Category Archives: Education and Schools

Maine Voices: Higher education, employers must work together for bright future | Portland Press Herald

There is a Cherokee parable where a grandfather describes a great fight that goes on inside of every person. The grandfather explains that the fight is between two wolves, one representing selfishness and arrogance and the other representing kindness and compassion.

“Which wolf will win?” asks the grandson. “The one we feed,” answers the grandfather.

We are reminded of this parable and the grandfather’s answer when thinking of another struggle taking place inside our state.

It’s a struggle between two economic futures. One future is bleak: Maine as an aging state with limited job opportunities and young Mainers fleeing for greener pastures.

The other is a future of promise and innovation with an increase in good paying jobs and an educated populace prepared to assume those jobs.

Read the rest of this commentary.


Maine at the cutting edge of compost technology | Bangor Daily News

Most people don’t spend a lot of time thinking about what happens to waste once it’s been thrown out or flushed away.

But Mark King and the other members of the Maine Compost Team are not like most people. King, an environmental specialist with the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, has spent many years learning and teaching the finer points of composting food scraps, dead animals, human waste and other types of waste products. And he is very proud of the Maine Compost School, an award-winning, internationally-acclaimed program that is the longest-running such school in the country. Students from all over have come here for the last 20 years to learn cutting-edge compost technology.

“In 2014 there was an outbreak of avian influenza in the midwest that was getting worse and worse and worse. They didn’t have any experts to help with composting [the dead birds], and three of us from Maine were asked to help,” he said. “I think we’re leading the way. We have a huge abundance of composting expertise in the state of Maine.”

More than 1,000 students have graduated from the Maine Compost School, which is taught twice a year at Highmoor Farm in Monmouth, the University of Maine’s apple, small fruit and vegetable research facility. The farm has a state-of-the-art composting facility where students receive classroom instruction, laboratory experience and hands-on project exercises at the school that has received the Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence and a special national award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, among other recognitions. Students spend a week digging into the art and science of composting, King said a few days after the fall class had finished, learning everything from how to correctly manage a small backyard bin to a large community compost facility.

“We teach the skill. We talk about the systems. We talk about how to build a pile and how to manage a pile,” King said. “It’s a program that fills up every class. It’s citizens, municipal officials, regulators. We accept anyone. Our philosophy is we’ll train anybody that wants to learn about compost.”

Read the rest of this story.

Study tracks great white sharks off Maine coast | Portland Press Herald


Marine biologists are embarking on the first study dedicated to learning about the habits of great white sharks off the coast of southern Maine, where the scientists say the fishes’ population is likely to increase.

University of New England professor James Sulikowski will collaborate with Greg Skomal of the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries to see how often the sharks come near the coast.

This week, Sulikowski will set up receivers on buoys around Wood Island, just off Biddeford. The receivers will detect great whites within a 600-foot radius that have been tagged with transmitters.

Great white sharks are the world’s largest predatory fish. Known for their powerful jaws and serrated teeth, they can grow to more than 20 feet and 4,000 pounds.

They have been protected from harvesting in U.S. waters since 1991. Skomal said the shark population has been rebounding since.

Read the rest of the story by Deirdre Fleming.


Deadline nears for Life is Better Contest

Deadline nears for Life is Better Contest

Only one day left to be entered in the Life is Better with MPBN Contest. Please don’t miss your chance!

Make a gift to MPBN before 8:30pm May 31 and you will automatically be entered in MPBN’s Sixth Annual Life is Better with MPBN Contest.

There will be one Grand Prize winner of a 2014 Nissan Juke S, generously donated by Lee Auto Malls of Maine, and two Second Prize winners of a Sugarloaf Weekend getaway and golf package.

You can be entered in the contest and support MPBN right now by clicking on the support button below and making a safe and secure on-line donation to MPBN.

Thanks and good luck!

More to be thankful for as time goes on

Brenda and me at a sandwich shop.

Brenda and me at a sandwich shop. (Photo by Keith Michaud)

I know it is a bit late for a “thankful” blog entry, after all, people now are more concerned with camping out at their favorite stores to find the best deals for holiday shopping than they are about contemplating thankfulness.

