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Time to close up camp, check out some fall foliage, and consume “pumpkin spice” everything! That’s right, autumn is here. Days are warm, nights are cold, and pretty soon the sight of mowed lawns will be replaced with piles of raked leaves. I’m not going to lie- I’m not a fan of saying goodbye to the lazy, careless days of summer. But the visual splendor of the bold colored leaves and the warm comforting foods of the changing season make it enjoyable. How lucky are we that we get to immerse ourselves in these amazing sights, smells, and flavors every single day? This area has such riches that are easy to take for granted, if you don’t make it a point to slow down, breathe deeply, and take it all in. In this issue of LA Metro Magazine, we focus on slowing down and noticing the bold and rich environment that we are a part of. We are featuring Stanton Bird Club, which is celebrating 100 years in our community. Our cover story features seniors living their best lives in LA, even when they are no longer in their own homes. We bring you some dream jobs- owning your own diner, educating the community about snakes and lizards, working with police dogs- and many, many more stories! We are also proud to introduce our newest section, “Sound Check,” bringing you the exciting music scene here in LA. And this issue wraps up our “Auburn at 150” series by exploring historical neighborhoods of the past, while focusing on the city’s future. So as I trade in my tank tops and flip flops for bulky scarves and knitted slippers, I will remember to slow down and appreciate my surroundings. I hope you do the same! Watch some football, visit an agricultural fair, drink some hot cider, and let LA Metro Magazine bring you the champions of these twin cities who keep LA moving forward.

TYLA DAVIS Editor-in-Chief editor@LAMetroMagazine.com

LA Metro Magazine is proudly printed in Lewiston, Maine at

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editorial director & writer


Nicole is a freelance writer living in Auburn. She graduated from Southern New Hampshire University with a Bachelor of Arts in English Language & Literature.

In LA, she coordinates events for First Universalist Church of Auburn, hosting the monthly Pleasant Note Open Mic, and staging their annual “Vagina Monologues� benefit against domestic violence.

She spends her free time at the beach, walking in the woods, and talking to her animals.

Peggy DeBlois

Brewster was raised in Waterford, Maine, attended Oxford Hills High School, then graduated from Colby College. He became an English teacher at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School, where he has remained since 1988.

A native of Lewiston, Peggy began writing creatively as a child growing up in a FrenchCatholic neighborhood. A graduate of Bowdoin College, she began her career in journalism at PC Week in Boston, where she was the ghostwriter for the industry gossip columnist, Spencer the Cat.

Christmas of 2012, he received his first camera, and quickly developed a love of the lens. Brewster freelances for some Maine newspapers and local magazines. He resides in Hebron, with his wife and two children.

Nicole Breton

Toby hails from the bustling New York City media world, where she promoted live events like pay-per-view boxing, and published album reviews in Creem and Audio magazines.

Brewster Burns photographer


Toby Haber-Giasson


She has also worked locally as an English teacher and public relations consultant. A resident of Auburn, she recently finished her first novel.


Michael Krapovicky writer

Michael is a freelance writer and musician from Auburn. He graduated from the University of Maine at Presque Isle in 1999 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. He has submitted stories and articles for various publications, and performs throughout New England as a solo guitarist and bassist. Michael enjoys traveling, hiking, and spending leisure time with family and friends.

Peggy Faye Brown writer

Peggy enjoys the art of writing, whether typed or handwritten in cursive. She brainstorms and daydreams whenever possible while working and commuting. Her first memoir was just published in Goose River Anthology 2018; her first work of fiction appeared in the 2017 edition. She enjoys writing pieces with a purpose: to commemorate the past and encourage the future.

Jose Leiva

photographer Jose started his photography career while in the Air Force during Vietnam. He moved to Maine in the late 1980s and retired from the Sun Journal a few years ago. He now works as a freelance photographer and exhibits his art locally. Jose lives in Lewiston, Maine, with his wife, Linda. Together they have six adult children, and four grandchildren who are a source of photographic inspiration.

Kiernan Majerus-Collins

Lisa Mayer

David Muise

Lisa Mayer is a Clio-Award winning advertising writer from New York City who moved to LA five years ago. Her work has been published in national magazines, and she is currently writing two novels set in Maine.

David is a serial entrepreneur, writer, painter, and player of very mediocre guitar. He fits these endeavors in around his busy fly fishing schedule.




Kiernan is a writer, activist, and Bates College graduate who lives and works in Lewiston. He serves on the Androscoggin County Budget Committee and as chair of the Lewiston Democratic Party. Kiernan is a member of the First Universalist Church in Auburn, where he sings in the choir and directs the children’s choir. In his free time, Kiernan enjoys reading American history and watching the Boston Red Sox.

Mykùl Rojas photographer

Mykùl Rojas has been taking photographs for over 12 years in the Lewiston Auburn area, and is the owner of Rojas Photography. He lives in Greene, Maine with his wife, Anna, and their five Pomeranians. Mykùl spends his free time watching “The Office,” playing video games, and taking photos.

Lisa is the wife of Rabbi Sruli Dresdner of Temple Shalom in Auburn, and their twins are in the fifth grade at the fabulous Park Avenue School.

Donna Rousseau

Victoria Stanton

A Maine native, Donna has dedicated much of her career to assisting families as they navigate the world of eldercare. Her philosophy is, “Create good by approaching all things with an open mind and a generous, honest heart;” it has served her well, personally and professionally.

Victoria is a Lewiston resident who settled here after a nomadic childhood in a military family. She graduated from Williams College in 2009, and landed her first “real world” job at an LA nonprofit. She enjoys weaving storytelling into her work at every opportunity.


Writing is her happy place and her family is her heart.



Off the clock, Victoria can be found exploring Maine with her husband and young daughter, and their German Shepherd, Fraulein.

LA METRO MAGAZINE digital edition @ LAMetroMagazine.com


contents AUTUMN VOL. 4

No. 4


quick reads



Warrior dogs of LA: The unsung heroes of K9 police work


Stanton Bird Club: A flight of 100 years

on the cover Senior living in LA

Social Hour: LA’s Greek Festival

Diner dynasty



Sound Check: David Young & the Interstate Kings

Mr. Drew’s traveling zoo



Community Little Theatre at 80

Auburn’s sesquicentennial




Nonprofit Spotlight: The Store Next Door

62 8


243 Main St., Norway - 743-5911 555 Center St., Auburn - 784-5868 LA METRO MAGAZINE digital edition @ LAMetroMagazine.com



LA Metro


Thomas Hill

Website/Social media Thomas@LAMetroMagazine.com

Jim Marston jim@LAMetroMagazine.com


Tyla Davis editor@LAMetroMagazine.com


Tim Rucker

Sales Tim@LAMetroMagazine.com

Jim Marston Tim Rucker Steve Simard




Steve Simard

Sales Steve@LAMetroMagazine.com

Stephanie Arsenault

Bookkeeper billing@LAMetroMagazine.com

Nicole Breton Peggy Faye Brown Peggy DeBlois Toby Haber-Giasson Michael Krapovicky Kiernan Majerus-Collins Lisa Mayer David Muise Donna Keene Rousseau Victoria Stanton


PHOTOGRAPHY Brewster Burns Jose Leiva MykĂšl Rojas


Tyla Davis

Graphic Design / Editor editor@LAMetroMagazine.com

Larry & Marlene Pare, residents of Clover Health Care Photographer: Jose Leiva LA Metro Magazine is published four times each year by LA Metro Magazine, LLC Editorial and subscription info: Call 207-783-7039 email: info@LAMetroMagazine.com 9 Grove Street, Auburn, ME 04210

Jim Marston

Publisher jim@LAMetroMagazine.com

Opinions expressed in articles or advertisements, unless otherwise noted, do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the publisher or staff. Every effort has been made to ensure that all information presented in this issue is accurate, and neither LA Metro Magazine nor any of its staff are responsible for omissions or information that has been misrepresented to the magazine. No establishment is ever covered in this magazine because it has advertised, and no payment ever influences our stories and reviews. Copyright Š2019 LA Metro Magazine, LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission, in writing, from the publisher. Printed in Lewiston, ME, USA.



THANK YOU! Due to the overwhelming support of so many area businesses, and because this was, by far, our best attended Summer Block Party to date allows us to present this check to Make-A-Wish Maine.


Pay to the order of:



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In five years, this one event has granted 37 life-changing wishes to LOCAL children battling critical illnesses!

We hope you’ll join us next year, mark your calendar:

Saturday, August 8, 2020

LA’s Annual

Greek Festival A community treasure

Written by Nicole Breton  |  Photography by Brewster Burns

Ann Robman, left, along with John Rozos, lead a traditional Greek dance. Rozos explained that the napkin, called a mandili, was a way for members of the opposite sex to dance without touching.

SOCIAL H UR Highlighting great places to go and things to do in our communities.


he quiet neighborhood surrounding the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, on Hogan Street in Lewiston, comes alive in early September for the annual Greek Festival. Cars line the roads, music can be heard several streets over, and the smell of food permeates the air. A welcoming sense of community is palpable.

Rebirth of a festival The Greek Festival has been held for decades by the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church. There was a lull of a few years in the late 1980s and early 1990s, according to George Simones, local businessman and pastoral assistant. During this lull, he and some other parishioners attended a traditional affair in the style of “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.” As they reflected on the celebration, talk ensued about starting the festival again. Within a month, plans and preparations were in place and the tradition began again. This year marks the 17th year since its comeback. Melissa Landry, in her first year as co-chair for the event, reports over 2,000 people attended this year’s festival. Approximately 75 volunteers run the event, and it serves as the church’s largest fundraiser of the year. Landry reports preparations begin months in advance of the festival, including obtaining the necessary insurance and licenses, marketing and administrative tasks, arranging for the tent and tables, but most important of all, the cooking! “I think we need to add another oven,” Landry remarks with a smile.

The food Volunteer Toni Orestis, 94 years young, knows her way around a kitchen. Orestis owned and operated Marois’ Restaurant in Lewiston for 65 years. With the help of former employee Arthur Barnard, and Mike Grimanis, Orestis works nonstop during the festival to prepare the food. “Most everything is prepared and cooked fresh, except the spanakopita (spinach pie) is prepped and frozen until we are ready to cook it,” Orestis reports. “We don’t stop until they turn the lights out. We’re all from the restaurant business and people who work in kitchens are some of the hardest workers around.” As one can imagine, feeding the masses is a well-orchestrated feat. The church kitchen sees a flurry of activity, with three ovens constantly ablaze, volunteers prepping salads and pastries, and runners taking the food upstairs to be placed in warmers for serving. Like Beagles on a scent, folks follow their noses to the food line and peruse the menu to decide what deliciousness they want to try. Some of the favored dishes on the menu are souvlaki (shish-kebob), moussaka (eggplant, hamburg, béchamel sauce), pastitsio (Greek lasagna), Athenian roasted chicken, gyros, fall-

Rachel Legendre pours drinks at the Taverna

off-the-bone lamb shank, the famous spanakopita (spinach pie), Greek salad (with chunks of feta cheese), and a new offeringGreek fries, seasoned with oregano, garlic powder, and other spices, then fried to a golden brown. Long tables are set up for mass dining. Many patrons sit and enjoy a beverage from the Taverna, offering a wide array of Greek alcohol including wine, beer, and aperitifs. The sounds of traditional and modern Greek music can be heard throughout the festival; folks young and old toe-tap and glide along to the sounds of Greek heritage.

