LA Metro Magazine Spring 2019

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Hey y’all! Ok, ok. No, I’m not talking like a true Texan, at least not yet anyway. Anyone who’s thinking this move happened quickly is right. Sometimes, life presents us with opportunities that require fast action, or they sail on by, and we have no real idea of what amazing adventures might be waiting. The long and short of my decision began with some friends of mine moving to Dallas back in July, and it ended with a job offer. At the end of December, when I was heading to the Lone Star state to visit them, I decided to see what Dallas had to offer someone on a career path similar to mine. One job description- one and ONLY one- not only looked appealing, it described me perfectly. And I guess we all know what happened from there. I knew I’d miss the comfort of my roots in LA, but without a doubt I’d been pining for an adventure like this for quite some time. I’m thrilled for the opportunity I’ve been given in my new role at D Magazine, working in the heart of downtown Dallas. I know that my role at LA Metro prepared me to make the most of this new adventure. I am beyond excited to have had a hand in this spring issue, and I bid a proper farewell to the staff and the readers who gave me the right direction and the experience I would need. I have no doubt LAMM will continue to thrive; the community and the magazine have so much to offer each other. I guess LA is in my blood and that won’t change, no matter how long I am away. For all these reasons, I can’t wait to come back to visit. Lastly, a big congratulations to Tyla. The floor is now hers!

PAM ASHBY Outgoing Editor-in-Chief

The snowbanks have melted, the ice cream stores are open, and the sun is exerting its warmth over LA. All these are true signs that spring is in full force and winter’s bitter cold days are fading into the past. Spring is also a time to celebrate new beginnings. I am truly fortunate to have been given the opportunity to join the LA Metro family as the incoming editor-in-chief. I have spent 20 years in the LA area and am constantly amazed by the rich history, commitment to community, and the remarkable local businesses that I am surrounded with every single day. New flowers will soon sprout, then show signs of growth and maturity; I hope to follow the same path. I am excited to jump in, not only to work at LA Metro, but to embrace this opportunity to its fullest. The time I have spent in this community has taught me that there is no shortage of information, ideas, and experiences from our citizens. And I can’t wait to learn more! I wish Pam Ashby, the outgoing editor-in-chief, the best of luck on her new adventure in Texas! Her assistance has been much appreciated as I transition into this role. Happy Spring everyone!

TYLA DAVIS Incoming Editor-in-Chief

LA Metro Magazine is proudly printed in Lewiston, Maine at:

8 Lexington Street, Lewiston 4


Over a dozen Colorado’s in stock! Over 100 Silverado’s in stock!

5 Star Dealership &

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contributors Toby hails from the bustling New York City world of P.R., promoting live events like pay-per-view boxing, and publishing album reviews in Creem and Audio magazines.

Toby Haber-Giasson

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.

editorial director & writer

Adam Bouffard is a freelance photographer and filmmaker from Midcoast Maine. As a graduate of the University of Maine, Adam has been working in the photo/video field professionally since 2012. His creative inspiration is most often found outdoors while backpacking, or camping with his dog Rocky.

Adam Bouffard photographer

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.

Nicole is a freelance writer living in Auburn. She graduated from Southern New Hampshire University with a Bachelor of Arts in English Language & Literature. She spends her free time at the beach, walking in the woods, and talking to her animals.

Nicole Breton

Brewster Burns



T.S. is a native of Lewiston who first aspired to become a writer during her sophomore year at Lewiston High School. She has written for a variety of local Maine newspapers and publications since 2006.

T.S. Chamberland writer


Community and growth are of particular interest to this New England Patriots fan and she enjoys fitness, beachcombing, whiskey and wine tastings, as well as travel and time with family and friends.


Disc golf, rock climbing, and playing the piano are among his other hobbies.

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

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.

Peggy DeBlois writer

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

contributors Jennifer is a freelance photographer living in Auburn. She has been taking photos since she was a kid. She loves landscape photography as well as portrait photography.

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.

If you’d like to see more of her work, check out

Michael Krapovicky

Jennifer Grace



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 Leiva


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.

Dan is an actor, producer, writer, and editor. As owner of Mystery for Hire, he has performed in nearly 900 mystery dinner theater shows. With Mainely Improv, Dan does improv comedy performances, as well as offers corporate training in using the skills of improvisation.

Dan Marois writer

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

David Muise writer

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.

He serves as editor and writer for many publications but particularly enjoys crafting stories that reflect the LA Metro area.

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.

Donna Rousseau

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


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contents SPRING VOL. 4


No. 2


quick reads Social Hour: LA’s Comic Craze


12 Heavy on Atmosphere

Tom Platz: Seeing LA’s future



Bakeries of LA

34 Sweet Auburn: 150 years of change

Stories from the Underground

48 Biking the Trails

on the cover


The Colorful Art of Sushi

22 8


Nonprofit Spotlight:

Greater Androscoggin Humane Society


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LA Metro


Thomas Hill

Website/Social media

Jim Marston

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Pam Ashby, outgoing Tyla Davis, incoming



Jim Marston Tim Rucker Steve Simard

PRODUCTION MANAGERS Pam Ashby Tyla Davis Jim Marston



Stephanie Arsenault


Toby Haber-Giasson


Nicole Breton T.S. Chamberland Peggy DeBlois Toby Haber-Giasson Michael Krapovicky Dan Marois David Muise Donna Rousseau


PHOTOGRAPHY Adam Bouffard Brewster Burns Jennifer Grace Jose Leiva

Tyla Davis

Graphic Design / Editor


Jasmine CafĂŠ owner, Supannee Saengwong 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: 9 Grove Street, Auburn, ME 04210

Jim Marston


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.



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Written by Michael Krapovicky Photography by Brewster Burns


s Lewiston Auburn’s once-thriving downtown is seeing expansion, entertainment - like music and comedy shows - is once again emerging as a growth enterprise.

Rise of comedy A driving force for the burgeoning LA comedy scene is Mark Turcotte (pictured right). Stand-up comedian Turcotte founded Maine Event Comedy, described on its website as “a vehicle to showcase some of the best comedians from the Pine Tree State and beyond.” “I didn’t start out in comedy with the intention of producing shows, but I’m glad it worked out,” Turcotte admits. “I enjoy the process of working with venue owners and building an audience. It’s also fun to put comedians in a position to succeed and see them make the most of an opportunity.”



SOCIAL H UR An ongoing section in LA Metro Magazine highlighting great places to go and things to do in the LA community.

Mark Turcotte warms up the crowd at The Pub at Baxter

Local comedienne Dawn Hartill

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Comedian Tanael Joachim from New York City

The origin of Turcotte’s love for comedy was a George Carlin special he watched on Home Box Office at age 12. “What resonated was that single person onstage, armed only with a microphone, making people laugh,” recounts Turcotte. “It was entertainment in its purest form...I couldn’t wait to try it. Little did I know, it would take 30 years.” Turcotte only began to pursue his early love of comedy later in life. “I saw a commercial for a stand-up workshop, and it was all I needed,” explains Turcotte. “Five minutes into the workshop and I knew…I found my people, my creative outlet, my purpose. It’s been nothing but writing, performing, and producing ever since.”

Something out of nothing “The biggest change from when I started is that now, there ‘is’ an LA comedy scene,” jokes Turcotte. “When I started six years ago, there were no opportunities here. You had to go to Portland or beyond for open mics, workshops, and shows; now we have all of that in Lewiston Auburn. It’s exciting,” muses Turcotte. Turcotte proffers options for comedians who wish to start out performing for an audience. “I offer an open mic following the shows at Bear Bones Beer. Some comedian friends started an open mic at 84 Court that runs twice-monthly. And I hear comedians are even doing time Monday nights at Pedro O’Hara’s open mic,” states Turcotte. “I’ve also offered some workshops through Maine Event Comedy, and now you can take stand-up, joke writing, and improv courses through Lewiston Adult Education.”

Comedian Randy Williams from New Hampshire



A class in comedy Local comic Dawn Hartill has also been party to the rising popularity of comedy in LA. “I took a stand-up comedy class in 2016 at Lewiston Adult Education with Tuck Tucker, and I took over teaching the class in 2018,” Hartill explains. “Several individuals from the class I taught have gone on to exceed all expectations in comedy. Leonard Kimble and Nic Dufault both made the semi-finals in two comedy competitions last year.” Turcotte singled out Julie Poulin, another one of Hartill’s students, as a rising star in the LA comic scene. “Julie is approaching her one-year stand-up anniversary, but handles herself like a seasoned veteran,” Turcotte says. “With a background in theater and improv, she already had stage chops, but stand-up is a different animal. She’s embraced the discomfort of being alone onstage, and her performance seems to improve by the week.” Turcotte highlights Poulin’s comic ascension with a milestone achievement. “She recently bested a field of 20 in Maine Event Comedy’s Tightest Five contest,” proclaimed Turcotte. “We had comics from all over New England performing their best fiveminute set; Julie delivered the set of her life, and won.”

Hometown perspective After years as a stand-up comedian in New York City, Mike St. Hilaire recently returned to his home state of Maine. “When I left Lewiston back in ‘94, comedy didn’t really exist,” admits St.

Comedian Andrew Volpe from Boston

By Michael Krapovicky | Photography by Brewster Burns | LA’s Comic Craze Hilaire. “Now there is a real comedy community - funny comics, comedy workshops and open mics, and comedy shows!” “I’ve heard lot of comics in New York say that the best way to really get good is to find a smaller community, then come to New York,” says St. Hilaire. Conversely, he began developing his routines in New York. “My stepbrother, Ben Roberts, is a comic who lives in Leeds, and has a pretty good pulse on the Maine comedy community. He told me there is some real comedy happening in Lewiston Auburn, and a lot of surrounding towns. He himself put together a few open mics and some real showcases right here in LA. I guess no matter where you are, people want to laugh.”

