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This week’s edition!

Too clever by half

Guest Column

By Grammar Guy

Kids love to tell you precisely how old they are.

Adults, on the other hand, treat age like a tightly guarded state secret.

With kids, the “half” in their age makes all the difference. My son isn’t merely “seven”; he’s “sev­en-and-a-half.” You’d bet­ter get the “half” in there, or he’ll take it as an insult. I have half a mind to di­vulge my age, but I stopped counting a long time ago.

It’s time to take a half-baked look at “half.” Specif­ically, I want to understand the difference between the phrases “a half,” “half a” and “half of.” Which is cor­rect? Do any of them make us sound dumb when we say them? Let’s explore.

I’ll start with the low-hanging fruit “half of.” The preposition “of” is not necessary, but it’s also not wrong. So, when I say, “Half of my records are Beatles records,” that’s fine, but the “of” doesn’t have to be there.

What’s the difference between “a half” and “half a”? After all, it’s important to make a distinction be­tween the “halves” and the “half-nots.”

If I had “half a box” of Lucky Charms cereal, this would indicate that the box is half full of cereal. If this was in my house, that would mean my daughter had dumped out all the ce­real, eaten just the marsh­mallows and then returned the boring cereal bits back in the box. However, if I had “a half box” of Lucky Charms, this could poten­tially mean that a ninja snuck into my pantry and sliced the box in half with his katana, leaving only a half box.

I have half a mind to stop there, but our arrange­ment of “a half” or “half a” has quantitative conse­quences. Much of the time it doesn’t matter, nor does it change the meaning. For example, you could say, “I ran a half-mile this morn­ing.” You could also say, “I ran half a mile this morn­ing.”

However, there’s a major difference between running “a half marathon” and “half a marathon.” A half marathon is a specif­ic running event in which people run 13.1 miles. If you run “a half marathon,” this would suggest that you finished the 13.1-mile race. If you said you ran “half a marathon,” it would seem that you quit the marathon (26.2 miles) when you were only halfway done. Be care­ful when throwing “a half” and “half a” around inter­changeably or your friends might label you as a half-wit.

Curtis Honeycutt is a syndicated humor col­umnist. He is the author of “Good Grammar is the Life of the Party: Tips for a Wildly Successful Life”. Find more at curtishoney­

Polystyrene foam containers banned

From Maine DEP

AUGUSTA – Polystyrene foam disposable food containers are now banned in Maine.

The state law went into effect on July 1 to prohibit restaurants, stores, and a wide variety of other eating establishments including places in the entertainment, hospitality, recreation, and tourism industries; catering establishments; correctional facilities; hospital cafeterias; mobile eating places; public and private schools; and workplace cafes from using the containers.

The ban on polystyrene foam containers was scheduled to go into effect on Jan. 1, but the ban’s enforcement was delayed in December of 2020 due to concerns regarding a disruption in packaging supplies and logistical effects caused by COVID-19 Pandemic.

The Maine Department of Environmental Protection had encouraged businesses and other entities that utilize polystyrene foam products for processing, preparing, containing or serving food to use the additional time provided by enforcement delays to procure alternatives to these products. Disposable food service containers are service ware designed for one-time use, and include bowls, plates, trays, carton, cups, lids sleeves, or other items for containing, transporting, and serving foods.

Recently, emergency legislation was passed by the 130th Maine Legislature, making several changes to the original law. The new law will exempt raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs from the polystyrene foam ban until July 1, 2025 and remove an exemption in the original law that allowed items prepackaged at wholesale in another state to be purchased by Maine retailers and resold in polystyrene foam packaging to Maine consumers.

As of July 1, 2025, all food and beverage products sold in Maine, whether prepackaged out of State or not, cannot be packaged in polystyrene foam. The bill was signed into law by Governor Mills on June 15.

DEP advises the regulated community to take caution when procuring replacement containers for polystyrene foam. Many products that claim to be compostable, plant based, or biodegradable may still be made with a styrene additive to provide extruded foam properties to the product. However, products with a styrene additive, even if plant based or compostable, are not exempt from the ban.

Additional information regarding the polystyrene ban can be found on DEP’s website.

Liberty Festival

Lewiston and Auburn celebrate our Liberty

By Nathan Tsukroff

LEWISTON/AUBURN – Sister cities Lewiston and Auburn celebrated the Fourth of July with the Liberty Festival, finishing off the weekend with a fireworks display over Great Falls on Monday night.

Lewiston shut down Court Street and Maine Street by Veterans Memorial Park, and residents from both cities filled the park and all four lanes of the bridge over the Androscoggin River.