Sweets and such The pastries at the festival are quite decadent. Baklava, kataifi, flogeres (different variations of filo dough with walnuts and honey), as well as kourambiedes (butter cookies with powdered sugar), and loukoumathes (fried dough balls glazed in honey, made to order) are a few of the sweet treats available. These items are fast movers! The Treasure Trove area offers gently used items for sale, including furniture, bric-a-brac, books, jewelry, household items, clothing, Greek artifacts, and much more. Church tours run throughout the day; Pastoral Assistant Simones is ready, willing, and eager to show visitors around and share information about the faith.

Tradition The Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church started in 1910 on Lincoln Street in Lewiston, to serve the many Greek families who immigrated to the area to work in the Bates and Libby Mills. As Simones explains, “It was believed that America was the land of George Chomas & Toni Orestis make spanakopita

By Nicole Breton | Photography by Brewster Burns | LA’s Greek Festival opportunity and that the streets were paved with gold,” bringing about an influx of folks to the city. At one point, over 3,000 Greek families were part of the church community. Throughout the years, work at the mills was moved to other states, such as Massachusetts, and some of the Greek people followed suit; this contributed to the decrease of church members to around 135 families in the 1960s. Despite declining numbers, the church remained united and, in 1977, a new church was built at 155 Hogan Road in Lewiston.

Ties that bind The Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church’s volunteers, as well as the festival-goers, have made it possible for this tradition to continue year after year. With this comes a great sense of camaraderie between the hosts and the patrons, who make their way to the festival each year.

Sam and George Vayanos work on their name tags

As volunteer and parishioner Roger Park puts it, “The community has really welcomed us. We often see the same folks attend the festival each year, as well as many newcomers.”

Mark your calendar for next year’s festival, always held the weekend after Labor Day. The event takes place rain or shine at the church. Admission and parking are free.

It takes many pieces from a greater whole for the festival to come to fruition each year, and the Greek community has proven they have the fortitude to progress. From the younger generation shuttling folks back and forth in golf carts, to a different generation committed to tradition, this annual festival is sure to remain popular for years to come.

Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church 155 Hogan Road, Lewiston • lagreekfestival.com

Tobias McIntyre at the children’s area

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of a

DINER DYNASTY Written by Lisa Mayer  |  Photography by Jose Leiva

It’s 10:30 on a recent Wednesday morning, and Rolly’s Diner is full of late breakfasters. Most popular plate? “Eggs over easy, with white toast,” says Ken Blais, Rolly’s son and business partner. “Still.” Back in 1993, Ken, his wife Jean, along with his mom, Rolande, and his dad, Roland-- yes, a match made in French-accented heaven-- were going out to dinner, when they passed a For Rent sign at the busy corner of Mill and South Main Streets in Auburn. “We were looking for our own place. Mom had a great reputation.” Rolly Blais had worked at Bagels & Things on Center Street, and she and Ken had also worked at another diner together. “We opened a week before Christmas,” Rolly says, with a laugh. “No one should do that!”

“Sadie’s Crepe” from Rolly’s Even as the youngest of 12 children “up county” in Caswell, Maine, she worked hard; her school didn’t open until October, so everyone in town could help harvest the all-important Aroostook County potatoes. Rolly’s Diner is what folks call “an institution” in the best possible sense, voted Best Breakfast in Auburn by the readers of Down East Magazine. The consistently good food is served by smiling, experienced waitresses who are so quick with your coffee refills, they deserve a shoutout: Kee Kee, Sheryl, Rita, Christine, and Tami. The prices are low, which is another reason it’s constantly bustling with older couples, young families, and Bates College students. Some patrons come in every single day.

Feast for the eyes Also on the menu is the famous Rolly’s Diner decor. Every holiday is celebrated with over-the-top decorations-- bunnies galore at Easter, pumpkins for Thanksgiving, ghosts for Halloween, tinselmania for Christmas. The favorite? “Definitely LA’s own Balloon Festival in August,” declares Rolly. Fluffy cotton clouds, and gorgeous balloons with tiny baskets, hang everywhere in the air. “We keep it all in the warehouse behind the store,” Ken says. “The staff does a great job decorating.”

Ken & Rolande Blais

A good name

Mother’s Day is celebrated with a plate of “Momlettes.” This year, Ken says, “I just put in every single thing your mom made you eat when you were a kid-- like Brussels sprouts, bratwurst and LIVER!”

Rolly (pronounced ROLL-ee) Blais is ageless and elegant, her blonde coif just so.

Some intrepid customers brave the Momlette because of the incentive-- eat the entire thing, get a free dessert. “Some of my Momlettes have become regular menu items,” says Ken. “Not the liver one, though.”

Quick with a smile, she has served customers in her own restaurant for years. “I’ve always worked hard,” she says, with another laugh.

In all their 26 years working together as equal business partners, did Rolly- being, the mom- ever pull rank on Ken? Ken looks over at his mother, and they smile at each other. “I’m the boss, because Mom said I could be.”

The daughter also rises Ken Blais isn’t just Rolly’s son. He’s also father to Rolly’s granddaughter, Sadie, who is taking the family diner dynasty to another generation. Break, Sadie Blais’ new chill and plant-filled coffee shop, sits in the Engine House Building on Court Street. The vibe is both retro and super modern-- as befits her place on the family tree. There are yellow couches, exposed brick, blackboard pillars with chalk for doodling, and fern murals on the wall painted by Sheryl, one of Rolly’s waitresses. Rita Fournier serves a full house at Rolly’s

By Lisa Mayer | Photography by Jose Leiva | Diner dynasty

Dreaming in chocolate

Business people from the nearby banks and law firms come in for cold brew, peppermint mocha, or lavender and sea salt caramel coffee, and infused teas. Break’s No. 1 sandwich is turkey on sourdough with roasted red peppers and pesto mayonnaise, which is presented with pickles, on pink Fiesta ware. There are fresh-made doughnuts every day, glazed with homemade “whatever I’m in the mood for,” and a specialty pastry, like chocolate chip cookies baked with tiny chips, “for better chocolate chip distribution,” Blais explains.

When she was 17, and a still-shy Leavitt High School student, Sadie saw a flyer announcing a chocolate competition. There was only one rule: the recipe had to have chocolate in it. “I said, ‘I can’t bake.’ Then I said, ‘Can I?’” Armed with The Joy of Cooking, she began to mix, bake, taste, and tweak. “Every Saturday after the diner closed, Dad gave the kitchen over to me.” Months later she had her recipe- a chocolate crepe, filled with Bavarian Cream, raspberry sauce, and a chocolate glaze. The competition, a fundraiser for the Lewiston Middle School, included some serious chocolatiers: Maine Gourmet Chocolates, Pastiche, Ella’s Candies, and chefs from Bates College.

Sadie Blais

She is similar in stature to Rolly, dark with earnest eyes, and a beautiful smile. She is also fabulously tattooed, as is Trevor, her right-hand guy behind the counter.

“Sadie won in every category,” gushes her dad, Ken. “Judges Choice, Best Display, and People’s Choice.” The Lewiston Sun Journal said her crepes were “skyrocketingly popular.” Sadie’s Crepe is still a best-seller at Rolly’s Diner.

All in the family When Sadie proposed opening her own place, her dad helped her through every step of the permitting and renovation process, attending every meeting with every city department. “He is the best teacher, the best person,” she tears up, “to... exist.” As Blais grows her business, her two sons Avery, 3, and Emery, 2, are growing too. Could there be a four-generation dynasty in the future? Blais smiles. “I started in the kitchen, cracking eggs. Maybe I’ll start them off washing dishes.” Then her tone turns wistful. “I can’t wait to bring them into it.”  Rolly’s Diner 87 Mill Street, Auburn • http://rollysnewauburn.com Break 158 Court Street, Auburn • www.facebook.com/breakmaine/

Fresh baked goodies from Break

Memories of Memere Sadie Blais started working at the family diner when she was 10. “Memere Rolly was tough on me,” she says. “I was so shy I couldn’t go over to the tables to take their orders. Rolly would grab me and bring me over and say, ‘This is Sadie, she will be your waitress.’” By the time she was 13, Blais was waitressing every weekend, competing with her grandmother for who could carry more plates at one time. “Memere was unbelievable-- I could do maybe four or five, but she could hold seven on one outstretched arm and a few more on the other. I wanted to be just like her. I still do.” Shanna Breton, Lydia Briggs, & Cheryl Horton at Break

Traveling MuGic DAVID YOUNG and The

Written by Michael Krapovicky  |  Photography by Brewster Burns

David Young

a very regular performer there. It’s amazing because he can fingerpick the sweetest hymn at church, and by night, absolutely shred both classic rock numbers and his own tunes. He’s a prolific songwriter, too.” Deven Young also has a strong family connection to music. “I started playing drums at David’s recommendation,” he recalls. “We bought a drum set together, and I started playing with him when I was in eighth grade. My biggest influences, as far as drummers, are Steve Ferrone of Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, Johnny Fay of the Tragically Hip, and Brent Fitz, who plays with Slash (former guitarist of Guns N’ Roses).” Bassist Seth Martin rounds out the three piece band and has filled many roles over the years in the band’s evolution. “I started on drums and switched to rhythm guitar when Deven wanted to join David’s high school band, at that time called The Rubber Band. I switched to bass when the band went to a three-piece.” Martin shares, “Initially I liked Flea (bassist of the Red Hot Chili Peppers), as a bass player, but now I’m just as impressed by someone whose bass-line forms the backbone of the song, no matter the genre.”

Process and evolution Deven Young

Road warriors A road-weary band steps out onto a dimly lit stage, launches into a powerful guitar-driven anthem, and immediately brings the alcohol-fueled crowd to their feet. David Young and the Interstate Kings experience this phenomenon most weekends, even though the group’s median age is still under the legal drinking limit. David Stanley Lawrence Young and his brother, Deven, started performing music on guitar and drums respectively, as pre-teens. With longtime collaborator Seth Martin, the band was formed with a desire to conquer ‘the road,’ to make the working musician’s journey. Their live set is composed of covers and their own original music, raw and reflective of bygone eras of rock and roll.

