Archive for 2003

First Target Incubator Graduate, Foxtech Design, Inc., Moves To Ellsworth

Thursday, November 20th, 2003

Contact: Contact: Scott Cromwell, Foxtech Design, Inc., 207-664-0720; Debbie Neuman, Target Technology Incubator, 207-866-3565; Nick Houtman, UMaine Dept. of Public Affairs, 207-581-3777

ORONO, Maine — Foxtech Design, Inc., the first company to take wing from the University of Maine Target Technology Incubator in Orono, has opened an office in Ellsworth. Foxtech specializes in computer aided design (CAD) and serves the automotive, aerospace, medical and consumer products industries.

Foxtech owner Scott Cromwell started his company in Michigan in 1997 and moved to Maine in 2003. A resident of Blue Hill, he has continued to serve his clients online while working with development specialists and UMaine to generate new business opportunities.

“As the CAD service market is growing, I expect to use student resources for designers and engineers,” Cromwell says.

At UMaine, he has worked with the Advanced Manufacturing Center and Fogler Library. He has also received business mentoring through the Maine Small Business Development Center and participated in the Maine Tech Show in Augusta and the governor’s trade mission to Ireland.

“I found business prospects and vendors (in Ireland),” says Cromwell, “and will be developing these relationships in the months to come. Many contacts were also made at the universities and I look forward to keeping in touch about new developments in engineering and manufacturing.”

Debbie Neuman, Target Technology Incubator director, praises Cromwell’s technical skills and expects the company to grow. “We will continue to monitor his progress and assist him with the on-going challenges of operating a business. I am confident years from now, he will be a growing and successful Maine company,” she says.

According to the Foxtech Website (, the company creates “highly detailed, accurate, and stylized 3D computer models for product and tooling designs of prototype and production parts. The types of parts include plastic injected, sheetmetal stampings, hydraforming, and castings.”

Neuman notes that research based start-ups take an average of three years to become self-sufficient. “That is what we are working towards with every tenant of the Incubator, graduation as businesses in the community, armed with the knowledge, resources and connections they need to be successful,” she says.

Hoff To Remain President At UMaine

Wednesday, November 19th, 2003

Contact: Contact: Joe Carr at (207) 581-3571

ORONO, Me. — University of Maine President Peter Hoff has informed officials of the University of Texas System that he is no longer interested in the presidency at the University of Texas-Arlington. Hoff has spent the past two days in Austin, Tex., meeting with the system’s board of regents and exploring the possibility of becoming president of the 24,000-student university.

“I am very honored to have received such a positive response from the board of regents and others involved with UT-Arlington,” Hoff says. “It is a fine institution with many talented students, faculty members and staff members. After careful consideration I have concluded that the state of Texas is not ready to commit the resources necessary to allow that university to advance in the way its proponents envision. I am very pleased to be continuing the work we are doing at UMaine.”

Hoff has served as UMaine’s president since August 1997, a tenure that is the longest for a UMaine president in 38 years.

Governor to Highlight Nov. 20 AEWC Groundbreaking

Tuesday, November 18th, 2003

Contact: Media contact: Nick Houtman, Dept. of Public Affairs, 207-581-3777

ORONO, Maine — Governor John Baldacci will highlight a groundbreaking ceremony November 20 for a two-story addition to the Advanced Engineered Wood Composites Center at the University of Maine. The 7,100 square-foot expansion will provide laboratory space geared toward technology development and commercialization.

The event will begin at 9:30 a.m. in the AEWC Center. Provost Robert Kennedy will welcome participants who will include University of Maine System Chancellor Joseph W. Westphal, University of Maine President Peter S. Hoff, AEWC Director Habib Dagher and State Senator Mary Cathcart.

The existing AEWC facility opened in 2000 and provides space for wood composites research and structural testing. The addition will enable engineers and scientists to conduct studies of interest to the shipbuilding industry and continue work on a new product, oriented strand lumber.

Financial support for the project was included in a bond referendum approved by the voters last June. WBRC of Bangor has designed the addition. H. E. Sargent of Old Town will be the general contractor.

Over the past four years, the AEWC has received more than $26 million in federal research funding. The center has worked with many Maine businesses on technology development. In 2002, AEWC laminated wood beam studies led to the creation of a new company, Engineered Materials of Maine in Bangor.

Governor Baldacci awarded the AEWC one of five Governor’s Awards for Accomplishment in Maine’s Natural Resource-Based Industry at a Blaine House Conference Monday in Augusta.

