Combined News

Weathering the Storm

University of Maine News - Tue, 09/02/2014 - 15:12

Old-timers sharing childhood stories about growing up in Maine sometimes recount hiking 10 miles uphill in 3 feet of snow to get to school — and home.

Turns out those tales, of Maine winters anyway, might not be all that exaggerated.

In the winter of 1904–05, horses pulled huge saws to cut channels in foot-thick ice on Penobscot Bay so maritime traders could deliver goods. And in the winter of 1918, people walked, skated and rode in horse-drawn sleighs across the frozen bay to Islesboro, according to the Belfast Historical Society and Museum.

That same winter, Albert Gray and his companions drove a vehicle across the frozen-solid brine. According to a Bangor Daily News report, the group made several trips in a Ford Model T between Belfast and Harborside, just south of Castine.

Historical records indicate upper Penobscot Bay commonly froze during the winter in the 1800s and early 1900s, says Sean Birkel, research assistant professor with the University of Maine Climate Change Institute (CCI). “Not every year; maybe once or twice a decade.”

February 1934 was the last time it occurred.

Today’s climate is different, he says.

For instance, summer — when the mean daily temperature is above freezing — is about 20 days longer now than it was on average in the late 1800s.

“The lakes really do freeze up later, and ice out is earlier than it used to be,” says Birkel, adding that computer models predict that over the next 40 years, the average temperature in Maine could rise 3–4 degrees Fahrenheit, with most of the warming taking place in winter.

And the number of extreme weather events — like the record-breaking 6.44 inches of rain that flooded Portland on Aug. 13 — has spiked in the last 10 years. Birkel says a 50 to 100 percent increase in rainfall events with more than 2 inches per day has been recorded at weather stations across the state.

The rise of extreme events, including heat and cold waves, is likely tied to the steep decline of Arctic sea ice since about 2000, Birkel says. Studies show rapid warming over the Arctic is changing circulation patterns across the Northern Hemisphere.

In particular, jet stream winds are slowing, which increases the likelihood of blocking events that hold a weather pattern — including heat and cold waves — in place for several days, he says. When blocked patterns finally dissipate, they tend to do so with powerful storm fronts.

Computer models generally predict that in the future, extreme weather events will be the norm, he says.

Birkel and other CCI researchers have developed online tools to assist local community planners prepare for climate changes. The tools — Climate Reanalyzer, 10Green and CLAS Layers — will be explained at the CLAS (Climate Change Adaptation and Sustainability) Conference on Thursday, Oct. 23 at UMaine.

The tools provide users access to station data, climate and weather models, and pollution and health indices, he says.

Paul Mayewski, director of UMaine’s CCI, says the CLAS software explains past, present and future changes in climate at the community level and introduces a “planning system that invokes plausible scenarios at the community level where local knowledge can be applied to produce local solutions.”

For instance, city leaders considering opening a cooling center for residents can review projections for future frequency of heat waves. Medical care workers can assess the potential for increase in Lyme tick disease. And community planners preparing to replace storm water drains can examine predicted precipitation in coming decades.

Esperanza Stancioff, climate change educator with UMaine Cooperative Extension and Maine Sea Grant, says coastal residents and communities need strategies to address sea-level rise and coastal flooding which will result, in part, to melting glaciers and polar ice caps.

UMaine Extension and Maine Sea Grant are among those working with coastal community leaders to help minimize potential hazards to fisheries, aquaculture, working waterfronts and tourism by implementing resilient coastal development strategies and practices, Stancioff says.

Ivan Fernandez, Distinguished Maine Professor in the School of Forest Resources and CCI, says understanding how Maine’s climate is changing is critical for informed risk assessment and cost-effective adaptation.

Warming of the Gulf of Maine impacts the risk of lobster disease as well as market uncertainty, Fernandez says. He points to summer 2012 when warming ocean water resulted in a glut of lobsters and a subsequent bust in prices. In agriculture, rising temperatures can result in an increase of insects and disease, Fernandez says, as well as crop damage and soil erosion due to intense precipitation events.

Opportunities also could result from the changing climate, says Fernandez, including longer growing seasons and emerging shipping lanes in the Arctic Sea due to the receding of the polar ice sheet.