“What motivates us is the vibe of the music,” affirms David Young. “When we started, we were just jamming in high school, having a good time. Then my songs started getting fleshed out as band material, and we got an enjoyable, cohesive finished product.” “David will start out with the guitar part and lyrics,” Deven elaborates. “Then we jam on it, and put in our ‘two cents’ as far as structure.” Longtime concert promoter Dave Biron has mentored the many iterations of the band since 2014. “As the Rubber Band, their music was different and fresh, so I started them with a few bookings, over a four-year period,” Biron relates. “In 2018, I had booked the band at a small venue in Readfield, Maine, and decided to go see them perform. I was pleasantly surprised to see how much they had matured musically.”

Influences Whether strumming harmonica-tinged folk tunes a la Bob Dylan or Neil Young, or blazing through a fiery electric solo on his Les Paul, David Young brings a youthful ardor to his guitar performances. Playing fingerstyle, without a pick, has garnered Young notice and appreciation from many musicians and fans. “I started taking guitar lessons when I was 10 years old from Betty McIntyre, a teacher in Windham,” recalls Young. “The first three times I had lessons, I forgot my guitar pick. The next time I just said, ‘That’s it, I’m a guitar player that plays with his fingers.’” “My biggest musical influence is my grandfather, David Arthur Young,” he relates. “He lives in Ontario, in a small community called Ompah, and plays bass for us when we do shows there. My dad, also named David Young, plays guitar and is a big supporter of my writing, offering a lot of guidance. David Muise was also a big proponent of my music, starting out. He is one of our biggest fans and has always been supportive of us.” “I first saw David Young perform at the Faith Lutheran Church,” says Muise. “When he was about 12, he performed at a special event there. He blew everyone away! From then on, he became 22


Seth Martin

That night, Biron offered to be the band’s manager. The band officially changed their name to David Young and the Interstate Kings, and began a serious push for wider acclaim.

Recording and performing “David and I started working together to brand the new name,” asserts Biron. “In late November and early December, the band laid down tracks at the recording studio at Husson College, in Bangor. David worked up the jacket design and write-up, and the master was sent out to be pressed in late January.” Their 2019 eponymous release has received numerous accolades from DJs, critics, and listeners around North America. Radio personality Dave Dean, longtime host of “Local 4 at 4” on Maine’s Big Z, has said, “This EP is well-paced and interjected with musical surprises that keep you coming back for more.”

Manager Dave Biron

“I’ve been in the LA music scene a lot more; there are so many great players and bands here,” Young comments. “We like talking to the fans. It’s great to find someone new who can take a little piece of you home with them, ‘like’ your social media page, buy your music. We think of it as a big honor when folks put our sticker on their car or motorcycle.” The brothers Young are preparing for a move to Nashville, to seek their fortunes. “We’d like to gear up to playing full-time, traveling, playing good gigs, getting some ground under our feet,” says Deven. “Live music is still popping in the bar scene. I don’t think it’s ever going to die. There is always going to be someone playing. I think anyone can make it, if they are in the right place at the right time.” www.davidyounginterstatekings.com

“We are getting a good response from our original music,” says Young. “People really seem to like ‘Simpler Times’ and a newer song, ‘Interstate King.’”

One milestone the band has achieved is appearing on the Portland-based TV show “207,” which spotlights local entertainers. “Our song, ‘Ramblin’ Man’, was performed there,” says Young. “We kept it to the 3 ½ minute format for that show, but playing it out live elsewhere, we like to extend the solos a bit more, and improvise.”

LA and beyond With Biron’s help, the band is getting airplay on local radio stations, and playing live shows at LA venues such as Fusion Lounge, Pedro O’Haras, and Gritty McDuff’s.

David shredding a lead LA METRO MAGAZINE digital edition @ LAMetroMagazine.com


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Senior Livingin LA Written by Victoria Stanton  |  Photography by Jose Leiva


ndisputably, the seniors of Lewiston Auburn built- in every sense of the word- the Twin Cities as we know them today. As this population ages, the needs of our seniors will continue to shape the opportunities and challenges of our communities.

Roland Girard & Carmen Beaulieu pick tomatoes at Clover Health Care

of support and medical care, but requires that residents are largely able to attend to personal care needs themselves. Others, like Clover Health Care in Auburn, operate on a “continuum of care,” in which residents can journey through the entirety of their senior years on-site, from independent living apartments, to nursing care, to the dedicated memory care residence. For seniors who have outlived spouses and friends, residential facilities can provide community and companionship while minimizing the burden on adult children and their families.

Living longer Rosemary Camire Knight, the administrator at Chapman House, notes the average age of entry for assisted living facilities is going up. Where once it was common to see women in their 60s and 70s entering Chapman House, she now finds women in their upper 80s and 90s moving in. Mary Cameron, enjoying music at The Chapman House “I never thought I’d see the day I’d be bragging about being in a place like this.” Mary Cameron sits on the bed in her efficiency apartment at Chapman House, the senior living center for women in Auburn. Up until a year ago, Cameron had been living on her own at the Auburn Esplanade. She says that getting around town without a car had become a burden, and taking public transportation to buy groceries or get to doctor’s appointments was too much of a hassle. Cameron, a widow, had friends and family who had moved into various assisted living facilities, but she never truly considered that option until a friend insisted she tour Chapman House. “It’s like living in your own apartment,” she now says. “You have all the privacy you could ever want. I’m still in awe.” At Chapman House, Cameron lives in a community amongst 29 other senior women, where she enjoys communal dining (“I’m not a foodie, but oh wow!”) and a variety of coordinated activities. Her story is not unlike those of other seniors living in LA who, with perhaps some trepidation, have made the transition to assisted living, looking for convenience and the peace of mind that comes with on-site staff and round-the-clock care. Cameron is confident she made the right move for herself, but what are other options for seniors looking to make the most of their golden years in LA?

The changing face of assisted living The world of senior living exists on a spectrum, from those who choose and are able to stay in their homes, referred to in social services as “aging in place,” to those who need varying degrees of care.


Sarah Adams, director of marketing at Clover Health Care, sees these shifts as well. “Twenty years ago,” she says, “the type of person that was moving in was very different from the type of person moving in today, because the medical model has changed.” What’s different? “People now stay home longer and our medicine is better. So they live longer with assisted therapies,” Adams elaborates. “People moving in today to assisted living would have been in the nursing home 15 years ago.” The needs and expectations of the Rosemary Camire Knight residents themselves of The Chapman House continue to shift, reflecting the values of each generation entering assisted living. Common concerns are privacy, access to transportation, level of on-site care, and access to the internet. And even though residents are presenting older and with more needs than in years past, they show no desire to slow down, says Knight. For all the amenities and supports of senior living facilities, residents are keen to stay independent, engaged, and vital for as long as possible.

It is not unusual for an individual to transition between several iterations of care during his or her lifetime. And in LA there are several organizations and businesses dedicated to the residential care of seniors (see info graphic on page 30).

Activities are a way for facilities to foster community and a sense of variety. Musical performances, shopping trips, and restaurant outings are all popular, as are the perennial favorites of bingo, cards, and group exercise. At Clover Health Care, a group of 75 residents, including those from the nursing home, recently enjoyed a beach day at Range Pond.

Some, like Chapman House, provide assisted living. A step beyond independent living, this assistance can offer a certain level

Of course, cost and affordability remain central questions for families navigating the landscape of assisted living. Not all facili-


By Victoria Stanton | Photography by Jose Leiva | Senior living in LA ties accept MaineCare, and the resources a family has may need to stretch for many years. And even if a family has the necessary resources, they may need to contend with a growing demand for a limited number of units, as “baby boomers” enter their senior years.

Aging Maine Maine is getting “grayer.” For years we have been told to anticipate the impact of a retiring “baby boomer” generation. This group, born during the years immediately following World War II, when the birth rate increased sharply for a short period of time, represents the single largest age demographic in the U.S. At the same time, overall population growth has slowed or stalled out, raising concerns about the future of our workforce and social services. The Maine Population Outlook, published by the State of Maine, projects the number of Maine’s retirement-aged people to increase 37 percent by 2026, while younger working populations will see virtually no change. In fact, only Auburn and Portland are likely to see modest increases in their populations in the next seven years. The rhetoric around these issues trends toward the catastrophic. Pundits describe a “silver tsunami” descending across the country. A recent article in The Washington Post presented Maine, the “oldest” state in the union, as a cautionary tale of what happens when this wave hits, describing the “crippling” impact of the labor shortage and families pushed to the breaking point as they care for their elders.

Resources fill the need What resources exist for the increasing number of people who require in-home supports, or who will soon make their way to assisted living and nursing communities?

Underway at Schooner Estates is an expansion project that will add 60 units to its retirement community on Stetson Road in Auburn. These units will be dedicated to memory care and a higher level of assisted living. Some of the existing residences will be transitioned to independent and traditional assisted living. At Clover Health Care, the leadership team is betting on their workplace culture, to meet the need. Adams says, “You can only admit as many people as you can successfully serve.”

Nate Miller of SeniorsPlus

The company provides ongoing, in-house education and promotions from within, in an effort to retain talented, trained staff. They also offer “learn as you earn” PSS and CNA courses that provide students no-cost training in exchange for a six-month commitment to Clover. “For us,” Adams says, “it’s never about the bricks and mortar; it’s always about the people.”

Thriving in community Mainers are known for their fierce independence. But says Nate Miller, community services program manager at SeniorsPlus, “Sometimes you need a little help to live independently.”

Carmen Beaulieu’s daughter, Lisa, visits during dinner at Clover Health Care

tasks to attending to personal care needs and administering medication. Other programs can assist seniors with modifications to make their homes more accessible, such as installing ramps. The costs of home-based services are not insignificant, however, and few insurance providers offer private long-term care insurance. There are state funds and some MaineCare support is available for these programs. To help families weigh their choices and access resource, SeniorsPlus offers options counseling, either over the phone or in person. Of all the community-based services available to seniors, the Meals on Wheels program may be the most well-known. For the cost of a small suggested donation, the program delivers well-balanced meals to seniors. In addition, drivers take the opportunity to check on the well-being of the recipients and provide a few minutes of socialization.

