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This week’s edition!

Fifield receives first ‘Hands & Hearts’ award

From City of Auburn

AUBURN – At Monday’s City Council meeting, Mayor Jason Levesque announced the creation of the “Hands & Hearts Leadership & Service Award” at Auburn’s City Council meeting last week.

Mayor Levesque presented the inaugural Hands & Hearts Leadership & Service Award to Deputy Chief Matthew Fifield of the Auburn Fire Department for his outstanding leadership, service to the community, and commitment to protecting the people of Auburn, which has been exemplified through his efforts to lead the city’s response to the pandemic.

This distinguished community service award is named in honor of Auburn Mayor John Jenkins, who died in 2020.

“Not only is he our Deputy Fire Chief; Matt is also the Safety Coordinator for the City of Auburn,” said Levesque. “As you can imagine that role expanded greatly last March, as the world was faced with unprecedented challenges.”

Auburn Deputy Fire Chief Matthew Fifield is surrounded by Mayor & Council, as well as Auburn’s City Manager, Fire Chief, School Superintendent & Assistant Superintendent after receiving the inaugural “Hands & Hearts Leadership & Service Award” at Auburn’s City Council meeting last week. The award was created in honor of John Jenkins, who served as the mayor of both Lewiston and Auburn. (Photo courtesy of City of Auburn)

During the award presentation, which was a surprise to DC Fifield, the Mayor went on to relate how Fifield emerged as the primary person responsible for “all things COVID,” including how to best mitigate the emerging threat of COVID-19 to the community.

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VA facilities vaccinate Maine, NH veterans

From VA NE HCS

PORTSMOUTH, N.H.–The Portsmouth Senior Activity Center swelled with Veterans of all eras and branches of service a week ago as a tri-state team from VA New England Healthcare System (HCS) conducted a COVID vaccination clinic for Veteran patients living in Maine and New Hampshire.

The event, coordinated with support from Portsmouth community partners, was designed to balance the distribution of COVID-19 vaccine across VA New England HCS. VA Maine and VA Manchester Healthcare Systems were each allotted appointments for 250 Veterans, while VA Bedford HCS, Mass., supplied the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine and the clinic staff.

“We knew there were shortages of the Moderna vaccine at other locations, so we came up with the idea to help our Veterans at our sister New England facilities by sharing our supply of Pfizer,” Mary Anderson, VA Bedford’s Associate Director for Patient Care said.

VA health care worker administering Pfizer vaccine to Veteran at the tri-state COVID vaccination clinic this past weekend in Portsmouth, NH. (Photo courtesy of VA New England)

Anderson’s original idea was to conduct the vaccination clinic in an area that would be easily accessible to both Maine and New Hampshire Veterans and still comply with state guidelines for COVID precautions.

“Portsmouth seemed like the perfect area,” Anderson said. “VA Manchester reached out to Portsmouth city officials and within a few hours, they offered us the Senior Activity Center and onsite ambulance support.”

VA Manchester’s Director, Kevin Forrest, said, “Community partnerships such as the one with City of Portsmouth are invaluable in the fight against COVID. Everybody has the same goal in mind, and that is to get the vaccine into arms.”

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ELHS construction may begin today – March 18

From City of Auburn

AUBURN – The Auburn School Committee was expected to vote to award the Edward Little High School (ELHS) construction bid on Wednesday, construction for the project expected to start today.

The Auburn Police Department advises motorists to expect changes to vehicle traffic entering and exiting the ELHS campus to accommodate the start of construction. The changes were to begin this morning.

“We want this to go as smoothly as possible,” said Police Chief Jason Moen. “Motorists should slow down, pay close attention to posted signs, watch for pedestrians and construction vehicles, and just be patient as we all get accustomed to the changes.”

Construction at the Edward Little High School campus is expected to start today. The Auburn Heights entrance to the school campus off Western Avenue will be closed during construction, which is expected to be completed in the summer of 2023. (Image courtesy of City of Auburn)

The Auburn Heights entrance off Western Avenue will be closed to all traffic until further notice, most likely until the summer of 2023.

All vehicles will enter and exit the high school campus via Harris Street, Fairmount Avenue or Forest Avenue.

All school buses will enter and exit the campus via Harris Street.

Construction of the new building is expected to last through the summer of 2023, with the building opening to students that fall. The old building will be demolished, and athletic fields constructed from the summer of 2023 through the summer of 2024.

For information about the Edward Little High School project, please visit www.NewELHS.org.

