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Being a seasonal camper, I have an appreciation for all things summer moreso than any other season. It seemed Mother Nature wanted to skip spring this year and gave us a lot of rain and cold weather. But now, the heat of summer beckons us to be outdoors and doing stuff! Walking the dog, floating in the pool, playing lawn games with friends, barbecues, beers, campfires, late nights laughing – I love it all! Summertime also offers us more social opportunities. Everywhere you turn, people are outside connecting with each other more. Phones are put away, televisions are shut off, computers are left to sleep. Human contact and conversation are at the forefront, and it’s so refreshing! In the few months that I have been part of the LA Metro family, I have experienced a lot more connecting with people than I ever have before. Folks are reading the stories, checking out new places, and bringing us more ideas every day. When I tell people where I work, they respond with excitement because LA Metro Magazine helps provide that muchneeded social connection to our community. In this issue, we introduce you to some fun summertime experiences (go inside a farmer’s market, and learn to up your barbecue game). And you can learn about inspirational people who you may not know are part of our community (Christy Gardner, a double amputee training for the 2020 Paralympics; Big Brothers Big Sisters of MidMaine are doing amazing things for our local youth). We help you connect to it all! So get out and see a sunrise, stay up a little later, try a new activity, make a new connection. And keep LA Metro Magazine as your summer guide to keep LA moving forward!

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

LA Metro Magazine is proudly printed in Lewiston, Maine at

8 Lexington Street, Lewiston 4



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

Toby Haber-Giasson editorial director & writer

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

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

Nicole Breton writer

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

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

Peggy Faye Brown writer

She enjoys writing pieces with a purpose: to commemorate the past and encourage the future.

Brewster Burns photographer

DeeDee is a self taught portrait photographer who lives in Leeds, ME. She is the owner of Captured Moments By DeeDee.

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

DeeDee photographs people of all ages, but her favorite subjects are children. You can see more of her work on her Facebook page.

DeeDee Grant photographer



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

Michael Krapovicky writer

He has submitted stories and articles for various publications, and performs throughout New England as a solo guitarist and bassist. Michael enjoys traveling, hiking, and spending leisure time with family and friends.

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

Jose started his photography career while in the Air Force during Vietnam. He moved to Maine in the late 1980s and retired from the Sun Journal a few years ago. He now works as a freelance photographer and exhibits his art locally.

Jose Leiva


Emily McConville

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.

Emily McConville is a writer in the Bates College Communications Office. She is from Louisville, Kentucky and graduated from the University of Notre Dame. She has written for a variety of newspapers, websites, magazines, and university publications, and she enjoys getting to know the community and learning something new every day through reporting.


Donna Rousseau writer

Dan Marois writer

While he serves as editor and writer for many publications, Dan particularly enjoys crafting stories that reflect the LA Metro area.

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

David Muise writer

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

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

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

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

Victoria Stanton writer

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contents SUMMER VOL. 4

No. 3


quick reads



City of Auburn: Trains, tolls, and trolleys


Christy Gardner: Defying limits

on the cover American Legion at 100

Social Hour: Calling all performers

Low and slow



Taylor Pond Yacht Club

Lewiston Farmers’ Market



35 Years of sports history

Triple Crown




Nonprofit Spotlight: Big Brothers Big Sisters

61 8


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LA Metro


Thomas Hill

Website/Social media Thomas@LAMetroMagazine.com

Jim Marston jim@LAMetroMagazine.com


Tyla Davis editor@LAMetroMagazine.com


Tim Rucker

Sales Tim@LAMetroMagazine.com

Jim Marston Tim Rucker Steve Simard




Steve Simard

Sales Steve@LAMetroMagazine.com

Stephanie Arsenault

Bookkeeper billing@LAMetroMagazine.com

Nicole Breton Peggy Faye Brown Toby Haber-Giasson Michael Krapovicky Dan Marois Emily McConville David Muise Donna Rousseau Victoria Stanton


PHOTOGRAPHY Brewster Burns DeeDee Grant Jose Leiva


Tyla Davis

Graphic Design / Editor editor@LAMetroMagazine.com

American Legion Post 86 commander (Gray), Jason Hall Photographer: Jose Leiva LA Metro Magazine is published four times each year by LA Metro Magazine, LLC Editorial and subscription info: Call 207-783-7039 email: info@LAMetroMagazine.com 9 Grove Street, Auburn, ME 04210

Jim Marston

Publisher jim@LAMetroMagazine.com



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

Please Join us!

Saturday, August 10, 2019

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

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


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


calling all

PERFORMERS This is open mic night... Written by David Muise  |  Photography by Brewster Burns


t’s 8:30pm and, in the bustling bar area at Pedro O’Hara’s, a young girl has just plugged her small phone into a large sound system. She’s sheepishly holding a microphone stand in one hand and looking to her phone, ostensibly waiting for the music to start, taking a last-minute glance at the lyrics she will soon be singing to an audience whose mouths she will leave agape. Over the sound system, her iPhone plays backup music for an Adele tune; it’s no easy feat doing that songstress justice. However, this girl of no more than 13 years of age quickly makes it apparent that she has some serious pipes and will, indeed, be heard. When she hits the final note and the crowd applauds, her shoulders slowly curl back, as she finds her confidence within the clapping hands. She will be followed by a sparsely bearded fellow singing emo covers, and then a comedian. Later still, a man on the saxophone, and then a woman with a keyboard singing the piano favorites.

This is Open Mic Night. There is a place for all who want to perform and all who want to be entertained.

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

Mike Krapovicky performs at Pedro O’Hara’s

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“I was scared to death” The gift of performance is not one bestowed upon us all, but for those eager to share that gift, finding a comfortable venue can be a struggle. There is the emotional toil of standing up in front of a crowd, as well as competition for a featured time slot. This is the sweet spot of an open mic night.

“Wait twenty minutes” Sam Sylvia loves open mic nights. He’s a regular at a few around town, and says there’s nothing like it. “Where else can you see a bunch of different performers for free on a weeknight, in a great environment?” posits Sylvia. “Plus, if you don’t like the performer, you just wait 20 minutes for the next one.”

Sam Sylvia

This is true. At Sea40’s Wednesday Open Mic Night, performers usually get around 20 minutes to perform. Ron Bergeron

“The crowd here is usually really enthused to be hearing local performers,” says Michael Krapovicky, organizer and host of Pedro O’Hara’s Monday Open Mic Night. “It can be daunting, no doubt, but this is a great space for people to get their feet wet.” Many local acts have gotten their start at Pedro’s open mic. Ron Bergeron, a singer and guitar player who has frequent gigs around town, played live for the first time at Pedro’s. “I was scared to death,” says Bergeron of his first open mic appearance. “But, when I got up there and did it, it was no problem. I really wouldn’t have known I could do it otherwise.” Bergeron says that when he first started out, no one knew him. He says his first few open mics felt sort of like an audition. Once people got to know his style and his song repertoire, he gained a small following which allowed him to get his first paying gigs. Now, Bergeron can be seen throughout the LA area, playing solo shows to an audience who seems to know every word to every cover song he performs.

“That, or four or so songs,” says organizer and co-host Tom Gurney. “The format gives everyone a chance to do sort of mini-set, and keeps things moving.” At Sea40, Tom Gurney and Nick Racioppi have been hosting this open mic for quite a few years. It’s well attended by a mix of diners and bar patrons. Performers simply show up and add their names to a list. Gurney and Racioppi most often start the night off playing music either solo or together, then they introduce people from the list. On any Wednesday evening, attendees might see the collaborative and spontaneous stylings that typify this open mic night. Sometimes Gurney will join a performer on his sax, or frequent performer Pete Webster might snap some brush beats on his snare drum. It’s not unusual to see performers calling each other up for backing vocals, harmonies, or instrumentation.

“You can get a gig on the spot” Many open mic nights offer performers the chance to not only take their work from the quietude of their home to the masses,

The crowd in the back room at Pedro O’Hara’s



By David Muise | Photography by Brewster Burns | Calling All Performers but also the potential to get paying gigs or featured slots. Craig Rivas, a frequent open mic performer, was the recipient of one such special honor. “I just met a guy at an open mic and he heard me do a Tom Petty tune,” explains Rivas. “Turns out, he was organizing a Tom Petty tribute show in Portland, and I got a featured slot at the Portland House of Music. That was a pretty cool opportunity.” Cool, but not unusual. Not only does a lot of networking happen at open mics, but often the venues hosting them are looking for talent to fill in their performance schedules.

Open Mic Nights in LA Monday Pedro O’Hara’s @7:00pm; full band night the   third Monday of the month Tuesday Fire House Grill @8:00pm Wednesday Lost Valley @6:00pm Sea40 @7:00pm The Cage (Blues Jam) @7:00pm Friday LA Arts @6:00pm (open to youth and adults) third Friday of   the month First Universalist Church of Auburn @7:30pm second Friday   of the month

“At both Pedro’s and Sea40, you can usually talk to someone right away about the potential for a gig,” says Bergeron. “I’ve played both places as a result of open mic performances.” This sort of on-the-spot audition is a big draw for those seeking to get a foot in the door at an establishment.

“It’s really kind of for anybody” “We’ve had all kinds of performers here,” says Krapovicky. “From comedians to poets to folk artists to full bands. It’s really kind of for anybody.” And by “anybody,” Krapovicky is most assuredly referencing the crowd, as well. Most people will find connection with at least some of the performers. It proves to be an enjoyable night out, and a positive way to support the arts locally.

Eric Bauer

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Serving veterans who served our country Written by Dan Marois  |  Photography by Jose Leiva


he members have served in different wars- World War II, Korean, Vietnam- and post-9/11 engagements in the Gulf War, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Though their backgrounds and experiences vary, they all share one common bond: they are part of the American Legion, the nation’s largest veterans service organization, celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.



