L-A changing an ugly myth by changing reality

There’s something irresistible about a ranking.

We love to see that our income is in the middle, or that our quarterback is the second from best. That we are slimmer than most or that our car is tops in its class.

It’s just fun to compare, especially when you find your community favorably compared to others.

And that’s exactly what happened in October when the AARP ranked Lewiston one of the top 10 small towns in the nation for retirees.

The accompanying article said the AARP “scoured dozens of small cities throughout the United States and selected our 10 favorites.”

The organization said it focused on cities of less than 100,000 population — “small enough to easily navigate but large enough to offer a wide array of culture, amenities and services. These are cities with fairly solid economic foundations and low crime rates. Many are home to colleges and universities, as well as museums, concert halls and theaters.”

Well, when you think about it, that’s us.

Burlington, Vt., was at the top of the list, followed by other great small cities from coast to coast, including Lewiston.

The short article on L-A pointed out our extremely low crime rate, inexpensive housing, numerous colleges, concert halls, excellent libraries and the wide variety of festivals and community events.

The article mentioned the Androscoggin River, the hundreds of lakes and streams within easy driving distance, cross-country and downhill skiing, and various hiking opportunities in the new Riverlands State Park.

What a nice shot in the arm for a community that has worked hard to rebuild its economy and image over the past 20 years.

We wrote a story about the listing and our story also ran in the Bangor Daily News. More great exposure.

But we were disappointed two days later to see the reader comments in the BDN following the story about Lewiston.

Nothing but bile.

“If you are a Somali tired of fighting for Al Qaeda, Lewiston would be a great place to retire,” wrote one genius.

“Lewiston has the best trauma unit in the state of Maine ... If this is true, when the elderly are stabbed, shot ... it’s in town,” another wrote.

“It has been 30 years since I have been there, but I remember it as a dying mill town,” wrote another.

There were about 30 comments like that, making fun of everything from Somali immigrants to our Franco heritage.

There is a sad human tendency to drag somebody else down if you see them advancing or enjoying good fortune. An anonymous online forum gives cowards and cynics a place to cover their own inadequacies by dumping on others.

As a community, however, we must accept that negativity as a challenge.

We are slowly changing our image by changing our reality. Think of the 150 new jobs at Carbonite, or the innovative new drug-trial partnership between Central Maine Medical Center and a local researcher, or the new craft brewery in the Bates Mill, or the major expansions at each of our hospitals, or the new TD Bank call center at the Auburn Mall — all within the past year or two.

Or think of the way our river has flourished, quickly becoming one of the biggest and best bass fisheries in the state. And plans are under way to develop our downtown riverfronts.

Despite a severe recession, we are still marching forward.

It is important that we do two things as a community: continue to evolve and continue to project a positive image to the world.

The cynics will never relent. In time, however, reality will outrun the ill will and myth.

rrhoades@sunjournal.com

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

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Comments

Steve  Dosh's picture

. .That E Z to answer ,

. .That E Z to answer , former councilman Reed
It's cause their newspaper s t i n k s on that side of the river , i . e. , http://www.twincitytimes.com/
h t h /s, Steve Dosh *<;-Q~ Ho ho HO 0 o O º*

 's picture

I am not to concerned about

I am not to concerned about what Bangor is saying about Lewiston. Frankly they have just as many if not more problems going on in their city, i.e. hows the bath salts working out. Out of all the cities in Maine, Lewiston has they lowest crime rate. So for them to be talking about our crime rate is humorous, heck they have a higher crime rate then Portland too.

Steve  Dosh's picture

. .11.12.02 9 :40 pm -

. .11.12.02 9 :40 pm - ish
Speaking of Bath. .that was a nice little city we also visited last summer . .all the yarn shops , book stores, the Patten library ( super kewlsie ) and other stuff like B I W and the Maine Maritime Museum :) ref: http://www.phippsburghistorical.com/ Bridgton's got a lot going for it , also , with a brand spanking new hospital , summer concerts and a library that offer live jazz , free wi-fi and tables and chairs to sit at outside whilst enjoying all this under a oak canopy http://deertreestheatre.org/ You guys need to get out more HAhHAHahahHAhah ! er Ho ho hoH0oHo* *<:-Q~ /s, Santa smokin'

