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This week’s edition!

Josée Vachon to perform in concert at Franco Center 

LEWISTON, ME—Musical artist Josée Vachon will perform at 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 17, at the Franco Center. She shares her Franco American joie de vivre–her “joy of living as a Franco American” through her music. Born in Quebec and raised in Maine, Vachon has been sharing her Franco American upbringing for over 40 years, through traditional and contemporary folksongs from Quebec and Acadia, as well as her own compositions.    

“Lewiston is a special place for me, just because of the strong support I received from fans at the very beginning of my career,” said Vachon. “I love coming back and having a chance to reconnect with many fans and friends!” 

Though she often entertained at her family gatherings, she began singing publicly with the support of the Franco-American Center at the University of Maine, where she discovered others who shared the same rich heritage. She quickly gained recognition as a Franco American voice through her first performances at state festivals in Lewiston and Madawaska, Maine and at schools and parish soirées.    

She has a dozen solo recordings to her credit and continues to perform and record the music that best represents her love of Franco American culture.    

Doors open at 1 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online at, by phone at 207-689-2000, or in person at the box office between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays.  

Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door day of show. 

Season Underwriter is Maple Way Dental Care; media sponsors are Bennett Radio Group; Sun Journal; Turner Publishing; and Uncle Andy’s Digest. The show is sponsored by FACE Foundation and TV5Monde. 

The Franco Center is at 46 Cedar Street, Lewiston. Parking is in the mill lot across the street. Handicap access is on the Lincoln Street Alley side of the building.

Josée Vachon, a favorite Franco American performer among regular patrons of the Franco Center, will perform at 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 17. Tickets are available at 207-689-2000 and The Franco Center is at 46 Cedar Street, Lewiston. Franco Center photo. 

Lewiston’s Chief Assessor elected to international role

LEWISTON, ME – With the backing of 8,000 members of the International Association of Assessing Officers (IAAO), William “Bill” Healey, Lewiston’s Chief Assessor, is the organization’s new Vice-President. Bill is the first assessing officer from Maine to achieve this role in 40 years.

“I am profoundly grateful for the honor of being elected,” said Healey. “The endorsement and backing of esteemed assessors worldwide hold great significance and are deeply appreciated,” said Healey, who joined the IAAO in 1998.

IAAO is the preeminent source for innovation, education and research in property appraisal, assessment administration, and property tax policy. Founded in 1934, IAAO members are from government, business, and academic communities. Membership provides access to educational resources, networking, and research data regarding administration of property tax.

“The City of Lewiston is very fortunate to have outstanding department heads, and Bill’s involvement with the International Association of Assessing Officers is a tremendous asset to the work he does here in Lewiston,” said City Administrator Heather Hunter.

“I have been an IAAO member for 25 years and find networking to be a great asset. I can reach out to the membership and get assistance with nearly any assessing issue when needed. As Lewiston is undertaking a citywide revaluation to be completed by early 2026, being part of the IAAO will be a valuable resource,” said Healey.

Healey has served as the City of Lewiston’s Chief Assessor since 2015. He has been a Certified Maine Assessor for over 22 years and also served as Assessor for Cumberland, Yarmouth, and Scarborough Maine.

Healey has been very involved with the Maine Association of Assessing Officers, serving as Education Chair and as President and as a member of Northeastern Regional Association of Assessing Officers, where he served as Vice President.

In 2019, Healey was awarded the IAAO’s Residential Evaluation Specialist Award, one of the highest honors to be achieved within the assessing profession.

CLT to bring back “Bandstand to Billboard” concert                                     

AUBURN, ME — The “Bandstand to Billboard” concert – featuring song favorites from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, is back! After four consecutive years of sold-out shows at the Franco Center, this very popular concert is back, with three performances to be held at Community Little Theatre (CLT) on February 9, 10, and 11.

