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This week’s edition!

New director for Museum L-A

From Museum L-A

LEWISTON – Rachel Ferrante, a staff member of the Metropolitan Museum in New York for 10 years, will become executive director of Museum L-A, succeeding Audrey Thomson on Sept. 7.

 Ferrante, 33, is an art and visual culture graduate of Bates College and has recently moved to Maine with her family. She is currently an exhibition manager at the Met Museum, with earlier stints in the Met’s marketing department and its office of the director. She holds an MBA from New York University’s Stern School of Business.

Rachel Ferrante, a Bates College graduate and a 10-year staff member at the Metropolitan Museum in New York, will succeed Audrey Thomson as executive director of Museum L-A on Sept. 7. (Photo courtesy of Museum L-A)

 Margaret Craven, board chair of Museum L-A, said, “This is a pivotal moment in the history of Museum L-A. Our Board is convinced Rachel Ferrante is the best person to help lead a transformational capital campaign that will shape, guide and create outstanding programming and visitor experiences, and develop a community gathering place to celebrate accomplishments while providing inspiration for the future.”

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Best and worst states to have a baby

Maine ranks #15 overall

With the average birth costing around $4,500 for mothers with insurance, the personal-finance website WalletHub today released its report on 2021’s Best & Worst States to Have a Baby, as well as accompanying videos and expert commentary.

To determine the most ideal places in the U.S. for parents and their newborns, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 31 key measures of cost, health care accessibility and baby-friendliness. The data set ranges from hospital conventional-delivery charges to annual average infant-care costs to pediatricians per capita.  

Best States to Have a BabyWorst States to Have a Baby
1. Massachusetts42. North Carolina
2. Minnesota43. Georgia
3. District of Columbia44. West Virginia
4. New Hampshire45. Oklahoma
5. Vermont46. Nevada
6. North Dakota47. Arkansas
7. Connecticut48. Louisiana
8. Washington49. South Carolina
9. New York50. Alabama
10. Hawaii51. Mississippi

Source: WalletHub

Emerald River Opening Recreational Marijuana Store

By Nathan Tsukroff

LEWISTON – Emerald River Maine has broken ground for construction of an adult-use recreational cannabis retail store at 1240 Lisbon Street in Lewiston.

The planned 2,700 square foot store will be built on the site of one the firsts McDonald’s in Maine, which opened about 50 years ago. The McDonald’s moved down the street more than 10 years ago, with the lot remaining vacant until the purchase by Emerald River Maine in 2020.

Emerald River signed with general contractors Gendron & Gendron of Lewiston in mid-July of this year to begin construction of the planned $1 million store.

An artist’s rendering of the new recreational marijuana store that Emerald River Maine is building on Lisbon Street in Lewiston, with hopes of opening in December. Recreational sales of marijuana have only recently been approved in Maine. (Image courtesy of Emerald River)

As an adult-use cannabis store, a medical marijuana card will not be required to purchase cannabis, as long as the purchaser is 21 years of age or older.

While possession of marijuana is still illegal under federal law, medical cannabis was legalized in Maine in 1999 for patients suffering from serious health conditions.

Voters passed the Maine Medical Marijuana Act in 2009, which expanded the state’s existing program and decriminalized possession of up 2.5 ounces of cannabis.

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New art on display at CMMC

From WHA

LEWISTON – The Woman’s Hospital Association (WHA) Rotating Art Gallery at Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston is now displaying the photography of Richard Plourde and the art of Sarah Martin.

‘West Pitch Winter’, a photograph by Richard Plourde, is on display at Central Maine Medical Center as part of the Woman’s Hospital Association (WHA) Rotating Art Gallery. (Photo courtesy of WHA)

A resident of Lewiston, Plourde has had a lifelong passion for being artistically creative. The former Art Director for the Geiger owned, Lewiston-based publication, “Farmers’ Almanac”, he designed each annual edition. More recently, Richard volunteered his creative skills to create an engaging new web site for the Androscoggin Historical Society, subsequently being awarded “Volunteer of the Year” by the Society for his efforts. He has become locally known for his stunning photos of Lewiston-Auburn highlighting popular locations and iconic structures; several of his photos can be seen promoting the city, events, and economic development.

