Articles by Bonnie Washuk

Marge Chaplin, left, helps out her neighbor, Betty Lugner, who has Parkinson's disease, by writing out Lugner's Christmas cards Monday in Auburn. On Friday, Lugner was the victim of a phone scam saying her grandson would be jailed in Mexico if she didn't send cash.

Auburn grandmother scammed out of $985

By Bonnie Washuk on Dec. 11, 2012, at 6:29 a.m.
Betty Lugner, 76, was scammed out of $985, and wants to warn others about phone calls asking for money to rescue a grandchild. Lugner, 76, is a widow, grandmother of six and great-grandmother of five. She has Parkinson’s disease, and lives on Social Security in an Auburn …
Lewiston Middle School aspirations coordinator Billie Jo Brito prepares a button machine for seventh-grader Alec Howes during a recent class at LMS. Howes wants to go to St. Joseph's College and one day become a game warden. He was making two buttons, one with a game warden's badge and the other with the Saint Joseph's College logo.

Lewiston Middle School students look ahead to college, careers

By Bonnie Washuk on Dec. 03, 2012, at 8:59 p.m.
On a recent Thursday, Alesha Gregoire, 13, was in her career prep class at Lewiston Middle School, designing buttons she’ll wear Friday, which is College Day in Lewiston-Auburn. The buttons she and other students made show what they’re thinking about doing for a career and where they …

Changes at Longley school mean more space, better security

By Bonnie Washuk on Oct. 29, 2012, at 7:08 p.m.
LEWISTON | Hello, Longley Elementary; goodbye, Multi-Purpose Center. The Birch Street building that for years was a school on one side and a community center on the other is now just a school. On Monday, the School Committee was scheduled to tour the building. On Friday, Principal Linda St. …
Lewiston Regional Technical Center student Natalia Atkins takes a break from her law enforcement class at Lewiston High School in October 2012.

More Maine students earning college credit in high school

By Bonnie Washuk on Oct. 29, 2012, at 6:27 a.m.
LEWISTON | Natalia Atkins, 17, listened to former Lewiston police Chief Andy D’Eramo lecture about police search and seizure at the Lewiston Regional Technical Center. In her law enforcement class, Atkins is earning credit for her high school diploma and college next year. A few floors down, Tyler Ford, …
Autumn Michaud, 6, a first-grader at East Auburn Community School, works on math problems using an iPad tablet computer in teacher June Simard's class Monday. Test scores indicate iPads, plus new teaching that is focused to individual student needs, are improving learning, officials said.

Educators: IPads improving test scores for Auburn kindergarteners

By Bonnie Washuk on Oct. 23, 2012, at 11:08 a.m.
Test results show that iPads used by kindergarten students, combined with new teaching methods, are improving learning, educators said. Recent test scores show that in the fall of 2011, as students began the year, 19 percent were proficient in reading skills. By spring, 67 percent were proficient, …

Edward Little senior says new way of learning is better

By Bonnie Washuk on Oct. 18, 2012, at 9:38 p.m.
AUBURN | School Committee members have been hearing a lot lately about “mass customized learning,” often in wonkish terms from administrators. This week, they heard from Edward Little High School senior Holland Michaud, 16, who said she’s learning more through MCL “and am more responsible for my learning than …
Some of the friends, family and faculty that were gathered on the Bates College football field Saturday afternoon, Oct. 6, 2012, comfort each other during a moment of silence for Troy Pappas, 18, of Eliot, who died Friday from a stairwell fall six days earlier.

Bates campus somber; respects paid to student who died after fall down stairwell

By Bonnie Washuk and Randy Whitehouse, Sun Journal on Oct. 07, 2012, at 8:54 a.m.
LEWISTON | The mood on Bates College campus Saturday was sad and quiet as the community paid homage to Troy Pappas, 18, of Eliot, who died Friday from a stairwell fall six days earlier. This weekend is parents weekend at Bates. As parents and their students walked to and …
Katherine Freund gives retired priest John Feeney a ride to church at Holy Cross in South Portland recently.

A risk behind the wheel? Lewiston-area seniors differ on additional testing for older drivers

By Bonnie Washuk on Oct. 01, 2012, at 10:39 a.m.
As they met for cribbage at the Lewiston Memorial Armory recently, seniors offer mixed reactions to talk about changes aimed at ensuring they are safe behind the wheel. “Don’t take my license away,” Don Maillett, 76, of Turner said. He’s driving and said he’s having no trouble, …
James and Edie Chouinard of Auburn escaped serious injury June 29 when a wrong-way driver on I-95 in Portland was stopped by Maine State Police Trooper Douglas Cropper parking his cruiser across the highway. The elderly driver crashed into the trooper's vehicle instead of crashing head-on into the Chouinards' car.

