University of Maine News
Mick Peterson, a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Maine, was interviewed by The Guardian for an article about the U.S. horse racing industry looking at track conditions to lower horse injury and fatality rates. Peterson spoke about his research on the correlation between racetrack surfaces and racehorse injuries and his work introducing science and uniformity into racetrack maintenance to help reduce the variability of a racing surface. “The consistency of the racetrack changes from day to day as well as around the track,” Peterson said. “You can hear all sorts of controversy surrounding the biomechanics of horses, about different types of surfaces, about horses adapting to different surfaces, but I’ve never found anyone who could argue that horses aren’t looking for a consistent or even surface.”
WVII (Channel 7) reported on the latest Big Gig pitch-off and networking event that was held in Orono. The Big Gig is a network for innovators and entrepreneurs in the Orono, Old Town and Bangor areas that was started by a partnership between the University of Maine, Old Town, Orono and Husson University and is supported by Blackstone Accelerates Growth. Event participants were preselected to deliver a three-minute elevator pitch about their business idea to a panel of judges and attendees. Among the pitches was one made by Emma Wilson, who spent most of her senior year at UMaine working as a marketing intern for a small Orono business called Zeomatrix. Wilson pitched the company’s Zeo Litter Bag — a biodegradable bag lined with the company’s zeolite technology that absorbs the odor of used cat litter.
Mark Brewer, a political science professor at the University of Maine, was quoted in a Reuters article about debates in the Maine gubernatorial race.
Democratic candidate Mike Michaud criticized Gov. Paul LePage for threatening to call off all their debates ahead of the November election, according to the report. Brewer said the real loser in the debate argument could be undecided voters. “If you believe the polls, marginal changes could really affect this race. Taking debates off the table would be a big development,” he said. Orlando Sentinel carried the Reuters report.
Karlton Creech, the University of Maine’s director of athletics, spoke with the Maine Public Broadcasting Network for a report how smaller Division I college football programs, like UMaine’s, often get paid to play at least one game against an opponent with a bigger following. This year, a new playoff system will decide the national championship in major college football, with a selection committee picking four teams to face off for the title, the report states. The change makes game schedules even more important, and has some smaller football programs worried they won’t be able to schedule “payday” games, according to the report. “It’s an important part of our budget scenario for our football program to try to schedule these games every year,” Creech said.
An endowed scholarship fund and political science professorship have been established at the University of Maine Foundation with more than $2 million in gifts from John Nickerson, a University of Maine alumnus and professor emeritus at the University of Maine at Augusta who died in May 2013.
Jeffery Mills, University of Maine Foundation president and CEO, made the announcement in UMaine’s North Stevens Hall, where the John Mitchell Nickerson Room was dedicated in honor of the member of the UMaine class of 1959.
The professorship will be known as the John Mitchell Nickerson Professorship of Political Science and will provide support for an accomplished UMaine political science professor.
The endowed John M. Nickerson Scholarship Fund will make merit awards to UMaine juniors and seniors who are Maine residents and are majoring in political science or participating in the prelaw program. The fund is expected to generate approximately $100,000 per year for scholarships, starting in 2016.
The full news release is online.
The Associated Press, Bangor Daily News, Portland Press Herald and WLBZ (Channel 2) reported Michelle Obama is coming to the University of Maine to campaign for Maine gubernatorial candidate Mike Michaud. The first lady will join Michaud and Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, at the Oct. 3 rally. WABI (Channel 5), Maine Public Broadcasting Network and Sun Journal carried the AP report.
Kelly Shaw, outreach coordinator and clinical psychology resident at the University of Maine Counseling Center, wrote an article for The Weekly about the sixth annual Out of the Darkness Community Walk that will be held Oct. 5 on the UMaine campus. Shaw serves on the organizing committee of the event that’s hosted by the UMaine Counseling Center and St. Joseph Healthcare, in conjunction with several area sponsors. Funds raised from the noncompetitive 5K walk through campus will benefit research initiatives of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). “Bringing suicide ‘Out of the Darkness’ is a critical step in getting a person at risk the support they so desperately need,” Shaw wrote.
WVII (Channel 7) and WABI (Channel 5) reported on a talk given by Robert Ford, a former U.S. ambassador to Syria, in the Buchanan Alumni House at the University of Maine. Ford, who held the position from 2011 until earlier this year and served 30 years in the U.S. Department of State and Peace Corps, spoke about how domestic politics and U.S. strategy intersect in Syria in a free talk titled “Syria and Washington Politics — Hard to Agree.”
Michael Day, an associate research professor of tree physiology and physiological ecology at the University of Maine, was quoted in a NJ.com article about expected fall foliage conditions in New Jersey. “Adequate precipitation and lack of wind disturbances has resulted in trees with an exceptional amount of foliage still attached,” Day said.
The Working Waterfront published a report about Douglas Rasher, a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Maine Darling Marine Center, winning the Mercer Award for publishing an outstanding ecological research paper before the age of 40. He received the award at the 99th annual meeting of the Ecological Society of America (ESA) Aug. 11 in California. Rasher was chosen the recipient of the 2014 Mercer Award for his study on Fiji’s coral reefs that provided insight into management and conservation of coral reefs.
Amy Fried, a political science professor at the University of Maine, was quoted in a Mainebiz article about the state’s gubernatorial race. Fried spoke about independent candidate Eliot Cutler — who is polling last behind Gov. Paul LePage and U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud — and whether she thinks he will drop out of the race. “It’s hard to know if Cutler would drop out. If he were to do so, he would probably wait until very close to Election Day,” Fried said, adding he has invested a lot of his own money in the race and has told supporters to stay with him until the end.
