Articles by Bonnie Washuk

Beverley Robbins opens the door at Hope Haven Gospel Mission in Lewiston as Patrick Myers, 11, delivers donated socks to the homeless shelter Monday. The fifth-grader organized a sock drive at Park Avenue Elementary School in Auburn to help the homeless.

Auburn fifth-grader organizes sock drive for homeless

By Bonnie Washuk on Nov. 12, 2013, at 5:32 a.m.
When you’re outside in November or December, and you’re not wearing socks, you are going to be cold, Auburn fifth-grader Patrick Myers said. Myers, 11, just completed a sock drive at his Park Avenue Elementary School to help the homeless. This week, he delivered boxes of donated …
Hoshea Muyderman shares a light moment while talking about his past as a homeless youth living at New Beginnings in Lewiston. Muyderman was one of four panelists who talked about homeless youth at Bates College on Thursday.

Greene man, kicked out of home at 12, talks growing up homeless

By Bonnie Washuk on Nov. 08, 2013, at 6:38 a.m.
LEWISTON | Hoshea Muyderman introduced himself to an audience at a Bates College forum on homeless youths Thursday night as an alumnus of New Beginnings, a Lewiston-based nonprofit that serves more than 700 homeless youths each year. November is National Runaway Homeless Youth month. Each year, some 7,500 youths …

After 8-year-old abandoned at bus stop, Lewiston schools set policy

By Bonnie Washuk on Oct. 09, 2013, at 5:31 a.m.
An 8-year-old left at a bus stop Tuesday spurred the Lewiston School Department to put into writing a policy that prohibits drivers from leaving students alone at bus stops, Superintendent Bill Webster said. Rachel Middleton said she took her third-grade daughter to the bus stop, then went …
Lewiston School Superintendent Bill Webster says he is tackling truancy this year because too many students are missing too much school.

In Lewiston, getting truant students back in classrooms ‘an uphill battle’

By Bonnie Washuk on Sept. 22, 2013, at 6:52 a.m.
Knock, knock, knock. No answer. Two hours after the school day started, Lewiston School Department Truant Officer Butch Pratt stood on the porch of a Sabattus Street apartment wearing a Blue Devils jacket and an ID badge. He knocked again. No answer. “My guess is they’re not …
Sonia Taylor talks about why she is not running for re-election to represent Ward 5 on the Lewiston School Committee.

Jesus Party co-founder leaving Lewiston School Committee post

By Bonnie Washuk on Sept. 13, 2013, at 1:41 p.m.
The worst part of serving on the School Committee is the disciplinary hearings, said outgoing member Sonia Taylor, who is not running for re-election to her inner-city seat. Too many parents don’t hold their students accountable for their actions, she said. They blame the schools. “The apple …

Working on your GED? Get it done before Jan. 1

By Bonnie Washuk on Sept. 03, 2013, at 6:27 a.m.
AUBURN | People who have started — but not finished — passing their high school diploma equivalency tests may want to get it done this fall. On Jan. 1, 2014, there’ll be new, harder General Education Development tests. And that could mean anyone who has started work on their …
Kristie Clark, a Lewiston school administrator with 20 years of classroom experience, said parents should help prepare their children for the start of school by adjusting bedtimes, helping them organize their supplies and clothes, and attending the school's open house. Clark is the 2010 winner of the Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award for excellence in teaching.

Expert: Start kids on back-to-school sleep training now

By Bonnie Washuk on Aug. 22, 2013, at 5:58 a.m.
LEWISTON | Ahh summer, when kids can stay up late and sleep in. But that routine is about to end. School starts Aug. 28 in Lewiston and Auburn and other districts. Now’s the time, experts say, for parents to get their children ready to go back, starting with a …
Tanya Caron of Lewiston walks along one of her five New Auburn newspaper routes during the early morning hours recently. Caron was unemployed and homeless five months ago, spending her nights at Hope Haven Gospel Mission. Today, she has an apartment and works seven mornings a week delivering the Sun Journal.

Homeless to employed: Lewiston woman works her way out of shelter and into job, apartment

By Bonnie Washuk on Aug. 12, 2013, at 1:22 p.m.
LEWISTON — Five months ago, Tanya Caron was unemployed and homeless, spending her nights at Hope Haven Gospel Mission. Today, she has an apartment and works delivering Sun Journal newspapers seven days a week. Delivering papers doesn’t pay a lot, about a $1 per house per week plus tips. “But …
Longtime Lewiston High School Principal Gus LeBlanc, sitting behind his desk at LHS Tuesday afternoon, will be leaving LHS to become headmaster at Lee Academy on Sept. 1.

Lewiston High School principal leaving to head Lee Academy

By Bonnie Washuk on Aug. 06, 2013, at 5:19 p.m.
Gus LeBlanc, who has been Lewiston High School principal since 2006, is leaving to become headmaster at Lee Academy in September. There’s a big difference between the two high schools. Lewiston High is a public school with nearly 1,300 students, among the largest high school in Maine. …
A panhandler on State Street holds a handmade sign in Portland recently.

