University of Maine News
The Washington Post, Boston Globe and the Boston Herald were among dozens of news organizations to report on the crash Feb. 26 on Interstate 95 of the coach carrying the UMaine women’s basketball team to Boston for a game Feb. 27. The bus driver was seriously injured. Other injuries, to Coach Richard Barron and at least one player, were described as not serious. The game has been canceled because of the incident. The Bangor Daily News, Portland Press Herald, Channel 2 and CBS Boston also carried reports.
Reservations are still available for the 2013 Maine Vegetable and Fruit School March 12 at the Seasons Conference Center in Portland and March 13 at the Bangor Motor Inn. The conferences, from 8:30 a.m.–4 p.m., are sponsored by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension and the Maine Vegetable and Small Fruit Growers Association. A $35 fee includes lunch. Program information is on the UMaine Extension Highmoor Farm website. Registration is encouraged as soon as possible. For disability accommodations, call Mark Hutchinson, 800.244.2104, at least seven days in advance.
An article coauthored by Esperanza Stancioff, a climate change educator for the University of Maine Cooperative Extension and Maine Sea Grant, about citizen scientists helping environmental researchers monitor the effects of climate change on plants and animals was published in the January 2013 issue of the Journal of Extension. The article is titled “Nature’s Notebook and Extension: Engaging Citizen-Scientists and 4-H Youth to Observe a Changing Environment.”
Andrei Alyokhin, associate professor and graduate coordinator, University of Maine School of Biology and Ecology, will be sworn as the member of the Governor’s Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Council March 26 in the Deering Building, Maine Department of Agriculture, Food and Rural Resources in Augusta. The IPM Council was established by the Maine Legislature to promote, expand and enhance integrated pest management within the state with the goal of having a less environmentally damaging and more economically sustainable approaches to preventing pest damage. The council serves both advisory and coordination roles in the effort. Alyokhin’s research interests include potatoes and insect pest management.
One UMaine women’s basketball player sustains a broken hand, team safe after Tuesday night bus accident
University of Maine women’s basketball player Milica Mitrovic sustained a broken hand and a bus driver was injured after the bus transporting the team to a game in Boston went off Interstate 95 near Georgetown, Mass., at approximately 8:30 last night.
Head coach Richard Barron also was treated for minor facial lacerations. All the players and staff on the bus were taken to three area hospitals for observation and were released early this morning.
The bus driver was lifeflighted from the scene.
The team will be traveling back to Orono today. Tonight’s game against Boston University has been canceled.
The bus was southbound when it left the highway, crossed the median and the northbound lanes, and came to a stop in a wooded area. No other vehicles were involved in the accident.
A bus driver and University of Maine women’s basketball coach Richard Barron were injured when a bus transporting the team to a game in Boston went off Interstate 95 near Georgetown, Mass., at approximately 8:30 p.m., Feb. 26.
The bus driver was lifeflighted from the scene. Coach Barron was being treated for minor facial lacerations.
Three team members were transported to an area hospital for observation — players Ashleigh Roberts and Corinne Wellington, and Samantha Wheeler, the team’s director of basketball operations.
According to a UMaine staff member at the scene, the bus was southbound when it left the roadway, crossed the median and the northbound lanes, and came to a stop off the tree-lined shoulder. No other vehicles were involved in the accident.
“We’re very thankful that this accident was not any worse than it was,” says Robert Dana, vice president for student affairs and dean of students. “The thoughts of the entire University of Maine community are with the bus driver and the team as they contend with this very frightening event.”
Channel 7 (WVII) aired the first of a two-part profile of Habib Dagher, director of the UMaine Advanced Structures and Composites Center and leading authority of offshore wind energy research and development. The station’s Feb. 26 newscast will include more about Dagher and how his personal interest in the technology developed.
A Bangor Daily News article about a new Project>Login initiative designed to attract more students in Maine to information technology programs at the University of Maine and other colleges and universities in the state included comments from University of Maine President Paul Ferguson, Harlan Onsrud, a UMaine professor of computer science and information technology, and several UMaine students. The initiative is part of a collaborative effort to address what the U.S. Department of Labor predicts will be a shortage of trained IT professionals in the future.
The San Francisco Chronicle was among news organizations to publish an Associated Press article about dozens of UMaine students leaving over spring break March 4–15 to do volunteer work in Central America and across the United States, helping in schools, health clinics and orphanages, and buildings homes and a sanitation system. Channel 5 (WABI) and Channel 2 (WLBZ) also carried the report. A UMaine news release has additional information.
