University of Maine News
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.
University of Maine Cooperative Extension is offering a two-part workshop on pasture and forage management 4:30–6:30 p.m., Oct. 15, at Aldermere Farm, 70 Russell Ave., Rockport, and 5:30–7:30 p.m., Oct. 22, at the UMaine Extension office, 377 Manktown Road, Waldoboro.
Cost is $20 for the workshop, which is for people who manage forage or pasture for equine or cattle. To register or to request a disability accommodation, call Jeanne Pipicello, 207.832.0343. For more information, call Caragh Fitzgerald, 207.622.7546 or Mark Hutchinson, 207.832.0343.
University of Maine Cooperative Extension will offer a course designed for educators and others interested in creating and maintaining school gardens. The class meets 4:30–7 p.m. Oct. 21, Oct. 28, Nov. 4, Nov. 18, Nov. 25 and Dec. 2, at South Berwick Central School, 197 Main St., South Berwick.
Each class will focus on a garden subject, including planning, soils, seedlings, composting, pest management and season extension. Participants will build an understanding of basic gardening principles, as well as connect the principles to school activities and curricula, and support the creation or enhancement of school gardens with ideas and planning time.
Course fee is $60; CEU credits are available. To maximize benefits and experience, educators, cooks, parents and librarians from the same school communities are encouraged to enroll. Register online by Oct. 17. For more information, contact Becky Gowdy, 207.324.2814, 800.287.1535 (in Maine); firstname.lastname@example.org. To request a disability accommodation, call Frank Wertheim, 207.324.2814 or 800.287.1535 (in Maine).
“Rockets to the Rescue!” is the theme of the 4-H Science Saturday workshop from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Oct. 25, at the University of Maine Foster Center for Student Innovation and Emera Astronomy Center.
In light of recent disasters such as Typhoon Haiyan, participants will be challenged to design and build an aerodynamic food transportation device to deliver a payload of food to victims. Youth in grades 6–8 will utilize engineering concepts, develop math skills, learn about nutrition and help solve a relevant, global issue. Lunch will be followed by a presentation of the STARS show at the new Emera Astronomy Center.
The $15 registration fee includes lunch. Maximum enrollment is 25 for this 2014 National 4-H Youth Science Day Experiment. Registration is available online. For more information or to request a disability accommodation, contact Jessica Brainerd, 207.581.3877.
In the ongoing struggle to prevent and manage seasonal flu outbreaks, animal models of influenza infection are essential to gaining better understanding of innate immune response and screening for new drugs. A research team led by University of Maine scientists has shown that two strains of human influenza A virus (IAV) can infect live zebrafish embryos, and that treatment with an anti-influenza compound reduces mortality.
It is the first study establishing the zebrafish as a model for investigating IAV infection.
“A zebrafish model of IAV infection will provide a powerful new tool in the search for new ways to prevent and treat influenza,” according to the researchers, who published their findings in the journal Disease Models & Mechanisms.
The research team is led by professor Carol Kim and graduate student Kristin Gabor of UMaine’s Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and Engineering, and includes four other UMaine researchers and one from Ghent University.
Most studies of viral pathogens that can infect zebrafish have been limited to fish-specific viruses. However, in recent years, four human viral illnesses have been reported to be modeled in zebrafish — herpes simplex, hepatitis C and chikungunya and now influenza A.
For studies of flu virus infection, the researchers focused on specific sialic acids and cytokines comparable in zebrafish embryos and humans. For these studies the zebrafish embryos also were kept in a temperature range comparable to the human respiratory tract (77 to 91.4 degrees F).
“The transparent zebrafish embryo allows researchers to visualize, track and image fluorescently labeled components of the immune response system in vivo, making it ideal for immunological research,” said Kim, a UMaine microbiologist and vice president for research and graduate school dean, writing earlier this year in the journal Developmental and Comparative Immunology.
In this study, visualization of a fluorescent reporter strain of IAV in vivo demonstrated that IAV infects cell lining surfaces of the zebrafish swimbladder, as it does in the human lungs.
In addition, the antiviral drug Zanamivir, known for being effective in treating influenza A and B in humans, was tested in vivo and was found to reduce IAV infection.
