Tag Archives: University of Maine

How Maine Became a Laboratory for the Future of Public Higher Ed | The Chronicle of Higher Education

Long, harsh winters are a fact of life in Maine, but the state’s public colleges have never seen anything like what’s coming. A demographic winter, a relentless drop in the number of high-school graduates, extends into the foreseeable future. Many states in the Midwest and Northeast are facing shortfalls, but Maine’s promises to be especially brutal.

Every statistic about the state is more worrying than the next, and together they spell looming trouble. Maine’s population of 1.3 million is the oldest in the nation, with a median age of 44.2; the national median is 37.7. It ranks 47th among states in fertility and immigrant population; just 3 percent of residents are foreign-born. Enrollment has already been faltering at most of the state’s four-year public universities for the past decade, and the number of high-school graduates in the state is projected to continue to fall, by about 14 percent through 2032.

Maine is the nation’s most rural state, with most of its population clustered in the southern half, as are most of its seven public four-year campuses, which were organized as a system in 1968. But even its population centers are sparse compared with nearby states. Portland, its largest city and home of the University of Southern Maine, has only about 66,000 residents. The system’s flagship campus, in Orono, a town near Bangor, enrolls about 11,000 students. That’s about a third the size of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Capping the state’s northern end is Aroostook County, an enormous rural expanse nearly the size of Connecticut and Rhode Island combined. The county is served by two institutions 60 miles apart, the Universities of Maine at Presque Isle and at Fort Kent. Aroostook has lost almost a quarter of its population over the last 30 years and now has fewer than 70,000 residents. Census data indicate those residents are trending older, not younger. As Raymond J. Rice, president of the Presque Isle campus, puts it, “we’re in the worst corner of the worst corner of the country for demographics” for traditional college students.

These factors make the Maine system the canary in the coal mine for the challenges that public colleges face in many states. But these same factors have also compelled the state system and its institutions to embark on a bold and, in some respects, inchoate strategy to adapt. As a result, Maine has become a de facto laboratory for the future of sustainable public higher education.

Read the rest of this story.


Moose welcome to visit anytime | Bangor Daily News

Wouldn’t you know. A moose walks into my front yard and I can’t find my camera.

The little case is empty. Where did I put it?

I gaze at the huge animal munching on the leaves of the apple trees outside my kitchen window. I guess I will just have to enjoy watching it.

No. I will use my big single-lens reflex camera that has been idle so long the battery is probably dead. I fish the camera out of its bag and turn it on.

“No card.”

I dig a memory card out of the bag, plug it in and move to the dining room window for a better view. The moose slides her mouth along one branch after the other, munching on the leaves that don’t fall to the ground.

Click to read more of this commentary by Kathryn Olmstead, former University of Maine associate dean and associate professor of journalism living in Aroostook County, published in The Bangor Daily News.

UMFK gets money for biomass energy research; fliers my bring back county airport

UMFK gets $345,000 grant to study future of biomass production in St. John Valley | Bangor Daily News

Fliers hope to lift old county airport back to life | Bangor Daily News

U.S. Patent official says Maine one of most innovative places in nation | Bangor Daily News

ORONO, Maine — Maine has several advantages that could help the state develop its innovation-based economy, the head of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office said Wednesday morning.

Under Secretary of Commerce David Kappos spoke at the Invention to Venture conference, held at the Black Bear Inn and organized by the Target Technology Center. Roughly 120 people were in attendance, including students from the University of Maine and from the Maine Maritime Academy, faculty members, inventors, entrepreneurs and experts up and down the entrepreneurship food chain.

Kappos has a second home in the Rockport area, and said he’s been intimately familiar with Maine for about a decade.

“Mainers have a very special innovative capability that is as good or better than anywhere else I’ve been in the world,” said Kappos.

The state has a “terrific can-do attitude; people are natural problem-solvers,” said Kappos.

Click for the rest of the story by Matt Wickenheiser in the Bangor Daily News.


Maine hockey team sweeps No. 2 North Dakota | Bangor Daily News

Maine hockey team sweeps No. 2 North Dakota | Bangor Daily News


Maine knocks off No. 2 North Dakota | Bangor Daily News

ORONO — The University of Maine men’s hockey team didn’t waste much time welcoming the North Dakota Fighting Sioux to Alfond Arena Friday night.

 Maine scored just 43 seconds into the game en route to a five-goal outburst in the opening period that carried the Black Bears to 7-3 win

 over the nation’s second-ranked team in front of 5,216 fans.

