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This week’s edition!

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!

Maine Maple Sunday sees limited visitors

By Nathan Tsukroff

SABATTUS – A year ago, Maine Maple Sunday was abruptly cancelled by the State of Maine as the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States.

This year, although with limits on visitors and events, the event was back on the traditional fourth weekend of March.

Jillson’s Farm and Sugarhouse on Jordan Bridge Road in Sabattus was planning for just visitor to its sugarhouse and its store, since breakfast gatherings were not allowed this year.

The farm has served upwards of 900 breakfasts in past years, with cars “parked on both sides of the road for half a mile down,” owner Ed Jillson said. When breakfast is allowed to be served, Jillson’s provides a full meal of eggs, sausage, muffins, milk and juice.

He normally produces around 400 gallons of maple syrup during the season, but the warmer weather this year has lowered production to about 270 gallons. Sap generally starts flowing in mid-February in southern Maine, and is expected to end in April this year.

Roger Gervais, a self-described “wannabe sugarmaker”, programs the system that releases finished syrup from the evaporator at Jillson’s Farm and Sugarhouse on Jordan Bridge Road in Sabattus. The sugarhouse is expecting to produce about 270 gallons of finished syrup before the season ends in early April this year. (Tsukroff photo)

Sugarhouses in this part of Maine have had about 7 sap runs this year, while past years have generally seen 10 sap runs. The best years have seen as many as 15 sap runs.

A little more than 40 gallons of sap has to be boiled down to make a gallon of the finished syrup. So it will take about 15,500 gallons of sap to make the expected 270 gallons of syrup at Jillson’s Sugarhouse this season.

The boiling process removes the water in the sap and brings the sugar content to 66% from a starting point of 2%, at which point the syrup is boiling at 219 degrees Fahrenheit, or about 7 degrees above the boiling temperature of water. This process takes hours and hours, and has to be watched constantly.

Ed Jillson, owner of Jillson’s Farm and Sugarhouse, pours finished and filtered maple syrup into a bottle on Maine Maple Sunday at his sugarhouse on Jordan Bridge Road in Sabattus. (Tsukroff photo)

For collecting the sap, taps are installed into trees that are at least 10-inches in diameter. Two taps can be placed in a 14-inch-diameter tree, and three in an 18-inch-diameter tree. Some trees have a collection container on each tap, or plastic tubing can be run from tree to tree, down to a single collection container.

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Spirit of America Tribute

From City of Auburn

AUBURN – It’s no secret that this community is incredible! And over the past year, the people of Auburn have pulled together to help one another in the most extraordinary ways.

The Auburn City Council would like to recognize and celebrate some of the individuals, organizations and businesses that have gone above and beyond to support this community.

The Auburn City Council is now accepting nominations for the 2021 Auburn Spirit of America Foundation Tribute for Outstanding Community Service. 

Residents are asked to nominate an Auburn resident, project or group they feel deserves the honor of a “Spirit of America” award, by Apr. 30.

The nomination webpage can be found at http://bitly.ws/cny8.

The Spirit of America Foundation is a 501(c)(3) public charity established in Augusta, Maine to encourage volunteerism and it allows the Spirit of America Foundation Tribute to be presented in the name of any Maine municipality. The first Spirit of America Foundation award was presented in1991. For more information on the Foundation, visit their website: http://spiroaf.com.

Virtual tour for UMaine music ensembles

From UMaine

ORONO – Each spring, ensembles from the University of Maine School of Performing Arts’s Division of Music depart from campus for performance tours around Maine, stopping to play concerts in schools, churches and community centers across the state and beyond. 

This year, with the COVID-19 pandemic still limiting gatherings and travel, the spring tour will nevertheless go on — albeit virtually, with performance programs by the University Singers, the University of Maine Symphonic Band and the University of Maine Jazz Ensemble livestreamed via YouTube on Wednesday mornings in March and April.

The University of Maine Symphonic Band performs at 8:15 and 9:45 a.m. on April 7, and the University Jazz Ensemble plays at 8:15 and 9:45 a.m. on April.