Hike For Hospice for Patients and Families

From Androscoggin

LEWISTON-Androscoggin Home Healthcare + Hospice is launching their first virtual Hike for Hospice Androscoggin.

Online registration is now open for this virtual fundraising event that takes place May 10-21.

Participants can engage at their own pace and choose their own outdoor activity from walking or running to hiking or biking.

A virtual Hike for Hospice Androscoggin fundraiser will take place May 10-21, to raise funds for hospice care provided by Androscoggin Home Healthcare + Hospice in Auburn. (Photo courtesy of Androscoggin)

In addition, registered participants can take part in a special family bereavement walk with their children at the Auburn/Lewiston YMCA Outdoor Learning and Education Center at 167 Stetson Road in Auburn during the event.

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MDOT work plan for Lewiston

From Rep. Connor

AUGUSTA – State Representative Jonathan Connor (R-Lewiston) recently announced that the Maine Department of Transportation (MDOT) Work Plan for Calendar Years 2021, 2022 and 2023 is available. The estimated value of work in the plan totals more than 2,180 individual work items with a total value of $2.71 billion.

 The MDOT Work Plan for Lewiston includes 11 projects totaling $8,136,000 for the City of Lewiston.

The work includes improvements to Route 202, Route 126, Alfred Plourde Parkway, East Avenue, Five Corners and other local highway and intersection improvements.

 “MDOT Work Plan projects will benefit our local communities in many ways,” said Rep. Connor. “I am pleased to see several MDOT projects scheduled for the next three years in our area. They will make our roads safer and strengthen our local economy.”

 The full work plan, searchable by municipality, is available at the Maine Department of Transportation’s website at http://bitly.ws/c527.

Rep. Jonathan Connor (R-Lewiston) represents Maine House District 58, which comprises the eastern half of the City of Lewiston.

MDOT work plan for Minot, Auburn

From Rep. Libby

AUGUSTA – State Representative Laurel D. Libby (R – Auburn) recently announced that the Maine Department of Transportation (MDOT) Work Plan for Calendar Years 2021, 2022, and 2023 is available.

The estimated value of work in the plan totals more than 2,180 individual work items with a total value of $2.71 billion.

The MDOT Work Plan for District 64 includes 43 projects and local road assistance totaling nearly $27.5 million.

The work includes improvements at the Auburn-Lewiston Municipal Airport; highway construction/rehabilitation of Route 136, Broad Street, and Route 4; maintenance of Gracelawn Road; and paving of Route 202, all in Auburn, as well as over six miles of paving on Route 119, in Minot.

“I’m pleased to see $27.5 million in MDOT Work Plan projects scheduled for Auburn and Minot over the next three years,” said Rep. Libby. “These and other projects throughout Maine will strengthen our communities, enhance our economy, and make our roads safer.”

The full work plan, searchable by municipality, is available at the Maine Department of Transportation’s Web site at http://bitly.ws/c527.

Rep. Laurel Libby (R-Auburn) represents Maine House District 64, which includes all of Minot and a portion of northern Auburn.

Auburn Farmers’ Market opens May 5

From City of Auburn

AUBURN – The Auburn’s Farmers’ Market will be starting back up for the season on May 5.
The Market will take place on Festival Plaza (Main Street) each Wednesday from 4-6:30 p.m.
CDC guidelines must be followed.
The City of Auburn is seeking vendors for the market.
Anyone interested in participating as a market vendor should email market oordinator Kathy Shaw at: kath@valleyviewfarm.me for details.

Walk in the Park Mar. 30

From City of Auburn

AUBURN – Auburn’s Age-Friendly Community Committee, in partnership with the United New Auburn Association, is hosting a “Walk in the Park” at noon on Tuesday, Mar. 30.

All are welcome, and should meet in Festival Plaza (Main Street). The group will walk the Riverwalk to Bonney Park and head toward New Auburn, visiting all of the parks along the way.

The group will also walk by the Art Wall on Main Street, ending at the new Anniversary Park in New Auburn.

Alan Manoian will share the history of each park along the way!

Hot dogs will be available at no charge.

Bike cooperative hauls trash in Norway

From Spoke Folks

NORWAY – Spoke Folks Cooperative Inc., a worker-owned cargo bike cooperative business, has fully launched to haul trash, recycling, and compost via bike & trailer in Norway and South Paris.

Founding member Jessica Cooper said, “Our mission is to offer a people and bike-powered alternative to gas-powered pickup/hauling services and to help communities reimagine their approach to the waste system.”