Hundreds of water resource professionals, researchers, regulators, planners and the public from throughout the state will gather March 19 at the Augusta Civic Center for the 2013 Maine Water Conference, founded in 1994 by the University of Maine’s Senator George J. Mitchell Center. The daylong event begins with registration at 7:30 a.m., with the first in a series of workshops, presentations and panel discussions starting at 8:30 a.m. The event also will include a juried poster competition and exhibitors’ tables. Topics range from groundwater management, sustainability and municipal decision making to the status of Maine’s water resources, fisheries habitat and nonsource point pollution and emerging contaminants. For additional information, including registration fees and disability accommodations, visit the Senator George J. Mitchell Center, or call the center at 207.581.3244.
The second annual University of Maine BearFest Dance Marathon at the UMaine Field House Feb. 23–24 raised $46,000 in pledges to benefit the Bangor area Children’s Miracle Network and the pediatric wing at Eastern Maine Medical Center — far exceeding the goal of $35,000 — according to the Eastern Maine Healthcare System Foundation. Hundreds of UMaine students danced overnight for the fundraiser.
A Bangor Daily News article about the increase in privately owned student housing projects across the nation noted complaints about management, facilities and other issues at The Grove, a new 188-unit private student housing complex in Orono. The article included information about UMaine students living on and off campus. Of UMaine’s 10,900 students, 3,278 of them live on campus and more than 7,500 live off campus, according to university spokesperson Margaret Nagle, senior director of public relations and operations in the Division of Marketing and Communications.
Channel 5 (WABI) and Channel 7 (WVII) reported on the BearFest Dance Marathon in the UMaine Field House, in which hundreds of UMaine students danced overnight Feb. 23–24 to raise money to benefit the Children’s Miracle Network and Eastern Maine Medical Center’s pediatric ward. Students expected to exceed this year’s goal of $35,000.
Several news organizations, including Channel 5 (WABI) reported on the selection by National Geographic magazine of University of Maine marine scientist and cold-water diver Rhian Waller for a select list of New Age of Exploration scientists to be profiled. Waller, an assistant research professor in the UMaine School of Marine Sciences, has been on 40 expeditions around the world and is a cold-water coral expert. The Portland Press Herald carried an Associated Press article about Waller.
UMaine students interested in IT internships and jobs after graduation are invited to a Project>Login networking reception from 5–7 p.m., Monday, Feb. 25, in Room 3, Wells Conference Center. The reception is an opportunity for students majoring in computer science and computer engineering to meet IT professionals and leaders of some of the Maine companies that want to hire them as part of Project>Login, the newest program of Educate Maine.
The networking reception is the first in a statewide series of relationship-building events for aspiring IT professionals and potential Maine employers as part of Project>Login’s goal to double the number of computer and technology degree graduates in Maine in four years.
Among the businesses expected to attend the UMaine reception to talk to students about the role of IT in their companies, the opportunities for internships and co-ops, and the need to hire qualified graduates in these fields: Bangor Savings Bank, Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems, Unum, Tyler Technologies, Cianbro, WEX and Dead River Co.
Project>Login was launched earlier this month with the goal of generating enough trained professionals in computer science, computer engineering and information technology to keep Maine businesses at the forefront of their industries. The initiative is a partnership between the University of Maine System, Educate Maine and private-sector businesses. Educate Maine is a business-led organization whose mission is to champion college, career readiness and increased education attainment.
Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745.
UMaine Students Rolling Up Sleeves for Spring Break Volunteerism
Dozens of University of Maine students are headed to Honduras, Belize, Florida, the Grand Canyon and New Orleans and other places over spring break, March 4–15, to build houses and a sewage system, clean up parks, deliver health care services to the poor, and help out in rural schools and orphanages.
In the last few months, students from varied academic disciplines have been raising tens of thousands of dollars for travel and living expenses during their service-learning and volunteer projects in the U.S. and Central America. Some leaving Maine for the first time will immerse themselves in diverse cultural and philanthropic adventures while making a difference in the quality of life for the people they will serve.
“I feel very grateful to have the opportunity to be able to make an impact in the lives of people in need,” says Gwen Beacham, a molecular and cellular biology major from Farmington, Maine. She is heading March 2 to the outskirts of Dulce Nombre in western Honduras with the UMaine chapter of Engineers Without Borders. She and four other students, an interpreter, a faculty adviser and a private-sector engineering consultant will spend two weeks finishing a new sewer collection and sanitation system that UMaine student engineers designed and helped build. They’ll also teach the 120 villagers in Dulce Vivir how to operate it.
Beacham, who has never been outside the United States or Canada, isn’t sure what to expect on her first “real” travel experience, she says.
