Mark Brewer, a political science professor at the University of Maine, was quoted in a Kennebec Journal article about Maine’s 2nd Congressional District race, as well as an Associated Press article about the state’s gubernatorial candidates preparing for debates. Brewer told the AP the debates in the state’s governor race have the potential to be significant because there appears to be a relatively large group of “swayable” voters. Portland Press Herald and SFGate carried the AP report. Brewer also spoke with Maine Public Broadcasting Network and Portland Press Herald about how the closing of the Verso Paper mill in Bucksport could potentially affect the outcome of the gubernatorial race. “Anytime something like this happens, those who are in office at least have a greater likelihood of being impacted by that than a challenger who wasn’t in office and didn’t have anything to do with these things,” Brewer said.
The Associated Press, WABI (Channel 5), Bangor Daily News, WLBZ (Channel 2), Maine Public Broadcasting Network, WVII (Channel 7) and Portland Press Herald reported on Michelle Obama’s visit to the University of Maine to campaign for Maine gubernatorial candidate Mike Michaud. The first lady; Michaud; Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund; Emily Cain, the Democratic candidate in Maine’s 2nd Congressional District; and UMaine President Sue Hunter spoke at the rally that was held in the Collins Center for the Arts. Fox News carried the AP report.
The Portland Press Herald reported master beekeepers Jack Hildreth, Peter Richardson and Chris Rogers will lead two beginner beekeeping schools at the University of Maine Cooperative Extension office in Falmouth. One class will be held on five consecutive Thursdays from Oct. 16 through Nov. 13, and another from Feb. 5 through March 5. Hildreth and Richardson will also be instructors for an intermediate beekeeping school, offered on six consecutive Tuesdays, from Jan. 6 to Feb. 10. The beginner school is suitable for beekeepers with one to two years of experience, and the intermediate school is designed for beekeepers with two or more years of experience.
University of Maine sociologist Kyriacos Markides was cited in The Washington Post piece “Why Hispanic-Americans live longer: The mystery that has puzzled researchers for decades.” The article noted that Hispanics in the U.S. die at slower rates than non-Hispanic whites, even before taking into account discrepancies in incomes and health care accessibility, which put Hispanics at a disadvantage. Markides noted the irony in his 1986 paper “The Health of Hispanics in the Southwestern United States: an Epidemiologic Paradox.” He reported that Hispanics in the Southwest had lower death rates from cardiovascular disease and cancer than whites, as well as lower rates of infant mortality. Hispanic culture, in which close families tend to care for sick loved ones, could play a role, Markides said. Hispanics, especially immigrants, also tend to smoke and drink less than whites, he said.
Mehdi Tajvidi, an assistant professor of renewable nanomaterials at the University of Maine, spoke with WABI (Channel 5) about research he is involved in to develop eco-friendly particleboard panels with adhesive made of cellulose nanofibrils (CNF). Tajvidi is working with several other UMaine researchers — William Gramlich, Doug Bousfield, Doug Gardner and Mike Bilodeau — as well as John Hunt from the USDA Forest Service to make strong, stiff and fully recyclable particleboard panels that can be used in countertops, door cores and furniture. “The materials that we are working with are just coming from mother nature. We don’t synthesize them, we just extract them from wood,” Tajvidi said. “And so this is basically biomaterial and has a very good potential because it has very exciting properties such as very high stiffness and strength, and a very wide range of applications for that.”
The University of Maine was mentioned in a Presque Isle Star-Herald article published in the Bangor Daily News about officials celebrating job creation at four forestry-based businesses in Ashland. One of the businesses — shingle manufacturer Ecoshel — worked with UMaine’s Advanced Manufacturing Center (AMC) to produce cedar shingle panels. Brian Kirkey, CEO of Ecoshel, gave a tour of the facility and explained how the company worked with UMaine to create state-of-the-art equipment that will reduce waste and improve production, according to the article.
WVII (Channel 7) covered the second annual open house of the Virtual Environment and Multimodal Interaction (VEMI) Laboratory at the University of Maine. The lab, located in Carnegie Hall, is part of the spatial informatics program in the School of Computing and Information Science and houses Maine’s only research facility that combines a fully immersive virtual reality installation with augmented reality technologies in an integrated research and development environment. Nicholas Giudice, a professor in the School of Computing and Information Science, and Richard Corey, the lab’s director of operations, spoke about some of the lab’s technology, as well as the latest research projects. “Our argument is, if you can provide the same information through accessible means, nonvisual means, you can learn it in the same exact way and activate the same parts of the brain,” Giudice said.
James Breece, an economics professor at the University of Maine, spoke with Star 97.7 FM about the closing of the Verso Paper mill in Bucksport. Breece said the ripple effect from the closure could be devastating and that laying off nearly 600 people will have a multiplier effect. He said some towns do recuperate from similar losses, but it can be a long and painful process.
WABI (Channel 5) reported on the 7th annual Mitchell Lecture on Sustainability, hosted by the Senator George J. Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions at the University of Maine. This year’s talk featured Harvard University’s William Clark who spoke about “Mobilizing knowledge to shape a sustainable future.” Mitchell, who also spoke at the event, talked about the importance of finding a long-term solution to climate change in order to create opportunity for Maine’s future. “The real issue is, if we wait much longer the effects will be irreversible,” Mitchell said.