The researchers note that studies of IAV infection in adult zebrafish have the potential to provide valuable insights into infectious disease processes, particularly in understanding adaptive immune response and vaccine efficacy. This is critically important in light of the rapidly developing resistance of the influenza virus to drug therapies.
“This zebrafish embryo model of IAV infection will be an important resource for dissecting molecular mechanisms of host-pathogen interactions in vivo, as well as for identifying new antiviral therapies,” write the researchers.
Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745
Ghost Brothers of Darkland County, a Southern gothic supernatural musical written by Stephen King, debuts Saturday, Nov. 8, at the Collins Center for the Arts at the University of Maine.
King, a best-selling author and UMaine alumnus, teamed with Rock and Roll Hall of Famer John Mellencamp and Grammy Award-winning T Bone Burnett to create the haunting tale of fraternal love, lust, jealousy and revenge.
Ghost Brothers of Darkland County is a collaboration 16 years in the making. The staging is both old fashioned, resembling an old-style radio show, and modern and unique in its interactive use of storytelling, music and singing to move the macabre story forward. Eerie blues roots music reveals the inner workings of the characters. The full cast for the musical was announced Sept. 30. Actor/writer/producer Billy Burke (The Twilight Saga) and actress/writer/singer Gina Gershon (Killer Joe, House of Versace, Boeing, Boeing) play the lead roles of Joe McCandless and Monique McCandless, respectively.
The tale begins with Joe McCandless reflecting on a past tragedy involving his two older brothers battling over a girl, which ended in the unfortunate deaths of all three. Now, with Joe as an adult and two boys of his own, he’s watching an all-too-familiar scenario play out before his eyes. With his sons at each other’s throats, Joe’s story will either save or destroy the McCandless family.
Shows at the CCA are at 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 8 and 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 9. Prior to Saturday’s debut, a 2014 season gala will be held at Fogler Library. A reception begins at 5 p.m. and a Southern-inspired dinner commences at 6 p.m. To order tickets, call 207.581.1755, visit collinscenterforthearts.com/season.php, aeglive.com or ghostbrothersofdarklandcounty.com.CAST Joe McCandless Billy Burke Monique McCandless Gina Gershon The Shape Jake La Botz Zydeco Cowboy Jesse Lenant Drake McCandless Joe Tippett Frank McCandless Lucas Kavner Anna Wicklow Kylie Brown Dan Coker Eric Moore Andy McCandless Travis Smith Jack McCandless Peter Albrink Jenna Farrell Kate Ferber Young Joe Zac Ballard Featured Background Vocalist Carlene Carter Newt Hoggenbeck / Ensemble Joe Jung Ensemble Gwen Hughes Ensemble Rob Lawhon
BAND Music Supervision, Arrangements, Band Leader, Guitarist Andy York Percussion Dane Clark Keyboards and Harmonica Troye Kinnett Upright Bass Jon E. Gee
NORTH AMERICAN TOUR DATES Nov. 8 Orono, ME Collins Center for the Arts Nov. 9 Orono, ME Collins Center for the Arts Nov. 11 Toronto, ON Massey Hall Nov. 13 Philadelphia, PA Merriam Theatre Nov. 14 Durham, NC Durham Performing Arts Center Nov. 15 Washington, DC Warner Theatre Nov. 16 Baltimore, MD The Modell Performing Arts Center at the LYRIC Nov. 18 Red Bank, NJ Count Basie Theatre Nov. 20 Portland, ME Merrill Auditorium Nov. 21 Boston, MA Emerson Colonial Theatre Nov. 22 Providence, RI The VETS Nov. 24 New York, NY Beacon Theatre Nov. 26 Detroit, MI Fisher Theatre Nov. 28 Chicago, IL Broadway in Chicago’s Oriental Theatre Nov. 29 St. Louis, MO Peabody Opera House Dec. 1 Denver, CO Temple Hoyne Buell Theatre Dec. 3 Phoenix, AZ Orpheum Theatre Dec. 4 Los Angeles, CA Saban Theatre Dec. 5 San Francisco, CA SHN Curran Theatre Dec. 6 San Francisco, CA SHN Curran Theatre
Contact: Karen Cole, 207.581.1803
Science Nation reported on research by University of Maine paleoclimatologist Karl Kreutz in an article and video titled “Alaska mountain glaciers retreating due to climate change.” With support from the National Science Foundation, Kreutz and his team are working to reconstruct the climate history of the area around Alaska’s Denali National Park over the last thousand years, according to the article. The researchers are studying the relationship between temperature and precipitation rate, and the response of glaciers to climate changes, the article states. Kreutz said glaciers in Alaska could make a significant contribution to global sea-level rise in the coming decades. Seth Campbell, a UMaine alumnus and geophysicist with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and Abigail Bradford, an undergraduate student in the UMaine School of Earth and Climate Sciences, were also featured in the video.
Sarah Redmond, a marine extension agent for Maine Sea Grant at the University of Maine’s Center for Cooperative Aquaculture Research, was featured in an MSNBC Originals video about beer made with seaweed at the Marshall Wharf Brewing Co. in Belfast, Maine. When Marshall Wharf first considered brewing a beer with seaweed, Redmond provided the company with a report that outlined what is in kelp and what components will come out when it’s boiled. Redmond calls sugar kelp, which is now used in the company’s beer, the “super food from the sea” because it is a great source of iodine and calcium.
Wanda Cunningham, an administrative specialist at the University of Maine Counseling Center, shared her personal story about suicide with WABI (Channel 5) ahead of the sixth annual Out of the Darkness Community Walk on Oct. 5 that she helped organize. The event is hosted by the UMaine Counseling Center and St. Joseph Healthcare, in conjunction with several area sponsors. Funds raised from the walk will benefit research initiatives of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Cunningham spoke about her husband’s death and the stigma that exists related to suicide. “What I’m left with is what I can do to go forward with my life and perhaps make things better for other people,” she said.
WVII (Channel 7) spoke with Mark Brewer, a political science professor at the University of Maine, about political signs and whether they play a role in campaign outcomes. Brewer said lawn signs have been proven to influence smaller races. “There have been experiments done by political scientists and they show without a doubt in those kind of low information, low profile, low media coverage elections that lawn signs can and do affect the outcome,” he said.
Andrew Thomas, an oceanographer at the University of Maine, and Andrew Pershing, an associate professor in UMaine’s School of Marine Sciences and researcher at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, were quoted in a Portland Press Herald article about Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences using the Nova Star ferry to study changes in the Gulf of Maine. The data collected along the ferry route includes water temperature, salinity levels and the composition of nutrients, according to the article. The collection is called a “time series” because the data is obtained over a period of time, the article states. While researchers also use buoys to collect data in the Gulf, this is the only data set in the region that covers a large area, Thomas said, adding the researchers enter the data into a national database so all scientists can use the information. Pershing said that although the data is basic, it increases in value as time passes because it allows scientists to observe changes in the environment. “It’s really sort of priceless,” he said.
Politics in Washington — past, present and future — will be the focus of a public lecture by former U.S. Reps. Gil Gutknecht (R-MN) and Mike Kopetski (D-OR) Oct. 7 at the University of Maine.
The lecture, 4–5:30 p.m. in the Multipurpose Room, Memorial Union, is part of a three-day visit to Orono and Bangor by the two former lawmakers, sponsored by the UMaine Cohen Institute for Leadership and Public Service. Gutknecht and Kopetski will spend their time on campus leading discussions in political science classes, as well as a course in UMaine’s new Leadership Studies program. Kopetski also will lead a UMaine Career Center discussion with students about working in Asia.
During the Maine visit, Gutknecht and Kopetski will offer a Bangor Foreign Policy Club lecture, “The U.S. in the World Today: A Bipartisan View from Congress,” 7:30–9 a.m., Oct. 8, Bangor Public Library. They also will meet with students at Bangor High School.
Gutknecht served 12 years in the U.S. House. He was vice chair of the House Science Committee and chair of an agriculture subcommittee that oversaw renewable energy programs. Gutknecht is an adviser to several companies, including TransparaGov Corp.
Kopetski served four years in the U.S. House, where he was a member of the Ways and Means Committee. He is an international trade consultant, with a focus on China.
UMaine’s Cohen Institute for Leadership and Public Service is designed to model, promote, and teach leadership and civic engagement through programs that reflect and honor the legacy of U.S. Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen’s public service. The institute is dedicated to bringing together academic experts and civic leaders from diverse political backgrounds to forge informed consensus on a range of contemporary policy challenges.
For more information, contact Professor of Political Science Richard Powell, director of the Cohen Institute for Leadership and Public Service, 207.581.1795.
More than 80 companies will be represented at the University of Maine’s annual Engineering Job Fair from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 16 at the New Balance Student Recreation Center.
Co-sponsored by the UMaine College of Engineering and Career Center, the event is an opportunity for students to learn about some of the engineering firms in Maine, New England and throughout the country; meet company representatives; and possibly find a job after graduation or on-the-job experience through a co-op or internship.
Students are advised to bring resumes, prepare 30-second introductory pitches and research the companies they plan to speak with before attending.
More information, including a list of the companies scheduled to attend, is on the Career Center website.
The event is underwritten by General Dynamics/Bath Iron Works, with additional support from several industry sponsors.
The University of Maine will host the Black Bear Attack Adventure race at 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 4. The 3.5-mile race begins at the New Balance Student Recreation Center and will lead participants through an obstacle course in the wooded trails behind the gym. Runners will encounter crawls through the mud, tire obstacles, a climbing wall and a swamp. They will also be expected to carry pumpkins and dodge zombies. Participants must sign a waiver and be at least 14 years old. Preregistration is $15 for current UMaine students and $40 for others. More information and registration is online.
University of Maine researchers have been awarded $700,000 to develop eco-friendly particleboard panels with adhesive made of cellulose nanofibrils (CNF), as well as design a commercial-scale plant to manufacture the CNF.
With one $350,000 grant, UMaine scientists Mehdi Tajvidi, William Gramlich, Doug Bousfield, Doug Gardner and Mike Bilodeau, as well as John Hunt from the USDA Forest Service (USFS), are tasked with making strong, stiff and fully recyclable particleboard panels that can be used in countertops, door cores and furniture.
UMaine researchers taking part in the project have areas of expertise ranging from forest products to chemistry to chemical and biological engineering.
The adhesive in the particleboard will be made from CNF, rather than what has commonly been used — urea-formaldehyde. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has classified formaldehyde as a probable human carcinogen.
Cellulose nanomaterials are natural structural building units from wood; they’re 1/100,000th the width of a human hair and can be used in high-value products with superior properties, including exceptional strength.
“High-volume applications of cellulose nanomaterials, such as what we will be doing in this research, are a key step toward commercialization of these wonderful all-natural nanomaterials,” says Tajvidi, assistant professor of renewable nanomaterials in the School of Forest Resources.
“Replacing formaldehyde-based resins with a biomaterial has always been desired and we are happy this is happening at UMaine.”
University scientists say utilizing CNF in particleboard has considerable market promise, and optimizing both techniques and methodology are key to successful mass production and commercialization.
To optimize techniques and methodology, UMaine has been awarded another $350,000 to construct a commercial-scale CNF manufacturing plant with a capacity of 2 tons per day.
“This first commercial cellulose nanofibril manufacturing plant is the next phase in demonstrating the scalability of the technology,” says Bilodeau, director of the UMaine Process Development Center.
“It will accelerate commercialization of CNF by making large quantities of CNF available to support the growth in application development activities.”
Paperlogic, a Southworth Company, is a collaborator on the plant project. The CNF plant is slated to be built at Paperlogic’s mill in Turners Falls, Massachusetts; it is expected to be commissioned in late 2015.
Both projects are funded through P3Nano — a public-private partnership founded by the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities and the USFS.
The goals of the project are to commercialize cellulosic nanomaterials, create jobs and improve forest health.
Experts in business, government and academia chose to fund the UMaine proposals and seven others from 65 submissions.