Maine Event “After running a series of fundraising shows at Auburn’s Fireside Inn, I wanted to branch out a bit and see if stand-up would work in other places in LA,” Turcotte recalls, outlining the germination of Maine Event Comedy. “In 2015, I purchased a solid sound system, a few lights, and produced shows wherever there was a venue owner willing to give me a shot,” says Turcotte. Turcotte hosted Maine Event Comedy events at Elks lodges, restaurant banquet rooms, art galleries, hotels, and ski areas. “In just a couple short years, Maine Event Comedy has grown from a one-venue operation to something I can barely control,” quipped Turcotte. “Since then, I’ve formed some great relationships and have the good fortune of producing shows at some of the best venues in the state.”

“It’s also fun to put comedians in a position to succeed, and see them make the most of an opportunity,” adds Turcotte. “Each venue has its own ‘personality’ and I try to book comedians that will be a good fit. I like to meet audience members before or after the show. I encourage them to provide feedback, which helps me design shows and select lineups for certain venues.”

Sustainable growth Will the popular comedy scene continue to flourish? “Judging by the messages I receive on a weekly basis, and the attendance I’ve seen at open mics, shows, and workshops, there’s no doubt in my mind,” Turcotte states. “Lewiston Auburn is building a reputation as a comedy community, and I’m thrilled to be part of it.” Hartill is also optimistic about the future of comedy in LA, and the comedians she has fostered. “I think the recent growth of comic opportunities is definitely sustainable, for years to come. Everyone loves to laugh, and live entertainment is a welcome addition to the LA area.” “I think the impact on the community has been nothing but positive,” asserts Turcotte. “People seem to be thrilled with more live entertainment options.” “The primary goal of comedy is to make you leave in a better mood than you arrived,” he observes. Who isn’t looking for that?  Maine Event Comedy

Comedian Mike St. Hilaire of Lewiston

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SEEING LA’S FUTURE in the Reflection of its Past

A discussion with Tom Platz Written by Peggy DeBlois | Photography by Brewster Burns

Platz in Mill #5




t seems no matter where Tom Platz travels, he sees something special. For a testament to that, look no further than Two Great Falls Plaza, Platz’s iconic office building in downtown Auburn. The hall leading to the offices of Platz Associates is lined with vibrant images of wildlife from around the world, photographed by none other than Tom Platz. And that’s no different than how he sees Lewiston Auburn: something very special.

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Local roots

Two Great Falls Plaza

The Platz brothers grew up in Auburn, then both attended Harvard University; Tom studied architecture, while Jim studied engineering. When they returned to Auburn after graduation, they teamed up to build a home in the Sugarloaf area. All that time spent together, doing manual labor, led to many conversations about starting a firm together. They wanted their firm to be based in Lewiston Auburn. “If you can open a business in your hometown, you have an edge because it’s where you know more people,” says Platz. “Furthermore, we were comfortable with this area; neither of us had any bad experiences here.” Platz recalls the Lewiston Auburn of his childhood as a robust, thriving community, with stores lining Lisbon and Main Streets, with Peck’s, the largest department store north of Boston, as the crown jewel. But by 1979, just when Platz Associates was coming into being, an economic downturn was hitting Lewiston Auburn. “We had naiveté going for us,” laughs Platz. “We didn’t think about the economy at that age; we were mostly focused on ourselves. The truth is, if we went somewhere else in a bad economy where we knew no one, we may not have made it.”

Developing a business Thomas H. Platz, AIA, and his brother, James Platz, PE, founded Platz Associates in 1980. Their goal was to provide a practical approach to design that results in buildings that are not only functional and aesthetically pleasing, but also fiscally responsible. Thanks to some sound advice, the firm realized the integral role of development to their business model. “We had a conversation early in our career with another set of brothers, who were also an architect and an engineer,” says Tom Platz, “and they advised us to buy some buildings. The idea was we would wait to develop those buildings until our own practice was slow. Then, we could spend our time on our own buildings. This allows us to hire good people in the architectural firm and keep them – we don’t have to hire and fire based on the economy, which is standard practice in this industry.” The first project the brothers landed was the Maine Maritime Science and Simulation building. This $3.5 million account was quite the coup for the brothers, who were still working out of Jim’s garage. Rendition of Hartley Block



“Unlike most of the other firms, we had nothing to lose,” recalls Platz with a smile. “We spent all our time in design and building models. Once we were awarded the job, we had to scramble to find some real office space for ourselves.” Platz can still see the space he and his brother occupied, in the Key Bank building on Court Street in Auburn, from the window of his seventh-floor office at Two Great Falls Plaza.

Staying focused Platz Associates has never regretted the decision to stay in Lewiston Auburn. Although the area has had its ups and downs, Platz says it’s home and they are happy to be here. The firm serves clients all over Maine and New Hampshire, with many banks, parking garages, and apartment buildings in their portfolio of work. “We’ve always been very conservative, so we haven’t experienced any major struggles, despite the economy going up and down,” says Platz. “We have really grown slowly, much like the Twin Cities. We’ve had this steady improvement in the last 20 years. Growing steadily and slowly is good.”

Collaboration One of the firm’s most recent projects is the Hartley Block, on Lisbon Street in Lewiston. The Szanton Company partnered with Platz Associates to develop this property, following the success of the Bates Mill apartments several years ago. The Hartley Block features mixed housing, with a percentage of units to be filled by “workforce housing.” Unlike Section 8 subsidized housing, Platz explains, workforce

By Peggy DeBlois | Photography by Brewster Burns | Seeing LA’s Future

housing requires the tenant to have a job and income under strict, regular review. The remaining apartments are rented at market value, with retail/office spaces on the street level, following the city’s desire to keep a commercial presence along Lisbon Street. “We like working with Nathan Szanton, as he has a good reputation for quality mixed use housing,” says Platz. “He puts up really nice units, and he takes care of them.” Working collaboratively, as Platz did with the City of Lewiston and The Szanton Company, is what architecture is all about, from Platz’s viewpoint. In order to get the best result, Platz Associates works hand in hand with the city, planning board, and city council, and holds public meetings. The same model works for private spaces, where Platz Associates insists on working directly with the people who will actually be using the space.

The recent expansion into 4,800 square feet of Mill #1A, to create The Pub at Baxter, was a fun space to design, according to Platz. The new pub honors the history of the former mill space. All the post and beam and brick “bones” of the building have been restored. The wraparound bar and standing tables were built with floorboards taken from the second floor of the mill. Long-term residents of LA will recognize the original Bates sign, which used to hang in the clock tower, high above the Bates Mill main entrance. “It used to say ‘Bates Spreads,’ but when we took it down, the metal was paper thin and we lost the word ‘Spreads,’” says Platz. “Our job superintendent, Norm Caron, did a great refurbishment, removing all the neon bulbs and replacing them with LEDs. It’s a piece of history that works great in The Pub.”

“Development and architecture are always done collaboratively,” claims Platz. “If I do a project in the Bates Mill, everyone has to have buy-in to that vision. I have no illusions that I have all the answers or all the ideas; I have to be open-minded and listen, to build something that works for most everybody.”

Brewing success Platz refuses to say which project in his broad portfolio is his favorite. “They’re all different, because they all have different challenges,” he says. “What makes the project fun is solving the challenges. That’s what design is all about: solving the client’s problem.” However, ask Platz about Baxter Brewing Co., and he’ll admit that’s one of the more intriguing projects. He’s enjoyed the project so much, in fact, that he’s part of the ownership group. “When Luke Livingston first came to town, he had this idea for a brewery,” recalls Platz. “We both liked the idea of it being in the mill, so that the space could add to the ‘story’ of the brewery.” LA METRO MAGAZINE digital edition @


Run of the mills

Changing the landscape

Working anywhere in the mill buildings is clearly inspiring to Platz. “Over the last 15 years, we’ve done a lot of historic renovations, and these mill buildings are fascinating,” he admits. “We own the Bates mill buildings, so we have a lot of leeway to make decisions that we don’t always have with clients, so that definitely makes it more fun.”

“We’re doing a sculpture walk that will start at Mill #5 with a commissioned piece of Muhammad Ali,” Platz adds. The walk will begin at the mill complex, with one loop to Railroad Park and another loop to Canal Street, with 12-24 sculptures along the way.

Platz has an agreement with the city of Lewiston to redevelop Bates Mill #5, with its distinctive “sawtooth” roof. When the building was erected in 1912, electricity was too new to be part of the plan, so the distinctive northern-facing pieces of glass were installed on the roof, according to Platz. This use of angled glass provides completely ambient light inside, with no hot spots in the workroom.

“The long-term dream is to have four empty pedestals to house winning pieces in an annual New England-wide contest, eventually crossing the bridge, and have the sculpture walk become a major attraction.” He notes that the sculpture walk would lead people to the new location of Museum L-A at Railroad Park, another project he is committed to seeing happen. “Once the museum is in that space, I think it opens up that whole waterway area for redevelopment, for shops and restaurants,” envisions Platz.

“All of these mills, collectively, were the heart of the city, with just over 6,000 people employed there,” says Platz. “We’d like to get life back there. We have about 2,000 people working there now, and once we fill Mill #5, we should be close to 4,000.”

Platz says his goal is to see the downtown very busy, with shops, and establishments like wine bars and sushi bars. To get there, he firmly believes the cities need to start putting more money into education.

