The Portland Press Herald published an article on a startup founded by two former University of Maine hockey coaches Dan Kerluke and David Alexander, along with Tim Westbaker, a computer programmer and UMaine alumnus. The trio created Double Blue Sports Analytics to create an iPad app that allows hockey goalies and goaltending coaches to easily capture performance data and analytics. The startup is the first to market with such a goalie-specific data analytics product, but already has plans to tap into the much broader global market for sports science and training, the article states. The company is a tenant of the Target Technology Incubator, an Orono facility that was developed by UMaine and the Bangor Target Area Development Corporation to provide an environment for business development and commercialization activities for innovation-based startups. Kerluke told the Press Herald he met Westbaker through Jesse Moriarity, coordinator of UMaine’s Foster Center for Student Innovation. Kerluke calls Moriarity the company’s “guardian angel.”
Lenard Kaye, director of the University of Maine Center on Aging and professor in the UMaine School of Social Work, wrote an opinion piece published by the Bangor Daily News titled “Can Maine keep its aging population safe?” Kaye also is a member of the Maine chapter 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.
The University of Maine student group Male Athletes Against Violence (MAAV) was mentioned in a Morning Sentinel article about the “Party With Consent” movement started by a graduating student at Colby College. The initiative aims to encourage healthy interactions between the sexes at college parties. In 2010, Mark Tappan, a professor of education at Colby, brought a chapter of MAAV to the college, after the group was started at UMaine. Student Jonathan Kalin became president of the Colby group, whose name has since changed to Mules Against Violence, and started Party With Consent as an initiative of that organization.
A CD of Leone Sinigaglia’s chamber music performed by University of Maine artists Noreen Silver, cello, and Phillip Silver, piano, performing with violinist Solomia Soroka, was reviewed on MusicWeb International. Reviewer Jonathan Woolf notes, “these elegant readings set a standard for future Sinigaglia performances, and I truly hope that more will follow the lead of the intrepid Solomia Soroka and Noreen and Philip Silver.”
The University of Maine will offer a six-day, public leadership training program for female college students that aims to strengthening political skills and build confidence.
A diverse group of 28 students with a variety of majors and interests from colleges around the state will arrive at UMaine on Friday, May 30 to take part in the sixth annual Maine NEW Leadership conference. They will learn skills such as public speaking, networking and how to advocate for a cause and run for public office.
Throughout the free conference, students will participate in a variety of workshops hosted by women leaders from politics, business and education. On Tuesday, June 3, participants will travel to the State House in Augusta and Margaret Chase Smith Library in Skowhegan.
“Maine NEW Leadership was established to address the underrepresentation of women in state and federal government,” says Mary Cathcart, co-director of Maine NEW Leadership and a senior policy associate at the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center.
In the current U.S. Congress, 18 percent of representatives and 20 percent of senators are women, and in the Maine Legislature, 23 percent of senators and 31 percent of representatives are women, according to Cathcart.
More information about Maine NEW Leadership is available online or by calling Cathcart at 581.1539.
Lakes in New England and the Adirondack Mountains are recovering from the effects of acid rain more rapidly now than they did in the 1980s and 1990s, according to a study led by a former University of Maine researcher.
Acid rain — which contains higher than normal amounts of nitric and sulfuric acid and is harmful to lakes, streams, fish, plants and trees — occurs when sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide in the atmosphere mix with water and oxygen.
In the United States, about two-thirds of sulfur dioxide and one-quarter of nitrogen oxide result from burning fossil fuels, including coal, says the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Sulfate concentration in rain and snow dropped 40 percent in the 2000s and sulfate concentration in lakes in the Northeast declined at a greater rate from 2002 to 2010 than during the 1980s or 1990s, says Kristin Strock, a former doctoral student at UMaine, now an assistant professor at Dickinson College in Pennsylvania.
Also during the 2000s, nitrate concentration in rain and snow declined by more than 50 percent and its concentration in lakes also declined, Strock found.