Making connections

Mary Cameron enjoys cards in her new digs Miller wants seniors to know that they have rights, and that there are services in the community geared toward helping them live as independently as possible. Based in Lewiston, SeniorsPlus is one of three area agencies on aging in Maine, and is a clearinghouse for LA seniors and their families. Their mission is to enrich the lives of seniors and people with disabilities, and that often includes providing advocacy and information, as well as events to connect seniors with their community. It can also mean aligning them with services that allow them to stay in their homes as long as possible. In-home caregiving can help residents with a range of activities of daily living, from preparing meals and completing household

Isolation is a significant health risk factor for older Americans who live alone or may not have access to transportation. In response, SeniorsPlus coordinates a Senior Companion Program through the University of Maine Cooperative Extension. The Companion Program runs on a peer support model, matching volunteers age 55 and older with isolated or home-bound individuals. Volunteers visit, share conversation, and occasionally may drive participants, to help them get out and about. Miller believes the aging of Maine’s senior population presents a tremendous opportunity; rather than operating from a place of fear for the future, we should be celebrating what seniors have to offer through volunteerism. Retirees, he says, have the time and an array of talents that can enrich communities and lead to better health outcomes and a higher quality of life for themselves and their peers. “There are opportunities out there for anyone, regardless of what their interests or goals are,” says Miller. “It is just a matter of seeking them out and getting involved.”

Larry & Marlene Pare talk about their upcoming 64th wedding anniversary at Clover Health Care

Living with purpose Marie Dustin of Auburn agrees. A senior companion, Dustin turns 80 this fall and is evangelical about the value of volunteering and of bridging connections with people living in isolation. “I need a purpose to get out of bed in the morning, and they need a purpose to get out of bed,” she says. That purpose includes everything from chatting over coffee to playing games and cooking meals, to driving to doctor’s appointments and the occasional bingo outing. She visits with three to five seniors in any given week. The relationships are deep and sincere. Dustin describes a two-month period in which she was housebound with a broken ankle and could not make her usual visits. During that time, the people she visited made a point to call her, to see how she was doing. “They do as much for me as I do for them,” she says, “The only difference is I go to them, instead of them coming to me.” Chapman House 41 Pleasant Street, Auburn • chapmanhouse.org Clover Health Care 440 Minot Avenue, Auburn • cloverhealthcaremaine.com SeniorsPlus 8 Falcon Road, Lewiston • seniorsplus.org

What should families consider when making the move to assisted living? • Keep it simple- narrow down your options, then visit one or two facilities. Touring too many places can become overwhelming, especially if the resident has memory issues. • Meet the staff- These are the people who will be caring for you or your loved one. • Know your budget- how do you intend to fund your stay, and how long will those resources last? • Plan ahead- many facilities require that residents have an end of life plan to ensure their final wishes are met. • Start now- many facilities have waiting lists. Knowing your options can reduce stress.

+ + + + +

LA’s Senior Services & Facilities Androscoggin Home Healthcare & Hospice 15 Strawberry Avenue, Lewiston 777-7740

Montello Manor/Montello Commons 540 College Street, Lewiston 783-2039

Beacon Hospice 245 Center Street, Auburn 784-4242

Odd Fellows and Rebekahs’ Home of Maine 85 Caron Lane, Auburn 877-665-7585

Bolster Heights 26 Bolster Street, Auburn 784-1364

Russell Park Rehabilitation & Living Center 158 Russell Street, Lewiston 786- 0691

Chapman House 41 Pleasnt Street, Auburn 783-0961

Sarah Frye Home 751 Washington Street North, Auburn 784-7242

Clover Health Care 440 Minot Ave, Auburn 784-3573

Schooner Estates 200 Stetson Road, Auburn 784-2900

Helping Hands 571 Sabattus Street, Lewiston 777-5294

SeniorsPlus 8 Falcon Road, Lewiston 795-4010

Interim Healthcare 336 Center Street, Auburn 783-6700

St. Mary’s D’Youville Pavilion 102 Campus Avenue, Lewiston 777-4200

Marshwood Center 33 Roger Street, Lewiston 784-0108

Woodlands Memory Care 45 Mollison Way, Lewiston 440-6040

Montello Heights 550 College Street, Lewiston 786-7149


41 Pleasant Street, Auburn


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Drew & Susan Desjardins 32


t h E t R av e L iNG


Written by Peggy Faye Brown  |  Photography by Mykùl Rojas


rew Desjardins, known as “Mr. Drew,” has quite a menagerie, with over 100 creatures ranging from reptiles to insects. He and his animals travel throughout Maine, providing over 500 interactive presentations annually. Mr. Drew and His Animals Too reaches about 20,000 people each year at schools, county fairs, and special events, offering the opportunity to “see, touch, and learn” about his interesting creatures. Since most of Desjardins’ animals are not native to Maine, or even the United States, he teaches a bit of the geography, geology, and environmental factors that affect them. “I’m just a big kid,” says Mr. Drew, “and I love sharing my animals and my passion for knowledge about them.”

LA METRO MAGAZINE digital edition @ LAMetroMagazine.com


See, touch, and learn What started Mr. Drew on a career in animal education? As a naturally curious youngster growing up in Lewiston, Desjardins frequently explored the outdoors with the Boy Scouts and on his own. Searching field guides and science books at home and at the library, he learned all he could about his discoveries.

Chloe, the Japanese rat snake

When he grew up, friends would ask his advice on the health and care of their unusual pets. While working in pet shops, he began doing exotic animal rescue and rehabilitation, caring for injured or abandoned creatures. Over twenty years ago, his daughter Katie asked him to bring their pets to her classroom at Montello School in Lewiston. He soon received many requests from other classrooms, which started his traveling zoo career. While a modest Desjardins enjoyed receiving a 2017 nomination for a Herp (Herpetology) Educator Award by the online Reptile Report, he is just as proud of a “Doctor of Herpetology” certificate bestowed upon him by a local pre-school.

Tank, the Sulcata tortoise, will stop munching on lettuce when he feels a gentle pat on his shell. Did you know he can live up to 150 years? That means today’s children may have the opportunity to bring their own children to meet Tank some day, which would warm Mr. Drew’s heart. “It is very fulfilling to know people enjoy my animals,” Desjardins says. “I hope they feel inspired to make a difference in the world.”

Rock of ages Upstairs, visitors can learn about geology with interactive displays Mr. Drew has developed, including a PrisSonny mine area where you can dig in a sand pit for gemstones. You can also polish rocks with his lapidary machine, or open a geode to discover the treasures inside. Enjoy hands-on exploration of all these artifacts: meteorites, prehistoric droppings, flint from England discarded from the ballasts of ships traveling along the Kennebec River, a piece of the Berlin Wall, and rocks still reeking of oil from the Valdez spill. Mr. Drew also conducts tours at Mt. Apatite in Auburn, for those who want to search for gems and stones out in nature.

Creature features

Environmental education

The Desjardins’ home was getting cramped with all of his creatures so, in 2018, he opened Mr. Drew’s Exotic Animal Rescue and Education Center, on Lisbon Street in Lewiston. Here you can visit with animals and learn from Mr. Drew and his wife, Susan, along with their staff and several volunteers who assist visitors who may want to touch or hold the animals.

Just as a gemstone has many facets, Desjardins also offers many other services and gives back to his community in many ways. Mr. Drew offers local teachers a wonderful learning opportunity to host an exotic class pet for a week, free of charge. He also provides a free consultation for anyone considering an exotic pet, assists animal control officers by rescuing and rehabilitating exotic pets, and relocates invasive species, such as the red-eared slider turtle, and other non-natives.

As you wander through the education center, your ophidiophobia (fear of snakes) and other fears may subside when you meet these amazing critters- and possibly even touch or hold them. Braveheart, the friendly rat, will welcome your attention as you walk by his cage. As you walk by the reptile cases, you will notice something resembling a long string of soft-serve vanilla ice cream that has beautiful blue eyes. Guess what? It’s Chloe, the Japanese rat snake. She’s not slippery or slimy- in fact, her skin feels like a soft woven basket. Mr. Drew really hopes meeting these amazing animals will help reduce people’s fears.

Due to his concern about the environment and animal habitats, he started his “OnePiece” campaign to encourage everyone to do their part and pick up litter. He recently discovered Tank the

PrisSonny Mine 34


By Peggy Faye Brown | Photography by Mykùl Rojas | Mr. Drew’s traveling zoo

Admission fees:

$3.00 for Exotic Animals $3.00 for PrisSonny Mine


Tuesday through Thursday, 10am – 3pm Fridays 10am-6pm Saturdays 10am-3pm (Sundays – private parties by appointment) (Mondays -- by appointment for those with extra needs) Upcoming public events are listed on Facebook.

Tank, the Sulcata tortoise

Tortoise trying to swallow a plastic bag, and worked diligently to save him from a sad demise. Desjardins loves his hometown of Lewiston and wants to do his part by providing a great destination for locals and visitors; he also keeps admission fees low to provide affordable family fun. He teams up with Stanton Bird Club by running the instructional portion of the Junior Naturalist program at his education center. In the future, Mr. Drew hopes to have a larger natural history museum with outdoor space, to conduct classes for all ages with ever-changing themes.

Committed to community

“It was a no brainer: I had to be a part of this. Children are a big part of my audience and I am a sucker when it comes to kids. I love seeing their smiles when they ‘See, Touch and Learn’ (his motto) about the animals I bring.” Appearances at events like the Block Party demonstrate what Mr. Drew and His Animals Too is all about: learning, overcoming fears, and most importantly, inspiring environmental preservation for all creatures. Mr. Drew’s Exotic Rescue and Education Center 550 Lisbon Street Suite 17, Lewiston www.mrdrewandhisanimalstoo.com

Desjardins is a familiar face around the LA community, who turns up at many events year after year. For example, Mr. Drew has quickly become a regular feature at the Uncle Andy’s Digest Summer Block Party for Make-A-Wish Maine. LA METRO MAGAZINE digital edition @ LAMetroMagazine.com







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A L Of The unsung heroes of K9 police work

Written Victoria Stanton  |  Photography by Leiva Jose Leiva Written byby David Muise  |  Photography by Jose


magine for a moment that your job description included running headlong into pitch black and very tight spaces. Or finding minuscule amounts of a substance in cleverly hidden places. You might be expected to enter an unknown area, occupied by a potentially lethal character, and to unnaturally ignore the concept of fear. And for all this, the reward may be a treat or a simple meal. If you’re really lucky, you might even get a toy. This work is the domain of police dogs, or canines called “K9s.” Together with their handlers, they form highly disciplined and specialized units that do some of the most difficult work in policing. From sniffing out drugs and apprehending dangerous criminals, to peforming search and rescue, these teams are at work in our community, often unnoticed, providing an invaluable and wholly unique public service.