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Two businesses sweeten deal for contest

From LA Metro Chamber

LEWISTON – With just under two weeks remaining before the JumpstartME contest deadline, two businesses have sweetened the prize package for one future Lewiston Downtown Business District operation.

Local architectural firm Platz Associates has offered their services to the contest winner, and Dojo Digital will be contributing a website, domain, hosting and emails for the first year. Platz Associates and Dojo Digital join Rinck Advertising, Skelton, Taintor & Abbott, Austin Associates, the Downtown Lewiston Association, LA Metro Chamber, and Androscoggin Network Builders in a combined grand prize package value of more than $80,000. 

The Downtown Lewiston Association along with the Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce earlier this year launched JumpstartME: a competition to attract high quality, viable businesses to the Lewiston Downtown Business District. Aimed at businesses in the food and beverage industry, the competition aimed at established and startup businesses alike has a deadline fast approaching. 

“This is one of the things about Lewiston that I really love – a commitment of our existing local businesses large and small to bettering our community.” said Michael Dostie, President of the Downtown Lewiston Association. “We knew a big challenge with launching this competition was going to be the timing as we slowly emerge from the pandemic; too soon and businesses wouldn’t be confident patrons would be ready, but too late and we’d miss the opportunity. From the interest in applicants and other community businesses coming forward to enhance the grand prize package, I’d say we hit the nail on the head for timing. It’s an exciting relief.”

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Fr. Chouinard memorial dedication Sept. 12

From Portland Diocese

LISBON FALLS – Current and former parishioners, community members, and others will gather together in Lisbon Falls on Sunday, Sept. 12, to pay tribute and remember Fr. Lionel Chouinard the beloved former pastor of Holy Trinity Church who died in 2019.

A special memorial dedication and celebration will begin with a 10:30 a.m. Mass, celebrated by Bishop Robert Deeley, followed by a light meal, and the dedication. Distinguished guests from throughout Fr. Chouinard’s time in Lisbon Falls are scheduled to participate in the event which will be held at Holy Trinity, located on 67 Frost Hill Avenue.

Born in Lewiston, Fr. Chouinard completed his clerical studies at St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore, Maryland, and was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Daniel J. Feeney, on May 22, 1965, at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Portland.

A memorial dedication and celebration in memory of Fr. Lionel Chouinard, the former pastor of Holy Trinity Church in Lisbon Falls, will take place on Sept. 12. (Photo courtesy of Portland Diocese)

In over 50 years of active ministry, Fr. Chouinard served in parishes in Augusta, Machias, Madawaska, Mexico, Lewiston, Peaks Island, and Sabattus, as well as Lisbon Falls, where he spent over 17 years and oversaw the construction of a new parish center.

In addition to his work in parishes, Fr. Chouinard has served as president of the Diocesan Senate of Priests (now known as the Presbyteral Council), a member of the College of Consultors, Vicar Forane of the then Oxford-Franklin Deanery, chaplain for the Knights of Columbus and the Daughters of Isabella, a chaplain at Saint Dominic Academy, and an auxiliary chaplain for the U.S. Air Force Base in Bucks Harbor.

If you plan to attend the gathering on September 12, please call Prince of Peace Parish, of which Holy Trinity is a part, at (207) 777-1200 so the parish can get an idea of the number of meals that will be required.

Music on a summer day!

Out and About

By Rachel Morin

Jeff and Donna Wells of Farmington, well known musicians in Maine and Florida, entertained the residents of Schooner Estates Retirement Community in Auburn on one of the prettiest July days of summer in the Courtyard.

After days of rain, the sunny day was so welcomed and appreciated.

The audience was with Jeff and Donna right from the first number they played, singing along and tapping their feet – “Five Foot Two, Eyes of Blue, Has Anybody Seen my Gal?” Well, you should have heard the crowd, and seen them, singing away, swaying to and fro, and having a grand old time.

Donna and Jeff Wells of Farmington are well known in the music world in Maine and Florida, playing in retirement homes, nursing homes, rv parks, class reunions, private parties, restaurants, wherever live music is appreciated. Their repertoire features New and Old Country, Oldies and Doo Wop. (Rachel Morin photo)

The husband and wife team has played many years together, Jeff on guitar and Donna on keyboard, and both on vocals, featuring New and Old Country, Oldies and Doo Wop.