Paul L’Heureux, Maine state adjutant, and Steve Simard, Post 153 commander

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If there is one word to describe members of the American Legion, it is pride; the sense of pride in being a veteran and pride in serving the community in which they live. Spend a bit of time with Steve Simard, post commander of William J. Rogers Post 153 in Auburn, and Jason Hall, post commander of Post 86 in Gray, and you’ll be inspired by their reverence for those who came before them, and their commitment to keeping the Legion vital today. “Our job, quite simply, is to take care of veterans,” says Simard. A key program for many Legion posts is financial assistance to veterans in need, whether it be for food or heating oil, to contributions for veterans facing unexpected life circumstances. Millions of dollars have been raised to support local, state, and national initiatives. Simard is a retired Coast Guard veteran, with more than 20 years of active duty service, who joined the American Legion in 1993. “We are a close-knit family that works well together,” adds Simard, whose wife, Lori, is also a veteran of the Coast Guard. Hall served four years in the U.S. Air Force, took a few years off in Buffalo, New York, then served three years in the U.S. Army. Sixteen years later, after going to college and raising his kids, he joined the American Legion knowing that he had more time to commit to the organization and the community it serves. Now in Gray, Hall sees similar needs and programs to support.

“Fifty-one percent of our members are Vietnam veterans,” says Hall, noting that this population did not share the welcome and adulation that other war veterans received after the conflicts ended. “It has been more difficult for them.” Hall often sees these vets suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a condition that many Matt Jabaut vets suffer after duty in war zones. “We specifically have training in how to handle PTSD, since it has become so prevalent. We reach out to these members and provide them services that can ease their battle with the condition.” Hall notes that in the United States about 22 veterans take their own lives each day. “It is definitely a problem.”

An array of services Hundreds of local American Legion programs and activities strengthen the nation one community at a time. American Legion Baseball is one of the nation’s most successful amateur athletic programs, educating young people about the importance of sportsmanship, citizenship, and fitness. Many posts participate in Boys and Girls State, an opportunity for Maine high school juniors to supplement their high school courses in government and its functions. In this program, young men and women role-play as they learn to campaign for local, county, and state offices and then organize and carry out the functions of the state government. “We are creating future leaders in this program,” says Paul L’Heureux, the state adjutant and only paid staff person of the Maine American Legion organization. Simard’s post is proud to have assisted Oratorical & Odyssey of the Mind teams at Edward Little High School and Auburn Middle School that went to the national and world competitions, finishing in the top five. Operation Comfort Warriors, an effort that supports recovering wounded soldiers and their families, provides veterans with the kind of support that makes a hospital feel a little bit more like home. The Legion is also the chartering agency for more than 1,700 Boy Scout units made up of approximately 64,000 youths. Each post commander cites one of their favorite efforts in recent years.

Paul L’Heureux and Steve Simard 18 LA METRO MAGAZINE | SUMMER 2019

“On Memorial Day, we place flags on the gravesites of veterans in the area,” says Simard. “It shows our pride and respect for those who have sacrificed for their country.”

By Dan Marois | Photography by Jose Leiva | American Legion at 100 For Hall, it is the immediacy of many people coming together that inspires him in his legion work. “One of our members was diagnosed with stage four cancer,” recalls Hall. The post and other community members came together to host a cornhole tournament. “While it might sound like a funny kind of event, it raised $18,000 in a single day.“

A treasured history According to its website, the American Legion was chartered by Congress in 1919 as a patriotic organization with its national headquarters in Indianapolis, Indiana. Focusing on service to veterans, service members, and communities, the Legion evolved from a group of war-weary veterans of World War I into one of the most influential nonprofit groups in the United States. Legionnaires’ sense of obligation to community, state, and nation drives an advocacy for veterans in Washington. The Legion stands behind the issues most important to the nation’s veteran community, backed by resolutions passed by volunteer leadership. The American Legion’s success depends entirely on active membership, participation, and volunteerism.

“(The American Legion) sets the standard by being a ‘doing’ organization. It is making the change you really want to see at the local level,” says Jabaut, while visiting at the legion post in Auburn. “They are not just veterans, in name; they live the spirit of their commitment.” He’s impressed that the American Legion strengthens their communities with volunteer service. He likes that every post is independent and not just a copy of any other. “They strengthen their communities by identifying the local needs, and they set out to meet those needs,” says Jabaut.

Charting a course L’Heureux, who has the advantage of seeing the American Legion from the local, state and national perspectives, is an encyclopedia of information about the work of the American Legion. “The post here in Auburn was named after William Rogers, a World War II vet whose roommate was baseball legend Ted Williams. He was the first national commander of the American Legion who came from Maine,” notes L’Heureux.

After its founding, membership swiftly grew to over one million, and local posts sprang up across the country. Today, membership stands at over two million in more than 14,500 posts worldwide. The posts are organized into 55 departments: one each for the 50 states, along with the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, France, Mexico, and the Philippines.

“The Legion was the first to draft legislation that created the GI Bill, an education program that has benefited so many who served,” adds L’Heureux. “We’ve also been on the forefront of advocating for improved services for veterans through the Veterans Administration. We are always finding ways to serve our members.”

Local legions

L’Heureux believes that a favorite slogan, often said at American Legion national conventions, best describes the organization.

In Maine, according to L’Heureux, there are 177 legion posts with membership totaling 15,000.

“It is not what we’ve done, it is what we do.”

“Each post is run independently and offers programs that best meet the needs of their community.” The oldest of veterans, those who served in World War II, he says, are the most vulnerable of their members. “WW II veterans totaled 16 million. There are about a half million still living, with about 1,100 dying each day, many who are well into their 90s. We have actively supported Honor Flight, the program that brings these veterans to view their monuments in Washington, DC,” adds L’Heureux. “And we’ve often been the ones at the airport greeting them upon their return.” “Every day, our veterans face challenges and help is always nearby from fellow veterans. People with helping hands make things happen,” says L’Heureux, a four-year veteran of the Navy, a 23year veteran of the U.S. Army Reserves and a 40-year member of the American Legion.” “Although I am the only paid staff member of the Maine American Legion, the work is done by many volunteers who put in countless hours in service to the organization,” L’Heureux says.

Making a difference Matt Jabaut, a member of the American Legion Post 202 in Topsham, is from the post-9/11 generation of veterans. He’s younger than Simard, Hall, and L’Heureux, but equally as passionate about the work of the Legion.

POW-MIA table at the William J. Rogers Post 153 in Auburn LA METRO MAGAZINE digital edition @ LAMetroMagazine.com



Congress charters The American Legion.

July 17, 1925

Bill Rogers & Ted Williams

The Legion creates the American Legion Baseball program. Today, more than 50 percent of Major League Baseball players are graduates of the program. About 82,000 youths play on Legion-sponsored teams each year.

June 23, 1935 The first American Legion Boys State convenes in Springfield, Illinois, to help youths gain an understanding of the structure and operation of the federal government. The first Boys Nation, bringing together youth leadership from all the Boys State programs, convenes in 1946. Today, more than 19,500 young men participate in Boys State, and 98 in Boys Nation, from 49 of the 50 states.

Sept. 1, 1966

Sept. 16, 1919

Danny Thomas, Pete Rogers, Bill Rogers, & Robert Stack

Aug. 26, 1982 The Legion presents a one million dollar check to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund for construction of The Vietnam Wall in Washington, becoming the largest single contributor to the project.

June 22, 1944 President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs into law the original GI Bill, or Servicemen’s Readjustment Act, ushering in monumental changes in U.S. society. Higher education becomes democratized after eight million veterans go to school on the GI Bill, get better jobs, buy houses in the suburbs and raise families. For every dollar spent on educating veterans, the U.S. economy eventually gets $7 back.

The Legion voices great concern over the fate of prisoners of war in Vietnam. Today, the Legion urges a full accounting of all POWs and troops missing in action, and has formed a special group from among the nation’s major veterans organizations to continue pressing for further resolution of this issue.

Oct. 11, 1990 The Legion creates the Family Support Network (FSN) to assist families of service members deployed for Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm in the Middle East. Through local posts, the network offers a wide range of assistance, including financial assistance, mowing lawns, baby-sitting and more. Today, FSN continues to assist families affected by military activation and deployment.

Sept. 12, 2001 The American Legion reactivates the Family Support Network following terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C.

August, 2005 Delegates at the 87th National Convention in Honolulu unanimously voice their support for the global war on terrorism with Resolution 169.

November, 2002

August, 2017

The Legion launches the national “I Am Not A Number” campaign to identify and document the delays veterans face in obtaining medical care from Virginia.

The American Legion, in concert with others, creates, advocates for and passes the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Education Assistance Act of 2017. Named after the author of the original GI Bill and past national commander of The American Legion, the new GI Bill improves upon the great foundation that already existed, removing the burdensome cap to use the education benefit, along with many other great additions to the legislation aimed at improving the lives of veterans and their families.

August, 2011 The American Legion Baseball World Series is held for the first time in the tournament’s new permanent home, Shelby, North Carolina. Prior to this, the tournament had rotated to different cities. Total paid attendance at the Shelby contests soars to an all-time high of 86,000.


August, 2017

During a Veterans Administration waiting-list scandal that resulted in deaths of veterans waiting for care, The American Legion calls for the resignations of several top officials, including VA Secretary Eric Shinseki. The scandal would ultimately engulf multiple facilities and offices; the Legion kept the issue in front of the public and Congress via articles and testimony.

Denise H. Rohan of Wisconsin is elected national commander, the first woman to hold the role in the Legion’s history.

Post 153 Charter Plaques


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and Written by Michael Krapovicky  |  Photography by Brewster Burns

Written by Dan Marois  |  Photography by Jose Leiva


ummer in Maine is a time to celebrate the great outdoors. In this glorious window of time, weather permits us to practice the subtle art of cooking over flame or smoke. These local barbecue experts have a few tips to impart, to optimize your summer provisions. LA METRO MAGAZINE digital edition @ LAMetroMagazine.com


Barbecuing vs. grilling According to a variety of sources, barbecue and grilling are two different ventures. Barbecuing is cooking with a slow circumvented unit of hot air with the lid closed. Grilling is done with the lid up, cooking with direct heat on the bottom.