 Maine snapped a three-game winless streak and improved to 2-1-2. North Dakota fell to 3-1-1.

 The teams will play again tonight at 7.

 “We played Maine hockey tonight,” said Maine junior right wing Gustav Nyquist, who had a goal and two assists. “We got the puck down low, we worked hard, we moved our feet and we were tenacious.”

Click for the rest of this story by Larry Mahoney in the Bangor Daily News.

Castine center to test tidal energy turbines | Bangor Daily News

Castine center to test tidal energy turbines | Bangor Daily News.

Blacksmith fires up forge with UMaine students | Bangor Daily News

Metal began flaking off the glowing orange steel as it cooled. The student wrenched the bar sideways around a spiral jig until it faded to gray and creaked in protest.

“Cool,” said Hannah Grenier, 22, of Oxford Hills, as she walked back to the forge with a half-completed steel spiral.

“She thinks it’s cool,” said blacksmith Robert Adams, 75, of Winterport. “The end result will be cool. For now, it’s hot.”

University of Maine sculpture students and passersby gathered around a forge and three anvils Sept. 17 as guest artisan Adams led a blacksmith workshop on the creation of steel crosses and spirals he refers to as scrolls. They set up shop by the sculpture building in the Collins Center of the Arts parking lot.

As he instructed Grenier in completing her scroll, he asked for another volunteer to start heating metal in the forge.

“I like them to make stuff,” Adams said. “That’s how you remember.”

Click for the rest of the story by Aislinn Sarnacki in the Bangor Daily News.

Thousands of toy cars yield thousands of kid smiles | Bangor Daily News

Most people’s basements are packed full. Old family photographs, records, furniture, you name it. But Tom Christensen’s basement is full of cars. Often as many as 5,000 at a time.

The handmade wooden cars Christensen assembles in his basement workshop are donated to children in hospitals and homeless shelters, or those with parents in the military or in prison.

“It’s all about making some kids happy,” Christensen says. “There are a lot of kids in tough situations that they didn’t cause. It gives them a time to step out of their problem for a while. Some kids just need to know somebody cares about them.”

The project began in 2007 when the University of Maine professor of electrical engineering technology saw an article in Workbench magazine. It was about the ToyMakers, a Florida organization that provides free wooden toys to children in need.

Christensen founded the ToyMakers of Bangor, and at first, he spent up to an hour and a half creating each car as a custom-painted work of art.

Click here for the rest of the story by Kathleen MacFarline in the Bangor Daily News.

Sixth annual American Folk Festival: The biggest party in Bangor | Bangor Daily News

BANGOR, Maine — The crowd began gathering around 4 p.m. to welcome the sixth annual American Folk Festival on the Bangor Waterfront. With full sun, mid-80s temperatures and cloudless skies forecast for the weekend, the biggest party in Bangor was off to a rousing start for the nearly 100,000 people estimated to attend this year.

The Pride of Maine Black Bear Marching Band took formation in West Market Square around 6 p.m. and performed for a crowd of several hundred, some of whom arrived early to snag a seat at one of the downtown eateries. Band director Chris White stood atop a platform and conducted the band through a selection of pop hits and the ubiquitous “Maine Stein Song,” the anthem of the University of Maine.

“I think it’s fantastic,” said Andrew Day, service manager at Paddy Murphy’s Pub, located just off West Market Square. “We had people get here early to watch the parade from inside. It’s definitely been a boon. West Market is the heart of downtown, and there’s nowhere else the festival should start.”

Click for the rest of the story by Emily Burnham in the Bangor Daily News, along with photos and video.


Early tidal power test in Eastport called a success | Bangor Daily News

EASTPORT, Maine — The Coast Guard’s 41-foot search and rescue boat eased away from the dock Tuesday morning, its batteries fully charged by electricity generated from the waters beneath its hull.

Since Aug. 18, a tidal energy generator developed by Ocean Renewable Power Co. has been producing clean, grid-compatible power for the Coast Guard boat. On Tuesday, the renewable power company and Coast Guard officials welcomed dignitaries and local residents to view up close what they described as the first-ever successful implementation of tidal energy at a federal facility.

 “This has put Eastport on the world map,” said Chris Sauer, president and CEO of ORPC. “Folks in Australia, the UK, Chile, New Zealand know all about Eastport, Maine. They’re watching us and hoping it happens to them.”