University of Maine Cooperative Extension announces two beginner beekeeping schools and one intermediate beekeeping school at the UMaine Extension Cumberland County office, 75 Clearwater Drive, Falmouth.
Master Beekeepers Jack Hildreth, Peter Richardson and Chris Rogers will be instructors for both beginner schools. One will be held 6:30–8:30 p.m. on five consecutive Thursdays from Oct. 16 through Nov. 13. The second will be held at the same time on five consecutive Thursdays from Feb. 5 through March 5. The $100 fee for each beginner school includes a textbook and reference notebook. The beginner school is suitable for beekeepers with one to two years of experience.
Hildreth and Richardson will be instructors for the intermediate beekeeping school, offered 6:30–8:30 p.m. on six consecutive Tuesdays, from Jan. 6 to Feb. 10. The $140 fee includes a textbook and reference notebook. The intermediate school is designed for beekeepers with two or more years of experience. Topics include how to keep bee colonies healthy and thriving in Maine, as well as swarm prevention, honey production and colony maximization.
For more information or to request disability accommodations, call 207.781.6099 or 800.287.1471 (in Maine). To register, visit the Cooperative Extension in Cumberland County’s website.
The Associated Press reported Robert Ford, a former U.S. ambassador to Syria, will discuss ongoing conflicts in Syria and the Middle East on Sept. 22, in the Buchanan Alumni House at the University of Maine. Ford, who held the position from 2011 until earlier this year and served 30 years in the U.S. Department of State and Peace Corps, will address how domestic politics and U.S. strategy intersect in Syria in a free talk titled “Syria and Washington Politics — Hard to Agree.” The Washington Times, Maine Public Broadcasting Network, WABI (Channel 5) and Portland Press Herald carried the AP report.
Paul Mayewski, director of the Climate Change Institute at the University of Maine, was quoted in a Boston Globe article titled, “In Maine, scientists see signs of climate change.” Mayewski said Maine is particularly sensitive to changes in climate more than any other state because of its natural resources and location. “We’re heavily dependent on stability in the environment, but we’re going in the direction of instability. We’re at the beginning of abrupt climate changes,” Mayewski added.
Several University of Maine sustainability practices were mentioned in Portland Press Herald articles about colleges adding sustainability programs and making an effort to go green. The article, “‘Green’ moves into the classroom,” stated starting this fall, UMaine is offering a bachelor of arts degree in Human Dimensions of Climate Change. Dan Dixon, UMaine’s sustainability coordinator, spoke about several UMaine efforts including Blue Bikes, the Terrell House Permaculture Living & Learning Center and campus farms for an article depicting a “perfect green university.”
John Rebar, executive director of the University of Maine’s Cooperative Extension, spoke with the Portland Press Herald for a report marking the program’s 100th anniversary. At a time when more than 50 percent of Americans lived in the countryside, and 30 percent of the workforce was engaged in farming, the program’s earliest focus was on agricultural education, according to the article. Today, Maine has 16 county offices, and staff and volunteers across the state. Rebar said Extension educators specialize in topics such as the maple syrup industry, aquaculture, goats and small poultry flock management, and the program still focuses on nutrition, childhood obesity prevention and food safety. He said today’s farmers are “eager to learn the latest information on how to produce, store, package and market their harvest,” and they are avid consumers of UMaine Extension’s online resources.
The Bangor Daily News published a report about the University of Maine’s New Balance Field House and Memorial Gym entering the final stages of renovations. PC Construction is nearing completion of the $15.65 million renovation project that has taken place over the past 17 months, according to the article. “It is the heart of our department, with the majority of our programs in the Memorial Gym and the New Balance Field House. It really helps lift our spirits to have seen all this new, positive work being done,” said Will Biberstein, UMaine’s associate athletic director for internal operations, who has helped oversee the project.
University of Maine’s Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students Robert Dana and Sandra Caron, a UMaine professor of family relations and human sexuality, were quoted in the Portland Press Herald article, “For Maine advocates, brutish behavior by pro-athletes offers call to action.” Dana said he felt shamed and frightened by the latest acts of violence in the NFL and spoke about the importance of leading male athletes on campus away from bad behavior. “We can’t let up. At our base, we know people are good. Sometimes I feel we need a quiver of a hundred arrows to target the problems,” Dana said. Caron, who formed Male Athletes Against Violence at UMaine in 2004, said, “The message we hope to convey is that men can be part of the solution by taking a stand against violence, sexism and by speaking up when they see or hear about such situations.”
Mark Brewer, a political science professor at the University of Maine, spoke with Seacoastonline for the article, “Maine gubernatorial race remains a toss-up.” Brewer spoke about the latest polls and how it looks like it will be a tight race between Gov. Paul LePage and U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, with independent candidate Eliot Cutler coming in third.
The University of Maine will host alumni and parents of current student for the 2014 Homecoming and Parents Weekend. The joint event will take place Friday to Sunday, Oct. 17–19.
The UMaine Alumni Association will host the Homecoming Craft Fair and Maine Marketplace in the newly renovated New Balance Field House. The craft fair runs 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 18 and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 19.
This year’s Homecoming will honor the reunion classes of 1974, 1979, 1984, 1989, 1994, 1999, 2004 and 2009.
A football game against Albany, and two men’s ice hockey games against Union College are among scheduled events. Other activities include the Emera Astronomy Center dedication, a jazz brunch and a silent auction.