The Lewiston/Auburn Liberty Festival finished with a fireworks display over Great Falls on Monday night, after it was cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic. Lewiston residents filled Veterans Memorial Park and the Court Street bridge across the Androscoggin River to watch. (Tsukroff photo)

There was not a Liberty Festival last year, due to the pandemic, and this year’s festival did not include vendors, music or other events.

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Business leaders receive LA Metro awards

LEWISTON – At its Annual Awards Celebration the last week of June, the LA Metro Chamber presented Betsy Sawyer-Manter, President and CEO of SeniorsPlus, with the 2021 Theresa Samson Women’s Business Leadership Award.

Sawyer-Manter has been the President and CEO of SeniorsPlus since 2009.  During her tenure, the nonprofit’s annual budget has grown from $19 million to $34 million as SeniorsPlus added new services including Fiscal Intermediary services, Veterans Independence Program, Dementia Capable Maine, Money Minders, and enhanced Education Center offerings.

Theresa Samson (left) is shown with Betsy Sawyer-Manter, President and CEO of SeniorsPlus, recipient of the 2021 Theresa Samson Women’s Business Leadership Award. (Photo by Kait Gallagher, GingerSnap Rentals)

Sawyer-Manter is a founding member of the Maine Council on Aging and is active in many committees and work groups at the state level.

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Oregon ALS widow riding bike in 50 states

From Team Gary 2021

SCAPPOOSE, OR – Gary Garner, a Navy veteran, died on March 20, two years after his ALS diagnosis.

Within days of his death,his wife Tami Garner, 53, set forth an ambitious plan to fulfill his bucket list wish, to ride her bike in all 50 states in his honor.

Garner will be riding the South Portland Greenbelt on July 14, and welcomes all who would join her, or would like to meet her.

Tami Garner from Oregon will be riding her bike in South Portland on July 14 as part of a national fundraising tour for ALS, in honor of her husband, who died from complications of ALS in March. (Photo courtesy of Tami Garner)

“So often we put limitations on ourselves, and I want to show that whatever contribution we can make to our world isvaluable, and possible,“ she said. “I’ve learned in this last two years that sometimes you have to persevere through the rain to find the beauty within.”

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A banjo player extraordinaire

Out and About

By Rachel Morin

AUBURN – Peter Mezoian of South Portland, Maine, banjo player extraordinaire, was coming to Schooner Estates in Auburn!

He was going to present a live banjo concert in The Courtyard.

We waited for weeks for the good weather to arrive . . .

Dedicated fans from his many banjo concerts over the years waited impatiently for that day. And the perfect day finally arrived on June 24.

Chairs filled quickly as Peter arrived early, setting up his equipment in the Schooner Courtyard.

Peter Mezoian of South Portland presented his Banjo Concert in the Courtyard at Schooner Estates Senior Living Community to a very appreciative audience. Among them were his long-time followers from previous appearances. (Rachel Morin photo)

The assembled audience exchanged tidbits of information they knew about Peter’s life and how he arrived at the greatness he had achieved in the banjo-playing musicians’ fame. They talked of how he also played for many cruise lines as well as the many concerts across the country.

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Nomination papers for Lewiston municipal office

From City of Lewiston

LEWISTON – Nomination papers for Lewiston municipal office are available for pick up and circulation by prospective candidates.

Available positions include Mayor, seven City Council seats and eight School Committee seats.

The City Council has one representative from each of the seven city wards serving on the Council.

The School Committee has one representative from each ward as well as one at-large position available. All positions are for a two-year term of office that begins on Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2022.

All candidates must be at least 20 years old and must be registered voters of Lewiston.

Candidates for Mayor must submit nomination papers signed by not less than 100 nor more than 200 qualified voters of Lewiston. Persons interested in the at-large seat on the School Committee must submit completed nomination papers signed by not less than 50 nor more than 100 qualified voters of Lewiston. Candidates for all other positions must submit nomination papers signed by not less than 50 nor more than 100 qualified voters of the respective ward.

Per the City Charter, all candidates for the position of Mayor must have registered and qualified to vote on or prior to March 3, 2021.

Residents interested in running for the School Committee At Large position must have registered and qualified to vote on or prior to June 3, 2021.

Candidates for all other positions must have registered and qualified to vote in their respective ward on or before June 3, 2021.

Completed nomination papers must be filed with the City Clerk’s Office no later than Friday, Sept. 3 by 4:30pm. All candidates are requested to file their nomination papers early in order to provide sufficient time to obtain additional signatures if necessary. The municipal election will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 2.

Nomination papers may be picked up at the City Clerk’s Office located on the second floor of City Hall. Office hours are Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m.