But I am thankful for a whole lot more than I have been in quite a while.

Actually, I’ve been pretty grateful and thankful for quite a while. Even during my more than two and a half years of unemployment I was hopeful and fairly optimistic that I would eventually find a job, and grateful and thankful for what I did have. Two and a half years is a very long time to be without work and to remain optimistic in that time took considerable effort. But I did not give up. I was able to overcome quite a bit. Two years ago I even wrote that I was thankful for many things, despite my situation.

This year I am thankful for those same things, but also so much more thankful for two things in particular.

One of those things is a new job. I’ve been working now for about three weeks as the editor of the Central Valley Business Journal. It’s working out well, I think. My bosses appreciate my expertise and seem genuinely pleased that I am there. It is not my “dream job,” but does that sort of thing really exist anymore?

There is a chance that I would not have gone after or accepted that job if it was not for my girlfriend, Brenda. She is the one thing for which I most grateful this holiday season. I am very happy that she is in my life. We’ve been dating for a bit more than six months now. In that time she has been consistently encouraging and supportive and far more confident than I that I would find a job eventually. She was very caring in her encouragement. I am not sure I would still be in California if it were not for Brenda. We make each other laugh and it is very easy to be with her.

She is intelligent, bright, pretty, cute, funny, and able to laugh at herself.

She is a former teacher currently working as an aide on buses transporting developmentally disable adults while she earns her master’s degree in education. She longs to be back in the classroom and I hope that happens for her sooner than later.

She and a co-worker go to thrift stores to buy lightly worn jackets to give to people in need who cross their path. She made me tear up with pride when she told me that she could not give me the leftover roast and vegetables she had promised me because on the way to my apartment she spotted a homeless teen in need and gave him the food instead.

She is supporting her very bright, intelligent 18-year-old daughter while she earns her GED. Her son is a police officer and I know Brenda worries about him and his future. She is a caring daughter to her parents, one of whom is in the early stages of fast-acting dementia.

She has so much going on in her life, but she is able to find room in her heart for me. For that I am very thankful.

All rights reserved by Keith Michaud ©

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Will write for food! … Or walk your dog!

Hey there! Hey there! I’m still trying to line up a freelance gig or two for the coming weeks. Please let me know if you are in need or know someone in need of a writer-editor-blogger-dog walker-house-sitter-dishwasher. Cheers!

Bill Nemitz: Keep Preble Street miracle from disappearing | Maine Sunday Telegram

A cynic might read Dovid Muyderman’s story-turned-screenplay, in which two young Jewish brothers live in a homeless shelter by night and pull straight A’s at Portland High School by day, and scoff that it’s too far-fetched — stuff like that just doesn’t happen out there in the real world.

Except it did.

“This is eerie,” said Muyderman, 31, as he and Mark Swann, executive director of Preble Street, stepped inside the Portland social service agency’s Lighthouse Shelter for homeless teenagers Thursday morning. “This is very familiar ground. It’s changed a little bit, but it’s got the same feel.”

What kind of feel?

“It’s a place to sleep, for sure,” Muyderman replied. “And a place to go to that’s safe and usually has food and resources and is really proximal to the school, which was good for us.”

He’s talking about himself and his older brother, Josh. Their story, which Dovid Muyderman hopes soon will be on a screen near you, is proof positive that kids without a home need not be kids without hope.

Click for the rest of the commentary by Bill Nemitz in the Maine Sunday Telegram.

Friends of Aroostook National Wildlife Refuge putting on annual fishing derby | Aroostook Republican and News via The Bangor Daily News

Friends of Aroostook National Wildlife Refuge putting on annual fishing derby | Aroostook Republican and News via The Bangor Daily News

Maine committee seeks $250,000 for Acadian Congress | Bangor Daily News

Committee seeks $250,000 for Acadian Congress | Bangor Daily News

U.S. Consul General in Quebec to assist World Acadian Congress organizers | Bangor Daily News

The Orion Captures Fifth Straight National Excellence Award – CSU, Chico News – CSU, Chico

The Orion Captures Fifth Straight National Excellence Award – CSU, Chico News – CSU, Chico.

