The Buzz: Companies doing good and Lewiston's award-winning sidewalks

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This week The Buzz is gratified for so many reasons, among them: Local companies kindly came together to give a dying man his last wish. Also, there’s such a thing as an award for excellence in concrete — and Lewiston has won it.

President Beckie Conrad shared the story of the man, Erik Zinn of Harrison, at the Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce breakfast Thursday. 

Zinn was a patient at Androscoggin Home Care & Hospice with a wish to see the Red Sox play at Fenway. AHCH reached out to the Fortin Group for help and Fortin donated a limousine and driver to take Zinn, his nurse and his aunt to the game. A Fortin employee asked Lewiston native and TV personality Tom Caron to drop by the luxury box and meet Zinn, and he did.

(Tickets to that luxury box, by the way, were donated by Red Sox owner John Henry, through a contact AHCH had with W.B. Mason, the office supply company, according to spokesman John Martins.)

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“The patient is no longer with us, but his dying wish was met,” Conrad said to loud applause.

Kudos to Kudos

Since coming on board in March, Conrad has added a “Kudos” section to the monthly chamber breakfast with very quick hits about local companies’ reasons to cheer and hopefully it’s not too meta to give a kudos to the Kudos — it’s been a nice addition. There’s clearly a lot to celebrate.

This month, that included from Conrad:

• 14 of the 80 companies recently named among the 2017 Best Places to Work in Maine are local;

• International Paper in Auburn won the L.L.Bean corrugated cardboard account, “so every box coming to you from L.L.Bean is made in Auburn, Maine,” and;

• Safe Voices recently received $10,000 worth of designer dresses from Leota New York to help get clients back into the workforce.

Melanie LaMore Gagnon, director of shelter services, said Safe Voices was picked for the nearly 200 dresses after competing in a challenge on the website DomesticShelters.org.

“Part of our work is around empowerment, and folks coming into our emergency shelter are trying to get their feet back under them to get back into the workforce,” LaMore Gagnon said. She hopes the dresses, size extra-small to 3X, “help them have something professional to wear to a job interview or first job, something career-oriented.”

Rank you very much

To keep the celebration going, the University of Maine at Farmington announced Thursday that it’s now made U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Colleges” list for 20 years. In a row.

In the 2018 rankings of regional colleges in the north, UMF ranked 4th in the category of Top Public Schools, 6th in Best Value Schools, 8th overall and 3rd in Best College for Veterans, according to a news release.

“We are so proud of this continued recognition of UMF’s long history of excellence and commitment to student success,” UMF President Kathryn A. Foster said in the release. “A college education is an important investment for today’s families and UMF’s unique combination of quality academics and affordability set in the spectacular Maine mountains offers a tremendous value.”

And now, concrete 

In the City Administrator’s Report released this week is word that the new colored concrete sidewalks on Lisbon Street have won Lewiston the 2016 Excellence in Concrete Award for Architectural Concrete from the Northern New England Concrete Promotion Association.

According to the report, the project, designed by the city, replaced “existing failing concrete pavers with cast-in-place colored concrete pattern with brick inlay and paver edging.”

J Pratt Construction of Hebron was the project contractor and Ryan Barnes of Lewiston was the project engineer. Subcontractor Sundown Construction of Auburn nominated the project for the award.

Just a little something to keep in mind next time you’re walking our award-winning sidewalks.

Quick hits about business comings, goings and happenings. Have a Buzzable tip? Contact staff writer Kathryn Skelton at 689-2844 or kskelton@sunjournal.com.

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