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This week’s edition!

Separated by the pandemic part 1: Married for 53 years

Mynahan poses with a smartphone photograph of his wife, Bernadette Anne. (Photo by Nathan Tsukroff, PortraitEFX)

The following story is the first of many interviews being done by Nathan Tsukroff of PortraitEFX to capture the effects of this pandemic on the people of Maine. 

Imagine being married for 53 years, sharing the joys and sorrows of raising a family and losing loved ones.

Now imagine not being allowed to touch the person you’ve loved all those years.

For Tim Mynahan and his wife, Bernadette Anne, of Dyer Road in Lewiston, this is the sad reality under the social-distancing needs brought on by the Covid-19 crisis.

Bernadette – known to her friends as “Bernie” and to her four granddaughters as “BB” – entered The Lamp Memory Care Center (DLTC Healthcare) in September of last year. Mynahan has visited his wife almost daily since then but has only been allowed to talk to her through a glass door since the middle of March, when the facility put rules in place to protect residents during the global pandemic. He also is able to talk with her via Facetime on his cellphone.

Just a few minutes drive from their longtime home, The Lamp is a 28-bed facility in Lisbon that provides care for seniors with Alzheimer’s or dementia. No touching or close contact is allowed by visitors for now, to keep Bernadette and the other patients safe.

Bates students make masks for workers

A team of seven in the Bates costume shop has made hundreds of cloth face masks for Bates employees and resident students. From left, Wenjing Zheng ’21, Nicole Kumbula ’21, Jade Zhang ’21, Christine McDowell, Gabi Gucagaite ’21, Zhao Li ’21, and Aidan McDowell, assistant technical director. (Photo by Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College).

At first glance, it would seem there’s not much to do in the Bates costume shop. Spring theater performances that require tailor-made outfits have been canceled, as has the Bates Dance Festival. But the space is still there, as is equipment like sewing machines and an industrial iron, plus a lot of surplus fabric.

Associate Professor of Theater Christine McDowell, Assistant Technical Director Aidan McDowell, and five rising seniors who are still living on campus decided to put those resources to use by sewing hundreds of cloth face coverings for Bates employees’ use.

“This is one of the few times in life where a practical skill that, not only do we have in our wheelhouse, but that I really advocate as part of the Bates experience, could come to the forefront,” Chris McDowell says.

Record number of flags placed to honor veterans

A record number of volunteers turned out on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend to honor veterans buried at St. Peter’s Cemetery in Lewiston.

An estimated 360 volunteers spread out throughout the 70-acre cemetery, placing flags on every veteran’s grave they found.

“It’s just a gorgeous day, and it’s a gorgeous cause, and if you look around and see all those flags waving over the cemetery, it makes you feel good,” said Joyce Richmond, a member of the Lewiston and Auburn Veterans Council, which organized the effort. “I’m a Gold Star Mother, which means my daughter passed away while serving in the Air Force, so it’s very important to me to honor her especially, but I know what sacrifices these people have made. They’ve given their lives for us.”

According to Joyce, 4,000 American flags were handed out to the volunteers, who fanned out to every corner of the cemetery, going row by row and reading inscriptions to try to ensure no veteran’s grave was missed.

City of Lewiston to be home to nationally recognized art

An original work of art by nationally recognized Auburn native, Andy Rosen, will be installed in the canal between Baxter Brewing and Bates Mill #5 in Lewiston in the summer of 2021.  The Lewiston City Council unanimously voted in favor of the new addition.  Life-like foxes will grace the area and will be a conversation piece for residents and visitors alike. 

On February 19, 2019, the Lewiston Auburn Metro Chamber of Commerce and LA Arts announced that the Maine Arts Commission (MAC) had awarded a MAC Creative Communities = Economic Development Phase 2 Grant of $75,000 for implementation of Cultural Plan LA.  In-kind support was committed by the Chamber, LA Arts, and Lewiston and Auburn, and the Maine Arts Commission is an independent state agency supported by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Proceeds would be used to utilize arts and culture to spur economic development and enhance the image of Lewiston and Auburn to attract residents, tourism, and new investment through public art installations.

Mayor Mark Cayer notes, “The grant program recognized that the economic contributions public art makes to local economies is vast. Since public art is a magnet known to bring people to a community, we are excited to have Mr. Rosen’s work here in Lewiston as a continued example of our city’s vibrancy and positive vision for the future.”

“Research shows communities with widespread public art see a multiplier effect on the local economy. Public art gets people out and will continue to draw people into the LA region,” said Shanna Cox, President and CEO of the Chamber. “We are excited to be part of this effort which directly aligns with our mission to be part of an engine for economic vitality.”

Andy Rosen is best known in Maine for two installations in Casco Bay: Unpack, seven life-like dogs that Rosen created in 2015 and placed on the dilapidated pier on Portland’s eastern waterfront, and in 2018, Tread was installed, a pair of deer emerging from the rising sea near the Ocean Gateway marine facility. 

SeniorsPlus reflects on Older Americans Month 2020

May is traditionally Older Americans Month, and 2020 is no different except the circumstances surrounding May this year are very different.   

With the challenges presented by the COVID-19 crisis, SeniorsPlus, Western Maine’s designated Area Agency on Aging, has faced expanded operations since March as a result of increased community demand that it has never seen before. Services at SeniorsPlus include information and assistance, short-term care management, Medicare counseling, caregiver support and respite, money management, and nutrition.

“Our staff will tell you they have never been busier,” said Betsy Sawyer-Manter, President and CEO of SeniorsPlus, noting that the organization has remained in operation throughout the pandemic. “In addition to the increased demand for food, our squad of social workers together with our other employees have had to develop new systems to ensure our interactions with our clients are not interrupted and remain strong.” 