Carlton Owen, chair of the P3Nano Steering Committee and president of the endowment, said in addition to creating high-value products, the research could result in jobs and improve the health of forests.
Federal matching funds are provided by the Forest Service’s State and Private Forestry and Research and Development branches and work coordinated with the USFS Forest Products Laboratory.
Contact: Beth Staples, 207.581.3777
Six years ago, Howard Reiche Jr. started “putting things away” that he felt he could “do without” in order to devote as much time as possible to other more pressing family commitments, including caring for his beloved wife, Stevie. About six months ago, shortly after his 85th birthday, he renewed his focus on some longstanding personal goals, priorities and “unfinished business.”
“I realized I needed a change in my life,” says the Portland, Maine, native who is a long-time resident of Falmouth.
That’s when Reiche got to work on his bucket list. He dusted off his cello that, six years ago, he’d put in the corner of his office, and he started taking lessons. He took up watercolor painting again and started swimming three half-miles every week. He also renewed his 20-year passion of collecting 18th-century autographs of the original signers of the Declaration of Independence (he has 37 of the 55).
In August, he also contacted the University of Maine Graduate School to see if he could finish the master’s degree he started in 1950.
“I have a bucket list of things that I want to accomplish and this was on my list to talk to somebody about,” says Reiche. “I just needed somebody to say it might be worthwhile looking at this.”
After graduating from Bowdoin College, Reiche enrolled at UMaine in 1950 to pursue a master’s degree in zoology and study microbial genetics. He completed the two semesters of coursework, passed his final exams and was set to finish his thesis when he was told that he was supposed to have taken organic chemistry at Bowdoin prior to enrolling in the master’s program at UMaine.
“At the time, I was 21, married, with no money and the draft hanging over my head,” says Reiche. “Spending another year at UMaine to take one undergraduate course was out of the question. But it’s been on my bucket list all this time.”
Reiche left the university to take a temporary teaching position, and then spent three years as a medical services corps officer in the U.S. Air Force. Following discharge from the military, he launched what would become a 32-year career in Maine’s paper industry.
“S.D. Warren Paper Company was looking for nonengineers who had college degrees with an abundance of science and math,” Reiche says. “Four of us were hired, along with engineers from UMaine and Syracuse.”
Through the years at S.D. Warren and then Scott Paper, Reiche worked in product quality control, sales and customer service, and production. Before retiring in 1988, he was mill manager at the Westbrook, Maine, mill and a vice president in the global corporation.
He also researched and wrote books, including Closeness: Memories of Mrs. Munjoy’s Hill (2002) and The Smile of Providence: A History of Gilead, Maine 1804–2004 (coauthored in 2004).
It was that body of lifetime workplace experience that UMaine evaluated as prior learning equivalent to the few remaining credits needed to fulfill a nonthesis master’s degree. Oct. 7 in a ceremony in Falmouth, UMaine will award Reiche a Master of Professional Studies degree in Biochemistry.
“Mr. Reiche’s career in the fields of medicine, science, engineering and business, coupled with his broad body of unique experiences over a lifetime, stand as a tribute to the man and highlight the importance of maintaining interest, pursuing knowledge and giving 100 percent,” said Carol Kim, UMaine vice president for research and dean of the Graduate School. “We’re happy that, by conferring the long-overdue master’s degree on Mr. Reiche, we could help him with this important accomplishment.”
With his UMaine degree, Reiche will join a dozen other family members who are University of Maine alumni. Both of his children, Stacey and Ford, graduated with UMaine degrees in 1979 and 1976 respectively. His father and namesake graduated from UMaine with bachelor’s and master’s degrees, both in biology in 1924 and 1936, respectively, and went on to a legendary career in education. The Howard C. Reiche Community School in Portland’s West End is named for his father.
“The University of Maine has always been a part of the family,” says Reiche, whose UMaine memories include attending football games as a boy and hearing his father reminisce about putting himself through college as a member of the Harmony Hounds. “It made me very, very happy that UMaine followed up on my weird request.”
Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745
The Senator George J. Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions at the University of Maine will host the 7th annual Mitchell Lecture on Sustainability Oct. 2 with a talk by Harvard University’s William Clark of the John F. Kennedy School of Government. Sen. George J. Mitchell and UMaine President Susan Hunter are scheduled to make remarks.