It’s important for businesses to prepare for such changes, says conference presenter John F. Mahon, the John M. Murphy Chair of International Business Policy and Strategy and Professor of Management at UMaine.

“Business has to be engaged with government and other organizations at the local and national level,” says Mahon.

“One of the more useful tools for doing this is the use of plausible scenario planning (PSP). In PSP, we try to envision several plausible futures with equal likelihood of happening and develop a set of ‘warnings’ or ‘indicators’ that tell us which one of the several futures we have identified is unfolding so that we can adapt to it in the most efficient, economical and effective manner.”

On a global scale, Mayewski says climate change is a security issue, as it “impacts human and ecosystem health, the economy; intensifies geopolitical stress; and increases the likelihood of storms, floods, droughts, wildfires and other extreme events.”

In 2012, for instance, 11 weather and climate disasters worldwide killed more than 300 people and caused more than $110 billion in damage, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Climatic Data Center. The disasters included Hurricane Sandy and the largest drought since the 1930s — which also worsened wildfires that burned more than 9 million acres.

The CLAS framework soon will be expanded to encompass national and international planning capability, says Mayewski, who was featured in Years of Living Dangerously, a nine-part documentary about climate change that Aug. 16 won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Series.

The CLAS conference, slated from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 23 at Wells Conference Center, costs $45; registration is required by Oct. 13 at online.

Contact: Beth Staples: 207.581.3777

Categories: Combined News, News

Appointments Announced in Reorganization of UMaine Research and Graduate Studies

University of Maine News - Tue, 09/02/2014 - 15:09

University of Maine executive vice president for academic affairs and provost Jeffrey Hecker has announced new appointments in the Office of the Vice President for Research and Graduate School that have resulted from a reorganization of research and graduate studies at the University of Maine.

Effective, July 1, 2014, vice president for research Carol Kim has assumed the responsibilities of dean of the Graduate School, and will provide senior leadership to both the university’s research and graduate missions. Kim has been serving as vice president since her appointment for a two-year term Sept. 1, 2013. She is a professor of molecular and biomedical sciences, and the former director of UMaine’s Graduate School of Biomedical Science and Engineering. Kim joined the UMaine faculty in 1998 as an assistant professor in the Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Molecular Biology. In her extensively published research Kim uses the zebrafish as a model organism to study the innate immune response to pathogens. The goal is to identify factors that influence the regulation of innate immunity and the role of environmental toxicants in modulating the immune response to pathogens. Kim has successfully obtained funding from a number of sources including the National Science Foundation, the United States Department of Agriculture, the National Institutes of Health, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

David Neivandt has been named associate vice president for research and graduate studies. Since September 2013, Neivandt has served as director of the Graduate School of Biomedical Science and Engineering. He is a professor of chemical engineering and bioengineering who came to UMaine in 2001. Neivandt has been a member of the GSBSE faculty since it was created in 2006, and is the inaugural chair of the steering committee and chair of the admission committee. In his research, Neivandt uses conventional and novel spectroscopic and microscopic techniques to study the surfaces of materials. His work focuses on the determination of the interfacial orientation and conformation of protein and lipid species, including the study of protein transport across cell membranes, and studies the gelation, dispersion and phase separation of natural and synthetic polymeric species. Neivandt’s pulp and paper-related research has included the creation of biodegradable grease-resistant coatings, carbon nanofibers from lignin, and retention-aid systems. associate vice president Neivandt will provide leadership in research areas that enhance graduate education, particularly in interdisciplinary areas. Neivandt will remain the director of the Graduate School of Biomedical Science and Engineering.

Scott Delcourt has been named assistant vice president for graduate studies and senior associate dean of the Graduate School and will coordinate the daily administration of the Graduate School office. Delcourt has held leadership positions in the Graduate School since 1996, most recently as associate dean. He serves on the Executive Board of the Northeastern Association of Graduate Schools and as the university’s lead member in the Northeastern Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate. Delcourt has been a member of the UMaine community since 1985 and holds cooperating appointments in both the Department of Molecular and Biomedical Sciences and in the College of Education and Human Development.