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Niboli named international ‘Volunteer of the Year’

From RTT

WINDHAM – Pat Niboli, a volunteer with Riding To The Top Therapeutic Riding Center in Windham, was recently named the 2021 Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International Volunteer of the Year.

PATH Intl. is an international voice in the equine-assisted services (EAS) industry, annually celebrates individuals who symbolize the celebration of ability, optimism, diversity and a shared love of equines. Nominations are called for to recognize reliable volunteers who to commit their time and talents and are “essential to the success of therapeutic horsemanship centers.” 

Janis Childs, a fellow volunteer and RTT Board member, said, “Pat and I both began volunteering in 2011. Over the years, I have marveled at Pat’s work ethic, her dedication and passion in supporting the Center. I am sure that there is not anything she has not done at the farm! She mucks, she feeds, she invents, she is a horse leader in lessons, and she is the ‘driving’ force behind the carriage driving team! Those are just a few of her gifts that she o?ers on a weekly basis!”

Pat Niboli was recently named the 2021 Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International Volunteer of the Year. She volunteers at Riding To The Top Therapeutic Riding Center in Windham,

Sarah Bronson, Executive Director said, “We are so very fortunate to count Pat as a member of the RTT family. She is always thinking about how to help out with friend- and fund-raising ideas—bringing new people to the farm and raising important funds to keep our programs strong, our horses happy and fit and our clients happy. There is no one more deserving of this award and we are thrilled that she has been recognized for her efforts, not only by RTT, but internationally by PATH Intl.” 

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A Public Health Crisis within a Public Health Crisis

Guest Essay

By U.S. Sen. Collins

As we continue to respond to COVID-19, we must not forget another public health emergency our country faces—the opioid epidemic.  Last year, 504 Mainers died from drug overdoses, a 33 percent increase from 2019.  This heartbreaking record exceeded the roughly 400 deaths caused by COVID-19 in 2020 in our state.

 This tragedy is unfolding across the country, and no community is immune.  According to data just released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an unprecedented 93,000 Americans died from drug overdoses last year.

 The skyrocketing number of overdose deaths is one reason that U.S. life expectancy recently fell by 1.5 years, the biggest drop in a generation.  The opioid crisis has been exacerbated by stress and isolation caused by the pandemic.  In addition, COVID created challenges in accessing prevention and treatment services and impeded recovery resources, like peer support programs.

I recently co-led a hearing on the alarming decrease in Americans’ longevity, which has been fueled by COVID and its consequences.  I invited Robert MacKenzie, a 33-year veteran of law enforcement and the Chief of Police for the Kennebunk Police Department, to testify.  Chief MacKenzie spoke about the impact the opioid crisis has had on his community as well as on his own family.  He also discussed his impressive efforts through the Kennebunk Police Department and Rotary International to expand treatment resources and peer support groups.

U.S. Senator Susan M. Collins (R-ME) is one of Maine’s two United States Senators. She is working to address the opioid epidemic that is impacting the U.S. life expectancy. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Sen. Collins)

Chief MacKenzie explained that one of his priorities has been to reduce the stigma surrounding opioid use in order to encourage those who are struggling with addiction to get help.  In collaboration with the Kennebunk Rotarians, he has spearheaded several fundraising efforts to support recovery coaches as well as instructors who can teach school officials, law enforcement officers, and community members how to identify and assist at-risk community members.  Chief MacKenzie has also partnered with local organizations to provide families with the information and resources they need to assist a loved one with substance use disorder.

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A whole in one

Guest Column

By Grammar Guy

We all know the difference between a “whole” and a “hole.”

Entire doughnuts and bagels have both! For most things, if they get a hole, they’re not whole. This happens to me all the time with my socks (darn it!). I’ve always thought that “whole” milk must feel superior to other milks. It’s got to be looking down its nose at the other milks: I’m the best there is — I’m whole.

Sure, this is a whole lot of “hole” talk, but right now it’s time to examine the difference between the words “holistic” and “wholistic.” Other than the “w,” what distinguishes these two words?

Let’s start with definitions. Holistic is an adjective describing the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. Clear as mud? And did you catch the word “whole” in the definition? I’m already confused.

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