Archive for 2010

UMaine Wind Effort Named One Of Top Ten Stories Of The Year

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

The website has named Maine’s advances in deepwater offshore wind technology one of the top 10 wind power stories of the year. The website said Maine has emerged as a leader in the area, and mentioned UMaine’s involvement in the effort. UMaine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center is developing turbines for deepwater offshore floating platforms.

Extension Expert Reports On Importance Of Winter Activity For Kids

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

Kate Yerxa of UMaine’s Cooperative Extension wrote about the importance of activity for kids during the winter months. Yerxa writes despite the challenges of encouraging kids to play on cold winter days when daylight is short, exercise helps keep kids’ minds sharp and ready to learn, reduces stress, and builds healthy lifestyle habits for the future.

Master Gardener Program Set To Begin

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

The Morning Sentinel has a story about the UMaine Cooperative Extension’s Somerset County Master Gardener program, which begins next month.

The focus this year will be on ornamental horticulture.

UMaine Hosting Tour of State’s Dairy Industry

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

Contact: David Marcinkowski, 207-581-2740 or instate toll-free 1-800-287-7170;

The University of Maine department of animal and veterinary science is hosting the New England Dairy Travel Course, a week-long tour of Maine dairy farms and related businesses set to begin Monday, January 3.

The travel course, which will be based in Waterville, includes bus trips to the University of New Hampshire Dairy Farm, as well as farms and facilities in Maine towns such as Cornish, Canton, Farmington, Embden, Clinton, Exeter, Lamoine, Knox, Sidney, Unity and New Gloucester. Other stops include UMaine’s Witter Teaching and Research Center in Old Town, the Maine Department of Agriculture, Food and Rural Resources in Augusta for a meeting with the commissioner of agriculture and the state veterinarian, Blue Seal Feeds, Inc. feed mill in Augusta, and IDEXX Laboratories Inc. in Westbrook.

The tour will make a stop on the UMaine campus at around 11 a.m. on Wednesday, January 5.

About 40 dairy students and five advisors from the universities of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont are expected to participate. There are eight students from UMaine on the tour. The trip is being sponsored by the six universities and is being funded by a $5,000 grant from Farm Credit, a nationwide network of borrower-owned lending institutions that provide loans and leases to farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural and rural businesses.

“This tour is an excellent opportunity for us to feature the diversity of dairy farms we have in the state of Maine,” said David Marcinkowski, a UMaine department of animal and veterinary science associate professor and Cooperative Extension dairy specialist. “The students will see large, small, organic, conventional, purebred, cow, goat and value-added farms. Most importantly they will see the diversity of career opportunities that are available to them in the dairy industry.”

The is the 15th year of the tour, which is unique nationally in that it is a collaboration of the six land-grant universities in New England.

For more information, contact Marcinkowski at 207-581-2740 or 1-800-287-7170 (instate toll-free), or email

Tips on Keeping Kids Active this Winter

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

Contact: Kate Yerxa, (207) 581-3109

ORONO — As the new year arrives, many parents resolve to encourage their children be more active indoors and out, in spite of the colder, shorter days of winter.

Even though it’s often a major challenge to keep children engaged in physical activity, exercise keeps kids’ minds sharp and ready to learn, reduces stress, keeps kids healthy, and builds healthy lifestyle habits for the future, according to Kate Yerxa, University of Maine Cooperative Extension statewide educator for nutrition and physical activity.

Yerxa offers several suggestions for keeping kids motivated and moving this winter:

  • Play in the snow. Take the whole family outside to go sledding, build a snowman, build a snow fort or just go for a walk and enjoy the white world around you.
  • Interested in outdoor sports? Now is the time to try snow-shoeing, cross-country or downhill skiing. If you don’t have equipment and are willing to rent, check with a local recreation department, school or ski resort for prices and availability. Or, ask friends and family if they have older equipment you and your kids could borrow.
  • Also, check out the nonprofit Winter Kids at Winter Kids has the goal to get kids active by trying outdoor winter activities. A WinterKids Passport offers Maine 5-7th graders opportunities to learn and enjoy winter sports, with free and discounted tickets, lessons and rentals at more than 50 outdoor recreation areas across the state.
  • Find indoor recreation. Check out the options for open gym times from local recreation departments or the local YMCA. Also, look for indoor pools, ice rinks, indoor tennis or soccer opportunities nearby.
  • Do you have a new baby or toddler? Do you need to get out of the house and worry that the weather is too cold for the babies? Put the little ones in the stroller and take a walk around the local mall; you can still be active and the little ones get a change of scenery.
  • For young children, get them dancing or create a parade route through your home.
  • Look for group activities; find sports that interest your children to keep them interested in staying physically active this winter.

Yerxa can be reached on the Orono campus at (207) 581-3109 for more information and ideas.

Budget Expert Offers New Year’s Resolution Advice

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

Contact: Sarah Morehead, (207) 951-4551

ORONO — If saving more money in 2011 is on your list of New Year’s resolutions, University of Maine home finance expert Sarah Morehead has advice that might help.

It’s all about mindset, says Morehead, a research assistant who oversees the UMaine School of Economics’ Household Financial Education Program and the Knowledge Transfer Alliance, a program providing business management and marketing consultation for small businesses throughout Maine.

“Mostly, wasting money comes from emotional spending, or ignorance,” says Morehead, whose research interests include the psychology of economics and basic budgeting, “but where we really end up spending money is when we spend it on our emotional needs.”

