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Live theatre is back at The Public Theatre!

From Public Theatre

LEWISTON – After 18 months of being unable to produce a play, The Public Theatre is thrilled to be reopening.

The Theatre at 31 Maple Street in Lewiston will begin its 31st season on Oct. 15 with its postponed production of “Middletown”, which will be followed by a holiday production and a three-play subscription series starting in January.

New this season, The Public Theatre will also be offering an option to purchase a video on demand of a live performance of each play in the season that can be watched at home.

The public theatre has taken its decision to resume live performances very seriously, making the safety of everyone its top priority. The HVAC system has been upgraded with MERV filters throughout the building to meet or exceed all CDC guidelines for air circulation and filtration.

Following the lead of theatres on Broadway and cities across the country, including Boston, for the safety of its audiences, they are requiring the following protocols for Middletown and The Manhattan Short Film Festival:

• Proof of vaccination and the wearing of masks in the building will be required to attend. Their full COVID Safety Policy can be found at thepublictheatre.org.

• Social distancing (one empty seat on either side of your party) will be available upon request. Please call 782-3200 for assistance.

• For people who do not feel comfortable attending the theatre in person, access to a video-on-demand option of the production will be available during the second week of live performances.

• Free ticket exchanges will be available up to one hour before your ticketed performance time.

Manhattan Short Film Festival

The theatre will open its doors on Sept 24 and 25 at 7 p.m. to host the annual Manhattan Short Film Festival.

Ten short films selected from around the world will screen in over 500 cities on six continents over a one-week period including at The Public Theatre!

Audience members get to cast their vote for the winner.

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Legislators remember 9/11

From Maine Senate

AUGUSTA — On the 20th Anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Maine Senate President Troy Jackson (D-Allagash) reflected on the events of that day, and the years following.

“Most Americans remember where they were when they first got word that a plane had crashed into one of the Twin Towers in New York City. I was working in the woods well out of cell phone range and miles away from the closest television when my boss called me on the radio to say that a plane had hit a building in New York City. An hour later, he called to report that a second plane had hit a building. Soon after, we learned that it was an act of terrorism. To be honest, it was hard to wrap your head around at the moment; it didn’t seem like this could be real. It wasn’t until I saw the striking images of passenger planes colliding with the Twin Towers when the enormity of this tragedy hit me and I knew nothing would ever be the same. In the two decades that have followed the attacks, those emotions ring true today.

“On the 20th Anniversary of these terrorist attacks, we must remember the men and women who lost their lives in these horrific attacks and keep their loved ones in our thoughts. Although the attacks forever changed the lives of every American, the family members and loved ones of those who died saw their world shatter in more ways than one and then had to share that grief with an entire nation. 

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Mainers invited to read Catholic classics together

From Portland Diocese

LEWISTON—“I can’t believe 500 books went that quickly. Amazing.”

Fr. Daniel Greenleaf, pastor of Prince of Peace Parish in Lewiston, was amazed by the overwhelming response to a new initiative that aims to bring people together, even if they’re apart, through the sharing of Catholic spiritual texts.

“Reading the Catholic Classics Together” will lead parishioners and community members through ten classic Catholic spiritual texts, page by page and chapter by chapter. Over the next few years, the parish will read the books together from the comfort of their own homes and then gather in small sharing groups or with Fr. Greenleaf on Monday nights at 6:30 in person at the hall of Holy Family Church or by using Microsoft Teams.

“Each week, the bulletin will provide a summary of the readings and questions for reflection and on Mondays, those interested will gather to discuss the week’s assignment. A link to the parish Microsoft Teams account will be provided for those who cannot gather but would still like to participate,” said Fr. Greenleaf.

Materials will also be available each week on the Prince of Peace website at princeofpeace.me. Interested parties from around the state can also go to the website and sign up to receive a weekly email that will include a link to an online discussion group and additional information at http://bitly.ws/gqcR

The first book up is Introduction to the Devout Life by St. Francis de Sales, which is frequently used as a guide in Christian spiritual direction.

“St. Francis, a doctor of the Church, wrote the text in 1608 and it has never been out of print,” said Fr. Greenleaf. “His focus is on spiritual lives for the laity who live in the world, stating that not only priests and religious are called to holiness but everyone has this vocation regardless of their state in life.”

The syllabus spreads the book out in increments of about 30 pages per week, so everyone can read it together from September 13 through early November.

Parishioners quickly jumped at the chance to participate. 

“I ordered 500 books for people who wanted physical copies to read from. At $5 per book to cover cost, they were gone before the last Mass of the weekend even began,” said Fr. Greenleaf.

Fortunately, the parish website has links for the free download of the text and the audio book for each of the books that will be read, and organizers hope that as the pages read and insightful experiences add up, so will the number of participants.  

“Today, with everyone’s busy schedule, we want to offer different kinds of opportunities to engage people,” said Fr. Greenleaf. “I hope this is only the beginning.”

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.


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