More information and the Candidate Instructions are available on the Election page of the City’s website at

Questions regarding the procedures for nomination papers or the municipal election process may be directed to the Clerk’s Office at 513-3124.

Dempsey Challenge goes Global in 2021

From Dempsey Center

LEWISTON – After a successful remote Dempsey Challenge in 2020, this year sees the introduction of the first Global Dempsey Challenge.

Presented by Amgen Oncology, the Dempsey Challenge is the primary fundraising event for the Dempsey Center. It will take place Sept. 25 and 26 this year.

 Registration for the Dempsey Challenge 2021 opened in April and offers a local in-person event in Lewiston – with an emphasis on implementing industry-leading COVID-19 safety protocols – and a global option, allowing participants to complete the Challenge, wherever they are in the world.

Since its inception in 2009 by Dempsey Center founder Patrick Dempsey, the event has raised over $16 million for the Dempsey Center, with 100% of donations supporting the Center’s programs and services. The Dempsey Center helps make life better for people impacted by cancer by providing a haven of support to cancer patients, their loved ones, and care partners—all at no cost.

The weekend’s activities will include run, walk, and ride events. On Saturday, Sept. 25, participants will complete the 5K/10K run and walk presented by Poland Spring® Brand 100% Natural Spring Water.

Sunday, Sept. 26 will see riders take on one of the 25, 50, 65, and 100 mile rides presented by Specialized.

Riders in the 2019 edition of the Dempsey Challenge to raise money to fight cancer. The Challenge is returning to a hybrid Global Challenge this year, with both in-person and on-line participants for the various events.  (DB Maine Photography photo)

“When COVID-19 forced us to close the doors of our two, physical centers in Lewiston and South Portland, Maine last year, we reimagined how we offer our services, and launched our third, virtual center; Dempsey Connects,” Wendy Tardif, Executive Director, said. “This not only expanded our reach in the state of Maine, but also meant that select services could now be provided beyond the borders of Maine, for anyone who needs it.”

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Comedy at Franco Center tonight

Comedy showcase at Craft Brew on Saturday

From Franco Center

LEWISTON – Four of Maine’s funniest comedians will perform a night of stand-up comedy starting at 7 p.m. today at The Dolard and Priscilla Gendron Franco Center, 46 Cedar Street, Lewiston.

Lewiston comedian Dawn Hartill will host the Center’s Comedy showcase featuring Julie Poulin, Mark Turcotte, and Johnny Ater. The show will take place in Heritage Hall, through the Oxford Street entrance.

Julie Poulin is an actress, improv performer and stand-up comic from Monmouth, ME. She is the 2019 winner of the Franco Center’s Central Maine’s Funniest Comedian Competition.

Johnny Ater joins local comedians Dawn Hartill, Julie Poulin and Mark Turcotte as comedy returns to the Gendron Franco Center on Cedar Street in Lewiston tonight. (Photo courtesy of Franco Center)

Mark Turcotte, is the founder of Maine Event Comedy and was a finalist in the Funniest Comic on the East Coast Contest at Mohegan Sun and a semi-finalist at the World Series of Comedy in Sarasota, Florida.

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Couples Celebrate Gift of Christian Marriage

From Portland Diocese

LEWISTON – Asking God to look with kindness on them, to renew their marriage covenant, and to increase his love in them, Bishop Robert Deeley blessed husbands and wives who came together for the annual Silver & Gold Mass in Lewiston.

More than 50 couples attended the Mass on Saturday, June 19, at the Basilica of Saints Peter & Paul, including one couple who had been married 70 years, and many others who had been married 50 years or more.

“These milestone anniversaries speak to us of the enduring power and strength of married love,” Bishop Deeley told the assembly on Saturday. “In our gathering in prayer today, we lift each of you, and all married couples, up to our loving God, asking him, who is love itself, to help you to grow in love with each other, even as the years pile up, something you well know is not only possible but part of the beauty of marriage.”

The Silver & Gold Mass is a celebration of the gift of Christian marriage which establishes a holy covenant among a man, a woman, and God himself. The bishop said it is important to celebrate marriage because it is the relationship of a man and a woman, as husband and wife, that gives rise to new life.

Many of the more than 50 couples at the Silver & Gold Mass at the Basilica of Saints Peter & Paul in June have been married more than 50 years. (Photo courtesy of Portland Diocese)

“It is, as such, the place where family is born, where life is nourished, where love is taught,” he said. “It is, in addition, the place where God becomes known. In the experience of love, we come to know there is a source of all love, and that is God. All of that we find in Christian marriage, the foundation of our Church, of our society, our nation, and, indeed, of our culture.”

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