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This week’s edition!

Dr. Peter Leighton achieves second board certification

Dr. Peter Leighton, M.D.

Dr. Peter Leighton, M.D., an internal medicine specialist at Bridgton Hospital, has achieved his second national board certification, this time in addiction medicine. Last year, Dr. Leighton expanded his practice at Bridgton Primary Care to specialize in the treatment of opioid users and others suffering from the disease of substance addiction.

The certification, administered by the American Board of Preventive Medicine (ABPM), will provide the foundation for Dr. Leighton to further improve the health and safety of his patients and their communities.

“Addiction medicine is so much more than a profession for me,” says Leighton, “Caring for people affected directly or indirectly by addiction is truly my calling. I’ve witnessed—personally and professionally—the multigenerational devastation addiction causes to individuals, families, communities and our nation. I feel profoundly grateful for the ability to help.”

According to the ABPM, addiction medicine is concerned with the prevention, evaluation, diagnosis, treatment and recovery of those with the disease of addiction, and substance-related health conditions. Physicians in this subspecialty also help family members whose health and functioning are affected by a loved one’s substance use or addiction.

Leighton was previously board certified in internal medicine.

“We are incredibly proud of Dr. Leighton’s accomplishment,” said Peter Wright, FACHE, President of Bridgton and Rumford Hospitals. “Board certification is a national recognition of his skill, and a true testament to his commitment to help our patients overcome this crippling disease.

An estimated 20 million Americans suffer from addiction with a workforce of only 4,400 specialists. The need for greater access to expert addiction medicine care is especially acute in rural areas.

Improv comedy show at Craft Brew Underground

Dawn Hartill and Nate White 

Underground Improv, a troupe of some of Maine’s funniest comedians, will perform a night of improv comedy on Friday, February 28 at 8 p.m. at Craft Brew Underground, 34 Court Street, Auburn.

This month’s show features Dawn Hartill, Nate White, Leonard Kimble, Jason Pelletier, and CarlaRose Dubois. 

No two shows are ever alike.  The show content is made up completely on the spot and is based entirely on suggestions from the audience.  Each show promises a night of unpredictable laughs and great craft beer.

There is no admission or cover charge for the show. For more information, visit Craft Brew Underground on Facebook or by calling (207) 241-8520. 

Farming Oysters? Food for Thought explains

   In keeping with the theme of healthy sustainable food from local sources, senior college USM/LA is proud to have, for the March 13 Food for Thought presenter, Dan Devereaux, one of the co-founders of the Mere Point Oyster Company.  His business partner and longtime friend is Doug Niven.  As they say on their website, “Doug loved to fish. Dan loved to farm. They both loved living and working along the coast of Brunswick, Maine.  They started talking one day while watching their kids on the Brunswick playing fields and the seeds were planted–oyster seeds, that is.”

   There used to be so many oysters along the Maine coast that you can still find heaps of shells left by the Wabanaki people. But, in the 1970s, oyster populations plummeted as a result of pollution and environmental change. Farming oysters offered an opportunity to restore the native population and enhance near shore marine ecosystems.  In 2015, Niven and Devereaux officially formed Mere Point Oyster Company (MPOC). They chose to site their farms where they live–in the clear, deep waters of Maquoit and Mere Point Bays. These bays are some of Maine’s most ecologically significant areas because of the rich marine life they support.  Oysters were the perfect species to work with as they provide amazing environmental benefits to the marine ecosystem.

   Devereaux will tell their story and help folks understand not only about oysters, but also about the fragile marine environment and efforts to preserve it.  The presentation will be held at noon in room 170 at the USM/LA campus on Westminster Street.  Doors open at 11:30 a.m. Feel free to bring a bag lunch as we won’t be serving lunch (not even oysters!)

Bates College hosts block printing workshop

Learn how to use modern printmaking materials to create a simple graphic image suitable for framing or holiday cards as the Bates College Museum of Art offers a workshop in block printing from 3 to 5 p.m. Friday, March 6, at the college’s Benjamin Mays Center, 95 Russell Street, All children attending should be 8 years or older, and all children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult. Space is limited and registration is required. $5. For more information and to register email eboyle2@bates.edu or call 207-786-6417.

Governor Mills: Join me in protecting our children

One summer, a five-year-old boy woke up slowly with a headache and surrounded by white coats and scared faces. As Dr. Tony Owens describes it, “I was only 5 and don’t remember anyone telling me I had polio, and not sure at that age it would have meant much to me anyway. As a parent and grandparent now myself, I can only imagine the terror that must have stricken my mom and dad.”

Tony Owens spent weeks in a children’s hospital and fortunately, he made a full recovery. By the next summer, a polio vaccine was developed that would eliminate the deadly disease worldwide, or nearly eliminate it.

Vaccines save lives, but only if people get vaccinated. Vaccines are one of the best tools we have to safeguard our children, protect our own health and the health of everyone around us, but a referendum on Maine’s ballot March 3rd would restore, what I consider, dangerous vaccine exemptions against the advice of every major medical provider in Maine.

