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This week’s edition!

Androscoggin’s Autumn Night Out Committee Prepares for 2023

LEWISTON, ME (February 5, 2023) – Androscoggin Home Healthcare + Hospice is delighted to announce that plans are under way for the 2023 Autumn Night Out benefit auction to be held at the picturesque Poland Spring Resort on September 8, 2023. This year’s event will celebrate its 20th anniversary in support of the organization’s hospice services. Since its inception, Androscoggin’s signature Autumn Night Out Event has raised more than $750,000 benefiting hospice patients and families throughout 9 counties in Maine.

Lead by Co-Chairs Cyndi Robbins of Poland Spring Resort and Heather Printup of Blue Triton Brands, this year’s Autumn Night Out Committee has begun its planning of another spectacular event guided by this year’s theme of ‘Viva Las Vegas’. According to Cyndi Robbins, “In consideration of our 20th anniversary, the committee and I are setting our sights on making this year’s gala the largest and most successful in its two decades of benefitting patients and families at Androscoggin Home Healthcare + Hospice.”

In addition to supporting end-of-life care for hospice patients and their families, Autumn Night Out also features a special fundraising ‘Paddle Raise’ that directly benefits a specific program within the organization. Autumn Night Out’s ‘Paddle Raise’ is an opportunity for guests to make a meaningful gift to the organization while fulfilling a real and significant need for our patients and families. Over the year’s beneficiaries have included Androscoggin’s Life Happens Fund, Bereavement Program, and most recently the organization’s Pediatric Program.

For more information about Androscoggin’s 2023 Autumn Night Out benefit auction, please contact Elif Mogensen at or by phone at (207) 795-9410.

(Left to right): Elif Mogensen, Emily Rinchich, Tom Fogarty, Erica Bosse, Chrissy Kimball, Mary MacMahon, Erin Bolduc, Kelly Jacobson, Dana Pinkham. (Seated): Cyndi Robbins and Heather Printup. The committee also includes Jenn Lever and Dawn Youland, who are not pictured.

SeniorsPlus Announces Medicare Made Simple class 

LEWISTON, ME (February 6, 2023) — SeniorsPlus, the designated Area Agency on Aging serving Androscoggin, Franklin, and Oxford counties, will give an in-person presentation of “Medicare Made Simple” on Thursday, March 16th from 3-5pm at the Wilton office of SeniorsPlus at 284 Main Street, Suite 10.  The class is free. Registration is required by calling 207-795-4010 by March 9. 

In this introductory course, attendees will learn about insurance options with Medicare, when to enroll or change plans, and how state law may affect their choices. This presentation is aimed at people who are new to Medicare, or anyone who currently has Medicare and would like to learn more. 

Since 1972, SeniorsPlus has been improving the lives of older adults and adults with disabilities. As the designated Area Agency on Aging for Western Maine, SeniorsPlus provides statewide services with an emphasis on Androscoggin, Franklin and Oxford counties for core services (ie nutrition and information and assistance) that support independent living, healthy aging, and fight isolation. The overall program goal of SeniorsPlus is to assist older people and adults with disabilities in its tri-county area to remain safely at home for as long as possible.  The mission of SeniorsPlus is to enrich the lives of older people and adults with disabilities, their families and communities, and to support them to make informed choices. SeniorsPlus envisions a future where all older adults and individuals with disabilities are engaged and respected while living quality, independent lives in the communities of their choice. Annually, SeniorsPlus serves 10,000 individuals and fields 185,000 phone inquiries. 

SeniorsPlus offers a network of support, including information and assistance, short-term care management, Medicare counseling, caregiver support and respite, health and wellness education, benefits counseling, and Meals on Wheels and congregate dining.  

LPL to Host Blockbuster Movie Event

LEWISTON, ME (February 1, 2023) — The Lewiston Public Library will host its first Blockbuster Movie Event in February. This event will showcase a movie that, when introduced to theaters, drew large crowds to come see it. This event will be free and open to the public.

