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LA METRO MAGAZINE | SUMMER 2018


LA METRO MAGAZINE digital edition @ LAMetroMagazine.com

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LA METRO MAGAZINE | SUMMER 2018


LA METRO MAGAZINE digital edition @ LAMetroMagazine.com

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editor’s note PHOTOGRAPHY BY JENNIFER GRACE

S

ummer: by far my favorite season in Maine. Rarely do I ever say it’s too hot, and you will usually hear me say it doesn’t last near long enough. A couple years before my son graduated high school, I picked up golf. I joined a “Wine and 9” program at a local golf course, as it seemed like the most reasonable way to try it out. Even if I hated it, I could always enjoy a glass of wine. I didn’t hate it. As a matter of fact, I began to enjoy my time on the golf course. Getting a handful of helpful hints from driving to putting, eventually being “good enough” to play with a few other women from time to time. I didn’t even need the coercion of wine. One of the many things I like about the game of golf is the people I meet. Some, I would likely never have met otherwise, and a few, I may not have kept in contact with were it not for those “Tee Time” opportunities. Another is that I truly enjoy the game. It’s become one of my favorite ways to step away from nearly everything else for a little while. I can clear my head at the same time that I’m being active. Lastly, golf is a game that keeps you humble, yet encourages you to strive for improvement. I’ve asked others if they golf and the answer I most often hear is, “Yeah, but I’m not very good.” Well, I can honestly say that neither am I, but this is a game that builds character, and like life, it relies on the integrity of its players. Golf presents the opportunity to practice honesty, patience, confidence, responsibility, respect, perseverance, and humility – again and again – to players of any age. These are the characteristics that I wanted the stories in our summer issue to convey. Our cover story on first responders is a great example. These men and women possess the will to do something difficult, the drive to continue striving to be better, and an overall comfort with meeting people who are most often in the midst of difficult events. The theme was also fitting for our barbershop piece, as many businesses had to push through what some may have once thought of as a dying business. Rick Michaud, the owner of Sam’s Italian Foods, never thought he would hold the ownership of a successful (and iconic) LA Metropolitan area business. Even in Fueling the Entrepreneurial Spirit, those characteristics are must-haves when it comes to buying an existing business. Every story, “Say Shalom” to “Cheers to MEIRS”, depicts individuals who needed these traits to become who they are today, who made their stories successful ones, even though they may not have started out thinking they were good enough. They kept at it, “playing through,” and now fill the pages in this issue of LA Metro Magazine as the real-life, every day examples of perseverance and character we want to feature here in our community.

PAM ASHBY Editor-in-Chief editor@LAMetroMagazine.com

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LA METRO MAGAZINE | SUMMER 2018


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contributors Toby hails from the bustling New York City world of P.R. and event promotion. She interviewed bands and wrote album reviews for the likes of Creem and Audio magazines. Locally, she’s logged 10 years coordinating publicity for First Universalist Church of Auburn events, cofounded UU Theatre and Pleasant Note Open Mic and Poetry Slam, which she co-hosts.

Toby Haber-Giasson editorial director

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Peggy Faye Brown

T.S. Chamberland

Peggy DeBlois

Jennifer Grace

Peggy enjoys the art of writing, whether typed or handwritten in cursive. She brainstorms and daydreams whenever possible while working and commuting. Some poems and articles have been published and her first fiction piece was published in Goose River Anthology 2017. She enjoys writing pieces with a purpose: to commemorate the past and encourage the future.

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. 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.

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

Jennifer is a freelance photographer, and content writer. She lives in Auburn with her husband, stepkids, and two high energy dogs. She also loves to cook and works mornings at Hurricane’s Cafe and Deli as a cook. Follow her photo journey and more on Instagram @captainjenway.

LA METRO MAGAZINE | SUMMER 2018


Dan is an actor, producer, writer and editor. As owner of Mystery for Hire, he has performed in 750 mystery dinner theater shows. With Mainely Improv, he does improv comedy performances as well as offers corporate training in using the skills of improvisation. He is also the administrative director for the Maine Public Relations Council.

Dan Marois senior writer

Michael Krapovicky

Jose Leiva

David Muise

Andrew Watson

Michael is a freelance writer and musician from Auburn. He graduated from the University of Maine Presque Isle in 1999 with a BFA.

Jose started his photography career while in the Air Force during Vietnam. He moved to Maine in the late 1980’s and retired from the Sun Journal five years ago. He now works as a free-lance photographer and exhibits his art locally. Currently he is delving into light paintings that inspire his creativity and feed his passion for classic images.

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

Andrew is a freelance writer from Auburn, Maine. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Northwest University in Seattle, Washington, and then moved to Los Angeles, California, where he worked at a prominent entertainment law firm and began a career in strategic communications. In addition to freelance writing, Andrew enjoys cooking, faith, and all things psychology.

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.

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.

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contents SUMMER VOL. 3

No. 3

2018

quick reads

features

Full Throttle

12

19 Musical Luminaries

33 At Sam’s You’re Special

48

39

Tee Time Outdoor Cafes of LA

54

on the cover

Shave & a Haircut

Beer:30

44 Fueling the Entrepreneuial Spirit

60 Heroes on the Homefront

Say Shalom to New Homes

63

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Cheers for MEIRS

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LA METRO MAGAZINE | SUMMER 2018


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LA Metro Magazine, LLC PUBLISHER & CEO

Jim Marston jim@LAMetroMagazine.com

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

Pam Ashby editor@LAMetroMagazine.com

ADVERTISING SALES Matt Leonard Jim Marston Tim Rucker Steve Simard

PRODUCTION MANAGERS Pam Ashby Jim Marston

EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Toby Haber-Giasson

WRITERS

Dan Marois, senior writer Peggy Faye Brown T.S. Chamberland Peggy DeBlois Toby Haber-Giasson Michael Krapovicky David Muise Andrew Watson

PROOFREADER Kayla Marston

PHOTOGRAPHY Pam Ashby Jennifer Grace Jose Leiva Paul Michaud

COVER PHOTO

Sita West, Auburn Firefighter and EMT Photographer: Jose Leiva LA Metro Magazine is published four times each year by LA Metro Magazine, LLC Editorial and subscription info: Call 207-783-7039 email: info@LAMetroMagazine.com 9 Grove Street, Auburn, ME 04210 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 Š2018 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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LA METRO MAGAZINE | SUMMER 2018


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Musical

Luminaries Written by Michael Krapovicky

A night at the PAL Hop 12 LA METRO MAGAZINE | SUMMER 2018


Perspectives on the history of music in LA

D

ocumenting the history of music in Lewiston Auburn is a daunting task. Impressions of the Twin Cities music scene are as varied as the sounds created in the dancehalls, taverns, clubs, churches, and homes of the citizenry. Throughout the next few issues, LA Metro Magazine will touch on a few of LA’s celebrated musicians and music advocates over the decades.

Fathers of the modern music scene Ed Boucher is an LA legend, and no story of music in the Twin Cities is complete without counting his influence. He and countless others were inspired by Maurice Fournier. Serendipity brought Fournier and the Boucher brothers together; the LA music scene would have been much different without their presence. “My mother wanted my brother Paul and I to play music,” Boucher related. “We didn’t have any interest in that, but she wanted us to learn. So finally we gave in; she set us up for lessons at Maurice’s Music Mart in the late 50s.” Maurice Fournier was a steel guitar player, and a “clown” in country music variety shows. Like many, Fournier eschewed a music career for family concerns, and established Maurice’s Music Mart in the 1950s. The Facebook page “Maurice’s Music Mart, LA’s Jump Start” is rife with stories of Maurice’s generosity, allowing young musicians to borrow instruments overnight with money still owed, always encouraging talent wherever it manifested. Many of the premier LA musicians, such as Arlo West, have posted extensive testimonials there. Bo uc he r

“He had that musical passion,” Boucher mused. “He was a mentor figure, and he put a lot of trust in us, and in his customEd ers. He truly exemplified what it means to have a ‘heart of gold.’”

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Maurice Fournier, Maurice’s Music Mart

“...the father of Maine’s modern music scene.”

The Boucher brothers and Fournier formed a strong bond. “We’d help Maurice with the store, watching the counter, helping him move locations,” said Boucher. “Paul got a job there, cleaning the store. He was a real artist, decorating the windows, which became a real attraction to Maurice’s. Maurice’s Music Mart had the best lines of equipment, and it was hard to get those brands in those days. So there were people, groups, coming from New Hampshire, Rumford, Waterville, to get these guitars and things. Although at the time there weren’t many groups in LA, Maurice’s Music Mart became ‘the music headquarters.’ The musicians just hung around; it became a real haven.” After several lessons, Boucher felt learning guitar on his own was more efficient. And so the Bouchers learned their craft by emulating the musicians that would congregate and rehearse in the store. “We’d hang around the back of the store to see the guys who would come in and practice, guys like Shep Spinney and Willie Ouellette,” Boucher recounted. “Shep was a talented guitarist, but quite guarded with his technique. We’d have to watch and make notes while he wasn’t aware of us. Willie had a great voice. If he sang Roy Orbison or Elvis, you couldn’t tell the difference. Willie would sing the song and tell us the chords to play as he sang them. We’d hang out in the back and watch these guys practice, learning as we could.”

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LA METRO MAGAZINE | SUMMER 2018

Paul and Ed Boucher formed a band called the Royal Knights, with rhythm guitarist Guy Mathieu and Ronnie Morin on bass. “We had the keys to the store; we rehearsed there. We made a record in the store, covers of ‘Chief Whoopin-Koff’ backed with ‘Long, Long Ponytail,’ by the Fireballs. We got the balance fairly good, pressed it ourselves on plastic discs, and it sold like hot cakes.” This first experience was the seed of Boucher’s dream of his own recording studio.

Pre-Beatles culture Let’s put these developments in cultural context. Lewiston Auburn fomented a vibrant music scene well before the British Invasion and the Royal Knights. Ed Boucher provided his recollections. “A lot of things started in Lewiston. Unbelievable, if you think about it. The population here was mostly Irish and French Canadians, and music was a big part of their culture. When they moved to Lewiston Auburn, they brought with them so much musical talent. The Catholic Church didn’t allow dancing, so playing instruments and singing was their only means of expression and entertainment. Saturday nights, folks would gather at one farmhouse and play music, with a lot of call-and-response. The French music was embedded in their roots.” Boucher described the acts he remembers from his childhood. “You had people that played live on the radio, and hosted local live events- folks like Hal Lone Pine and


By Michael Krapovicky | Musical Luminaries Betty Cody. The upper floors of many downtown Lisbon Street buildings were large dancehalls. The conventional marching bands- big 60 to100-piece bands- spawned many smaller projects that played in the dance clubs. Louis Philippe Gagne had a radio show on WCOU, and he brought to air that tradition of the snowshoe club from Canada. Lewiston Auburn had a lot of those snowshoe clubs, each one with a house band, like Gordon Howe and his Orchestra and the Fenton Brothers.” Boucher continued, “Bands like The Javalans and Little Willie and the Rumbles came about in the late fifties. They played Roy Orbison, Elvis, whatever was hot at that time. All these musicians were here, and their children were musically inclined, coming into the rock ‘n’ roll era.”

