Taking a minute from preening douchebags, Newsweek has an article up about the home city of my lovely alma mater, Lewiston, ME (hat tip: father of fatherscott).
If you’re unfamiliar with Lewiston (and unless you went to Bates, live there, or are Somalian, you probably are), there has been a growing population of Somalian refugees who have inhabited it in the Aughties, with estimates up to 4,000. In a city with a population of 40,000, max, that’s pretty significant.
Jesse Ellison of Newsweek thinks that this means the gold-plated Lewiston is a fun basket of candy and handjobs.
That was before a family of Somali refugees discovered Lewiston in 2001 and began spreading the word to immigrant friends and relatives that housing was cheap and it looked like a good place to build new lives and raise children in peace. Since then, the place has been transformed. Per capita income has soared, and crime rates have dropped. In 2004, Inc. magazine named Lewiston one of the best places to do business in America, and in 2007, it was named an “All-America City” by the National Civic League, the first time any town in Maine had received that honor in roughly 40 years. “No one could have dreamed this,” says Chip Morrison, the local Chamber of Commerce president. “Not even me, and I’m an optimist.”
Now, I spent four years there, but as with most liberal arts schools in the middle of nowhere, Bates is pretty insulated. I got out into the community for a few things, but didn’t really see the effects of the Somalian population, other than having a big brothers/little sister kind of relationship with a girl at one of the local elementary schools (she was adorable).
But I can promise you this: Lewiston is not one of the best places to do business, unless your business is to be cold. I loved Bates, and I love Maine, but, really, Jesse, you can’t have been there.
And if Lewiston is an all-American city, then depression and lottery tickets are key to America’s fabric. (Wait a minute…)
The downtown has amazing potential — a lot of old buildings that could be cool if anyone had any money to put into them. But those Wall Street assholes took it all, so now we just have abandoned Levinsky’s and former offices of state senator campaigns and stuff. Could be really pretty, but instead it actually earns the nickname mentioned in the article: The Battlezone.
The Thompson family heads down Main St. to pick up milk
PS, dear reader: please don’t read the comments to that article. Some Mainers are still the type that are concerned that our President has the middle name of Hussein.