Our event is Wednesday, February 22, 2023 from 3 to 5:30pm in Callahan Hall and will feature a pg-13 movie set in a fictional-African nation with advanced technology whose leader has to juggle the responsibilities of being royalty with being a superhero.

To inquire about which movie will be featured this February please reach out the Lewiston Public Library at 513-3135 or

Maine MILL Opens New Exhibit

LEWISTON, ME (February 10, 2023) – The Maine Museum of Innovation, Learning and Labor today opened a new exhibit focused on immigration and identity. The show shines a light on the varied groups of people from around the world who have chosen to come to Maine, and specifically Lewiston-Auburn, why they have stayed (or left), and the stories and identities that shape our area. 

Rachel Ferrante, Maine MILL’s executive director shared, “We are a museum focused on community history and culture, preserving the stories of our region. The new exhibit aims to relate previously told and untold narratives in equal measure, through historical research, artifacts, and numerous oral histories. There are several interactive components in the show, and we hope the community will contribute to our growing knowledge base by sharing more stories and keepsakes.” 

For more information about Maine MILL (formerly Museum L-A) and its events and exhibits, visit or call 207-333-3881. The museum is located at 35 Canal Street in Lewiston. Current visitor hours are Wednesday through Saturday, 10am – 4pm. 

The exhibition is made possible in part by the Maine Humanities Council. Lewiston Threads is sponsored by Berman & Simmons. Select school field trips are made possible thanks to United Insurance.  

Lewiston HS Mock Trial Team Visits the State House

AUGUSTA, ME (February 1, 2023) ­­— On Tuesday, January 31, Sen. Peggy Rotundo, D-Lewiston, welcomed Lewiston High School’s Mock Trial team to the State House and presented the team with a legislative sentiment for winning the State championship on December 5, 2022, defeating the team from Brewer High School in the state finals. The team was recognized in the House and Senate and met with Gov. Janet Mills.

 “I am so proud of these students. They worked so hard to prepare for this tournament, and they executed flawlessly,” said Sen. Rotundo. “This team has made me and the entire Lewiston community very proud. I wish them the best of luck in the national competition.”

 The mock trial competition is essentially a hypothetical criminal trial in which students play the roles of attorneys and witnesses. Trials take place in front of Maine judges and attorneys who evaluate the students on their preparation, mastery of the facts, and demeanor and poise. Maine Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Valerie Stanfill supervised the finals competition. 

The team consists of Head Coach Michelle Crowley and students Ava Golder, Ben Cloutier, Sarah Mack, Gabby Thomas, Taylor Jean, Hayden LeCompte, Olivia Crowley, Ethan Rinko, Gabby Gladu, Kim McLaughlin, Adry Viles, Victoria Mpaka and Hayley Aloegnikou. Additional coaches include attorneys Paul Dionne of the Dionne and Couturier law firm, Amy Dietrich of the Skelton, Taintor, and Abbott law firm, and retired attorney Ron Lebel, formerly of Skelton, Taintor and Abbott. Recent LHS graduate and mock trial alum Dominic Pelletier also helped coach the team. 

The team will next represent the State of Maine at the national competition, which will take place in Little Rock, Arkansas from May 18 to 20, 2023. 

A legislative sentiment acknowledges and recognizes academic, athletic, civic, professional or service-related accomplishments.

The Lewiston High School Mock Trial team with Rep. Michael Lajoie, Rep. Margaret Craven, Sen. Peggy Rotundo, Gov. Janet Mills and Rep. Kristen Cloutier

Safe Voices Advocates for Pet Friendly Shelters on US Podcast

LEWISTON, ME (January 30, 2023) – Safe Voices Executive Director Elise Johansen and Director of Shelter and Housing Noelle Coyne recently appeared on “Oh Behave! with Arden Moore” – the longest running pet podcast in America.

In their January episode, along with Red Rover President & CEO Nicole Forsyth, Johansen and Coyne discussed the importance of pet-friendly shelter options and organizational policies for survivors of domestic abuse and sex trafficking. Safe Voices, which has been serving survivors in Androscoggin, Franklin, and Oxford Counties since 1977, partners with Red Rover and Rescue Rebuild to equip each of its emergency shelters to welcome survivors and their pets.

