University of Maine News
The Bangor Daily News spoke with Sue Righthand, a clinical psychologist who works with the Department of Corrections and an associate professor of psychology at the University of Maine, for the article “Experts: Sex assaults by children in Maine not rare, but treatment works.” Righthand, who has published several reports on sexual offenders in Maine, said educating young people about what is appropriate behavior and helping offenders develop healthy relationships are keys to preventing recurrence and should be a statewide goal.
Patrick Hapworth, an athletic training major at the University of Maine, was featured in a Bangor Daily News article and series of photos about him and his gymnastics hobby. Hapworth, a former high school wrestler, said he became interested in gymnastics after he saw a wrestler from a competing school celebrate a state title by doing a backflip. He then taught himself gymnastics by watching YouTube videos.
The Maine Public Broadcasting Network spoke with John Rebar, executive director of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, for a report about how the final enactment of the current version of the Farm Bill, which is expected to be approved in the U.S. Senate, would remove a federal ban on growing hemp. Although growing hemp is already legal in Maine, Rebar said with federal bans in place, UMaine Extension never cultivated a crop or studied the issue beyond a 2003 study that found hemp could be a possible crop for Maine. He said if the bill passes, UMaine Extension will take time to understand what it would mean to grow hemp and the implications.
The Free Press reported the Sheepscot Valley Conservation Association of Newcastle, Maine, will host a talk by Esperanza Stancioff, an educator with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension and Maine Sea Grant, as part of its winter talk series “Citizen Science in the Sheepscot Watershed.” Stancioff will speak Feb. 5 about the current research on how coastal Maine’s climate is changing, how it might change in the future and the current adaptations that are under way.
Rural Media Group (RMG), a privately held corporation that owns and operates a portfolio of rural-based entertainment companies, is slated to air University of Maine Cooperative Extension videos on their morning “Market Day Report” and “Rural Evening News” programs. Videos likely to air include “How to Frost Seed,” “Working with Maine Business,”“How Do I Tap a Maple Tree?” and “Darling Marine Center Scallop Research.” RMG’s two channels, RFD-TV and RURAL TV, are dedicated to serving the needs and interests of people living in rural America with programming focused on agriculture, rural lifestyle, traditional country music, and live news and daily market coverage with a focus on the business and policy issues of rural America. RMG’s programming is available internationally and is currently distributed into more than 53 million homes through satellite and cable providers including DISH Network, DIRECTV, Time Warner Cable and Comcast.
American family formations have evolved over the years: from multiple generations under one roof; to a unit with father, mother and 2.5 children; to blended stepfamilies; to a single parent and child.
University of Maine sociologist Amy Blackstone says childfree couples are also part of the mix.
“When we talk about families, be it in politics, in the workplace, or in our popular culture, the childfree often get left out of the conversation,” Blackstone says.
“Yet the reality is that the childfree do form families just as those with children do. Recognizing that the childfree form families — and how they do so — is an important step toward destigmatizing the choice not to have kids.”
And more people are making that choice.
In 1976, 10 percent of women ages 40–44 in the United States had never had a child, says the UMaine associate professor and chair of the Sociology Department. By 2006, the rate had doubled to 20 percent.
Childfree couples fulfill nearly all the same functions as families with children, Blackstone says, and research on them is needed to reflect evolving realities of American family life.
In her January 2014 article in Sociology Compass titled “Doing Family without Having Kids,” Blackstone says childfree couples provide the same functions of emotional and sexual companionship, economic support, home life, and social reproduction as families with children do.
In studies, adult childfree couples cite a desire to nurture emotional closeness and a desire to maintain a satisfying sex life as reasons not to have children, Blackstone says. And, research shows that among married couples, childfree couples generally report higher levels of marital satisfaction than couples with children.
Pets also play an important role in childfree families, she says. Adults form strong emotional bonds with pets and often refer to them as family members.
Research indicates that both members of childfree couples generally contribute economically to the household. Childfree women are more likely to have careers outside the home than women with children, she says. In addition, earned incomes of childfree women are likely to be higher than earned incomes of women with children.
With regard to maintaining a home, Blackstone suggests research could be done on whether childfree couples more equitably divide household labor than couples with children.
And while childfree couples do not biologically reproduce, Blackstone says they regularly participate in social reproduction — helping youth become participating and contributing members of society — as relatives, teachers, counselors and role models.
Contact: Beth Staples, 207.581.3777
WABI (Channel 5), WVII (Channel 7) and WLBZ (Channel 2) covered the University of Maine Career Center’s 16th annual UMaine Career Fair. About 126 employers took part in the event at the New Balance Student Recreation Center. Patty Counihan, director of the UMaine Career Center, said networking is key to finding a job and the career fair allows students to get experience networking and to learn about what job opportunities exist. She said many of the employers at the fair were alumni who got their jobs through the career fair and have returned to recruit new students. WLBZ reported the event is the largest career fair in the state.
WVII (Channel 7) spoke with Nory Jones, a professor of management information systems in the Maine Business School at the University of Maine, and students in her e-commerce class about bitcoins. Bitcoins are the first online currency that doesn’t use a central bank to exchange money, and today one Bitcoin is valued at just under $795, but the rate is constantly fluctuating. Jones referred to bitcoins as “complete fantasy” and her class is trying to determine why the unaffiliated currency is gaining popularity.
