Combined News

Ryu Mitsuhashi: The Power of Music

University of Maine News - Fri, 05/23/2014 - 10:20

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When Ryu Mitsuhashi was a toddler, her grandfather advocated that music be part of her life.

Her grandfather, an elementary school teacher and Japanese prisoner of war in Russia during World War II, believed music had the power to bring people together in harmony and peace.

Mitsuhashi’s parents heeded the advice. When Mitsuhashi was 3, she and her mother learned — via the Suzuki Method — to play violin in her hometown of Tokyo.

Mitsuhashi, a 2013 University of Maine graduate, was a fast learner. When she was 9, her family moved to Westchester, New York and at age 10 she was accepted into The Juilliard Pre-College Division — “a program for students of elementary through high school age who exhibit the talent, potential, and accomplishment to pursue a career in music” — in New York City.

When Mitsuhashi and her family returned to Japan a couple of years later, she toured Europe with the Tokyo Junior Philharmonic.

For much of her 23 years of life, Mitsuhashi has been spreading goodwill through her music. She has shared her talents in concerts broadcast on network TV as well as on stages around the world, at UMaine, with the Bangor Symphony Orchestra and in area retirement homes.

Mitsuhashi, who has played solo violin concertos with the University of Maine Orchestra, recently returned from a tour of Croatia and Slovenia with a professional orchestra — Orkester Camerata Austriaca — from Linz, Austria. On the tour, she performed a solo of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 4 in D Major.

She credits Anatole Wieck, who teaches violin and viola and conducts the University of Maine Chamber Orchestra, with helping her relax on stage.

While she worries she might forget the music or that a violin string could break, she says Wieck encourages her “to enjoy what she’s doing and to give pleasure to other people by enjoying to play.”

And she says she’s thrilled and energized when concertgoers tell her that they have been entertained by her performance.

While she’s used to living in New York and Tokyo, with populations of 8 and 13 million respectively, Mitsuhashi says she has not been homesick in Orono.

Initially, though, she was “light sick.” Mitsuhashi says in Tokyo she was used to 24-7 bright lights and big-city action. Here, “everything closed at 9 p.m. and it was dark.”

Soon, she’ll again be amid the lights and action as she’s returning this summer to Japan for a monthlong visit. In addition to spending time with family and friends, she’ll play in two concerts.

Since graduating from UMaine with a bachelor of music degree in performance in 2013, Mitsuhashi has been taking part in Optional Practical Training — working in her field of study, which includes teaching music at Bangor Montessori and providing private music lessons.

This fall, Mitsuhashi plans to begin pursuing a master of music degree in performance at UMaine.

Careerwise, she dreams of being a musician with Cirque du Soleil. The Montreal-based company’s shows are celebrated for their “dramatic mix of circus arts and street entertainment.”

Mitsuhashi says that recently she also has been considering following in her father’s footsteps and becoming a surgeon.

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UMaine President Named 15th President of Ball State University

University of Maine News - Thu, 05/22/2014 - 13:06

Rick Hall, Chair of the Ball State University Board of Trustees, announced today that Dr. Paul W. Ferguson, currently President of the University of Maine, has been appointed the 15th President, effective August 1, 2014.  President Ferguson will replace Dr. Jo Ann Gora, who is retiring after 10 years of service.

Ball State University is a comprehensive public research university categorized by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as a research university, high research activity (RU/H). The university enrolls more than 20,000 students and has distinguished itself with a distinctive approach to teaching and learning called immersive learning. Undergraduate and graduate degree programs from the baccalaureate to the doctorate are offered through the Colleges of Applied Sciences and Technology; Architecture and Planning; Communication, Information, and Media; Fine Arts; Sciences and Humanities; the Miller College of Business, and Teachers College. Ball State University is located in Muncie, Indiana, one hour northeast of Indianapolis.

President Ferguson commented that, “Grace and I are immensely proud of the work and spirit that the UMaine Community has so admirably demonstrated during the development and implementation of the Blue Sky Plan, and this Plan can remain as the foundation for UMaine in the years ahead as a proven strategy for growth and success in an era of limited resources. UMaine provides the clearest and most successful model in Maine for student success, academic excellence, research and economic development, as it truly reflects the quality of UMaine’s faculty, staff, students and alumni.” 