The repertoire includes major hit songs – all of which hit Billboard’s Top 100 list and were also featured on the American Bandstand TV show. With six singers and a full live band, some of the songs include “L-O-V-E,” “Come Go With Me,” “Stand By Me,” “Happy Together,” “Downtown,” “Chapel of Love,” “Sweet Caroline,” “Tie a Yellow Ribbon,” “Suspicious Minds,” and “Leaving On A Jet Plane.”

As an added treat, the band will perform a special tribute to the Beatles, commemorating the week in April 1964 when the Beatles held all top five slots in the Hot 100 list.

The returning singers, who are all veteran performers at CLT, are Renee Mahon Davis, Sophie Messina, Eileen M. Messina (director), Michael Litchfield, Gerry Therrien, and Duane Glover. The band includes Paul G. Caron, musical director and keyboards; Mike French, guitar; Shane Davis, bass; Mark Fredericks, percussion; Blaise Spath, woodwinds; Bruce Theriault, trombone; Mike Plossay and Mike Truchon, trumpet; Alex Wong, cello; Kate Gray, violin; and Linda Vaillancourt, viola.

The three performances will be held starting at 7:30 p.m. on February 9 and 10, and at 2:00 p.m. on February 11. All performances will be held at CLT on 30 Academy Street in Auburn. Tickets are $25.00 and may be purchased online at or at the door. More information at

The “Bandstand to Billboard” singers are pictured here from left: Gerry Therrien, Sophie Messina, Duane Glover, Eileen Messina, Michael Litchfield, and Renee Mahon Davis.

Sen. Rotundo welcomes Miss Maine to the State House

AUGUSTA, ME — On Thursday, Sen. Peggy Rotundo, D-Lewiston, welcomed Kirsty Beauchesne, Miss Maine 2024, to the State House.

“It was wonderful to meet Ms. Beauchesne in Augusta yesterday — she is a very impressive young woman,” said Sen. Rotundo. “I thank Kirsty for representing our community of Lewiston in such a positive light and wish her the best of luck in July!”

Ms. Beauchesne is a Lewiston native. She is currently pursuing a Master’s in Business Administration from Husson University. In July, she will travel to San Antonio, Texas to represent Maine in the Miss United States of America pageant.

According to its website, “United States of America pageants are designed to encourage women to strive to achieve their hopes, dreams, goals, and aspirations, while making them feel confident and beautiful inside and out.”

Rep. Michel Lajoie, Miss Maine 2024 Kirsty Beauchesne, Sen. Peggy Rotundo and Rep. Kristen Cloutier in the Senate Chamber

Shelly Quinn of Premier Pools & Spas is Salesperson of the Year

LEWISTON, ME – Premier Pools & Spas of Lewiston, Maine, is proud to announce that Shelly Quinn was awarded the 2023 National Salesperson of the Year at the Premier Pools and Spas Annual Awards Conference. Quinn joined Premier Pools & Spas in 2020. She is the first woman to achieve this level of success within the Premier Family and received the prestigious National Salesperson of the Year Award in 2022 and 2023.

“Competition for this award is fierce among salespeople all around the country, and to have our very own Shelly from Lewiston, Maine, win it while competing against offices in places such as Florida, California, and Texas is just incredible,” said Premier Pools and Spas Co-Owner Derek Messenger.

“Shelly embodies everything it means to be a Premier Pools and Spas designer. Once she begins a journey with her clients, nothing will stop her from delivering that dream pool for them. It is her servant’s heart and attention to detail that set her apart from the rest. We are honored to have Shelly in the Premier family.”  ~ Josh Rickaby, Executive Vice-President Sales

“I am so grateful that Derek and Mike gave me this opportunity in 2020. I absolutely love what I do! I genuinely get excited about every project! I enjoy meeting each family or property owner, hearing about their dreams for their property, using my art background to design their pool, and then our incredible team brings their dreams to life. I can’t think of a better career than making dreams come true!” said Quinn. 

