WMTW (Channel 8 in Portland) and the Associated Press reported on Maine Gov. Paul LePage citing a maple industry study by University of Maine economist Todd Gabe. Gabe found the state’s maple industry directly contributes nearly $28 million to the state’s economy every year. LePage said the industry has a “huge potential for additional job creation.” MPBN and Boston.com carried the AP report.
A new study by University of Maine economist Todd Gabe was cited in a Bangor Daily News article titled “LePage says Maine could lead the nation — and maybe Quebec — in syrup production.” Gabe’s study, which received financial support from the Maine Agricultural Development Grant Fund and the Maine Maple Producers Association, showed the state’s syrup industry contributes nearly $49 million to Maine’s economy and supports more than 800 jobs. The figures include multiplier effects. The Sun Journal also carried the BDN report.
Habib Dagher, director of the University of Maine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center, was quoted in a Bloomberg Businessweek article about the offshore wind pilot project proposed by Maine Aqua Ventus, a consortium that includes UMaine and partner companies. In the article, “Floating wind farms venture farther out to sea,” Dagher said Maine Aqua Ventus companies will save tens of millions of dollars by using floating concrete platforms as opposed to renting barges and cranes to install fixed-foundation turbines. He said ideally the unit will be towed back to shore every 20 years to have a next-generation turbine installed.
Phys.org published a report on an observation protocol that can document college instruction and student learning of STEM that was developed by Michelle Smith, assistant professor in the University of Maine’s School of Biology and Ecology and member of the Maine Center for Research in STEM Education. Over a two-year period, Smith and three researchers from the University of British Columbia, tested and validated the Classroom Observation Protocol for Undergraduate STEM (COPUS) by which observers document instructor and student behaviors in two-minute intervals during the class period. The results can help inform professors of their behaviors and the behaviors of students during class.
Robert Rice, a professor of wood science and technology at the University of Maine, spoke with the Bangor Daily News for an article about innovation playing an important role in the future of Maine’s pulp and paper industry. The article states an integral part of the innovations occurring at Old Town Fuel and Fiber is the mill’s collaboration with UMaine and its Forest Bioproducts Research Institute (FBRI). The relationship gives the mill the opportunity to take advantage of R&D capabilities it wouldn’t necessarily have access to. Rice said there are no huge changes in technology that will suddenly appear, but he thinks the industry’s economics have the potential to change over time with the addition of new conversions and methods.
The Village Soup reported on the 27th annual Camden Conference. The theme of this year’s conference and accompanying course offered by the University of Maine’s Division of Lifelong Learning was “The Global Politics of Food and Water.” The conference and course aimed to explore water and food security topics from many perspectives around the world as they relate to human life, global climate change and relationships between countries.
WABI (Channel 5) and WVII (Channel 7) reported University of Maine students in an advanced art education course are facilitating an art-making and fundraising project to benefit the Shaw House of Bangor, an organization that works with youth who are homeless or are at risk of becoming homeless. The art education students are helping the Shaw House teens make ceramic pins that will then be sold to buy instruments for the many residents who take music lessons from the staff and volunteers. Constant Albertson, an associate professor of art education who teaches the class, said the course helps students develop service learning projects for when they become art teachers. Julie Roach, a student in the class, said the project is a great way to incorporate art and community together.
The Bangor Daily News spoke with Janet Waldron, University of Maine’s senior vice president for administration and finance, for the article “Report says University of Maine System facilities underused, aging and may need renovation.” A report from facilities consultant Sightlines found University of Maine System buildings are underused compared with similar public universities. Sightlines identified buildings on each campus — 18 at UMaine — that have low utilization, are in poor condition and are “less historical” as candidates for removal. Waldron said the report is a guide and added some buildings, such as the Sigma Chi Heritage House, serve important needs and should require further review. She said the building includes a large meeting space and labs that don’t see as many people as lecture halls, but are still useful spaces. Waldron said UMaine’s efforts to consolidate and renovate space takes time and the university still has a lot to tackle. The Sun Journal also carried the report.
A proposed offshore wind pilot project by Maine Aqua Ventus, which includes the University of Maine and partner companies, was mentioned in a Portland Press Herald article about businesses working to launch offshore wind energy facilities urging Congress to renew tax credits that would help kick-start an industry that could bring jobs to Maine and other coastal states. Doug Pfeister, president of the Offshore Wind Development Coalition, called the prototype floating wind turbine launched off the coast of Castine by UMaine and Cianbro last June “a great first step” for the offshore wind industry.
Woody Higgins, who helps organize the annual Eastern Maine Sportsmen’s Show for the Penobscot County Conservation Association, told the Bangor Daily News event attendees will likely notice the newly renovated New Balance Field House at the University of Maine where the show will take place. He said he thinks people “will be impressed with the brightness, the niceness” of the facility. The 76th show runs March 7–9 in the New Balance Field House, Memorial Gym and Stanley Wallace Pool.