The Clean Air Act enacted in the U.S. in 1970 has been modified several times, including amendments implemented in 1994 that regulated emissions, especially from coal-burning power plants. The Clean Air Interstate Rule issued in 2005 by the EPA sought to reduce sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides by 70 percent. Total emissions of sulfur and nitrogen in the U.S decreased by 51 and 43 percent, respectively, between 2000 and 2010, Strock says, which was twice the rate of decline for both in the 1990s.
Strock and the research team analyzed data collected since 1991 at 31 sites in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and southern New York and 43 sites in the Adirondack Mountains of New York.
The research team included Sarah Nelson, assistant research professor with the Senator George J. Mitchell Center and cooperating assistant research professor in Watershed Biogeochemistry in the UMaine School of Forest Resources; Jasmine Saros, associate director of the Climate Change Institute at UMaine and professor in UMaine’s School of Biology & Ecology; Jeffrey Kahl, then-director of environmental and energy strategies at James Sewall Company; and William McDowell of the Department of Natural Resources and the Environment at the University of New Hampshire.
“Data collection for over two decades in this study is part of the EPA-LTM network, which also includes over 30 years of research and monitoring at 16 remote lakes in Maine, and over 25 years at the Bear Brook Watershed in Maine,” Nelson says.
“These long-term monitoring data allow us to observe patterns like changes related to climate, as well as to evaluate the effectiveness of environmental regulations like the Clean Air Act. The new findings reported here underscore the importance of such long-term monitoring, which can often be difficult to keep funded.”
While results reveal a recent acceleration in recovery, the researchers say continued observation is necessary due to variability of results. In New England, Strock says variability might be due to the effect of human development, including road salt, on lakes.
A number of other factors can affect watersheds and interact with acid rain, say the researchers, including depletion of calcium in forest soils, long-term increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide, long-term changes in air temperature, and changes in the frequency and intensity of extreme wet and dry seasons.
The study, “Decadal Trends Reveal Recent Acceleration in the Rate of Recovery from Acidification in the Northeastern U.S.” was published online in March on the Environmental Science & Technology website.
Contact: Beth Staples, 207.581.3777
University of Maine professor Paul Mayewski is featured in the Showtime series Years of Living Dangerously starring Harrison Ford, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Matt Damon.
It’s a thriller with an ending that hasn’t been written yet.
Executive producer James Cameron, who has also directed the blockbusters Avatar, The Terminator and Aliens, describes Years of Living Dangerously as the biggest survival story of this time.
The documentary, developed by David Gelber and Joel Bach of 60 Minutes, depicts real-life events and comes with an “adult content, viewer discretion advised” disclaimer.
The nine-part series that premiered April 13 shares life-and-death stories about impacts of climate change on people and the planet.
Correspondents, including actors Ford and Damon, as well as journalists Lesley Stahl and Thomas Friedman and scientist M. Sanjayan, travel the Earth to cover the chaos.
They examine death and devastation caused by Superstorm Sandy; drought and lost jobs in Plainview, Texas; worsening wildfires in the U.S.; and civil unrest heightened by water shortage in the Middle East. The correspondents also interview politicians, some of whom refute the science or are reluctant to enact legislation.
And they speak with scientists who go to great lengths, and heights, to do climate research. Mayewski, director of UMaine’s Climate Change Institute (CCI), is one of those scientists. He is scheduled to appear in the series finale at 8 p.m. Monday, June 9.
Climate change, he says, is causing and will continue to cause destruction. And he says how scientists and media inform people about the subject is important.
“There are going to be some scary things that happen but they won’t be everywhere and it won’t be all at the same time,” he says. “You want people to think about it but not to terrify them so they turn it off completely. You want them to understand that with understanding comes opportunity.”
In February 2013, Sanjayan and a film crew joined Mayewski and his team of CCI graduate students for the nearly 20,000-foot ascent of a glacier on Tupungato, an active Andean volcano in Chile, to collect ice cores.
Sanjayan calls Mayewski “the Indiana Jones of climate research” for his penchant to go to the extremes of the Earth under challenging conditions to retrieve ice cores to study past climate in order to better predict future climate.
Sanjayan, a senior scientist with Conservation International, wrote in a recent blog on the Conservation International website that while people may distrust data, they believe people they like.