Business at Maurice’s Music Mart increased substantially, supplying these fledgling acts with their tools of the trade.

PAL Hop days

The Royal Knights were the chief organizers of the event, and staked their reputation on winning. “We got our Beatles suits, wigs, and boots in Boston, and when we were backstage, the people in the balconies thought it was the actual Beatles! When we came on, the people rushed the stage; it was one of those moments you can’t describe.”

With matching elegant suits, finely tuned musical chops, records to sell, plus cutting-edge sound equipment and instruments supplied by Maurice’s Music Mart, The Royal Knights became hugely successful in the LA area. “The Rollodrome had live music on Saturday nights,” Boucher said. “We eventually became the Rollodrome’s house band. We’d see 30 or 40 people in front of the stage. We just thought they were there to see us, but some were there to learn from us, to create their own bands.” “Then, the Beatles happened,” Boucher said, reverently recalling the momentous event. “The world changed, overnight. Everyone wanted to start a band. They were coming out of the woodwork. Before you knew it there were all these little startup groups, playing wherever they could get work.”

Another seminal shift in LA musical history was the PAL Hops. Boucher unfolded the origin of the story. “The competition between bands was fairly fierce,” said Boucher. “Herve Gendron, the police chief, came into the store to buy guitar strings. It was Paul’s idea to have the Police Athletic League rent the Lewiston City Hall, to have a battle of the bands. All these LA bands were pumped about it. Paul decorated the stage with cardboard and crepe paper, and made it really creative. The event packed the place: 1,200 people or so.”

The Royal Knights were the winners of the event, and the aftermath of their success was a run of PAL Hop dances that drew crowds from all over Maine. “The PAL Hop really left its mark on Lewiston Auburn,” said Boucher. “It gave the idea that anyone could get into it, and started a new crop of bands coming out. These young bands were auditioning for the PAL Hop. Parents would co-sign for guitars and amplifiers. Talk about a garage band era; it was everywhere!”

From garage to stardom

Maurice’s Music Mart was a chief supplier of new instruments for the hopeful Maine musicians, and became even more of a place where musicians would assemble. “Where are musicians going to hang around during the week? A music store!” Boucher laughed. “There would be hundreds there, congregating. Maurice would ask us to move people to the basement to clear the entrance.” Boucher began diversifying, as opportunities to play grew too extensive for one band.

Royal Knights

“The music industry flourished with the advent of the Beatles. There was a lot of employment, not just in Lewiston Auburn but all over,” Boucher affirmed. “The Royal Knights couldn’t play everywhere there was a need, so I started a booking agency. I took on Terry and the Telstars, our young neighbors, as their exclusive LA METRO MAGAZINE digital edition @ LAMetroMagazine.com

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“All these factors- the visibility, the professionalism- led to the reputation of LA having the best bands at that time,” Boucher avowed. “When people thought about music, they thought about LA. Bands from Boston used to come to play for our crowds. There was nothing like that before, and except for national concerts, hasn’t been anything like it since.” From the days of the PAL Hops, bands such as the Moon Dawgs, The Rockin’ Recons, and Boucher’s premiere proteges, Terry and the Telstars, rose to prominence. Though their namesake was Terry McCarthy on lead guitar, the Telstars’ locus was Nick Knowlton. Beginning his career in music as the voice of the Telstars, Knowlton became a well-loved entertainer and songwriter, performing until shortly before he died in 2017. With Boucher as their manager, Terry and the Telstars opened for national acts in Maine, notably the Jimi Hendrix Experience at the Lewiston Armory, on March 16, 1968. They also recorded several original songs. agent. As the scene grew, I took on some other bands as well. I was booking acts into Vermont, and New Brunswick, Canada. It gave them a lot of exposure.” The Royal Knights were invited to play on Club Thirteen, a television show out of WGAN in Portland, similar to American Bandstand. Eventually they became a featured act on the show. “We were the official Club Thirteen band; we could go on any time we had an event to promote,” said Boucher. The exposure on television opened a lot of doors for the Royal Knights, and for the other bands that Boucher was representing. 16

LA METRO MAGAZINE | SUMMER 2018

The Innkeepers, another band from the PAL Hop era, garnered comparisons to the Rolling Stones with their antics. “They had the frontman, Mike Goff, who was a wild man!” Boucher exclaimed. “He would dance across the stage, swinging from the rafters! They always had the crowd in the palm of their hands, and folks would follow them across the state. They were in such demand, schools would hold dances during the week, because they were booked every weekend!” Present day, there have been several reunions with the PAL Hop bands that attracted crowds in the thousands. The PAL Hop era and the reunions are documented thoroughly in historian Bob Maroldo’s film, PAL Hop Days.


By Michael Krapovicky | Musical Luminaries Royal Knights with some of their fans

“When I wanted to start a studio here in LA, a lot of folks said, ‘If building a studio in Lewiston was a good idea, someone would have done it a long time ago.’“Boucher said. “Maurice said to me, ‘Don’t listen to them, Eddie; if anyone can do it, you can.’ He was much like a father to me.” EAB Studio recorded ubiquitous jingles for Mardens, VIP, Sam’s Italian Sandwich Shop, and many more, as well as a myriad of musical artists in LA and regions far beyond. Boucher still records acts to this day, and has a huge archive of music on digital formats and analog tape. He remains hopeful for a hit record, and for a musical revolution for today’s youth like he saw in the 1960s.

Dreams with direction After a recording session in Boston, Ed Boucher had a new goal for his life: to open a recording studio in Lewiston. His main encouragement came from his friend and mentor, Maurice Fournier.

Maurice Fournier closed Maurice’s Music Mart in the early 1970s, and died Feb. 22, 1987. Ed Boucher calls him ‘the father of Maine’s modern music scene.’ Fournier leaves behind a legacy of kindness and largesse that is reflected by both his family and the artists he fostered over his lifetime. Special thank you to Gini Haines Photography for providing us with remastered photos for this piece.

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©DanMarquisPhotography.com 18

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FULL THROTTLE Written by Andrew Watson | Photography by Paul Michaud

Some businesses are fascinating. Fascinating in the sense that you just know there’s got to be a story behind it, a genuinely interesting history that has culminated into what they’re doing today. When you delve a little deeper into their story and what they’re doing, suddenly the business morphs from fascinating to downright thrilling. Hemond’s Motocross and Offroad Park, in Minot, is that kind of business. LA METRO MAGAZINE digital edition @ LAMetroMagazine.com

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I

A thrilling adventure in our backyard

magine this: It’s a gorgeous summer day in Maine. You’re outside; the sun is shining. You can smell the pine pitch on the breeze, and you’re standing in plain view of a massive motocross track. The track rests in a park that encompasses over 500 acres of land and 400 feet in elevation change. As you’re taking in the view, you then hear that unmistakable sound. A group of riders, in full gear, kick-start their bikes. The engines rumble. Can you hear that vrrrrrggggmmmmm sound as they take off full throttle? They’re off, and it’s intense. They’ll soon be tightly navigating curves at high speeds and going airborne over jumps with the hopes of securing that coveted victory. Races like these are just part of the thrilling entertainment at Hemond’s MX and Offroad Park.

Designed for the whole family You might not think a motocross park is the ideal family getaway on a summer afternoon in Maine but, oh, is it ever. There’s a concession stand at the facility, and many families set up camp for the afternoon, enjoying a chargrilled burger and cold beverage while watching the riders, whether they’re racing or practicing freestyle. If your children are interested in the sport, great news: there’s a permanent kid’s track coming this season. The motocross tracks themselves are a major attraction, bringing in hundreds from out of state. Sawmill MX, a track designed for the experienced rider, has substantial eleva-

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Aerial view of both tracks LA METRO MAGAZINE | SUMMER 2018

Kids racing

tion and goes both uphill and downhill at several different intervals. It’s a faster, wider track that requires a level of expertise to successfully navigate. Hilltop MX, the original track, is slower and a little more technical, in that it has more curves and fewer straightaways. It’s great for beginner and intermediate riders. There is programming and opportunity for riders of all types, whether you’re a low-key rider wanting a space to simply practice your technique, a brand-new rider wanting to taste the experience and then potentially move on to master the intricacies of the sport, or even a professional looking to train aggressively. If you have a jeep, you know that it’s hungry for off-roading


By Andrew Watson | Photography by Paul Michaud | Full Throttle adventures. Hemond’s trails make for an extraordinary experience. They’re accessible by jeep, side-by-side, motocross, and four wheeler. The trails are loaded with rugged, rocky terrain, which is certain to keep your jeep satisfed. If you’re looking to put the pedal to the metal and let it rip, you’ll like the smooth and flat stretches. Have at it!

Tradition across generations How is a concept for a motocross park formulated, and then what does it take to actually make it happen? For that, we look to owner Michael Hemond. He used to ride motocross himself and has an innate love for the sport, having raced regularly throughout his life. When he

asts from around the country. Patrons include well established clubs and organizations, like New England Sports Club, which organizes a two-day sanctioned event at Hemond’s. J-Day Offroad holds its “hare scramble” race through the woods here. And New England Motocross (NEMX) riders race and host their own events here, with the first-place finisher getting a gold cup.

Events attract thousands Hemond and his wife, Brittnay, who joined the business as director of operations in 2012, put their creative thinking caps on to envision what was possible at Hemond’s. With fun as the intent behind the brand, they host a multitude of events.

“We want people to come out, have a great experience, and go home happy.” was younger, he told his father and grandfather that he wanted to build a motocross track. They both scoffed and essentially said he was crazy. But soon his father and grandfather warmed to the idea and jumped on board. So together, he and his father built what would be the Hilltop MX track, and the first race opened on his grandfather’s birthday, July 21, 2002. His grandfather, who was in attendance for this major family milestone, said, “Michael, I can’t believe it.” Turnout exceeded their expectations, and it set a fire in them to cultivate their multi-generational passion for motocross and expand the business.

The park is open from spring to fall. To launch the season, Hemond’s puts on an extraordinary Spring Break celebration, which includes two days of motocross practice, a night band, a pig roast, and a barbecue that’ll have you licking your fingers – pulled pork, beans, salads, and all of the fixings. They repeat the event at the conclusion of the season in the fall with Harvest Fest. You’re officially invited.

That they did. A few short years later in 2008, they opened a second track, Sawmill MX, which is much larger and called for a massive expansion. The tracks continue to prove popular, and attract hundreds of motocross enthusi-

Side by sides at sunset

Taking a jump LA METRO MAGAZINE digital edition @ LAMetroMagazine.com

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In September, Hemond’s hosts the Great North Music and Arts Festival, attracting thousands of people who come to camp out, paint murals, do yoga, and meditate. The Disco Biscuits, a jam band from Philadelphia, headlined the festival in 2016. This year, there will even be a circus. Bring the kids! Check out their website for the event schedule.