Pets play an important role in the healing process for survivors and in the organizational mission for Safe Voices. Johansen and Coyne shared with Moore that, in addition to pet-friendly policies at their shelters, Safe Voices is a pet-friendly employer, as well. In addition to many staff bringing their pets with them to work, Safe Voices even added two therapy dogs to the organization in 2022.

The first, a golden retriever named Ollie, joined Safe Voices in the summer of 2022 and began his therapy certification training in the fall alongside his owner/handler, Katrina White, who is Safe Voices’ sex trafficking and sexual exploitation outreach coordinator.

Even though he’s still a few months away from completing his training, Johansen said, “He has already made a profound impact on survivors and staff.”

The effects that pets have on survivors is profound, said Johansen, and it is too often exploited by abusers. “Abusers are going to use anything and everything in front of them, whether it’s a child, a job, or a pet. They’re going to use it to assert power and control.”

This, Moore said, leads to over 70% of survivors reporting that their abuser injured, killed, or threatened family pets in an effort to exert control, a fact that all three guests confirmed and cited as one of many reasons it is vital to create more pet friendly shelter options.

As the first shelter in the state to become pet-friendly, Safe Voices has led the way for other domestic violence resource centers to do the same, and Safe Voices staff have become experts in the field of how to integrate pet-friendly policies with survivor needs and sheltering practices. Theirs are no longer the only pet-friendly shelters in Maine, and for Coyne, that is the next big goal.

“We’re really looking forward to making Maine the first state in which every domestic abuse shelter is pet-friendly,” she said.

The full podcast episode is about thirty minutes long and can be heard at

Safe Voices therapy dog, Ollie, poses at their office at 100 Lisbon St. in Lewiston. Credit: Grace Kendall/Safe Voices

WHA at CMMC Displays Paintings of Nancy Clark

LEWISTON, ME (February 1, 2023) — The Woman’s Hospital Association (WHA) Rotating Art Gallery at Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston is displaying the paintings of artist, Nancy Clark.

Born and raised in rural Maine, Clark draws boundless inspiration from the magnificent layered mountains, open fields, flowing rivers, sparkling ponds and wide-open horizon of the ever-moving ocean.

“My greatest artistic influence comes from Maine’s varied seascapes and their ever-changing and beautiful atmospheres. This current sea and sky series which focuses on the horizon line and the effects of changing light, sets the stage for contemplating distant spaces and its mysteries and callings. These images are inspired by reality, but are created by allowing the painting to lead the way to its own conclusion.”

The works on display may be purchased through the WHA Gift Shop located adjacent to the main lobby at Central Maine Medical Center. A percentage of sale proceeds benefits patients of CMMC.

‘The Dawn of a New Day’ by Nancy Clark

$860K Secured for Pedestrian Safety Projects 

WASHINGTON, D.C. (February 1, 2023)—U.S. Senator Susan Collins, the incoming Vice Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, announced today that she secured a total of $863,382  for four projects intended to improve pedestrian safety across the state.  Maine set a tragic record of 21 pedestrian deaths in 2022. 

The funding was awarded through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which Senator Collins negotiated with 9 of her colleagues.  The law established the Safe Streets and Roads for All (SS4A) discretionary program, which aims to achieve zero deaths and serious injuries on our nation’s roadways.  

“Over the past several years, Maine has experienced record numbers of pedestrian deaths, which in many cases are the heartbreaking consequence of poor road designs,” said Senator Collins.  “By eliminating hazardous conditions for pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists alike, we can help Mainers reach their homes and jobs safely and more quickly.  As the Vice Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, I will continue to strongly support these types of investments to improve Maine’s transportation network and help make travel safer for all road users.” 

The following four organizations and municipalities were allocated funding to improve roadway safety:

 The Androscoggin Valley Council of Governments received $200,000 for the Androscoggin Transportation Resource Center (ATRC) Corridor Improvement Study, which will focus on critical high-accident corridors like the Veterans Memorial Bridge corridor linking Auburn and Lewiston and the primary feeder arterials of Center Street in Auburn and Main Street in Lewiston.  Between 2016 and 2020, there were 31 motor-vehicle fatalities in the ATRC region, and during the same period, ten percent of the 2,592 injury-involved crashes within the region occurred within the proposed project corridor.