Premier Pools and Spas – Lewiston has been building swimming pools for over 30 years, building between 60 and 70 pools yearly. With deep roots in the Lewiston community, we pride ourselves on our high standards and exemplary customer service.

If you’re considering a new pool for your property, Premier Pools & Spas can make your dream a reality. Request a free consultation and estimate by contacting Shelly Quinn of Premier Pools & Spas at or call (207) 212-6395

Auburn UU Screens “sUUnday mUUvies”

AUBURN, ME — In celebration of Black History Month, the First Universalist Church of Auburn will screen two films honoring the contributions of notable African Americans. The Adult Religion Education group will present these documentaries for free, following worship services on Feb. 4 and 18 @ 11:45 in the Vestry, as part of their “sUUnday mUUvies”series.

On Sunday, Feb. 4, 2024, Auburn UU will screen Sweet Honey in the Rock: Raise Your Voice (2008; 84 minutes). This film chronicles the history, music, and cultural impact of Sweet Honey in the Rock, a Grammy Award-winning African American female a cappella group with musical roots combining jazz, blues, sacred songs of the Black Church such as spirituals, hymns, and gospel.

The documentary, directed by the legendary African American film maker Stanley Nelson, Jr., uses concert footage and rehearsals, archival stills, and reflections by ensemble members, as well as interviews with scholars and cultural commentators. 

On Sunday, Feb.18, 2024, Backs Against the Wall: The Howard Thurman Story (2018; 56 minutes) will be screened. The film explores the extraordinary life and legacy of one of the most important religious figures of the 20th century.

Born the grandson of slaves, Thurman became a “spiritual foundation” for the Civil Rights Movement, inspiring many of its leaders including Martin Luther King, Jr, Jesse Jackson and Congressman John Lewis. The documentary is directed by Martin Doblemeier.

Lively discussion will following each screening. moderated by Charles Nero, Distinguished Professor of Rhetoric, Film, and Screen Studies at Bates College.

Screenings are held at the First Universalist Church of Auburn, located at 169 Pleasant St.  Enter on Spring, St., across from Dairy Joy.  Parking; accessible.  FMI 783-0461 or

Stay tuned for movie screenings in April, celebrating Women’s History Month.

Heart-warming laughter and all the polyester you can handle!

LEWISTON, ME — Whether you grew up Catholic or lived through the 1970’s, the heartwarming comedy Incident at our Lady of Perpetual Help, playing at The Public Theatre, January 26 – Feb 4 is for you.

Take a trip down memory lane, to a time when telephones hung on walls, and public ridicule in a hermetically sealed Catholic parish was the ultimate nightmare.

It’s 1973 and the O’Shea family faces a comic crisis of biblical proportions when the parish priest overhears their 19-year-old daughter tell her younger sister about “the birds and the bees”.   Holy hell and hilarity break loose as the O’Sheas must band together to save their reputation and prove that nothing is more sacred than family.

“It’s fun to see how much the world has changed – and hasn’t”, says director Janet Mitchko. “This nostalgic and loving look at a quirky Irish Catholic family brings back a time when everyone used classic movies as references and you lived your life not on social media, but in person. It’s the timeless story of a family glued together by love, loyalty, and humor that everyone will be able to relate to, whether you were raised Catholic or not”.

Playing the role of Mike, the patriarch of the family (among other roles) is Doug Rees. Doug appeared previously at The Public Theatre in Middletown and Under the Skin and has the honor of originating roles in plays by Christopher Durang and Michael Hollinger both Off-Broadway and in regional theatres. Playing Jo, the mother who manages the O’Shea household is Cate Damon. Cate, who has a long list of Boston and regional theatre credits, was actually born in Maine and is happy to return! Playing the role of Terri, Jo’s quick witted sister temporarily living with the family, is Allison Briner Dardenne. Allison has performed in a long list of Broadway and National Tours including Mamma Mia, Titanic, Les Miserables and Bright Star among others. Playing the eldest daughter Linda, the narrator of our story, is Kelsey Petersen, a Chicago based actress who has performed in leading roles for several seasons at the Asolo Theatre in Florida.  Her 13-year-old sister Becky is played by Maine actress Scarlett Thomas, who most recently appeared as Louisa in Ogunquit Playhouse’s production of The Sound of Music in Portsmouth. The 1970’s set is designed by Jennifer B. Madigan, lights by Florence Cooley, sound by Scott O’Brien and groovy costumes by Anne Collins.