A Ball State University news release about the appointment is online.

Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745

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Maine Policy Review Innovation Report Focus of Mainebiz Article

University of Maine News - Thu, 05/22/2014 - 12:10

The latest edition of Maine Policy Review, a publication of the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center, was the focus of the Mainebiz article, “Innovation linked to education, R&D spending: report.” The article states that according to the report, Maine has made considerable improvements in higher education attainment and research and development investments relative to the nation since the late 1990s, but it still has far to go to stimulate those and other drivers of innovation and personal income. The full Maine Policy Review report is online.

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WABI, BDN Cover Arctic Sea Ice Conference

University of Maine News - Thu, 05/22/2014 - 12:10

WABI (Channel 5) and the Bangor Daily News reported on a conference co-hosted by the University of Maine School of Policy and International Affairs (SPIA) and the Maine Army National Guard that brought together military, political, economic and academic leaders to discuss challenges and opportunities presented by the diminishment of sea ice in the Arctic. George Markowsky, a professor of computer science and cooperating professor for SPIA, spoke with WABI about the possibility of opening new trade routes between Maine, Greenland and Europe. “One of the things that might happen is the shipping routes through the North Pole would start opening up and Maine would be kind of the last stop on the East Coast in the United States for any ships that want to use this polar route,” Markowsky said.

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Anderson Speaks About Salmon Aquaculture on MPBN’s ‘Maine Calling’

University of Maine News - Thu, 05/22/2014 - 12:09

Paul Anderson, director of the Aquaculture Research Institute at the University of Maine and director of Maine Sea Grant, was a recent guest on the Maine Public Broadcasting Network’s “Maine Calling” radio show. The show focused on salmon aquaculture in Maine and how the industry has changed so far and where it may go in the future.

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UMaine Lobster Shell Research Focus of Working Waterfront Article

University of Maine News - Thu, 05/22/2014 - 12:08

The Working Waterfront carried an article about two University of Maine-based research projects involving lobster shells.

The article featured UMaine food science graduate Beth Fulton and associate professor of food science Denise Skonberg who determined that pigment from lobster shells rich in carotenoid can be extracted and used for coloring in food for farm-raised salmon. The lobster shell pigment could be a natural alternative to synthetic carotenoids. While Fulton’s grant money is depleted, the article reported that she hopes another researcher will advance the project.

The article also included an update on a project first covered in 2011 when UMaine graduate Carin Poeschel Orr hit on the idea of a golf ball made of lobster shells that could legally be hit from cruise ship decks. Orr shared the idea with Robert Bayer, executive director of the University of Maine Lobster Institute, and Bayer consulted with others, including David Neivandt, director of UMaine’s Graduate School of Biomedical Science and Engineering. The article reported that Neivandt said the biodegradable lobster shell golf ball is patented and ready to be marketed.

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WABI Reports on Upcoming Clean Sweep Sale

University of Maine News - Thu, 05/22/2014 - 12:07

WABI (Channel 5) advanced the University of Maine’s annual Clean Sweep Sale that will take place 11 a.m.–6 p.m. Friday, May 23 and 8 a.m.–2 p.m. Saturday, May 24 in York Commons. Items for sale include furniture, clothes and appliances that were donated by the university or students who moved out of the dorms at the end of the semester. Proceeds will support programs and services offered by the Black Bear Exchange and student service projects coordinated by the Bodwell Center for Service and Volunteerism.

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Drummond Mentioned in BDN Article About Bees Involved in Delaware Accident

University of Maine News - Thu, 05/22/2014 - 12:06

The Bangor Daily News cited information from Frank Drummond, an entomology specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension and a UMaine professor of insect ecology, in an article about a truck carrying millions of bees overturning and releasing the bees on Interstate 95 in Delaware. The bees were heading to Ellsworth-based Allen’s Blueberry Freezer Inc., according to the article. The article cited a previous BDN report, in which Drummond stated the cost of renting hives can be a blueberry grower’s single most expensive management practice, but that the practice results in higher yields.