Platz says the YMCA of Auburn-Lewiston still desires space in Mill #5, and he is currently working with a client considering over 100,000 square feet for an integrated health facility. Whatever clients land in Mill #5, the plan to have a main artery run through the building, from Lincoln Street to Canal Street, remains intact. This interior “street,” just over the span of a football field, would be lined with shops and cafes, says Platz. He hopes the final plans will come together in the next year.

Schools are key

In addition to his work developing Mill #5, Platz says he is busy readying space for new tenants in Mill #1, already home to Baxter Brewing Co., Fish Bones Grill, Museum L-A, the offices of TD Bank, Androscoggin Bank, and SymQuest Group, Inc.

“Our primary focus in the cities’ budgets should be the education systems,” he says. “Let the private sector do what we’re doing, but it’s time to buckle down and do something innovative in the schools.”

“We are working on another 90,000 square feet in Mill #1 that will be ready in December, and we expect to have that filled in the next 12 months,” he says. When Platz develops more inside work, they also do more landscaping and exterior improvements as well.

Attracting young professionals

“The cities need to make their schools the most enviable in the state, and we’ll have to do nothing more to attract people here,” he says. “Once they come for the schools, you gain more tax income, so you can lower the mill rate, which helps the people who can’t afford it.” Platz insists that there is money in the Twin Cities’ budgets to accomplish this goal.

Platz’s vision for Lewiston Auburn stems from his understanding of the need to attract and keep young people in LA. Two of his key employees, Travis Nadeau, LEED AP BD+C, Architect, and Gabrielle Russell, Architect, LEED AP, are representative of this new generation of business people, according to Platz. “The most dramatic change, to me, over the last 20 years, is that more young professionals are moving here, because they see it as a place where they can do business,” he says. He cites Anchour, Baxter Brewing Co., and Grand Rounds, which he calls a major coup for the city, as his top examples. “People are coming here because they want to,” Platz emphasizes. “We are an hour from great skiing, and 20 minutes from any body of water. Lewiston Auburn is really a great place to live.”  Platz Associates Two Great Falls Plaza, Auburn •



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Colorful Art of


Making a splash in LA Written by T.S. Chamberland | Photography by Jose Leiva


ntil roughly seven years ago, the LA area had no options when it came to sushi. Today, there are a number of local restaurants offering sushi cuisineraw and even cooked- on their menus. If you eat sushi, it’s easier than ever to order up your favorites. If you don’t, you can throw caution to the wind by trying this centuries old style of food for the first time.



The Sushi Boat for 2 at Sea40 Japanese Cuisine

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Franki Tam at Sea40 Japanese Cuisine

Enter: sushi In 2012, Auburn welcomed the Jasmine Café Asian Fusion Lounge, owned by Supannee Saengwong. She got her start working in Boston area Asian restaurants, alongside her parents. “When I first started working for them, I was a host,” she explains. “We had to learn about all this food, so we got the chance to taste and to learn it.” That experience helped Saengwong discover the different types of sushi. She soon fell in love with the food, and the varied ways she could create beautiful, colorful presentations. Sea40 Japanese Cuisine, in Lewiston, was also a new kid on the block in 2012, but owner Franki Tam already had 18 years of experience managing restaurants. He embraced the LA area; bringing sushi to people who likely had little experience with this food was a challenge Tam welcomed. “We try our best to make sure the quality is good for the customer,” says Tam. Minh Nguyen opened Orchid Restaurant in downtown Lewiston in 2013. He had felt the vibe, and noticed that big things were happening in Lewiston. With restaurants like Marché, Fuel, Forage, Mother India, DaVinci’s, and Fish Bones- Nguyen says the writing was truly on the wall. “We wanted to be part of the revolution,” says Nguyen.

Southeast Asia around 3500 B.C. Sushi didn’t arrive in Japanese culture until sometime between 400-700 A.D. tells us sushi was initially devised as a way to preserve fish; the practice of wrapping fish in rice was meant to ferment it, and thereby extend its “shelf life.” When the fish was eaten, the rice was discarded. It wasn’t until the 1400s that the Japanese began to eat the rice, along with the fish. Modern forms of sushi came about in 1810 in Edo, now known as Tokyo. While it may have evolved over the many centuries, sushi has maintained the basic components of raw fish and rice. Some of the more recent and obvious changes are represented in the artful presentation associated with the cuisine, as well as the manner in which it is served. There’s over 5,500 years of history behind sushi, adding to the allure for restaurant goers, and definitely exemplifying sushi’s popularity.

Maki from Jasmine Café

Orchid’s Nguyen outlines the basic types of sushi: • nigiri – comprised of an oblong piece of raw fish over a small mound of rice • sashimi – small pieces of raw fish • maki – served as a layer of sushi rice, with seaweed or soybean paper, and a wide variety of vegetable, fish and even cooked foods, rolled snugly together and sliced in bite-sized pieces

Sushi 101

He also notes two other popular classifications of sushi: • uramaki – maki with seaweed or soybean paper • temaki - a cone-shaped version of the maki roll

Curious to know what all the fuss is about? Or do you simply want to expand your knowledge on the topic? LAMM can help you take one brave step forward toward trying sushi, and add to whatever you already know about this style of cuisine. Although the origin of sushi is often believed to be Japan, the actual birthplace was somewhere along the Mekong River in 24


Preparation “The soul of sushi is the rice,” explains Tam. Rice, the backbone of a sushi menu, is the first thing that is prepared each day. Proper preparation is essential to the appearance and taste of sushi.

By T.S. Chamberland | Photography by Jose Leiva | The Colorful Art of Sushi “We use only short-grain sushi rice,” explains Nguyen. “It’s starchy and absorbent, which makes it sticky.”

and chopping vegetables; and a rolling mat for keeping rice sticky when making rolls.

Sushi rice needs to be washed with cold water before it’s cooked, to remove bran compounds or powder.

At Jasmine Café, all employees learn about sushi first-hand by trying it, and then making it. Saengwong loves making sushi because it allows the chef preparing it to be creative. If you present yourself well, she maintains, you apply that same care and attention to your sushi presentation. As a result, maki rolls may differ from day to day, based on who is making them and what their inspiration might be.

“If rice is not cleaned thoroughly, it may be too sticky or smelly,” Nguyen cautions. Once the water runs clear, the rice is cooked. Because it’s served at room temperature, a vinegar mix is added to keep the pH consistent. Equally important is the treatment of the fish, according to Saengwong. The key is keeping fish cool, and not allowing it to sit in the natural juices that are produced. “The fish that we choose has become a really big part of how we are providing our food,” she explains. Sea40’s Tam explains that sushi restaurants get most of their fish supply in whole form. These fish need to be deboned, sliced, and skinned, as part of the daily sushi preparation. Nearly every part of the fish is utilized. For instance, Tam explains that with tuna, the meat around where the bones were removed is softer than the rest of the fish, making it perfect for their spicy tuna maki roll. Nguyen explains that the kitchen tools are just as important as the manner in which the food is prepared. Key items include: a professional rice cooker; sushi-grade knives, for deboning fish

Finger food Whereas pasta or bread tend to be the carb of choice in America, rice is the most versatile and popular carbohydrate in Japanese cuisine. Saengwong draws the comparison that the rice and seaweed are essentially the bun, and the fish is the protein most often found in between. “Just think of sushi as a sandwich, an Asian version of one,” explains Saengwong. “You put pretty much anything on a wrap or a roll. Sushi sits on a base of rice and seaweed, like you’d put on a bun.” One of the draws of sushi in Asia is portability. The food is perfect for packing convenient and easy to eat lunches, Tam says. “You can eat it with your fingers,” says Tam. “Don’t need chopsticks.”

Behind the Sushi bar at Orchid Restaurant

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For anyone who just can’t get used to raw fish, Jasmine Café offers tempura and deep-fried options, ensuring any patron who comes to the restaurant will find something they can eat and enjoy.

Fan’s Roll from Sea40

When in doubt, ask what’s good The key to enjoying a sushi experience, particularly if it’s a firsttime foray, according to Saengwong, is having an “open mind.” She says the texture of raw fish can be off-putting to some people, so she has some advice for anyone wanting to try sushi, but who isn’t ready to dive right in. “For people who haven’t had sushi before, try the ones that are not raw,” suggests Saengwong. Tam recommends any novice sushi taster to start with a maki, like the California roll. And he says that American culture and tastes have led to some nontraditional offerings, such as deep-fried maki rolls – a favorite of Sea40 customers. “I’ll ask my customer if they eat raw fish or not. If they eat fish, I have tuna, salmon, and a lot of different kinds of rolls they can try,” explains Tam. “If they don’t eat raw fish, we have the Crazy Roll – the whole roll is breaded and deep-fried.” This menu item was born out of the American cuisine influence, says Tam, and his customers love it. While there is a specific Crazy Roll on the menu, Tam encourages anyone who isn’t comfortable eating raw fish to order any roll as “crazy;” Sea40 will deep-fry anything, to suit a customer’s palette. If you don’t eat raw fish, or simply aren’t ready to jump into that pond yet, fried rolls seem to be the best place to start. Nguyen suggests Orchid’s chicken tempura roll, which he describes as chicken that’s deep-fried with panko. “It’s rolled with avocado and cucumber,” describes Nguyen. “Then topped with our signature unagi sauce and honey mayo.” This might not be your first experience with raw fish. Thankfully, all three restaurants have an incredible array of options. But, if you’re new to raw fish and willing to take the leap to try it, a great place to start, according to Nguyen, is their best-seller.