Sauer called Eastport the “Kitty Hawk” of the developing tidal power industry, which has the potential, he said, to become a $1 billion industry in the city.

Click for the rest of the story by Rich Hewitt in the Bangor Daily News.

Despite big donations, folk festival still $226,000 short of goal | Bangor Daily News

BANGOR, Maine — The American Folk Festival committee is $50,000 closer to — but still almost $226,000 short of — its 2010 fundraising goal of $960,000 three days before it starts.

“We’ve received a number of donations at various monetary levels, but we received one $40,000 contribution and another $10,000 gift within the last week from two donors who wish to remain anonymous,” said Heather McCarthy, the American Folk Festival’s executive director. “To date, the festival has raised $734,291.”

Still, McCarthy and other festival officials are aggressively seeking to close the funding gap as quickly as possible for the three-day extravaganza, which begins Friday centered on the Bangor Waterfront.

“We’re a little more comfortable with the money we’ve raised, but it doesn’t change the tone of our message to festival-goers because we still feel the sustainability of the event, long-term, depends on educating them on what they’re getting for little to relatively no cost.

“We have to educate people [about] the value the festival provides not just for attendees, but also the surrounding community.”

Click for the rest of the story by Andrew Neff in the Bangor Daily News.

Donations to the Folk Festival can be made by calling Mary Brann at (207) 974-3217 or by mailing them to American Folk Festival, 40 Harlow St., Bangor ME 04401.

Older workers face different type of harassment | Bangor Daily News

Older workers face different type of harassment – Bangor Daily News.

Under ocean, hidden lake provides insight into Maine’s coastal history | Bangor Daily News

Under ocean, hidden lake provides insight into Maine’s coastal history – Bangor Daily News.

State’s push for offshore wind energy intensifies | Lewiston Sun Journal

State’s push for offshore wind energy intensifies | Lewiston Sun Journal

‘A teaching tool from my ancestors’: Former Penobscot Indian chief building wigwam at UM museum | Bangor Daily News

ORONO, Maine — A former chief of the Penobscot Nation was surrounded Monday by all the materials he, his family and members of his tribe needed to construct a domed birch-bark dwelling.

Bent maple and spruce saplings about 1 inch in diameter waited next to a pile of birch bark in strips a yard wide and about 2 feet long until they were needed. Strips of basswood bark and tree roots sat curled like rope until they were called to tie the saplings together to complete the wigwam’s skeleton.

Barry Dana could have been kneeling in a clearing on Indian Island, just as his ancestors did centuries ago, preparing to build a birch-bark wigwam for his family. Instead, Dana, 51, his wife, Lori Dana, 50, and daughter Skiwani, 17, all of Solon were building the structure at the Hudson Museum inside the Collins Center for the Arts at the University of Maine with help from a couple of engineering students.

Click on the link for the rest of this story by Judy Harrison in the Bangor Daily News.

 The Hudson Museum is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays. It is closed Sundays and holidays.

For more information, call (207) 581-3756.

On the Web: www.umaine.edu/hudsonmuseum.

Maine’s ‘superfruit’ — blueberries — making strides in frozen food market | Bangor Daily News


JONESPORT, Maine — This year’s wild blueberry harvest has begun and as sweet and wonderful as the little round berries taste fresh from the fields, producers are banking on capturing the frozen fruit market.

Till explained that because the berries do not get mushy or lose their flavor or healthful benefits, they have an edge over cultivated berries when frozen.

Of last year’s 88 million pounds of wild blueberries, only 600,000 pounds were sold fresh.

The remaining 87.4 million pounds were processed: sold as ingredients in muffins, ice cream and other foods.

But a new marketing campaign launched a year ago is reaping rewards, Sue Till of the Swardlick Marketing Group told more than 100 wild blueberry producers gathered this week at Blueberry Hill in Jonesboro, the University of Maine’s blueberry experimental farm.

Rather than attempt to capture the fresh market — which is already in the hands of cultivated blueberry producers in Michigan, California, New Jersey, Oregon, and a handful of other states — Maine’s wild blueberry producers are promoting frozen berries.

Click on the link for the rest of this story by Sharon Kiley Mack in the Bangor Daily News.

The science of crime: UMaine professor’s forensics course far cry from TV investigation drama | Bangor Daily News

The science of crime – Bangor Daily News.

Offshore wind grant could reach UMaine | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Offshore wind grant could reach UMaine | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram.

Feds earmark $20M for deepwater wind power research | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Feds earmark $20M for deepwater wind power research | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram.