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News

Jonathan Knowlton joins Champoux Insurance Group

AUBURN, ME — Champoux Insurance Group is pleased to announce that Jonathan Knowlton has joined their team in February as an Account Executive. Jonathan brings 20 years of experience in the insurance and investment field with him to this new position. 

After graduating from Thomas College with honors, he went to work for MetLife as a personal financial representative. From there, he worked for Allstate Insurance, and within 3 years, had opened his own agency on Sabattus Street in Lewiston. Jonathan closed the agency after 13 successful years. 

Making sure clients are educated about the risks they face and protecting them with auto, home, and life insurance products has always been important to Jonathan; local families truly are in good hands with him. 

Jonathan lives in Auburn with his wife and son, and enjoys ice fishing, ATVing, hiking, growing hot peppers and volunteering with the Boy Scouts.

Champoux Insurance Group welcomes John to our Team.

Registration is open for Hike for Hospice

LEWISTON, ME–Androscoggin Home Healthcare + Hospice invites all Mainers to Hike for Hospice on Saturday, May 18th at Pineland Farms to raise awareness for the importance of end-of-life care, emphasizing the support, kindness, and compassion that hospice services offer to patients and their families throughout Maine. Hike for Hospice aims to help ensure that high-quality hospice services are available to all individuals and their families throughout the state regardless of their ability to pay.

The event will include a traditional or ADA compliant trail, face painting, and family fun. Although the event is scheduled from 9am-1pm, there is no designated start time – participants are encouraged to come to hike and enjoy all that Pineland Farms has to offer at their own leisure.

Can’t attend in person? No problem! Join us virtually where you can walk at your own pace in the location of your choice- as an individual or a team! Virtual participants can submit photos, videos, and/or stories of their participation via email to leslie.ogilvie@androscoggin.org, on the Androscoggin Facebook page, or through the hashtag #HikeForHospice2024.

“We invite everyone to join us for this meaningful event, either in-person at beautiful Pineland Farms or virtually at a location of your choice” said Androscoggin’s Community Relations and Development Manager Leslie Ogilvie. ” Hike for Hospice is more than just a walk. It’s an opportunity for people to celebrate the lives of loved ones who have passed away, whether in Androscoggin’s care or elsewhere.” To register or learn more, please visit https://androscoggin.org/get-involved/hike/.

For more information about the Hike for Hospice, please contact Leslie Ogilvie at leslie.ogilvie@androscoggin.org.

L-A swim team shows potential at New England championships

AUBURN, ME–The YMCA of Auburn-Lewiston is excited to announce the results from our Twin Cities Swim Team’s (TCST) performance last weekend at the New England Age Group Championships. Held at the Boston Sports Institute in Wellesley, MA (Feb 24-25), this is the highest level of competition in New England for swimmers aged 11 to 14. This was the first year TCST has competed at this meet, with nine swimmers attending.

Results

12 top 20 finishes for individual events.

7 top 20 finishes for relay events.

7 team records were broken in total.

TCST finished 20th of 64 teams in attendance.

8 swimmers continue to nationals.

Top Performers

Alex Kozckodan, Ian Lane, Eli Vandeventer, and Caden Laplante: Placed 3rd in New England in the 11-12 Boys Freestyle Relay.

Caden LaPlante: Finished 1st place in 4 individual events. His time of 24.70 seconds in the 50-yard butterfly ranks #1 not only in New England, but #1 in the USA! Caden finished 2nd overall at the meet.

SBA Disaster Loans: Not just for businesses

The US Small Business Administration (SBA), Office of Disaster Recovery & Resilience, works alongside FEMA after a Presidential Disaster Declaration, which happened after the catastrophic storms and flooding in Maine in December 2023. The SBA provides low-interest, long-term disaster loans to homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes, and non-profit organizations to cover damage not covered by insurance or another source.

If you live in Androscoggin, Franklin, Kennebec, Oxford or Somerset County and had wind or flood damage to your home, personal property, business or non-profit on December 17 – 21, 2023, you can apply for a low-interest disaster loan from the SBA. There is no cost to apply, and no interest or payments for the first year of the loan. After the first year with no interest or payments, the interest rate for most homeowners and renters is as low as 2.688%; for most businesses as low as 4%; and 3.25% for non-profits. With these low interest rates and a loan term up to 30 years, monthly payments are very reasonable.

SBA’s Office of Disaster Recovery & Resilience wants you to build back stronger and be more resilient against potential future damage. Thus, homeowners and businesses can request an additional 20% of total estimated damage to be used for mitigation—to prevent future damage (such as installing a sump pump, modifying landscaping to divert flood water, or elevating your furnace).