“We recommend the Spicy Tuna Roll,” said Nguyen. “It’s tuna, mixed with tempura and spicy mayo.” These restaurateurs encourage the novice diner to spend their first few times exploring the world of raw fish, like super white tuna and tilapia. Eating a vegetarian or low carb diet? Maki rolls with tofu, or just vegetables, are available, as are rolls without rice.

Specialties and customer favorites The hard work and detail of making sushi are Nguyen’s favorite things. Orchid is proud to offer a variety of options, so that each customer enjoys their experience. Nguyen claims their sauce sets them apart, leaving an impression on their customers. “We make all of our sauces,” explains Nguyen. “We use our freshest ingredients.” Sea40’s Maine-inspired Fan’s Roll, made with a tempura lobster tail inside and scallops on top, is a popular treat. Another customer favorite, called the Flame Thrower, is a tribute to American barbecue: a spicy tuna and asparagus roll wrapped in foil and served flambe! Tam’s favorite dish is cooked scallops mixed with spicy mayonnaise, atop a ball of seaweed wrapped sushi rice. Saengwong’s favorite menu offering is the maki roll, full of taste and pleasing to the eye. Because of Jasmine Café’s versatility to offer many different options, Saengwong says simply switching up the sauces can create a whole new experience.

Sushi at Jasmine Café



“I won’t go back to a sandwich again,” says Saengwong.

By T.S. Chamberland | Photography by Jose Leiva | The Colorful Art of Sushi


Jasmine Café Asian Fusion Lounge 730 Center St, Auburn •

No matter how you order it, sushi is a food that has countless possibilities. There are no hard and fast rules to this cuisine, and all three restaurant owners say they can accommodate most palettes.

Orchid Restaurant 29 Lisbon St, Lewiston •

So, let’s review. Have an open mind. Know what you like and what you don’t (e.g., texture or aromas). Be bold – if you want your selection deep-fried, then go for it! Don’t be afraid to try something new. When in doubt, seek advice from the experts. LA’s restaurants are ready and willing to help you make the most of your sushi dining experience.

Sea40 Japanese Cuisine 40 East Ave., Lewiston •

Premier Commercial Cleaning Service

Sushi at Orchid Restaurant

•  16+ years Experience •  Attention to Detail •  Fully Insured •  Free Consultations •  References Kim Poulin 207.358.9542 or 207.689.5630

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Providing safe, reliable transportation for groups of all sizes since 1999 LA METRO MAGAZINE digital edition @



ON ATMOSPHERE Written by Nicole Breton | Photography by Jennifer Grace & Adam Bouffard

A new public house for LA


f you’re looking for something unique in LA, you must plan a visit to Sonder & Dram. Just a few steps from the hubbub of Lisbon Street, Sonder & Dram’s inconspicuous, underground corner entrance, and its rugged brick façade, emit the vibe of a secret speakeasy from yesteryear. Located at 12 Ash Street in Lewiston, Sonder & Dram welcomes you during the hours of 4 p.m. – 1 a.m., Wednesday through Saturday. Have a seat upon a vintage cast iron bar stool and relish the steam-punk lighting, as you prepare to enjoy a bit of good-mood food along with a soulful cocktail or two. Carve out some time to relax and enjoy this attractive spot.



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Mixing things up Thomas Ardia, Sonder & Dram’s mixologist, will greet you at the bar. Ardia, a graduate from Lewiston High School, has been in the restaurant business for 20 years. After 10 years in Southern California, he moved back to Maine, where he worked behind the bar for several restaurants in this area, including Orchid and Marché.

Inspired by the foods of his childhood, and by Elvis, the king of rock ‘n’ roll, Gosselin’s sandwich, The King, was born. A perfect blend of sweet and salty, The King is a tasty blend of fluffernutter, bacon, and banana, on buttery grilled bread. “I grew up, as a kid, eating fluffernutter sandwiches on white bread,” he relates. “As an adult, I traveled to the birthplace of Elvis, sat in the diner where he used to order his favorite peanut butter and banana sandwiches, and that’s how the idea came to me,” Gosselin recalls. Other favorites created by Gosselin include his pan-fried brussel sprouts, with bacon, beer maple mustard glaze, topped with bread crumbs. “I’ve been threatened with death if I ever remove the brussel sprouts from the menu,” Gosselin jokes. His grilled cheese sandwich is another popular item, with its blend of three cheeses, bacon, and a spread of onion jam. Gosselin’s twist on burgers is another must-try menu item. Weekly specials are motivated by feel-good foods, like American-style hard shell tacos, for instance. Gosselin watches for potential of new menu items, based on what his customers are gravitating toward. “There’s a huge trend in food right now. People want quality, but they want comfort as well, like the foods Mom used to make.”

Thomas Ardia & Michael Gosselin

Ardia’s cocktails are works of art. His ‘Somewhere Not Here’ cocktail, inspired by the cold, dark Maine winter, contains rum, coconut balsamic vinegar, pineapple juice, and bubbles, giving it a tropical essence with a skosh of sweetness, and a slight kick from the balsamic. His ‘Plantation Daiquiri’ is a blend of rum, turbinado syrup, allspice, lime juice, and aromatics, making this cocktail a fragrantly fresh surprise. Ardia admits he likes to push boundaries, when it comes to his cocktails. His secret? Switching up how the acids mix in the drink and how the drink smells as it’s being consumed. “It all starts with a basic cocktail, but I like to add something a bit different from the traditional variation, without adding any extra calories or sugar, by way of bitters or aromatics, among other things,” he explains. If you’re not adventurous and prefer something tried-and-true, you can simply ask Ardia to make you something fun based on what you like. Other offerings include featured beer by Bissell Brothers, Deciduous Brewing, and Grimm Artisanal Ales, as well as Schlitz and Narragansett, for the nostalgic. A selection of wine and domestic beer is available, as well as mocktails, for those looking for a non-alcoholic option.

Not your ordinary pub fare Michael Gosselin creates the food at Sonder & Dram, evoking the taste of down-to-earth, delicious nostalgia. Gosselin, also a Lewiston High School graduate, attended The Culinary Institute of America in New York. Gosselin has been employed at several area restaurants, as sous-chef at The Black Point Inn in Scarborough, and 10 years as chef at Fuel. 30


“The King”

By Nicole Brown | Photography by Jennifer Grace & Adam Bouffard | Heavy on Atmosphere

Sonder – (noun) the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own-populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries, and inherited craziness – an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you’ll never know existed, in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping whiskey in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk. (from The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows) Dram – (noun) a small drink of whiskey or other spirits; a small portion of something to drink. (from The Oxford Dictionary)

Escape from the Ordinary

Your table vacation awaits!

Offering: Swedish u Deep Tissue u Polarity Off-site Chair u Pre-Postnatal u Acupuncture 185 Webster St. Lewiston 207-240-6415 LA METRO MAGAZINE digital edition @


typically renovating rundown residential properties to make them viable again, they had not ever considered starting a bar. So when Ardia approached Flanders about using his basement office space, located in the historic McGillicuddy Block, for the new establishment, Flanders was excited for the challenge. “I had an office in the space Ardia liked,” Flanders says. “After discussing things with him, I decided to refurbish it, because we were looking to try something new. Each of the seven members of GFDG brought their own expertise to bear, to establish a working floor plan in a very small space. From building the bar and the kitchen, to selecting the furnishings- right down to the soapstone counter tops, Flanders and the group brought Sonder & Dram to life for Ardia and Gosselin, who were focused on their roles as bartender and chef. Sonder & Dram opened in June 2018; it employs seven people, in addition to Ardia and Gosselin. The two entrepreneurs not only work at the bar and oversee the daily operations, they also co-own the business, with the other members of the GFDG. Ardia and Gosselin work primarily with Flanders and a few others on business decisions and advertising, although all of the partners like to visit the bar with friends and family. “We were very lucky with the investors. They were very eager to try something new, and to build a place for Tom to play in,” Gosselin jokes.

Ardia creating a “Somewhere Not Here”

Teaming up “I always wanted to open a bar, but I wanted it to be a true bar, not a restaurant with a bar in it,” Ardia differentiates. Working within the same industry, and often in restaurants that were in close proximity with one another, Gosselin and Ardia were acquainted with each other. “I knew Tom wanted to open a bar; we had talked about it over the years.” At that time, Ardia was already cultivating the idea of opening a bar with the members of the Great Falls Development Group (GFDG), so approaching them about serving food at the bar was only logical. Although some time had passed since the two connected, at the suggestion of Ardia’s wife, he rang him up. “The group agreed if they were going to have really good drinks, they might as well have really good food, and I knew I could deliver,” Gosselin recalls.

New kids on the McGillicuddy Block “I wanted to have a place that was a little different,” reflects Ardia. After looking at several spaces over the years, he found the space at 12 Ash Street appealing. He liked the “aesthetics of the brick and old wood,” he relates, “and the size was comfortable and not overwhelming.” The space happened to belong to Peter Flanders, a partner in the GFDG, along with Jon Mercier, Rick Roy, Jim Pross, Eric Potvin, Jake Nason, and Jason Renchy. While this group of visionaries has taken on many notable projects in the Twin Cities, 32


Future plans As far as the patrons of Sonder & Dram, Ardia and Gosselin are excited to see a mix of people from all demographics, half of whom are returning customers, and half new customers. “Our responsibility is creating a great bar experience,” Ardia states, “by providing a comfortable place that makes people want to return.”  Sonder & Dram 12 Ash Street, Lewiston •

Where the locals eat! We’re Maine’s #1Steakhouse for a reason

Try any one of our salads, entrées, sandwiches or burgers.

