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This week’s edition!

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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New artistic director at Maine Music Society

From MMS

LEWISTON – The Maine Music Society recently announced the appointment of Dr. Richard Nickerson as its new Artistic Director.

Dr. Nickerson, or “Rick” as he prefers to be called, is planning a variety of stirring performances for the 2021-22 concert season.

Rick presently serves as Director of Choral Activities at Windham High School in Windham, a position he has held for 34 years.  He is a highly-qualified musician with degrees in choral conducting as well as experience in orchestral conducting.

Dr. Richard “Rick” Nickerson has joined the Maine Music Society as its new Artistic Director. (Photo courtesy of MMS)

A frequent guest conductor and clinician, he has made numerous guest appearances in the United States, Canada and Europe. He served as the Artistic Director of the Boy Singers of Maine  from 2001-2009 and as Chorus Conductor for the “Magic of Christmas” with the Portland Symphony Orchestra from 2007-2014.  His choirs have performed for many dignitaries, including 3 U.S. Presidents. 

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Goodwill is more than just stores

By Nathan Tsukroff

GORHAM – Goodwill of Northern New England is more than just stores where used items are sold.

Goodwill NNE has multiple programs to help people and families in Maine, New Hampshire and northern Vermont to achieve better or more stable lives.

With a motto of, “A hand up, not a hand out”, Goodwill sees part of its mission as teaching people the skills to achieve personal stability, which includes skills like job preparedness and career training.

Nick Bennett, interim manager for the GoodTech department at the Goodwill NNE facility in Gorham, evaluates a donated video game system for possible resale. Donated computers, phones, games systems and peripherals are tested, refurbished if possible, and either sold in the stores or online. Items that can’t be refurbished are passed along to computer companies for parts, or to recycling companies. (Tsukroff photo)

Headquartered in an industrial park area on Hutcherson Drive in Gorham, Goodwill NNE has additional offices in central Maine and New Hampshire, with retail stores sprinkled throughout the three states.

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Roofing installed in LHS expansion

From Lewiston Schools

LEWISTON – Roofing and rooftop equipment is being installed in the new wing of Lewiston High School as the expansion continues toward a scheduled completion in November.

The renovation and expansion of the high school are on schedule and on budget, according to Jay Doherty, project lead architect for Lavallee/Brensinger Architects.

The renovation of the existing building and construction of the new main entrance will be ready for occupancy at the end of August, and the new wing is on schedule for completion this fall, according to clerk of the works, Tim Brochu.

Roofing materials and rooftop equipment are being completed on the new wing of Lewiston High School. Renovations on the existing building should be completed by August, ready for the opening of school in September. The new wing is expected to open for staff and students in November. (Photo courtesy of Lewiston Schools)

Brochu said, “On the exterior of the building, masons are completing the insulation and laying of the bricks.  Framers are working on the iconic blue arch, which will surround the main entrance,” he notes, adding that “roofing and rooftop equipment are being completed, and windows are being installed.”

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La Rencontre returns to the Franco Center

From Franco Center

LEWISTON – The La Rencontre luncheons return to the Dolard and Priscilla Gendron Franco Center on Thursday, Aug. 12.

La Rencontre (French for “the gathering”) as a way for our extended Franco-American family in the area to reconnect with each other and with our neighbors.

Meals and stories are shared, friends are reunited, and memories are made. La Rencontre is not restricted to French-speakers, or even those of Franco descent.

Entertainment will be provided by the well-known, and accomplished Nel Meservier and Mike Willette

The Meal will be lasagna, salad, roll, and desert. Coffee and tea are included with the meal. Full bar service will be available.

The fee for the meal and entertainment is $15. Parking is included in the price of the ticket. All proceeds to benefit the Franco Center.

The Franco Center is located at 46 Cedar Street in Lewiston.

Tickets can be purchased by contacting the Box Office at (207) 689-2000 or at 

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