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This week’s edition!

First Annual Grown-Up Book Fair Draws Over 200 Shoppers

LEWISTON, ME (March 3, 2023) – By the end of the night on February 16, over 210 exuberant shoppers had filed into the Hilton Garden Inn Riverwatch for the first ever Safe Voices Grown-Up Book Fair. Held in the hotel’s ballroom, the event aimed to raise money for Safe Voices, the domestic abuse and sex trafficking resource center serving Androscoggin, Franklin, and Oxford Counties.

The night included over a dozen vendors selling classic book fair favorites like sticky notes, bookmarks, stationery and pens, all with a slightly more sophisticated feel for the 200+ grown-up shoppers. Two independent Maine bookstores, Lewiston’s Quiet City Books and Farmington’s Devaney, Doak & Garrett, supplied the books, while public libraries from Auburn, Lewiston and Turner held used book sales to benefit their general funds.

Authors Lynn Steger Strong, Melody Paul, and Lynne Schmidt sold signed copies of their work and chatted with attendees about books, writing, and their work as authors in Maine. Overall, it was a very Maine-forward event.

“Safe Voices works hard to be active members of the communities we serve,” says Safe Voices director of development and engagement Grace Kendall. “When a survivor needs to reach out to us, it’s easier for them to do that if they’ve seen us out in the community and maybe even already met some staff. So when an opportunity comes along to do an event like this, where we raise money for our work, do something good for our community and tell more people about Safe Voices, we get really excited.”

Natalie Pollock, the general manager of the Hilton in Auburn, agrees. “Nostalgia excites everyone,” she said. “It’s exciting to bring new events and ideas into the L/A area. We look forward to exploring more creative events like this in the area and showing there’s no need to drive to Portland for fun!”

The event was such a success for Safe Voices and vendors that 2024’s event date has already been set.

“We’re already talking with staff at the Hilton about doing this every year,” says Kendall. “We’re so happy the community responded so positively and that it was such a good experience for the independent businesses who took part. The Grown-Up Book Fair will definitely be one of our signature annual events going forward.”

Next year’s Grown-Up Book Fair is scheduled for February 1, 2024.

Artist Evelyn Wong of Fireball Bookbindery talks with customers at the Safe Voices Grown-Up Book Fair Photo Credit: Ella Fenderson

Central Maine Therapy Services Opens New Clinic in Auburn

LEWISTON, ME (March 3, 2023) — Central Maine Therapy Services patients now have the benefit of a state-of-the-art facility at a new location in Auburn. 

Central Maine Healthcare recently celebrated a grand opening at the new clinic which is conveniently located in the same facility as Central Maine Healthcare Orthopedics at 690 Minot Avenue in Auburn. 

The clinic now offers a full suite of physical therapy services, including treatment for both orthopedic and neurological conditions. Services will include treatment for post-operative rehabilitation, general orthopedic injuries/conditions, vestibular rehabilitation and neurologic conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, stroke and concussion. 

This collaboration  also allows for direct communication between therapists and orthopedic providers and reflects CMH’s commitment to providing the highest quality of care and expanded healthcare access to our surrounding communities.

 “It’s so great to see this outstanding facility up and running,” said Lauren Adey, MD, Central Maine Healthcare Orthopedics. “Sharing a building with Central Maine Therapy Services will enable therapists and orthopedic providers to have direct communication with each other and facilitate the most efficient and effective care for our patients.” 

“This new clinic with expanded services really highlights Central Maine Healthcare’s commitment to the local community,” said Hillary Littlefield, OTR/L, system director, Therapy Services, Central Maine Healthcare. “Our service line approach and partnership with orthopedics will allow for optimal patient flow and communication. The therapy team is thrilled to be here!” 

Central Maine Therapy Services will initially be staffed by Len Farinas, PT, DPT (general orthopedic and sports); Ray Rivera, PT (vestibular specialist); Kayla Kelly, PT, DPT (general orthopedics); and John Livecchi PT, DPT, OCS (orthopedic clinical specialist).

Central Maine Healthcare team members tour new Auburn physical therapy clinic

March 6 Meeting of the Stanton Bird Club

AUBURN, ME (February 20, 2023) — The Stanton Bird Club is hosting the fourth in its 2022-23 lecture series, featuring writer and photographer, Michael Perry who will present a slideshow of his recent trip to Greenland and Copenhagen which combined cross country skiing above the Artic Circle and enjoying the history and architecture of Denmark’s capital city.

