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This week’s edition!


New principal at St. Dominic

From Portland Diocese

AUBURN – Bringing extensive experience as an educator and a proven aptitude towards engaging students, Alanna Stevenson recently took over as the principal of Saint Dominic Academy for both the Auburn and Lewiston campuses.

The announcement is part of a new leadership structure being adopted by the academy to ensure that the most efficient organizational model is in place and that all opportunities to build proactively for the academy’s future will be fully explored. Timothy Gallic, who has overseen the academy since August of 2019, has left his position to pursue new opportunities.

Alanna Stevenson recently took over as the principal of Saint Dominic Academy for both the Auburn and Lewiston campuses. (Photo courtesy of Portland Diocese)

Stevenson has been the principal of St. Dom’s Lewiston campus for the last two years.

“I am excited to embrace this new opportunity at St. Dom’s,” said Stevenson. “During the pandemic, the wider community has been able to observe the great commitment, dedication, and leadership of our teachers and staff who have worked tirelessly to offer in-person and distance learning this year. I am looking forward to continued success and am honored and humbled to be given this chance to bring the school to new heights of excellence rooted in tradition, faith, and service.”

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Middle schoolers win essay contest

From MMA

AUGUSTA – Middle school students from Kittery, Poland and Trenton were named winners in Maine Municipal Association’s 10th annual statewide essay contest, which carried the theme: “If I Led My Community…”

Part of MMA’s Citizen Education program, the contest asked students to demonstrate how they would improve their hometowns and cities if they held positions of local leadership. The essay contest marked its 10th year in 2021, with more than 1,500 entries submitted over that 10-year time period. Essays were judged based on knowledge of municipal government; writing quality and clarity; and originality.

The 2021 winners are Lucia Bolanos, of the Shapleigh School (a resident of Kittery); Ada Stenhouse, of Bruce M. Whittier Middle School in Poland; and, Aerie Yin, of Trenton Elementary School. Each student will receive a certificate and a $250 prize to be used for educational purposes.

The awards will be presented by municipal officials in their hometowns.

Winning entries also will be published in the May 2021 issue of Maine Town & City, MMA’s monthly magazine, which is mailed to 4,300 municipal officials statewide and posted at the MMA website (

MMA’s Citizen Education program aims to educate citizens of all ages about the importance, accessibility and effectiveness of municipal government. The essay contest, and high school curriculum developed in cooperation with Jobs for Maine’s Graduates, have the dual purpose of educating young people about local government and encouraging them to get involved as future elected or appointed officials, or as municipal employees.

Founded in 1936, MMA is a voluntary, non-partisan, member-service organization to which 484 municipalities in Maine belong. It has a core belief that local government is a fundamental component of a democratic system of government. MMA’s services include advocacy, education and information, professional legal and personnel advisory services and self-funded group insurance programs.

Elite basketball for Maine girls

By Nathan Tsukroff

SACO – “The Firecrackers will continue to be the elite basketball club in Maine” for girls, according to Coach Abiola “Abi” Davids, after merging into the XL Sports World program in March.

For the last five years, Davids has run the XL Thunder basketball program, which features around 46 teams for boys and girls. That program will now be a feeder to the Firecrackers, he said. “So if you’re good enough to play for the Firecrackers, you will have gone through the XL Thunder system.”

Ella Pelletier, playing with the Maine Firecrackers eighth-grade girls team, drives past opponents from Black Bear North in a recent game at the Lewiston Armory. (Tsukroff photo)

The teams compete under the auspices of the Amateur Athletic Union, which is one of the largest, non-profit, volunteer, multi-sport event organizations in the world. The AAU helps promote and develop amateur sports and physical fitness programs. It was founded in 1888 with the goal of creating common standards in sports.

The Maine Firecrackers was created in 2005 by Don Briggs and Brian Clement, exclusively for girl players. “We had daughters of similar age,” and their teams competed against each other. “We were kind of the new to the whole AAU world, and we said, hey, wouldn’t it be great if we just kind of took a couple of our better players and did an extended season, and see how that went.”

The first team was for fifth graders. While Briggs and Clement initially planned for just the one team, after a couple of years of play, their younger daughters couldn’t compete at the same level as their older siblings, so Briggs and Clement added teams for the different school grade levels.

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New additions to Fontaine Family office

From Fontaine Family

AUBURN – Megan Trundy, Melissa Guimond, and Rachel Grignon recently joined the team at the Auburn location of  the Fontaine Family – The Real Estate Leader.

Megan Trundy

Trundy grew up in Poland and attended Edward Little High School in Auburn. She continued her education at Andover College, graduating with an associate degree in legal studies.

Megan Trundy (Photo courtesy of Fontaine Family)

She realized her love of helping people while working first as a paralegal and then an admissions representative at Kaplan University. She has been in direct sales the past 10 years and most recently worked as an office administrator for a local law firm in Auburn. 