Tools of the trade David Nelson, of Smokin’ Dave’s BBQ & Grill, has some suggestions for how to get started with barbecue. “Find a smoker that you are comfortable with,” says Nelson. “I went through half a dozen of them before I found something I liked.”

wood chips, like hickory and apple wood, which have great flavor. You soak the wood chips to get a good smoke, and cook low and slow.” “If I were just going to smoke a small cook at home, I would probably use charcoal as a base,” agrees Zach Provencher, the other owner of DJ’s Texas Style BBQ. “They also sell bags of wood specifically for meats. I’d add that for the flavor.” Equally vital to the process are long-handled tongs, a metal spatula, and a thermometer. “A good digital thermometer is the best bet,” says Nelson. “Most smokers have a port so you can have the temperature gauge on the outside, with a probe in the meat; it’s by far the easiest way to keep it regulated.”

Flavor: sauces, rubs, and smoke Barbecue flavoring has cultural and regional roots; places like Texas, Alabama, Carolina, Lexington, and Memphis boast distinct styles. Each of our experts has their own influences, and put their personal spin on storied traditions. “Dive into the culture of the Texas-style barbecue and you can find a lot of our influences,” says Ariel Provencher. “DJ’s barbecue sauce is based on a recipe from central Texas: tomato and vinegar- all homemade. Our dry rubs are made to specifications of Don Seibert, the former owner of DJ’s: paprika, pepper, chili powder, cumin- lots of flavor!”

Isaiah Lambert

After years of hands-on research, Nelson shares the pros and cons of the various types of barbecue housings. “The advantage of a pellet feed or propane smoker is that you set a temperature and it stays consistent,” Nelson claims. “Wood or a charcoal smoker will fluctuate [in temperature], so you have to get to know your equipment. But the rewards are worth it, in my opinion. Here at Smokin’ Dave’s, we use an all-wood smoker. The flavor profile of the food is much better, with a better presentation after it’s cooked.”

“We are a Carolina-style barbecue; vinegar-based sauce is our claim to fame,” Clark reports. “At Fahrenheit 225º, we do pork, brisket, turkey, chicken, dry rub ribs- cooked over real wood, smoked for long hours, which I feel is the definition of ‘barbecue.’ We do our poultry brined in apple-cider vinegar for at least 24 hours.” Clark adds, “We make our own rubs and sauces which, I feel, makes us unique.” With names like Hogwash and Sock Rockah, these sauces have been accepted with relish by finicky barbecue fans. “At Smokin’ Dave’s, we have a sweet sauce, one that is pepper-based, very spicy, and a Seadog Blueberry Ale flavored sauce,” says Nelson. “As far as rubs, I use a spicier flavoring for

“Start with real wood and a lump charcoal smoker,” advises Alan Clark of Fahrenheit 225º. “I would stay away from gas and electric, because you are not going to learn how to control a fire. The nuance of barbecue is the temperature fluctuations during the cooking process. With a set-and-forget system like electric or gas, you’re getting away from the purity of the cook, the key to the barbecue you are going to get here at Fahrenheit 225º.” For small batches of barbecue, DJ’s Texas Style BBQ co-owner Ariel Provencher offers some options for home smokers. “A ceramic smoker is able to keep a very consistent temperature,” she affirms. “Some people make their own, welding metal drums! It’s hard to use only wood in a small smoker, so charcoal or electric can be used in combination with the wood. Use good 24


Caroline Burns works the grill at a family BBQ.



David Nelson

beef; for pork, I use brown sugar. Beef can handle the spiciness better than pork. There’s a lot of great rubs out there; try inventing your own!”

Patience and time “Low and slow” was the ubiquitous phrase spoken by all our experts, the basic philosophy for barbecue. “The amount of attention and how well you keep an even heat is paramount to a good result,” according to Nelson. “I think the biggest misconception is that people think it takes a certain amount of time,” Nelson explains. “It depends on the temperature of the meat. How long does it take to cook a pork butt? Well, until it’s done!” At Smokin’ Dave’s, a day’s cook can take between 12 and 14 hours. “Don’t be a ‘toucher,’” warns Nelson. He stresses resisting the urge to unduly interrupt the process to check its readiness. “It’s in there cooking; don’t worry about it.” “It’s a food genre with an inevitable period of trial-and-error; you’re going to screw things up initially,” Clark acknowledges. “Everything you cook has its own dynamics, its own chemistry, when it gets in the smoker. The customers at Fahrenheit 225º, people who really know and like barbecue, understand it’s ready when it’s ready. They are willing to wait.”

All the experts encourage home cooking with smokers and grills, to discover what works best for you. Of course, they are more than happy to supply you with tasty barbecue at your corporate or family events. For more information on our experts and all things barbecue; please visit the links below. Happy smoking! DJ’s Texas Style BBQ • djstexasstylebbq.com Fahrenheit 225º • fahrenheit225bbq.com Smokin’ Dave’s Backyard BBQ & Grill smokindavesbackyardbbq.com

BBQ Tips & Tricks https://bbqworld.org https://barbecuebible.com http://texasbbqforum.com/ https://www.smoking-meat.com LA METRO MAGAZINE digital edition @ LAMetroMagazine.com


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T  YLOR POND YACHT CLUB More than meets the eye

Written by Victoria Stanton  |  Photography by Jose Leiva & Daryn Slover


ust off Perkins Ridge Road in Auburn, you’ll find Taylor Pond Yacht Club (TPYC). While generations of families have enjoyed Androscoggin County’s only sailing club, TPYC’s variety of outdoor activities- for members and nonmembers alike- remains one of LA’s best kept secrets. LA METRO MAGAZINE digital edition @ LAMetroMagazine.com


Community and camaraderie

with a cocktail. If I had to describe the vibe, it would be something like a low-key family cookout.”

Members do not need to own a boat- or even have a desire to sail- to join, though the club is steeped in nautical culture. For example, board titles reflect positions on a crew: “Commodore” for president, “Purser” for treasurer, and “Bosun” for oversight of the club’s fleet.

Anchors aweigh

Commodore Bill Skelton emphasizes the welcoming social atmosphere of the club. “Taylor Pond Yacht Club is a summer gathering point for friends that may not see each other a whole lot the rest of the year.”

Sailing remains at the heart of TPYC’s programming. Since its official establishment 1942 (there is, like many Maine institutions, some contention on the exact founding date), the TPYC has been a place for people of all ages to learn and practice the sport. A group of avid sailors founded the club as a way to compete and, eventually, to share their passion with others.

TPYC boasts junior and senior clubhouses, for children and adults, respectively, as well as tennis courts, a grass field, the boat dock, and a sandy beach for swimming and lounging. While general use of the property is limited to dues-paying members and their guests, lessons in sailing, swimming, and Bill & Sarah Skelton tennis are open to members and nonmembers alike. In addition to these recreational opportunities, the club puts on a variety of events and mixers with support from the club’s governing board. Skelton describes a typical Friday night, after the day’s races, where children and parents gather at the clubhouse for pizza and games. “It’s such a nice, safe area that the kids are just doing whatever they want to do, and parents could be there enjoying an evening on the deck.” Amy Dieterich recently joined the club with her husband and their two children. She says the club’s family-friendly atmosphere is a large part of the appeal. “There are a lot of parents relaxing while their kids play, couples going for a paddle, and people enjoying the clubhouse patio

Leighton Cooney preparing for Summer LA METRO MAGAZINE | SUMMER 2019 28

As the club formalized its programs, the make and styles of the boats remained central to its culture. The word “yacht” often evokes images of multimillion-dollar cruisers that look more like floating mansions than boats, but TPYC’s fleet is far from intimidating. It is managed with young sailors and beginners in mind. The club currently hosts 16 boats, for use in lessons and competition, which range in size from Optimist dinghies, just under 8 feet long, to the 13-foot-long Flying Junior sloops. Children as young as eight years of age can take lessons and participate in regattas, including events within the Maine Interclub Racing Circuit (MIRC). Through MIRC, the club hosts regattas at Taylor Pond and sends sailors to compete alongside youth from around Maine and to test their skills in coastal waters.

By Victoria Stanton | Photography by Jose Leiva & Daryn Slover | Taylor Pond Yacht Club

McGuckian Cup Race

And it’s not all kid stuff; TPYC welcomes sailors at every level and age. Enthusiasts speak of the grit and sense of accomplishment that comes from sailing, which no doubt draws many to the club’s weekly regattas, where members engage in friendly competition while spectators cheer from the clubhouse.

Tradition abides For many of the club’s earliest members, summer did not truly begin until the annual Fourth of July picnic at TPYC. Indeed several generations of LA residents have spent their formative years on or in the water at Taylor Pond, marking time by an array of regattas and social events throughout the season. Namesake events dot the calendar honoring influential members and champions of the club. The Andrews Cup race is distinctive in that it brings together members of all ages and abilities. It was established to recognize two original members, Dr. Warren Andrews and his wife, Helen, for their decades of service. The

McGuckian Cup, named for founding member Joseph McGuckian, was established in 1982 as an opportunity for sailors under the age of 14 to showcase their skills and knowledge on the water. Older teens can compete for the Horsman Trophy, named in 1970 for Dr. Donald Horsman, who started the club’s organized sailing lessons. In addition to the regattas, TPYC hosts several events that members look forward to each year, including the Spring Fling (the unofficial opening of the club’s season), a family camp-out, and the Labor Day weekend lobster bake. The annual “Swim Across the Pond” is a late-summer favorite, where children swim half a mile across open water from one end of Taylor Pond back to the club and are greeted with doughnuts and milk on the beach.

Welcoming atmosphere Families continue to discover fun and, most importantly, a sense of community at TPYC. Peter Garcia (pictured left), who is head coach of the Bates College sailing team and whose family have been members since the late 1970s, recalls the first time he and his wife, Pat, visited the club. “While we played tennis, our boys, both in grade school at the time, walked to the nearby softball field where a game was in progress, and watched from behind the chicken wire backstop. The players were a mixed group — some quite young, some teenagers.” Garcia describes looking up to see that the softball game had stopped and the players were at the pitcher’s mound, talking and laughing. By that time, his boys had inched over to the edge of the group. “When next I looked over to the ball field, the game had started again, and our youngest was rounding third base on the shoulders of a 16-year-old. We applied for membership.” No matter what brings members to Taylor Pond Yacht Club, community and camaraderie continue to thrive on its shores.

Photo courtesy of Peter Garcia

Taylor Pond Yacht Club Yacht Club Drive, Auburn • www.taylorpondyachtclub.com LA METRO MAGAZINE digital edition @ LAMetroMagazine.com




Trains, Tolls, and Trolleys: Transportation evolution Written by Toby Haber-Giasson

Employees of the Lewiston, Brunswick & Bath Electric Railroad showing off their 1890s club car. (Photo courtesy of AHS) LA METRO MAGAZINE digital edition @ LAMetroMagazine.com


In the Spring issue (part two in our series), we traced the early history of Auburn. In Part three of this series, we examine the developments in transportation over Auburn’s 150 years, mirroring America’s advances in technology and the social changes they brought.

Taking a toll In the beginning, native Abenakis plied the Androscoggin River by canoe. Early European settlers to the Androscoggin Valley rode to Lewiston on horse and wagon. Although ferries did cross the river, there was meager interest in Auburn as a destination.

that flowed into Big Wilson Pond (now known as Lake Auburn) powered several small shoemaking shops. These “manufactories” made use of the stagecoach run, which passed through these areas, to deliver shoes between Portland and Farmington. All that changed in 1848. Railroad tracks were laid right through Goff’s Corner. The original station was near Minot Avenue; later a new one was built on Railroad Street. The Androscoggin & Kennebec Railroad steamed through Lewiston on its way south from Waterville, connecting with Portland at Danville Junction. This new infrastructure spurred a gradual migration of shoe shops to Auburn’s downtown. They wanted access to a broader range of shipping destinations via rail.

Littlefield’s bold vision Auburn’s first elected mayor was Thomas Littlefield in 1869. Over his seven terms, he led major infrastructure projects creating sewers, sidewalks, granite crosswalks and cobblestone paving, and neighborhood schools. Tony Beaulieu, Auburn’s city engineer, says those features have long since been replaced. “Auburn spends two to three million dollars annually on maintenance of roads and sidewalks. We use plastic pipe for new sewer and storm drains, water and natural gas.”

Historian Doug Hodgkin with the original toll bridge sign (at AHS) Yet a group of private investors, headed by city patron Edward Little, built a toll bridge across the river’s expanse. The site was just upriver from the current Longley Bridge. The process of building this structure, for the monocle-popping sum of $3,000, was fraught by power plays, cost increases, and delays. But this bold gambit, completed in 1823, rang true to the adage If you build it, they will come. Traffic increased steadily to and from what is now downtown Auburn, along with growth in commerce and population. Over time, the primitive wooden bridge deteriorated to the point that four cows fell through the boards into the river. The structure was renovated in 1837 as a covered bridge with a walking lane. “People hated the covering,” says Douglas Hodgkin of the Androscoggin Historical Society (AHS). “The pedestrian sidewalk was dark, and both ladies and men didn’t like it- who knows who was lurking in the shadows!” In 1849, a wider open bridge was developed, with covered sidewalks. Tolls gradually rose, as prices do. Patrons who grew tired of paying to cross back and forth each day petitioned the county in 1863 to build a competing free bridge. One afternoon, when anger reached a fevered pitch, wagon drivers staged a blockade to protest the tolls. Soon after, the owners sold the bridge to the county for $7,500. The people had spoken!

Railroaded Inland from the Androscoggin River, several small villages had arisen, due to two factors: water and transportation. A stream 32


Another Littlefield accomplishment: a complete rebuild of the bridge in 1871. Through cooperation with Lewiston, both cities issued bonds for the project totaling a whopping $40,000. Unfortunately, they rejected a design with iron piers for $50,000; a sturdier structure would have saved the cost of subsequent rebuilds, when floods repeatedly washed Bridge with covered walkway out the bridge. For (Photo courtesy of AHS) some perspective on the expenditure, the Maine Department of Transportation ballparks the cost of building a modern bridge today at $30 million. The original South Bridge, later renamed the Bernard Lown Peace Bridge, cost $43,000 to construct in 1874, an expense shared by the cities and the waterpower company.

Beating a monopoly Meanwhile, steam rail operator Maine Central had taken over Androscoggin & Kennebec Railroad (A&K) and other local lines. Without competition, they did what a monopoly does: raise rates ever higher. Chafing under high shipping prices, local manufacturers sought instead to take their business to The Grand Trunk Railroad Company (GTRC), which linked Montreal to Portland via Danville Junction. But the GTRC didn’t want to provide the connector. Mayor Littlefield presided over a controversial plan for the cities to build a branch line together. Lewiston put up $224,000 for its share; Auburn shelled out $74,000, even as the plan changed

By Toby Haber-Giasson | Trains, Tolls, and Trolleys to build Lewiston Junction on Lincoln Street. Shrewd Littlefield leased the rail line to the Grand Trunk for $18,000 per year, so the capital investment paid for itself. The five mile branch supported 30 freight runs and 12 passenger trains daily. In its first year (1874), 35,000 passengers, many of them French-Canadian immigrants from Quebec Province, arrived at the Grand Trunk Depot (recently operated as Rails restaurant). The line still operates today, providing freight service to the industrial park. Think of all that history when you’re downtown at a railroad crossing, waiting for the last freight car to pass.

Horsing around Before the 1900s, livery transportation was the only way to get around town. If you didn’t own your own “gig” (one-horse buggy), you could rent a “hack” (hackney carriage) to get home from the train station. Or you might ride an “omnibus” (covered wagon), for five cents. Starting in 1881, you could ride the Lewiston and Auburn Horse Railroad. These horse-drawn trolleys ran on metal rails. Rail tracks reduced friction on the wheels, allowing for a smoother ride than the road offered. Many horsecar routes connected LA: Lisbon Street, Main Street to the old fairgrounds, to Pine Street, to Perryville (Turner, Summer, and Center Streets) and Lake Auburn. By 1890, other routes included: New Auburn, College Street and Dennison Street. Stables for horses, the “engines” of this system, were located at Chapel Street in Lewiston and Lake Auburn Avenue in Auburn. The horse railroad grew to 14 miles of track.

Trolley time By the end of the 19th century, the advent of electric power brought the gradual replacement of the horse railroad by electric streetcars. Power for these trolleys was supplied by overhead wires, with the type of technology that today runs amusement park bumper cars. By 1894, the Lewiston and Auburn Electric Street Railway debuted on former horse routes.

Lake Grove resort Many electric railways boosted their business by developing tourist destinations. The same people who rode the trolley to work eagerly spent another nickel during their leisure time for some relaxation. As such, Lake Grove resort was created along Lake Auburn in 1883 for LA’s burgeoning middle class. Lake Grove’s station welcomed visitors in special eight-wheel open cars. Impressive stone pillars marked the entrance. Patrons could enjoy picnics, concerts, fishing, and cycling, dancing, and roller skating. They could visit the pavilion, the outdoor theater, or the zoo, ride the merry-go-round, rent a canoe, or board the steamer Lewiston for a romantic one-hour ride on the lake. Lake Grove remained a regional draw for decades until 1928, when the rise of the automobile hastened its demise.

Interurban revolution LA commuters were looking for an alternative to slow steam railroad service to Portland. In 1912, after the LB&B bought the Portland and Brunswick Street Railway, a Portland power company took over the whole enterprise. A network of interurbans in New England connected multiple city transit systems, making long-distance travel possible for common folk. Industrialist W.S. Libbey bought the Lewiston-Auburn Electric Light Company, in order to modernize his mill and use the surplus energy to power a the line. It took seven years for the route to be completed; sadly, Libbey didn’t live to see it open. From 1914-1933, the electrified Portland-Lewiston Interurban Railroad offered a faster method of making the 42-mile trip.

East Auburn trolley ran by overhead electrified wires (Photo courtesy of AHS) LA’s systems merged with others to form the Lewiston, Brunswick & Bath Electric Railroad (LB&B), which had several loops in downtown Auburn, East Auburn, Auburn Heights, and the “Belt Line,” which ran through New Auburn. Over time, service was extended to Sabattus, Augusta, Hallowell, and Gardiner. After 1906, new owners added Mechanic Falls, rebuilt tracks in LA and added the Prospect Hill line in New Auburn. In 1910, a line from East Auburn to Turner was added.

Service grew in size and popularity to 171 miles of track in the New England region, the biggest in the country, until the rising popularity of cars and trucks cut into the business.

LA by bus and air The Lewiston-Auburn Transit Company took over the failing A&K in 1941, converting LA’s electric trolleys to bus service. In 1959, Hudson Bus Lines operated the public transit system, The Bus. According to Marsha Bennett of the Androscoggin Valley Council of Governments (AVCOG), passenger fare revenue was no longer paying for the cost of operation. So in 1976, the cities formed the Lewiston-Auburn Transit Committee, which secured federal LA METRO MAGAZINE digital edition @ LAMetroMagazine.com


Portland-Lewiston Interurban Routes: 1914-1941   Portland-Lewiston Interurban  Portland Railroad

Cumberland County Power & Light Co.

  Lewiston, Augusta, & Waterville Street Railway   Lewiston, Brunswick, & Bath Street Railway   Auburn & Turner Railroad   Atlantic Shore Railway   Biddeford & Saco Railroad Rich Coffey | Vizettes Productions

(Photo courtesy of AVCOG) funding for public transit. In 1996, Western Maine Transportation Services, Inc. began operating the service for LATC. The city bus system didn’t serve outlying neighborhoods. Residents of Danville, and West and North Auburn, needed a way to get to work at the shoe shops of downtown Auburn. In 1948, Cleba Spofford started the White Line Bus Company with 4 buses. White Line served these outer areas for several years, until a fire destroyed its garage. Auburn-Lewiston Airport, opened in 1935, is co-owned by the Twin Cities, supporting corporate, charter, cargo, and recreational aviation activities.

Lessons from the past Who doesn’t love old postcards depicting electric trams? In our search for green alternatives for transit, could trolleys make a comeback? “It would be a challenge,” says City Engineer Beaulieu. In pursuit of beautification, Auburn has been burying utility lines underground; so much for rehanging wires to electrify a tram. One notable takeaway is the longstanding cooperation between the Twin Cities on infrastructure, which enabled travel by horse, train, and air. According to Beaulieu, the cities still team up for shared goals like pollution control and water treatment as well.


First LA toll bridge built


Androscoggin & Kennebec RR began


Bridge rebuilt


Grand Trunk spur built Maine Central Railroad engine (Photo courtesy of AHS)

Salient lesson: transportation drove social change. Maine Memory Network credits transportation with making “new opportunities, both social and economic.” Ordinary people could live even on the outskirts of town and commute to jobs paying a decent wage. Workers could travel cheaper and faster, allowing for more leisure time, and giving rise to the middle class. As goes Auburn, so goes America!


Horse railway began


Electric Railway began


Interurban transit began


Auburn-Lewiston Airport opened


Streetcar routes change to bus service 34


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Farmers’ Market A decade of quality local goods and nutritional activism Written by Michael Krapovicky  |  Photography by DeeDee Grant




or more than a decade, LA has been uniquely enriched by the Lewiston Farmers’ Market (LFM). The market provides the Twin Cities with locally grown vegetables, fruits, handmade products, and community events in a convenient, family-friendly environment. The market’s planners, vendors, and many community partners have worked tirelessly to make LFM a local institution.

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not just


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Planting the seeds “The Lewiston Farmers’ Market started as a joint initiative among local farmers and community based organizations in 2004, as a way to encourage more activity downtown, create an outlet for local farmers to sell their fresh, local food to all residents,” reports Sherie Blumenthal, the market’s long time manager. “The LFM was actually the very first market in the state to accept Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, or food stamps.” Blumenthal joined the St. Mary’s Nutrition Center in 2006, a founder of LFM which promotes community health, sustainable agriculture and equitable access to good food. The original LFM took place in Kennedy Park but, following customer and vendor growth and a very successful winter market season, it was clear that a bigger citywide event could thrive.

Finding a home To find the best market day, Blumenthal surveyed people across the city. “We worked with the City of Lewiston, a strong supporter of the market, and that’s how we ended up at the Bates Mill #5 location for the summer months. During the winter, we are now located at the Lewiston YWCA, also a strong partner.”

To join the LFM, a prospective vendor applies online through the LFM website and, if approved by the market membership, pays a fee to participate for the season. In addition to in-kind support from St. Mary’s Nutrition Center, plus vendor’s fees, the LFM is supported through donations of food and money, or gift certificates supplied by local businesses like Maple Way Dental, Italian Bakery, Chill Yoga, Kimball Street Studios, and Orphan Annie’s.

A wide selection “The market provides good, healthy, local food for the people of Central Maine,” says Sophia Gamache, a Lewiston native who began working with LFM in 2018 as the market site manager.

Community and vendor support The LFM owes much of its growth and stability to the continued support of St. Mary’s Nutrition Center, community partners, and a long time base of vendors. “Most farmers’ markets are run only by farmers,” says Blumenthal. “We are unique in that our market is member driven, by vendors who steer the direction of the market, while also receiving fiscal and operational support from St. Mary’s.” A core group of vendors who’ve been with the market since the very beginning help to bring leadership and character that is unique to Lewiston Auburn. Some of the long-standing members include New Roots Cooperative Farm (Lewiston), Jillson’s Farm (Sabattus), Mainely Soap (Auburn), Clay Hill Farms (Peru), and Valley View Farm (Auburn). “The Lewiston Farmers’ Market has been great for the farm and we do very well at the market.” says Scott Jillson of Jillson’s Farm. “We see lots of our faithful customers there, and gather new ones.”



Although fruits and vegetables are the staple, LFM showcases a variety of wares including quality meat, dairy, baked goods, and prepared foods. They feature rotating specialty booths, as products come into season, and regular arts and crafts, including soap and body products, hand dyed wool, jewelry, and historical Lewiston Auburn postcards. “Our vendors offer a wide variety of products you don’t typically see in the grocery store,” says Gamache. “Mt. Apatite Farm grows grapes, as well as hardy kiwis, which you don’t typically see offered from local farmers. Clay Hill Farm has a wonderful selection of locally raised, antibiotic and hormone free meats. Stewart and Reid offers delicious and creative gluten-free and low carb options such as bagels, linzer cookies and chocolate

By Michael Krapovicky | Photography by DeeDee Grant | Lewiston Farmers’ Market gateau. Valley View Farm typically carries a variety of seasonal native produce such as chicken-of the-woods mushrooms, ramps (native onions), as well as homemade salsas and hummus made at their farm store, 4 Season Farm Market.”

Neighbor synergy

Festive atmosphere

“The people that come to the market regularly are very invested; we see the same faces every week,” ascertains Blumenthal. “Different from some other markets that can be tourist-supported, our patrons are primarily within a five-mile radius. But LFM has new customers and patrons every year, largely through word-ofmouth.”

The Lewiston Farmers’ Market is more akin to a weekly festival. The LFM offers weekly live music; folks like Craig Rivas, Jim and Dominic Toscano, and Greg and Jessie Boardman perform regularly. Mr. Drew and His Animals Too is a new attraction for 2019. As promotional liaison Peter for the LFM, Josh Nagine, organizes Kelliher booths where nonprofit organizations and small businesses can connect with the public. “We want the Lewiston Farmers’ Market to be a hub of activity where people can socialize, talk to their farmers, learn about their community and have it be more folded into the fabric of things,” says Nagine.

Local food for all The Lewiston Farmers’ Market has been innovative since its inception, striving to be a community-driven engine that furthers the local economy and community health. “It is important to us to make sure that everyone can access fresh, local food affordably. We have programs to make buying food more accessible,” Blumenthal illustrates. “SNAP users who spend a dollar at the market get a dollar, in coupon form, through the statewide Maine Harvest Bucks program. We also offer a Senior and Veteran discount on the first of every month, and a rewards program to encourage regular visitors.”

Blumenthal credits the community’s patronage for LFM’s success.

The Lewiston Farmers’ Market seeks to grow their vendor base and variety and bring in more community events; anything that makes it a more engaging experience. “A primary advantage is the amount of local agriculture in our community, allowing us to draw on a wealth of products,” says Nagine. “We want to create a place where people can interface with new, interesting foods- artisanal cheese, kohlrabi- something they’ve never tried before.”

Diversity makes it unique “The best feature of the Lewiston Farmers’ Market is the diversity of our vendors and customers,” emphasizes Gamache. “We cater to a variety of people spanning different backgrounds and generations. The market is a hub for farmers, crafters, bakers, consumers, business owners; everyone is welcome here!” “We really want to get the community to say ‘This is something that we take a lot of pride in and makes Lewiston Auburn unique,’” confirms Blumenthal. Lewiston Farmers’ Market 65 Main Street, Lewiston • lewistonfarmersmarket.com

The LFM has no shortage of inventive ways to collaborate with nonprofit organizations, for the benefit of the community. “We partnered with Healthy Androscoggin on The Kid’s Club nutrition activities and tastings. The children get a token to shop at the market,” says Blumenthal. “The YWCA and the Good Food Council of LA are also avid supporters of the LFM.” The market is fortunate to now have local businesses signing up to be program sponsors. 2019 sponsors include Auto Europe, Chill Yoga, Forage Market, Kimball Street Studios, Mem’s Barefoot Books, and Orphan Annie’s.

L-R: Memarie Christoforo, Sophia Gamache, Joshua Nagine, Deb Mongeau, & Sherie Blumenthal

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Written by Nicole Breton Photo by Jose Leiva


THE REAL ESTATE CLOSING TEAM Treworgy & Baldacci 223 Main Street, 1st floor, Auburn www.treworgy-baldacci.com

Front Row: Bobby Treworgy, Corey St. Pierre, Chandra Dionne, Diane Thomas. Back Row: Nicole Breton, Christine Fecteau, Jodi Morse, Tammy Pierce, Mary Ellen Taylor

Building relationships through reliability Treworgy & Baldacci joined the LA business community three years ago, starting out in a one-room office space on Main Street in Auburn, with two employees. The small team worked diligently to establish solid relationships within the industry, with a primary focus on being adaptive to business demands. Their consistency and unwavering spirit paid off. Within the first year, the team outgrew their tiny office


space. While still on Main Street, a staff of eight now occupies the first floor of the historic Garcelon House. “Working collectively as a team is crucial,” remarks Chandra Dionne, office manager. “Each of us contributes to every transaction we complete, including our in-house attorneys who review each file to verify a title is clear of any liens, encumbrances, or questionable legal ownership, before a transaction is scheduled to close.” “The word ‘no’ is not in our vocabulary,” states Corey St. Pierre, marketing director/closer. “Time and location are never

an issue. You will often find us conducting real estate closings in any part of the state, from Aroostook County to York County, sometimes long after conventional business hours have ended, and even on the occasional weekend or holiday.” While the Auburn office is relatively new to this area, Treworgy & Baldacci has been operating in Maine for over 40 years. The team firmly believes their continued growth and success is based upon continually meeting their customer’s needs by providing fast, economical, and accurate service.



MEDCo has set itself apart in the burgeoning medical cannabis field, providing a comfortable environment where people feel welcome.

40 Lisbon Street, Lewiston 1-866-426-3326 • thcmedco.com

“We pride ourselves on being a place where people can come and ask questions and receive factual information,” says Operating Manager Alex McMahan.