Portland struggles with ‘explosion’ of panhandlers

By Bonnie Washuk on July 14, 2013, at 7:01 a.m.
On a recent afternoon, a man stood on a median strip holding a cardboard sign. “Homeless, hurtin & hungry. God bless. Anything helps.” Bearded, wearing glasses and a Red Sox shirt, he was in the middle of busy Forest Avenue and Marginal Way during 5 p.m. traffic …
Kelly Noble panhandles in the median strip on the corner of St. John Street and Park Avenue in Portland last year.

Lewiston considers ordinance to prevent aggressive panhandling

By Bonnie Washuk on July 14, 2013, at 6:25 a.m.
Police have seen a few instances of individuals panhandling near the Auburn Walmart and in front of the Lewiston post office downtown. “I wouldn’t say we don’t have panhandling here. We do get complaints,” Lewiston Chief Michael Bussiere said, mentioning the elderly being targeted at the post …
A five-week-old osprey, which was knocked out of its nest during a severe thunderstorm July 5 at the Wolfe Neck State Park, was rescued and kept in a box before it wasreturned to the tree with its two siblings. By Wednesday the parents were seen feeding the chicks.

Wolfe’s Neck State Park rangers save osprey chicks after storm

By Bonnie Washuk on July 11, 2013, at 6:43 a.m.
FREEPORT | Three baby ospreys were back in their tree Wednesday after falling 50 feet and being rescued by Wolfe’s Neck State Park rangers, according to the Maine Department of Agriculture. On July 5, a severe thunderstorm hit and shattered a white pine near the parking lot. The next …

Lewiston hospital has performed 1,000 bariatric surgeries

By Bonnie Washuk on July 08, 2013, at 7:10 a.m.
  LEWISTON | Central Maine Bariatric Surgery reached a milestone July 2 when it performed its 1,000th bariatric surgery, according to Dr. Jamie Loggins, medical director of CMBS, a part of Central Maine Medical Center. In announcing the milestone, Loggins said the 1,000 cases add up to approximately 90,000 …

Winslow woman gets ‘years back’ after shedding 100 pounds

By Bonnie Washuk on July 08, 2013, at 6:06 a.m.
LEWISTON | Susan Dutil, 39, feels good wearing a bathing suit, taking long walks on the beach, horseback riding and zip lining. In the past two years, Dutil, 39, has lost 100 pounds. At a height of 5 feet, 1 inch, she has gone from 216 to 116 pounds. …

How to keep dogs from overheating at home

By Bonnie Washuk on July 07, 2013, at 5:34 a.m.
In addition to not taking dogs on errands in hot weather, veterinarian Michelle Maloney recommended precautions to keep dogs from overheating at home in hot, humid weather. • “You need water, always,” Maloney said. “That’s how dogs cool themselves. They really need that water. I can’t stress that enough.” The …
Photo illustration of a dog left in a hot car.

Keep Fido safe and cool in the dog days of summer

By Bonnie Washuk on July 07, 2013, at 5:33 a.m.
LEWISTON | The call came in to the Lewiston Police Department on Wednesday afternoon. Someone had left a dog in a parked vehicle with the windows rolled up. With the summer heat, the caller was concerned for the dog’s safety. Cpl. Kevin Cramp responded. He ran the license plate …

Former Lewiston superintendent Bob Connors dies

By Bonnie Washuk on July 05, 2013, at 5:35 a.m.
Robert V. Connors, 75, who served as Lewiston school superintendent from the late 1970s through the 1990s, died Wednesday morning at the Hospice House with his family at his side. Connors of Lewiston, whom everyone called Bob, was elected to the Lewiston School Committee at age 73 …
Roger LaRoche of Auburn

Heard on the street: The Sun Journal asks, ‘Should LePage seek a second term?’

By Bonnie Washuk on June 30, 2013, at 6:25 p.m.
LEWISTON | Gov. Paul LePage’s recent rape analogy in reference to a Democratic lawmaker made national news. And last week, after state legislators voted to override the budget LePage had vetoed, he said he may not run for a second term. The Sun Journal asked the lunch crowd at …
A pedestrian walks crosses Hammond Street during a downpour on Friday.

June on record as one of the wettest ever in Maine

By Bonnie Washuk on June 30, 2013, at 6:34 a.m.
LEWISTON | You say you have a pond where you should have a lawn? The tomato plants — the second ones you’ve planted — are drowning? Your family’s bicycles, golf clubs, baseball bats and lawn chairs are rusting? You’re not alone. This month has been the sixth-wettest June on …

State budget means towns, cities must cut services or raise taxes, MMA says

By Bonnie Washuk on June 28, 2013, at 7:07 a.m.
AUGUSTA | The new state budget, and reduction of state money that used to provide property tax relief, will mean that each town and city will have to pick between cutting services or raising property taxes, according to Geoff Herman of the Maine Municipal Association. Most towns and cities …