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Master Gardener Volunteers Host Plant Sale

University of Maine News - Thu, 05/22/2014 - 12:06

University of Maine Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Volunteers will sponsor a plant sale from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, May 31, in the parking lot at Skowhegan Savings Bank, 13 Elm St. in Skowhegan.

Proceeds from the sale of assorted perennials, annuals and shrubs will fund UMaine Extension gardening-based education programs, including school gardens, walking trails, community vegetable gardens, community beautification projects, home gardening inquiries, youth and adult gardening education classes and Harvest for Hunger.

For more information, or to request a disability accommodation, contact Pete Bastien, 207.474.9622,

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Summer Programs to Focus on Creating Caring School Communities

University of Maine News - Thu, 05/22/2014 - 12:05

Helping build and maintain caring school communities is the focus of two summer programs offered by the University of Maine Peace and Reconciliation Studies Program in collaboration with the Restorative School Practices Collaborative of Maine.

The sixth annual Summer Institute in Restorative Practices will be held June 30 to July 2 at UMaine’s Hutchinson Center in Belfast. The program, facilitated by Barbara Blazej and Pam Anderson, will introduce participants to the full range of restorative school practices designed to build caring school communities in which students, staff and administrators feel connected and respected, and learning outcomes are enhanced.

Restorative Conference Facilitation Training will be held Aug. 4–5 at the University of Maine in Augusta. Facilitated by Blazej and Margaret Micolichek, the training will focus on restorative conferencing that is designed to be an effective intervention to address serious misbehaviors or harmful incidents in schools, and foster positive re-entry for suspended or expelled students.

Blazej and Anderson are founding members of the Restorative Practices Collaborative in Maine. For eight years, Micolichek served as director of the Restorative Justice Project of the Midcoast in Belfast.

For more information about session fees, available CEU’s and registration deadlines, email

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WVII Interviews Jones for Two-Part Report on Social Media Use Affecting Job Opportunities

University of Maine News - Wed, 05/21/2014 - 10:03

WVII (Channel 7) interviewed Nory Jones, a professor of management information systems at the University of Maine, for the two-part report, “Social media sabotage: Online content affecting job opportunities.” Jones said more than a third of employers are finding reasons not to hire candidates based on their social media presence. She added employers want to understand what kind of person is behind the resume, and reminded people to look at social media posts as a tool to “developing your positive brand.”

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Brewer Quoted in MPBN Reports on State Politics

University of Maine News - Wed, 05/21/2014 - 10:02

Mark Brewer, a political science professor at the University of Maine, spoke with the Maine Public Broadcasting Network for two reports about state political campaigns. For the report, “Maine 2nd District Republicans duke it out in attacks ads,” about the race between Bruce Poliquin and Kevin Raye, Brewer said negative ads can sometimes fail. “Attack ads are viewed more skeptically in Maine, and certainly Poliquin runs the risk of being seen by voters as overly negative, overly aggressive, and that could certainly backfire against him,” Brewer said. In the report, “Maine Legislative races go high tech,” Brewer spoke about the way technology now allows candidates to know how a voter feels about issues before engaging them. He said independent or unenrolled candidates who don’t have the same access to these campaign tools are at a greater disadvantage than ever before.

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UMaine Business Challenge Featured in Boothbay Register Article

University of Maine News - Wed, 05/21/2014 - 10:01

The Boothbay Register mentioned the UMaine Business Challenge in an article about the Boothbay-based Above and Beyond Scheduling winning second place in the contest. The UMaine Business Challenge was founded in 2011 by a group of 2010 UMaine graduates who wanted to give back to their alma mater while creating more opportunities for student entrepreneurs. Above and Beyond Scheduling is a new business venture by Juliette and Ronald Cohen that will act as an in-between service for patients and caregivers using a network of certified nurses, aides and specialists. The Cohens won $1,000 and consulting services provided by Cary Weston of Sutherland Weston Marketing Communications. “This win means a lot to both of us,” Juliette Cohen said. “Now we can use our resources in other ways, and we won’t be stretched so thin at the beginning.”

