May 27, 2018
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Spaghetti dinner aims to help save Odlin bus line

BANGOR, Maine — Bangor City Councilor Joe Baldacci and former governor John Baldacci will co-host a spaghetti dinner 5-7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 30, at the Spectacular Event Center.  The cost for the dinner is $6, $3 children under 12. The event will include an auction and door prizes will be awarded.

The goal of the event is to raise awareness of and to save the Odlin Road bus service route from being discontinued.

Former governor Baldacci will serve up the spaghetti — with his family’s secret sauce.

“It’s our hometown — where we grew up witnessing how neighbors help neighbors. I’m excited by the opportunity to help out,” said former Bangor Mayor Joe Baldacci. “There are few other public transportation options for people living in this region. The greater Bangor bus service serves 1,500 to 2,000 people per day throughout Bangor, Orono, Old Town, Veazie, Hampden and the University of Maine. It logged in over a million rides last year — twice as many as a decade ago.”

The community has been steadily coming forward to help, organizers of the event said. Jane Arey, co-owner of Spectacular Event Center Jane Arey has donated the center for the event and will do much of the cooking for the event.

On Oct. 9, Joe Baldacci took a trip up and down the Odlin Road bus route and the extension with volunteers Shawn Lewin of Bangor and Michael Costello of Orono to find sponsors for the community dinner. Badacci met with managers and owners of several hotels, TV stations, banks, Grace Evangelical Seminary and other nonprofits.

“I look forward to working with many of them to co-sponsor this dinner. There is great community support out there,” said Councilor Baldacci. “We’re hoping for a large turnout. If there are any aspiring magicians, comedians, actors who would like an opportunity to entertain people at this dinner, please contact me.”

Baldacci said is committed to the cause to keep the Odlin Road bus route operational. He donated his City Council salary to help defray short-term cost.

Hero’s in Bangor will donate a gift certificate, and Paula Paradis of Paradis & Foster Event Management will donate a piece of fine jewelry.

“Andy Meucci of Family Fun Lanes is donating a 12 pound bowling ball and bag to be auctioned at the dinner,” said  Baldacci. “And Sonya Eldridge of Bagel Central has agreed to make pastries for the dinner and is donating two Bagel Central gift bags to be auctioned off. Reporter Wendy Chadwick also will be making desserts for people to enjoy after the pasta. And several local notables such as Don Cookson, Renee Ordway and Maine Rep. Adam Goode have agreed to be celebrity servers with John.”

The city has cited their goal of saving roughly $20,000 dollars as the primary reason for closing the route. The shutdown of the bus route was proposed even though ridership has steadily increased.

“The network extends way beyond Odlin Road. People I knew, from Old Town, were commuting via BATT and transferring in Bangor to ride out to motels on outer Hammond and Odlin Road,” said Shawn Lewin. “The system is all interconnected, and deserves to be supported by all of us.”

The route serves primarily low-income working people who are struggling to overcome poverty.

“In this economy affordable transportation is key for many families trying to make ends meet. We are working a longer term goal of creating a public-private partnership to keep that bus route up and running,” said City Councilor Baldacci. “People rely on this bus service for work and other important services. This lifeline needs to continue for the well being of our citizens and the growth of Bangor’s economy.”

The Odlin route, which opened 17 months ago, was the result of a five-year petition campaign by Bangor residents living on Odlin Road and Outer Hammond Street, Baldacci said.

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