Shown here: All-American Burger 8 oz. freshly ground Angus Top Sirloin with bacon, American cheese, lettuce, tomato, & red onion with our hand-cut fries.

Mac’s Grill | 1052 Minot Avenue, Auburn | 207-783-6885 |

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Written by Donna Keene Rousseau | Photography by Jose Leiva

Rich in appeal



hether you’re searching for the perfect party confection, or an answer to “What’s for dinner?,” Lewiston Auburn is rich in sweet and savory bakery appeal. Many of the community’s bakeries share in its long history, dating back to the days of LA’s booming manufacturing era. Newer establishments have followed in the “from scratch” tradition, even nestling into the re-imagined spaces of the Twin Cities. LA’s bakeries remind us that, as time marches on, there’s always room for dessert.



E. Claire & Pastries 35 Canal Street, Lewiston •

Beginnings E. Claire began as an entrepreneurial spark in the heart of Emily Claire Fournier.

“I had always wanted to start my own business,” says Fournier. After what she describes as “lots of baking in what became a licensed home bakery,” she knew baking was to be her life’s passion. “The bakery was established in 2017, with unwavering support from my parents. We began a business plan that would shape what E. Claire is today.” Neatly tucked in the refurbished Mill #1, her bakery’s confections add a delicate touch to the historical character of its surroundings. Many will know it as the former DaVinci’s space off Chestnut Street, next to Museum L-A. “We were given the opportunity to move into this location, and we fell in love with the space,” says Fournier. Signatures Best known for its eclairs (hence the shop’s name), E. Claire’s customers also love the whoopie pies, cinnamon rolls, cupcakes, and meat pies. Favorites “My favorite is our version of napoleons – a flaky pastry filled with sweet cream and a raspberry drizzle,” says Fournier. Her staff’s favorites vary. “My mom’s favorites are our needhams and Gabby bars, a combination of chocolate, crunchy peanut butter, minimarshmallows, and raisins. Aunt Judy loves the macaroons, and Kayla’s choice is the no-bake cookies. As we speak, Amanda and Christina are still sampling to decide their favorites!”

L to R: Denise Fournier & Emily Claire

Sweet Rewards “We have enjoyed a supportive customer community, and we love seeing all our regulars,” she shares. “We have one customer who visits almost every week, and every Christmas since we’ve been open, she brings us a plant to keep in the bakery. She’s the sweetest -no pun intended!”

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By Donna Keene Rousseau | Photography by Jose Leiva | Bakeries of LA

Labadie’s Bakery 161 Lincoln Street, Lewiston •

Beginnings In 1925, Odilon Labadie, having come to Lewiston from Canada with empty pockets, established his bakery in the middle of what was then a thriving mill town community. What began as a retail-only business, serving the mill’s shopworkers in the early years, has today expanded to catering weddings, supplying distributors across New England, as well as shipping products nationwide through Signatures Still family-owned, the bakery is best known for its whoopie pies, puff pastries (blueberry, apple, and strawberry flavors), cream rolls, and bars, according to Dawn Emond. Favorites Emond has worked for the bakery for 22 years and tasted every confection. “Honestly,” she says, laughing, “I am at the point where a plain doughnut is my favorite. But I still eat all the little broken pieces of everything!” Sweet Rewards “For generations, we’ve shared this neighborhood with the people who live and work here,” Emond notes. “We share a common history with our customers.” Indeed, many patrons have passed over the Labadie’s threshold, during its 94 years in business. “A lot of senior citizens remember going to school at St. Mary’s, which was located in back of us,” says Emond. “I love hearing them tell their stories of coming here as kids with three cents or a nickel to buy chocolate frosted doughnuts. I don’t know if they snuck out of school or jumped the fence, I just know they were excited to come to Labadie’s. I don’t know why chocolate frosted doughnuts, but that’s what many of them remember. Some of them recall their dads, who worked in the mills or in the fire station across the street, bringing home Labadie’s doughnuts for their families.” L to R: Dawn Emond & Jessica Buiniskas

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By Donna Keene Rousseau | Photography by Jose Leiva | Bakeries of LA


740 Minot Avenue, Auburn

Beginnings Georgio’s had its beginnings as a sandwich shop in the 1950s; today, it still sits at its original location. Margaret Hackett, who began working for Georgio’s in 1965, has been its owner for 20 years. According to her, it wasn’t until the ‘60s when the shop began baking its own bread for their sandwiches. From there, the bakery expanded its menu to include doughnuts and pastries. Signatures Georgio’s specializes in all things homemade, with no preservatives. Customer favorites include the honeydipped doughnuts, jelly-filled and Boston crème. “But lots of customers still prefer the plain doughnut,” Hackett says. Favorites While she can’t speak for her staff, she claims her personal favorite is the cinnamon bun with crumb topping. Sweet Rewards Given the longevity of their community presence, Georgio’s has enjoyed generations of patronage. “We have one family we have served for three to four generations,” says Hackett. “Every summer when they all come home to Maine, they pay a visit to Georgio’s to take a family photo in front of the establishment.”

Melony Tremaine

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Please Join us!

Saturday, August 10, 2019

In its first four years, the Summer Block Party has raised $175,000 and granted 25 WISHES for Make-A-Wish Maine. Together, we create life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses.

Please consider becoming a corporate sponsor of this great community event! Contact the folks at Uncle Andy’s Digest to learn more 207-783-7039


A wish is much more than just a nice thing. And its reach extends far beyond a single event, or moment in time. Wish kids, parents, medical professionals, volunteers, and others say that wish experiences can change the lives of everyone involved, forever.



By Donna Keene Rousseau | Photography by Jose Leiva | Bakeries of LA

The Italian Bakery 225 Bartlett Street, Lewiston •

Beginnings Brandon and Rebecca LeClair rang in the new year as the new owners of The Italian Bakery. This local landmark, established in 1960, was first owned by Frank and Philamena Chiaravelotti. Ten years ago, their daughter, Lisa Chouinard, who had worked with her parents and siblings for 30 years in the bakery, purchased the business. “In March 2018, I heard through the grapevine that Lisa was thinking about selling the business,” says Brandon LeClair. “A mutual friend put in a good word and, on January 1 of this year, we became the new owners.” It was the legacy, built over 60 years, that appealed to the LeClairs. “I grew up in Lewiston and was a patron of all the area bakeries – Grant’s, Labadie’s, and Georgio’s. I worked in the baking industry all my life, and always wanted to own my own bakery,” LeClair explains. “Like the Chiaravelottis, I wanted to build a legacy for my family, build a future for them.”

Signatures Specialties include homemade breads, cannoli, and fresh, hot foods, including long-standing traditions - salmon pie with white sauce on Thursdays, and baked beans on Saturdays. Favorites “The baked bean special is my favorite,” says LeClair. “The staff, too, like the bean special, the chicken pot pies, and hand-cut doughnuts.” Sweet Rewards “We have a diverse customer base, people young and old,” says LeClair. “There’s something here for everyone – traditional choices, new additions, everything from doughnuts to dinner. With what we offer, we can please every palate.”

Vicki Garrison

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Testimonial for LA Metro Magazine I wanted to say how great the new magazine looks! One of the things that will help LA grow in a more positive direction is thinking positively about where we live, and LA Metro Magazine does just that. Thank you so much for all the time, effort, frustration and perseverance that it must take to get a new publication off the ground- and the marvelous quality is a tribute to all of you. THANK YOU! – Holly Cooney

LA Metro Magazine >>Moving LA forward>>



By Donna Keene Rousseau | Photography by Jose Leiva | Bakeries of LA

Grant ’s Bakery

525 Sabattus St, Lewiston

Beginnings Grant’s Bakery, a family-owned business since the early 1960s, began as Grant & Grant Caterers. The business catered throughout the state, for parties of 10 to 2,000 people. “In those days,” says owner Don Grant, “we made most of our own products. People began asking for those products between parties, so my parents started selling those items out of the basement of the family home. Eventually, business was brisk enough to do away with the catering side of things.” Signatures Today, Grant says their bakery is best known for its cakes. “Our cakes and homemade frostings are the best in the area, according to our customers. We can do cakes for one person, or a cake large enough for several hundred.” Favorites Although his employees all have their personal favorites, Grant says it is the brownie crème that would resonate with most of them. “It is one of our fudge brownies, topped with whoopie pie filling and then dipped in chocolate.” Sweet Rewards Something else Grant’s plates up well is customer service. “A couple of years back, on a Friday night, I got a call from the folks at Carriage House [in Lewiston] looking to confirm that we were on our way with a wedding cake. But we did not have an order for a cake that day. The bride had changed the date of her wedding, and had not contacted the bakery with the change of date,” relates Grant. “I called Doug [Grant’s business partner], who was at home, to come help. We actually had three tiers of cake in the correct flavors and had it frosted, decorated and delivered within an hour.” He continues, “When we arrived, the guests were already there, so Don, from the Carriage House, met us with a cart, at the back door. Once loaded, they decided to make a grand entrance with the cake. So Doug, with a towel over his arm, pushes the cart right into the reception, sets it up, and takes a bow! I don’t think anyone had any idea that this was not planned.” Grant says the bakery is regularly prepared for last minute wedding cakes, which can be needed for a variety of reasons. “Whether it is from a lack of planning, or a one person cake decorating operation that falls through, we are prepared for - and do - many last minute cakes.” Doug Grant

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Photo by Brewster Burns


A TIME-TESTED LEGACY Austin Associates

Two Great Falls Plaza, Auburn & 178 Main Street, Norway

L to R: Phil Doucette, Steven Bosinger, Jeremy Marchessault, Steve Austin, Crystal Marchessault & Scott Booker 44



LA is our home! The faces at the helm have changed but their goal remains the same: stay local and give back. For nearly 70 years they have been headquartered in Lewiston Auburn. The secret to maintaining longevity of the businesses is keeping it local! Austin Associates supports their clients, their community, and their fellow businesses and for almost seven decades that still remains the core of the company’s culture.