Incident at our Lady of Perpetual Help, will be performed at The Public Theatre, Lewiston’s Professional Theatre Jan 26 – Feb 4. Showtimes are Thurs and Fri at 7:30pm, Sat at 3pm, Sun at 2pm, Sat. Feb 3 at 3pm & 7:30pm.  Tickets are $30 Adults, $25 Groups 10+, $20 Student 19+ with ID. For tickets call 782-3200 or visit  The Public Theatre is located at 31 Maple St., Lewiston.

Sponsored by Cross Insurance, Berube’s Auto Care, Napa Coastal Auto Parts and Baxter Brewing. Season Underwriters: Sun Journal, Platz Associates, and Bennett Radio Group.

Seated Left to right:  Alison Briner Dardenne as Terri, Doug Rees as Mike, Scarlett Thomas as Becky.  Standing left to right: Kelsey Petersen as Linda and Cate Damon as Jo

Lewiston legislative delegation to host public office hours

AUGUSTA, ME – Members of Lewiston’s delegation to the State Legislature will hold constituent office hours at the Lewiston Public Library on Saturday, January 27 from 10:30 a.m. until noon to provide local residents a chance to meet with their elected officials and discuss legislative and state government matters. The delegation will give updates on their work on various policy areas, including the state budget, law enforcement, insurance and financial affairs, taxes, transportation and veterans issues. Office hours are scheduled for the fourth Saturday of every month.

Constituent Office Hours

Sen. Peggy Rotundo, Rep. Kristen Cloutier, Rep. Margaret Craven, Rep. Mana Abdi and Rep. Michel Lajoie

Saturday, January 27, 2024 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

The Couture Room, Lewiston Public Library, 200 Lisbon Street

YWCA’S Women of Achievement Awards open for nomination

Nominations for YWCA Central Maine’s Women of Achievement Awards are now open. The awards brunch to be 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 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. The brunch convenes a diverse cross-section of our community, including organization leaders, educators, activists, artists, entrepreneurs, politicians, and supporters of the YWCA.

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.

YWCA Central Maine invites the community to submit nominations for our Women of Achievement award that includes four distinct categories honoring: Leadership, Social Justice, Service, and Philanthropy. 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. Nominations are open until February 1, 2024. To nominate go to: Tickets for Women of Achievement can be purchased at:

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

Stanton Bird Club to hold February meeting

AUBURN, ME — Winter tracking will be the focus of the Stanton Bird Club’s February 5th meeting at the Auburn Public Library. Ben Nugent, District Supervisor for USDA Wildlife Services in Maine, will be the guest speaker. Looking for animal tracks is a fun activity to do any time of year, but it is especially easy to do in the winter. Snow covers the ground and lets us see traces left by animals of where they’ve been and what they are up to.

Nugent grew up in VT and graduated from the University of Vermont. Prior to working with the USDA Wildlife Services, he worked for Hodges Outfitters in Alaska, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and the Institute for Wildlife Studies in California. He will be sharing photographs on winter wildlife tracking, with pictures and examples from the wildlife in our local area. In addition, he will share a rare and special winter wildlife experience he had in Thorncrag in 2011.

The talk will be held on Monday, February 5th from 4-6pm at the Auburn Public Library. The public is welcome. The lecture series is free of charge. With the rise in respiratory cases in Androscoggin County, we encourage participants to wear masks.

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 and on its Facebook page.

Winter Tracks – photo by Bird Club member Dan Marquis

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