Melissa Maginnis, a microbiology professor at the University of Maine, was quoted in a Portland Press Herald about the first confirmed case of enterovirus D68 by Maine health officials. Maginnis said people should be concerned about the virus because it has quickly spread across the U.S. this year, and was not contained to a region. “It’s really hard to predict what’s going to happen. This is a very serious virus, and there is potential for it to continue to spread,” she said, adding the virus has the potential to become more widespread than West Nile virus.
A survey designed and analyzed by Sandra Butler, professor in the University of Maine School of Social Work, was referenced in the Bangor Daily News story “Study reveals most Mainers agree poverty caused by outside forces, not personal decisions.” The report from the 2014 survey is titled “Maine People Agree Opportunity is the Bridge to a Better Future.” Three of four Mainers polled indicated the primary cause of poverty is “that the economy is failing to produce enough jobs that pay decent wages.”
Got a great design idea for a poultry coop? The University of Maine Cooperative Extension and Maine Poultry Growers Association (MPGA) are accepting entries for the 2015 Maine Poultry Coop Contest until Saturday, Nov. 1.
The contest is to recognize poultry keepers — hobbyists and farmers from Maine — who have valuable and creative ideas for coop use and design. Entries may be designed and used with any species of poultry. As many as three photos may accompany each entry, which may be submitted online.
The first-place winner will be awarded $150; second place will win $100; and third place will earn $50. Fourth- and fifth-place finishers will receive one-year subscriptions to Backyard Poultry Magazine. All entrants will get free 2015 memberships in MPGA, which is providing all the awards. Winners will be announced Jan. 14, 2015 at the State of Maine Agricultural Trades Show in Augusta. For more information, contact Lynne Hazelton at 207.781.6099 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
University of Maine professor George Markowsky will present a talk about cybersecurity at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 28, at the Margaret Chase Smith Library.
The talk is the library’s Ada E. Leeke Lecture on International Affairs. Markowsky is a professor of computer science and cooperating professor in the School of Policy and International Affairs.
The library, at 56 Norridgewock Ave., Skowhegan, is owned by the Margaret Chase Smith Foundation and operated under its auspices by the University of Maine.
The research of Kurt Rademaker, a University of Maine visiting assistant professor in anthropology and alumnus (Ph.D. 2012), is profiled in the Oct. 1 issue of the international weekly journal Nature. The story’s author, Barbara Fraser, accompanied Rademaker and his research team on a recent expedition high in the Peruvian Andes.
In recent years, Rademaker’s research has made international science headlines for his findings of the earliest evidence of extreme high-altitude occupation anywhere in the world. The “Nature” story traces Rademaker’s work in the Andes to understand when colonization began and what the hunter-gatherers did to survive, beginning with his research with UMaine anthropologist Daniel Sandweiss and, later, UMaine geologist Gordon Bromley.
The story is online.
The Boston Globe article “To preserve access to Maine island, they may have to buy it,” details the campaign to raise money so Maine Coast Heritage Trust can purchase High Island, the site of Blueberry Cove, University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s 4-H summer camp.
The land trust would preserve the 22-acre island off the coast of St. George, keeping it open to the public and summer campers, just as the island’s owners have done for the last 40 years. About half of the needed $700,000 has been raised, according to the article.
The Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel carried the announcement about the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Maine’s Poultry Coop Contest. Nov. 1 is the deadline for entries for the contest, which seeks to recognize poultry keepers who have creative ideas for coop use and design.
James Dill, a pest management specialist at University of Maine Cooperative Extension, was quoted in a Kennebec Journal story about Question 2 on the Nov. 4 ballot.
Question 2 asks voters: “Do you favor an $8 million bond to support Maine agriculture, facilitate economic growth in natural resource based industries, and monitor human health threats related to ticks, mosquitoes, and bedbugs through the creation of an Animal and Plant Disease and Insect Control laboratory administered by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension?”
Cooperative Extension’s current laboratory is not biosecure and Dill said having a biosecure laboratory would allow Cooperative Extension to test for communicable diseases, including Lyme. Farmers, veterinarians and sportsmen said that new animal, plant and insect laboratory would facilitate Cooperative Extension working more closely to promote productive, safe food and livestock as well as the health of pets and game species.
Mary Ellen Camire, president of the Institute of Food Technologists and professor of food science and human nutrition at the University of Maine, spoke about sustainable aquaculture research during an interview with SeafoodSource.com.
Camire says food science is a blended field with many disciplines, and that it will take a team approach to figure out how to feed approximately 9 billion people on the planet in 2050. Land-based aquaculture is a promising field, she says, as it’s local and safe. She’s working with researchers at the University of Maine Center for Cooperative Aquaculture Research in Franklin, Maine. They’ll soon be asking consumers to taste test uni, the edible part of sea urchins farmed at CCAR.
The Bangor Daily News published the opinion piece, “A promise to grow jobs, shrink government that no Maine politician is making” by Alison Mitchell, a research assistant at the University of Maine Center on Aging. Mitchell also is a member of the Maine Regional Network, part of the Scholars Strategy Network, which brings together scholars across the country to address public challenges and their policy implications. Members’ columns appear in the BDN every other week.
University of Maine engineering students received a nod in the Portland Press Herald column “Soup to Nuts: Maine’s own needhams have history — and potatoes — on their side.”
Linda Lenberg of Norway, who makes and sells 2,000 needhams, bought an old Italian packing machine from a whoopie pie baker at a trade show. When she first hit the on switch, she says it “was like a baseball pitching machine.”
So Lenberg enlisted the expertise of UMaine engineering students, who adjusted the machine for her. It now wraps a week’s worth of coconut, potato and chocolate treats in a couple hours.