Spoke Folks is a project of the Center for an Ecology-based Economy(CEBE), a Norway non-profit founded to engage the community in addressing the climate emergency.

Worker-owned Spoke Folks, a cargo bike cooperative business, has fully launched to haul trash, recycling, and compost via bike & trailer in Norway and South Paris. (Photo courtesy of Spoke Folks)

CEBE and Spoke Folks established the worker-owned business with essential resources and training provided by The Cooperative Development Institute’s Rebuilding the Rural Economy Training Program funded by the USDA. CDI is a New England based non-profit with a mission to build a cooperative economy. 

Scott Vlaun, Executive Director of CEBE, was originally inspired to begin a cargo-bike project after hearing about Pedal People; a successful cargo bike co-op in Northampton, MA. He turned the idea into a working project through a CDI training designed for rural communities, and was joined by founding members Cooper, a young mother and climate activist, and Justin Bondesen, a local composting and outdoor enthusiast, in the winter of 2019. 

“I’ve always been passionate about the bicycle, a nearly perfect machine that represents independence and freedom, Vlaun said. “I’ve used them to commute to work, for cross continental travel and for hauling produce from my farm. When I learned about the Pedal People cooperative I realized that bikes could play a bigger role in an ecology-based economy. CDI helped us take this realization to a viable business model that will provide good jobs in a democratic workplace while helping to tackle the climate crisis, reduce waste and pollution, and increase the quality of life in our downtown.”

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Vaccination site opens March 17

From CMHC

LEWISTON – Central Maine Healthcare, the State of Maine, and the cities of Auburn and Lewiston are launching a regional high-volume COVID-19 vaccination site at the Auburn Mall on March 17.

Vaccinations at the Central Maine Healthcare-run site in the mall will be available by appointment only.

“We are thrilled that this critical resource will get more vaccine into the arms of Maine people quickly and efficiently,” said Jeffrey L. Brickman, FACHE, president and CEO of Central Maine Healthcare. “By working together with our partners, this high-volume vaccination site will have a powerful impact in the fight against the pandemic. It’s a wonderful example of the community coming together to protect the people we are privileged to serve.”

The high-volume vaccination site is the first to open in Androscoggin County. Vaccination will be available to Maine residents in accordance with the State of Maine’s age-based eligibility approach.

“The entire Auburn team stands ready to help protect our community in any way we can,” said Auburn Mayor Jason Levesque. “Androscoggin County’s vaccination rate is lagging behind the rest of the state, so we are extremely pleased to be working with these exceptional community partners to make this site a reality. Its central location will make it quick, simple and safe for our friends, neighbors and family members to protect themselves.”

After a ramp-up period, the site will have a goal of vaccinating 1,000 people a day and, if vaccine supplies are sufficient, operating three to five days a week for six months. During that timeframe, the site is expected to administer as many as 145,000 doses if vaccine availability allows.

“With the announcement of the opening of a high-volume vaccination site at the Auburn Mall, our community is one step closer to a return to normalcy,” said Lewiston Mayor Mark Cayer. “Local healthcare providers have planned and worked collaboratively to bring this to fruition; although work is ongoing to assure accessibility and equity for our community’s senior citizens and our underserved populations. I’m confident we will identify fair access to the vaccination for all residents of this region.”

Central Maine Healthcare’s vaccination clinics at Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston, Bridgton Hospital and Rumford Hospital have prepared the health system well for the high-volume operation. The system, for example, administered a total of 1,269 doses at Central Maine Medical Center and Bridgton Hospital on Feb. 27. In all, the system has administered nearly 16,000 doses to more than 10,000 people within the constraints of vaccine and resource availability.

In addition to operating the high-volume site at the Auburn Mall, community partners are coordinating to ensure that vaccination efforts reach all members of the community. Central Maine Healthcare, municipal and state leaders are working with Androscoggin County Emergency Management Agency, St. Mary’s Health System and Tri-County EMS.

Vaccination Appointments

To check availability, book an appointment or find out more about high-volume vaccination site, visit cmhc.org or telephone the Central Maine Healthcare COVID vaccine call center at 207-520-2917. Please direct all inquiries to this website and phone number, not to the mall or the cities.

Vaccinations will take place at the Center Court of the Auburn Mall. The entrance will be through the south entrance leading directly to Center Court.

With the opening of Auburn Mall site, Central Maine Healthcare will pivot resources from the clinics at Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston to the high-volume site. Community vaccination clinics will continue at Bridgton Hospital and Rumford Hospital.


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