The partners commend their predecessors for building strong values, which allows them to adapt, change, and grow as the industry changes. “Our success is due to our dedicated staff, some of whom have been with the firm for over forty years. They are more than just employees, they are the heartbeat of our firm, they are family,” says, managing partner Phil Doucette. “Austin Associates is firmly grounded, and it’s easy to see that the more things change, the more they stay the same.” LA METRO MAGAZINE digital edition @




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 46


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. LA METRO MAGAZINE digital edition @


STORIES from the

Underground Written by David Muise | Photography by Brewster Burns



Carving a niche below street level


ike the rarest of gems, Quiet City Books requires subterranean exploration. All that’s plainly visible of this reader’s paradise is a sandwich board, just outside of Rainbow Bicycle on Lisbon Street. That sign directs patrons to an unexpectedly cozy underground used bookstore, though, according to owner Courtney Schlachter, the sign may not even be necessary. “The people who really want books will always find the books,” she sagely posits.

All about the books Upon entering Quiet City Books, there will be no doubt that you are in a bookstore. The books are shelved in a sort of ring, outlining the room. It’s clear they are awaiting your perusal, to be picked up and have their back jacket blurbs read, and the contents therein quickly judged. It may seem risky opening a bookstore, at a time when the largest bookseller in the world is a virtual store. But Schlachter does what Amazon can’t do. “I can just ‘nerd out’ with a stranger over a shared love of certain books and writers,” Schlachter says of the difference between Quiet City and box store behemoths. “It’s funny, but success to me sometimes feels like when I’ve been able to enhance someone’s day- even a little bit.” Schlachter opened her brick-and-mortar shop in 2016, after having worked at a bookstore in Texas, where her husband hails from. “At the time, I recognized that Lewiston needed books. They weren’t many options for buying books in the area; there are thrift stores, but those are not curated for avid readers and collectors,” explains Schlachter. “The chain bookstores are not as accessible

or affordable as a used bookstore, so I knew it would be worth the effort to at least try.”

More than just books Quiet City Books has also become the local choice for handcrafted gifts. For a modestly sized store, there is so, so much to see: original art, handmade stationery, bags, pins, jewelry. The space doesn’t in the least succumb to clutter; rather, it feels quite intentional, orchestrated. The wares of local craftspeople include Herban Works salves, balms, and teas (made by Lewiston’s Center for Wisdom’s Women); hand-drawn postcards featuring lobsters and moose riding bicycles (why not?); head-in-the-stars tote bags tattooed with book quotes. “I meet many of these artists through the Sunday Indie Market,” explains Schlachter. “I am one of three coordinators; I run our Instagram account, recruit vendors, and use my shop as a location for indoor market days. Many of the Indie Market artists are represented at the store.”

Fostering community While the heart of Quiet City lies in the books and crafts, it could be said that its soul is found within the many special events Schlachter hosts there. “To me, books and art are so closely intertwined; authors and artists can have incredible impact on those who consume their media, opening portals of imagination and self-discovery,” muses Schlachter. “Many of these events give voice to creators, creating a safe place for them to open their hearts, face-to-face with an audience.”

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“I could be doing any number of other jobs,” reasons Schlachter. “I could probably even make more money. But nothing would give me the sense of purpose I now have.”  Quiet City Books 97 Lisbon Street, Lewiston On Facebook @CourtneyQuietCity

Upcoming Lewiston Events Sunday Indie Market runs every third Sunday of the month May – October at Dufresne Plaza, 72 Lisbon Street

Something for everyone

November – April at The Curio Art and Alehouse, 110 Lisbon Street

The event calendar at Quiet City is broad and varied. Some feature artists connecting with those interested in seeing, hearing, or learning more about their work, while others are geared to the artist in us all. Grown-up Story Time is for those of us who never outgrew the cozy story times of our childhood. People can sign up to tell their favorite stories, an offering especially popular at Halloween. Drag Queen Story Hour is “for children to see and experience vivid self-expression,” Schlachter explains, “and learn about different people and families in a fun and vibrant way.” Other events include poetry readings by The Underground Writer’s Association and Local Writers Read, which features seven Maine writers reading their own works, and “in-the-know” Indie musical performances. Self-Care Saturday Crafting is a time set aside for people to bring in their creative projects and spend time in a safe, open, and supportive space. Even with this variety, when asked what’s on the horizon for Quiet City, Schlachter explains that she most hopes to expand on her event schedule.

Bookending the story With Quiet City Books, Schlachter has created an invaluable resource for this community: a place where artists thrive, where voices can safely and openly be heard; where shared experience exists in every product sold or donated, every note of music played; and every story told is heard. In doing so, she has followed a very 21st century small business model. Schlachter connects us to the thing we crave most: each other. Social transactions made along the way keep the doors open at Quiet City. Commerce doesn’t feel like the main objective here. Rather, it’s finally finding your tribe, your community, your safe space, and then soaking that in deeply and richly. 50


Owner Courtney Schlachter helps a customer


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TRAILS LA offers mountain biking for all seasons Written by Michael Krapovicky | Photography by Jose Leiva


he wilderness of Maine has become more accessible to mountain biking, through the efforts of the New England Mountain Biking Association (NEMBA). The group’s Central Maine chapter president, Chris Riley, is actively developing the unique qualities the Maine woods offers riders, of all skill levels. In spring through the dead of winter, the trails of Maine are being exploited and refined through NEMBA’s efforts. “I’ve been biking nearly since I could walk,” says Riley. “As someone who loves to ride, I want to make the places I ride that much better.”



John Grenier fat biking at Mount Apatite LA METRO MAGAZINE digital edition @ 53

Grenier, a lifelong biking aficionado, agrees wholeheartedly. “NEMBA has been a big part of growing our business in the last few years,” says Grenier. “When I started biking at Mount Apatite, there were just big craggy rocks and bogs; the trails were almost impassable. Now it’s like an amusement park over there; still very technical, but a real flowing trail with a good rhythm, all thanks to NEMBA and all their volunteers. It makes the sport really healthy, and we see it translating into increased mountain bike sales.” According to Riley, attracting workers from outside of Maine is another potential advantage of an organized trail system. “For someone ‘from away’ who is an avid biker and is thinking about taking a job in the region, a good trail system might be a deciding factor in their choice to settle here.”

Guide for the mountain biker By checking the NEMBA website, a visitor to Maine can discover many places to ride. There are 45 trail systems in the state shown on the website, varying from beginner to most advanced. “Almost every town in Maine has a trail system now,” says Grenier. “There are trails at the Lake Auburn Community Center, Libby Hill, Blackstrap in Falmouth, and many more.” Crediting the work of NEMBA and other organizations, Grenier says, “We are almost at the point where you could ride off-road from LA to Kennebunk. Almost everything in the state will be connected in the near future, and all-season.” “NEMBA also offers group rides, based on ability,” continues Riley. “Everyone can go and have a good time, without feeling like they are slowing a group down.” The NEMBA website lists these rides and other events in a searchable format by ride types, chapter, region, and date. Grenier of Rainbow Bicycle

Goals of NEMBA “The broad-brush goal of NEMBA is to create high-quality biking trail infrastructure that’s easy for people to access,” says Riley. “We build trails with a mountain bike focus, but they’re for pedestrians, joggers, and trail runners, as well.” Riley espouses the latest NEMBA endeavors. “We have 35 to 50 volunteers, doing roughly 1,000 hours a year of service,” says Riley. “We’ve worked with the state park system to improve trails at the Turner Riverlands and Range Pond. Our biggest LA project, by far, is Mount Apatite. We want to turn that park into a place where children can begin to learn and enjoy the sport, but someone who is an advanced rider can have just as much fun. We hopefully will have created three miles of purpose-built mountain bike trails by year’s end.” An established trail system for mountain bikes has positive repercussions in any community. “There are towns across the country that have proven that mountain biking trail systems are an amazingly powerful economic engine,” says Riley. “John Grenier, owner of Rainbow Bicycle, is seeing an increase in his sales; the other Maine bike shops are as well.” 54


Fat biking So how to feed your bike habit through the snow-bound Maine winter? Try a fat bike, an off-road bicycle with oversized tires, designed to be used over outdoor terrain, such as snow and mud. Fat bikers chiefly ride on snowmobile trails, in all seasons. “Fat biking is very beginner-friendly because most of the trails are groomed for snowmobiles and ATVs,” explains Riley. “They do not have as many of the obstacles that trails created for foot travel have, such as being root or rock laden.” “Fat biking puts a big dumb smile on my face every time I do it,” states Riley enthusiastically. “I’m involved with Dan Bilodeau at Lake Auburn Community Center. We have nearly 12 miles of single-track that NEMBA assists Pioneer Ridge Snow Travelers in grooming. I ride a couple of hundred miles a year on snowmobile tracks alone.” And sales of fat bikes have grown exponentially in the past few years. “We sell three or four fat bikes a month,” discloses Rainbow’s Grenier. “What’s interesting is that fat biking is attracting a more diverse market: men and women over 50, and young people just starting out.”

