Marie Hayes, a University of Maine professor of psychology, spoke with Reuters about an invited commentary she co-wrote with Dr. Mark Brown, chief of pediatrics and director of nurseries at Eastern Maine Medical Center, for the Aug. 25 Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). The commentary, “Legalization of Medical Marijuana and Incidence of Opioid Mortality,” references a study in the same JAMA issue examining the link between medical marijuana laws and unintentional overdose mortality from opioid analgesics. “Because opioid mortality is such a tremendously significant health crisis now, we have to do something and figure out what’s going on,” Hayes told Reuters, adding efforts that states are making to combat deaths, such as prescription monitoring programs, have been relatively ineffective. “Everything we’re doing is having no effect, except for in the states that have implemented medical marijuana laws,” she said. Fox News and the Bangor Daily News carried the Reuters report. Live Science, Boston.com, Los Angeles Times, Science Codex and The Washington Post also reported on the JAMA articles. The Portland Press Herald carried the LA Times article.
The Bangor Daily News reported the University of Maine made Washington Monthly’s “Best Bang for the Buck” list, which recognizes institutions “in America that do the best job of helping non-wealthy students attain marketable degrees at affordable prices,” according to the magazine’s editors. Washington Monthly evaluated about 1,700 colleges and universities and selected 349 based on criteria that reward schools that do well with students from lower-income families, according to the BDN. UMaine was one of four Maine colleges to make the list, with a ranking of 132. The University of Maine at Farmington ranked 184, Maine Maritime Academy ranked 232 and College of the Atlantic ranked 240.
The Bangor Daily News reported on efforts the Maine Department of Transportation (MDOT) is taking to reduce the number of moose-vehicle accidents. The article states the MDOT has several plans in the works, including a “moose illuminator project,” that calls for the installation of LED lights along sections of Route 161 with a high moose concentration. The lights would turn on after dark when a vehicle approaches, with the intent of lighting the roadway to reveal moose, the article states. The project was designed in cooperation with students in the University of Maine’s Electrical Engineering Department as part of their senior project this past spring, according to Andrew Sheaff, a lecturer in the department. “This was a really cool project,” he said. “And we hope it will help out motorists avoid moose.”
Dana Morse, a Maine Sea Grant researcher who works at the University of Maine’s Darling Marine Center, was quoted in The Forecaster’s article, “Even in retreat, green crabs confound Maine shellfish industry.” Morse said there is a small, but motivated group in the state looking for ways to market the crabs. He added one idea — that hasn’t yet panned out — is to use the crabs as bait for the conch fishing industry in Massachusetts.
The Portland Press Herald spoke with University of Maine political scientist Mark Brewer for an article about a federal judge siding with four supporters of independent gubernatorial candidate Eliot Cutler who sued the state over campaign contribution limits for non-party candidates. Brewer told the Press Herald he wasn’t surprised by the ruling and has often wondered why the provision wasn’t challenged sooner. “That said, I don’t know that this will affect the (governor’s) race,” he said. “Where this is more important is the precedent it sets.”
Rebecca Holberton, a professor of biological sciences at the University of Maine, was quoted in a SeacoastOnline article about the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service using tiny transmitters to study shorebird migration patterns. The tags transmit signals to radio towers on the Northeast coast of the United States and Canada, with two of the towers in the Rachel Carson Wildlife Refuge in Wells, according to the report. The Wells activity is part of a larger project to study migration patterns of semipalmated sandpipers, which began in 2013, the article states. The larger project is co-directed by Holberton and Lindsay Tudor, a shorebird biologist for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. Holberton said the project is still at the beginning. “Last year was the first time for shorebird tracking in Maine,” she said. “This is the first year in Wells. It’s the first year with more than one site in Maine. We want to continue and expand to more sites in Maine and more species.” The Associated Press and the Bangor Daily News picked up the SeacoastOnline article. The Portland Press Herald and Maine Public Broadcasting Network carried the AP report.
Jesse Moriarity, coordinator of the University of Maine’s Foster Center for Student Innovation, and Jennifer Hooper, an entrepreneur and mentor coordinator at the center, were featured in the Mainebiz article “Innovation, Maine style: A creativity hub hopes to keep good ideas in-state.” Moriarity and Hooper are co-coordinators of the Bangor Innovation Hub, which is one of five hubs planned for development statewide and funded by Blackstone Accelerates Growth, a three-year, $3 million grant from the Blackstone Charitable Foundation. The hubs are aimed at bridging the gap between good ideas and profitable businesses, according to the article. UMaine is one of the key partners in the Bangor Innovation Hub, along with Husson University and the towns of Orono and Old Town.
WLBZ (Channel 2) reported in its community section, that the Mount Desert Island Historical Society and the University of Maine will announce a new partnership at the society’s annual meeting Aug. 27 in Northeast Harbor. With funding from the University of Maine Humanities Initiative (UMHI), the organizations will create a collaborative internship to engage students of history, new media and other disciplines. The outcomes of the project will depend on the interests of students and faculty, and could range from a redesign of the society’s website, to the development of guided historical tours for handheld computer applications, to ways to explore and present historical research projects, according to the report. “This is precisely the sort of project the Public Humanities Grant program aims to support. We are especially excited about the opportunities for student engagement with Mount Desert Island Historical Society resources and the community,” said Justin Wolff, UMHI director.
Renae Moran, a tree fruit specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, spoke to the Maine Public Broadcasting Network about this year’s apple crop in Maine. According to the report, experts are predicting an excellent crop this year, with good size and color. Moran said most people who pick their own apples will not see much hail damage, and added most apple farms in Maine get a significant portion of their incomes from pick-your-own and retail farm stand sales. Moran said pick-your-own has started in southern Maine with summer varieties. Activity usually picks up after Labor Day, when the main crop harvest begins the second week in September in southern Maine and continues into October in more northern areas, she said.
Daniel Williams, executive director of the University of Maine’s Collins Center for the Arts, spoke to Mainebiz about the Bangor region becoming an entertainment destination. Williams said he remembered when the Collins Center opened its doors in 1986 under the name Maine Center for the Arts. “It changed our community overnight. I believe the MCA was the start of a cultural experiment that has been wildly successful. Ten or 15 years ago, we heard a lot of talk about the creative economy. I think we are seeing that concept in full swing in greater Bangor,” he said. Indigenous arts at CCA’s Hudson Museum and fine arts at the University of Maine’s Museum of Art in downtown Bangor were also recognized in the article. An economic impact study on Bangor’s Waterfront Concerts conducted by UMaine economics professor Todd Gabe also was cited in the article. Gabe found from 2010 to 2013, the series drew more than 300,000 people to the region.