He thought it would be beneficial to show the scientific process at work and to introduce the scientists’ personalities to viewers. “He’s the sort of guy you’d want to call up on a Wednesday afternoon to leave work early for a beer on an outdoor patio,” Sanjayan writes of Mayewski.
So for the documentary, Mayewski was filmed in the field — gathering ice cores at an oxygen-deprived altitude of 20,000 feet atop a glacier with sulfur spewing from nearby volcanic ponds. “It’s a strange place to work,” Mayewski says, “but it’s where we can find amazing, productive data.”
He was also interviewed at home, where he enjoys his family, dogs and sailing.
Mayewski likes the series’ story-telling approach. Scientists, he says, need to explain material in a way that is relatable, relevant and empowering.
Take for instance Joseph Romm’s baseball analogy. Romm, a Fellow at American Progress and founding editor of Climate Progress, earned his doctorate in physics from MIT.
On the Years of Living Dangerously website, Romm writes, “Like a baseball player on steroids, our climate system is breaking records at an unnatural pace. And like a baseball player on steroids, it’s the wrong question to ask whether a given home run is ‘caused’ by steroids. Home runs become longer and more common. Similarly climate change makes a variety of extreme weather events more intense and more likely.”
Mayewski says it’s also imperative to provide tools that enable people to take action to mitigate climate change as well as adapt to it.
“When we have a crystal ball, even if the future is bad, we can create a better situation,” he says. “We have no choice but to adapt.”
Maine is in a good position to take action, he says, especially with regard to developing offshore wind technology. “Who wouldn’t want a cleaner world, to spend less money on energy and have better jobs? We will run out of oil at some point but the wind won’t stop,” he says.
Wind is up Mayewski’s research alley. He has recently been studying ice cores from the melting glacier that serves as the drinking water supply for 4 million residents of Santiago. Temperature in the region is rising, greenhouse gases are increasing and winds from the west that have traditionally brought moisture to the glacier have shifted, he says.
And the glacier is losing ice.
“Our biggest contribution is understanding how quickly wind can change,” Mayewski says. “Wind transports heat, moisture, pollutants and other dusts.”
By understanding trends, Mayewski says it’s possible to better predict where climate events will occur so plans can be made. Those plans, he says, could include determining where it’s best for crops to be planted and where seawalls and sewer systems should be built.
Harold Wanless, chair of the University of Miami geological sciences department, says sea levels have been forecast to be as much as 3 to 6 feet higher by the end of this century. On the Years of Living Dangerously website he says, “I cannot envision southeastern Florida having many people at the end of this century.”
In Maine, Mayewski says climate change is evidenced by the powerful 2013–2014 winter, the lengthening of summers, increased lobster catches and northward spread of ticks.
While climate change has become a political topic, Mayewski says it’s a scientific and security issue. He says it’s notable that previous civilizations have collapsed in the face of abrupt, extreme changes. And climate change, he says, is far from linear in the way it evolves.
For decades, Mayewski has been interested in exploring and making discoveries in remote regions of the planet. “When you go all over the world, you get a global view,” he says. “By nature, I’m an optimist. That is tempered with this problem. I do believe there will be a groundswell of people, or governments, or some combination so that there will be a better future in store.”
To watch clips from previous episodes of Years of Living Dangerously, as well as the entire first episode, visit yearsoflivingdangerously.com.
Contact: Beth Staples, 207.581.3777
David Handley, a vegetable and small fruit specialist at the University of Maine Cooperative Extension at Highmoor Farm in Monmouth, and John Rebar, executive director of UMaine Extension, spoke to the Bangor Daily News for an article about the U.S. Department of Agriculture offering new crop insurance options to cover fruits and vegetables. According to the article, the program will extend coverage to smaller farms as opposed to only benefiting growers of commodity crops, such as corn and soybeans. Previous insurance programs gave little incentive for farmers to diversify their crops, the article states. Handley said in previous Farm Bills, crop insurance appeared to cover the same crops that crop subsidies covered, and the new options appear to be an effort by the USDA to try to fix some of the current issues that haven’t been popular with farmers. “We are seeing a real resurgence in growth of diversified farms,” Rebar said. “They need some risk protection.”
