A free exercise program designed to prevent and help reverse the symptoms of osteoporosis through strength training, balance exercises and health education is being offered in eight locations in eastern Maine by the University of Maine Center on Aging’s Retired and Senior Volunteer Program.
The RSVP Bone Builders Osteoporosis Exercise and Prevention Program, funded by a grant from the United Way of Eastern Maine, is an evidence-based program developed by Tufts University researchers who determined that adults can improve their strength and fitness at any age.
Researchers found a low-impact weight training exercise program can improve balance, bone density and muscle strength. These improvements, along with education that focuses on diet, medications and lifestyle can also help prevent the risk of falls.
Osteoporosis is a condition in which bone density decreases, making the bones thin and brittle and easily broken or fractured. One out of every two women and one out of every four men over 50 will have an osteoporosis-related fracture in their lifetime, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
Research indicates that proper exercise can stress and stimulate bones, increasing bone density and making bones stronger.
The exercise portion of the UMaine Bone Builders class helps improve overall balance and flexibility, which leads to more confidence in walking in different environments and rebounding from falls.
Another major element of the program is the education focusing not only on diet and medications for osteoporosis, but also lifestyle, which includes how to maintain a home, reach for objects on high shelves, or get in and out of a vehicle safely to avoid falls and fractures.
The Bone Builders program offers free hour-and-a-half-long classes twice a week for six-month sessions. Classes currently are running at the Women’s Health Resource Library in Milbridge, the Ellsworth Senior Center, Island Community Center in Stonington, Parker Ridge in Blue Hill, Avalon Village in Hampden, Sunbury Village in Bangor, Brewer’s Housing Authority, and the Old Town-Orono YMCA.
Classes are limited to 15 participants, and spots are currently available at the Brewer and Hampden locations.
Those who wish to attend must register and get medical clearance from a licensed health care provider.
RSVP members who have been trained by certified health and fitness consultant Kevin Dunton lead the Bone Builders classes. There are two volunteer lay leaders per class.
The exercises in the class range from warm-up and cool-down stretches to movements using hand and ankle weights.
“The RSVP staff and lay leaders are dedicated to providing class participants with a safe and comfortable atmosphere for an exercise regimen which can be adjusted to an individual’s condition whether or not they have engaged in regular exercise over the years,” Program Director Paula Burnett says.
The Center on Aging’s RSVP is one of three national senior service corps programs sponsored by the Corporation for National and Community Service whose “mission is to invest the skills and life experiences to make a difference for generations in Eastern Maine through volunteer service,” Burnett says.
For more information on how to participate or serve as a volunteer lay leader, call Paula Burnett, 207.262.7926.
Contact: Elyse Kahl, 207.581.3747
A new University of Maine training program for graduate students in Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD) is expected to reduce the cost of providing speech therapy services, while reaching out to underserved children and adults in rural areas throughout Maine — or around the world.
The university’s Communication Sciences and Disorders Department has developed a Web-based speech therapy telepractice training program to give graduate students the competencies that are revolutionizing the delivery of health care worldwide. It is now accepting speech therapy clients who would benefit from the remote access of telepractice.
“We have created one of the first nationwide speech therapy telepractice training programs,” says Judy Walker, a UMaine CSD associate professor who developed the program in collaboration with colleagues in the Speech Therapy Department at Waldo County General Hospital (WCGH) in Belfast.
The UMaine program is one of only a few programs in the country that offers speech therapy telepractice training at the college level in an emerging service model for delivering health care through evolving technologies. Speech therapy telepractice involves almost no travel expense and expands the reach of therapy services to more people in Maine, where an overabundance of people in need of speech therapy is compounded by a severe shortage of speech therapists, Walker says.
“Telepractice is not only efficient in reaching people, but also cost-effective,” Walker says.
Nationally, at least one study estimates that telemedicine services provided via broadband Internet would save $700 billion nationally over the next 15 to 20 years, according to Walker.
The program uses a secure, password-protected Web-based platform that allows virtual face-to-face therapy between service providers and clients. Clients can be assisted by designated “e-Helpers” — family, friends or caregivers — according to Walker. All that is needed is a computer with a webcam and broadband Internet access, located in a private setting, such as a home, school, clinic or community center.