K9 Officer Rocky, from the Auburn Police Department

Christian Stickney with Grizz, a Belgian Malinois

The dogs If you went by Hollywood standards, you would probably think that the German Shepherd is the only breed suitable to be a police dog, since it is so commonly associated with the work. But according to Christian Stickney, owner and lead trainer of North Edge K9, we may have it wrong. “Almost any dog can be trained to do at least the scent-based work: hounds, labs, retrievers,” Stickney clarifies. Stickney would know, having bred and trained hundreds of dogs over his career with North Edge. He has also run the K9 unit at the Gorham Police Department for over 20 years. He defines the two main types of work most often done by police dogs: scent-based work and patrol work. K9s are referred to as either “single purpose,” deployed for scent-based work only, or “dual purpose,” deployed for both scent-based and patrol work. Each type of work demands certain characteristics from a dog. “For patrol work, there are certainly some preferred breeds. Yes, the German Shepherd is one of them but, increasingly, the Belgian Malinois is being used, as well.” He adds, “That’s my personal preferred breed for patrol work.” Both German Shepherds and Belgian Malinois have the right temperment for patrolling. They both learn commands for a variety of tasks quickly and easily, and both exhibit unflinching confidence. Moreover, they are both supremely loyal breeds; it would seem their purpose in life is to be the courageous protector and constant companion of their human partner. 38


While these breeds may be the most coveted for dual purpose work, there are other breeds that currently serve in the capacity of patrol work, around the world. The most important factors, according to Stickney, are the traits an individual dog displays, as it is being trained. “Not every dog is cut out for police work,” says Stickney. “Even after training, some dogs just don’t naturally possess the key traits we’re looking for.”

The four traits Beyond breed, each dog has its own personality. Working with a dog helps to illuminate character and gives trainers a clearer picture of the dog’s suitability for law enforcement work. “There are four key things I’m looking for in a dog that could potentially be doing police work: sociability, environmental soundness, hunt drive, and interaction,” Stickney enumerates. “It takes some time working with a dog to notice these things.”

By David Muise | Photography by Jose Leiva | Warrior dogs of LA

£ üSociability

Stickney explains that the dog should want to interact, but not be overly aggressive. The dog needs the ability to act in an aggressive manner, but only at the instruction of his handler.

£ üEnvironmental Soundness

“I also want to know that a dog is comfortable in many different environments,” says Stickney. “Is the dog willing to crawl into a dark attic or tight space between walls? Basically, I’ve got to know that a dog can walk into any environment and just own it.”

£ üHunt Drive

This describes how aggressive a dog is in the search, or “the hunt.” How long a dog will keenly follow a scent- or a suspect- is key. Not all dogs have the ambition to pursue through the mountains, in the rain, or even for long periods, which the work often requires.

£ üInteraction

Finally, the dog must have a positive interaction with food or toys, says Stickney. This will become the foundation of their training: the reward system.

Rewards for K9 work Professionally trained K9s stay motivated through a system using food, toys and treats. These, along with the desire to please their handler, form the backbone of K9 work. K9s are first taught to respond to food rewards. Officer Gagne explains that the food reward is different each time Lewiston K9 Scout earns one. “Sometimes she gets a lot of food, sometimes she gets a little. Occasionally, she even gets a liver treat,” says Gagne. “If I’m working outside the house, then I’ve got food in my pocket for potential reward scenarios. The goal is that she’s always motivated and hoping for the big payout.” Officer Don Cousins, of the Auburn Police Department, uses the toy reward system with his K9, Rocky. “Rocky gets a rubber ball to play with, as a reward for doing police work,” says Officer Cousins. “When I first got him, all we did was train like this. It’s ingrained in him- do the work, get the ball.” Most K9s in Maine live with their owners, usually in a kennel. Home-based training adds to the training capability of the handler, and makes the job a 24/7 endeavor. “I’d have my daughter go sit in the woods and send Rocky out to find her. Then I’d reward him with his ball,” says Cousins.

The nose While a human has about six million olfactory receptors in its nose, it is believed that a dog has about 300 million. Further, the part of a dog’s brain devoted to analyzing smells is, proportionately, 40 times greater than in humans.

Creating a K9 Officer

What are the implications? Officer Gagne explains a dog’s ability to differentiate scents like this:

Stickney offers insight into the reward system most K9 units employ with their dogs. This technique becomes the cornerstone to a K9’s ongoing work and training.

“Say you walk into a house, in the winter maybe, and you smell the recognizable scent of beef stew. You know it well; it smells

“Think of a bottle cap- it doesn’t mean anything to you, right? I mean, it’s just a bottle cap,” posits Stickney. “But what if I told you that I’d give you 10 bucks every time you went over and touched it? You’d be touching it as often as you could. That’s kind of how K9s work.” K9s learn this reward system during their rigorous training program. Just to become certified as a working police dog in Maine, a dog and his handler will go through about 480 hours of training together, before even taking the state examination test. The comprehensive test includes basic obedience training, off-leash work, tracking over multiple terrains and surfaces for 30-minute periods, and the display of effective dog control. Even after passing, the work continues with just as much vigor, as the certification must be renewed annually and training goals must be met quarterly. “This is pretty much a 24/7 job,” describes Officer Kevin Gagne from the Lewiston Police Department of the work he and his K9 partner, Scout, perform. “Not only do we train formally for 16 hours a month, but we are training nearly every day. Really, everything is a training opportunity.”

Lewiston Officer Kevin Gagne, with K9 Officer Scout LA METRO MAGAZINE digital edition @ LAMetroMagazine.com


Working officers Every K9 officer has incredible stories to tell about the often dangerous work performed by their canine partners. Stickney pointed us to a Facebook page called “Law Enforcement Dogs of Maine” that, among other things, highlights many of the achievements of law enforcement efforts of K9 units around the state. The page is filled with awe-inspiring stories of K9 unit work that often don’t make it into the headlines. On this page, one can find myriad ways these units are working every day to make our communities safer. Law enforcement dogs are on the job every day all across Maine. They are often the very first to be deployed into highly dangerous environments. Stickney shared a personal story of just such an incident. “We were called to a break-in in progress. A guy had entered a house and the owners ended up barricaded in on the second floor. After we arrived, the guy emerged threateningly- with a lead pipe, posing a risk to officers’ safety,” he recounts. “I deployed my canine, and the situation was deescalated- to the point where we were able to safely apprehend the suspect without any harm to anyone.” That is just a single story of the bravery and service a patrol dog offers on the job. It’s no different for K9s doing scent-based work. Officer Gagne’s K9, Scout, is just as busy sniffing out and ridding the streets of the many dangerous narcotics that are plaguing our communities. In fact, Scout answered 122 calls for service last year alone.

Auburn Officer Don Cousins, with K9 Officer Rocky familiar. Well, a dog walks into that same room and smells beef, carrots, onions, potatoes, broth- each individual ingredient in the beef stew- uniquely.” Stickney uses another scenario to further explain how incredibly small amounts of residue can leave behind a detectable scent for a K9 to hit upon: “You walk into a room that smells of popcorn. You know it, even though there is no sign of popcorn. Even trace amounts of narcotics are like that smell of popcorn, to K9s.” Scientists around the world are learning the mechanics of dogs’ unique abilities in scent detection. For example, dogs have the ability to separate the air they breathe in for respiration purposes and the air that contains smells. A portion of the air breathed in as scent gets trapped in a recess in the nose that is dedicated to olfaction, or scent detection. There, the air gets filtered and olfactory receptors within the tissue “recognize” odor molecules. These receptors send electrical signals to the brain for individual analysis. This helps explain how K9s, like Officer Gagne’s Scout and Officer Cousins’s Rocky, can detect trace amounts of narcotics even when these substances are disguised with other smells, and how they can pick up an individual human’s scent for tracking purposes.



One memorable service call for Officer Gagne came when Scout was deployed in a house where a search warrant had been issued. Scout detected two locked safes, one of which was well hidden and the other was in a mattress. She also picked up the smell of narcotics inside a couch. These are especially difficult situations in which to find narcotics, and certainly could have eluded the human officers’ search. All told, Scout helped take Narcotics found by Scout of the LPD hundreds of grams of lethal drugs off (Photo courtesy of Kevin Gagne) the streets.

The proviso Each officer we spoke to touched on one important fact they want the public to know: K9 dogs are working law enforcement professionals. They are also “tools” used by law enforcement officers; as such, K9s should not be treated as pets. “In addition to handling our K9s, we carry a gun, Taser, communications equipment. You wouldn’t ask if you could touch any of those tools, right?” reasons Stickney. “It’s the same with the K9s. They are also tools we use to complete our police work.” Their handlers want you to know that you need to respect these animals. You can do that by asking permission to touch or pet the dog, and understanding that it’s often not appropriate to do so.



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Finally, you should know that these animals and their handlers are out protecting our community on a daily basis. Their work may not always be in the public eye, but they grind away every day and do the hard work that safety demands. “It is very gratifying work,” says Officer Cousins. “Every time the training comes together, any time you see the hard work pay off, it makes it all worthwhile. Especially, if you love dogs.”  North Edge K9 50 Dunton Lane, Gorham • www.northedgek9.com

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Written by Peggy DeBlois  |  Photography by Jose Leiva


he house lights flicker; it’s time to return to your seat. Before the curtain goes up, marvel at this historic space where over 360 productions have been performed – each one of them by an ensemble of community members, people who work all day and come together as L/A Community Little Theatre in the evenings to make magic. [Cue: music]

CLT Board of Directors: (standing) Phil Vampatella, Chip Morrison, Bob Gardner, Jane Mitchell, John Blanchette, Emily Flynn, Kay Warren, Karen Martin, John Nutting; (kneeling) Mitch Thomas, Brandon Chaloux, Roger Philippon.

The Cast John Blanchette as The Director Karen Martin as The Manager Eileen Messina as The Leading Lady John B. Nutting as The Historian

L/A Community Little Theatre (CLT) brings together people from all areas of life who enjoy performing and producing live theater. “Every ensemble is different, and what each has in common is its diversity,” says John Blanchette, current chair and president of the CLT board. “Teachers, contractors, bankers, lawyers, you name a profession and we’ve had it represented here. We are the greatest melting pot in theTwin Cities.” Blanchette, who started at CLT in 1983, is celebrating his 30th anniversary as a director. “Our casts typically span the ages, as well. In our recent show, Mamma Mia, we had cast members as young as 15, right through people in their early 70s.” Cast members typically hail from Androscoggin County, but about a quarter of each cast travel more than 30 minutes to at-

Sophie Messina as the Ingenue and featuring David Lock as The Tenured Director

Steve Dupont in the 1994 production of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. (Photo courtesy of CLT) 44


By Peggy DeBlois | Photography by Jose Leiva | Community Little Theatre at 80 tend rehearsals and performances. “In the theater community, actors tend to travel,” explains Blanchette. “When they see a show they like, it’s not unusual for them to travel an hour or more.”

