WMTW (Channel 8 in Portland) reported on University of Maine research to improve the prediction of extreme weather events. UMaine received $1.5 million of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s $5.5 million award to increase the precision of predictions of extreme weather events and coastal flooding in the northeastern United States. The UMaine faculty and researchers are among the 39 researchers engaged in the two-year study. The group will build, deploy, garner and analyze data from state-of the-art outfitted floats, gliders and moorings during two winter storms and two summer storms. Mary Jane Perry, professor of oceanography and interim director of the UMaine Darling Marine Center; and Huijie Xue, professor of oceanography, spoke about the project. “So rather than four days out saying the storm might be here, the goal is to be able to narrow that window and give better and better predictions,” Perry said. The report also featured the CLAS (Climate Change Adaptation and Sustainability Conference) held at UMaine to help local community planners prepare for climate changes and introduce them to tools developed at UMaine’s Climate Change Institute (CCI) to assist in the planning process. Paul Mayewski, CCI director, spoke about weather in relation to climate change. “The climate becomes less stable the more often cold and warm air masses clash,” he said.
The Bangor Daily News reported on a march held at the University of Maine to raise awareness against domestic violence and advocate for change by educating classmates and the community. UMaine President Susan Hunter spoke at the event. She mentioned several statistics, including that almost half the homicides in Maine involve domestic violence, and mentioned campus programs that offer help. “You are not alone. We have your back. I have your back,” Hunter said. “No one in this community is alone. The UMaine community is here.” The Maine Business School hosted the march in collaboration with UMaine Athletics and the Student Women’s Association.
The Seattle Times reported an artifact from the University of Maine’s Hudson Museum that is on loan to Seattle’s Burke Museum has arrived in Washington. The native mask may be the inspiration of the original team logo for the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks. The wooden Northwest Coast transformation mask depicts a bird of prey when closed and reveals a painted depiction of a human face when opened. The artifact is part of the Hudson Museum’s William P. Palmer III collection. It will be on temporary display for the public in Seattle starting in late November, according to the article.
Mark Brewer, a political science professor at the University of Maine, was interviewed by the Maine Public Broadcasting Network for a report titled, “Cutler campaign faces collapse as supporters retreat,” about independent gubernatorial candidate Eliot Cutler. Cutler held a press conference six days before the election where he said he intends to stay in the race, but that he’s a realist and understands his chances of winning are slim. He told supporters who worry he cannot win to vote “their conscience.” Brewer said the timing of Cutler’s statements and the close race between Republican Gov. Paul LePage and Democratic candidate U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud will push many of his supporters to vote for Michaud if their primary goal is to defeat the incumbent. Brewer said Cutler’s main message was, “I can’t win this race, so if you need some kind of a release from me to go ahead and change your vote — go ahead and do it.”
The Bangor Daily News published an opinion piece written by University of Maine President Susan Hunter, titled “‘Yes’ on Question 2 is a vote for Maine’s health, safety.” Question 2 on the November ballot will ask Maine voters to approve an $8 million bond for animal and plant diagnostic services. The bond would allow the University of Maine Cooperative Extension to build a new facility on campus to house labs for the monitoring and testing of insects and pests that affect domestic and wild plants and animals in Maine. “What’s needed in Maine is a facility devoted to pest management and animal health, where public health threats can be monitored through research and diagnostics,” Hunter wrote.
WABI (Channel 5) spoke with author Stephen King and musician John Mellencamp about “Ghost Brothers of Darkland County,” a Southern gothic supernatural musical written by King that 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 tale of fraternal love, lust, jealousy and revenge. King spoke about what it’s like to kick off the 2014 leg of the tour right near his hometown of Bangor. “It’s wonderful because you know, I’ve lived here going on 40 years now. It’s my hometown. It’s kind of like, come on out and see what I did because it’s almost like when you are in the first grade and your parents come to your show or something like that so, I hope everyone comes and everybody really likes,” King said. “I’m excited. Let’s put it that way.” The Bangor Daily News also published an interview with King.
Jean MacRae, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Maine, was quoted in a Portland Press Herald article about a rotten gas smell that came from construction work under the Casco Bay Bridge and spread into downtown Portland. According to the article, the smell was most likely from mercaptan, a chemical that’s added to natural gas to make it smell. Mercaptan is harmless and dissipates quickly in the air, the article states. MacRae said the chemical is often confused with hydrogen sulfide, which smells the same but is a much stronger and more dangerous chemical. MacRae said it’s also possible the smell came from natural substances in the soil breaking down slowly until they were exposed to oxygen, but she doubts enough organic material has built up at the site for that to be likely, the article states.
WVII (Channel 7) spoke with John Rebar, executive director of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, about Question 2 on the November ballot that will ask Maine voters to approve an $8 million bond for animal and plant diagnostic services. UMaine Extension’s current facility was built in the 1940s and is not biosecure, according to the report. “Right now if you remove a tick from yourself, loved one, or a pet, we can identify the tick,” Rebar said. “There’s 14 different species in Maine of ticks, but we can’t tell you whether that tick contains microorganisms that will cause disease because we don’t have a biosecure lab in order to do that testing in.”
The University of Maine’s offshore wind project was the focus of the Real Clear Politics article, “Offshore wind power’s promising but complicated future.” The article mentioned the first successful year of VolturnUS, a prototype that’s one-eighth the scale of a full-size offshore wind turbine that was deployed off the coast of Castine. VolturnUS was created by the UMaine-led DeepCwind Consortium. Habib Dagher, director of the Advanced Structures and Composites Center at UMaine, spoke about the turbine’s first year. “We’ve had excellent results with the program,” he said. “The unit is essentially a floating laboratory — there are 60 sensors on it that measure the motion of the unit, stresses in the unit. We compared the data to our predictive models and it turned out very accurate.”
The Maine Public Broadcasting Network aired the 7th annual Mitchell Lecture on Sustainability as part of its “Speaking in Maine” public affairs lecture series. This year’s talk, hosted by the Senator George J. Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions at the University of Maine, featured Harvard University’s William Clark who spoke about “Mobilizing knowledge to shape a sustainable future.” Clark’s research in sustainability science focuses on understanding the interactions of human and environmental systems with a view toward advancing the goals of sustainable development, according to MPBN.