“In addition to overcoming barriers such as geography, weather and transportation, we can also bring in family members and caregivers to participate in the therapy from their own computers in any location,” Walker says. “With this service delivery model, anyone involved in a child’s or adult’s therapy program can actually view or participate in the session, regardless of where they are,” Walker says.
The UMaine graduate training program in speech therapy telepractice, based in the Madelyn E. and Albert D. Conley Speech, Language and Hearing Center in Dunn Hall, complies with American Speech-Language-Hearing Association guidelines for demonstrating competencies and skills in speech telepractice services, which standardizes the training of the UMaine graduates.
That’s important, according to WCGH Speech Therapy Department Director Michael Towey, who oversees the hospital’s 5-year-old speech therapy telepractice, on which the UMaine program is modeled. Competency standards have not been well defined nationally, says Towey, a UMaine alumnus and adjunct CSD faculty member assisting the university with its telepractice training curriculum.
Industry credentials reassure clients that telepractice therapists are competent, he says. Towey says the UMaine speech therapy telepractice training program is among the first to establish training standards for therapists at the college level.
Waldo County General Hospital’s speech telepractice program is provided by staff professionals, who have served people from Canada to Russia and Taiwan, in addition to more that 40 Maine communities between Kittery and Fort Kent. It is one of only a handful of speech therapy programs in the country with Training Program Accreditation from the American Telemedicine Association, according to Towey, and the only one that allows therapists to work with clients in home settings rather than at designated clinics, he says.
Walker along with Casey Monnier, a CSD staff speech pathologist and lecturer, and WCGH staff offered the first telepractice training class in August 2012 to 10 CSD graduate students, including Taylor Rodgers of Standish and Janet Ciejka of Brunswick. Following the class, Rodgers and Ciejka applied their new skills in two semesters of clinical practicum providing telepractice speech therapy to clients under the supervision of Walker and Monnier. A new cohort of 12 CSD graduate students are currently in a telepractice training class this month and will be involved in applying their new telepractice skills in clinical practicum during the next school year.
Prior to graduation, Rodgers had been providing speech therapy to a woman from southern Maine, who as the result of a stroke in April 2012, had difficulty finding the words to communicate with her family for much of the spring and summer. Speech therapy telepractice sessions began in the fall 2012, involving one adult daughter videoconferencing from Rhode Island, another daughter at her mother’s side in southern Maine, and Walker and Rodgers in Orono. Now, the woman can retrieve many nouns and other words (verbally or in writing using e-Tools) as Rodgers displayed digital materials that are unique to this client on the computer screen where all participants can see- bread, rice cakes, butter or milk, for example.
Therapy by videoconference is working better than the daughters expected, they say. Their mother is progressing faster as a result of more frequent therapy sessions and outside practice of activities involving the daughters and their mother between online sessions with Rodgers and Walker.
“I had a telephone conversation with my mother last week and I understood everything she was trying to say,” the southern Maine daughter says of her mother.
Therapy at home also ended a “convoluted and complicated” transportation problem when her mother was visiting a therapy clinic, says one daughter, a nurse.
“I was driving her to therapy two and three times a week, and we had to arrange transportation. I felt I was losing touch because I wasn’t there for all the sessions,” she recalls. It was worse for the daughter in Rhode Island, a school bus driver who can now participate in therapy sessions with her mother between her shifts at work. “Being so far away, I feel so much more involved now,” she says.
For the mother’s part, starting telepractice speech therapy “was wonderful,” she says. “It’s helping me.”
Rodgers, who recently received a master’s degree, is convinced the new telepractice skills will give UMaine speech-language pathologists an edge in the job market.
“I think it’s a really exciting opportunity the University of Maine makes available to us,” Rodgers says. “I have friends in speech pathology at other universities and they really don’t have anything like this, and this seems to be the future direction of speech pathology.”
The University of Maine, Madelyn E. and Albert D. Conley Speech, Language, Hearing Center is accepting new clients for speech therapy telepractice services this summer and fall. Telepractice is covered by many insurance plans, including MaineCare. For more information or to make an appointment, call the Conley Speech, Language Hearing Center, 207.581.2006, or visit the telepractice website.
Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745
A blond-haired boy and Reading Recovery teacher Bonnie Simko sit side by side at a small table for their one-on-one, 30-minute lesson at G.H. Jewett School in Bucksport.
After the first-grader enthusiastically reads a familiar story about fire trucks Simko preps him for a new, more-difficult book and he eagerly jumps in.
As the boy reads, Simko keeps a running record of her observations of his reading behaviors — successes and challenges, including his ability to problem-solve during reading.
Based on her observations, Simko continually adjusts her instruction to match the boy’s learning needs. She gently questions, prompts, encourages and coaches him during the fast-paced session on the sunny spring afternoon.
The boy’s father smiles as he watches the interaction through a large one-way mirror. Mary Rosser also observes the lesson alongside the boy’s father and five RSU 25 educators.
Rosser is director of the University Training Center for Reading Recovery at the University of Maine. She champions professional development for teacher leaders and new Reading Recovery teachers around the state.
While Simko and the boy interact, Rosser and the educators share observations and write notes to review later with Simko.
“What a great storyteller you are,” Simko says to the boy.
“She set him up as the learning agent,” Rosser says to the educators, including one high school and several elementary teachers.
“Big … big … big … bigger. He broke the word apart with his eyes,” Rosser says after the youth independently figured out the word. “He said big and kept searching further.”
Similar scenarios routinely play out in Reading Recovery lessons throughout the state, where trained educators work one-on-one each school day with approximately 2,000 first-graders.
More than 32,400 students in Maine have benefited from Reading Recovery since the initiative started two decades ago in the state.
In the 1970s, New Zealand educator Marie Clay developed Reading Recovery — an early intervention, prevention initiative for first-graders experiencing difficulty reading and writing; in 1983, it became a national program in New Zealand.
During each lesson, students revisit familiar books so their reading becomes “phrased, fluent and expressive.” Children are encouraged to develop in-the-head strategies to problem-solve print difficulties while reading for meaning.
“When we read, write, speak and listen, we draw on multiple sources of information simultaneously,” Rosser says. “To a reader, words on a page have to make sense, sound right and look right,” she says.
Comprehensive, coordinated and coherent is how Rosser describes the scientific-base and design of Reading Recovery.
It’s also effective.
National data indicate within 12 to 20 weeks, about 75 percent of at-risk learners who complete Reading Recovery intervention achieve grade-level expectations.
“It makes a difference in the lives of human beings,” says Rosser. “It’s life-altering. On a daily basis we work with students who find themselves on the downside of opportunity, for a range of reasons, and through no fault of their own, they struggle with literacy learning. These are the students for whom Reading Recovery makes a life-altering difference.”
Teachers from around Maine gathered in early May at the Cole Transportation Museum in Bangor to thank Suzanne Cole and the Galen Cole Family Foundation for their long-standing financial support of training for Reading Recovery teachers and teacher leaders.
One by one, educators in attendance shared touching stories about their students’ successes. Several first-graders who have taken part in the initiative also read from favorite books.
Sidow Osman, 42, and Markaba Sheikh, 39, of Lewiston have witnessed the program’s positive power with their children.
Osman and Sheikh were born and reared in Somalia, then lived in Kenya before moving their family to the United States eight years ago.
Osman says Reading Recovery has been instrumental in helping their son, Sheikh Mohamed, 8, and daughter, Rukia Mohamed, 7, read and write English.
“Reading and writing are the most important parts of education,” Osman told Jodi Smith, a Reading Recovery teacher leader at Montello Elementary School in Lewiston.
Osman, who works an overnight shift at a plant in Auburn, described Sheikh as quiet and confident and Rukia as curious.
Sheikh, who wants to be a soccer player, told Smith reading and math are his favorite subjects at Montello. Rukia, who wants to be an actor, listed reading, recess and writing as her favorite parts of the day at the 700-student elementary school.
They both told Smith they enjoy reading at home for fun. Sheikh cited homework as another hobby and Rukia liked writing in her journal.
With all the successes resulting from Reading Recovery, and the potential for so many more, it’s not surprising Rosser says she’s never experienced a more satisfying time in her professional career.
It’s satisfying for elementary educators, too. Simko and Amanda Hammond, a K/1 looping teacher at the pre-K through grade 6 Montello Elementary School, say literacy training has improved their overall teaching knowledge and skills.
Reading Peter Johnston’s book, “Choice Words: How Our Language Affects Children’s Learning,” has been transformative, Simko says, adding it shifted her way of thinking and interacting with students.
“They (students) need to please themselves, not me,” Simko says.
Hammond always knew she wanted to teach. “As a child I would pretend to be a teacher to my stuffed animals at home,” she says. “I wish I could go back in time (before taking Reading Recovery training) and give those students the instruction my students today receive.”
Hammond is thrilled to play a role in helping children flourish.
“It has boosted the confidence of so many of my students. They walk away feeling successful,” she says. “They know they are readers, writers and hard workers … and the strategies they learn not only benefit them in literacy but set them up for success across content areas.”
Children are eager to learn when it’s an affirming and enjoyable experience, Rosser says.
And learning is elementary to future well-being. Being able to read is imperative for individuals and society, says Rosser.
Two-thirds of students who can’t read well by the end of their fourth-grade year will end up on welfare or in jail, according to One World Literacy Foundation.
Contact: Beth Staples, 207.581.3777
Pat and Barb Cyr of Millinocket slept in shifts after their daughter Courtney was born in 1992.
Courtney was diagnosed with impaired cognition function, cerebral palsy and autism, and she required constant care when she was awake, which was most of the time. Courtney slept a few hours a day, if that. Barb says when Courtney was 18 months old she was hospitalized and treated after barely closing her eyes for 11 days.
When Courtney was 3 and becoming more mobile, the couple sought to buy her a protective pediatric bed but their insurance company wouldn’t help with the purchase.
Soon after, Pat sketched a design of a special bed on a napkin while having lunch at Applebee’s. He tweaked the pattern, then built Courtney a 7-foot-long, 6-foot-high four-poster bed.
He used sturdy awning fabric — with built-in window netting — as side and end panels. The internal sleeping compartment was designed to keep Courtney from falling out of bed and wandering at night. The front panel had a large zippered opening. The hardwood frame was plenty sturdy to support her when she bounced. And the interior compartment was padded and tightly fitted to protect her from banging her head or burrowing under the mattress.
Courtney felt safe and was content in her special bed, Pat says. She slept more and so too did Pat and Barb.
In 2003, Great Northern Paper laid off 48-year-old Pat, and 1,400 other employees. Pat had been at the mill 30 years; he started soon after he graduated from Stearns High School. Pat loved being a beater engineer, mixing pulp with water, chemicals and dye to turn it into paper.
He knew the job and did it well.
While contemplating his future, Pat discovered he had a knack for repairing PCs; he fixed a computer that Barb had bought to use for her college classes. He subsequently enrolled and excelled in courses at Eastern Maine Community College, then started a computer repair business, ComputerFixx. The business, he says, is very enjoyable and thriving.
But his invention that had changed his family’s life wasn’t far from his mind. Pat realized if a bed could so drastically improve Courtney’s life, it could also help other families in similar circumstances.
He dusted off the napkin design and he and his cousin Ron Cyr, a furniture maker, began building “Courtney Beds.” After obtaining a patent and approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on the design in 2008, they built and sold seven beds. In 2009, they built and sold seven more.
While Pat was confident in his and Ron’s carpentry skills and work ethic, he knew he needed help with a business plan. So he asked for it. U.S. Congressman Mike Michaud, who had previously worked 29 years at Great Northern Paper, listened.
In 2009, help arrived.
Michaud was instrumental in securing a $1.82 million U.S. Economic Development Administration grant to fund the Knowledge Transfer Alliance (KTA) at the University of Maine.
The grant, created to help communities and businesses like Cyr’s prevail through economic hardships caused by the Great Recession and natural disasters, has grown to assist all Maine companies seeking engineering, manufacturing or business expertise.