The Bangor Daily News and WABI (Channel 5) were among news organizations to report on the University of Maine’s unveiling of the renovated New Balance Field House. The construction included the installation of a new track with an added fourth lane, a second long jump/triple jump pit, a permanent throwing circle with retractable cage, new netting, an updated air circulation/heating system and ADA accessibility. Members of the UMaine track and field team and coach Mark Lech spoke about the building’s changes. Lech said the field house now fulfills all of the team’s needs. Will Biberstein, UMaine’s associate athletic director, told the BDN the field house is essential for UMaine and the whole eastern Maine community.
David Grant, a University of Maine sophomore, spoke with WABI (Channel 5) about his experience as a Google Glass Explorer. Grant is testing Google Glass, a technology not yet on store shelves, that allows the user to check the weather, get directions, take photos and make calls from the glasses they’re wearing. Grant sends Google regular feedback on what’s working and what should be changed.
John Rebar, executive director of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, was interviewed by the Portland Press Herald for the article “Growing hemp nears legality in Maine, but just for research.” The article states Maine is one of a dozen states in which hemp could be grown for research purposes if the farm bill passed Wednesday in the U.S. House of Representatives becomes law. Rebar said as long as commercial hemp production remains a violation of federal law, it’s unlikely Maine research institutions would be interested in studying it. He also said the potential market for hemp remains unknown because it is illegal to grow commercially in the United States, and the farm bill wouldn’t change that.
The Bangor Daily News spoke with Travis Baker, who teaches English at the University of Maine, about the inspiration for and creation of his award-winning play “One Blue Tarp.” Baker’s play was named Best Play for the state of Maine in the 2013 Clauder New England Playwright Competition. “One Blue Tarp” runs from Jan. 30 to Feb. 16 at the Penobscot Theatre in Bangor. Tom Mikotowicz and Julie Lisnet, both theatre instructors at UMaine, will star in the play.
The Maine Public Broadcasting Network spoke with Oliver Wahlstrom, a seventh-grader who plays varsity ice hockey at North Yarmouth Academy. Earlier this year, Wahlstrom verbally committed to attend the University of Maine and play hockey in 2019. Wahlstrom, 13, said he realized he was a good hockey player when he was 8 or 9 years old. He wants to play hockey in college, win a world championship and play in the NHL.
WVII (Channel 7) reported free admission at the University of Maine Museum of Art in downtown Bangor will continue throughout 2014. Free admission is made possible by a donation from longtime museum sponsor and supporter Penobscot Financial Advisors. The company’s CEO, James Bradley, said UMMA plays an important role in the growing arts community, and it helps advance UMaine’s reach to Maine citizens and beyond.
Margaret Chase Smith Distinguished Maine Policy Fellow Sen. Anne Haskell will visit the University of Maine on Friday, Jan. 31. The Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center brings its fellows to campus for a day to teach an undergraduate class, engage faculty about research and public policy, and meet with UMaine administration and graduate students. Assistant Majority Leader Anne Haskell is serving her first term in the Senate, representing Maine’s District 9, which includes parts of Portland and Westbrook. She previously served six terms in the Maine House, three representing Gorham, and three representing Portland.
Haskell has been recognized as a fellow of the organization, as she is a distinguished individual with a past or current career as a policymaker in the state of Maine.
While visiting campus, Sen. Haskell will talk to an introduction to American law class and meet with UMaine President Paul Ferguson, Vice President for Research Carol Kim, Vice President for Innovation and Economic Development Jake Ward, and Director of Economic Development Initiatives Renee Kelly. Haskell will also tour the Innovative Media Research and Commercialization (IMRC) Center, Advanced Structures and Composites Center and Advanced Manufacturing Center. The senator’s visit will conclude with a reception held at the University Club in Fogler Library at 4 p.m.
Travis Baker, who teaches English at the University of Maine, was the focus of the latest column in the Bangor Daily News’ Conversations with Maine series. Baker spoke about the inspiration for his play “One Blue Tarp,” which was named Best Play for the state of Maine in the 2013 Clauder New England Playwright Competition. “One Blue Tarp” runs from Jan. 30 to Feb. 16 at the Penobscot Theatre in Bangor.
WABI (Channel 5) reported members of the University of Maine women’s basketball team and head coach Richard Barron visited Reeds Brook Middle School in Hampden to raise money for Play 4Kay, an initiative that gives coaches and teams the opportunity to raise breast cancer awareness and funds for research through games and community events. The middle school students took part in a free throw shootout to raise money for the Kay Yow Cancer Fund, the official charity of the initiative. The women’s basketball team’s annual Play 4Kay game will be held Feb. 9.
A proposed offshore wind pilot project by Maine Aqua Ventus, which includes the University of Maine and partner companies, is the focus of an EarthTechling article titled “Maine keeps offshore wind project afloat.” The Maine Public Utilities Commission voted earlier in January to approve the terms of the consortium’s project which seeks to build two turbines off the coast of Monhegan Island and supply power to 7,000 homes.
The Maine Edge reported accounting students in the Maine Business School at the University of Maine will offer free federal and state income tax filing assistance, under the supervision of Steven Colburn, associate professor of accounting. Except for the weeks of March 2 and 9, sessions will be held 2–4:30 p.m. Thursdays, Feb. 6 to April 10 at 312 D.P. Corbett Business Building and noon to 3 p.m. Fridays, Jan. 31 to April 11 at the Orono Public Library, 39 Pine St.
The Maine Edge reported on a study being conducted by Kelly Koss, a University of Maine student pursuing a master’s degree in food science and human nutrition. Koss is seeking 100 children to take part in her research that will test whether they are more apt to eat a vegetable that is a novel, bright color, such as purple potatoes or orange cauliflower.