L to R: Joey Johnson, Alex McMahan, & Joe Couture


Quality, knowledge, and service





Written by Michael Krapovicky Photography by Jose Leiva

Helping people “We have customers with ailments that affect their quality of life,” confirms Production Manager Joey Johnson. Medical marijuana is prescribed by doctors for alleviating general pain, glaucoma, arthritis, and cancer, among other infirmities. “Seeing people getting major relief through the use of our products is very satisfying to me.” MEDCo’s state-certified grow facilities are run by Master Grower Joe Couture. “One of our goals has been to increase the awareness of cannabis’ medical benefits to the general public,”

asserts Couture. “We are able to help many people, in a safe and welcoming environment.” Community involvement MEDCo is part of the LA neighborhood. “We are members of Lewiston Downtown Association,” says McMahan, “and one of the top sponsors for the 2019 Balloon Festival.” Says Couture, “It has been very rewarding to know that we are able to contribute and give something back to the city we live in.”

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of sports history




The 2019 Auburn Lewiston Sports Hall of Fame Inductees. Front: Mark Theriault, Maureen Berube Back: Jared Turcotte, Mark Ballard, Dave Morin LA METRO MAGAZINE digital edition @ LAMetroMagazine.com


The Ramada Conference Center in Lewiston had the air of a time capsule. Memories of great sports moments from decades past were laid out on tables: vintage varsity sweaters from Edward Little and Lewiston High Schools and others, black-and-white team pictures, pennants, the iconic photograph of Muhammad Ali’s phantom punch. On display across the room were a set of large plaques, commemorating the members of the Auburn-Lewiston Sports Hall of Fame. And mingling among family, friends, and fans, were the five individuals who, at the annual April induction banquet, would forever be recognized for their contribution to the Twin Cities’ rich sports history. The goal of the Auburn-Lewiston Sports Hall of Fame, a project of the LA Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, is to make people aware of that history, according to Tom Anthoine, a co-chair of the Hall of Fame board. “We’re considered ‘small town USA,’ but the number of accolades our local athletes have gained- it’s just amazing,” he said.

Recognizing achievement The Auburn-Lewiston Sports Hall of Fame (ALSHOF) was founded in 1983 at the instigation of then-Chamber Executive Bill Harkins, and its first induction ceremony was in the spring of 1984. Among the first inductees were Bill Carrigan, a Lewiston native who as catcher-manager led the Boston Red Sox to back-to-back World Series victories in 1915 and 1916, and Bob Legendre of Lewiston, a track and field star who competed in two Olympics in the 1920s. Since then, the ALSHOF has inducted more than 150 athletes for lifetime achievement, their accomplishments memorialized on plaques that cover the walls of Gipper’s Sports Grill in Auburn. These honorees represent a variety of sports and time periods. Here’s a random sampling of recipients: Ralph Noel, inducted in 1994, won a number of school and amateur golfing championships from the 1950s through the 1970s; Robert W. Boucher, inducted in 2006, coached the St. Dominic’s Academy hockey team to five state championship victories; Paul “Junior” Labbe, inducted in 1984, rose to boxing prominence in the 1920s and

Beckie Conrad, former head of the Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, speaking at the awards banquet

1930s; Carolyn Court, a 2018 inductee, coached cross-country and track for decades at Bates College and now coaches at Lewiston Middle School.

The new honorees The 2019 ALSHOF induction banquet was packed with sports greats from decades past and present. Inductee Dave Morin had an illustrious 49-year career coaching three different sports: baseball, hockey, and soccer. Morin started the soccer program at ELHS and ran it for 33 of those years. Another, Mark Theriault, played lacrosse for Springfield College and led his team to the National Lacrosse Championship in 1994. He played professionally for the Boston Blazers and now coaches at Keene State University. As a high school baseball pitcher in the late 1980s, Mark Ballard of Mechanic Falls led both Edward Little High School and the New Auburn Legion to state championship victories. He was named the North Atlantic Conference Pitcher of the Year, and the Boston Red Sox drafted him in 1993. During a social hour before the banquet, Ballard said the honor is “a culmination of so much invested time and energy for something that’s really personal. It’s hard to describe. It’s spectacular.” Swimmer Maureen Berube won the Class A State Championship and was an all-star in several events in 1982; she was named Maine Girls Swim League Swimmer of the Year that same year. Now a dental assistant, Berube said being inducted into the Hall of Fame has given her the chance to reflect on a remarkable swimming career, and in particular the support of her coaches, teammates, and family. “After all these years it brings back a lot of good memories,” she said. “You know that people still follow the sport. It’s nice.”

By Emily McConville | Photography by Jose Leiva | 35 Years of Sports History Jared Turcotte was a running back at Lewiston High School and then the University of Maine at Orono. He won the Fitzpatrick Trophy, Maine’s top high school football honor, in 2006, and that same year was named the Maine Gatorade Player of the Year, as well as receiving recognitions from the Lewiston Sun Journal and the Portland Press Herald.

Board members: Bim Gibson, Thomas Anthoine III, & Craig Jipson

Turcotte, who sold medical devices before starting a medical marijuana business with his brother, said he was surprised when he got the call that he was being inducted; he thought he was too young to be in a hall of fame. “It was unexpected but definitely awesome,” he said. “It’s nice to know that people recognized that I spent a lot of time and energy to try to get better.”

Just rewards The 1989 Edward Little High School baseball team, which included Mark Ballard, received the Flashback to Fame award for winning the Class A State Championship. The Pioneer Award went to Samuel Michael, who organized weekly boxing shows and brought Muhammad Ali and Sonny Liston to town for their famous rematch. The Chamber President’s Award went to the Lewiston High School boys soccer team, Edward Little’s girls alpine skiing, St. Dominic Academy’s boys hockey, Central Maine Community College’s women’s basketball, and Bates College women’s rowing, all of which won championships in 2018-19. Also recognized were a number of individual high school and college seniors.

In meetings throughout the fall, the board then selects the year’s inductees, balancing past nominations with new ones. A nomination form is available on the chamber’s website, and new nominations are always welcome — the board selects about four or five inductees every year and is constantly learning about accomplished athletes, new and old. Anthoine has been on the ALSHOF board for 15 years. “I was amazed at the abundance of local athletes that have gained national, international accolades, that I believe the community should know about and also be proud of,” he says. He adds, “We have some great athletes coming from the community that we all love.”

Mingling among the inductees and guests are members of the 28-person board that selects inductees. Anita Murphy is both: a longtime local tennis coach with numerous championships and awards under her belt, and also on the ALSHOF selection committee. Murphy, whose son, Dr. Ronald Chicoine, is a 2017 inductee, said she enjoys learning about and meeting Lewiston Auburn’s many outstanding athletes. “People don’t realize the talent that we have and will continue to have,” Murphy said.

Getting in After the banquet is over, Anthoine talks about the process. The work of selecting the inductees spans almost the full year, Anthoine says. Coaches, friends, family, or fans can submit a nomination for induction by June 30 of each year. Nominees have to be connected to the Lewiston Auburn area in some way, either by growing up nearby or playing or coaching at an area school. Through the summer and fall, the selection committee does a deep dive into each nominee. The process involves a lot of “homework, in any way that we can get information,” Anthoine says. “Could be parents, family, relatives, going through the history books, calling colleges, calling schools, calling old friends, and getting a lot of information on these potential candidates.” LA METRO MAGAZINE digital edition @ LAMetroMagazine.com


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Defying Limits Christy Gardner’s new way to represent her country

Written by David Muise Photography by Brewster Burns


hristy Gardner is most assuredly a tough Maine woman- tough enough to serve as a sergeant in the U.S. Army. And now she is co-captain of the U.S. National Women’s Sled Hockey Team. This rugged league allows full checking on the ice, and its tough players thrive on it.

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Sled hockey Spectators will immediately recognize the kinship of sled hockey with traditional ice hockey. It’s played on the same ice and incorporates most of the same rules. The biggest difference is that the players are strapped into sleds equipped with two ice hockey skates. Each player has two sticks abutted at one end with metal spikes; the players use these to propel themselves on the ice. The opposite ends of the sticks are affixed with hockey blades, for shooting or passing the puck. And the players are likely to engage, as aforementioned, in the familiar checking. Ah yes, the checking...

“I was an elite athlete and independent before this happened,” says Gardner. “When I came home, I was completely dependent on everyone for everything. That was the hardest part.” Gardner longed to find a place where she could experience that thrill of action, where she could use her athletic skill to be part of a team. She would find it through the wisdom of fellow veterans to explore adaptive sports.

Reconnecting with sport “I loved playing sports in high school and college,” recalls Gardner. “I ended up playing lacrosse and field hockey since my parents were afraid I’d get hurt playing ice hockey.” Gardner was so good at these replacement sports that she received a scholarship to play them at C.W. Post College at Long Island University. Upon graduation, Gardner entered the United States Army. “After I was injured in the Army, I believed the many doctors who told me that I wouldn’t be able to do a lot of things,” explains Gardner. “It wasn’t until I listened to other veterans that I decided to attend an adaptive sports camp called ‘Fun in the Sun Day,’ at Mount Sunapee in New Hampshire.” Reconnecting with her love of sports was a real turning point for Gardner. In the aftermath of her injury, she felt lost at times and missing something for which she longed- the physicality of action and the camaraderie of team sport.

Christy Gardner on ice (Facebook)

“I love this sport,” gushes Gardner. “It gives me the opportunity to be part of a unit again, and to hit someone, legally.” Being “part of a unit again” references Gardner’s time in the U.S. Army. To “hit someone, legally” references the full contact sport of sled hockey. Gardner’s participation in the sport is a result of a long journey that began with a mission in the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ).

The accident

“After that first camp, I went to another: the VA New England winter sports camp, also at Mount Sunapee. We learned to ski or snowboard each day, and were introduced to a new sport each evening- kayaking in the pool, wheelchair basketball, and sled hockey. At hockey, I was only on the ice for about 20 minutes but I fell in love with it. It was a fast-paced and competitive sport where I could be a part of a team again.” Gardner explains that finding sled hockey has been incredibly important to her recovery. “It’s given me purpose and direction, as well as physical exercise and mental health boosts from being at such a high level of play and being an asset to the team,” she says.

