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McConnon Talks to WVII About Increase in Women Business Owners

James McConnon, a University of Maine economics professor and a business and economics specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, spoke with WVII (Channel 7) for a report about an increase in the number of women who own businesses. According to the report, the number of women-owned businesses in Maine has grown by 34 percent since 1997, but that number is about half of the national trend, with Maine ranking 47th in the country. However, the number of people employed by women-owned firms has grown by 6 percent, and trends are encouraging. “Women business owners have continued to grow at a rate faster than male business owners in Maine and nationally. I think that’s good to see,” said McConnon.

AP Interviews Wahle for Article on Lobster Decline

The Associated Press spoke with Rick Wahle, a University of Maine research professor at the Darling Marine Center, and cited UMaine research for a report about the steady decline in the number of baby lobsters settling off the coast of Maine and how the decrease could put an end to recent record catches. The article cited a UMaine survey of 11 Gulf of Maine locations that found young lobsters have declined by more than half of their 2007 levels. UMaine divers have been tracking the settlement rates of Maine lobsters since the late 1980s, according to the article. Wahle said the lobsters could be thinning out for many reasons, including rising ocean temperature. He added the lobster decline is “telling a story of gradually — and more recently rapidly — declining settlement in the Gulf of Maine on a widespread basis,” which is raising concern. ABC News, Yahoo News, NBC News, Portland Press Herald, Morning Sentinel and WABI (Channel 5) carried the AP report.

Emerald Ash Borer Research, Symposium Mentioned in Morning Sentinel Article

Research and outreach efforts being done at the University of Maine to learn more about the devastating effects of the emerald ash borer were mentioned in a Morning Sentinel article about how the Asian beetles are threatening the livelihood of Maine’s American Indian basket makers by destroying ash trees, which are needed to create the traditional baskets. The basket makers are part of an anti-borer coalition that includes university researchers, entomologists and forestry officials. For the last several years, the faculty at  UMaine’s Senator George J. Mitchell Center and Maine’s Sustainability Solutions Initiative have hosted an annual symposium about the invasive pests. Last year, the event drew 65 people from a variety of state and federal agencies, entomologists and Wabanakis. The article also stated UMaine researchers have begun mapping existing ash and collecting and preserving ash seeds that could be replanted after a potential wave of devastation.

UMaine Spruce Budworm Research Referenced in MPBN Report

Research being conducted at the University of Maine was cited in the Maine Public Broadcasting Network report “Maine bracing for another spruce budworm outbreak.” The spruce budworm, one of the most damaging native insects of spruce and fir trees, is currently attacking trees in Quebec, and Maine forestry officials fear the insect could start destroying state forests in the next two to four years. The last outbreak in Maine began around 1970 and ended in 1985, killing more than 20 percent of the state’s fir trees, according to the Maine Forest Products Council. Patrick Strauch of the Maine Forest Products Council, told MPBN this time landowners hope to stay ahead of the bug and do targeted, presalvage cutting. Researchers at the University of Maine are helping with the preventative effort by conducting modeling to help landowners plan ahead.

Gabe’s Forest Industry Study Cited in Mainebiz Article

A 2013 study by University of Maine economist Todd Gabe was cited in the Mainebiz article, “Farm Credit East merger seen as beneficial to Maine farmers, loggers, commercial fishermen.” According to Gabe’s study, the forest industry in Maine has a total economic impact of $8 billion and direct employment of 17,075 workers.

Press Herald Previews Release of Maine Policy Review in Interview

The Portland Press Herald spoke with David Kappos, a former director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, about an article he has written for the upcoming issue of Maine Policy Review, a publication of the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center. In his article, Kappos argues that Maine is strategically well-positioned to lead the next wave of innovation in the United States.

WLBZ Interviews Rice About Cate Street Capital’s Thermogen Project

WLBZ (Channel 2) spoke with Robert Rice, a professor of wood science and technology at the University of Maine, for a report on the scrutiny surrounding a proposed $25 million Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) loan that would support Cate Street Capital’s Thermogen Project that aims to build a pellet mill in Millinocket that uses new, steam-based technology. Rice, a consultant to FAME on the project, says the new method is a radical change, but is an improvement in technology. He warned Thermogen will need about three times as much biomass to make pellets using steam, which has to be taken into account.

Study to Focus on What the Public Wants in Outdoor Recreation

Sandra De Urioste-Stone, assistant professor of nature-based tourism, and John Daigle, associate professor of forest recreation management, have received a $34,499 grant from the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry for the study: “How Well Are We Serving the Outdoor Recreation Public?” The purpose of this study is to investigate perspectives on outdoor recreation preferences and priorities, and perceptions on tourism development to help the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands and other outdoor recreation managers to better understand current demand and improve decision-making. An online survey will be used to test conventional wisdom and open up new thinking regarding what the public wants and how they can best be served. In addition, study participants will be asked questions about their attitudes and beliefs about developing sustainable tourism in their communities. Data collected will be used to develop the 2015–20 Maine State Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP). The plan requires that an analysis of outdoor recreation demand, supply, trends, and ultimately priorities be documented.

Research Objectives:

The survey population for this study seeks to entice responses from both the general residents of Maine as well as nonresidents who have recreated in Maine and have paid some type of recreation fee for fishing, hunting, camping reservations, etc.

While the data collected on recreational preferences and behaviors will benefit the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands, the questions related to sustainable tourism will have new scientific significance. Questions on sustainable tourism will utilize an attempt to revalidate the Sustainable Tourism Attitude Scale, a published psychometric instrument that has not yet been implemented on a statewide scale.

‘Making it in Maine’ Business Conference, Networking Event April 25

The University of Maine Alumni Association invites UMaine students, faculty, staff and alumni to the Black Bear Business Conference “Making it in Maine: Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Technology in the 21st Century” on Friday, April 25 at the Buchanan Alumni House on the UMaine campus.

A half-day, intensive conference from 1 to 5:30 p.m. is designed to bring Maine’s small-business owners and entrepreneurs together with UMaine faculty, economic development staff, business students and successful Maine business leaders to share ideas, strategies and techniques that promote growth. The day’s program includes presentations; tours; exhibits; and panel discussions on topics such as marketing, financing, technology and innovation engineering.

The conference will be followed by a networking event and reception from 5:30 to 7 p.m. The reception will feature a showcase of innovators and entrepreneurs who are helping to build Maine’s economic future, such as keynote speaker, Desmond Fitzgerald, entrepreneur in residence for the Maine Venture Fund.

Registration is required and student attendance is limited on a first-come, first-served basis. Students, faculty and staff can attend for free, and alumni registration is $25. The deadline for online registration is 5 p.m. Tuesday, April 22. To register after April 22, participants can call 800.934.2586, ext. 11146. More information, including a complete schedule and registration forms, is available online.

UMaine, O’Brien Medical Collaboration Results in Patented Device

O’Brien Medical announced it has been granted a patent by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for its Electronic Tuning Fork, or ETF. The device offers a significant improvement over current methods used by doctors to detect diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN), a common precursor to diabetic limb loss.

The development of the ETF was made possible through a collaboration with Dr. Todd O’Brien, president and founder of O’Brien Medical, and the University of Maine.

More than five years ago, O’Brien approached UMaine’s Advanced Manufacturing Center for help developing a proof-of-concept ETF, and then worked with Bruce Segee of UMaine’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering to develop the beta and commercial versions of the device.

Segee calls the project a perfect example of how the university can help grow the Maine economy.

A Maine electronics manufacturer has been selected to produce the ETF, and O’Brien expects the device will be available for purchase in late 2014.

The full news release is available online.


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