Sick of bad news? Here's a cure

Lewiston City Hall, a prominent fixture on our daytime skyline, will soon make an even more spectacular appearance at night.

Electricians started installing 36 LED lights Thursday and Friday that will illuminate the main tower and its two mini-towers. Workers will return later this month to finish the job.

City Hall will join two other amazing nighttime sights, the spires of the former St. Mary's Church and Maine's most spectacular building — the Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul.

Credit for the City Hall lighting goes to former mayor Larry Gilbert for initiating the idea and raising the $45,000 to launch the project.  Cote Crane donated — yes you guessed it, a crane.

Another remarkable thing is happening at a far less visible location, the Lewiston-Auburn Water Pollution Control Authority sewage treatment plant. 

There a new aerobic digestion system will soon turn sewage into enough electricity to save the plant (and taxpayers) $15,000 to $20,000 a month.

The methane gas will fuel generators that will supply that electricity — which will way more than offset the $1,000 a year Lewiston will spend lighting City Hall.

(Yes, we knew somebody out there would be complaining about the cost of that.)

Bethel and Auburn could soon be stops on a Boston-Montreal passenger train announced last week by a Canadian entrepreneur, Francois Rebello, and officials of Golden Eagle Railway Co.

The proposed deal awaits signing of a lease with St. Lawrence and Atlantic Railroad, which owns the track.  Rebello said he has investors lined up and that we could be hearing passenger train whistles as early as next summer.

To be fair, Golden Eagle does not own any rolling stock and its principals are rail buffs rather than actual rail executives.

But, hey, let's stay positive here.

Whoo, whoo!

Lac-Megantic's mayor and fire chief will be guests of honor at a benefit concert scheduled for Oct. 12 at the University of Maine at Farmington. 

The cross-border town is recovering from an unimaginable disaster, an oil train derailment, explosion and fire that destroyed its downtown and killed 50 people.

Local fire departments who went to Lac-Megantic to fight the fire also will be recognized.

The relief fund has so far raised more than $20,000 for our Canadian neighbors.

A deaf and nearly blind hiker hopes to soon complete the Appalachian Trail, and he received a helping hand recently crossing one of the most treacherous sections of that trail last week.

Roger Poulin of Winthrop was born with Usher Syndrome, which affects his hearing, vision and balance.

Walking with the help of an assistant, who is also deaf, he uses trekking poles while wearing a helmet and safety glasses to hike.

Three Bethel-area hikers gave him some assistance with the Mahoosic Notch region.

The White Moutains and the Maine section of trail are especially difficult, he told the editor of the Bethel Citizen newspaper: roots, boulders, mud, bogs and steep climbs over wet, slippery rocks.

The only thing he forgot to mention are the damn mosquitoes.

So, the next time you're complaining about your bad back, try thinking of Roger Poulin out there climbing mountains.

Rumford and Mexico selectmen last week voted to hire a consultant to identify how the towns can cooperate and consolidate services.

Mexico and Rumford already run a combined solid waste system used by six different towns and share in operating an 11-town ambulance system.

Smart consolidation will be increasingly necessary to maintain services in municipalities across Maine.

Lewiston-Auburn residents may decide to go a step farther than that next year. Chamber Director Chip Morrison hopes to have a merger question on the ballot in June.

Great Falls, Maine, anyone?

The first public university in Maine is?

No, not that place in Orono, but the Western State Normal School, now known as the University of Maine at Farmington. That's according to a fellow who should know, System Chancellor James H. Page.

The local school opened its doors in August of 1864 as a "normal school," or school for teachers.

The university is celebrating its sesquicentennial, otherwise known as its 150th anniversary, on Oct. 9.

UMF has long been a gem of school, a small, public university regularly singled out for excellence.

And why "normal" school? Those schools were established back then to "normalize," or set standards, for school teaching.

Funny how we're still arguing about educational standards yet today.

Check out this equation

When you begin delving deeply into protons, neutrons, electrons and isotopes, chemistry becomes vague and abstract in a hurry.

What better way to re-ground yourself than by pulling on some boots and mucking about on a farm.

That's the goal of a "Fusion Class" being taught by environmental chemistry teacher Kim Finnerty at Edward Little High School in Auburn.

Nuclear fusion occurs when a couple of nuclei collide at high speed. 

Fittingly, Finnerty got a $5,000 grant from the Maine Department of Agriculture to similarly fuse chemistry and agriculture for her students.

When you think about it, farming is all about chemistry. As you might remember, organic chemicals are the building blocks of all life.

To those who suffered through chemistry with nothing more tangible than a slide rule, getting out in the field sounds soooo much more appealing.

rrhoades@sunjournal.com

The opinions expressed in this column reflect the views of the ownership and the editorial board.

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Comments

Steve  Dosh's picture

Sick of bad news? Here's a cure

ed. ,12:15 hst ? Sunday
Nice , t y v m ? " Bethel and Auburn could soon be stops on a Boston-Montreal passenger train announced last week by a Canadian entrepreneur, Francois Rebello, and officials of Golden Eagle Railway Co.
The proposed deal awaits signing of a lease with St. Lawrence and Atlantic Railroad, which owns the track.  Rebello said he has investors lined up and that we could be hearing passenger train whistles as early as next summer.
To be fair, Golden Eagle does not own any rolling stock and its principals are rail buffs rather than actual rail executives.
But, hey, let's stay positive here.
Whoo, whoo!
The 'ole B&M & PA USA built Buddliners ( Canada still uses them )
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Budd_Rail_Diesel_Car
? Dr. Dosh ( ret. railfan soon to be on AMTRAK ®  coast - to coast )

CAROLYN LIBBEY's picture

Illuminating City Hall. Why?

Illuminating City Hall. Why? This is as bad as "illuminating" St. Mary's and the "basillica." Are they expecting a visit from deity? This is funny considering the city of Lewiston "powers that be" can't supposedly afford to maintain street lighting in areas that need it to maintain safety.

JOANNE MOORE's picture

Maybe .......

Maybe they are illuminating the outside so no one will notice a few dim bulbs inside?

Steve  Dosh's picture

l o l Carol ! " Our's is not

l o l Carol ! " Our's is not to question why . Our's is but to do and die . Into the valley of death rode the 600 ." The Charge of the Light brigade - Alfred Lord Tenneyson 1823 ? ./s Steve http://www.korashriners.org/ <- Illuminate this , Mac <-- \/olunteer today , too •

Thomas Hamilton's picture

What?!

"Ours is not to reason why. Ours is but to do and die". If you are going to quote Tennyson, please get it right.

Thomas Hamilton's picture

oh oh

Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do & die,

Should have looked it up!
:(

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