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St. Dominic’s Pre-K students Hop-A-Thon

From Portland Diocese

LEWISTON – Every spring, the pre-kindergarteners at Saint Dominic Academy’s Lewiston campus participate in a Hop-a-Thon to raise money for a local charity.

This year, picking the recipient turned out to be a small and easy leap.

“After learning about seniors in our community who struggle with food insecurity, we chose SeniorsPlus’ Meals on Wheels program,” said Kristine Fox, a pre-kindergarten teacher at St. Dom’s. “Our little saints chose this organization in hopes of helping the seniors in need. It is a crisis that is often overlooked and has become even more profound during the pandemic.”  

A group of the pre-k hoppers who participated in the 2021 Spring Hop-a-Thon at Saint Dominic Academy in Lewiston show the check for the $840 they raised to support Meals on Wheels at SeniorsPlus in Lewiston. (Photo courtesy of Portland Diocese)

After weeks of gathering sponsors and filling out pledge sheets, the pre-k students got their legs ready for a morning of hopping fun.

“For two minutes, the children hopped, rested, marched, and cheered along to music,” said Fox. “Each participant averaged over 100 hops!” 

In a matter of minutes, the students raised $840 for the program.

“This very special event ended with a cheer for our hoppers and a prayer for those we were honoring,” said Fox. “We are so grateful for the support of our pre-kindergarten families and friends.”

“It’s never too early for children to learn about empathy, volunteering, and philanthropy,” said Betsy Sawyer-Manter, CEO and President of SeniorsPlus, “and it definitely helps to have boundless energy to put to good work. Many thanks to all the hoppers!”

Established in 1972 and headquartered in Lewiston, SeniorsPlus is the Western Maine designated Area Agency on Aging covering Franklin, Oxford and Androscoggin counties.

The overall program goal of SeniorsPlus is to assist older people and adults with disabilities in its tri-county area to remain safely at home for as long as possible. 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 more than 19,000 individuals and fields 200,000 phone inquiries.

Storywalk features student photos

From City of Auburn

AUBURN – The City of Auburn’s April Storywalk features photography from 16 different Auburn students.

Each display showcases two 10×8 photographs proudly taken by Auburn students from various elementary schools.

This project was organized by Lynda Leonas, Auburn Public Schools K-6 Visual Arts Educator.

One of the displays for the April Storywalk that features photographs taken by K-6 students at elementary schools in Auburn. (Photo courtesy of City of Auburn)

If you have an idea for a future Storywalk, please reach out to Sabrina Best, Auburn Recreation Director at or 333-6611.

In October of 2019, the City of Auburn, in collaboration with LA Arts, announced the completion of the delightful new “Storywalk” project along Auburn’s beautiful Riverwalk.

The project includes eight durable display cases, which can be found between Festival Plaza and Bonney Park. They showcase different “art and culture” pieces each month. Residents and visitors of all ages are encouraged to take a monthly stroll along the Riverwalk to enjoy the displays which are changed monthly by the Auburn Recreation Department.

A personal journey to helping others

By Nathan Tsukroff

LEWISTON – Dr. Philip McLean, a Doctor of Chiropractic at the Maximized Living Family Chiropractic Center on Lisbon Street in Lewison, was stricken with Lyme disease about 10 years ago.

“I had done the traditional treatment with doxycycline antibiotic, and it appeared to help and I felt great for about a year and a half. And then it came back . . . tired, fatigue, brain fog, muscle aches,” he said.

“So I did some more research and I found that the hyperbaric oxygen therapy could be helpful,” McLean said. He purchased what is referred to as a soft hyperbaric chamber and used it “five days a week for about two months” until the symptoms disappeared.

Now McLean helps others by providing the same hyperbaric oxygen therapy for those suffering with various symptoms from a variety of illnesses.

“We even have patients with fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue,” and shingles, he said. Anyone who had chickenpox may develop shingles, a painful rash that may appear as a strip of blisters on the body. There are various established treatments for these illnesses, and patients have seen greater improvement in those treatments with the addition of HBO therapy.

Dr. Philip McLean, a Doctor of Chiropractic at the Maximized Living Family Chiropractic Center on Lisbon Street in Lewison, zips a patient into the soft hyperbaric chamber at his practice. The chamber is used for hyperbaric oxygen therapy that increases the amount of oxygen in the blood stream to help the body heal faster from a variety of illnesses and injuries. He used this therapy himself to help overcome the symptoms of a Lyme disease infection from about 10 years ago. (Tsukroff photo)

“One of the things about HBOT, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, is that it doesn’t necessarily treat anything . . . it helps the body heal everything better,” McLean said. “We don’t use it as a direct treatment. But by oxygenating the tissues, it enhances the healing process of your body, so that’s mainly how it’s used.”