An outdoor enthusiast, Perry is founder-director of Dreams Unlimited, specializing in inspiring outdoor slide programs for civic groups, businesses, and schools. During his 20-year career at L.L. Bean, Perry founded and managed the L.L. Bean Outdoor Discovery School.

The talk will be held on Monday, March 6th from 4-6pm at the Auburn Public Library. The public is welcome. The lecture series is free of charge. We encourage participants to wear masks.

The Stanton Bird Club, a leader in environmental awareness, manages the Thorncrag Nature Sanctuary 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.

Cross-country skiing in Greenland by Michael Perry

Pilgrims Musa and Sheri in the New World Opens Friday!

LEWISTON, ME (February 24, 2023) — March 3-12, enter the world of Pilgrims Musa and Sheri in the New World, a romantic, funny and heartfelt love story with a cultural twist. Sparks fly, when Musa, an immigrant cab driver and semi-practicing Muslim, meets Sheri, a sassy American waitress.  Anyone who has ever fallen in love knows the dilemma.  Do you make a safe and sensible match with someone your parents would approve of, or do you risk everything on the unexpected love of your life? Negotiating the twists and turns of love and cultural differences, this honest, funny and thought-provoking romantic comedy, also called a love letter to the immigrant experience, looks at the things which draw people together as much as pulls them apart.

Award-winning Playwright Yussef El Guindi will be joining the cast for the free post-show discussion on Sunday March 3.

Pilgrims Musa and Sheri in the New World is playing at The Public Theatre, Lewiston/Auburn’s Professional Theatre, March 3 – 12, Thurs-Sat at 7:30pm, Sun at 2pm with a Sat matinee on March 11 at 3pm.  Tickets: $25 Adults, $22 groups. Tickets can be purchased online at or by calling 782-3200. The Theatre is located at 31 Maple St. Lewiston.

(l to r) Aline Salloum, Ithamar Francois, Ian Eaton, Ahmad Maher, Laura King-Otazo.

Stand-Up Comedy Brings Laughs this Weekend

LEWISTON and AUBURN, ME (February 23, 2023) – The River Comics Comedy Productions will host three stand-up comedy shows this week.  The Colisee Club, Craft Brew Underground, and Obscura Café and Drinkery are your spots this Friday and Saturday to get a dose of comic relief.

On Friday the 3rd host Ian MacDonald brings comedians Zach Valencia and Ish Gupta, and one of Maine’s comedy beauties, Dennis Fogg to The Colisee Club at 9:00pm.  This club over a hockey rink is one of the area’s up and coming hot spots and these shows are always jumping.  Get there early and enjoy drink specials.

Then on Saturday the 4th at 7:00pm, Maine’s Funniest, Connor McGrath, hosts comics Nic Dufault, Theo Konstantino, and the return of the legendary Tim Hofmann at Craft Brew Underground.  “CBU” is the only weekly Saturday comedy club in the state and this is sure to be a show that will tickle your funny bone.

Later in the evening The River Comics present three of the area’s most hilarious entertainers, Ian MacDonald, Al Ghanekar, and Andrew Donnelly, 8:30pm at Obscura Café and Drinkery.  These are some of Maine’s best comics and this venue is a beyond cool so get out there and make laughter a priority.     

Tickets are $10 and can be found at or purchased at the door.  The Colisee Club is located at 190 Birch St., Lewiston; Craft Brew Underground is located at 34 Court St., Auburn; Obscura Café and Drinkery is located at 108 Lisbon St., Lewiston.

For more information contact The River Comics Comedy Productions at 207-200-5366 or

Fill the Plate Breakfast Will Benefit Meals on Wheels

 LEWISTON, ME (February 15, 2023) – SeniorsPlus, the designated Agency on Aging for Western Maine, will hold a breakfast to benefit its Meals on Wheels nutrition program. The Fill the Plate Breakfast will be held on Friday, March 10, from 7 to 9 am at the Hilton Garden Inn Riverwatch in Auburn. The breakfast will honor Auburn resident Eloise O’Neill with the 2023 Ikaria Award and feature a talk by former WGME-TV award-winning, longtime anchor Kim Block. Tickets are $25 per person ($30 at the door) and are available at or by calling 207-795-4010. Seats are limited and advance registration is recommended. 

Kim Block, the five-time Emmy award winning journalist who was the anchor at CBS affiliate WGME-TV for thirty-nine years, stepped down after suffering from a traumatic brain injury in 2019. Unexpected open heart surgery followed in 2020. Now back on her feet, she will share how life can change in a moment and how she has brought meaning to her new life in a talk entitled, “Becoming the Story: A Maine Broadcast Journalist Shares How Surviving a Traumatic Brain Injury Changed Her Life.” 

The event includes the presentation of the 2023 Ikaria Award, which recognizes an individual or organization for singular and outstanding contributions toward improving the lives of older adults, to Eloise O’Neill, who was the Executive Director of SeniorsPlus from 1981-2003.

 Ikaria is a Greek island in the Aegean Sea. It is considered one of the world’s five “Blue Zones” – places where an estimated one in three members of the population regularly lives an active life into their 90s. 

The Fill the Plate Breakfast is presented in conjunction with March for Meals, a national campaign of Meals on Wheels America.  

Last year, SeniorsPlus delivered more than 161,000 meals to 1,325 homebound older adults and adults with disabilities in Androscoggin, Franklin and Oxford counties through its Meals on Wheels program.  Each meal provides one third of the recommended daily allowance of nutrition, a safety check, and a visit to these vulnerable adults. The majority of the clients of Meals on Wheels are lower income or on fixed income. 

The overall program goal of SeniorsPlus is to assist older adults and adults with disabilities in our tri-county area to remain at home safely for as long as possible.  The overwhelming majority of older adults (greater than 95% in an AARP survey) wish to remain at home until they die. The Meals on Wheels program provides nourishment, socialization and regular safety checks.

Former WGME-TV award-winning, longtime anchor Kim Block will be the featured speaker on March 10 at the 2023 Fill the Plate Breakfast to benefit Meals on Wheels at SeniorsPlus.

LPL to Hold Black History Month Film And Discussion

LEWISTON, ME (February 13, 2023) — The City of Lewiston Diversity, Equity and Inclusion office is highlighting Black History Month with a special movie and discussion night on Tuesday, February 28th. This free, public program will take place from 4-7 in Callahan Hall at the Lewiston Public Library.

Ayat Hamza, a graduate from UNC Chapel Hill and an attorney at OgleTree, one of the nation’s top law firms, will introduce the film. The discussion to follow will be led by Marcelle Medford, Assistant Professor in the Sociology Department at Bates College and Melissa Hue, the DEI Director for the City of Lewiston. The movie presentation will be followed by interactive discussion with audience members. Professor Marcelle Medford will co-facilitate with Director Melissa Hue a collective debrief of the movie, its impact on the civil rights movement, and where we are now.

Attendees should note that the film has a rating of PG-13 and deals with sensitive content. More information about the film, including a synopsis, is available at the Library’s website:

The Lewiston Public Library is located downtown at 200 Lisbon Street at the corner of Pine Street. More information on Tuesday’s lecture is available by contacting the Lewiston Public Library at 513-3135 or

Lewiston’s Brittany Blais Named Girl Scout Volunteer of the Month

LEWISTON, ME (February 16, 2023) – The Girl Scouts of Maine (GSME) recently named Dirigo Service Unit Volunteer Support Coordinator from Lewiston, Brittany Blais, as their February Volunteer of the Month. As a veteran leader in her daughter’s troop, Blais is an integral team member, often traveling far outside of her service unit to provide support and guidance to girls around the state. 

“What comes to mind when I think about Brittany are the following: dedicated, passionate, and mission driven. Brittany has a love of Girl Scouts, and a strong devotion to leading by example,” said GSME Volunteer Support Specialist, Jeanie Duguay.

In the fall of 2021, Blais helped start a monthly outdoor troop for a group of Daisies and Brownies aimed at leading the girls in skill-building outdoor activities. In addition to her busy schedule, which is filled to the brim with work, volunteering for GSME, spending time with her family, and pursuing an MBA, Blais also volunteers for the Junior Achievement of Maine, helping students in local schools reach their academic goals.

Fellow volunteers describe Blais as someone who always brings meaningful energy and insightful experience to the table regardless of the activity. Within her service unit, Blais has carved out a passion for empowering girls to be the best they can be, whilst serving as a positive role model within her community. Volunteer of the Month is a highly honorable title to attain at GSME, and Blais could not be more deserving to receive it. 

“Brittany doesn’t only inspire the girls around her, but the adults she works with too. She is a reminder that exercising in the outdoors is not only great for lifting our hearts, but others’ hearts as well,” said Kayla Norster, an Outdoor Program & Training Specialist at GSME who co-nominated Brittany for the achievement.