[I was the editor of this paper in the late 1980s for two semesters when Dr. Richard Ek was the adviser. … Of course, that means I had absolutely nothing to do with these awards, but I’m still proud of what the current crew has done. Congratulations! — KM]

Nothing to cheer about in windpower setback: Maine should do a better job indicating where there is room for wind | Portland Press Herald

[Wind energy is going to be a very vital component to an overall energy plan for the future. I see wind turbines all over California and each time I do I think about just how much foreign oil is NOT being burned because of those towers. Mainers really need to look deep within and realize that we cannot drill, drill, drill our way out of the current energy situation. The planet won’t survive that kind of thoughtlessness. – KM]

Nothing to cheer about in windpower setback: Maine should do a better job indicating where there is room for wind | Portland Press Herald

World Acadian Congress in Maine garners support of French consul general | Bangor Daily News

World Acadian Congress in Maine garners support of French consul general | Bangor Daily News

Maine’s Acadia National Park celebrates park week | Bangor Daily News

Maine’s Acadia National Park celebrates park week | Bangor Daily News

Critics accuse LePage of exempting himself from pension sacrifice | Lewiston Sun Journal via Bangor Daily News

Critics accuse LePage of exempting himself from pension sacrifice | Lewiston Sun Journal via Bangor Daily News

Finding inspiration in ‘Invitus’, the poem and the movie

Saw the movie “Invitus” (2009 biographical sports drama film directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon) while visiting friends in Vacaville last week. It is based on the John Carlin book “Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game That Changed a Nation” about the post-apartheid rugby World Cup.

Invitus” refers to the Victorian poem of stoicism Nelson Mandela recited to fellow inmates at Robben Island prison. In the movie it is used as inspiration for the mostly white South African rugby team to win the rugby World Cup.

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

“Invictus” by the English poet William Ernest Henley (1849–1903)

I would like to think that I am as stoic as poet William Ernest Henley, who wrote the poem while recovering from having a portion of his leg amputated because of a tubercular infection. The poem is seen as his resilience following that.

I am not sure I have that sort of internal strength. I can only be inspired to attempt to overcome my own challenges.

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Three Lincolnville friends plan cross-country trip ‘Love, the Bus’ for charity | Bangor Daily News

Three Lincolnville friends plan cross-country trip ‘Love, the Bus’ for charity | Bangor Daily News

For many older Maine workers retirement is not an option | Bangor Daily News

For many older Maine workers retirement is not an option | Bangor Daily News

Acadian Congress chooses executive director | Bangor Daily News

Acadian Congress chooses executive director | Bangor Daily News

Black Bears knock off Boston College | Bangor Daily News

Black Bears knock off Boston College | Bangor Daily News

Skip that grande latte, click below to back a cure for diabetes

A former boss, Diane Barney, is riding in the American Diabetes Association’s Tour de Cure on May 1 in Napa.

Those of you who are able – especially those who have diabetics in your family or know diabetics at work or the gym or wherever – should click here for the link to the website where you can pledge to back Diane in the ride. Or follow the link to find information on how to join the effort, either as a rider or by making a pledge to another rider.

The event is part of a series of fund-raising cycling events held in more than 40 U.S. states. You can find out more about the event on the website.

My kid sister has been a diabetic since she was, well, a kid. Diabetics have a wide range of health challenges, the worst of which include blindness, poor blood circulation that can lead to amputations, and even death. Diabetes is a very, very serious illness, but does not seem to garner the type of attention – especially in research funding – that it should.

Diane, now the communications director at NorthBay Healthcare Systems in Fairfield, CA, made this pitch earlier today to her Facebook friends:

“I’m riding 25 miles in the Tour de Cure, a fund-raising cycling event to help stop diabetes. Any friend who would like to pledge me can click directly to this page and use a credit card. How convenient, right? Any amount is fine – 10 cents a mile is only $2.50 – less than a grande latte at Starbucks! And it’s for a great cause!”

So, skip that grande latte and support the demise of a hideous disease. Click on this link and back Diane in the ride. Or follow the link to the American Diabetes Association website on the Tour de Cure and find a city near you where you can participate in a ride – either as a rider or a donor.

Stop diabetes in our lifetime!

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