Not without challenges Managing noise was a pressing concern for the park. After all, motocross racing can get loud, and there are local noise ordinances to follow that are binding. Hemond’s ordered an official noise study, to prove they’re not above a specified threshold (it turns out, they’re not). Environmental concerns are an ongoing challenge. Hemond’s works very closely with the Maine Department of Environmental Protection to ensure they’re not disrupting the natural ecosystem. Another challenge is safety. Riders wear helmets, chest protectors, and other required gear. Even with precautions taken, accidents can happen, so there’s a first aid room for minor injuries. There are two ambulances and four medics on hand for each race. In addition, the town’s rescue service is just minutes away.

Future, too, looks thrilling What’s next for Hemond’s? Development plans include restoring a huge barn on the property. The new event facility, to be completed in 2019, will house a restaurant and bar. Permanent tracks for kids and beginners, and a new septic system for more showers and restrooms, are also in

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Sawmill track LA METRO MAGAZINE | SUMMER 2018

Off-road racer

the works. And the new events always seem to expand the definition of “thrilling.” Brittnay Hemond says, “We want people to come out, have a great experience, and go home happy.” With official motocross races, off-roading, pig roasts, a family circus, motocross engines revving and riders freestyling, families spectating, kids practicing, an abundance of hot food and cold beverages, sunshine, and welcoming people – a great experience is all but guaranteed. Hemond’s Motocross and Offroad Park 695 Woodman Hill Road, Minot hemondsmx.com


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Heroes on the HOMEFRONT Written by Peggy DeBlois | Photography by Jose Leiva

“It’s the ability to change someone’s life when they need it. They’re at their sickest and you have a tool to fix that problem; it’s the most alluring thing about this job. You see it on the crew’s faces when a positive outcome happens.”

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Ambassadors of our community

T

here’s a lot of talk these days that not all superheroes wear capes, and that’s absolutely true. In the LA Metro area, we are blessed to have a community of first responders who love the adrenaline rush of every call, are devoted to lifelong learning, and consider themselves ambassadors of our community.

Adrenaline rush According to Sita West, firefighter and paramedic for the Auburn Fire Department, the pull to become a first responder is an inborn feeling you can’t suppress. “No one in my family was a first responder, so I don’t know where it came from, but I was always compelled to become a firefighter and EMT,” explains West. “It was just always there, an innate part of me. When I was in my early twenties, I was working different marketing jobs, but nothing really fit. The idea of firefighting and providing emergency medical services were the only things that really drew me. One day, I walked into the Bath Fire Department and asked, ‘How do I do this?’ What’s awesome is that now I’m getting to do this. I worked hard enough that I get to be in the

department. It’s an incredible accomplishment for anybody and I feel honored and privileged to be here. I am so happy that I get to do this every day.” Thomas Hunter, a private in the Auburn Fire Department, felt a similar call to his profession. “Every time I drove by Central Station, I always wanted to know what was going on inside,” explains Hunter, who originally went to college planning a career in business. “I never pursued it until I was older and began volunteering. When I got to be more active as a volunteer, I realized this was a profession I would be interested in making a career. It’s an active job, and there are a lot of different sorts of adrenaline – the excitement keeps me interested. You never know when the call is going to come in, and you never know what you’ll get for a call. You’re definitely not doing the same thing every day.” Like Hunter, West feels that every day is memorable. “From the people I work with, to the call volume, to the types of calls - every day is different and I learn so much every time I work that it’s truly humbling,” she says. “There are lots of really good days here. Even in traumatic situations, you see the good. For example, I’ve seen people with awful injuries, but the thing they are most concerned about is their kids – it can bring out the best in people, even when they are in their worst situation.” West spent part of her time working at United Ambulance Service, under the direction of Joe LaHood, EMT-P and operations manager in Lewiston. His 26 years of experience give him a unique perspective on our community. “EMTs are usually the first point of contact with a patient suffering a trauma; we stabilize them and hand them off to the ER –there’s a HIPAA* process if I want to see the outcome at the hospital,” explains LaHood. “We often get feedback because it’s good for our crews. They want to know that they made a difference. When you’re a kid and you’re watching a TV show about first responders, you want to be a hero, but it’s not about that, once you live the reality. It’s the ability to change someone’s life when they need it. They’re at their sickest and you have a tool to fix that problem; it’s the most alluring thing about this job. You see it on the crew’s faces when a positive outcome happens.”

Sita West, Auburn firefighter and paramedic 26

LA METRO MAGAZINE | SUMMER 2018

Members of our local police forces also feel their job choice is a calling. Sergeant Alfred “Jim” Daigle, of Mechanic Falls, knew he wanted to be in law enforcement from an extremely young age. “Like a lot of kids who want to be an astronaut or a firefighter, you hear it all the time, but I really, really wanted to be a police officer,” emphasizes Daigle. “I wanted to make a difference in the world somehow, I wanted to protect people – I basically wanted to save the world from the time I was eight or nine. I’ve


*The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) mandates that Covered Entities, which includes health plans, healthcare clearinghouses, and most healthcare providers, may not use or disclose individuals’ health information for purposes unrelated to providing healthcare, managing their organization, or meeting their obligations under state and federal law, unless individuals specifically authorize them to do so. LA METRO MAGAZINE digital edition @ LAMetroMagazine.com

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All of them wish they had a story to tell like LaHood’s most memorable day on the job. “I obviously have good and bad memorable days, but I want to give you the good one; I keep the bad ones to myself,” begins LaHood. “We got a call from a family that lived right here in the city. Since this was not their first child, they waited to go to the hospital – and they needed our assistance. While transporting the mother, I noticed the baby was crowning. It was a textbook delivery, perfect, no problems, right there in my ambulance. I delivered a healthy baby boy. When we got them to the labor and delivery floor, the mom wanted me and my partner in the family photo. They were so thankful, and I will never forget it,” grins LaHood.

Lifelong learning In order to be successful at a career so filled with adrenaline every day, all first responders are dedicated to a path of lifelong learning. According to Daigle, education is key. “You never stop learning,” claims Daigle. “The times, the culture, even society continues to evolve, and as law enforcement Thomas Hunter, Auburn Fire Department officials, we have to adapt to every situation. The more you can learn, the more you can do, the better off come to realize that it’s a little difficult to save the entire you’ll be as a law enforcement officer, or in life in general world, but I’m just as passionate about saving my piece of for that matter.” the world now as I was then.” Dave St. Pierre is a lieutenant in the Lewiston Police Department, and the department’s public information officer. He came around to the idea of joining the force after making a connection with Bill Welch, when he was a high school student and Welch was the school resource officer. “My goal was to be a detective, and I quickly learned that you have to start from the bottom,” says St. Pierre. “It’s a promoted position in our department, as in most. My career has not been stagnant at all, every two to three years I’ve moved into a different post, so I’ve been able to experience a little of everything. I was originally fascinated by the detective profession, as it is glorified by TV, but ultimately for me it was really the allure to discover the root of the problem. I know it sounds trite, but I really just wanted to help people. What was exciting to me as a five-year officer is not so exciting now, but being able to help people and do my best for the community is still the big attraction.” 28

LA METRO MAGAZINE | SUMMER 2018

LaHood agrees with Daigle’s assessment, adding that there are both physical and emotional burdens that come with the job. “You see things in this job that not the average person sees – some people come in and last only two weeks because they can’t handle the traumatic things they see.” LaHood explains that it takes at least two years to move from an entry-level emergency medical responder to a paramedic, longer for those who take time at each level to work and refine their skills. Also, as a licensed professional, paramedics are required to earn CEUs every three years for relicensing. West shares her own personal journey to becoming a paramedic and firefighter. “I started as a volunteer, took classes for EMT, Firefighter 1 and Firefighter 2 – basic knowledge of equipment and different techniques for fighting fire,” she explains. “At the same time, I had to maintain a high level of physical fitness – each department has its own test,


By Peggy DeBlois | Photography by Jose Leiva | Heroes on the Homefront some include a written test, but all have a physical test. I trained with a weight vest, did heavy lifting, cardio, and running to prepare. In Auburn, they offer a seven-week rookie school in the first year you are hired: you work out four days a week, going over equipment, streets, trucks. Over the next year you add to all that – it’s very involved.”

training with emotionally disturbed people.” St. Pierre’s toolkit includes supervisor training, leadership training, drug safety training, SWAT training, active shooter training, community policing training, hazardous materials training, and media relations, which he calls critical as the department cannot function efficiently without the public.

Daigle and St. Pierre concur that being a member of a police force requires ongoing training. “There are numerous trainings, many ongoing, not just the 18-week Maine Criminal Justice Academy,” says Daigle. “It all depends on which area you want to devote time. I myself have gone through crisis intervention training, bias-based profiling crimes investigation, and field officer training. The training never stops; you never stop learning. My favorite training was the most recent leadership training through LEEDA (part of the FBI), with instructors from Ohio and Massachusetts. It’s great getting perspectives from outside influences.”

His proudest training achievement is his recent graduation from the leadership training at the FBI National Academy in Virginia. “It was a great experience, 10 weeks of leadership training with law enforcement executives from all over the world sharing ideas on how to make our service better. The 225 attendees were from 18 foreign countries as well as every state in the nation, except Vermont. Only one percent of police officers have the opportunity to attend, and it allows us to enhance our partnerships with other agencies, in addition to the FBI. There was a focus on the challenges with cyber crimes, as well as many discussions about the rising threat of drugs, which have become much more dangerous.”

St. Pierre attributes the constantly changing society as the driving force for constant training. “Certain things are constantly being updated and require ongoing training, such as firearm proficiency and the mechanics of arrest, to cover changes in the law,” he explains. “A major topic we focused on recently is crisis intervention

St. Pierre explains that officers who want FBI training must apply for a limited number of openings allotted to each state. Since Lewiston has an officer on the Joint Terrorism Task Force, that commitment helps the application. He points out that Lewiston is very fortunate to have such

Alfred “Jim”digital Daigle, Mechanic Falls Police Department29 LA METRO MAGAZINE edition @ LAMetroMagazine.com


top-notch training, as there are others at Lewiston Police Department who have attended in the past as well.

Ambassadors All the training that our first responders go through is in direct response to community need. St. Pierre notes the change in Lewiston over the years, in both the community and in law enforcement. “It used to be an officer was given a gun and a badge, and told to protect and serve,” says St. Pierre. “Now, it’s about being in touch with citizens and working as a team.” Daigle also sees this on his beat in Mechanic Falls. “Law enforcement isn’t just about enforcing laws; it’s about protecting and educating and mentoring the public.” Daigle adds that he absolutely loves working in Mechanic Falls. “When I first started here, it was a culture shock going from Auburn to a little town,” he laughs. “Auburn was different – the majority of the populace was not overly thrilled to talk to police because, in a city, if you meet a police officer, it’s usually an issue. In Mechanic Falls, everyone is coming to talk to you, to see how your day is going. It’s a really tight-knit small community, and it affords me the opportunity to have impact not only on people’s

lives but also making a difference in the community. Not everybody knows what’s going on in their community, so I see my job as an opportunity to be involved and get others involved.” Thomas Hunter, of the Auburn Fire Department, agrees with Daigle that interacting with people is a great part of his job. “I think that people often question why first responders- police, fire, EMS- do certain things. For example, why are the fire trucks at the grocery store?” says Hunter. “We need to eat, so we have the truck at the store in case there’s a call. But also, the guys enjoy being out in the community and talking to people, especially seeing kids and letting them get up close to the trucks. It’s fun to be with them, to answer questions that people might have, but would never stop at the station to ask us. It’s really nice to get out and be part of community events and interact positively with people.” Hunter’s co-worker, Sita West, emphasizes their role as ambassadors. “We, as members of the department and our battalions, are firefighters, EMS providers, and educators for the city,” she stresses. “We work to keep the community safe. Education is a huge part of our job, especially with younger kids. We go to schools, or parents and groups

Film screening at the Franco Center 30

LA METRO MAGAZINE | SUMMER 2018

Dave St. Pierre, Lewiston Police Department


bring kids to us, through scouting, for example, and we educate them on fire safety, smoke detectors, ‘stop, drop, and roll,’ all the things people can do to keep their families safe. We are happy to show people the station and teach them about our equipment; often, even adults don’t realize what our job entails.” West expands the concept by explaining that the Lewiston Auburn area is fortunate to have the dedicated community of first responders it has. “All first responders- fire, EMT, police- work together very well in this community,” she says. “We all have the same goal; we are all trying to keep this community safe, and we look out for each other. We help people in this community as best we can.” Joe LaHood, with nearly 30 years of service in our community, couldn’t agree more. “We get a lot of diverse calls in the Twin Cities, and that’s interesting to us,” he explains. “We want to use the skills we are trained in, because it enhances our abilities if we keep using them. Plus, there are a lot of nice people in this city. It’s a nice place to work. The people here at United are awesome and a good team, and the police and fire departments are great. Public service professionals in this area are most awesome and progressive.” Hunter, of the Auburn Fire Department, sums it up best. “It’s a rewarding job, and at the same time, it’s heartbreaking,” he admits. “It’s all memorable, because you’re helping people out in their worst situations. You just hope for the best.”

Joe LaHood, EMT-P of United Ambulance Service

A Full Service Fire Sprinkler Company

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“Barbers are really coming back and bringing a lot of new style.” Heidi Sawyer LA METRO by MAGAZINE | SUMMER 2018 32 photograph


Shave haircut &a

Written by TS Chamberland | Photography by Jennifer Grace

...

And a whole lot more

U

nless you’ve lived your life on some remote island, you know what a red, white, and blue oscillating pole indicates. That pole has long been the universal sign for barbershops - as universal as the need for getting a haircut. Of course, barbershops have always been testosterone-filled establishments, and after a decade-long slump, they’re gaining favor with the male population again.

Morrow has a website and utilizes Instagram and Facebook – something your grandfather’s barber may never have even heard of – to showcase his work. He describes the cuts he offers as classic, pulling styles from the Prohibition era and Rockabilly days, and adding his own twist.

Fast forward to the current decade, where men’s hairstyle trends are front and center, everywhere you look on social media and on the streets of your town. Old-style or modern, barbers in Lewiston Auburn and beyond are seeing an uptick in clientele.

No appointment needed

Young and old, business is booming

Longtime barbers are retiring or simply not taking new clients, making way for newcomers with a fresh take on a time-honored trade. Men can go to a salon and get a great haircut, but there’s something to be said for choosing a barbershop that provides an atmosphere that many men prefer.

“It’s important to have a portfolio in a business like this,” explained Morrow.

Like most barbers, Morrow operates his shop predominantly on a walk-in basis. He does occasionally book appointments for his clients who can’t make it in during his regular business hours, but if you’re looking for a quick, in-and-out haircut, Apollo isn’t your place. “I think that people should definitely see what’s out there for options,” said Morrow.

“Barbers are really coming back and bringing a lot of new style,” says Rick Morrow, owner and operator of Apollo Barbers in Auburn. A one-chair, one-barber operation, Apollo opened in August 2017. Morrow, who had previously worked at Gifted Hands on Center Street, decided to start his own shop to reach out to a different clientele, one that was seeking trendy versions of classic men’s styles. “I haven’t been open for too long,” says Morrow. “It seems like, basically, just word-of-mouth is getting my business off the ground.”

Tools of the trade LA METRO MAGAZINE digital edition @ LAMetroMagazine.com 33


The Vault offers free tastings in a social enviroment.

Many men who grew up getting haircuts in their mothers’ salons are now discovering the world of barbershops for the first time in their lives. A big part of the barbershop patron demographic, in Croteau’s opinion, is men coming into their own and finding that they have choices when it comes to their hair care, including the atmosphere and manner in which it is done. Why would men prefer this to a unisex salon? “The experience; we’re a barbershop,” says Croteau. Rick Morrow, Apollo Barbers

Brendon Henderson, of Gardiner, says he’s new to the world of barbershops, previously opting to have his hair cut at a chain salon. It wasn’t until Morrow, his friend and roommate, got his barbering license that Henderson decided to try something new.

For men, building a relationship with a barber is similar to that of a woman and her stylist. The biggest difference, aside from the services offered, is the walk-in factor. This works well for both the barber and the client. “Every day we have new clientele,” Croteau said. “We have generations – grandfathers, fathers, sons, grandkids – still coming here.”

“I get a lot more attention on my hair than I did before,” said Henderson. “He’s [Morrow] definitely more attentive, gives you the whole treatment, and talks to you the whole time.” The personal touch of building a barber-client relationship is a big factor in the decision to frequent a barbershop, as is the convenience of being able to walk in and still see the same professional. Auburn resident Nathan Yerxa said he agrees. “In the increasing forward motion of society, where we are trying to blend everyone together, I think it’s nice that barbershops are coming back, because it makes it okay to be a guy, it’s okay to have a barber, and to not want the same things as your wife or a woman wants to have.”

Traditional technique still yields happy clients Proving that longevity is a key to success, Marcel’s in Auburn has provided the Twin City area with classic barbering services since 1953. Current owner and operator Tina Croteau bought the business in July 2008, but she’s been a barber there for 30 years. 34

LA METRO MAGAZINE | SUMMER 2018

Tina Croteau, Marcel’s


Frank Dregallo, of Auburn, is one such client and he’s been going to Marcel’s for 28 years. Ernie Olson has been his barber since Dregallo moved to the area, and the two have formed a solid friendship.

the people who know exactly what they are looking for and want you to be very precise about it.”

“We like to exchange stories,” said Dregallo. “In fact, in the summer, we go to the same part of Maine for vacation, so we have a lot to talk about.”

Childs said that whether a client wants a more complicated look or a basic one-length all over, they come back because of the whole experience. Remembering little details about each client and asking them questions is part of what makes the barber-client relationship so sought after.

Different snips and precision clips Cody Childs opened Gifted Hands Barber Shop in Auburn in October 2016, after encouragement from his uncle, Don Bourgoin of Blais’ Barber Shop in Lewiston. Childs described the industry as having two types of barbers: the old-school, classic, 10-15 minute barber cuts and the younger, trend and service focused barber, like Childs. “The old barbershops – they cut good hair, but it’s more about quick cuts,” Childs explained. “Nowadays, newer barbers are starting to put a lot of time into getting to know a customer, as well as provide good service. I think that people prefer both types of places.”

Getting to know you

Chatting up new people wasn’t something Childs did a lot of before becoming a barber. He said that this career path has really helped him branch out and get to know an array of people. “Growing a bond with a client, so that the next time they come in, you’re excited to talk to them, as much as they are excited to talk to you,” said Childs. Not only is there a choice between salons and barbershops, there’s even a choice in the type of barbershops available. If you want something quick, check out the in-and-out type of barbers, but if you’re looking for a more involved haircut with the extras, a newcomer may just be your style.

“Some people are easy, they don’t really mind the quick stuff,” said Childs. “Then there are

“Give it a try,” Childs explained. “I think that, where we are barbers and trained in men’s hair, I think they would appreift G ciate the final product that , s ild we can give them.” h C ed

Ha nd s

A number of his customers have attributed the attention to detail and the time spent in the chair as their reason they keep coming back, according to him. The best aspects about his chosen career, he explains, are that he gets to know so many people and that it doesn’t feel like “work.” dy Co

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LA barbershops: Apollo Barbers 158 Court St, Auburn Marcel’s Barber Shop 54 Mill St., Auburn Gifted Hands Barber Shop 120 Center St., Auburn Blais’ Barber Shop 255 Russell St., Lewiston Moe’s Styling Center 231 Blake St., Lewiston

Certified barbers in full service salons: Paul Jalbert @ All About You 41 Broad St., Auburn Ron Letourneau @ Orbit Hairstyling 58 Bartlett St., Lewiston Jane @ Sarah Jeannes Family Hair Care 77 Sabattus St., Lewiston

Brian’s Barber Shop 1761 Lisbon St., Lewiston H. Williams Barber Shop 184 Turner St., Auburn

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Moving LA Forward.

LA METRO MAGAZINE | SUMMER 2018

• LOCAL • INSPIRING • DISTINGUISHED The award winning magazine that represents Lewiston Auburn in the positive light that it deserves!

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By Andrew Watson | Photography by Paul Michaud

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AT SAM’S

You’re Special

Written by Dan Marois | Photography by Jennifer Grace

Courtesy, quality, and service: a winning combination since 1939 As president and owner of Sam’s Italian Foods, Rick Michaud prefers to keep a low profile, shying away from the limelight. Even as he sat down for this interview, the first thing he said was, “I’m a rather private person. I’d prefer that the story be about the business and the employees, not about me.” 40

LA METRO MAGAZINE | SUMMER 2018

Michaud’s business is one of the most iconic places in Lewiston Auburn, known as Sam’s Italian Sandwich Shops. Italian sandwiches were the specialty when the business was first opened in 1939 by Sam Bennett, whose wife and sister-in-law helped run the store. The shop was in Auburn on Minot Avenue, near the intersection of Elm Street.

Owners, Paul and Kate Landry with Chef, Tony Scherrer


By Dan Marois | Photography by Jennifer Grace | At Sam’s You’re Special Within the same year after opening, the shop moved to Main Street in Lewiston, where it still stands today, with one of the flashiest looking signs in town (pictured on page 42). An Italian is a Maine staple item. Although Sam’s original sandwiches were made with salami, the traditional Italian includes a fresh Italian roll with ham, real American cheese, tomato, onion, green pepper, pickle with salt, and oil. Employee Stephanie Bouchard started working at Sam’s when she was 16 years old, working her way to her current position as a general manager and marketing manager. She handles a very consistent marketing plan that includes radio, TV, direct mail, and print.

“If you travel out of Maine you simply cannot find a real Italian sandwich. We get inquiries about our ingredients from all over the country,” said Stephanie. “I have shipped rolls and whoopie pies to places like California, Florida, and Arizona. Growing up in this community, people get attached to a Sam’s Italian.”