Act One – A brief history The very first show performed by L/A Community Little Theatre (then called The Community Little Theater Association) was in 1941 in the Edward Little High School auditorium, now known as the Great Falls Performing Arts Center. The comedy Ladies of the Jury had a cast and crew of nearly 50 people. According to John B. Nutting, member of the board, musicals weren’t performed at CLT until the 1950s, beginning with Kiss Me Kate in 1955. Nowadays, the typical CLT season includes three musicals and two “straight” (nonmusical) plays. Nutting has been working with Judi Moreno, CLT’s recently appointed archivist, to begin the process of cataloguing playbills and photos from the last 80 seasons. David Lock has the proud distinction of having the longest tenure there: 40 Sophie & Eileen Messina years. Lock started as an actor in the 1972 production of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. The next year, he began his long directing career. Lock saw a transition over his time with CLT. “When I came into the theater they had some people with good potential, but those lacking experience weren’t allowed to do things. Now it’s a place where everyone is given an opportunity,” he says.

Locke, who retired from his role with CLT seven years ago, last directed A Grand Night For Singing in 2009. While it’s difficult to choose his favorite play, Locke lands on Forever Plaid in 2003 for its dynamic cast. His fondest memories are of seeing his “theater children” and seeing them take their experience and flourish.

Act Two – An opportunity for youth CLT is very much about family theater, emphasizes Blanchette. “There are multiple generations within families that have been involved here,” he explains, “like Eileen (Messina) and her daughter, Sophie, who were both cast members of Mamma Mia.” Eileen Messina agrees. When her family moved here in 1975, her parents Dick and Mary Glen Rosenberg had been actively involved in theater in Albany, New York; CLT was actually one reason they chose to live in Auburn. “We were very lucky to grow up with a wonderful cadre of super talented people who mentored us,” says Messina. She also credits Judy Walker, with the Auburn Parks and Recreation theater program, and local dance instructor Lois Camire, along with her parents, as part of a foundational group providing theater opportunities for local youth. A youth program builds a strong sense of community. As proof, when Messina directed the 75th Anniversary Gala for the L/A Community Little Theater, people returned from all over the country to perform on this local stage again. “My family was one of three that had three generations on that stage,” says Messina. Karen Martin, executive director of CLT, explains the role the theater plays in youth development. “Many young men and women who get involved at CLT develop a real love of theater, and continue on in college and beyond,” says Martin. CLT takes its role as a theater feeder program for youth very seriously, offering four-week summer theater programs for both youth and teens. “The programs are run by teachers, so they are

Young actors make up the cast of Oliver, 2014. (Photo courtesy of CLT) LA METRO MAGAZINE digital edition @ LAMetroMagazine.com


Announcing the 80th Season Schedule of Shows

October 2019 • Directed by Paul G. Caron Becca Tinkham leads the choreography truly geared to learning,” explains Martin. The teen program also helps participants develop leadership skills, as mentors working in the youth program. Each program maxes out with 30-40 participants each year.

Act Three – The future

January 2020 • Directed by John Blanchette

As L/A Community Little Theatre begins its 80th season of entertaining local audiences, the board is turning its focus to maintaining and improving the Great Falls Performing Arts Center. In 2011, the organization signed a 99-year lease with the City of Auburn for $1 per year, plus all the expenses of maintenance and upkeep. Martin acknowledges it’s been a struggle to put on shows and manage the facility. “We plan to make the space more comfortable, especially for our patrons,” she says. Blanchette agrees that the 80th season is both an opportunity and a challenge. “When we secured the building lease, we got both a blessing and a curse,” says Blanchette. “It’s a 100 year-old building with an antiquated heating system, and no cooling system. We will definitely be doing more fundraising this year.”

April 2020 • Directed by Christopher Hodgkin

Over its history, L/A Community Little Theatre has inarguably had an amazing impact on hundreds of people. Like any great script, CLT’s story will certainly have more twists and turns before it’s done. Let’s hope they stay vital for at least another 80 years. L/A Community Little Theatre 30 Academy Street, Auburn • https://www.laclt.com/ June 2020 • Directed by Kay Warren

August 2020 • Directed by Richard Martin

Want to get involved? Renee Mahon Davis auditions for Paul G. Caron for a role in Annie


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Neighborhoods of the

West Auburn at 300 feet

FUTURE Move to the

Written by Toby Haber-Giasson  |  Photography by Brewster Burns

This series began with reminiscences from longtime residents of Auburn (Winter 2019 issue). In Part 2 (Spring 2019), we examined Auburn’s past, from its centuries as an Abenaki settlement, to a colony of hardy European Americans. In Part 3 (Summer 2019), we watched life in Auburn change alongside developments in transportation, allowing more convenience, commerce and choices. Upon this Sesquicentennial, we examine the city’s neighborhoods to learn where Auburn has been, and asked its current leader to posit the city’s next 50 years.

we look at our spheres of influence, we see that transportation binds our two communities together.” Understanding the role mass transit has played in driving innovations- interurban train lines linking cities for commuters, and freight rail for commerce (see Part 3)- Levesque sees reinvestment in rail transportation as a key to future success.

Meeting challenges with partnerships

Mayor Jason Levesque is proud of his city.

With a modest population that has hovered around 24,000 for decades, Auburn needs to find more workers for its businesses, despite the statewide workforce deficit. It also needs to address food insecurity for its “working poor.”

“We have more than any other city can offer: two lakes, rivers, golf courses, twin sheets of ice, indoor turf, family skiing, healthcare. We’re close to the mountains, to the ocean, to Augusta, Bangor,” he boasts, “and especially to Portland.”

“We could actually be the bread basket for the region, with so much rich farmland here,” Levesque asserts. Municipal regulations may be inhibiting agricultural development, in his view, especially the trend toward small niche farms.

Housing demand is growing, he says. Both construction and renovation are increasing and tax valuations are rising. New stores and restaurants are opening and expanding.

Auburn is working to meet the high demand for affordable housing options. And nearly all existing warehouse space is being utilized, leaving a need for large co-op warehouse space.

This grounds Levesque’s vision for economic growth. “We want families to move here, to raise their kids here. We just took a huge step by voting to approve that a new high school.” Knowing state figures demonstrate that a new school attracts new families, he adds, “We can support thousands more residents with our current infrastructure.”

Our best partners? Private industries, both here and abroad, who believe in Auburn’s great potential, says the mayor. Building connections with federal and state entities is also yielding grants and valuable new programs.

Auburn has it all

Transportation is key The future of Auburn, reasons Levesque, is tied into the future of another city. “Portland is experiencing a boom,” he says. “As part of Greater Portland, we can and should share it.” “We have the housing and affordable cost of living Portland’s workforce needs. I’ve had discussions with Mayor Strimling. As

Mayor Jason Levesque in front of Auburn Hall

Moving forward Mayor Levesque, himself a successful entrepreneur, knows the value of building Auburn’s brand. A recent multi-media campaign ran ads around New England, from Bangor to Massachusetts. “We are a great community to live and play in,” he maintains. “I’m excited for the next generation in Auburn. We’re moving forward in a grand, bold way.”


By Toby Haber-Giasson | Photography by Brewster Burns | Auburn’s sesquicentennial

Upon Auburn’s incorporation in 1842, land from Minot and Poland was divided into four villages: North, West, and East Auburn, and the Village.

Auburn Village

decade later, it was home to both a resort hotel and a town farm (for the landless poor), two schools, and its own library.

The city’s downtown was originally known as Goff’s Corner, settled 40 years before Auburn officially became a city (see Part 2 of the Auburn at 150 series).

West Auburn Formerly known as East Minot, West Auburn spans from the marshes at the south end of Lake Auburn to the ridge bordering the lake’s west shore and Perkins Ridge. It bustled in the 1800s with shops and schools, launching Auburn’s first shoe factory in 1835. When the railroad came to Auburn Village, the shoe business moved downtown. Today, West Auburn is largely residential, and home to Wallingford’s Orchard and Lost Valley.

North Auburn This area lies between West Auburn Hill and Dillingham Hill. Growing from just five homes in 1818 to a prosperous village a

North Auburn’s first shoe factory appeared in 1848. Later, residents operated a thriving shoe factory collective here, until operations moved downtown, to ship by rail. The Lake Auburn House hotel boasted the first telephone in town, back in 1881. Gradually, the Water District purchased lakefront property for conservation; after a road was paved to Auburn village, North Auburn became a suburb.

East Auburn Lake Auburn’s outlet stream powered many types of mills, for grist and cider, for bobbins and carding, for pegs and furniture. After these shops moved downtown, East Auburn became a recreational destination, the home of the famed Lake Grove resort (see Part 3). The outlet beach, beloved for swimming and fishing derbies, is now closed, but the lovely park is still great for picnics.


Broadview Farm est.1867 (Schoppe Family Farm) (Photo courtesy of Susan Schoppe Ference)

Now Residence of Susan Schoppe Ference and her husband, Don

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danville neighborhoods Danville/New Auburn/South Auburn

Danville This region is a hub for transportation, such as the Auburn-Lewiston Airport and the Maine Turnpike exit. Even 150 years ago, Danville Corner was already a busy crossroads boasting a stagecoach stop, five taverns, two ferry crossings and a bridge over the Little Androscoggin. Later, Danville became the site of a junction between the Maine Central Railroad and the Grand Trunk, which connected Lewiston Auburn to Canada. Nearby, a commuter interurban line ran through here to the Twin Cities’ downtowns, linking LA workers with Portland (see Part 3).

New Auburn Situated between two rivers, this area was a natural location for farming and trade. In the 1870s, Little Androscoggin Water Power Company built a dam to power the Barker Mill. Many groups immigrated to New Auburn for employment there: Irish, English, French Canadians, Polish, German, and most of Auburn’s Jewish community. In 1933, a devastating fire destroyed 250 buildings here, and left 2,000 residents homeless (see more in Part 1). In the midst of the Great Depression, this community remarkably rallied to rebuild after disaster, at a cost of $2 million. Today, New Auburn Village is a federal Opportunity Zone. Grants are funding improvements to the riverfront like Anniversary Park, anchored by a monument displaying bells from historic St. Louis Church.

South Auburn This historically rural area extends south below the turnpike to Durham, and west to New Gloucester. It is still home to many farms and some golf courses.

Be sure to revist the first three parts of our series! heart

of Auburn:

Trains, Tolls, and Trolleys:

In our previous issue, we touched on reminiscences of Auburn’s 150 years. In Part 2 of a series of 4, LA Metro explores Auburn’s beginnings, wrought by fascinating challenges and opportunities.

Near the end of that decade, Cathy bought a little home on Holly Street, where she raised her two children, Lane and Terrilyn DeCoster. She bought them “the best doughnuts” from Eith’s Bakery, and took them sledding at Brann Hill, on Park Avenue. Her family went square dancing with neighbors every weekend at CMVTI (now Central Maine Community College). “We would set the younger children up at a table, and they colored while we danced,” she recalls.