Christopher White, director of the UMaine Symphonic Band, says his student performers are looking forward to the series, and especially the opportunity to make live music available to students during the school day. “Since we can’t tour,” he says, “livestreaming allows us to reach school students during a time when it is not possible to do so in person.” Spring tours have long been a chance to reach into the community and foster interest in and commitment to the performing arts. Beyond enjoyment, White says, “we want students to realize performing music does last beyond the public school years, for all students regardless of major.”

Jack Burt, professor of trumpet and director of the Jazz Ensemble, agrees. “We’ve worked hard to continue making music during these times,” he says, and despite the challenges and the university safety protocols in place, music ensembles at UMaine have thrived. Burt says this tour is a chance for them to show off a year of hard work under extraordinary conditions: “We’ve got a wonderful program prepared.” 

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A Year for a pandemic

Out and About

by Rachel Morin

It seems everyone is remarking on the year’s end of observing our pandemic – March, 2020 to March 2021.

The COVID-19 pandemic is still with us, and as people like to say, “It ain’t over yet.”

And our own Dr. Fauci says “We are not out of the woods yet.”

Dr. Fauci is deeply concerned about people letting their guard down and not following the strict guidelines for avoiding large gatherings, distancing, masking and hand hygiene.

My friends and I still follow these guidelines and do not feel stifled. We are committed!

That is not to say we are happy with the lack of our social gatherings. Yes, we miss the times we enjoyed on our restaurant outings, at our live theatre performances, during our library visits, and with our in-person classes at USM’s Lewiston-Auburn Senior College with teachers at the front of the class, and our classmates seated around us in rows of desks and chairs.

The Henry Wadsworth Longfellow statue atop the high pedestal in Longfellow Square in Portland sports a mask at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic year last April. (Rachel Morin photo)

We missed our home and garden tours last summer and our annual Church Christmas Fairs and the Church suppers. Even Church attendance on weekends were different. But what we missed most was seeing our Family and Friends.

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Final beam placed at LHS expansion

From Lewiston HS

LEWISTON – The final piece of steel beam was placed at the top of a new elevator shaft last week as construction on the expansion of Lewiston High School continues.

Members of the LHS Expansion Committee, LHS staff, and Lewiston Public Schools board members signed the beam, which is lettered with the words, “Expand our Minds, Expand our School”.

The beam will serve as the header for the elevator shaft.

Jay Dufour, Lewiston High School Assistant Principal and administrative liaison to the LHS Expansion Committee, shows the beam that was placed at the top of the new elevator shaft last week in the expansion of the high school. (Tsukroff photo)

A new main entrance to the school will feature an arch with the word Welcome in multiple languages.

The LHS Expansion committee said the construction is on schedule, and on budget.

According to the committee, Lewiston High School is nearing its 50th anniversary and has been incredibly well maintained.

The original design of the building included a swimming pool next to the gym, an auditorium, and appropriate classrooms for the visual and performing arts.

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High-volume vaccine site opens in Auburn Mall

From CMH

 AUBURN – The new regional high-volume COVID-19 vaccination site launched by Central Maine Healthcare, the City of Auburn, the City of Lewiston and the State of Maine vaccinated its first patients last week as operations began at the Auburn Mall.

“It’s been absolutely phenomenal how the community came together with determination and enthusiasm for this cause,” said Jeffrey L. Brickman, FACHE, president and CEO of Central Maine Healthcare. “Together, we are amping up our vaccination efforts to protect even more Maine people from the coronavirus. It’s a wonderful day that turns the page in our fight against this pandemic.”

Lynn Cummings, 61, of Lewiston, receives her first injection for the CoVID-19 vaccination at the new high-volume vaccination site opened in Center Court of the Auburn Mall last week. (Photo courtesy of CMH)

After its ramp up, the 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.

Amy Lee, Chief Operating Officer for the medical group for Central Maine Healthcare said she has “an amazing team of people who are supporting this, and having been working on this very hard for quite a few months!”

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