Hugh Stevens directs the KTA, which is overseen by George Criner, director of the School of Economics; and John Mahon, a professor in the Maine Business School.
UMaine business and economics students as well as faculty members from business, economics, engineering, UMaine Cooperative Extension, the Foster Center for Student Innovation and Forest Bioproducts Research Institute all pitch in.
“We get them (business owners) to the right place on their terms,” says Stevens of the KTA staff. “We’re serving them. It’s gratifying to help them through their rough spots.”
Pat says he received considerable free expert advice from the KTA, in particular from previous employees Bernardita Silva and Sue Medley. “They helped me create and facilitate my business acumen,” he says.
KTA provides a range of valuable services, including consulting, market and financial analyses, software training, website management, branding, sales strategy and production and accounting guidance.
That’s the goal of the initiative — to transfer the knowledge and information of UMaine professors and staff to Maine businesspeople.
Since 2009, Stevens says KTA has assisted about 300 Maine businesses. Its motto is “Helping Maine communities and business overcome hardships — one business at a time.”
Since utilizing KTA’s counsel, Pat has steadily increased the number of Courtney Beds he’s constructed and sold. After selling seven beds in 2009, he sold 16 in 2010; 37 in 2011; and 50 in 2012. Courtney Bed, Inc. now operates out of two shops with six employees.
Children in the United States, Canada and Australia are sleeping in Courtney Beds. Families from Israel, Japan, Mexico, Guatemala and most of Western Europe have inquired about the invention. Five families requested, and received help through the Make-A-Wish Foundation to purchase beds, Pat says.
Pat sells the FDA-approved hospital beds, which are comprised of 27 pieces of Maine ash, for $4,400.
The customer feedback, Pat says, is priceless. With each Courtney Bed he ships out the door, he knows he’s helping improve lives, one family at a time.
“Some folks have called and started crying,” Pat says. “They say they can’t believe how our bed has changed their lives.”
Pat says Courtney, who will be 21 in December, is thriving. She still sleeps in a bed named in her honor. “Barb and I have been God-blessed,” Pat says. “Courtney has a good life. She’s growing at her own pace and tee-hees and giggles much of every day.”
And she sleeps at night.
Contact: Beth Staples, 207.581.3777
Educators and parents avow that Reading Recovery — an early intervention, short-term, one-on-one prevention initiative for first-graders having difficulty reading and writing — opens doors to learning and creates opportunities for children.
The thousands of children who enjoy reading and are reading well are proof.
Brian Doore, assistant research professor in the University of Maine’s College of Education and Human Development, figured out a way to strengthen the life-changing initiative by analyzing Reading Recovery data within a comprehensive intervention model.
Doore and his wife, Stacy, a UMaine doctoral student in spatial engineering and a research associate at the Center for Research and Evaluation at UMaine, designed the prototype for Comprehensive Intervention Model for Maine (CIMME) — a Web-based data collection entry system for educators.
Teachers plug in a student’s data, including instructional hours, number of absences, books read, average text level gain, average writing vocabulary gain, as well as notes and comments. With CIMME, teachers are able to make up-to-the-second instructional decisions to best help the student.
The system displays children’s learning trajectories in various forms, including line charts and motion graphs.
Kit Cuddy was lead programmer on the CIMME project and Quansheng Song supervised. Cuddy, Song and CRE director Craig Mason refined and added functionality to the system so it could be offered to schools throughout Maine and in nine other states, Doore says.
Often times, says Doore, educators utilize summative assessments — think midterms and finals. These tests seek to determine whether students learned — past tense — the material.
This data collection system provides a formative assessment — in real time. “We’re focused on what they are learning,” Doore says.
Because the graphs show the child’s reading knowledge at that moment, educators can determine what instructional strategy will be most beneficial at that moment in time.
“The right question (for teachers) is, ‘What does the child need to learn and what do I need to teach next?’” Doore says.
For Doore, a former special education and regular education teacher, the objective is “for all children to make progress and be successful.”
Because teachers, teacher leaders and administrators in different locations can simultaneously view the information on their computers, they can collectively brainstorm about how best to proceed.