Reminiscences upon the city’s 150th anniversary

Transportation evolution

Written by Donna Rousseau | Photography by Jose Leiva

Sweet Auburn

Written by Toby Haber-Giasson

Goff’s Corner, watercolor by Andrew Gidding, 1832. Courtesy: Androscoggin Historical Society

Auburn horse trough

Main St. Auburn,

the flood

of 1936


circa 1950’s

The Auburn

150 years of change

Motor Inn

Written by Toby Haber-Giasson


nniversaries have a unique quality for nostalgia, a recalling of life’s sweet and sometimes bitter moments. In 2019, as Auburn celebrates its 150th anniversary, the history books can reveal its boundaries and beginnings. Yet, the true story of Auburn comes from the tales of her people, the citizens who have lived and worked lifetimes in her neighborhoods and along her city streets. Their stories weave the color and richness into the 150-year-old tapestry that is Auburn.

“Sweet Auburn, loveliest village of the plain” - from “The Deserted Village” by Oliver Goldsmith


ocal legend credits Mrs. James Goff, wife of a wealthy local merchant, with selecting Auburn’s name from the opening line of an 18th century poem. In it, the writer laments a beautiful pasture squandered for a wealthy man’s residence.

High-flying memories At 80 years old, Catherine “Cathy” Dunlap Thorpe knows her city well. She grew up in Auburn as Catherine Dunlap, on Goff Hill. Her family owned the five-generation Dunlap Agency (now the Dunlap Corporation), once located in the heart of downtown Auburn. Among her early memories are the fly-in breakfasts she used to take with her father, Malcolm Dunlap.

What’s in a name? The poetic reference behind Auburn’s name would suggest that its land was a precious commodity. Yet, it was Lewiston land that lured English settlers north to Maine.

“My father traveled frequently for business,” explains Thorpe, “but he did not like being away from us. So, he purchased a single-engine plane for the company, for the very utilitarian purpose of being home with his family at night.” Some mornings, her father would meet other pilots at the airport, and they would choose a place to fly to for breakfast – Winthrop, Augusta, or various destinations. “My brother, Stephen, and I would take turns flying with him,” she says.

Massachusetts, like England, was getting crowded; dividing up land to succeeding generations was leaving farmers’ sons desperate. In the 1700s, former Revolutionary War Colonel Moses Little, Lewiston’s first realtor, sold such men 100-acre farm parcels to build their dreams on. Little’s son Josiah also spent his life developing Lewiston. In fact, when the colonel’s grandson Edward

In the early 1960s, Thorpe joined the family business, working first in claims, and later writing homeowner policies in the Personal Lines department. “I loved working in claims,” she says. 36


Was Auburn’s water sweeter than its land? Of Auburn’s 50 square miles, 15 percent is water; Lake Auburn alone comprises eight square miles. And that’s not counting the mighty Androscoggin and its other rivers, ponds, and streams. Alas, Auburn could not transcend its own geography. The Great Falls made for a pretty view, but could only be dammed from the Lewiston side, to the east; Auburn’s dramatic “west pitch” proved too steep to accommodate a water wheel. Instead, early manufacturers utilized Auburn’s abundant lakes and streams for water power. This gave rise to early Auburn shoe and textile shops, as well as grist, saw, and wool-fulling mills. LA METRO MAGAZINE digital edition @ LAMetroMagazine.com

Cathy Dunlap Thorpe

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Employees of the Lewiston, Brunswick & Bath Electric Railroad showing off their 1890s club car. (Photo courtesy of AHS)





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proposed to build a new home across the Androscoggin Riveron the Auburn side- Josiah thought him mad.

Go with the flow




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Written by Donna Keene Rousseau  |  Photography by Brewster Burns


tanton Bird Club, established in February 1919, is celebrating a century of conservation, stewardship, and service. Over its history, the club has established three sanctuaries on 850 acres of gifted and club-purchased land– Thorncrag Nature and Applesass Hill Sanctuaries in Lewiston, and Woodbury Nature Sanctuary in Monmouth. As responsible stewards, club volunteers have maintained the land’s integrity for the continued enjoyment of generations. Jeri Maurer, Stanton’s president since 2015, is particularly proud of the club’s history of educational outreach, environmental protection, and perpetual care of the land. In her President’s message, she confirms that even 100 years later, the club’s objectives remain, “to increase the protection of wild birds, to stimulate interest in bird life, to establish a model bird sanctuary, to foster and encourage research work in all branches of natural science, to inculcate the love of nature and science, and to perpetuate the memory of Professor Jonathan Stanton,” the club’s namesake.

By Donna Keene Rousseau | Photography by Brewster Burns | Stanton Bird Club

A feathered history Naturally, the birth of Stanton Bird Club (SBC) was wrought of love and concern for birds. Back in the early 1900s, several species of birds had become extinct, owing to the fashion industry’s demand for feather plumes on women’s hats. Harold Ernest Baynes, nationally known for his advocacy in saving wildlife, came to Lewiston Auburn in 1918, to speak about the plight of birds in the United States. Baynes, who had founded the nation’s first bird club, set forth a challenge to the LA community to organize a club, actually refusing to leave the stage unless one was formed that very day. Be assured our community did not dare refuse; even Theodore Roosevelt became the president of a bird club in New York at Baynes’ behest! Although the Stanton Bird Club has always been open to all, many of its original members had ties to Bates College. The club is named in honor of Dr. Jonathan Y. Stanton, a Bates professor who often took his ornithology students on bird outings. Dr. Alfred Williams Anthony, also from the Bates faculty, presented the club with their first parcel of land in Lewiston. The name “Thorncrag” was coined by Dr. Anthony for the summit of Thorne’s Mountain, and “crag” for its rocky nature. Though it was begun with just 45 acres, the sanctuary’s current acreage consists of 14 parcels of land totaling 450 acres, varying in size and characteristics, all gifted to or purchased by the club. In 1929, the daughters of Mary Ann Woodbury gifted a parcel of land in Monmouth to the club. This 160-acre gift served as the beginning of a second preserve, the Woodbury Nature Sanctuary. Years later, after long negotiations, Stanton granted a perpetual easement over its property to Central Maine Power in return for a 240-acre wetland mitigation parcel abutting the existing sanctuary. This property is marked by natural bodies of water – Mud Pond, Jock Stream, and a cedar swamp – in addition to its established meadow and woodlands. Like its fellow Thorncrag, Woodbury is open for the public’s enjoyment. Applesass Hill is the latest of the club’s sanctuaries, established in 1930. The two-acre parcel of land, located at the crest of Pleasant Street in Lewiston, was gifted to the club by the Field-Davis family. It was to serve as a “wildflower and bird sanctuary, animal

The fireplace at Thorncrag

and forest preserve, and arboretum” available for public enjoyment. It is marked by a welcome sign supported by two stone pillars. Today, large pines, oaks and sugar maples reign.

Thorncrag Nature Sanctuary Though a busy city sits along its borders, there is a different bustle in the deep greens of Thorncrag, the largest of the club’s sanctuaries. From birdsong to the rustle of brush, visitors discover a world that seems far from the urban clamor of Lewiston. Explorers can access Thorncrag’s preserve from a wildflower-bordered entry area. The visitor kiosk offers maps of the trails and activities of interest. Stone fireplaces, benches, and landmarks all along its network of maintained trails whisper of the sanctuary’s historical benefactors and volunteers Thorncrag visitor kiosk - the Kate Anthony and Carrie Miller fireplaces, the Landry Bench, and the Trafton Pinnacle Memorial. This last structure is constructed from the stone foundation of a farmhouse owned by the Wood/Michaud family who once owned and worked a parcel of Thorncrag’s land. At the summit, visitors get a 360-degree vista on the environs from the highest point in Lewiston, as well as a view of the Western mountain range and Tuckerman’s Ravine. This landmark’s original intent was always more than just a “model bird sanctuary.” Dr. Anthony saw his gift as one of great hope; he believed Thorncrag “gave promise of uniting persons of different races, religions, professions and callings, in a broad

Public Programs From May through October, the club hosts various birding expeditions, as well as regular Wednesday Walks. These walks consist of two-mile explorations of landscapes close to home and further afield. Knowledgeable guides teach identification, bird song, and migratory patterns. Some of the 14 Wednesday Walk sites for 2019 include have included Riverside Trail in Lewiston, Sherwood Forest in Auburn, the Fitzgerald Preserve in Brunswick, and Packard-Littlefield Farm in Lisbon, as well as several privately-owned properties from Litchfield to New Gloucester.

Club President Jeri Maurer

and inclusive manner perhaps superior to any other organization then existing.” So it would seem that some 10-15,000 visitors to Thorncrag each year share his passion.

Stewardship Gary Maurer, Jeri’s spouse, has served as a dedicated steward of the club’s land for 20 years. He is committed to the year-round care of the wildlife habitats, maintaining trails and land in the midst of the surrounding development His focus is creating a place where nature and people exist in mutual respect. “Like many organizations, the Stanton Bird Club experienced periods of inactivity during its history,” explains Gary. “When we [he and Maurer] arrived in the ‘70s, the sanctuary was a mess, from people using it as a party site. Susan Hayward, a local science teacher and longtime member of the SBC board of directors, headed a cleanup with the help of federal grant money.” Thorncrag now provides an invaluable resource for LA and beyond. The man-made ponds and vernal pools, as well as the surrounding forest and meadowland, all serve as nature-based classrooms for students of all ages. The sanctuary also serves as a demonstration and workshop site for professional and service groups including University of Maine wildlife biologists, wetland engineers, and the Boy and Girl Scouts of America.

Field trips, guest speakers, and special events, including the centennial celebration snowshoe trek, are all available to adult members. Offerings from January through June 2019 included visits to Plum Island in Massachusetts, to view birds preparing for migration north; Evergreen Cemetery in Portland, a popular place for spring migrant birds; and Thorncrag, for the annual Larry Nadeau Memorial Walk, to name but a few.

On a wing and a prayer Stanton Bird Club’s dual challenge is to hold fast to its original objectives, and ensure the future of the club. SBC is inspiring the next generation of membership by actively engaging youth. “Thorncrag is such a draw for younger community members,” says Jeri Maurer. “By educating the community about Stanton, who we are and what we do, we hope to recruit future members.” As an illustration of growing membership one person at a time, Maurer remembers a child, exuberant after Simon Bolduc at Nature Week hiking in the sanctuary. “When I asked him what he wanted to do when he grew up, he said, ‘I just want to be a member of this Stanton Bird Club!’”

Youth programs for sustainability Jeri Maurer originally became a club member in the ‘90s to work with the youth programs. She recalls one young explorer examining a bit of robin’s droppings with great intensity. “He was using his magnifying glass, really studying that poop, when he suddenly shouted, ‘My God! I AM AN EXPLORER!’” laughs Maurer. Indeed, children’s excitement for nature serves as a cornerstone for future membership. In the summer, the club hosts Nature Week, when children can explore the elements of nature at Thorncrag. This year’s study of earth, wind, fire, and water featured kite flying and making s’mores in solar ovens.

