Downtown Lewiston was a place of fear and desperation Tuesday night.

One by one, the cars pulled up to the curb on Park Street. Behind the wheel you could see a man or woman with wide eyes of panic. They clutched packets of paper and stared off into the darkness. It was nearing midnight on April 15. Tax deadline loomed and post office windows at Ash and Park streets were as dark as the street.

Many who stopped thought the Sun Journal was the post office and there was a glimmer of hope. The building was bright and alive. Then they got the jolt, like bad news from a doctor: closest post office still open tonight is in Portland, Bub.

One man slumped his shoulders and rested his forehead on the steering wheel. “Guess I’m going to Portland,” he said.

A woman who got the grim news simply closed her eyes. She threw her packet of papers to the seat beside her and just sat there, gripping the wheel very tight with both hands.

At least a half dozen procrastinators tried their luck on Park Street as zero hour loomed. At least a half dozen procrastinators with tax documents unsent.

– Mark LaFlamme
Singled out

Where have all the good men gone?

Twin Cities women who signed up for 8minuteDating were left wondering that this week when Tuesday’s event in Auburn was canceled for lack of males.

Twice as many women as men registered for the event. Participants are guaranteed eight dates, and 8minuteDating hostess Carol Carpentier said she didn’t want to hold the event and disappoint.

She thinks some men would have signed up the night of the event, but she couldn’t count on that.

The April 15 event targeted professional singles ages 30 to 40. The next event, May 6, has gotten better reception from both sexes, she said. It’s targeting 40- to 50-year-olds.

The premise of an evening of 8minuteDating is eight blind dates that last eight minutes each. Participants exchange first names, pleasantries and size each other up for a possible full-length date later.

Carpentier has had requests to hold an event for singles aged 25 to 35, and may sometime. “It depends on how the May 6 event goes.”

Next time she may scour health clubs for eligible men.

– Kathryn Skelton
‘I love corn’

Kevin Concannon, who until Feb. 14 was Maine’s commissioner of Human Services, has a new title: director of the Iowa Department of Human Services.

On Wednesday the Iowa Senate confirmed Concannon’s appointment in a 50-0 vote, which meant he had the job immediately.

In Iowa, Gov. Thomas Vilsack, a Democrat, and lawmakers are interested in Concannon helping them try to lower prescription prices, especially for seniors. You’ll recall that Concannon is named as a defendant in PhRMA vs. Maine, a U.S. Supreme Court case in which the pharmaceutical industry is challenging a Maine law to lower drug prices. At a recent reception in Iowa, Concannon met several drug company lobbyists who seemed to know him. “They were cordial,” he said.

Concannon said Friday he misses Maine, especially the ocean, but is excited about helping the poor, the mentally ill, the elderly and disabled in Iowa.

With a population of 2.9 million and about 56,000 square miles, Iowa is roughly twice the size of Maine both in terms of land and population. “And I love corn,” he said.

– Bonnie Washuk


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