“You never had it so good!” “We just brought back the jingle, after not using it for a while,” said Michaud about the radio and TV ads that feature a catchy jingle sung by an array of children. “We used to run a day care center. That’s where we often found the kids for the jingles.” Through the years, the business has certainly grown, with the addition of a self-contained bakery, pizza added to the menu, new locations within LA and beyond, and a catering division.

Joining the company Michaud started working for the Sam’s in 1988, overseeing the Lisbon Street shop in Lewiston. In 2001, he joined Jerry Clements and Phil Libby, as one of the owners. In 2003, upon their retirement, he became sole owner along with his wife, Wendy, who also worked for the company. When talking about heading up a longtime business, Michaud believes that you must grow to survive and better serve your customers. “Customers judge us anew every time they come into our restaurants,” said Michaud, who has expanded the menu and grown the business to 13 locations: seven in LA Metro

and others in Augusta, Brunswick, Topsham, Lisbon Falls, Rumford, and Freeport. “We can’t rest on what we’ve done before. We always need to improve.” He’s quick to mention a complete rebuild of the Minot Avenue and Brunswick locations, in an effort to keep the shops new and modern. He credits his 225 employees for lots of hard work and he notes that the average store manager has been with the company for 15 years. Rick Michaud and his wife Wendy LA METRO MAGAZINE digital edition @ LAMetroMagazine.com

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His longest-term employee is Roger Bernier, the commissary manager, who has been with the company for 46 years. When talking about the business, Michaud speaks in a measured tone about things like budgets, multiyear planning, future growth, and business strategy in the face of fierce competition. A first impression leads you to believe that he could have advanced degrees in business. “I have learned what I know from the school of hard knocks,” said Michaud, laughing at the thought. He also said that working with the previous owners, Clements and Libby, was a detailed education about running the business. His catering division, which continues to thrive, allows customers to order food for pickup or dropoff at the location of a function or event. “We can even show up and set up a buffet at the location,” said Michaud.

Sign at Main St. Lewiston location

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Taylor BrookMAGAZINE location LA METRO | SUMMER 2018

Bakery business On the upper floors above the Main Street shop, you’ll find Sam’s Italian Bakery, which supplies products not only to the restaurant locations but to various businesses and retail locations. A pricing sheet shows a variety of sliced and unsliced Italian rolls, short rolls, hamburger rolls, and finger rolls, as well as loaves of bread, doughballs, and pizza crust. “We supply Lewiston and Auburn schools with their bread products,” said Michaud. As his business approaches its 80th year in 2019, Michaud credits the community with allowing his business to continue. “You start a business and hope that it will be successful,” said Michaud. “With us, it is the community that continues to support us. In a way, this business belongs to the community.” Sam’s Italian Foods Main location: 268 Main St. Lewiston samsitalianfoods.com

Sam’s famous whoopie pies


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BEER:30 Written by David Muise | Photography by Jennifer Grace

“It’s a great way to get initiated into the craft beer experience.” 44

Patrons of Craft Brew Underground look through hundreds of craft beer options. LA METRO MAGAZINE | SUMMER 2018


SOCIAL HOUR An ongoing section in LA Metro Magazine highlighting great places to go and things to do in our communitites.

It’s time you tried new beers

T

here are no fewer than three people in tall muck boots palming pints of beer and mixing with the otherwise casual after-work crowd in the taproom at Baxter Brewing Company tonight. They are leaning against rails, sitting at bar tables, and scooting in and out of the adjacent brew deck. These are the people at the epicenter of LA’s craft brew scene- the actual brewers of the many Baxter beers that have put LA on the craft brew map. “The taproom setting is special because you get to be in the environment where the beer was made and, often, you end up drinking with the very people who brewed it for you,” says Andrew Sheffield, director of brewing operations at Baxter. “It’s a great way to get initiated into the craft beer experience.” That craft brew experience Sheffield describes is currently sweeping the nation. What for many was a pleasant and occasional change from the domestic beer they were used to has turned into a $30 billion industry, complete with fanatics that wait in line for special offerings, casual consumers who’ve dabbled, and those just wondering where on earth to start in a world of IPAs, dubbels, tripels, and sessions. LA Metro Magazine got a designated driver and hit the road, to figure out what all the fuss is about and where anyone- from connoisseur to amateur- can join in the craft brew frenzy. Gather up your crew because it’s social hour in LA! LA METRO MAGAZINE digital edition @ LAMetroMagazine.com

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Free tastings Most of us have seen the $10 four-pack of craft brewed tall cans on the shelves at our local beverage shop. Most of us have probably hard swallowed at the thought of doling out that much cash for something we’ve never tried. This is a common barrier of entry for those aspiring to new craft beer heights. “That’s why we do so many tastings here,” says Nikki Hernandez of Roopers. “We’ve got five stores in LA and we do three beer tastings per month, at each store. We try to always offer a light, medium, and heavier beer so we can easily ask people what they usually drink and have something to recommend for them.”

Lone Pine tasting at Roopers

At a recent Roopers tasting, customer Jan O’Brien can’t pass up Hernandez’s sales pitch, “Wanna try some free beer?”

“Well, I normally drink Samuel Adams Boston Lager, but, sure!” she acquiesces. “Ooh, I really like that,” she croons of Lone Pine Brewing Company’s Brightside IPA. “The minute it hit my tongue, it just had a nice body and a really nice flavor to it.” This is a common reaction and, according to Hernandez, how people are beginning to justify the seemingly high price tag on the beer, “You’ve just got to get them to try it,” she says. Another place to get in on the world of free tastings is The Vault. Their tastings are usually well attended, and double as social gatherings or an early evening out. The Vault’s format begs that you get your friends and experience new brews together while mingling in its inviting space.

The Vault offers free tastings in a social enviroment.

Beer flights Beer flights have as their kin the now ubiquitous wine flight- a series of small pours that allow someone to try to a variety of different flavors without having to commit to a full glass. “It’s like a bite-sized portion,” says Sheffield of Baxter. “For those who don’t already know what they like, it’s the perfect way to discover their personal craft brew taste.” The beer flights at Baxter are served on hand-carved “decks” made by Keith Saunders, a local firefighter. Their design is modeled after the peaks and ridges of Mount Katahdin. On this flight, you will receive five four-ounce pours of beer. You might choose to acquaint yourself with one of Baxter’s IPAs: a porter, a stout, or even sour ale. In doing so, you can understand the flavor profile of a certain type of beer, helping you make informed buying decisions down the road. “You might not love everything on the flight, but the hope is that you’ll find something that you do,” says Sheffield. “Plus, you get to interact with the crew here. You get a deeper understanding and a more purposeful interaction with the brand.”

Melhus & Charlie Melhus 46

Nikki Hernandez of Roopers LA METRO MAGAZINE | SUMMER 2018

Baxter Brewing’s hand-carved flight deck.


by David Muise | Photography by Jennifer Grace | BEER:30

Social hour at Craft Brew Undergroud

Graduating to the big time So you’re already a beer connoisseur, or you’ve tried some craft beers and know what you like, and are maybe even ready to try some of the traditional craft beers from around the world. LA’s newest addition to the craft beer scene has you covered. Craft Brew Underground has 160 beers on tap, in bottles, or cans. Their menu is 10 pages long. Their selection represents the craft brew industry as it exists- not just in Maine, but literally from all over the world. “You’ll find beers in here that you won’t find in restaurants, taprooms, or retail stores,” says Mike Williams, owner of Craft Brew Underground. The space occupies the below ground level of 34 Court Street. The dark wood and exposed brick give the feeling of sipping beer in an Old World cellar. A small bar serves the many comfortable seating areas where craft brew seekers sit pouring through the many offerings.

The many tastings, taprooms, and craft beer bars are summoning you and your friends. Get on board the craft beer train at these many points of entry. Bottoms up! It’s Beer:30 in LA. Baxter Brewing 130 Mill St. Lewiston • baxterbrewing.com Roopers Beverage 5 location in LA • roopersbeverage.com The Vault 84 Lisbon St. Lewiston • wineatthevault.com

er from Mast Landing pour ing s Suppli amp les at T he Va ult .

“You used to have to go to Portland for a wide selection of craft beer,” says Williams. “That’s why I started this business. The craft beer scene in LA was underestimated and underserved.”

Bottoms up! The craft brew universe finally has an outpost in LA. So, if you are looking to simply try something new, or if you have been traveling to Portland to get your fix, rest assured that your suds are getting fancied up here in LA. LA METRO MAGAZINE digital edition @ LAMetroMagazine.com

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Tee Time Written by Dan Marois | Photography by Pam Ashby

A thrilling adventure in our backyard

T

here’s a podcast that is recorded each week in the studio of the Williams Broadcasting Network in North Norway, where three local golf enthusiasts chat about tournament players while sharing some good-natured banter. “The 19th Hole” is hosted by broadcaster and Oxford Hills Chamber of Commerce director John Williams, with guests Mike Godin and his son Ryan, both from Twin City Financial Group, and Steve Roop from Roopers Beverage and Redemption Centers. In a recent broadcast, the show’s discussion centered on the Masters Golf Tournament, with predictions about who would dominate the annual event.

Grillin'

Martindale Country Club Nearly a century of golfing memories Tucked away in a secluded spot, just off Maine Turnpike’s exit 75, is Martindale Country Club, one of the top golf clubs in the area. The club opened for play in 1921, with a front nine that was designed and routed through the woods and a dairy pasture by brothers Alex and Fred Chisholm. This section is notable for its amazing views of Mount Washington in the White Mountains.

“It is Tiger’s year,” said Roop, confident that the top golfer, who has not been in top form, will return to take the lead. Ryan Godin and his father, whom he affectionately calls “Pop” on air, hemmed and hawed in disagreement, not sure that Woods could pull off the comeback that’s needed to win the Masters again. After the broadcast, when the discussion turned to golfing in the LA Metro area, the talk exploded with enthusiasm. With more than a dozen local courses to choose from, here are highlights about three popular links. 48

Aerial view of both tracks LA METRO MAGAZINE | SUMMER 2018

View of Martindale clubhouse from the 9th tee box. Photo courtesy of Martindale


By Dan Marois | Photography by Pam Ashby | Tee Time Fred Chisholm would become Martindale’s first golf course superintendent, while Alex was a golf professional at Portland Country Club in the 1920s. The two brothers were formidable competitors in early New England professional golf events. The Maine Open Championship was held at Martindale in 1925, and was won by Frank Gilman of Augusta. Gilman’s younger brother, Harlan, would become Martindale’s head golf professional in 1945. In the 1930s, Martindale was first called “The Mother of Champions,” known as the training ground for top golfers that still applies today. In 1955, Jack Linnell held forth as Martindale’s official caddy master. Martindale saw a time when there were a lot of caddies and very few golf carts. In 1963, the back nine was added and designed by Philip Wogan, with a trek alongside the Little Androscoggin River. The back course continues to offer a challenge for golfers perhaps best personified with a monument at hole No. 10, dedicated to those that completed the project, dubbing the anthem of Martindale’s back nine as “Hit the Ball.” In 1992, Club Champion David Brewster set a new course record of 63 that still holds today. In the fall of 2009, Martindale membership approved the sale of the club to longtime member and local businessman, Jim Day, and Head Golf Professional Nick Glicos. As for the course, Steve Roop notes that while the front nine is easier to play, the back nine is much tighter, requiring better shots.