The realization of how and when unnecessary spending takes place can be a first step in changing behavior, she says. Morehead says, for example, that she has been surprised when reviewing the amount of money she has spent over the course of a year on fast food.

Morehead suggests taking a positive approach to prioritizing finances. Success and better budget control can result from thinking positively about accumulating savings, as opposed to dwelling on what we’re going without.

“Instead of a $4 latte, maybe you can get the same gratifying effect with something less expensive, something that gives you that same bang for less money,” she adds. “It shouldn’t be an either-or situation.”

Then, deposit any daily savings into a savings account.

In addition, she recommends considering frame of mind when we spend more than we should or even want to. Do we tend to spend frivolously when we’re feeling down?

Morehead, who conducts workshops and seminars in Maine schools on budgeting and household financial education, says it is important to understand the root cause for failing to keep on top of budget priorities.

She discusses this topic in more detail on her Facebook blog at and can be reached for other advice and tips on better budgeting at or by calling (207) 951-4551.

Former Black Bear Owens Selected for NFL Pro Bowl

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

Montell Owens of the Jacksonville Jaguars has been selected to represent the AFC in the Pro Bowl, scheduled for Jan. 30 in Honolulu. A special teams star, Owens was a UMaine running back who made his NFL debut with the Jaguars in 2006.

Tainted Eggs Still a Threat; Expert Advice for Small-Scale Egg Producers

Tuesday, December 28th, 2010

Contact: Anne Lichtenwalner, (207) 581-2789

ORONO — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) implemented new egg-handling safety regulations this year for corporate producers after Salmonella enteritis (SE) outbreaks in the Midwest and the recall of millions of chicken eggs as a result. SE-contaminated eggs, however, remain a threat for any size of farm, including backyard chicken owners throughout Maine. SE is the salmonella strain most likely to cause egg-borne disease in humans.

As the FDA becomes more involved in food safety on the farm, small poultry producers may wonder how they can assure the quality of their products and reduce the risk of infectious disease in their flocks.

Anne Lichtenwalner, director of University of Maine’s Animal Health Lab, a diagnostic lab on the Orono campus assisting livestock and poultry farmers, is available to discuss precautions that consumers and small-scale egg producers can take to reduce risks. She also is Maine’s Extension veterinarian and a member of the animal and veterinary sciences faculty.

Routine environmental testing has long been required of major producers, but not of small to mid-size producers, Lichtenwalner says. As of 2010, large egg producers (more than 50,000 layers on a single farm) were required to follow the FDA “egg rule,” finalized in 2009. In July 2012, the egg rule will extend to mid-size farms (more than 3,000 layers) that do not sell all their eggs directly to consumers.

Since most small egg producers either sell directly to customers or have fewer than 3,000 layers, the current FDA rules detailing bio-security, pest control, record-keeping, environmental sampling and egg-testing requirements do not apply. Some of these requirements, however, are based on common sense and good farm practices, and should be followed nonetheless, says Lichtenwalner. UMAHL can test the flock’s environment for salmonella.

In addition, many flocks are allowed to “free range,” and due to the presence of old buildings, abandoned farm machinery and other sources of heavy metals, sometimes eggs can become contaminated. UMAHL also can assist with testing for heavy metals in eggs.

Bacterial or other contamination of eggs “is an emerging issue in food and it always will be,” she says, particularly in light of the popularity of raising chickens in backyard, residential settings. “Good, basic, common-sense food handling techniques can kill salmonella,” Lichtenwalner says. Use hot, soapy water to wash hands, utensils, counters and cutting boards, rinse well and dry.

Lichtenwalner can be reached at (207) 581-2789 for more information.

Newspaper reports on Smith success as a novelist

Tuesday, December 28th, 2010

Tuesday’s Bangor Daily News includes a story about “Fifth Avenue,” a suspense novel by Chris Smith, the electronic communications manager in UMaine’s Dept. of University Relations.  Smith, who has a UMaine bachelor’s degree and master’s degree, started the book more than 20 years ago when he was a UMaine student.  He decided to revise and complete it earlier in 2010, then self-published it on in October. Its download numbers are among the highest in its amazon categories since publication, and it’s recently become available in the U.K.  Smith is finishing a second novel and working with a literary agent on potential publishing deals.

Barry Eager 1961-2010

Tuesday, December 28th, 2010

Barry Eager, a 32-year UMaine staff member who worked most recently as a Memorial Union custodian, died on Sunday at the age of 49.  A long-time Orono resident, Eager had suffered from esophageal cancer.  “Barry was a great friend to all of us in the UMaine community,” says Robert Dana, UMaine’s vice president for student affairs and dean of students. “Working in the Union, he came in contact with a great many students, who enjoyed his company and appreciated his efforts in making the student union a warm and welcoming place.  He will be missed, and we all extend our sympathies to Barry’s family and friends.” A Tuesday Bangor Daily News obituary has more information about his life and his family members.  It notes that “a memorial service will be held 11 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 30, at Brookings-Smith, 133 Center St., Bangor, with the Rev. Herman C. Frankland officiating. The family invites relatives and friends to share conversation and refreshments at the Family Reception Center at Brookings-Smith, 163 Center St., Bangor, after the service. Interment will be in the spring. Gifts in his memory may be made to Veterans Memorial Room Fund, care of University of Maine, Andrea Gifford, Deans Suite Memorial Union, Orono, ME 04469. Condolences to the family may be expressed at”