Steve  Dosh's picture

Our View L-A changing an ugly myth by changing reality

. .11.12.02 11:11 am - ish ". .The cynics will never relent . In time , however , reality will outrun the ill will and myth." Nice , Rex *
We , in my family , happen to speak several languages where cynicism and sarcasm do not even exist . One can not B S in these languages . There are only ? 60,000 people that speak some of them . They are tonal languages . Get the inflection wrong ? You say the wrong word e . g . , na , ni , nå , né , nü are all different words with very different meanings , like the Esquimoix and their many , many names for * snow * and ice and the northern lights
In Lewiston your Muslim Somalian - American community says ' O'ja'la ' for the Saudi , ' En'sha'llah .' It means the same thing , " God willing , " and you can quote us on that . Allah is God , like Ya'weh is God to the Jews and we Christians just say God or Je'sus , Em'man'u'el , or Christ ( i am presuming most reading this are , in fact Christians and not Wiccan , agnotic or athiest :)
In this season of light , Kwanzaa , forgivenens , reconciliation , and repentance , no matter what color your skin is , be it black , brown , white , yellow , red , or olive ( to Hindus and other Eastern religions not mentioned above like Buddists ) , we retain much hope in our children for the coming years
. .. That , Charlie Brown , Linus , and Lucy , is what Christ's Mass means to many of us . Melé Kalikimaka from HI *<:-Q~ Dr. Dosh and ohana http://emailsanta.com/naughty_nice.asp <- a saƒe site • 

 's picture

I speak an atonal language, English.

Zzzzzzz. Inflect that.

CLAIRE GAMACHE's picture

From the horse's mouth

I am a recent retiree living in Lewiston and I couldn't agree more with the AARP on this one. If you like cultural and educational activities you will never be able to do them all and in all seasons too. There are lots of delicious places to eat out whether you like inexpensive or gourmet dining. Fitness activities are all around and reasonably priced and you can also see movies at the library, and at Bates college for a dollar or less and there is Bingo. There are lots of opportunities for part time work and volunteering. Navigating traffic is reasonably simple if you avoid the 5 o'clock rush and you can mostly park in front of the door to where you are going and you probably got there in less than 10 minutes. It occurs to me that while there is a cornucopia of attractions for seniors and a lot of things for families to do there is a huge void for young single people after they leave school. In Portland I heard of a club that organizes fun activities for young singles like rafting trips, volleyball teams, skiing trips, cook-outs and so forth. They use social networking to sign up and pay their own way. It would be nice to have something like that here.

David  Cote's picture

An amazing opportunity

I've always believed in the city of Lewiston and its citizens, from the hard working mill workers of the past to the residents of today, some from foreign lands, looking to make this community a better place. Though I'm still some way from retirement and currently live out of town I can see myself relocating back to Lewiston in the future as I approach retirement. But it's one of those deals where I can plan what I'd want to do in the next ten years and when that time comes I'm a completely different situation that I'd thought I'd be. The proof in that is I look back ten years ago and think at that time where I'd be in ten years and the result, though very good, was not what I imagined. I know Lewiston is an old town with a blue collar past and a less than respectful reputation from those that aren't educated or are just plain ignorant, but she's a good town and it's full of good people. I think the ranking is fitting and is indeed a shot in the arm for our psyche.

GARY SAVARD's picture

I post on the BDN and I can

I post on the BDN and I can safely say that it's the wild west on there. No holds barred. Very seldom is there civil and informed disagreement among the posters, they either agree with the post or go for the jugular of the poster. It's a rough place to play, but the upside for the BDN is that they can end up with over 300 comments on a single article.

Steve  Dosh's picture

. b t w - There's a nice

. b t w - There's a nice picture of the river during the fall located here --> http://www.bates.edu/about/tour/pedestrian-bridge/<-- Try the p a n o r a m i c tour, too :) Dr. Dosh

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

"Sign me up", said the

"Sign me up", said the parrot. What is the BDN?

Steve  Dosh's picture

. .Hmm . ...A: Bangor Daily

. .Hmm . ...A: Bangor Daily News ¿

RONALD RIML's picture

Bangor Daily News

Bit of a Flight of Fancy for the Parrot.....

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