“I can imagine that I will return to Maine with such different eyes,” she says. “I am excited that I am actually able to do something to help, and I especially love that this project is so collaborative, as the community members have played a major role in the implementation of the system. Not only is this more sustainable, but it ensures that our effort is being put into a project that the community wants.”
UMaine’s Engineers Without Borders has won several honors, including a $25,000 award last year from the Newman’s Own Foundation for its work in Dulce Vivir, which started in 2008. The project will help villagers struggling with poor sanitation and overflowing latrines during the rainy season, which contaminates water supplies.
“This project provides valuable lessons in the field of engineering, while allowing me to participate in a humanitarian, life-changing experience,” says Logan Good, a mechanical engineering major from Presque Isle.
Meanwhile, 13 UMaine School of Nursing students in the UMaine Nursing International organization have partnered with International Service Learning to offer medical assistance in rural clinics in San Ignacio, Cayo District of Belize. Accompanied by Nilda Cravens, School of Nursing faculty member, they’ll work over the break with physicians providing health care to underprivileged families and children.
The UMaine Bodwell Center for Service and Volunteerism and UMaine Alternative Break also are organizing dozens of students planning spring break trips in the United States, says Andrea Gifford, assistant dean of students for Student Affairs and director of student and administrative support services. The students will partner with a variety of national organizations to help children victimized by domestic abuse in Virginia; improve housing conditions for low-income families in the coal-camp communities of West Virginia; assisting at a rescue camp for neglected and abused animals in Pennsylvania; provide respite in Florida for vacationing families of children with terminal illnesses; and help with disaster relief and rebuilding homes in New Orleans.
The Bodwell Center also is overseeing student volunteer trips to help with maintenance and trail restoration in the Grand Canyon in Arizona and in the Moody Forest Natural Area in Georgia.
Aaron Cyr, a Bangor native and senior nursing student making his second trip to Belize, says his trip last year was a startling introduction to poverty that many Americans can’t imagine unless they experience it firsthand.
“Things such as clean running water, the availability of limitless amounts of food and small things such as heat or air conditioning, that we take for granted every day,” he says. “I am being given the opportunity to positively affect countless lives for the better.”
Gwen Beacham agrees. “I believe that becoming aware of the different ways people live will lead to positive personal growth and development, and I’m sure I will realize how lucky I am to have some things I have always taken for granted,” she says.
Contact: George Manlove, 207.581.3756
Small migratory male birds that winter in a stressful environment age faster than those that winter in a high-quality habitat, according to research stemming from a collaborative National Science Foundation grant between the University of Maine and Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute.
The team of biologists, led by former postdoctoral researcher Frederic Angelier working under the direction of UMaine Professor of Biological Sciences Rebecca Holberton, focused on telomeres — the long, repetitive noncoding sequences of DNA at the end of chromosomes that protect chromosomes from degradation and play a role in the aging process.
The researchers found that telomeres of male American redstarts (Setophaga ruticilla) that winter in the arid Jamaican scrub habitat shortened significantly faster than telomeres of male American redstarts that winter in a lush Jamaican black mangrove forest.
The findings suggest birds’ nonbreeding environment impacts the rate of telomere shortening and has important indirect effects on migratory bird population, the team says.
The researchers also found males with shorter telomeres are less likely to return to the nonbreeding territory the ensuing year than those with longer telomeres, confirming previous studies that telomere length is related to survival in vertebrates.
American redstarts generally arrive in the Font Hill Nature Preserve in Jamaica in mid-September, where they remain until spring migration in April or May.
The NSF project is part of a long-term collaboration between Holberton and Peter Marra, a research scientist at the Smithsonian’s Migratory Bird Center. Holberton is a migratory bird expert who researches how external and internal factors affect avian survival.
Angelier is now a researcher at Centre d’Etudes Biologiques de Chizé in France. Angelier, Holberton and Marra were joined in the NSF research by Carol Vleck, an associate professor in the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology at Iowa State University.
The team’s findings were published in the Jan. 31, 2013 edition of Functional Ecology.
Contact: Beth Staples, 207.581.3777
St. John Valley Times reported on the discovery through testing at the University of Maine Animal Health Laboratory of a tiny parasitic tapeworm that can exist in the lungs of moose and intestines of canines, both wild and domestic, which could expose humans to the parasite. Excessive lungworm presence can compromise the health of moose. The Maine Center for Disease Control, the Animal Health Lab and UMaine Cooperative Extension, and the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife advise people to wear latex or rubber gloves when field dressing game and thoroughly cook game meat, the article said. Channel 7 (WVII) also carried a report on the parasite.