Memorial Service, Scholarship Recipient

Friday, November 14th, 2003

Contact: Media contact: Joe Carr at (207) 581-3571

ORONO — A memorial service honoring the life of Laurence A. Jones, Jr., a 1992 UMaine graduate, is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 20, 2003.  The service will be held at noon near North Stevens Hall, in front of the Laurence A. Jones, Jr. Memorial Tree.

At the time of his death, Jones’ mother, Yong C. Jones, established a scholarship in memory of her son.  This year’s recipient will be announced at Thursday’s memorial service.

The University of Maine Alumni Association and the University of Maine Foundation will host Thursday’s event.     

UMaine Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Combo Concert Dec. 4

Friday, November 14th, 2003

Contact: Media contact: Joe Carr at (207) 581-3571

ORONO — The University of Maine Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Combo will take the Hauck Auditorium stage for a concert on Thursday, Dec. 4 at 7:30 p.m.  Karel Lidral, director of jazz studies and associate professor of music at UMaine, directs both groups.

The Jazz Ensemble will perform several pieces, including Victor Feldman’s and Miles Davis’ composition, “Seven Steps to Heaven.”  It has been cast, Lidral says. in a stunning arrangement for jazz big band by veteran composer/arranger Manny Mendelson.  Filled with exciting compositional twists and turns, this chart features solos from trumpet player Justin Obie, tenor saxophonist Steve Barter, and drummer Arthur Lidral.  Oliver Nelson’s “Yearnin’” appears in the arrangement as performed by the Oliver Nelson Orchestra.  Featuring soloists Justin Drew and Justin Obie on trumpet, as well as John Maclaine on trombone, Lidral describes this piece as “a true original.”  “Lush Life,” a ballad penned by Billy Strayhorn (of Duke Ellington fame) and arranged by the great Phil Wilson, features John Maclaine on trombone and Justin Obie on trumpet.  The quintessential big band classic “April in Paris”  will be performed with the Jazz Ensemble playing an arrangement that was actually recorded by the Count Basie Orchestra, every note and nuance painstakingly transcribed by jazz transcription specialist Jeff Hest.

Other pieces that the Jazz Ensemble will perform include originals by Neil Slater (“Listen”) and Dave Hanson (“Passado”), as well as arrangements of great jazz standards including Percy Mayfield’s “Lost Mind,” Herbie Hancock’s “Wiggle Waggle,” Cole Porter’s “It’s All Right With Me,” Tiny Bradshaw’s “Jersey Bounce,” and Jerome Kern’s “All the Things You Are” (in a samba setting).

The Jazz Combo has an equally ambitious program.  The nine-piece group will play a set consisting of four pieces, chosen from the combo’s repertory from this semester.  Works performed this semester include four pieces in swing style (“Call Me Irresponsible,” “I Remember You,” “Stolen Moments,” and “Have You Met Miss Jones?”), two Latin American works (“Song For My Father” and “How Insensitive”), the jazz waltz “My Favorite Things,” and the wonderful ballad “I Can’t Get Started.”

The Dec. 4 concert concludes the jazz program’s performances for the fall semester.  On November 5, both groups performed in the Stearns High School auditorium in Millinocket;  on Nov. 6, the Jazz Ensemble performed an evening concert in the North Pod of the Memorial Union;  and on Nov. 14, the Jazz Combo played in the noon TGIF jazz series in Union Station, also in the Memorial Union.

Admission for the Dec. 4 concert will cost $6 per person, with UMaine students admitted free with a MaineCard.  To order tickets, please call the Maine Center for the Arts box office at 581-1755 or 1-800-MCA-TIXX.  More information is available online, at

Middle School Leaders Call for Change

Wednesday, November 12th, 2003

Contact: Media contact: Kay Hyatt at (207) 581-2761

ORONO– The National Middle School Association has taken a major step toward debunking the myth that middle schools are too soft and lack academic rigor, according to University of Maine Professor Edward Brazee. The research to back up effective middle schools as centers of academic and developmental growth was presented at the National Press Club, along with the announcement of 14 qualities essential to providing the best education for young adolescents.

“A strong case is made for the courageous leadership needed by middle grades teachers and administrators,” Brazee said at the Nov. 5 news conference in Washington, D.C. “Middle schools work when principals, teachers and parents work together to achieve a common vision and place a strong emphasis on student learning and creating a culture of caring and support.”

Brazee, editor of NMSA publications, and other officials of the national organization, called for policymakers to act now to implement the recommendations, which include, among others: educators trained specifically to work with young adolescents; leaders willing to change practice and take risks; challenging and relevant curriculum; assessments designed to improve learning; and family and community partnerships.