Heartfelt & Humorous Love Story with a Cultural Twist at TPT

LEWISTON, ME (February 17, 2023) — This March 3 – 12, The Public Theatre presents the Maine premiere of Pilgrims Musa and Sheri in the New World, a romantic, funny and heartfelt love story with a cultural twist. Anyone who has ever fallen in love knows the dilemma.  Do you make a safe and sensible match with someone, or risk everything on the unexpected great love of your life? Musa, a sweet-natured immigrant cab driver and semi-practicing Muslim, and Sheri, a sassy American waitress, must negotiate the twists and turns of love and cultural differences. Winner of the Steinberg New American Play Award, this honest, funny and thought-provoking romantic comedy looks at the things which draw people together as much as pull them apart.

This play follows the story of three Muslim immigrants – an Egyptian cab driver and his Somali and Sudanese friends, who make a new life for themselves in an American city. This charming play asks, how much of who we are is where we have come from and the expectations that are placed on us? Must we represent the customs and culture we were raised in, or can we explore a new way of life in a new land? The playwright Yussef El Guindi, an Egyptian immigrant himself, calls this play, “A love letter to the immigrant experience”.

Whether you are a New Mainer or a person whose distant relative came over on the Mayflower, at one point someone in your family found the courage and hope to travel to a new world in search of a better way of life.

Seattle based Playwright Yussef El Guindi will also be traveling to Lewiston to see the production and participate in the free Sunday Post-show discussion.

The central role of Musa will be played by AHMAD MAHER. Ahmad is an Egyptian born, NYC based actor who has performed in a variety of countries including Egypt, Sweden and the United States. He is a recent recipient of the Berkshire Theatre Critics Award for Outstanding Ensemble Performance. His American love interest Sheri will be played by New York actress LAURA KING-OTAZO. ITHAMAR FRANCOIS will play Musa’s Somali friend Tayyib and IAN EATON will be portraying his Sudanese friend Abdallah. ALINE SALLOUM will play Gamila, an American raised Egyptian.

The New York City set is designed by Michael Reidy, lights by Matthew Cost, costumes by Kathleen P. Brown and sound by composer/designer Scott O’Brien.

We believed this honest, entertaining and heartfelt play explores situations and cultural realities many younger New Mainers are facing and talking about amongst themselves.  Having the chance to see a play that is relevant and resonant to their lives at The Public Theatre, portrayed by professional actors, some of whom are immigrants themselves will be a unique opportunity in Maine.

Pilgrims Musa and Sheri in the New World is playing at The Public Theatre, Lewiston/Auburn’s Professional Theatre, March 3 – 12, Thurs-Sat at 7:30pm, Sun at 2pm with a Sat matinee on March 11 at 3pm.  Tickets: $25 Adults, $22 groups. Tickets can be purchased online at or by calling 782-3200. The Theatre is located at 31 Maple St. Lewiston. 

Pilgrims Musa and Sheri in the New World is sponsored by Androscoggin Bank, Butler Bros and Cross Insurance.

The Cast of ‘Pilgrims Musa & Sheri in the New World.’ (Clockwise from Bottom Left) Aline Salloum, Ithamar Francois, Ahmad Maher, Laura King-Otazo and Ian Eaton.

La Francophonie in Maine: Qu’est ce que c’est? 

LEWISTON, ME (February 14, 2023) — What is “La Francophonie in Maine?” Come find out! The Franco-American Collection at the University of Southern Maine and l’Alliance Française du Maine invite you to an in-person event on Friday, March 3rd, at 7pm, for a community panel discussion of the French experience in Maine.? The event will take place?at USM’s Lewiston-Auburn College, 51 Westminster St., Lewiston, in room 170. Guest speakers, originating from?the Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, France, Québec and Rwanda, will discuss, in English, the role of the French language in their lives in Maine.?  

The panel presentation will be followed by a Q&A?session and a brief reception, where audience members will be invited to interact with the panelists, dignitaries, and each other. 

 This program is made available, at no cost to the public, by the coordinated efforts of the Franco-American Collection at USM/LAC and? l’Alliance Française du Maine, along with the support of the University of Southern Maine, la Délégation de Québec in Boston, and Androscoggin Home Health.  

For more information or to register for this free event, contact the FAC archivist, Anna Faherty at or by phone (207) 753-6545. If you have questions about disability access or need to request disability accommodations (e.g. sign language interpreters, materials in electronic format, etc.), please contact Anna. Requests should be made as soon as possible to allow sufficient time for the accommodation process.

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Auburn, ME 04210
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