Jason Charland has been named director of grant development. The newly established Grant Development Division is designed to increase faculty grant-seeking capacity, grant submissions and funded grant proposals at UMaine by identifying targeted funding opportunities and assisting faculty with proposal development. As director, Charland will be responsible for leading and facilitating the development, preparation and submission of large-scale, interdisciplinary funding proposals to advance Signature and Emerging Areas of research. Prior to joining the Office of the Vice President for Research, Charland was the grants management coordinator for the College of Education and Human Development, a position he held since October 2012. Faculty needing assistance identifying funding opportunities, developing proposals, interpreting review panel feedback or linking to other researchers on campus can contact Charland in the Grant Development Division.

Categories: Combined News, News

Investment in UMaine

University of Maine News - Tue, 09/02/2014 - 15:08

Young men and women discuss investment strategies as they scrutinize real-time electronic trading and commodities data scrolling across numerous screens. In a scene right out of Wall Street, students examine global, up-to-the-second energy prices, stocks and bonds, interest rates and supply chain analysis, honing skills they’ll be able to employ in financial firms in New York City and around the world.

That’s what Gerard S. Cassidy intended when he created the Capital Markets Training Laboratory in the Maine Business School at the University of Maine.

Cassidy, who graduated from UMaine in 1980 with a dual degree in accounting and finance, knows the world of capital markets well.

He’s managing director of equity research at the Portland, Maine-based RBC Capital Markets. At the investment bank with offices in 15 countries he provides banking and regional economic research to clients. He’s also president of BancAnalysts Association of Boston, Inc. and he created Texas Ratio, a formula investors use to determine the financial health of banks.

The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Forbes, CNBC, CNN, BNN and National Public Radio utilize him as an expert source about banking, stocks and economic issues.

Cassidy wants other UMaine graduates to be able to have similar opportunities, so he donated a gift to make the state-of-the-art financial education lab possible. Thursday, Sept. 18, the Gerard S. Cassidy ’80 Capital Markets Training Laboratory will be dedicated in his honor.

“I was fortunate to get a solid foundation in accounting and finance here at UMaine,” says Cassidy, who lettered in football for the Black Bears. UMaine is also where he met education major Elaine Conley ’78. The two married and live in Cumberland Foreside, Maine.

“I hope that this new laboratory will bring a Wall Street environment to UMaine students and that they might benefit from exposure to a part of the business world they might not otherwise experience.”

The lab provides a variety of business educational experiences for the 950 undergraduate and graduate students and 26 faculty members in the Maine Business School (MBS) as well as for numerous other students and staff members in other disciplines.

It’s also an ideal facility to conduct portfolio management for the University of Maine Foundation, construct business models for commercializing UMaine products and analyze energy pricing for the University of Maine System.

“We are so grateful to Gerard for his generosity,” says Ivan Manev, dean of the Maine Business School.

“The new lab will be an important resource for our students and the whole university. It will help us teach business at a truly world-class level and demonstrates our commitment to revitalizing the state, which is Pathway 1 of the University of Maine’’s strategic plan.”

The lab, which measures 26 feet by 20 feet, includes two 70-inch monitors for Bloomberg data — “real-time global financial and market data, pricing, trading, news and communications tools.”

Nine leased Bloomberg data feeds supply an instructor’s workstation and eight dual-monitor stations that can be utilized simultaneously by as many as 16 students.

“Upon graduation, many of our students will accept a position where being Bloomberg-savvy on day one is a real plus and is likely to give them an advantage over their contemporaries who have not previously had this experience,” says Robert Strong, University Foundation Professor of Investment Education, professor of finance and SPIFFY (Student Portfolio Investment Fund) adviser.

One wall-mounted monitor is designated for the SPIFFY portfolio. In the early 1990s, the University of Maine Foundation contributed $200,000 to start a fund so students could apply financial knowledge they gleaned in the classroom to real-world investing.

Today, Strong advises the group of about 70 SPIFFY students who, after weekly presentations and research, make trades through a broker. The SPIFFY fund now totals $2.3 million in value.