 The Greater Portland Council of Governments received $263,382 to develop a comprehensive safety action plan. 

The Town of Bar Harbor received $200,000 to create a Comprehensive Transportation Action Plan to reduce regional roadway fatalities, vehicle accidents, and congestion, and to develop climate resilient infrastructure.  This plan is especially important as Acadia National Park annually welcomes more than 3.5 million people.  U.S. Route 1 and State Route 1—the gateway to Mount Desert Island, Acadia National Park, and Bar Harbor— suffer a high-rate of roadway fatalities, with Hancock County as a whole experiencing 49 fatal accidents from 2016 to 2020.

 The City of Sanford and Village of Springvale received $200,000 to develop a comprehensive safety action plan.

Rep. Libby Introduces School Choice Legislation

STATE HOUSE (January 27, 2023) – Rep. Laurel Libby (R-Auburn) has introduced school choice legislation to address long-standing deficiencies that were highlighted over the last several years. LR 835- “An Act to Advance Educational Opportunities for All Students,” will target educational funds where they will best serve the unique needs of individual students by creating Educational Opportunity Accounts (EOAs). Parents will be able to decide how to spend available funds; including private school tuition, tuition at career or technical schools and online learning programs, tutors, among other options.

Maine schools are currently ranked 28th in the nation, illustrating the need to address our educational deficiencies and encourage our students to thrive. Multiple states have embraced school choice as the solution over the last few years, with legislation passing in Arizona and New Hampshire. Most recently, on Tuesday, Iowa’s governor signed into a law a broad school choice proposal, coinciding with National School Choice Week. School choice legislation is pending in many other states, sweeping the nation as parents across the US wake up to the fact that they, not unelected bureaucrats, should be the ultimate arbiters of their child’s education.

“School choice puts education funds to work wherever they best serve the individual student, rather than mandating that taxpayer funds can only be used at government-run schools,” said Rep. Libby. “We should empower Maine parents to decide how best to use their tax dollars to address the individual educational needs of their children. The solution I am proposing has been successful in other states and we have those models that can be followed and improved upon here in Maine. It’s time we focus on meeting individual students’ and families’ needs, instead of prioritizing a system that is failing many of our students.”

LR 835, when released, will be referred to a legislative committee of jurisdiction that will schedule a public hearing. Interested parents are encouraged to contact Rep. Libby at: for more information.

Geiger Acquires Incentives by Design

LEWISTON, ME (January 5, 2023) – Geiger, the world’s largest privately held and family-owned promotional products distributor, has acquired Incentives by Design, a Washington-based branded merchandise company. The acquisition was finalized and effective today, January 5, 2023.

Geiger will retain all employees and the business will now operate under the name “Incentives by Design, a Geiger company.”

“Incentives by Design is known throughout the industry for providing outstanding customer service,” said Geiger Chief Revenue Officer Chris McKee. “When we look at potential acquisitions, finding an organization with a customer-first mentality is a must-have. As we continue to grow, we are doing so in a way that only further improves our customers’ experience. We are thrilled to welcome them to the Geiger family and are confident we’ll be even more successful together.”

Located in Tukwila, Washington, Incentives by Design was founded in 1990 by cousins Bill and Rich Hirshberg, both currently serving as principals of the company.

“We are delighted to now be working with Geiger, a longtime leader in the promotional products industry,” said Rich Hirshberg. “With the power of Geiger behind us, we look forward to reaching new heights while supporting our ever-growing list of customers in the Pacific Northwest and across the country.”

In addition to promotional items, Incentives by Design specializes in safety and workwear, golf attire and accessories, and school uniforms and sportswear.

(L-R) Geiger West Coast Regional VP Sarabeth Anderson, Incentives by Design Principal Rich Hirshberg, Incentives by Design Principal Bill Hirshberg, Geiger Chief Revenue Officer Chris McKee

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