The recommendations are part of the NMSA’s revised position statement, This We Believe: Successful Schools for Young Adolescents. The new Research and Resources document supports the effectiveness of the 14 qualities, when all are in place.

 “Fifty years of lessons learned in middle level education have taught us what will make a difference in the lives of the 20 million young adolescents in our middle schools,” said John Lounsbury, a founder of the Middle School Movement in the United States; “This is our call to communities and schools through the nation: if middle schools are based on these 14 qualities, students will succeed,” he emphasized.

NMSA is the only national education association dedicated exclusively to the growth of middle level education. In addition to Brazee, other NMSA leaders speaking at the news conference were Executive Director Sue Swain, Westerville, Ohio; President Linda Robinson, principal of Alvin Junior High near Houston; Phyllis Toy Wong, board of directors member and teacher at Walter Clarke Middle School, El Paso; and Lounsbury, consulting editor and former dean of education, Georgia College.

Fourteen Characteristics in This We Believe: Successful Schools for Young Adolescents, published by National Middle School Association, 2003

The National Middle School Association believes successful schools for young adolescents are characterized by a culture that includes

U.S.-Iraq Business Conference Postponed; Organizers Planning March Event

Tuesday, November 11th, 2003

Contact: Media contact: Joe Carr at (207) 581-3571

ORONO — Organizers have postponed “Doing Business in Iraq: the Private Sector,” a conference that had been scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 13 in Scarborough.  The conference will be moved to a date early in 2004, most likely in March.

Two members of the Iraqi Governing Council — Raja al-Khuzaai and Mahmoud Othman — had been scheduled to speak at the conference.  They notified organizers over the weekend that they would not be able to attend, due to a request from the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq based on concerns related to the current situation in that country.

“Given all that has happened during the past few weeks in Iraq and its neighboring countries, it is important that the members of the Governing Council focus on the immediate issues affecting the future of Iraq,” says Daniel Innis, dean of the University of Maine’s College of Business, Public Policy and Health.  The college, along with its William S. Cohen Center for International Policy and Commerce and the U.S.-Iraq Business Alliance, is a conference co-sponsor.   “Our objective continues to be to provide a forum for the exchange of information and education about economic issues in Iraq.

“By moving the conference to the spring, we will provide time for the international community to work with the Iraqi people to develop the mechanisms that will govern postwar Iraq,” Innis says.  “By spring, we expect to have a clearer picture of the economic landscape in Iraq and the role that the private sector will play in further strengthening the foundation needed for economic success.”

The 2004 conference will be the first in the college’s Global Focus Series, which will work to provide forums for high-level exchanges on matters related to international business, which is one of the college’s points of educational emphasis. 

“The series will be one of the ways in which we work to extend the college’s expertise and resources throughout Maine and beyond, while providing educational opportunities for our students,” Innis says.

UMaine Students to Stage “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown”; Performances Set for Area Schools

Monday, November 10th, 2003

Contact: Media contact: Joe Carr at (207) 581-3571

ORONO — The timeless and beloved story of the “Round-Headed Kid” immortalized in Charles Schultz’ “Peanuts” comic strip will come to life at the University of Maine and area schools with the UMaine School of Performing Arts’ December production of “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.”

Prof. Sandra Hardy will direct the effort, which will take the form of two separate touring companies that will stage the play at local schools beginning Dec. 2.  In what Hardy calls “a gift from the School of Performing Arts to the children of the area,” four performances will be staged later that month at Hauck Auditorium with a children’s admission price of $2. 

Students involved in the project are taking Hardy’s Drama in Education course this semester.  Inasmuch as many are future teachers, Hardy says this type of an effort will provide good background for dealing with the challenges they will eventually face in working to bring theatre to their students.

“This will be a great learning experience for everybody involved,” Hardy says.  “As a musical performance, this show is quite complex.  At the same time, it has a limited set and it is portable.  These students will learn to overcome obstacles and adapt to the performance environment that is presented to them.”

Hardy says that this effort is in keeping with the school’s mission to provide outreach to communities and people who might have limited access to live theatre.  She believes that the UMaine students can serve as role models who may inspire the young audience members to become involved in the performing arts themselves.

“Every child should have the opportunity to perform.  It is thrilling for a child to be involved in an artistic project,” she says.  “Theatre can have a dramatic impact on a child’s social life, development of friendships and sense of worth and the teacher may make all the difference.”

“You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” by Clark Gesner, debuted on Broadway in 1967.  Gary Burghoff, who went on to great fame as Radar O’Reilly in the movie and television show “M*A*S*H,” was the original Charlie Brown.  A Broadway revival, which resulted in Tony Awards for two of its stars, began in 1999.