Even if you already used a credit card or bank loan to pay for repairing your home or business, you can still get an SBA disaster loan and replace that more expensive debt with a low-interest SBA loan. Homeowners and renters should register first with FEMA for possible grant assistance. Deadline to apply: April 1, 2024. Apply at no cost Now, Decide Later. Keep your options open. If offered, you have 2 months to decide. You can easily decline the loan offer at no cost to you.

3 Ways to Apply: 1. Online at https://sba.gov/disaster 2. Call or email to learn more: 800-659-2955 or disastercustomerservice@sba.gov

3. Visit a local Disaster Recovery Center, with SBA and FEMA staff to assist you:

Disaster Recovery Center locations (with SBA & FEMA): All open Monday – Saturday, 9-5

1) Androscoggin County: Lewiston Armory, 65 Central Ave., Lewiston

2) Oxford County: Rumford Municipal Building, 145 Congress St., Rumford

3) Kennebec County: Manchester Fire Department, 37 Readfield Rd., Manchester

4) Somerset County: Somerset County EOC, 4 County Dr., Skowhegan

5) Franklin County: Roberts Learning Center, 270 Main St., Farmington

**You can visit any of the DRCs. Hours subject to change.

Auditions announced for CLT’s “Alice in Wonderland”

AUBURN, ME — “Alice in Wonderland” is the classic story of a young girl who falls down a rabbit hole and finds herself in a fantastical world filled with colorful characters and exciting and unusual adventures. CLT is looking for approximately 26 actors, some roles may be doubled.

Auditions for Alice in Wonderland at LA/CLT are March 10 and 11 at 6pm at 30 Academy St, Auburn ME. Auditioners need only attend one day of auditions. However, callbacks may be scheduled later in the week.

Those wishing to audition for the Mad Hatter may be asked to perform some light choreography.

For more information, contact info@LACLT.com

The production dates for “Alice in Wonderland ” are June 14-23.

L/A Community Little Theatre, located at 30 Academy Street in Auburn, has been producing live theatre since 1940. A volunteer, non-profit organization, our goal is to provide affordable and quality entertainment in the performing arts as well as education, training, and experience in theatre for area youth. www.laclt.com.

Boiler operator, land surveyor technician trainings offered

High-Pressure Boiler Operator Training 2024

AUBURN, ME – The Center for Workforce and Professional Development at Central Maine Community College (CMCC) is partnering with area employers and service providers to recruit candidates interested in completing their High-Pressure Boiler Operator Certification.

Information and registration for the free program is available at centralmaine.cc/workforceapply.

Running from March 19th – June 18th, this course offers a practical approach, knowledge, and techniques to power plant operation and is designed to prepare the student to sit for the Maine High-Pressure Boiler License Exam. Upon completing this course and the required in-service experience under a state-issued training permit, the student can take the Central Maine Community College licensing exam. The cost of the exam is included.

The average starting wage for a High-Pressure Boiler Operator is $42,000 in the State of Maine.

Registration for this course is required.

This training is just one of the many free courses offered by Workforce and Professional Development including Introduction to Phlebotomy, Certified Pharmacy Technician, Computer Support Specialist – 2 Course Bundle, CETP Gas Training, Refrigerant EPA 608, Fiber Optic Technician, Heat Pump Installer Training, and the Welding Academy.

For more information or to register, please contact Central Maine Community College’s Center for Workforce & Professional Development at workforcedevelopment@cmcc.edu or 207-755-5280.

Land Surveyor Technician I

The Center for Workforce and Professional Development at Central Maine Community College (CMCC) is partnering with area employers and service providers to recruit candidates interested in completing their 15-hour Land Surveyor Technician Certification. The In-Person Course Dates: March 7 – April 4, 2024, Thursdays 5:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Information and registration for the free program is available at centralmaine.cc/workforceapply

The Survey Technician I course provides preparatory training for a nationally recognized Land Survey Technician certification. The course covers the setup for surveying stations, sequence stationing, data collection, recording observed angles, recording distances, utilizing point coding, and taking survey notes. The course will also cover reading topographical maps, CAD software operations, and following safety guidelines in the field. Upon completion, the cost of the exam is covered, students earn a Digital Badge, and starting salaries trend at over $31,000 with opportunity for advancement.

This training is just one of the many free courses offered by Workforce and Professional Development including Introduction to Phlebotomy, CNA Lewiston, Computer Support Specialist – 2 Course Bundle, CETP Gas Training, Heat Pump Installer, Refrigerant EPA 608, High-Pressure Boiler, Fiber Optics Technician, and the Welding Academy.