The Portland Press Herald published a feature for its “Meet” series on David Fuller, a fiddlehead expert and agricultural and non-timber forest products professional with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension. Fuller spoke about identification and proper cooking methods as the fiddlehead season winds down. He said the ostrich fern has three core characteristics: a smooth lower stem; a deep, U-shaped curve on the inside of the stem; and a brown parchment-like paper that covers the top of the fiddlehead. “I tell folks you don’t really need to know the other ferns,” he said. “You just need to know that none of the other ferns have those three things.
The Bangor Daily News spoke with Daniel Williams, interim executive director of the Collins Center for the Arts, for the article “People behind Bangor’s entertainment industry laud growth.” Williams said he remembered people talking about building a “creative economy” in the Bangor area years ago and believes it is finally happening. At a Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce breakfast, Williams said he and other entertainment representatives are working to identify and fill their niche to provide a variety of entertainment offerings that appeal to diverse audiences. The BDN also quoted Williams in an article about the CCA offering the kickoff performance of a national tour of Stephen King and John Mellencamp’s musical “Ghost Brothers of Darkland County.” Williams said the first night of the show — in early November — will be the CCA’s gala opening for this year’s season. “It’s an incredibly exciting thing for us and for the region in general, as synonymous as we are with Stephen King,” he said. “We’re lucky enough to be the first stop on their national tour.”
Renae Moran, a tree fruit specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, spoke with WLBZ (Channel 2) for a report about Maine farmers experimenting with new crops for the region as weather patterns change. Moran said stone fruits, such as peaches, may one day end up playing a bigger role in Maine’s farming economy. She advises Maine farmers to weigh their tolerance for risk before investing in risky crops. “When you’re planting peaches, you have to be willing to lose every tree. If you can’t handle that, stick with something tried and true like apples,” she said.
WVII (Channel 7) reported on the annual Clean Sweep Sale held at the University of Maine. Items for sale were donated by the university or students who moved out of the dorms at the end of the semester. Proceeds from the sale support programs and services offered by the Black Bear Exchange and student service projects coordinated by the Bodwell Center for Service and Volunteerism. According to the report, several students volunteered at the sale that was put on by the Bodwell Center. The center serves to educate students on the importance of helping others.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast Region blog, “Conserving the Nature of the Northeast,” cited research by two University of Maine students in the blog post “Birdseye view: Avian science meets hurricane recovery.” The article focused on studies by the Saltmarsh Habitat & Avian Research Program (SHARP), a collaborative effort between the Fish and Wildlife Service and several other academic, governmental and privately funded partners that aim to provide critical information for the conservation of tidal-marsh birds. The article cited research for the SHARP program conducted by UMaine students Mo Correll and Meaghan Conway, who are working on the project with Brian Olsen, an assistant professor of biology and ecology.
The Associated Press, WLBZ (Channel 2), Bangor Daily News, Indianapolis Star, Maine Public Broadcasting Network, Indiana Public Radio, Indianapolis Business Journal and Portland Press Herald were among multiple news organizations to report the Ball State University Board of Trustees announced the appointment of University of Maine President Paul Ferguson as the Indiana university’s 15th president, effective Aug. 1, 2014. Jeff Hecker, UMaine’s executive vice president of academic affairs and provost; Howard Segal, a UMaine history professor; and Robert Rice, a professor of wood science and technology at UMaine, spoke to the media about Ferguson’s leadership and what the change may mean for the university. WABI (Channel 5) and Indiana’s The Republic carried the AP report.
Science magazine and Past Horizons: Adventures in Archaeology reported on research by University of Maine researchers Daniel Belknap, a professor of Earth sciences, and Daniel Sandweiss, a professor of anthropology and Quaternary and climate studies. The researchers studied how demographic and economic effects of the Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire altered landscape development on the Chira beach-ridge plain in northern coastal Peru. They found human activity resulting from the conquest had a profound effect on coastal change in the region. Archaeologist Torben Rick of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., told Science the study is an important reminder “of the very blurry divide between the natural world and the cultural world.” Huffington Post also carried the Science article.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.