Hardy says that, while the show has appeal to people of all ages, she selected it for the effect it can have on children. 

“While ‘Charlie Brown’ might appear to be for children, it is based on ideas that are complex and emotional,” she says.  “Children are interested in exploring their own feelings and sometimes it is hard for them to communicate what they feel.  By observing characters, they can sometimes identify and give meaning to their feelings, and that is healthy and entertaining at the same time.  This show explores issues like loneliness and the inability to fit in.  There are life lessons to be learned from ‘You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.’”

School performances are scheduled as follows on Dec. 2, 3 and 4:

Dec. 2

Wagner Middle School, Winterport:  9 a.m.
Mary Snow School, Bangor:  9:30 a.m.

Dec. 3

Hermon Middle School (performance at the high school):  9 a.m.
Lee Middle School:  9 a.m. (workshops at 11:30 a.m.)
Caravel Middle School, Carmel:  noon

Dec. 4

Holbrook Middle School, Holden:  8 a.m.
Reeds Brook Middle School, Hampden:  8:30 a.m.
Leonard Middle School, Old Town:  noon
Asa Adams School, Orono:  1 p.m.

“All we have asked from these schools is that they provide a tuned piano, a stage and an enthusiasm that allows them to take the time from their days for something that they think is important — a live performance by our students,”  Hardy says.

The Hauck Auditorium productions are scheduled for 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. each day on Saturday, Dec. 13 and Sunday, Dec. 14.  Admission price is $5 for adults; $2 for children 12 and under.  For ticket information, call 581-1755.

The following UMaine students (listed with their hometown) will have a role in the production:

  • Dominick Varney, Winterport, Charlie Brown, Musical Director, Producer

  • Joshua Schmersal, Bangor, Schroeder, Musical Director

  • Amanda Eaton, Dexter, Lucy, Assistant Director

  • Emily Gammon, Buxton, Peppermint Patty, Assistant Director

  • Dale Knapp, Bangor, Schroeder, Set Designer

  • Ciara Fahey, Morse, Lucy, Program Designer

  • Caroline Musica, Richmond, Sally Brown, Study Guide

  • Mathias Ringle, Dover-Foxcroft, Linus, Study Guide

  • Janis Greim, Auburn, Snoopy, Choreographer

  • Elizabeth Braman, Hebron, Snoopy, Properties Designer

  • Domenic Mascis, Wells, Pig Pen, Lighting Designer

  • Starsha Schiller, Calais, Sally Brown, Costume & Make-Up Designer

  • Annette Sohns, Bucksport, Woodstock, Costume & Make-Up Designer

  • Amber Callahan, Thorndike, Woodstock, Costume & Make-Up Designer

  • Hillary Roberts, Milo, Stage Manager, Lighting Designer

  • Erin Couturier, Winslow, Stage Manager, Properties Designer

  • Jonathon Schell, Verona, Linus, Lighting Designer

  • Joanne Pineau, Jay, Peppermint Patty, Program Designer

  • Christopher Roberts, Brewer, Production Manager

  • Michel Huppe, Bucksport, Charlie Brown

  • Shawn McVicar, Calais, Pig Pen, Set Designer

  • Amy Maier, Bath, Piano Accompanist

  • Karen E. Johnson, Saco, Piano Accompanist

Federal Grant Supports Windows on Maine Teacher Education Project at UMaine, MPBC, Maine State Museum

Monday, November 10th, 2003

Contact: Contact: Raymond H. Fogler Library, University of Maine: Marilyn Lutz, 207-581-1658; Maine Public Broadcasting Corp.: Mary Helene DuRoss, 207-783-9101; Maine State Museum: J.R. Phillips, 207-287-2303; IMLS: Mamie Bittner 202-606-8339

ORONO– A gold mine of information about Maine’s culture and natural history will be made available electronically to classrooms throughout the state as a result of a federal grant to Fogler Library at the University of Maine, the Maine State Museum and the Maine Public Broadcasting Corporation. The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) has awarded a $470,305 grant to make digital resources about Maine accessible over the high speed broadband network that includes the Internet.

The project Windows on Maine will focus on two major educational initiatives produced by Maine Public Broadcasting and partners. HOME: The Story of Maine, is a series of 13 half-hour television programs about Maine’s history; Quest: Investigating Our World is a series of 24 hour-long programs about the natural and environmental sciences in New England. Both television series are accompanied by in-depth website content and companion classroom material. Windows on Maine will store and make accessible these two exemplary education programs, along with supporting historical and scientific digital media gathered from partner collections.