These programs are funded by the Maine Jobs and Recovery Program (MJRP). The course materials and exam fees are also covered. Participants must be at least 18 years of age, possess a high school diploma, GED, or HiSet, and be a U.S. citizen and/or authorized to work in the U.S. Candidates are only eligible to participate in one MJRP program being offered at any of the seven colleges in the Maine Community College System.

For more information or to register, please contact Central Maine Community College’s Center for Workforce & Professional Development at workforcedevelopment@cmcc.edu or 207-755-5280.

Stanton Bird Club to hold March meeting

AUBURN, ME — Writer and photographer, Ed Robinson will be the featured speaker at the March 4th meeting of the Stanton Bird Club. Entitled “The Mystery of Maine’s Wildlife”, the presentation will feature Atlantic Puffins, black bears, Northern Saw-whet Owls, Canada lynx, and the American mink along with a couple surprises.

Robinson spends a great deal of time studying the natural world and will share some insights about these fascinating animals. The presentation will include stunning photos, biological facts, and stories.

Growing up in the Finger Lakes region of New York, Robinson developed a deep love for wild creatures and the environment. Since moving to Orr’s Island from England in 2007, he has been exploring our beautiful state and writing about the creatures that live here.

Ed recently published his second book titled Nature Notes from Maine: Puffins, Black Bears, Raccoons & More, with the profits benefitting public education and conservation.

The talk will be held on Monday, March 4th from 4-6pm at the Auburn Public Library. The public is welcome. This lecture is free of charge. The Stanton Bird Club, a leader in environmental awareness, owns and manages the Thorncrag Nature Sanctuary in Lewiston as well as the Woodbury Nature Sanctuary in Monmouth and Litchfield.

More information about other activities of the Club can be found at www.StantonBirdClub.org and on its Facebook page.

Photo of an Atlantic Puffin by Ed Robinson.

YWCA’S Women of Achievement to honor local leaders

AUBURN, ME — YWCA Central Maine’s Women of Achievement Awards being held on March 10th, 2024, at the Hilton Garden Inn Auburn Riverwatch will honor four distinguished women from Androscoggin County and the Greater State of Maine. The event will be Emceed by Lori Voornas WHOM 94.9 DJ, part of Townsquare Media.

The Women of Achievement Awards Brunch is not only a uniquely, powerful celebration of women leaders, it is also an opportunity for proceeds to support the YWCA’s work in the community, which provides meaningful programming and services to further the mission of empowering women, and eliminating racism, including scholarships for children in our community to attend summer camp and swim lessons.

The Women of Achievement Awards Brunch is one the YWCA’s largest bi-annual fundraisers and was founded in 2015 to honor the powerful leadership of women in Maine. This award program began to recognize the outgoing YWCA Board President, Lee Young. The decision to honor her work inspired YWCA executive leadership to create annual awards to celebrate the accomplishments of women in our community and state in four distinct categories. The award namesakes have all contributed their service to YWCA and their legacies inspire the work of the organization. The four awards include the Lee Young Leadership Award, the Marcia Baxter Social Justice Award, the Tonie Ramsey Service Award, and the Priscilla Gendron Legacy Award.

The winners are:

Shanna Cox, President and CEO, LA Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce – Lee Young Leadership Award for excellence in professional, community, civic, or artistic leadership

Paula Marcus-Platz, Psychotherapist – Priscilla Gendron Legacy Award for extraordinary investment in public enrichment through philanthropic giving and fundraising

Abby Reuscher, Science Teacher, Lewiston Public Schools – Marcia Baxter Social Justice Award for courage, commitment, leadership, and humility in working toward a more just and equitable community.

Linda Scott, Lewiston Homeless Warming Shelter and Self Employed – Tonie Ramsie Service Award for exceptional, long-term commitment to improving communities and the lives of others through service.

In addition to announcing award winners, YWCA Central Maine announced the keynote speaker, Judith Josiah-Martin, PhD. Judith Josiah-Martin, PhD, ACSW, CADC, has been a part of the University of Maine community for the past 16 years, as School of Social Work faculty and as the Director of Multicultural Student Life. Dr. Josiah-Martin will be addressing the reception with a keynote called “The Shoulders of Strong Women: Walking Forward Together.”

YWCA Central Maine invites the community to celebrate with us at the Women of Achievement Awards Brunch. The event includes brunch, keynote speech, award ceremony, and a Silent Auction. Tickets are on sale now: https://YWCAMaineWOA.eventbrite.com

If you are interested in sponsoring this event or donating an item to the silent auction please reach out to Jennifer Molloy, Chief Development and Communications Officer at jmolloy@ywcamaine.org

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


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