Hot air bolloon sighting on the 10th tee

Ryan Godin reflects on Martindale by saying, “It is a very well-maintained course with some cool and challenging holes. Hole No. 9 is a very downhill par 3 that is challenging to hit and have your ball stay on the green.” Other people often call it one of the toughest par 3 holes in the state. An online reviewer cited, “It is like teeing off from atop a 10-story building to a small green.” Godin adds that hole No. 11 is a challenging par 3 that isn’t very long, but a tough sloped green that is very hard to hold. “Then you have a respectable par 5 with hole No. 12, that is challenging for any player because it is narrow and very long.” Stephanie Rodrigue, a standout golfer at Lewiston High School, says that Martindale is like a second home to her. “That course has a special place in my heart. I have played that course thousands of times…There’s just something about the drive of playing target golf at that course that makes it so much fun,” said Rodrigue, who recently received the LA Metro Chamber of Commerce President’s Award at the Auburn-Lewiston Sports Hall of Fame Banquet, for outstanding accomplishments as a student athlete. “Every day in the fall after school, I would go out and play there. Martindale is amazing.”

View of Martindale clubhouse from Rodrigue the greenevaluating of the 10thher hole. Stephanie lie Photo of courtesy of Martindale Photo courtesy Stephanie Rodrigue LA METRO MAGAZINE digital edition @ LAMetroMagazine.com

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Fairlawn Golf and Country Club Great location for golfing fun Beyond its serene location and peaceful atmosphere in Poland, Maine, this golf course offers something for golfers of all levels. The Fairlawn Golf and Country Club opened in 1963 and is an 18-hole championship course with yardages varying from 5,158 yards to 6,800 yards. In 1973 and 1977, it was host to the Maine Open Championship and, among many high school state championships, Fairlawn also hosted the 1965 and 1975 State Amateur Championships. Fairlawn is what some might call an “old school” course. It is relatively flat, with bunkers and hazards off to the sides. The course does have a certain Maine charm and the grounds are nicely maintained. The course is usually filled early in the day and after work with members and league players. In the middle of the day, there are some quieter times that many golfers enjoy. A popular feature at the course is that greens fees are half price after 4 p.m. The course greets players on a first-come, first-served basis, with no tee times required.

Teed up at Fairlawn

One online golf reviewer said about Fairlawn, “This is totally my kind of place to golf. It was a gorgeous area and had some great visual inspiration as you hit around. The course is in great shape and provides a good level of challenge for an average golfer who shoots about 48-52 for 9 holes. The holes had unique characteristics and really made for a fun and interesting round.” Some comments about holes on the course include: The seventh hole is an interesting par 5 where you could reach the elevated green in 2, but the pond on the right might alter your plan.

Memorial bench on the course honors a member who passed

As for the ninth hole, while it is possible for the longest of hitters to go over the trees on this short par 4, the easy play is to hit your drive straight which will leave you 130 – 150 to the hole. And the 11th hole is a short par 3 down the hill that gives players a nice chance for a birdie. Rodrigue said, “Fairlawn, what a great track! I don’t get to play the course as often as I would like to, but when I do, it is so much fun. Fairlawn has really come a long way on improving the course and I love it.” Mike Godin believes that Fairlawn is one of the best bargains in Maine. “You can enjoy a quality round of golf for a great price.” His son adds, “It is a very playable course where a long ball player can score easily.” Roop likes Fairlawn because it is open the longest, right Chili & cornbread up until the snow flies. “I finish off the season at Fairlawn.” 50

LA METRO MAGAZINE | SUMMER 2018

Covered bridge


By Dan Marois | Photography by Pam Ashby | Tee Time

Spring Meadows Golf Club From dairy farm to championship course GolfStyles New England magazine has cited the club as, “among the 100 must-play courses in New England.” Golf Digest describes the course as, “a venue worth the drive.” Spring Meadows Golf Club, in Gray, Maine, is recognized as one of the premier 18-hole championship golf courses in the area, with a versatile design that caters to both the avid golfer and the beginner. Spring Meadows was built on family farmland. The Pollard Brothers, owners of the course, all worked the dairy farm, which was active through the mid 1960s. Dairy cattle were pastured out on a good part of the land. After the close of the dairy farm, it was not until the mid1990s that the idea of turning the farmlands into a golf course came to pass. In October 1999, a nine-hole course was open to the public, and by 2001 the course had 18 holes. The 1922 barn on the property functions as a banquet center for an array of events. “Spring Meadows is one of my favorite courses to play in the area. It is always well maintained, and there is a lot of target golf that needs to be played,” said Ryan Godin. “You have to hit your spots to put yourself in a good position.”

that think they can clear the brush areas that segment the fairway. “ Roop agrees you must hit three great shots to get it to the green, on this hole. In online reviews, it is stated that the sixth hole is a tough par 3 because if you don’t hit the green you’ll have a very hard chip onto the green. The 15th hole is a long par 5 that requires you to carry two wetlands. Length off the tee is a plus here. You are left with a decision: carry the first wetland, or lay up and carry both wetlands on your next shot. Godin said, “Overall, this course is very playable, the greens roll well, it’s not too long, and if you keep it in the fairway, you can score at this course.” His father adds, “I always look forward to playing a round at Spring Meadows. They have a welcoming atmosphere with several picturesque holes.” “And Spring Meadows is well-laid out and a homey-feeling course,” said Rodrigue. “It’s really a challenging course that brings out your best game.” “It is beautiful with their Kentucky Blue Grass,” adds Swenson.

View of the 1st hole

Hole No.3 at Spring Meadows is memorable and leads to much discussion. “The third hole there is a tough par 5 where you have to lay up on your drive, to then lay up on your second shot, to have 130-150 in for your third shot,” said Godin. Joe Swenson, of Scarborough, believes that the third hole is one of the most difficult par 5s in Maine. “Depending which tee you hit from, you are forced to lay up twice on this 500+ yard behemoth. Another aspect that makes it challenging is how unforgiving it can be, for those

Tee box along Spring Meadows Estates LA METRO MAGAZINE digital edition @ LAMetroMagazine.com

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Photo courtesy of Cathy Case

Area Golf Courses Apple Valley Golf Course 9 holes over 2,492 yards with a par of 35 (Public) 316 Pinewoods Rd., Lewiston Cobbossee Colony Golf Course 9 holes over 2,351 yards with a par of 34 (Public) 885 Cobbossee Rd., Monmouth Fairlawn Golf & Country Club 18 holes over 6,300 yards with a par of 72 (Public) 434 Empire Rd., Poland

Lewiston’s Rodrigue Tees Off a Career Stephanie Rodrigue is an up-and-coming golfer ready to take on whatever comes next.

Martindale Country Club 18 holes over 6,538 yards with a par of 71 (Public) 527 Beech Hill Rd., Auburn

“My hard work has put me number one in a couple of championships, and in the top five in many, as well,” said the recent Lewiston High School graduate.

Pine Acres Golf Course 9 holes over 1,488 yards with a par of 29 (Public) 2560 Turner Rd., Auburn

“In 2016, I won an inaugural girls championship at Val Halla Golf Course and I placed second in a junior championship at Toddy Brook. I was invited to play at Sugarloaf for the American Junior Golf Association Junior Championship this past summer and will be returning again this year,” said Rodrigue.

Poland Spring Resort 18 holes over 6,116 yards with a par of 71 (Public) 37 Robbins Way, Poland

“I have placed in the top 10 for the past three years in the Maine State High School Golf Championship, and qualified for the New England Championship three times. I placed third in the Maine Women’s Amateur in 2016,” said Rodrigue. “With the scores of 76, 86, and 72, I am really proud of that one.” She notes that she’s always competed with boys during her high school career, which has qualified her for just about anything. As for how she developed an interest in the sport, she said that neither of her parents plays golf. She became interested when she attended a sports summer camp in the fifth grade and the coach said that she had potential. “All of my successes started then.” This fall, she continues her education and golf career at the University of Mount Olive in North Carolina on a scholarship. “I could not be more proud of myself for all the hard work I have put into this game.” 52

Fox Ridge Golf Club 18 holes over 6,814 yards with a par of 72 (Public) 550 Penley Corner Rd., Auburn

LA METRO MAGAZINE | SUMMER 2018

Prospect Hill Golf Course 18 holes over 5,846 yards with a par of 71 (Public) 694 S Main St., Auburn Springbrook Golf Club 18 holes over 6,383 yards with a par of 71 (Public) 141 US Highway Route 202, Leeds Spring Meadows Golf Club 18 holes over 6,637 yards with a par of 71 (Public) 59 Lewiston Rd., Gray Summit Springs Golf 9 holes over 3,926 yards (Public) 292 Summit Spring Rd., Poland Spring The Meadows Golf Club 18 holes over 5,814 yards with a par of 68 (Public) 495 Huntington Hill Rd., Litchfield Turner Highlands 18 holes over 6,008 yards with a par of 71 (Public) 10B Highland Ave., Turner Information about area golf courses provided by golflink.com


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Outdoor Cafes of LA Written by Toby Haber-Giasson | Photography by Jennifer Grace

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Patrons of 84 Court Pizza & Restaurant enjoying lunch on the patio. LA METRO MAGAZINE | SUMMER 2018


Top eats of the sweet season

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n Maine, we wait all winter- and most of spring- for that all-too-brief outdoor season. LA Metro Magazines contributors help you explore outdoor eating in LA with this seasonal guide. Whether public or private spaces, urban or scenic, don’t miss a single one!

Outdoor Oasis While great food and excellent service is on the menu year-round at 84 Court, owners Enka and Genti Suli have just made their popular outdoor space even better for summer dining. The patio, tucked behind the restaurant away from Court Street traffic, has had a makeover featuring new railings, and whimsical decorations. A suspended awning has replaced sunbrellas, for better sightlines, The Sulis even had custom benches and tables built, to maximize seating in their hideaway space. LAMM Editor-in-Chief Pam Ashby likes the patio’s secluded location. “84 Court is in the middle of town, but almost feels like you’re in your own backyard.” Well, this backyard serves Fried Ravioli! This new appetizer, topped with bread crumbs and deep-fried, is definitely worth a visit. So are the supersized Tater Tots, loaded with cheddar cheese and bacon. Graze the Charcuterie tray, featuring mortadella, sweet capicola, blue cheese, and banana peppers hand-stuffed with mozzarella and prosciutto. How about chasing that down with a “deck” of Sangria flights, featuring small tastes of four fruit-infused wines? Enjoy music on the patio, with local favorites like The Leftovers, on Thursday and Saturday nights, from 6-8pm. Now more than ever, 84 Court is the ideal oasis for the outdoor season. 84 Court Pizza & Restaurant - 70 outdoor seats 84 Court Street, Auburn LA METRO MAGAZINE digital edition @ LAMetroMagazine.com

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Other LA oases Heidi’s Brooklyn Deli - 50 outdoor seats 624 Turner Street, Auburn Lewiston House of Pizza - upper deck/35 outdoor seats 95 Lincoln Street, Lewiston Pedro O’Hara’s - 20 outdoor seats 134 Main Street, Lewiston

Urban piazza In summer, DaVinci’s enhances its iconic mill setting with the element of dining al fresco. Their patio, nestled in the courtyard of the Bates Mill complex, is the closest thing in LA to an Italian piazza. “I love the patio, surrounded by the mill space,” says LAMM’s Peggy DeBlois. “It’s uniquely Lewiston.” DaVinci’s doesn’t take reservations for the patio; you just have to wait for a table, and people do. As popular as the outside space is, the patio wasn’t part of the original plan when the restaurant moved to Mill Street. Believe it or not, owner Jules Patry says, “It evolved as we designed this new space.” Try these new panini-style sandwiches for lunch. The Eggplant Press has fresh mozzarella and basil. Their Italian Press is loaded with meats and cheese. Couple one with a light, refreshing summer cocktail. Salads are the mainstay on the patio; try the Cobb, with gorgonzola and bacon, or the Yasso, with feta and olives, both served with grilled chicken.