I know you heard about this recently from me, but I wanted to talk to you about it again because I think it is so important.

Our state has had a vaccination opt-out rate that is about three times higher than the national average for kids starting kindergarten. Our state ranks seventh in the country for the rate of non-medical opt-outs among school age children. This is dangerous to kids who have immunity problems and health issues who can’t be vaccinated but who become ill because of someone else who is not vaccinated.

Last year alone, schools in Lincoln, York, and Cumberland counties experienced dangerous whooping cough outbreaks.

As Governor, I am charged with protecting the health and safety of all Maine people, and amidst these outbreaks it has become painfully clear that Maine laws have not adequately protected the health of Maine people.

During that last legislative session, I signed a bill to remove the non-medical exemptions from our vaccination laws so as to better protect the health and welfare of all Maine people, especially young children – something that four other states, Mississippi, New York, West Virginia and California – have all done recently.

The new law leaves medical exemptions up to medical professionals while ensuring that medically vulnerable children can attend school safely. All Maine children, regardless of insurance status, can receive vaccines at no cost through the Maine Immunization Program (ImmunizeME.org). Those are the facts.

Some people opposed to this new law though have succeeded in putting a referendum question on the ballot in the hopes of overturning the law.

I think that their campaign is masquerading itself as opposition to “Big Pharma,” but, really, pharmaceutical companies hardly benefit at all from producing these vaccines, as the newspapers recently reported. And in trying to target so-called Big Pharma, whom nobody likes, this campaign is purposefully trying to conflate vaccinations I think with other issues like the opioid epidemic when these issues are very different.

Don’t buy it.

As parents I think we have the right to choose whether or not to vaccinate our children, but none of us has the right to put the health of somebody else’s child at risk, especially those kids who are medically vulnerable and just want to go to school safely.

Yes on 1 puts the health of all of our children at risk. You don’t have to take my word for it though.

Nearly sixty major health care providers across Maine, including the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital, have encouraged us to vote No on 1 because they know the measure is dangerous.

Children are especially vulnerable to deadly diseases like measles, mumps, polio, chickenpox, whooping cough–all these diseases are preventable by the immunity created in schools and public spaces when all people are vaccinated.

As the American Academy of Pediatrics says, ensuring that everyone who can get vaccinated does get vaccinated is important because it protects the most vulnerable members of our communities – infants, pregnant women and other people whose immune systems cannot combat certain harmful or deadly infections or who just aren’t eligible to receive certain vaccines medically.

Let’s listen to the doctors. Let’s not go back to a time when polio was so commonplace. Join me in protecting our children. I urge you to vote no on 1 on March 3.

Meet a Franco Author: Steven Riel

USM’s Lewiston Auburn College’s Franco-American Collection is hosting Steven Riel Franco Author/Poet, the third featured of the FAC’s fie Meet-A-Franco-Author program, on Monday, February 24, 7 p.m. in room 170, 51 Westminster Street, Lewiston. The public is invited and welcome to attend!

Writers in the program series, “Franco-America at the Interstice of Identities,” explore the conjunction of their Franco identity with another identity that is also important to them. 

Denis Ledoux, FAC Program Chair and Board Member, relates, “Steven Riel writes implicated poetry that features both his Franco heritage and his gay identity. His poems give voice to the Franco-American community of his childhood, its narrative of survival and assimilation, and its uncomfortable relationship to homosexuality. His work also honors and attends closely to the history and culture of both communities that have shaped him and continue to shape him.” 

A native of Massachusetts, Steven Riel received an A.B. in English from Georgetown University and an M.L.S. from Simmons College. He is the author of one full-length collection of poetry, “Fellow Odd Fellow” (Trio House, 2014), as well as three chapbooks, including most recently, “Postcard from P-towns,” which was selected as runner-up for the inaugural Robin Becker Chapbook Prize and published by Seven Kitchens Press.

Riel’s poems have appeared in several anthologies including, “Lives in Translation” by Soleil Press and in numerous periodicals, including “The Minnesota Review” and “International Poetry Review.” The Lambda Literary Foundation selected him as a 2016 Fellow. 

Poetry editor of “RFD Magazine” from 1987 to 1995, Riel currently serves as editor-in-chief of the Franco-American literary e-journal “Resonance.” He received MFA in poetry from New England College where he was the recipient of a Joel Oppenheimer Scholarship and was the 2005 Robert Fraser Distinguished Visiting Poet at Bucks County (PA) Community College. 

FAC Program Chair Denis Ledoux explains “Our Meet-A-Franco-Author programs depart from previous Franco-American Collection curatorial focus. With this series, the FAC steps into the creative present all the while continuing to maintain and enhance our role as keepers of Franco stories for future generations. We have built a Q&A session into this series so that the audience will have time to engage in conversation with Steven Riel about his experience as a Franco and as a gay man.”