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UMaine Offshore Wind Project Focus of Working Waterfront Editorial

University of Maine News - Wed, 05/21/2014 - 10:00

The University of Maine’s proposed offshore wind pilot project was the focus of the Working Waterfront editorial, “Changing wind direction should not blow Maine off course.” The project was recently chosen as an alternate for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Technology Demonstration Program and will receive $3 million for further research and development. It will be considered for more funding should it become available. “The potential benefits of offshore wind generation are too great to put on the shelf,” the editorial reads.

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Huffington Post Interviews Plant About Growing Soybeans

University of Maine News - Tue, 05/20/2014 - 10:46

The Huffington Post spoke with Andrew Plant, an educator with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension in Aroostook County, about growing soybeans in northern Maine. Plant said growers in northern parts of the state who are searching for crop alternatives to increase net farm income should consider planting soybeans. He said the beans perform best in well-drained soils, which are typical in Aroostook County, and can easily fit into a two- or three-year rotation with or without potatoes.

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BDN Posts Bangor 2020 Collaboration with UMaine Digital Journalism Class

University of Maine News - Tue, 05/20/2014 - 10:45

The Bangor Daily News posted “Bangor 2020: A Sustainable Future for the Queen City,” a collaborative, multimedia project designed to report on the possibilities of what Bangor could and should do to become a more vibrant, attractive and livable city by the year 2020. The project was the result of University of Maine students in Jennifer Moore’s digital journalism class working with mentors at the BDN.

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Ward Interviewed for WLBZ Report on UMaine Offshore Wind Project

University of Maine News - Tue, 05/20/2014 - 10:44

Jake Ward, the University of Maine’s vice president for innovation and economic development, spoke with WLBZ (Channel 2) for a report about the university’s proposed wind project off the coast of Monhegan Island. The project, known as New England Aqua Ventus, was recently chosen as an alternate for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Technology Demonstration Program and will receive $3 million for further research and development. It will be considered for more funding should it become available. Despite some opposition from island residents, Ward says the project has a lot of support and is confident that a full-scale unit will be built.

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AP Advances Arctic Sea Ice Conference Co-hosted by SPIA, Maine Army National Guard

University of Maine News - Tue, 05/20/2014 - 10:43

The Associated Press previewed a conference co-hosted by the University of Maine School of Policy and International Affairs and the Maine Army National Guard that aims to explore challenges and emerging opportunities in the Arctic. “Leadership in the High North: A Political, Military, Economic and Environmental Symposium of the Arctic Opening,” will be held May 20–21 at the Maine Army National Guard Regional Training Institute in Bangor. Paul Mayewski, a UMaine professor and director of the Climate Change Institute, is one of several scheduled speakers that will address global, national and Maine issues related to the environment, trade, politics and policy. The Portland Press Herald, WABI (Channel 5) and WLBZ (Channel 2) carried the AP report.

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Fogler Library Tour Mentioned in BDN Family Ties Column

University of Maine News - Tue, 05/20/2014 - 10:42

A tour of the University of Maine Fogler Library was advanced in the latest Family Ties genealogy column published by the Bangor Daily News. Fogler Library and the Penobscot County Genealogical Society will sponsor a public tour of the library from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 21, beginning in Special Collections on the third floor, according to the article.

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Peterson Quoted in MPBN Report on University System Budget Talks

University of Maine News - Tue, 05/20/2014 - 10:42

Michael “Mick” Peterson, a mechanical engineering professor at the University of Maine, was quoted in a Maine Public Broadcasting Network report on University of Maine System trustees working to develop a plan to close a budget gap. Peterson told the trustees that while 31 percent of the system’s budget is dedicated to instructional costs, the figure doesn’t reflect the true value of those services. “When we start looking at our similar peers — and certainly our aspirational peers — they’re spending 40 percent on instruction, we’re spending 30 percent — that’s a big difference,” Peterson said.

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