Clark’s talk, “Mobilizing knowledge to shape a sustainable future,” will focus on strategies for linking knowledge with action to improve human well-being while protecting the planet’s life-support systems.
A pioneer in the emerging field of sustainability science, Clark will discuss how collaborations involving universities, government, the private sector and civil society are helping to tackle the challenge of sustainable development. Drawing upon lessons learned in both local and global efforts, he’ll show how university–stakeholder partnerships can accelerate the transition to a sustainable world.
The lecture will run from 1 to 2:30 p.m. at Hauck Auditorium with a reception to follow. The event is free and open to all, but tickets are required and can be obtained by calling 207.581.3244 or by making a reservation online.
William Clark is the Harvey Brooks Professor of International Science, Public Policy and Human Development and co-directs Harvard’s Sustainability Science Program. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He is a recipient of a MacArthur Award, the Humboldt Prize, the Kennedy School’s Carballo Award for Excellence in Teaching and the Harvard College Phi Beta Kappa Prize for Excellence in Teaching.
Previous Mitchell Lecture speakers include the late Elinor Ostrom, winner of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Economics and the only woman to ever win the prize; Jane Lubchenco, Wayne and Gladys Valley Professor of Marine Biology at Oregon University and the first woman to serve as administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA); and James Gustave “Gus” Speth, co-founder of the Natural Resources Defense Council and founder of the World Resources Institute.
The mission of the Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions is to help search for, implement and evaluate policies and practices that protect ecosystems while improving economic well-being and fostering strong communities in Maine, New England and beyond. The overall strategy for achieving the goal is to transform the creation and support of interdisciplinary teams within the university as well as working to meet the needs of stakeholders. In essence, working to link knowledge to action more effectively.
The vision for the Mitchell Lecture on Sustainability is to bring together people from across Maine who seek a clearer understanding of the economic, social and environmental challenges and opportunities we face, as well as to present constructive options that will facilitate a renewed commitment to the development of collaborative approaches to problem solving.
Contact: Tamara Field, 420.7755
“Building Sustainable Communities: International, National and Local Perspectives” is the theme of the 11th annual ESTIA conference to be held Oct. 24–25 at the University of Maine.
The goal of this year’s conference is to inform the UMaine community about international, national and local efforts in sustainability and peace by emphasizing the importance of ethics and social responsibility as foundations for community development.
Presenters include congresswoman Chellie Pingree, who has worked on sustainability and agriculture; Jan Wampler, an architecture professor at MIT who has focused on designing ecocities and spaces in urban environments; Bernard Amadei, founder of Engineers Without Borders and Science Envoy for the U.S. Department of State; Soren Hermansen and Malene Lunden, co-directors of the Samso Energy Academy in Denmark; Ceren Bogac, an environmental designer from Cyprus; and Vasia Markides, a documentary filmmaker and Famagusta Ecocity Project founder.
Several UMaine faculty and other community members are also scheduled to speak during the conference that will be held in the Wells Conference Center from 6–9:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 24 and from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 25.
Regular admission is $50 per person, $35 for students. Price includes both Friday and Saturday sessions plus a Friday reception and Saturday lunch. Registration is online.
ESTIA (Ecopeace Sustainability Training and International Affiliations) is a Maine-based ecological organization that promotes and facilitates sustainability and peace through education.
For more information or to request a disability accommodation, contact Emily Markides at 207.581.2636 or email@example.com.
Contact: Elyse Kahl, 581.3747
The Portland Press Herald interviewed Janet Fairman, an associate professor of education at the University of Maine, for the article, “Tax relief scarce in school consolidations.” Fairman, who co-wrote two studies on school reorganization in Maine, said research showed consolidation did seem to work when it came to expanding opportunities for students across the district. “Our research did not show a tremendous cost savings. One of the main reasons was districts that chose to consolidate then chose to use those savings to expand or improve educational programs for students,” she said. Fairman also said she thinks more studies are needed to evaluate the effectiveness of consolidation, both financially and academically.