The Meet-A-Franco-Author programs are free of charge, thanks to a generous grant from the Québec Delegation in Boston and are open to the public—Franco-Americans and Francophiles alike. Members of the FAC are invited to attend a pre-reading reception with the author at 5:30 p.m. in Room 170.  For information on becoming a member, contact the office at (207) 753-6545.

Ron Currie, Jr., Maine fiction writer, will present March 23.  David Vermette, historian, will speak on April 27.  Born in Massachusetts, Vermette has family roots in Brunswick, Maine.

All programs will be held on Mondays at 7 p.m. in Room 170 at Lewiston-Auburn College of the University of Southern Maine, 51Westminster Street, Lewiston. Public is welcome.

Pinky D’s Poutine one year anniversary party

Celebrate Pinky D’s Poutine first anniversary of the restaurant! 36.5% off all poutine (for 365 Days)!
Event is all day (11 a.m. to 8 p.m.) with a Poutine Eating Championship at 2 p.m. Door prizes will include free poutine for a year, Red Sox tickets, gift cards and Beech Ridge Speedway tickets. DJ Cool V will be performing from 5 to 8 p.m. Pinky D’s will have free baby’s first birthday cupcakes. Side by Each Brewing will be serving Dooryard, a German Dunkelweizen with a special maple twist in celebration with Pinky D’s Poutine. You are not going to want to miss this awesome event! 

Maine Event Comedy presents Matt Barry at Craft Brew Underground

Maine Event Comedy presents New Hampshire’s Matt Barry at Craft Brew Underground, Friday, February 21 at 8 p.m. The show will also feature Al Ghanekar and David McLaughlin.

Barry has been a staple of the New England comedy scene for eight years. He’s performed in clubs, theaters, bars, and apartments. In 2013 he was crowned “New England’s Best Bar Comic” and in 2015, he took third place in “Last Comix Standing,” a competition between 120 comedians at Mohegan Sun Casino. He’s appeared on SiriusXM Satellite Radio and has opened for national acts including Tom Green, Gilbert Gottfried, and Harland Williams.

Portland’s Ghanekar left a full-time technology job to pursue stand-up comedy. He performs regularly throughout New England and has worked with national headliners at Gotham Comedy Club.  Ghanekar has even found stage time in Sydney, Australia, and Mumbai, India.

McLaughlin hails from Billerica, Massachusetts and is not shy about taking his familial issues to the stage. He produces the Clean Comedy Showcase at ImprovBoston and was selected for the 2018 Salem Comedy Festival.

The show is for ages 21-and-older; admission is pay-what-you-can. Craft Brew Underground is located at 34 Court Street in Auburn. It was voted the No. 1 Craft Beer Bar in Maine and offers more than 200 choices of craft beer, cider, and wine. For more information, call/text (207) 513-0742 or email maineeventcomedy@gmail.com.

Governor Mills: Home is where the heart is

A home is more than brick and beams and wood and maybe a barn and a little yard. Home is where my husband, Stan, and I raised five daughters. Where we sat at the kitchen table paying bills and helping with homework. It’s where we slept safely every night.

But for thousands of Maine families, a safe and affordable home is out of reach. 

Our state has one of the least affordable housing markets in the nation. In 2018, the average Maine renter’s wage was $11.44 per hour, while the hourly wage needed to rent a two-bedroom apartment was $18.73 an hour –ninth-highest in the nation. 

The waiting list for affordable housing has risen to more than 32,000 households. Over 20,000Maine households are on wait lists for federal rental assistance. 

And yet, for all of that, Maine is only producing 250 new affordable homes each year. 

Families that don’t qualify for affordable housing, or don’t have access to it, are paying outrageous rent prices. More than 35,000 renters in our state pay more than half of their incomes for rent and utilities. 

How do we expect to keep young families here, or to attract young families here, if there is no affordable place for them to live?

Last legislative session, Representative Ryan Fecteau — with cosponsors from both houses and both parties — introduced legislation to address this housing shortage. 

LD 1645 provides a refundable tax credit, similar to the Maine Historic Tax Credit, to create an additional 1,000 affordable homes over the next eight years, more than doubling our current production rate.  

At least 30 percent of the funding will go towards housing for seniors, 20 percent towards homes in rural communities, and 10 percent to renovating rural apartments.  

This investment will also trigger matching federal funds to stimulate job growth and economic activity in the construction, engineering and design sectors.

Three weeks ago, in my State of the State, I told the Legislature, “send this bill to my desk and I’ll sign it.”

Well, thanks to the bipartisan work of the Legislature, this week I did sign it.

You know they say home is where the heart is.

I believe the goal of ensuring that Maine people have a safe place to rest their head at night, a place where they can take care of their family, get ready for work and live with dignity and comfort is at the heart of this Administration.  

I was proud to sign this bill into law, and I hope it will allow us to say to thousands more Mainers, “Welcome Home”.


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