Respect the trails

By Michael Krapovicky | Photography by Jose Leiva | Biking the Trails

Both Riley and Grenier seek to educate bikers of the responsibility for snowmobile trail upkeep. “We like to remind people there is a lot of work that goes into maintaining and grooming snowmobile trails; fat bikers are guests and should be respectful of that,” admonishes Riley. “Fortunately, we have people like Dan Bilodeau, who are both mountain bikers and snowmobilers. They have a very open policy about the trails, and are very welcoming to all who would use them, for hiking and biking, as well as snowmobiling.” Grenier reiterates the need for respect, for all who utilize the trails. “The nice thing about having a lot of snow is you can hop on a snowmobile trail and enjoy a nice ride almost all year long,” affirms Grenier. “We encourage people riding to join a local snowmobile club, to help defray the cost of the trail grooming, or to volunteer.”

Invest in fun A mountain biking trail system throughout Maine has the potential for myriad benefits to the state and its citizens. “If you want to ride a bike, Maine is a great place for it,” offers Grenier. “You can ride a mile from almost anywhere in Lewiston Auburn, and you are instantly in the country. It’s easy to get a good ride in, and feel safe and comfortable.” Rainbow Bicycle is a great place to learn more about the growing activity. “People from all ages, ability levels, and income strata shop here. At first, people were intimidated by the price of the new bikes we had here, so we started selling used bikes, starting at $200-300.” For a minimal investment, mountain biking provides health benefits, social activity, and entertainment, according to Grenier. “All it takes is keeping air in the tires, oiling the chain and tuning it up every year,” says Grenier. “Your bike can last a lifetime.” NEMBA’s Riley offers advice to the neophyte biker. “It’s such an easy sport to get into, if you have any desire to bike at all. Once you do, it’s very addicting,” beams Riley. “I would encourage anyone to come enjoy the trails; it’s crazy fun.”  New England Mountain Biking Association Rainbow Bicycle 97 Lisbon Street, Lewiston




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.

Sweet Auburn

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

150 years of change Written by Toby Haber-Giasson

“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.

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. 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

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

Go with the flow 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 @


Waterways provided transportation as well. Early ferries took settlers across the Androscoggin River. When rivers froze in winter, they turned into highways for sleighs. Indeed, too much waterduring the floods of 1896 and 1936- has profoundly shaped the city, for better or worse.

Winter transport by sleigh Courtesy of D. Hodgkin

one permanent structure on the west side of the Androscoggin: a lone log cabin used seasonally by a logging boss named Joseph Welch. Only Turner resident Jeremiah Dillingham followed, building a gristmill at the foot of the falls. Onlookers called the isolated area “Pekin.” A bridge, built in 1823, bankrolled by Josiah Little, proved the catalyst. Seeing an opportunity, enterprising Jacob Reed hauled a building across the frozen river ice to Pekin. On Welch’s cabin site, Reed opened a general store with a partner, one James Goff, Jr. The popular store became the village center and later would become Goff Block. As Goff became a principal landowner and opinion-leader in town, Pekin became known as Goff’s Corner for a time. In time, Reed sold his share and opened a tavern down the road. Other shops in the village included a tavern, a millinery (a shop for fancy ladies’ hats), a blacksmith, and the law office of Squire Edward Little.

Little: big man

The forest for the trees Both land and water were naturally limited resources. With Maine’s cold winters, farming was strictly a subsistence venture, and only the rich elite controlled the waterpower. In reality, Auburn’s economy was founded on neither land nor water: logging was king. Col. Moses Little himself got his start in the region by harvesting sturdy Maine trees for ship masts. The forest economy offered many job opportunities in cutting, processing, and transporting wood. Hardy men labored long, lashing logs together into rafts, sending them downriver to the sawmills, to become lumber or shingles. But of course, these men wanted to reside near their jobs, in Lewiston.

Early settlement

Hodgkin’s fascinating biography, Dear Parent, reveals the quintessential Edward Little through his letters. The success story of the “father of Auburn” is a strange twist on the familiar Horatio Alger trope: a tale of riches to rags…to riches. Educated at Phillips Exeter Academy and Dartmouth College, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa, Edward Little carved out a niche practicing law in Newburyport, Massachusetts. Like many wealthy gentlemen, he engaged in politics, business, and land speculation, until fire and economic downturns wiped out his finances. He relied on his father Josiah’s deep pockets to bail him out. Deep in debt, he moved to Portland, in what was then the District of Maine, to work for the family business, Pejepscot Proprietors, helping his brother oversee his father’s farms, mills, and logging interests. This payback for his father’s support essentially meant working gratis, so Little generated a modest income by running a bookstore and lending library. Another fire in 1817 left him so indebted that he was arrested and put in debtors’ prison. Would our founder’s fortunes never turn?

In colonial times, land grants were given to moneyed nobles and entrepreneurs to promote settlement. Agents could keep choice property for themselves, on the condition of settling a minimum number of persons in a set time period. The Pejepscot Proprietors obtained such a royal grant in 1768. Col. Little and his partners had the task of luring 50 families to settle in Lewiston by 1774. Local historian Douglas Hodgkin dubbed them “land barons of the Androscoggin River Valley.” Hodgkin, professor emeritus of political science at Bates College, is also curator of the Androscoggin Historical Society and the author of several fascinating books about LA history. In his definitive work, Auburn 1869–1969: 100 Years a City, written for the city’s centennial, Ralph B. Skinner demystified the origins of Maine’s early white settlers. And who were they? Veterans of the Revolutionary War, given land grants as payment for military service. Sailors who slipped off British ships, seeking a new life. Young men from both England and New England, bucking inheritance customs, whereby sons split their fathers’ acreage. The pace of early change was glacial. Ferries operated from the Lewiston side as early as 1771, but not until 1797 was there even 58


Portrait of Edward Little painted by D. D. Coombs

By Toby Haber-Giasson | Sweet Auburn Edward Little house Photo courtesy of Auburn Heritage Inc

majority of voters in Minot, the state Legislature ceded a section of Minot, along the so-called “curve line,” to create Auburn township in 1842. This “curve line” is still the western boundary of the city. At that time, the town of Danville included the land north of the Little Androscoggin River. This area, the original site of the Abenaki village of Amitgonpontook, spans from the falls down Main Street to Laurel Hill. So how did it become Auburn as we know it? “Wonderful story!” exclaims Professor Hodgkin. By 1859, many in Auburn felt the divided villages should be unified into one. Others felt Auburn should annex part of Danville. Not surprisingly, neither scheme appealed to residents of Danville.

At last, destiny called. When poor health befell both his father and brother in 1826, Little took charge of Pejepscot Proprietor’s LA office. And destitute though he still was, the gentleman lawyer was appointed justice of the county court by the governor. The catch: he had to reside in Cumberland County, on the eastern side of the Androscoggin River.

The state Legislature held a hearing where multiple arguments were presented in favor of union. Residents of the parcel in dispute had to travel five miles just to get their mail at the Danville post office, let alone vote in Danville town meetings. Some landowners were paying taxes to both towns, because their homes straddled the town line. Union prevailed; Auburn got its little piece, and the town of Danville was diminished but survived; its voters opposed union by 2:1.

And so, although his family had devoted a century to the town of Lewiston, Little constructed a grand family homestead on the wrong side of the river, in an area formerly part of Danville. The Edward Little House, completed in 1827, still stands at Main Street and Vine in Auburn.

Whither Danville?

With the inheritance he received upon his father’s death, Little stabilized his finances and looked outward. He strategically developed Danville, still a rustic wilderness, into what we now know as Auburn’s downtown. Little created a village center complete with civic amenities: streets, post office, and a cemetery. He helped build a Congregational church at Main and Drummond Streets, which later established its home on High Street. He founded a school of great repute, the Lewiston Falls Academy, on his rye field. This became the original Edward Little High School, then Central and Great Falls Schools, and the current home of Community Little Theater.

A proposal was brought forward to annex the town. The Legislature was inclined to allow it. It was customary to let town residents vote on such matters, as a courtesy. However, many wanted to dispense with this practice on two grounds. One reason was the fact that a majority of Danville residents was opposed to the merger, which would kill the measure. The other, the voters of Danville were predominantly Democrats; in fact, Danville was the

Annexation showdown

So why is Danville (née Pejepscot) no longer a sovereign town? In 1867, the rest of Danville was annexed to Auburn- against their will- in an even more contentious showdown.