“I actually don’t remember that day,” says Gardner. “I just remember meeting with the trauma doctors who explained everything that had happened.” What did happen? Gardner was driving a U.S. Army Humvee as part of a peacekeeping mission in South Korea’s DMZ. Suddenly, an accident occurred, gravely injuring her. “I had skull and facial fractures, a traumatic brain injury, and spinal cord injury,” explains Gardner. “I eventually had elective amputations of both legs below the knee, after the condition of my feet degraded. It was related to the spinal cord injury and lack of sensation and circulation below the knees.” For Gardner, losing her legs was not the hardest part of her journey; coming home wounded, in great need of assistance, was what loomed darkest over her.



Photo courtesy of newenglandwarriors.org

By David Muise | Photography by Brewster Burns | Defying Limits

Warrior That first 20 minutes on the ice left Gardner with a deep desire to hone her skills at sled hockey. That rush, the thrill, the ability to achieve and compete again drove her to practice independently toward a goal. “In the beginning I was terrible, but I trained on my own for about six months and was invited to join the U.S. Women’s team after attending a camp put on by USA Hockey,” says Gardner. “I still don’t think I was very good the first couple of years, but the girls on the team were amazing and taught me everything they could.” About this time, Gardner began playing for the USA Warriors team out of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, where she had been recovering from her injuries and going through rehabilitation. At this point, Gardner was on two teams and beginning to define her skills on the ice. As her recovery improved and she made her way back to Maine, Gardner continued playing for USA Warriors until she got some unfortunate news. “USA Hockey rules require a player to play on a club within 100 miles of their home,” says Gardner. “Turns out there wasn’t one within 100 miles of Lewiston Auburn, so I had to start one.” Gardner’s team, the New England Warriors, is officially based in LA. She and fellow veteran, Ian Ramsdell, founded it in 2015. The Warriors offer veterans in the area the same opportunity to engage in sled hockey and reconnect with a new, different kind of unit. The team practices out of Norway Savings Bank Arena in Auburn, but holds its home games at the Ice Vault in Hallowell, so patients at the Togus VA Medical Center can easily attend the games. The big home match this year will take place on Nov. 17 at the Ice Vault; all are welcome to come cheer on the local team, says Gardner. To learn more, visit their website or follow them on Facebook for updates on games, scrimmages, and clinics.*

Representing her country again In addition to playing with her local team, the New England Warriors, Gardner also represents her country as co-captain of the Women’s National team that competes in the World Championships.

“Being able to wear the USA jersey is major!” says Gardner excitedly. “To be a part of that unit, and bring pride to myself and our nation, has been extremely important and rewarding.” Gardner has won two World Championships with the team (both over Canada) and she names these as the highlight of her sled hockey career, though she follows it up with a surprising and close second. “Aside from the two Worlds, I’d have to say, I loved it when some Canadian fans called me ‘team USA’s enforcer,’” says Gardner. “I wear that badge with honor because I’m unafraid and strong on the ice always.”

Unafraid and strong These words pretty much typify all the ladies on the U.S. National Women’s Sled Hockey team. Being on the team comes with grueling expectations: six days a week of training, workouts, and required sessions with local clubs. “Playing at this level is amazing,” says Gardner. “The ladies I play with come from all sorts of backgrounds and from all across the nation. We range from 14 years old to women in their 40s. Some have congenital conditions and others of us acquired our injuries or illnesses later in life.”

Gardner’s dog, Moxie, gets a medal

The team holds tryouts annually, in July or August. Most prospects start as the one- if not the only- female on their local teams. They hope to make the national team, which is the only allfemale squad in the nation. 53

Top of her game Gardner’s skills on the ice have developed quickly and broadly. During her career, she reports having played every position on the ice- center, wing, defense, and even some time in net when the team’s goalie was injured. This versatility and general athletic prowess has taken Gardner to new heights in her athletics. She had spent time as a volunteer at Varney’s Labs in Turner where she helped raise puppies, but she has since left to focus full-time on her athletic career. Playing on multiple sled hockey teams and enduring the rigorous training that goes with them, she is also expanding her sport participation. 54


“I am striving toward making the USA Track & Field Team for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics, competing in shot put and discus,” says Gardner. “I’m by far the best in the nation, but I have a ways to go to reach the Paralympics, though I did take first place in both events in a meet last fall in Italy.”

Connecting the dots Gardner thrived in the military. “My grandfather and uncles were in the Marines, so the option to be in the military was always in my head,” says Gardner. She found the same type of camaraderie and excitement that she had earlier in life on the sports field. When she was injured and had to rediscover that part of herself, she turned back to sport.

By David Muise | Photography by Brewster Burns | Defying Limits It’s almost as if Gardner and sled hockey ran headlong into each other and they’ve been propelling each other forward ever since. “The military squad, or unit attitude, really focuses on doing everything you can to accomplish the mission while leaving no one behind,” says Gardner. “That helps a lot in hockey because we all have the same mentality. Sled hockey is full checking and, while it’s not nearly as deadly as serving, we sacrifice our bodies in an attempt to win. Most of us pass the puck unselfishly to accomplish the ultimate goal of winning the game.”

*New England Warriors Sled Hockey: https://www.newenglandwarriors.org/ www.facebook.com/NEwarriorssledhockey/ www.Instagram.com/newarriors/ U.S. National Women’s Sled Hockey: https://teamusa.usahockey.com/womensledhockey

Just as in the military, Gardner continues to work selflessly to accomplish a goal. She is very proud of representing her countryboth during her time serving and now as a co-captain of the U.S. Women’s National Sled Hockey Team.

Gardner with Moxie & Lucky

TRIPLE Three worthy causes, Written by Donna Keene Rousseau  |  Photography by Brewster Burns

CR WN one finish line


he Greater L-A Triple Crown 5K Series grew out of three separate road race fundraisers. In 2007, the race directors of the YMCA Fit Fest, the L-A Bridge Run, and Emily’s Run came together to discuss combining efforts to create a summer running series, promoting community wellness, while raising awareness and supporting the three beneficiary organizations.

Today, the Triple Crown 5K Series attracts 600-700 runners from Lewiston Auburn and surrounding communities. It enjoys the robust support of area sponsors, all interested in encouraging the health and wellbeing for people in its communities. Last year, the series raised $24,000 in proceeds, bringing $8,000 to each organization.

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YMCA Fit Fest Kicking off the Triple Crown Series in June, the Fit Fest starts and ends at Festival Plaza, on Main Street in Auburn. The course crosses the Longley and Bernard Lown Peace Bridges, and boasts views of the Twin Cities from the vantage point of the Riverwalk. Proceeds provide camp scholarships to the Auburn-Lewiston YMCA’s Outdoor Learning & Education Center, located off Stetson Road in Auburn.

Emily’s Run In the heat of the summer, Emily’s Run honors the memory of Auburn’s Emily Fletcher, an avid runner and talented track athlete, who lost her life in a car www.mainerunningphotos.com accident at the age of 21. This race is notably the most hilly and difficult of the series, taking race participants along Emily Fletcher’s own running route. The run begins at Edward Little High School, winding through the neighborhoods of Park and Shepley Streets, Grandview and Western Avenues, to a fitting finish on the track at ELHS. In addition to two college scholarships for ELHS graduates, race proceeds also benefit several community organizations including the Auburn Public Library, Stanton Bird Club, and LA Trails.

The Bridge Run The Bridge Run, the flattest course in the series, takes place in late summer. At the end of August, this race enjoys the coolest temperatures of all three races. It begins at the Rollerdrome in Auburn, crossing the Bernard Lown Peace Bridge to Lewiston, where the course takes runners into Railroad Park, across the trestle of Riverwalk and finishes at the Rollerdrome. Proceeds support outdoor experiences for local youth, particularly area teens, and children from the Auburn/Lewiston Boys and Girls Club. Some of the proceeds help send local teens to Outward Bound, which offers experiences designed to instill a spirit of adventure, foster an appreciation of the environment, promote teamwork, develop self-esteem, and encourage friendship.

Many hands The Triple Crown planning committee knows that “it takes a village,”namely 18 dedicated volunteers, to coordinate the series. From public safety and sponsorships, to managing volunteers, many hands make for lighter work. Race Director Mike Lecompte says, “There has been great value in coming together as one committee, pooling resources and sharing the load.” Alan Groudle, who coordinates marketing for the series, describes the many components to making the events happen.

By Donna Keene Rousseau | Photography by Brewster Burns | Triple Crown “We host pop-up early bird registrations events at area businesses in LA, mostly restaurants and pubs, where participants can sign up at a reduced cost. The day before each race, we also host bib pickup events, where participants can register at the regular cost and get their swag. The registration fee for all three runs is $50, a great price comparatively, and participants get a lot of goodies for their money. We advertise the race as ‘the best value in running.’” Organizers agree the Triple Crown offers runners considerable ‘bang for their buck.’ “I think we have the most amenities of any race around,” says Lecompte. “We have prizes for every age group, even the age ten-and-under participants. There’s food, snacks, music, and the potential for race winners to take home $1,000.” Lecompte explains that, before every race, there is a Fun Run for all children, sponsored by the Auburn Maine Fire Fighters IAFF Local 797. Designed to introduce children to running and the enjoyment that comes from being active, each fun run begins at 8:00am; the distance is determined by which race follows. Children are invited to run, walk, even skip their way along the course, and children all receive medals from the firemen after the run. Just like their adult counterparts, “fun runners” receive kid-friendly freebies and coupons to area businesses.

Casual and competitive Over the course of the years, the Triple Crown has seen local winners including Auburn’s Jesse Orach for the 2018 Fit Fest and Luc Bourget, who won the Triple Crown Award in 2015 for having the

lowest combined time for all three races. Ryan Smith of Farmington currently holds the course record for two of the three races. “There are definitely competitive runners, people with remarkable times,” says Lecompte. “But we have all different types of runners – casual and competitive. We have families who run together, moms with baby strollers, and people who walk the course. Some finish in minutes, others take an hour or so. We have volunteers who make sure every participant is in before the race is finished.”