Materials will be distributed in real time and be accessible on-demand to the laptop computers of 7th and 8th grade students, personal computers in high school classrooms, and to others from outside the state over the University of Maine’s Internet2 connection.

Library-Museum Collaboration grants support innovative projects that model how museums and libraries can work together to expand their services to the public, with emphasis on serving the community, using technology, or enhancing education. The “Windows on Maine” proposal was in response to a special “Request for Proposals to Develop Innovative Approaches to the Use of Broadband Technologies for Learning.”

Maine is a pioneer in creating broadband telecommunications infrastructure capable of distributing digital information to a broad range of constituents over all areas of the state. Its statewide ATM fiber optic based network, reaching over 80 high schools, the Bangor Public Library and the Maine State Library is one of the most technologically advanced networks available. The statewide network is connected nationally to the high-speed Internet2 system that links research universities and government laboratories.

“This project will demonstrate how broadband technology can be used to broaden access to digital resources that support an interactive education program,” said Marilyn Lutz, director library information technology planning at Fogler Library and a principal investigator for the project. “By leveraging the delivery power of broadband technology with digital collections from Maine’s cultural agencies, this collaborative effort promises to provide sustainable support to Maine’s educators in all parts of the state, even the most remote and economically under developed locations, as never before.”

According to Mary Anne Alhadeff, president and CEO of Maine PBS, “The advent of statewide digital broadcasting creates an exceptional opportunity for the key organizations with digital resources to positively impact Maine’s 18,000 classroom teachers and, in turn, the 224,000 young people they reach each year. Public television stations, with evolving multicasting and datacasting capabilities, and cultural organizations must begin to rely upon new partners to help develop meaningful resources for this increased distribution capacity.”

The project will also offer professional development training and materials to teachers in support of integrating digital resources into their classrooms. Maine Public Broadcasting’s National Teacher Training Institute, designed to advance an understanding of how to interactively use digital resources (historical film footage, facsimile original documents, photographs and oral history files) in the classroom, will serve to integrate these resources into the learning process.

J.R. Phillips, director the Maine State Museum sees Windows on Maine as a unique opportunity “to demonstrate the profound impact of technology on the education process when it is used to unlock the power of collections in museums and libraries and the broader distribution of public broadcasting resources. It will serve as a model for constructing a new, more dynamic framework for learning,” he said.

“IMLS’ National Leadership Grants foster the best thinking in our fields about how museums and libraries can further enrich community, academic, family and individual lives across the country,” said Robert Martin, director of the institute. “The grants we make will help develop leading-edge technologies to expand access to collections and educational programs, support original research to improve professional practices, and form powerful partnerships between libraries and museums and other community organizations. It is our hope that these grants will provide models for libraries and museums throughout the nation to emulate tomorrow.”

IMLS is a federal grant making agency located in Washington DC that fosters leadership, innovation and a lifetime of learning by supporting museums and libraries.

Chellie and Hannah Pingree to Speak at UMaine Tuesday

Thursday, November 6th, 2003

Contact: Media contact: Joe Carr at (207) 581-3571

ORONO — Chellie Pingree, president and CEO of Common Cause, and State Rep. Hannah Pingree (D-North Haven), will discuss “Common Causes: Two Generations of Maine Women in Progressive Politics” on Tuesday, Nov. 11 at the University of Maine.  The session is scheduled for12:15-1:30 p.m. in the Bangor Lounge, Memorial Union.  Chellie Pingree, a former state legislator and U.S. Senate candidate, is Hannah Pingree’s mother.

Founded in 1970 by John Gardner, Common Cause is a nonprofit citizens’ lobbying group which today has over 200,000 members nationwide.

Under Chellie Pingree’s leadership Common Cause is currently leading efforts to overturn the Federal Communications Commission’s decision to relax ownership rules for media companies, co-sponsoring a 13-city “Tell the Truth” tour featuring acclaimed musicians working to draw attention to media consolidation and trade issues, working to ensure that all citizens have access to affordable prescription drugs and challenging the way that money is being spent in Iraq. 

“It is absolutely essential,” Chellie Pingree said in a recent Congressional hearing, “that the rebuilding of Iraq be accomplished with full transparency, that it involves the Iraqi people to the fullest extent possible and that contracts for work be truly competitively bid.”

Hannah Pingree is a first-term legislator representing District 129.

The UMaine Women in the Curriculum and Women’s Studies Program is sponsoring the event, which will be followed by a reception.