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Dr. Shah visits vaccine site

From Central Maine Healthcare

AUBURN – The new regional high-volume COVID-19 vaccination site launched by Central Maine Healthcare at the Auburn Mall had a special visitor a couple of weeks ago – Nirav D. Shah, MD, JD, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Clinics like the one at the Auburn Mall help ensure that we are continually making progress on vaccinating Mainers quickly and safely,” Dr. Shah said. “Sites like this also mean Maine will be ready to ramp up vaccinations when the federal government is able to increase weekly allotments of vaccine to the State.”

Chief Medical Officer John Alexander, MD, MHCM, FACEP, and Jennifer Jordan, RN, system director for medical specialties, both of Central Maine Healthcare, show Nirav D. Shah, MD, JD, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, around the high-volume vaccination site at the Auburn Mall several weeks ago. (Photo courtesy of CMH)

Dr. Shah toured the facility with Central Maine Healthcare’s chief medical officer and met with volunteers from partner organizations and health system team members running the clinic.

“We were delighted to have Dr. Shah visit today and see our site in operation. The Maine CDC – and Dr. Shah in particular – has been incredibly supportive throughout the pandemic,” said Central Maine Healthcare Chief Medical Officer John Alexander, MD, MHCM, FACEP. “The phenomenal collaboration we have with the State and all our partners is making a huge difference for our communities.” 

Dr. Shah visited the site on its third day of operations, when it had 778 appointments booked. After its ramp up, the Central Maine Healthcare-run site aims to vaccinate 1,000 people each day of operation – or 4,000 per week – as vaccine supplies allow. The site is expected to operate for six months. 

The new regional high-volume COVID-19 vaccination site was launched by Central Maine Healthcare, the City of Auburn, the City of Lewiston and the State of Maine on Wednesday.

In addition to operating the site at the mall, partners are coordinating to ensure that vaccination efforts reach all members of the community. Central Maine Healthcare and leaders from Auburn, Lewiston and the State of Maine are working with Androscoggin County Emergency Management Agency, St. Mary’s Health System, Tri-County EMS, the National Guard and the Auburn Mall.

Two 14-year olds create online tutoring platform

From Tutorly-Ed

RANDOLPH TOWNSHIP, NJ – Launched in July 2020 by students from Randolph, NJ, Tutorly Ed is a free online tutoring platform for students.

This program is intended to nurture students’ curiosity, guide them towards their passions, and inspire success.

Kae and Ky Park, co-CEOs of Tutorly Ed, said they work with high school volunteers who are highly accomplished in both core and enrichment subjects as well as volunteering within their community. We have an inclusive culture and strive to create an environment where students can practice life skills such as collaboration, communication and critical thinking.

With Tutorly Ed, the prospective students or their parents can use our platform to self-select their tutor based on their profiles, email the tutor for more information, and schedule a tutoring session right on our website. Our core subjects include math, science, history, ELA/literature, social studies/history and foreign language. For enrichment subjects, we offer computer science, robotics, beauty & style, culinary arts/cooking, finance and international business, healthcare, law & public safety, music and instruments, and visual & performing arts.

Due to Covid-19, they realized that the need for online learning has skyrocketed, but not everyone can afford it. Considering this, we decided to make Tutorly Ed free of charge. Since Tutorly Ed was created by 14-year-old high school students, we can better understand the students’ needs and relate better with our clients. Our program is the perfect way to fuel these technological accelerations, rising need for extra support educationally, and ease the harsh transition to a whole new lifestyle.

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Easter Sunday in 2020

Out and About

By Rachel Morin

Where was I last Easter?

It was the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and Easter Sunday was Apr. 12, 2020. I was visiting my daughter, Elizabeth, in Portland, and it was Easter Sunday morning. We were just settling down with our cups of coffee to watch Sunday Morning with Jane Pauley on CBS, our regular Sunday routine.

When Liz, out of the corner of her eye, caught sight of a big Easter Bunny hopping down the street in front of her house. “Quick!” she hollered, “to the front porch! There’s a giant rabbit hopping down the street!”

The first Easter Bunny Liz and I saw hopping down the street in front of her house in Portland on Easter Sunday, Apr. 12, 2020. (Elizabeth Morin photo)

Well, we rushed to open the door, and yes, there he was, an Easter Bunny! He stopped suddenly and looked at us. Then, we all laughed and we asked if we could take his picture. He posed for us and then he went hopping down the street.

Liz and I returned to our coffee and Sunday Morning with Jane Pauley and had a good time talking about our Easter Surprise.

In the afternoon, we went for a drive, and came upon an even bigger Easter Rabbit, this one with the usual big rabbit ears and a fluffier white costume. It was our day for seeing big Easter Bunnies.

The prettiest and most delightful surprise was the early-blooming crocus we came upon on our afternoon walk. Liz called it a “Glimpse of Spring” and it got us talking about our plans for spring gardening. (Elizabeth Morin photo)

Later we took a walk and came upon a delightful surprise. Liz took the picture and called it a “Glimpse of Spring.” The brightly colored purple crocus gave us thoughts of our spring planting that we were eager to get started on.

That will be another column!

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