Education Classes now offered online include “Coping with the New Normal within the COVID-19 Pandemic Support Group” and “Zoom 101,” as well as the usual exercise classes, health and wellness classes including evidence-based courses, and our usual array of support groups which includes Coping with Grief and Caregiver Support.

Edward Little class of 2020 top ten

Annabelle Pendleton, Rebecca Raby, Kegan Rodrigue, Alexis Jellison, Storm Jipson, Ryan Laferriere, Caroline Hammond, Emma Stoner, Benjamin Hallett and Jordan McKinnon-Cote

Edward Little congratulates all graduates of 2020 and highlights the top ten in order from first in class to tenth in class: Storm Jipson, valedictorian, Caroline Hammond, salutatorian, Emma Stoner, Ryan Laferriere, Kegan Rodrigue, Jordan McKinnon-Cote, Benjamin Hallett, Alexis Jellison, Annabelle Pendelton, Rebecca Raby.

Meservier and Associates to open new office in Auburn

Meservier and Associates, one of Maine’s top real estate agent teams, announces the opening of a new, independent company and a new office location in Auburn at 220 Main Street. 

Sue Meservier, the owner, has been an Auburn based real estate broker since 1987. She sees this as the perfect opportunity to expand her 15-agent team with her own company and in a new modern and state of the art office. Formerly associated with another real estate firm, the new office will provide the needed space for the company to expand and add more agents. It will specifically provide collaborative and solitary work environments to support agent growth and success. 

Sue Meservier and Meservier and Associates are well known throughout Androscoggin County for over 30 years of top sales results in residential real estate achieving top of the market sales positions for many years. Most important, Sue Meservier and Meservier and Associates is well known for their exemplary standard of service, proven real estate expertise, and attentive personal care of their clients’ needs. 

“I am absolutely thrilled to open this new, independent real estate brokerage office. This is the realization of a personal dream and has been a long time coming. I see excellent growth opportunities in the future,” said Meservier.

“We have an excellent group of real estate professionals on the team and together we are poised to help buyers and sellers achieve their real estate goals,” Meservier and Associates Top Producer, Tony Poulin commented. 

The team will be joined at the location by one of the top-rated mortgage brokers in the state, Harbor One Mortgage. “We will truly be one-stop shopping providing expert real estate services to the community of Androscoggin county,” said Meservier. 

“The building at 220 Main Street, Auburn will undergo immediate renovations. We expect to fully occupy the location within 3 months,” said Meservier. Temporary office space will be located at 79 Main Street in Auburn. 

More information about Meservier and Associates is available at ?

Out & About with Rachel Morin: Home project

This is the cottage near Willard Beach that Liz purchased as her first home (Photo by Elizabeth Morin).

As I write this article, we are in the month of May.  We are nearly halfway through 2020!  We are in the midst of the biggest pandemic, Covid-19, the world has known.  We are in quarantine and who knows for how long?  We have time on our hands and are adhering to Gov. Janet Mills wise advice, “Stay home.”

And so, daughter Liz and I, who have shared many projects over the years, decided one day last month, after eyeing her garage, that it was the day to tackle the garage and bring it back to its original pristine condition.

Out into the driveway went everything from the garage. Stuff lined neatly, up and down its length—neatly? No, helter-skelter, well, you get the idea.  The car had been moved to the street to clear the driveway for the contents of the garage.

We cleaned the interior of the garage and swept it clean.  We felt great about it!  We then returned 40 percent of what was in the driveway to the garage.  Yes, we deemed only 40 percent worth keeping! 

These items were placed in specific areas, keeping like things together, such as garden tools, rakes, shovels, winter equipment, summer equipment, wheelbarrow, lawnmower, leaf bags, etc.  

A bicycle that hadn’t been ridden in a year or two, was given space while Liz postponed the decision to keep it or give it away.

Her worktable, which is regularly used, held items for spring planting neatly arranged, and ready for her “I can’t wait to start my planting!”

Gone to Goodwill were surplus luggage, flowerpots, lawn chair, boxes of floor tile, ceiling lights, and finally, items destined for the dump, were hauled away.  We felt great and were proud of ourselves.  We kept returning to the garage to enjoy our results.

MSAD 52 Adult Education high school diploma graduate

Alex Boutot standing inside the house he is currently building while also completing his diploma studies online, being the first MSAD 52 Adult education 2020 student to finish!

MSAD 52 Adult and Community Education in Turner are very proud of all their students but would like to celebrate one very special and extremely motivated senior Alex Boutot! Alex Boutot not only accepted the challenges thrown at him during this stressful and uncertain time, but embraced them!  Boutot energetically exceeded expectations and managed to complete all of his coursework requirements early, making him the first adult education high school diploma graduate from the MSAD 52 Class of 2020. 

Boutot had a positive attitude right from the beginning, ever since he enrolled in the MSAD 52 Adult Education Program last year.  One of his teachers, Melanie North, noted, “Alex came to us with an incredibly positive attitude, and he has kept that optimistic and strong spirit throughout this entire journey.”  

Boutot was always the first student to lend a helping hand, whether that meant providing his classmates transportation to and from school or volunteering for community service activities offered through his Civic Engagement class. Through his Civic Engagement class, Boutot did things such as helping out with trash clean-up around Turner and participating in a homeless youth prevention forum through RCAM (Rural Community Action Ministry).  When asked how Boutot manages to stay so positive all the time, he answered, “I just think people should appreciate and embrace challenges because they can always teach you something and make you a better person.”  

Gov. Paul LePage interview

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