Setting the pace Sponsorships make the Greater L-A Triple Crown 5K Series possible. Erin Dunbar, who first ran in the YMCA Fit Fest in 2008, has coordinated sponsorships for the past five years. “We have many longtime sponsors, and most return each year. We love it when a new one signs on,” says Dunbar. “All our sponsors are wonderful and we couldn’t put on the races without them.” This year, Alan Groudle, who works for Geiger in Lewiston, approached his employer about a sponsorship. “I knew Geiger had sponsored other events, and I felt the Triple Crown was a great event to support. Geiger is now a Silver Sponsor and will have a team in this year’s race.” Runner and Geiger President Jo-an Lantz says, “Encouraging the well-being of all people, both mentally and physically, is part of Geiger’s philanthropy. The Triple Crown 5K Series’ dedication to wellness ties in perfectly with how we strive to support our communities.” For Dunbar, Groudle, and Lecompte, the Greater L-A Triple Crown 5K Series is a labor of love and they are happy to share their passion for running to benefit the wellness of their community. “I love the event’s atmosphere, the energy, the community vibe,” says Lecompte. Groudle and Dunbar concur. “Yes, there are those who are competitive but, in the end, the Triple Crown is more about the coming together as a community to take part in something wholesome and healthy, to feel a sense of accomplishment, and then to share in some well-deserved fun.” 

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

Big Brothers Big Sisters OF MID-MAINE

DEFENDERS of potential

Written by Peggy Faye Brown  |  Photography by Jose Leiva

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Mid-Maine: Defenders of potential


id you know that, in just one hour a week, you could encourage a child, enrich a life, and invest in the future? Big Brothers Big Sisters of MidMaine (BBBS) provides mentoring opportunities to the youth of Androscoggin Country that build bonds, strengthen self-esteem, and develop dreams. Sam Holmes & Jacobi

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Dynamic Duos “He IS my brother,” says Jacobi, “but I’m the boss.” Third-grade “Little” Jacobi and his “Big,” Sam Holmes, erupt into giggles in the library of Longley Elementary School in Lewiston. Delightful banter and lots of smiles abound when these two are together, whether they are playing Space Tilt, Operation, Connect Four, or reading Ant Bully, one of their favorite books. Sam, a Bates College senior, is heading to Spain as a Fulbright scholar. They will miss each other, but will stay connected as pen pals again, just like last summer. They dive into a book about Spain, pointing out pictures and laughing together. Their joy is contagious. Bigs and Littles commit to at least one year of weekly meetings when they sign up for the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. This match was created by BBBS to give Jacobi a school-based mentor. However, it is quite evident that Sam gets a lot out of this, too. “It is also great for me, explains Big Sam. “I get to break away from college stress and essay deadlines to come here and play for an hour. It is so rewarding to see how happy [Jacobi] is when we spend time together. Being a Big has solidified my interest in working with kids.”

Creating connections Jennifer Cartmell is the Androscoggin manager for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Mid-Maine. She runs a small program at Washburn Elementary in Auburn with Bigs from Edward Little High School, and the larger Longley program, which has 34 matches. Cartmell provides training and professional support, including monthly check-ins to ensure satisfaction and safety.

Jennifer Cartmell & Keisha

She and Cartmell wish there were enough resources to match up 100 more children. “I am asked almost daily to create a new match,” Cartmell says. “I wish there was a way for all 380 of our Longley students to be involved.”

Birds of a feather Over at another table, a Big/Little pair work on an Avengers puzzle. This is not a quiet activity. Fred, the Bates College Big, keeps the conversation flowing. They each wear a blue headband with an animal photo attached. The Little, Hassan A., wears a parrot and Fred wears a cow. He and Fred are trying to figure out which creature is on their own headband. After many clues from Fred, Hassan A. asks, “Am I a bird?”

“The greatest reward is watching the wonderful changes in the Bigs and Littles in positive ways,” states Cartmell. “Bigs learn patience, because Littles need time to open up and trust. Littles learn they can trust their Bigs.” Just ask sixth grade Little, Hassan M., about his Big. “My Big is a math whiz,” he enthusiastically shares. “If I give him a big number, he can double it immediately. It’s a fun game we play.” How does he know his Big is right all the time? Hassan M. proudly replies, “He’s NEVER wrong.”

Inspiring Bigs Cartmell works closely with School Counselor Sally Nelson, coordinating the meeting schedules and monitoring the program. Nelson was once a Big while studying at USM, and so admired the role of the school counselor who managed that BBBS program that she switched her major and obtained her Master’s in School Counseling. Sally Nelson, School Counselor


Nelson reflects, “My experience with BBBS has now come full circle.”


Hassan A. & Fred Cornelius-Knudsen

By Peggy Faye Brown | Photography by Jose Leiva | Defenders of Potential “Yes, you are a type of a bird,” hints Fred, “but be more specific.” As they each try to decipher more clues, other BBBS pairs pop into the library to start their hour together.

Multiple benefits Cartmell and Nelson both see the immense value of BBBS in teaching “soft skills” like socialization, self-awareness, self-esteem, and confidence building. Longley Bigs, all students from Bates College, also bring Littles their enthusiasm for learning. They often discuss mythology, art, geography, architecture, math, literature, and science during the course of their casual conversations, as evidenced by drawings in the notebooks the Littles keep. As such, Longley Littles are very curious about college. So Cartmell determined that a field trip to Bates College was needed. This very exciting adventure now takes place each spring. Littles are filled with awe as they arrive on campus, greeted by their Bigs. They receive Bates College t-shirts (funded by TD Bank), and enjoy lunch, ice cream, and a tour of the campus. Parents tell Cartmell about how inspiring this visit is; their children set goals to study, get good grades, and go to college, too, someday.

Ongoing opportunity

Megan Seymour & Lita

What happens during summer or semester separations? Instead of having lonely Littles, Cartmell works diligently to keep them connected through hand-written letters. And writing letters provides practice in literacy skills. “When I went abroad to Argentina,” said Megan Seymour, a psychology student, “my Little, Lita, and I became great pen pals.” As Megan discussed Lita, her eyes sparkled with joy. “I will save the letters from Lita forever.” Second-grader Lita adores her Big also. She tells Megan she has “eyes like pearls” and loves spending time together playing the headband game and drawing pictures. Megan cherishes the adorable drawings that Lita makes and plans to keep them in a special scrapbook with her letters. Megan explains, “Just being together and hearing about her day is so rewarding. Being a Big has really touched my heart. This experience will carry over to my career working with children.” When the summer, or semester separation, is over, the reunions are amazing. Nelson accompanied a Big to his Little’s classroom for their first meeting of the school year. When the Little spotted his Big in the doorway, he leapt from his seat and into the arms of his Big, truly joyful while being picked up and spun around. Nelson had many requests from classmates to have their own Bigs that day, too!

Defenders of potential Big Brothers Big Sisters is the oldest and largest national mentoring agency in the country. However, it rebranded its image last year, to stress the urgency of its mission. Their campaign to recruit ‘defenders of potential’ aims to attract younger and more diverse volunteers. “If young children are matched early with a 1-to-1 mentor in a strong and enduring professionally supported relationship, this is demonstrated to have long term positive impact,” states Gwendolyn Hudson, executive director of BBBS of Mid-Maine. “Evidence shows this leads to higher aspirations, better performance in school, and long term success,” continues Hudson. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Mid-Maine serves seven counties, at 30 school-based sites. It expanded to Androscoggin County in 2015, and serves youth at just two sites (Washburn and Longley), due to lack of funding. “This is all we can do with the resources we currently have,” says Hudson. BBBSMM receives no federal or state money. Funding comes from the annual Bowl for Kids’ Sake and Golf FORE Kids’ fundraisers, with additional grants from the United Way, and corporate and individual donations and sponsors. The group is looking for more resources and community mentor volunteers, to serve more children in this county. Hudson LA METRO MAGAZINE digital edition @ LAMetroMagazine.com


TOGETHER, THE FUTURE LOOKS BIG Potential lives within every kid. Yet, more than 8.5 million kids are still in need of someone who will stand in their corner. So we’ve sharpened our focus. Reimagined how we do things. Modernized how we look and talk.

We are the new Big Brothers Big Sisters. We are here to defend every kid’s potential. We are ready to build the biggest possible future, together.

explains, “We seek community members to serve on committees which can provide opportunities for increased funding.”

Developing dreams Having a wonderful mentor opens up opportunities for Littles to dream about the world and their own future. Jacobi wants to be an architect someday and build a city. Sam spreads a happy grin and says, “You could call it Jacobi-Land!” Jacobi doubles over in giggles but it is clear that a dream for the future has been planted in his mind, thanks to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Mid-Maine.

HOW CAN YOU HELP? Join a committee

(monthly meetings via conference call) Community Engagement Committee Program Development Committee Finance Committee Bowl for Kids’ Sake Committee Golf FORE Kids’ Sake Committee Marketing Committee Become a Big or Community Mentor Host an Event to Support BBBS Donate goods and services “Build a Bin” – collect and donate new/gently used games and craft items


Big Brothers Big Sisters of Mid-Maine www.bbbsmidmaine.org Jennifer Cartmell, Androscoggin Manager (207)-653-3857


Gwendolyn Hudson, Executive Director (207)-236-BBBS 66 Elm Street, Suite 100 Camden, ME 04843 Gwendolyn@bbbsmidmaine.org

Jennifer Cartmell & Josh



Big B Big S


DRIVE LIKE YOU WORK HERE. We work hard year-round to maintain and improve the Maine Turnpike. And we depend entirely on you to keep us safe while we’re at it. Whenever you’re traveling through any roadway work zone, please obey reduced speed limits and drive with extreme caution. Our construction crews and their families will appreciate your good driving. Learn more at maineturnpike.com/wza



Profile for LA Metro Magazine

LA Metro Magazine - Summer 2019  

LA Metro Magazine - Summer 2019