Melhus & Charlie Melhus

photo courtesy of DaVinci’s Eatery 56 LA METRO MAGAZINE | SUMMER 2018

Heidi’s Brooklyn Deli

Patry notes customer dining habits change as days get longer. “Our peak comes later on warmer days, with a 7:30-8 push for dinner; in midwinter it’s closer to 6pm.” Take advantage of the season to enjoy DaVinci’s patio; just don’t feed the birds! DaVinci’s Eatery - 60 outdoor seats 150 Mill Street, Lewiston

Altro piazzi Fish Bones - 30 outdoor seats 70 Lincoln Street Rails - 50 outdoor seats 103 Lincoln Street, Lewiston


by Toby Haber-Giasson | Photography by Jennifer Grace | Outdoor Cafes of LA

Water views

Fish Bones - photo courtesy of Pam Ashby

Located along the edge of the Androscoggin River, the Pat’s Pizza deck is the best in LA for a view of the water. The deck has been in place since Pat’s opened in 1985, but now it boasts new seating with custom-made high top tables. Why the change? “It gives us a little less seating, but a lot more room,” explains Manager Dave Bishop. Customers will find more space between tables, to lean back and spread out. Another reason: views. “We thought of changing the railing, to improve visibility,” recalls Dave, “but I said, ‘What if we raise the tables’?” Now that’s thinking outside of the pizza box! Even with fewer seats, Pat’s volume increases in summer, thanks to more diners coming for outdoor lunch and midweek dinner. Who doesn’t want to be at Pat’s when the eagle flies to his nest, on the island in the river? Pat’s also offers prime seating for the fireworks display on the Fourth of July.

sharing a plate of nachos and sipping an iced tea, overlooking the river with the light dancing off the waves. It’s the perfect pick-me-up!” Pat’s Pizza - 45 outdoor seats 85 Center Street, Auburn

Pat’s adds seasonal items to their menu in summer. More water views Try their Tropical Chicken salad, packed with grilled chicken, mandarin oranges, dried cranberries, sunflowCyndi’s Dockside - 36 dockside, 16 deckside seats er seeds, feta cheese, tomatoes, and Asian sesame 723 Maine Street, Poland dressing. Pat’s also offer an “all-purpose” lobster roll, that pleases both tourists and natives alike. Gritty’s - 180 outdoor seats eir updated dec h t 68 Main Street, Auburn h t i w a z k furn Piz LAMM’s Donna Rousseau iture Pat’s says, “Nothing is better for some quick stress relief than

LA METRO MAGAZINE digital edition @ LAMetroMagazine.com

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City sidewalk cafes Owner Eric Agren first brought Fuel’s French bistro fare out onto Lisbon Street nearly 10 years ago. Weekend patrons can spend a summer evening dining on the busy sidewalk. LAMM’s David Muise says dining on steak frites and a velvety red from Fuel’s extensive wine list is as close as you’ll get to the bustling bistro vibe of Paris. Fuel offers new menu items to enjoy. Try the Tuna Tartare, sushi grade fish on a bed of baby Maine seaweed, with black garlic. The accent is fingerlime, an exotic fruit you’ve definitely never had before, full of tart beads that give it the nickname “caviar lime.” Is rabbit in your repertoire? Fuel does it braised with pappardelle, in a sauce of white wine, mushroom, and sour cream.

er Win

yo f Fu el

How about a cocktail? “Mules are very hot,” says Agren of the classic chilled Russian drink. Fuel’s refreshing Cranberry Mule combines spiced rum (instead of vodka), ginger beer, and lime juice, in a copper cup

ac es ka urt t Fu o c el - photo

Photo courtesy of Gritty’s

to keep it very cold. Or maybe Something Wicked, a bold combination of chocolate vodka and crème de cocoa with pomegranate juice. How about a cold beer on the hot sidewalk? Agren is proud that all his beer taps draw Maine brews. “Maine beers have a huge following. On Tuesday nights, when we run bar specials, people come just for the beer.” With favorites like Bissell Brothers, Funky Bow, and local Baxter and Bear Bones on the list, people come out on the random night. “It’s quite a movement.” Aficionados will appreciate the chance to experience an award-winning Chateau Montelena chardonnay, by the glass. Agren uses a Coravin system with an argon cartidge, which can preserve precious vintages for up to a year. Join the vanguard this summer right on upper Lisbon Street at Fuel’s sidewalk cafe. Fuel - 8 outdoor seats 49 Lisbon Street, Lewiston

Other sidewalk cafes

Forage - 8 seats 180 Lisbon Street, Lewiston House of Bacon - 20 outdoor seats Court Street, Auburn

photo courtesy of Fuel 58

LA METRO MAGAZINE | SUMMER 2018

House of Bacon - photo courtesy of Pam Ashby


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Fueling the Entrepreneurial Spirit Written by David Muise | Photography by Jennifer Grace

“You might consider looking for a business that is operating and succeeding, yet lacking in the very skill set you bring to the table.” Buying a business

I

n many ways, buying a business will be the most important and consequential purchase you will ever make. It will impact everything in your life, from family to finances, and all the emotions that come with each. It’s not for everyone, but it’s possible there has never been a better time to do it than now. Resources are plentiful. The internet age provides entrepreneurs for all sorts of entry points for access to capital. So, despite the obstacles, if you are driven and passionate about the work, you can do this!

have a passion for the business? Do you easily take ‘no’ for an answer? Are you competitive? Are you a self-starter?” Lalemand allows us to further understand this checklist by asking us to consider an overarching concept he calls “diversion thinking versus conversion thinking.”

Self-examination A pertinent guidepost for entrepreneurs wanting to buy a business is Start With Why, Simon Sinek’s wildly popular book about inspiration. Before you make any moves, Sinek advises that you examine your own motives, weaknesses, strengths, capabilities, and even your own psychology. Kurk Lalemand, of Next Level Business Coaching in Auburn, asks, “There’s some things to tick off, right? Do you 60

LA METRO MAGAZINE | SUMMER 2018

Kurk Lalemand


by David Muise | Photography by Jennifer Grace | Fueling the Entrepreneurial Spirit “A conversion thinker answers questions and approaches problems in sort of a linear fashion, almost the way you would find answers in school,” explains Lalemand, “while a diversion thinker sees maybe three or four different solutions to every problem. It’s almost like a West Point soldier versus a guerrilla soldier. A guerrilla soldier knows there are many moving parts and stealthily works his or her way through the challenges as they come, while also seeing alternative paths.” This ability to identify a variety of outcomes and paths to success is a defining characteristic of an entrepreneur. The diversion thinker will also use their skills in interpersonal matters as Lalemand explains. “Are you a strong ‘people person’?” posits Lalemand. “Are you able to develop emotional intelligence that will help you understand where people are coming from and, further, how you’re coming across?” These will be key factors in how you deal with both your customers and your employees. If you are at all tentative about the questions Lalemand poses, don’t give up; rather, work at self-improvement. Lalemand also recommends identifying the gaps in your skill set and finding key employees to help fill them in.

Choosing the right business It may seem natural to choose a business with which you are familiar, and many times familiarity will benefit you. “But,” advises Scott Balfour, owner of Magnusson Balfour Commercial and Business Brokers in Portland, “don’t pigeonhole yourself. You might find that, once you’ve identified your skills, you can easily transfer them to another industry.” There are three basic tasks any business owner will need to do well: be able to sell, hire the right people, and manage their money. What Balfour is saying above is that if you are a great salesperson, you can probably sell in any number of different markets.

“If you’re, say, at the manager level and you are making recommendations that are not being taken, maybe try to buy the business from your boss,” says Lalemand. “And, it’s not at all uncommon to approach someone whose business isn’t for sale. Be tactful and start a private conversation, based on your attraction to the business.” Balfour recommends digging into the internet’s largest “business for sale” website BizBuySell.com. There are currently over 200 Maine businesses listed there. As you look through these businesses, consider your strengths and think about how you could improve upon any of these companies for sale. Lalemand endorses this sentiment. “A good opportunity is always a business that is operating but is run shoddily. Consider buying that business, if you know you can run it better.” Both Balfour and Lalemand offered some insight into some hot industry types that should be on your radar. “Open a trades business,” says Lalemand. “Have you tried to get a plumber or an electrician recently? The existing cadre is aging and there just aren’t many people stepping in to take their place.” Balfour adds to this. “Service businesses are attractive. And manufacturing is always hot in Maine. There are certain industries where government and banking help is more available.”

Pulling the trigger Both Lalemand and Balfour suggest connecting yourself to good resources during the buying process. And each of them provides valuable services for those ready to buy a business. Balfour’s new book, Buying and Selling a

“You might consider looking for a business that is operating and succeeding, yet lacking in the very skill set you bring to the table,” advises Balfour. Conversely, the right business for you might be sitting directly under your nose.

Scott Balfour LA METRO MAGAZINE digital edition @ LAMetroMagazine.com

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Business: An Entrepreneur’s Guide- From Preparation to Closing is a must-read, and Lalemand’s coaching services are something you might choose to seek out when readying yourself for a purchase. You are going to have to sit down and have a conversation with your banker. Lalemand recommends beginning with hypothetical questions like, “What type of credit line would I need for- fill in the blank- business?” You will also need to consider funding. Balfour says that, “the Small Business Administration requires 10 percent down but, if you can manage 20 percent, that generally leads to a more comfortable position and a better deal.”

Once a purchase agreement is settled upon, you will quickly want to begin thinking about some key aspects for hitting the ground running, says Lalemand. “Get focused on your tasks: selling, hiring the right people, and effectively managing your money. These will be the three most important things you will do for your new business,” advises Lalemand. “And start exit planning. Your exit strategy begins the day you buy your business.” Next Level Business Coaching 146 Main Street, Auburn nextlevelbusinesscoaching.biz

When initiating these conversations with your bank, get some documents together as this will give you a leg up on the process.