Map of Lewiston Falls Village, showing the line between Danville and Minot, the lots laid out in Goff’s Corner as of 1832, and the tiny mills at the falls on Lewiston side. Edward Little’s buildings are shown on the road from Portland and Durham (left center). Harris Farm is now downtown Lewiston. Courtesy: Androscoggin Historical Society

Yes, dear reader, you may note the irony that Little’s civic accomplishments were actually made in Danville. Auburn was actually created from fragments of two neighboring towns, Minot and Danville. “In fact, there were more houses and shops than on the Lewiston side,” Hodgkin relates. “What it lacked was an independent existence.” Auburn did not even exist as a proper entity until 1842, well after European settlers ventured there. At the proposal of our friend James Goff, Jr., and against the will of a LA METRO MAGAZINE digital edition @


People People of of the the Dawn Dawn

Far Farbeyond beyondthe therelatively relativelybrief briefscope scopeof ofAuburn’s Auburn’s150-year 150-year history, a native civilization existed here, history, a native civilization existed here,for forsome some12,000 12,000years. Abenaki (also called peoplepeople inhabited a wild paradise years. Abenaki (alsoWabanaki) called Wabanaki) inhabited a wild between Great the FallsGreat and the River. paradise the between Fallslittle andAndroscoggin the Little Androscoggin River. They called it Amitgonpontook. Though translations have been attempted, to Nancy Lecompte, research director They calledaccording it Amitgonpontook. Though translations have of Ne-Do-Ba, “The name’s meaning has been lost to research time.” been attempted, according to Nancy Lecompte, director of Ne-Do-Ba, “The name’s meaning has been lost to The Abenaki villagers existed in harmony with nature, cultitime.” vating corn and enjoying bountiful fish and game. A stockade, built on the high ground of Laurel Hill, protected women and The Abenaki villagers existed in harmony with nature, cultichildren while the men went hunting. vating corn and enjoying bountiful fish and game. A stockade,

built on the high ground of Laurel Hill, protected women and The very while presence of Europeans in Maine wrought terrible children the men went hunting. consequences for the native people. Strange new diseases, for Abenakis of lacked immunity, wipedwrought out 75 percent Thewhich very presence Europeans in Maine terrible of native peoples in the 1600s. One estimate, cited in Lecompte’s consequences for the native people. Strange new diseases, book, Alnobak, shows theirimmunity, population plummeted from 20,000 for which Abenakis lacked wiped out 75 percent to about 5,500. of native peoples in the 1600s. One estimate, cited in Le-

only Democratic town in the county. Therefore, a merger would erase not only the town, but would drown this Democratic Party stronghold out of existence. The Legislature passed the bill, contingent on approval by a majority of combined voters in the two towns. The selectmen of Danville defiantly refused to hold a town meeting to vote on annexation. But the state Legislature held that, if Danville would not vote, it would still pass the merger, like it or not. Auburn officially became a city in 1869. “They are still mad, to this day,” notes Hodgkin of Danvillers. And it’s no wonder; Danville’s antics had backfired, and they were gone.

compte’s book, Alnobak, shows their population plummeted The suffered, as well, from the Europeans’ ways. fromenvironment 20,000 to about 5,500. Aggressive logging practices decimated the old forests; without the effects of trees, soil from eroded. farming Themoderating environment suffered, as well, the Wasteful Europeans’ ways. practices despoiled animal habitats for game. Dams made Aggressive logging practices decimated the old forests; it impossible fisheffects to spawn, as they for centuries. without for themigratory moderating of trees, soilhad eroded. Wasteful Growing domesticanimal livestock required more and more farming amounts practicesof despoiled habitats for game. Dams land to be cleared. made it impossible for migratory fish to spawn, as they had for centuries. Growing amounts of domestic livestock reInquired order more to survive, Abenakis’ livelihood shifted to trade with the and more land to be cleared. French. Many natives allied with the French against the English inIntheir century of wars. Captured prisoners wereto often kept order to survive, Abenakis’ livelihood shifted trade with here, at Amitgonpontook. the French. Many natives allied with the French against the English in their century of wars. Captured prisoners were Then, day in 1690, a British reconnaissance paroftenone keptSeptember here, at Amitgonpontook. ty rescued several white captives being held in the stockade. As an actone of vengeance, Benjamin Church destroyed the Then, SeptemberGeneral day in 1690, a British reconnaissance entire settlement. Food stores and dwellings were burned, party rescued several white captives being held in the stock-and unknown numbers of Abenakis were killed. ade. As an act of vengeance, General Benjamin Church destroyed the entire settlement. Food stores and dwellings were Celebrate Abenaki history and culture: burned, and unknown numbers of Abenakis were killed. • Abenaki artifact collection at the Androscoggin Historical Society Abenaki history and culture: Celebrate “12,000 Years in Maine” at theMaine MaineNonprofit State Museum •• - a 501(c)(3) Corp. • “Holding Up the Sky” at the Maine Historical Society • Abenaki artifact collection at the Androscoggin Historical • Society • “12,000 Years in Maine” at the Maine State Museum • “Holding Up the Sky” at the Maine Historical Society

LA Metro’s Summer Issue will have the next installment (Part 3 of 4) on Auburn’s history, where you will read about the fascinating development of transportation, from hacks to trolleys, bridges to railroads and planes.





An ongoing section in LA Metro Magazine highlighting the good work of nonprofit organizations in the LA community

Fostering the Animal-Human Bond Written by Peggy DeBlois | Photography by Adam Bouffard

What’s new at the Greater Androscoggin Humane Society


he Greater Androscoggin Humane Society (GAHS) is a modern, vibrant organization that puts the focus on animals.

Dostie. Over his 38-year tenure, Dostie had taken the shelter from a small operation in Auburn to its current Lewiston location, considered state of the art.

The strong presence of all the animals is evident. The front walkway leading to the front door is made of brick pavers in tribute to family pets. Through the glass entry, a visitor can watch the cats in their playroom, which looks a lot like a preschool with cat-sized structures and toys. Once inside, cats watch you from their glass suites, and dogs bark greetings from their large kennels.

“Steve was great about keeping up with changing trends; this facility is a tribute to his leadership,” says Lisnik.

Even Executive Director Katie Lisnik displays that focus. She’s sharing her office with Sparkles, a fractious cat who needs some special attention.

Humane organization Katie Lisnik joined GAHS in November 2018, taking over leadership from Steve

Indeed GAHS, a midsize Maine shelter, is supported by a large band of people, including an active board of directors, 24 paid staff (full and part time), and 120 volunteers. Lisnik brings 20 years of animal welfare experience to GAHS. She studied animal science at the University of Vermont, and holds a Master’s Degree in Animals and Public Policy from the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University. She has spent the last 12 years working for the Humane Society of the United States, the first five of those years as the Maine state director. Most recently, she LA METRO MAGAZINE digital edition @


held positions as the national director of cat protection and policy and the director of companion animal public policy. “I loved the national work, but you never see the benefits of the changes,” explains Lisnik. “I really wanted to put my skills to use for a community, and be here for the long term, to improve the lives of animals in a local community.”

Humane mission The mission of the GAHS reads: We are committed to strengthening our community by supporting humane care of animals and fostering the human-animal bond. “This mission statement was part of why this shelter stood out to me,” explains Lisnik. “It’s not just about the animals that come through the door; it’s about the community. There are people and pets in our community that may never come in here, but they need us for support. Maybe the pet owner calls for help with an odd cat behavior, or maybe they’ve hit a rough spot and can’t afford to feed their animal. You want to try to keep these animals in the home, where they have formed a bond with their families.” Everyone thinks of an animal shelter as a place for strays and animals in need of new homes, and the numbers certainly support that. In 2018, GAHS managed 2,500 adoptions, with 1,500 of those being cats. But according to Lisnik, GAHS also impacted another 1,000 animals through community outreach, in programs many people don’t realize are run by GAHS:

• M edical careLisnik says the bulk of GAHS’ $1.2 million budget goes to medical care.

Katie Lisnik with Sparkles

“We have a vet tech on staff and a veterinarian here twice a week,” she states. “It goes well beyond the spay/neuter program. We can do most medical procedures right here, and have access to supportive clinics for x-rays and advanced surgery.” • O utreach clinic. In the warmer months, the GAHS team visits low income areas in LA. “We provide vaccinations, wellness checks, flea meds, collars, tags, microchips. We don’t want a lack of financial resources or transportation to be what makes a family have to give up their animal.” • Pet food pantry. On Tuesday mornings at the shelter, pet owners who qualify have access to a pet food pantry. • Spay/neuter vouchers. GAHS is committed to mitigating overpopulation of cats, as well as pit bulls and pit bull mixes. • Transport adoption. The warm climate in the South means dogs can breed year-round, and both puppies and kittens can survive in any season, so GAHS places animals from shelters in Georgia, Mississippi, and Alabama. • Respite care. GAHS has partnered with Safe Voices to provide foster care for pets. “Pets are a huge barrier for people, when they are trying to leave an abusive situation,” says Lisnik. “We also get calls from mental health organizations and hospitals, when they have patients who need respite care for their animals.”

Humane future “Expanding our community outreach is No. 1 to me,” says Lisnik. Today’s society values pets, so there are fewer animals in need of being re-homed, but there are still a host of animals in our community that we can help in other ways. Here are some of the new efforts being considered by Lisnik for GAHS: • T rap/neuter/return program for cats. “Cat colonies are a constant source of animals coming to us, particularly litters of kittens every spring,” explains Lisnik. TNR helps decrease the cat population by trapping, sterilizing, and vaccinating them, to get them on a healthier path. “Then they go back to the colony they were living in, because we can’t place truly feral cats,” says Lisnik. 62


By Peggy DeBlois | Photography by Adam Bouffard | Fostering the Animal-Human Bond • W ellness vet services. GAHS would like to provide more low cost wellness services, for people who can’t afford it. “We would not replace services provided by local vets, but we could be an avenue for animal wellness for those families who cannot afford regular care.”

Overall, Lisnik keeps coming back to the strength of our community. “We are the resource for fostering the human-animal bond – we want to be the place animals get help, no matter their needs.” Did you know that New England is the center of animal welWant to help? fare in our country?

GAHS Needs: Want - financial todonations help? - supplies Needs: - GAHS volunteers ≈ financial - foster homes donations ≈ supplies a lost ≈ volunteers Find or stray animal? Call 207-783-2311 ≈ foster homes

Upcoming Events Upcoming Events

April April28 28 Dash DashforforDogs Dogs June 20 GAHS June 20 GAHSAnnual AnnualGolf GolfTournament Tournament

Find a lost or stray animal? Call 207-783-2311 Greater Androscoggin Humane Society 55 Strawberry Ave., Lewiston •

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