A Wednesday Walk with Una Tuck, Jonalyn Yancey, Gordon Smith, & Judy Marden 56


Another way Stanton plants seeds for the next generation of members is the Junior Naturalist Program, designed for children in grades 2 - 6 with an interest in the outdoor world. The group

Junior Naturalists Nelson, Rosemary, & Audrey Bolduc meets at Mr. Drew’s Exotic Animal Rescue and Education Center in Lewiston on the first Tuesday of every month, from October to May, with field trips held on the following Saturdays. Drew Desjardins (known as Mr. Drew) and SBC members conduct classes on a variety of natural science and environmental topics and lead field trips around Lewiston Auburn to explore and discover natural habitats. Among this year’s field activities: ice fishing and dissecting owl pellets. “Every month is a new surprise,” says Junior Naturalist Nelson Bolduc, age 11. “Sometimes we handle reptiles or eat bugs, or take a scavenger hunt. It’s a lot of fun.” “The group’s goal,” says Program Coordinator Nancy Long, “is to help children learn about nature and become good land stewards. They can recognize the importance of their role in the protection of our natural resources in Maine.” In addition to guest speakers and special programs, Junior Naturalists also lead “Bird of the Month” presentations involving a selected Maine native bird or one that migrates through Maine. The children create posters about each bird, their nest and eggs, plus fun facts.

ers to come along for the hike. There is always work to be done by the club members. Working with a small budget, volunteers serve as the land’s lifeblood, performing vital labors of love. Their latest project is a gift of an 80-acre contiguous parcel of meadowland within Thorncrag. With recent concerns over bees and pollination in the news, Gary Maurer says he and club volunteers plan to design smaller gardens of indigenous plants and flowers that support pollinators – bees, insects, butterflies, and birds – and help the environment sustain itself. Sustainable living is an idea “on trend” with the younger generation, and nature may be the best teacher for demonstrating the intricate balance necessary. “Did you know,” asks Maurer, “that 90-95% of songbirds feed their young only caterpillars, or that an oak tree supports 300 types of caterpillars? One chickadee nest – one set of parents- must feed their young approximately 5,000 caterpillars to get them to fledglings. Helping people understand how a habitat sustains its wildlife will be especially important as urban development continues,” he explains.

Precious gift

Program alumnus Simon Bolduc, now 12, recalls, “The most exciting experience was making the bird presentations, because they were on display in the kiosk for a few weeks.”

For one hundred years, the membership of the Stanton Bird Club has called people to the woods, imparting their knowledge, and sharing their love of nature. For the next century, their hope is that nature will make its mark on the hearts of its explorers.

Long says this year’s programming will include children’s book author Melissa Kim reading her book, A Snowy Owl Story. Other programs include presentations on Maine’s fish, “Bugs for Dinner,” and celebrating National Save a Spider Day on March 14.

“What a gift these early people gave us in Thorncrag,” Maurer reflects, “in the middle of the city, a place of discovery, solace, and health. And the best part of all, everything is free.”

Those who wander

Stanton Bird Club https://stantonbirdclub.org/

Those who wander and wonder have always led the way, and the Stanton Bird Club plans to continue in that tradition, inviting othLA METRO MAGAZINE digital edition @ LAMetroMagazine.com



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MEDCo’s state-cer tified grow facilities er Joe Couture. are run by Master “One Growawareness of cannabis of our goals has been to increase the ’ medical benefits to the general public,”



Helping people “We have custome rs with ailments that life,” confirms Producti affect their quality of marijuana is prescribe on Manager Joey Johnson. Medical glaucoma, arthritis, d by doctors for alleviating general and cancer, among pain, ing people getting other infirmities. “Seemajor relief through is very satisfying the use of our products to me.”

asserts Couture. “We are able to help many people, and welcoming environm in a safe ent.” Community involvem


MEDCo is part of the Lewiston Downtow LA neighborhood. “We are member n Association,” says s of the top sponsors for the 2019 Balloon McMahan, “and one of Festival.” Says Couture, “It has been very rewardin able to contribute g to know that we and give somethin are g back to the city in.” we live


NE digital edition

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LA Metro Magazine & Uncle Andy’s Digest 9 Grove Street, Auburn

L to R: Steph Arsenault, Tom Hill, Steve Simard, Jim Marston, Tyla Davis, & Tim Rucker

LA’s Publishing Team Publisher Jim Marston is quick to cite his mission when asked about his publications, Uncle Andy’s Digest and LA Metro Magazine. “It is all about moving LA forward and highlighting the best that this central Maine area has to offer,” Marston says. “Our publications are lively and wellliked. We take pride in offering our readers a great experience, while helping businesses to reach their marketing goals.”




Photo by Jose Leiva

Uncle Andy’s Digest Founded in 1996, Uncle Andy’s Digest is a humor-based magazine that offers its advertisers maximum exposure. With its finger on the pulse of the community, the Digest has an almost “cult” following of 25,000 readers per month and 20,000+ on social media.

LA Metro Magazine Our quarterly, full color lifestyle magazine introduces you to the people, places, and things that are moving LA forward. With a team of seasoned writers and photographers, we bring you to the interesting and unique experiences that create the fabric of LA.

“Regardless of what you’re looking for- a place to hang out, dinner and drinks, or you need to find a dentist- the Digest will give you all the info you need,” says editor-in-chief Tyla Davis.

“I like the fact that we are heavily involved within the community,” says Tim Rucker, advertising consultant. “We don’t just place an ad for our clients, but we give them more connections than any other media company.”

Stephanie Arsenault, office manager, adds, “I have yet to meet anyone in the area that I travel, from Auburn to South Pariswhere I live, who hasn’t seen the Digest.”

“The quality of the magazine’s full length features is amazing,” notes Steve Simard, advertising consultant.

Highlighting the good work of nonprofit organizations in the LA community.

Changing Lives Written by Kiernan Majerus-Collins  |  Photography by Mykùl Rojas



Giving homeless teens a chance at a better future

Caouette makes the most of the space, packing in clothes racks, shelves of toiletries and food, a refrigerator full of water and snacks, and a homey kitchen table covered with a brightly colored tablecloth.

Sabrina York

When Sabrina York walked into The Store Next Door at Lewiston High School, she didn’t realize her story was anything unusual. “When you live it for so long, it’s just life,” York relates. “It doesn’t feel that different or weird, or like it’s not supposed to be like that.” But York’s situation was different. She was homeless, as a high school freshman.

“A lot of kids come down in the morning and they have breakfast at the table, like you would at home,” Caouette reports. “The kitchen table means a lot to the kids, because they’ve never had that before.” Students stop by throughout the day as well, to grab a snack or just take a quick break from the stressful environment that is high school. This cozy and welcoming room gets “very crowded” with all the kids who need help, Caouette says. Homeless youth get more from the SND than just essential items. Caouette knows that many have had little parental support, and she tries to fill the void as best she can.

With her mother battling inner demons while living in an apartment without electricity or much food, York had to stay elsewhere in order to have a safe place to sleep at night. She recalls she would crash with friends, grateful to have a couch. “If you’re ‘couch surfing,’ which was pretty much what I was doing at the time,” York says, “you’re considered homeless.” Her unstable home life made school difficult. She said she couldn’t attend summer school because she didn’t have an alarm to help her get to school on time. Things began to get better, however, when she connected with Mary Seaman, the homeless liaison at Lewiston High School (LHS) and founder of The Store Next Door (SND). Seaman provided immediate help—York got food, a winter coat, and other essentials, but Seaman also helped York get her own efficiency apartment during her junior year of high school.

Anything a student needs Jamie Caouette, who currently runs The Store Next Door, said that’s exactly what the nonprofit is designed to do. “We try to provide anything a student needs to get through the school year. When school starts, students can come down and get any school supplies they need,” Caouette says. She also stocks underwear, socks, deodorant, and shampoo, and runs a small food pantry. Caouette says these are the kind of items needed by the nearly 300 homeless youth annually who receive aid and support from SND. For over two decades, this nonprofit resource has been tucked into a couple of rooms in the basement of Lewiston High School.

SND’s kitchen table

Homeless youth Caouette feels the public has a false image of homelessness. “When you see the man on the corner asking for money, or you see them pushing the grocery cart, that’s your image of homelessness,” she says. “You don’t want to think that there’s homeless youth, but there are so many.” York’s situation was far from the worst the SND has seen. While most of these teens are “couch surfing” at friends’ homes, York says, some are sleeping outdoors. Caouette reports some of her homeless students sleep in tents by the Androscoggin River during the summer months. She says she worries about them, especially in the winter when temperatures plunge. Caouette often gathers up bags of food and clothing and roams these areas, just to deliver extra help to these students when they’re not in school. LA METRO MAGAZINE digital edition @ LAMetroMagazine.com


York and Caouette agree that 90 to 95 percent of the youth served by the SND are dealing with parents who struggle with alcohol or drug addiction. York finds that too many of the students, especially those who don’t get help quickly, head down the same path. Caouette says the problem is “parents not being parents.”

Founder Mary Seaman (Photo courtesy of Jamie Caouette)

“Just a couple of years ago I had one student. He went home from school and his neighbor told him that his mom and his younger brother had moved to Alabama while he was at school, and just left him here,” Caouette says. “He was just 15 years old.”

Some students are dealing with even more horrific situations. But with help from SND, they manage to graduate and find their way at a community college.

I can’t see it fall The 2018-2019 school year was the first since program founder Mary Seaman retired, and Caouette admits it was a struggle. “My role is not really to run The SND, but the need is there” she says.

Apparel available at SND

Caouette actually works for Health Affiliates Maine, as a case manager embedded at Lewiston High School. Her work with homeless and pregnant teens there is funded by MaineCare. Up until this most recent school year, Caouette helped Seaman run The SND, but now Caouette runs the nonprofit with help from an educational technician. For now, the school system funds the ed tech position. But Caouette knows the threat of budget cuts is real, and would be devastating to the SND. “This isn’t just a job, for me,” Caouette says. “I know that the SND is so badly needed that I can’t see it fall.” Caouette remains optimistic, however—she knows that the SND exists because of the generosity of countless members of the Lewiston Auburn community, over the past two decades.

Jamie Caouette


“Everything comes to us from the community,” says Caouette. “I wouldn’t be able to do it without them.


Jamie Caouette and her students would greatly appreciate any donations of money, clothing, food, school supplies, toiletries, or other items. Reach out to Caouette at jcaouette@lewistonpublicschools.org

or drop off donations at the Lewiston High School front office.


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Profile for LA Metro Magazine

LA Metro Magazine - Autumn 2019  

The Premiere Magazine of Lewiston-Auburn Maine

LA Metro Magazine - Autumn 2019  

The Premiere Magazine of Lewiston-Auburn Maine