Magnusson Balfour Commercial and Business Brokers 95 India Street, Portland balfourcommercial.com

Balfour recommends: • two to three years of personal tax returns
 • two to three years of tax returns from the business you hope to buy • personal financial statement
 • credit report
 • lease agreement, if that exists
 • a business plan

NextLevelBusinessCoaching.biz Kurk Lalemand, LPBC 207-754-2003

“A better business provides a better life.”

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Say Shalom to

NEW HOMES Written by Peggy Faye Brown | Photography by Jose Leiva

A magnificent brick building, perched high above the roadway, serves as a beacon over the city of Auburn. Nestled upon a steep embankment, it maintains a majestic presence as drivers enter the city from New Auburn, towering above the intersection of Laurel Avenue and Main Street. LA METRO MAGAZINE digital edition @ LAMetroMagazine.com

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The Beth Abraham Synagogue apartments

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he cornerstone was placed in 1933 and great craftsmanship marked the construction of this sturdy building. There are many interesting features on the front facade. There is a cream colored parapet which contrasts nicely against the brick, and the decorative swag embellishment is centered above three extremely tall windows with oval tops. These windows stand atop the large granite entryway, which encases three wide doors. Amazing attention to detail was given to the completion of the entryway; the stone around the doorframes even has carved edging. Engravings in both Hebrew and English greet those who enter. Once inside, the excellent craftsmanship continues to be seen throughout the 6,000 square feet of space.

Admiration for the past For over 80 years, this building was home to the Beth Abraham Synagogue. The building was beautifully designed for its religious congregation and dedicated June 23, 1934. Inside the building, rows of wooden pews received warm light from the 11 large, multicolored stained glass windows, each approximately 18 feet tall, which encased the sanctuary area. Though the congregation thrived for many years, it had recently dwindled to 15 members. The property was listed for sale and, in October 2017, it was purchased by Oleg Opalnyk. The congregation held a de-consecration ceremony in November 2017, and the remaining members have been welcomed into Temple Shalom.

Opalnyk had admired this majestic brick building for quite some time, and he is very happy to have the opportunity to care for and renovate this historical property. According to Opalnyk, “The building is so beautiful; I love brick buildings and New England history. I was so happy to find out it was for sale.” Opalnyk plans to develop the property into residences, and honor its history by calling his building the Beth Abraham Synagogue Apartments. Opalnyk admires the location and knows this quiet neighborhood up on the hill will be a nice location for his future tenants to live. There is also the nearby Riverwalk to enjoy. Of further significance is the fact that this area was once the location of a Native American community that utilized the Little Androscoggin River for fishing and trading. Opalnyk appreciates that history, and is pleased to have the opportunity to preserve this location.

Building for today Opalnyk plans to create 10 very modern apartments, each with an open concept. There will be nine one-bedroom apartments and one two-bedroom apartment. The stained glass windows will be replaced with clear glass for the apartments but the enormous size of these windows will still have a great effect on the ambiance, particularly for the kitchen area he envisions for the two-bedroom apartment. This one will bring in light from the three large

“The building is so beautiful; I love brick buildings and New England history.” — Oleg Opalnyk 64

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windows at the front of the building. The future tenants will have a wonderful view while preparing dinner! He delights in the unique features of this building and hopes to utilize many of the chandeliers and beautiful wooden doors in the apartments. Other features, such as the stained glass and pews, will hopefully be sold to historic preservation organizations and museums where their historic significance will be honored. In the entranceway, a large plaque lists the names of the original building committee. This will remain, and a new plaque for the new era of the building will be installed next to it. While most people have relaxing hobbies such as golf or fishing, Oleg plans to use his spare time to renovate this building. By day, Opalnyk owns OPO Custom Design and Restoration, based in Pownal. He and his crew of seven do residential and commercial renovations. The project gallery and client testimonials featured on his website, oporenovation.com, show the beautiful work he does with his projects. He learned construction skills from his father at an early age, in his native Ukraine. By age 18 he had his own construction crew. He worked on many building projects in Russia before coming to the U.S. Locally, Opalnyk’s experience includes the finish work he did as a subcontractor for the renovation of Jamey Pittman’s McGillicuddy Block, on the corner of Lisbon and Ash Streets in Lewiston.

Vision for the future Opalnyk recognizes the trend in Lewiston Auburn of developing historic locations and making them great destinations for people to live and work in. He sees the architectural value and potential of adaptive reuse. He foresees that

his apartment building will enhance the neighborhood by making a desirable home for professionals moving into the area to work at local hospitals or colleges. Opalnyk plans to make great things happen in this building, to encourage other investors to see the potential in this area for other development. He knows this is a wonderful area to invest in and help the economy. He is working on the interior and exterior aspects of this project with the City of Auburn, as well as with surveyors and structural engineers. If all goes smoothly, he hopes to have the project completed in about two years. For more information about this project, Oleg Opalnyk can be reached at (207) 210-2888 or at opalnyk@gmail.com

The Fortin Group

217 Turner St. Auburn, ME 04210 207-783-8545 70 Horton St. Lewiston, ME 04240 207-784-4584 LA METRO MAGAZINE digital edition @ LAMetroMagazine.com

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NONPROFIT

SPOTLIGHT

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

Cheers

10 YEARS MEIRS for

Written by Peggy Faye Brown

Serving Maine’s immigrants and refugees

M

aine Immigrant and Refugee Services (MEIRS) is a nonprofit organization located in Lewiston. Their mission statement is to “unite immigrants and refugees with their new Maine communities by providing the skills, support, and opportunities necessary to succeed.” In March 2018, Senator Nate Libby, D-Lewiston, recognized the 10th anniversary of MEIRS and the great work they have done by presenting a Legislative Sentiment to the organization at the Maine statehouse. According to Rilwan Osman, MEIRS executive director, “A lot of good things are happening here so immigrants and refugees can contribute to their community and become self-sufficient.” MEIRS offers youth programs, adult and family programs, as well as behavioral and mental health services, to enrich the lives of individuals and families in our community.

Welcoming with peace The rugged coastline of Maine is a beautiful sight to behold. Osman, MAGAZINE MEIRS executive director LA METRO | SUMMER 2018 66Rilwan

Another place with a beautiful, rugged coastline is Mogadishu, Somalia, on the horn of Africa. That is where the comparison ends. Daily life in Somalia includes constant fear of death by gunfire or bombings in that war-torn nation. This brutal reality triggered an influx of new Mainers seeking a better life. A new life, however, is never made without sacrifices and adjustments.

Responding to needs In 2007, Rilwan Osman and his friends were college students playing soccer together, and learning to live in Maine. They met other newcomers to Lewiston who were struggling to adjust. Many were not succeeding in high school; the graduation rate at that time was near zero for immigrants. They surveyed immigrant youth and found both a common love of soccer and need for homework help. Osman and friends formed the Somali Bantu Youth Association of Maine (SBYAM). They carried soccer equipment from game to game in their van. While the children played soccer, Rilwan and friends were on the sidelines, sharing resources and information with parents about adjusting to the culture. It was comfortable for the parents to learn from people who knew their culture and language.


by Peggy Faye Brown | Cheers to MEIRS The organization’s name officially changed to MEIRS in 2015. Today, MEIRS has some 38 employees, many volunteers, and interns from Bates College, Lewiston High School, and University of Southern Maine, all helping provide needed assistance.

Learning about each other A lot of good things happen at the MEIRS Bartlett Street location, seven days a week. Staff and volunteers offer civics classes to help new Mainers prepare for citizenship tests, assist families with interpreter services, help parents fill out school documents, and teach sewing and cooking classes. MEIRS also recognizes the need to offer behavioral and mental health services, which are available at their Portland office. One Saturday afternoon in March, MEIRS held a cooking class before English as a Second Language (ESL) class. Ruth Cyr, of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, prepared and shared a healthy soup for about 30 people of several nationalities and several styles of dress. Diverse languages could be heard amongst the lilt of cheerful conversation. While the words were not understood by all in the room, friendly communication happened. A woman dressed in jeans, a flannel shirt, and a winter coat walked into the room, looking for a place to sit down. A teen in jeans, a blouse, and a beautiful headscarf glanced over the top of her cellphone. Her smile made the woman feel very welcome. Smiles work in all languages. Smiles are the ambassadors of friendship throughout the world.

Goal of self-sufficiency MEIRS also connects people with available jobs, in order to increase their independence. According to Osman, “We do this work so people can contribute to this state. All of

English classes

Youth programs

the able-bodied people we help are employed, at least part-time. Many even travel up to 50 miles, to reach their places of employment.” A highlight of MEIRS’ success came in 2015 when 10 children from their original soccer program helped take Lewiston High School’s soccer team to the state championship. Another proud moment was seeing the graduation rate for immigrants and refugees at Lewiston High School reach 97 percent in 2016, according to Osman. Numerous goals have been achieved by an organization, created by a group of soccer players, making a difference in the lives of many people in Lewiston Auburn. “Maine Immigrant & Refugee Services (MEIRS) waxay wada shaqayn lawadaageen Communities Against Hate Initiative si looyareeyo dhacdooyinka nacaybka ee kajiro gobolka Maine. Mudnaanta koowaat ee Maine Communities Against Hate waa in la yareeyo dhacdooyinka nacaybka ee kajira gobolka Maine iyo bulshada loo marayo olole wacyi galin. Waxaan sidoo kale an diiwaangelinaynaa dhacdooyinka nacaybka, bixinta qalab awood badan si loola dagaallamo dambiyada nacaybka iyo rabshadaha ee kadhaca wadanka maraykanka.” In case you couldn’t read that, it is written in Somali. In English, it says: “Maine Immigrant and Refugee Services (MEIRS) is honored to be a partner in the Communities Against Hate Initiative. Maine Communities Against Hate’s priority is to lessen the ongoing surge in hate incidents in Maine and its negative impact on our society through a public awareness campaign and outreach to affected communities.”

Citizenship/Immigration services LA METRO MAGAZINE digital edition @ LAMetroMagazine.com

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To report a hate incident, email: mainecommunitiesagainsthate@meirs.org, report it through the www.meirs.org website, or call (207) 241-8345. MEIRS services

• Behavioral and mental health dervices: Case management and outpatient counseling for youth, adults, and families. Please call the Lewiston office on Birch Street at (207) 784-2703, the Portland office at (207) 808-8551, or complete a referral form found online at meirs.org/ programs.

• Youth programs: Girls empowerment and youth leadership programs help build confidence and a new generation of leaders. Their Juvenile Justice Panel event held each August has become increasingly popular, with great attendance at last year’s event. MEIRS also offers after-school programs, summer enrichment camps, and sports programs.

• Adult and family programs: English as a Second Language (ESL), naturalization, financial skills, parenting, sewing, cooking, and classes designed for senior citizens. The Lewiston location at 256 Bartlett Street is open seven days a week and serves people from many towns. Non-immigrants and non-refugees are also welcome. FMI call (207) 753-2700.

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Michael L. Dubois, P.A. www.mikedubois.com mike@mikedubois.com 68

LA METRO MAGAZINE | SUMMER 2018

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LA Metro Magazine Summer 2018