Contact: Beth Staples, 207.581.3777

Categories: Combined News, News

WVII, WABI Cover Welcome Weekend Day of Service

University of Maine News - Tue, 09/02/2014 - 11:16

WVII (Channel 7) and WABI (Channel 5) reported on the University of Maine’s Welcome Weekend Day of Service. More than 2,000 first-year UMaine students took part in community projects as part of the fifth annual event hosted by The Bodwell Center for Service and Volunteerism and First Year Residential Experience. UMaine students participates in volunteer activities at community organizations in the Old Town, Orono and Bangor areas. WVII covered meal packing on campus, where students packed more than 20,000 meals to be sent to poverty-stricken countries. WABI spoke with students helping out at the Old Town Animal Orphanage.

Categories: Combined News, News

Bayer Supplies Time with 11 Lobster Facts

University of Maine News - Tue, 09/02/2014 - 11:16

Bob Bayer, executive director of the Lobster Institute at the University of Maine, was interviewed by Time for the article, “11 lobster facts that will leave you shell-shocked.” According to Bayer, lobsters taste with their legs, chew with their stomachs, eat each other and were once a popular prison food. Bayer also spoke about biodegradable lobster shell golf balls developed by UMaine researchers.

Categories: Combined News, News

MPBN Interviews Fried About Fall Elections

University of Maine News - Tue, 09/02/2014 - 11:15

Amy Fried, a political science professor at the University of Maine, was interviewed by the Maine Public Broadcasting Network for a Morning Edition segment titled “Your vote: The debate over debates in the Maine governor’s race.” Fried talked with host Irwin Gratz about how political dynamics are playing out in Maine as Election Day gets closer.

Categories: Combined News, News

Media Report on Maine Hello

University of Maine News - Tue, 09/02/2014 - 11:15

WABI (Channel 5), WVII (Channel 7) and the Bangor Daily News covered Maine Hello, where University of Maine staff and student volunteers help first-year students move into their dorm rooms. The Class of 2018 contains more than 2,000 first-year students.

Categories: Combined News, News

Dill Talks with WLBZ About EEE in Maine Mosquitoes

University of Maine News - Tue, 09/02/2014 - 11:14

Jim Dill, a pest management specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, spoke with WLBZ (Channel 2) about EEE and other mosquito-borne illnesses. The Maine Center for Disease Control recently released a report stating a mosquito pool in York tested positive for EEE, a virus that’s transmitted to humans and animals through mosquitoes, WLBZ reported. Although a human case of EEE has never been reported in Maine, a New Hampshire resident is currently being treated for the virus at Maine Medical Center. “It’s a knocking on our doorstep — a human case — and with positive pools of mosquitoes that just means that EEE is in the mosquitoes in that area,” Dill said. He recommended taking steps such as avoiding outdoor activities during dawn and dusk to protect yourself against EEE and other mosquito-borne illnesses.

Categories: Combined News, News

Ryan Low Named UMaine Interim Vice President for Administration and Finance

University of Maine News - Fri, 08/29/2014 - 13:25

Ryan Low, executive director of governmental and external affairs for the University of Maine System, has been appointed interim vice president for administration and finance at the University of Maine, effective Sept. 2, 2014.

Low will serve a one-year term, ending Aug. 31, 2015. This spring, a search will be conducted to fill the position on a permanent basis.

Low replaces UMaine Vice President for Administration and Finance Judy Ryan, who announced this week that she will retire Sept. 12.

“In my capacity as provost of UMaine, vice chancellor for academic affairs at UMS, and now as president of UMaine, I have worked closely with Ryan for a number of years,” said UMaine President Susan Hunter. “Ryan is well-grounded in large enterprise and public finances, and has a solid understanding of the budget challenges at UMaine and the University of Maine System. He also has played an important role in Augusta, effectively working across the aisle to advocate for public higher education issues in Maine.”

University of Maine System James Page noted: “Ryan Low is among our most effective and dedicated public servants, with an unsurpassed understanding of public finance and its application to higher education. He will make a valuable addition to President Hunter’s team and I will continue to rely on his counsel as we continue the work of better positioning the University of Maine System to meet our responsibilities to our students and the people of Maine.”

Vice President Judy Ryan noted that her decision to leave UMaine has not been easy. “After more than 30 years in higher education, I feel it is the right time to make this planned retirement a reality and turn over the reins,” she said. “I believe Ryan has the right financial background and a record of collaboration with the University of Maine System to lead at this time. I look forward to working with him during the transition.”

