 3.

“Apprenticeships are a win for our workers, our employers, and our economy, providing on-the-job training that results in a stable workforce, good-paying jobs, and a stronger, more diverse economy,” Mills said. “These funds will allow organizations across Maine to expand or create new apprenticeship opportunities and more than double the number of apprentices, helping to get more people – especially younger folks – into new, exciting fields that can provide a good paycheck and strengthen our economy.”

 She visited classrooms after her speech to learn more about nursing and technology classes.

“We are excited and eager to begin the process of building apprenticeship pathways in healthcare, construction and manufacturing, to leverage the resources within our school community, including Lewiston Regional Technical Center, to increase the depth and breadth of workforce trainings that are critical to economic development and will provide opportunities for adults throughout our state to achieve their career goals. This work will strengthen our economy, enhance collaboration between employers and education academies, and it will bring a future of hope to the Lewiston community and to the entire state of Maine,” Lewiston Adult Education Director Jen Tiner said.

The 14 organizations awarded funds will partner with the Maine Department of Labor’s Registered Apprenticeship Program to expand or develop new apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs. The funding is expected to provide more than 3,000 Maine people with new apprenticeship or pre-apprenticeship opportunities, more than doubling the number of Maine’s current apprentices, and add 150 new employer sponsors.

One expansion is the addition of the state’s first roofing and siding apprenticeship, which will be established and run by Industrial Roofing Co. in Lewiston. Apprenticeship programs offer Maine residents the opportunity to learn a skill or trade through paid, on-the-job training combined with classroom instruction

Other recipients included General Dynamics Bath Iron Works, Portland Adult Education, Associated General Contractors of Maine and Revision Energy. Funding for the Jobs Plan is through the American Rescue Plan Act, which allocated $4.5 billion in stimulus funds to Maine in 2021.  

Below: Lewiston Adult Education Director Jen Tiner, left, speaks at a June 3 news conference with Governor Janet Mills announcing funding for apprenticeship programs.

CMCC Welcomes New Dean of Academic Affairs

AUBURN, ME (June 7, 2022) — Central Maine Community College is pleased to announce that Dr. Jennifer Jefferson has joined the College as the new dean of academic affairs. In this position, Jefferson serves as the chief academic officer, overseeing all academic programs.

Jefferson comes to CMCC with nearly twenty years of higher education experience. She recently served as interim vice president of academic affairs for Manchester Community College in New Hampshire. Before that, Jefferson was a longtime English professor, having taught at Northeastern University, Bentley University, Endicott College, and University of New Hampshire Manchester. She has directed the writing center at Endicott College and the learning centers at UNH Manchester and MassBay Community College. In addition to her extensive teaching experience, Jefferson is also a published author who has written about writing center theory and practice, women in higher education leadership and diversity and lifelong learning.

Jefferson holds a bachelor of arts in English literature from Hamilton College, a master of arts in English from Northeastern University and a doctorate of education in educational leadership in higher education from Endicott College.

“Dr. Jefferson is an impactful and experienced leader who will bring a focused and collaborative approach to her role,” said Dr. Betsy Libby, president of Central Maine Community College. “Her extensive leadership experience and commitment to lifelong learning will benefit all areas of the College.”    

“I’m very excited to be joining such a warm, welcoming community college with an excellent reputation for serving students and community needs,” Jefferson said. “I look forward to working closely with students, faculty, staff, and the larger Central Maine community.”

When she is not working, Jefferson enjoys exploring the area’s hiking trails with her husband.

Lewiston Adult Education Graduation Set for June 14

LEWISTON, ME (May 30, 2022) — Lewiston Adult Education will hold its 2022 commencement ceremony on Tuesday, June 14 at 7 p.m. at the Lewiston High School gymnasium.

Graduates will be receiving their diplomas as well as a number of awards will be given to participants in the program.  Graduates receiving the HiSET have successfully passed the High School Equivalency Test. To earn this credential, students must pass five nationally normed computer-based exams that demonstrate proficiency in academic skills and knowledge for the following subjects: reading, writing, math, science and social studies.

For more information about the ceremony and our programs, call Lewiston Adult Education at 207-784-2928. The public is welcome to attend.

Roy Sworn in as New Finance Director of City of Lewiston

LEWISTON, ME (June 3, 2022) — Former Finance Director Heather Hunter who is now at the helm as City Administrator notes, “Tracy has a wealth of municipal finance experience including her recent post at the City of Augusta. She is a Lewiston native and returning home.” 

Roy comes to Lewiston from the City of Augusta, Maine, where she had served as Finance Director/Treasurer since October 2020.  Before that, she served as Augusta’s Deputy Finance Director/ Treasurer/Tax Collector (2013 – 2020); as the Town of York’s Finance Director (2011 – 2013); the City of Auburn’s Finance Director (2009 – 2011); the South Portland Controller (2003 – 2009); and as an Accountant for South Portland (2001 – 2003).  

Roy has a B.S. in Business Accounting from the University of Maine of Augusta, is a Board member of the Maine Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA), and has continued her professional training through the Kennebec Leadership Institute and GFOA.  

She is looking forward to her new role, returning to the municipality that she originated from, “I am excited to start this new challenge and to be working with the Lewiston team.” 

Mayor Carl L. Sheline is pleased to welcome Lewiston’s new Finance Director, adding, “We are glad to have Tracy on board, and I’m excited for the City of Lewiston.”


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