Maine’s senior drivers worry safety experts

By Bonnie Washuk on Sept. 30, 2012, at 5:32 a.m.
Drivers over 65 experience more crashes per mile driven than any age group except 16-year-olds, Maine Department of Transportation data show .
Poland Whittier Middle School teacher Shannon Shanning was named the 2013 Maine Teacher of the Year Monday morning, Sept. 10, 2012 during a surprise assembly. Shanning, 35, is the first special education teacher to win the prestigious award.

Poland woman named Maine’s Teacher of the Year

By Bonnie Washuk on Sept. 10, 2012, at 11:26 a.m.
Shannon Shanning, a special education teacher at the Poland Whittier Middle School, was named the 2013 Maine Teacher of the Year Monday morning. In keeping with tradition, Shanning was not informed ahead of time that the all-school assembly was called to honor her. She found out when …

Maine’s top veterinarian retires, praises farmers

By Bonnie Washuk on Sept. 03, 2012, at 9:30 p.m.
AUGUSTA | Since he became Maine’s top veterinarian, Don Hoenig has worked to keep cows healthy, decided whether circus elephants could come to Maine and warned that too few dog owners ensure their dogs had rabies vaccines. Hoenig officially retired Aug. 31. The new state veterinarian is Christine Fraser. …

Oxford Plains driver airlifted to Maine Med with 3rd-degree burns

By Bonnie Washuk on Aug. 19, 2012, at 10:34 a.m.
Oxford Plains Speedway driver Kyle Hewins suffered serious burns when his car caught on fire at the speedway Saturday night. Rescue crews said the driver suffered third-degree burns and was airlifted to Maine Medical Center in Portland. The incident happened around 7 p.m., said Oxford Fire Department …
Going Batty lights up in the evening sky as it does a "balloon glow" Satruday night at the Great Falls Balloon Festival in Simard-Payne Memorial Park in Lewiston.

Balloons fill night sky at Lewiston festival

By Bonnie Washuk on Aug. 19, 2012, at 6:10 a.m.
“The winds are mild; the weather conditions are good. The rest of the weekend looks good.”

$10,000 reward offered in search for driver who hit, seriously injured Lisbon cyclist

By Bonnie Washuk on Aug. 15, 2012, at 5:52 a.m.
A $10,000 reward is being offered for the conviction of a hit-and-run driver who hit cyclist Reney Henry in Lisbon last September, leaving him hurt on the highway. The reward money is coming from family, friends and supporters of Henry, 52, of Lisbon, an electrician at Bath …
Maine Gov. Paul LePage

Colleges disagree with LePage that students from Maine are ‘looked down upon’

By bwashuck on Aug. 14, 2012, at 10:42 a.m.
Disagreeing with Gov. Paul LePage’s statement that Maine students are “looked down upon,” five colleges and universities outside the state say Maine students are not less likely to be considered. “We look individually at students. Where they come from in terms of states certainly has an impact on who they …
Jana Kenney, who plans to become a doctor to work with the elderly, said spending 10 days as a resident at Russell Park Rehabilitation and Living Center in Lewiston was life changing.

Student lives as elderly stroke victim at nursing home to learn empathy

By Bonnie Washuk on Aug. 06, 2012, at 9:23 a.m.
LEWISTON — The fifth day at the nursing home was the breaking point for Jana Kenney. On that day she was depressed, withdrawn, cried and called her family often. She missed her home, her independence, her old life. Kenney, 22, was “discharged” from the Russell Park Rehabilitation and Living Center …
Lewiston School Superintendent Bill Webster is one of the few superintendents to take a stand against rehiring administrators for the same jobs after the retire.

Lewiston superintendent takes a stand against double-dipping

By Bonnie Washuk on July 29, 2012, at 6:45 a.m.
Bill Webster, the usually mild-mannered superintendent of schools, has drawn a line in the sand: Staffers who retire and get pensions will not be rehired for the same jobs and salaries. “Not on my watch,” Webster said. “We can’t spend ourselves to the poorhouse.” If you want …
Chuck Lafean of Auburn speaks to the Auburn School Committee on Wednesday against late arrival for grades 7-12 every Wednesday. Lafean has two sons, a sophomore at Edward Little High School and a 2012 graduate of ELHS.

Parents reject proposal for late school start in Auburn

By Bonnie Washuk on July 19, 2012, at 11:15 a.m.
Saying students need more instruction — not less — parents and even a few teachers blasted the School Committee on Wednesday for considering a two-hour late start every Wednesday for grades seven through 12. When no members of the public spoke for it, and 14 people spoke …

CMMC tops Consumer Reports ranking of Maine hospital safety

By Bonnie Washuk on July 10, 2012, at 1:52 p.m.
LEWISTON — In a hospital safety report where patients got accidental punctures or infections that left them crippled or dead, an online Consumer Reports article gave Central Maine Medical Center the highest safety rank of four Maine hospitals. CMMC received a score of 65 out of a possible rank of …