Low said he looks forward to working on behalf of the University of Maine and UMS to provide the fiscal leadership needed in the coming year. “As the flagship university, UMaine has an important role in the system and the state, and I look forward to working with campus and other constituents as we address the budget challenges ahead.”

While serving as UMaine’s interim vice president for administration and finance, Low will continue to be involved in UMS legislative affairs. Low joined the University of Maine System office in 2012 to direct governmental and external affairs. Prior to joining the system office, he worked for two years at his alma mater, the University of Maine at Farmington (UMF), as vice president of administration and chief financial officer. Low served as commissioner of the Department of Administrative and Financial Services during the Baldacci administration. He also was Gov. John Baldacci’s deputy chief of staff, state budget officer and associate commissioner for the Department of Administrative and Financial Services. From 1997–2002, Low worked in the legislature, serving as chief of staff for the House majority leader and chief of staff for the speaker of the House.

Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745

Categories: Combined News, News

Advanced Structures and Composites Center Testing Largest Structure Yet, BDN Reports

University of Maine News - Fri, 08/29/2014 - 10:00

The Bangor Daily News reported engineers at the University of Maine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center are evaluating a 180-foot wind turbine blade for strength testing. Habib Dagher, director of the center, said the blade is the largest structure ever to be tested at the facility, which is one of two sites in the nation capable of handling the blade. He told the BDN there is a growing interest across the nation in using fewer but larger turbines because they are more cost-effective in energy production.

Categories: Combined News, News

The Weekly Packet Covers Mayewski’s Blue Hill Talk on Climate Change

University of Maine News - Fri, 08/29/2014 - 09:58

The Weekly Packet reported Paul Mayewski, a University of Maine professor and director of UMaine’s Climate Change Institute, recently spoke about climate change at George Stevens Academy in Blue Hill. During his presentation, “Journey Into Climate — Adventure, the Golden Age of Climate Research and the Unmasking of Human Innocence,” Mayewski said with the “onset of the most dramatic [climate] consequences” occurring since the Industrial Revolution, climate change “is a sad story but important to know.”

Categories: Combined News, News

Ward Interviewed for Press Herald R&D, Innovation Fact-Checking Commentary

University of Maine News - Fri, 08/29/2014 - 09:58

A Portland Press Herald business reporter spoke with Jake Ward, vice president for innovation and economic development at the University of Maine, for a commentary titled “Fact checking LePage on R&D, MTI and innovation.” Ward was interviewed in response to a recent comment made by Gov. Paul LePage stating the University of Maine System has 37 patents that are not being commercialized. Ward said the system has 77 patents assigned to it and more than a third are jointly owned with a private business or have a commercial license agreement or license options. Others are associated with ongoing research projects funded by both public and private dollars, he said.

Categories: Combined News, News

BDN Publishes Latest Column in Butler’s Struggling Mainers Series

University of Maine News - Fri, 08/29/2014 - 09:57

The Bangor Daily News published the latest article in a yearlong series by Sandra Butler, a professor of social work at the University of Maine, and Luisa Deprez, a professor and department chair of sociology and women and gender studies at the University of Southern Maine. “‘Social Security is not the way to live’: Maine couple talks growing older, living with disability,” is the pair’s latest column to share stories of Mainers struggling in today’s economy.

Categories: Combined News, News

Therapy Dogs to Visit Fogler Library in September

University of Maine News - Fri, 08/29/2014 - 09:56

Certified therapy dogs will return to Fogler Library this semester to offer stress relief and comfort for any student, staff or faculty member interested in visiting the animals, says Fogler’s Public Relations Manager Gretchen Gfeller.

Therapy dogs are scheduled to be in the Reserve Reading Room on the library’s first floor from 2–4 p.m. Tuesdays, Sept. 9 and 16 and from noon–2 p.m. Wednesdays, Sept. 10 and 17. No appointment is necessary.

For more information or to request disability accommodations, call Gfeller at 207.581.1696

Categories: Combined News, News

Maine Sea Grant to Help Run Maine Seaweed Festival, The Forecaster Reports

University of Maine News - Thu, 08/28/2014 - 10:37

The Forecaster reported the University of Maine’s Maine Sea Grant program is partnering with Hillary Krapf, a holistic healer in Portland, to host the first Maine Seaweed Festival to celebrate the many practical functions of Maine seaweed. The free festival will be held Aug. 30 at Southern Maine Community College in South Portland. The Bangor Daily News carried The Forecaster’s report.

Categories: Combined News, News

AP Quotes Bolton in Article on Lobster Processing Plant Violations

University of Maine News - Thu, 08/28/2014 - 10:36

Jason Bolton, a food safety specialist with the University of Maine School of Food and Agriculture, spoke to the Associated Press for an article about Rockland-based Linda Bean’s lobster processing plant stating it has addressed violations cited by the Food and Drug Administration in February. The FDA says it has not yet cleared the firm of violations, according to the article. Bolton told the AP that Bean contacted him for help addressing some of the FDA’s concerns. “In every conversation I had with their plant manager and their chief financial officer, they were very willing to work with me,” Bolton said. Portland Press Herald, Boston Herald and The Boston Globe carried the AP report.

Categories: Combined News, News

Times Higher Education Publishes Segal Column

University of Maine News - Thu, 08/28/2014 - 10:36

The London-based Times Higher Education published an opinion piece by University of Maine history professor Howard Segal titled “The systematisation of higher education in the US.”

Categories: Combined News, News

Black Bear Triathlon to be Held Oct. 5

University of Maine News - Thu, 08/28/2014 - 10:35

The 35th Black Bear Triathlon will be held Oct. 5 at the University of Maine.

The race, sponsored by UMaine Campus Recreation and sanctioned by USA Triathlon, will be held from 6:30 a.m. to noon. It will feature a 525-yard swim in UMaine’s Wallace Pool, and a 12.5-mile bike race and 3.1-mile run along the UMaine trails and local roadways.

The Black Bear Triathlon is open to athletes ages 16 and older. In addition to individual competition, the event features a relay component for teams of two or three athletes. Eighty people between the ages of 18 and 67 participated in the event last year.

Registration fee is $50; $40 for UMaine students; $75 for teams. Additional registration and event information is online.

Categories: Combined News, News

Welcome Weekend Day of Service

University of Maine News - Wed, 08/27/2014 - 15:33

More than 2,000 first-year University of Maine students are expected to volunteer for community projects as part of the fifth annual UMaine Welcome Weekend Day of Service on the morning of Saturday, Aug. 30.

The Bodwell Center for Service and Volunteerism and First Year Residential Experience offer the Welcome Weekend Day of Service on the first weekend students are at UMaine to give them an opportunity to participate in volunteer activities at community organizations in the Old Town, Orono and Bangor areas.

“Community service is an important part of the culture at the University of Maine,” says Lisa Morin, coordinator of the Bodwell Center. “These projects give the students time to bond with others from their residence hall, allows us to show them how community service will enhance their UMaine experience, and provides valuable assistance to community organizations.”

Led by 150 UMaine students, faculty and staff, first-year students will participate in at least 60 different local, regional and international service projects both on and off campus.

Projects include painting at the Bangor Area Homeless Shelter; washing Down East Emergency Medical Institute (DEEMI) vehicles in Orono; grounds work at Hirundo Wildlife Refuge in Alton, Leonard’s Mills/Maine Forest and Logging Museum in Bradley, Orono Bog Boardwalk and Maine Veterans’ Home in Bangor; Penobscot River cleanup; and packing meal, hygiene and school kits on campus.

Last year, approximately 1,800 first-year students volunteered for nearly 60 projects and logged 3,992 hours of service.

For more information, contact Morin at 581.1796 or lisa.morin@umit.maine.edu.

Contact: Elyse Kahl, 207.581.3747

Categories: Combined News, News

President Hunter Featured in Diverse: Issues In Higher Education Article

University of Maine News - Wed, 08/27/2014 - 09:29

University of Maine President Sue Hunter is the focus of a Diverse: Issues In Higher Education article titled, “University of Maine’s pioneering president essentially home grown.” The report about UMaine’s first woman president details Hunter’s background both in the state and at the university, where she began her career as an adjunct professor in 1987. “Because I have spent my entire career here, I know people throughout the state. I feel very comfortable on the other campuses, visiting and meeting with people,” President Hunter said.

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