The data provides a detailed picture of individual literacy interventions and that becomes the catalyst for coaching conversations around how to accelerate students’ learning.
Teachers can follow a student’s long-term progression in one school system and, if a student moves, Doore says educators in the new school can immediately access the data so there’s no gap in services for the youth.
“It’s an empowering model instead of a deficit model,” says Mary Rosser, director of the University Training Center for Reading Recovery at UMaine.
“Rather than contemplating what we could have, should have and would have done, it’s an opportunity to look at where we are we now and what can we do, in the moment, to accelerate learning.”
In order to increase access to the system, Doore and Rosser have teamed up with partners from across the country to submit multiple federal grants.
Additional funding, says Doore, would allow CIMME to be available to more students and teachers across the country and support improved outcomes and accelerated learning for children through educators’ increased ability to engage in systematic, data-based, instructional decision-making.
Contact: Beth Staples, 207.581.3777
The second annual UMaine Business Challenge for student entrepreneurs recently awarded thousands of dollars in cash and consulting services to a University of Southern Maine student and three UMaine finalists.
Tom Myers, a USM mechanical engineering student from Gray, Maine, won the grand prize of $5,000, as well as the $4,000 technology prize and consulting services donated by sponsors to promote his business, ABC Firewood.
Spencer Wood, a UMaine communications and human development double major from Salisbury, N.H., won the second-place prize of $1,000, as well as patent and law consulting for his business, Body Guard Fitness.
The other finalists, Henry Bonneau, a UMaine civil engineering major from Skowhegan who owns Bonneau & Son Excavation, and Matthew Hodgkin, a UMaine animal science major from Colebrook, Conn., who co-owns LobsteRX, won consulting time with sponsors and judges.
The UMaine Business Challenge (UBC) was started by 2010 UMaine graduates Owen McCarthy, James Morin, Matt Ciampa and Sangam Lama to support and promote new businesses started by UMaine students and to improve Maine’s economy. This year, the team was joined by marketing representative Hannah Hudson, also a 2010 UMaine graduate.
“We started UBC because we are passionate about UMaine and the state,” McCarthy says. “We saw this as an opportunity to pay it forward. It is our goal to see UBC alumni leading the state in economic growth and development while giving back to the university in their time, talent and treasure.”
The competition is sponsored by Maine Technology Institute, Blackstone Accelerates Growth, University Credit Union, UMaine Class of 1944, UMaine Class of 1980, UMaine Class of 2010, Maine Business School, University of Southern Maine, Opticliff ESQ, The Swanson Group LLC, Maine News Simply and WLOB Radio.
The four finalists were chosen after rounds of competition including an intent to participate stage, questionnaire and executive summary. The finalists were then asked to submit complete business plans to a panel of judges including James Page, University of Maine System chancellor; Jesse Moriarity, coordinator of UMaine’s Foster Center for Student Innovation; Jason Harkins, Maine Business School professor; John F. Burns, fund manager for Small Enterprise Growth, Maine’s Venture Capital Fund; Meredith Strang Burgess, president and CEO of Burgess Advertising & Marketing; Gregory Cavanaugh, program manager for external programs at University of Southern Maine; and Marc Brunelle and Brent Larlee, UMaine alumni and entrepreneurs.
The finalists share the same goal of promoting businesses in Maine.
Tom Myers, ABC Firewood
The idea for Myers’ startup business began when he came across a YouTube video of a commercially produced firewood processor.
“I was analyzing the production process and got thinking about all the inefficiencies in the design,” Myers says. “I thought about how I would do things differently and the idea grew from there.”
Myers, who will graduate in 2015, says he wants his business to be a leading provider in high-quality, affordable firewood in southern Maine.
“Through the use of innovative, custom-designed processing equipment we will be able to keep production rates and quality high while keeping costs down to a minimum,” Myers says. “We are also aiming to completely change the way firewood is sold.”
Myers says there is currently no quantifiable number as to how much heat a delivery of wood produces. ABC Firewood plans to use a new method for quantifying the heat output of a wood delivery to ensure clients are getting the most for their money and to help weed out dishonest suppliers.
Winning first place in the challenge as well as the technology prize through MTI and Blackstone will allow Myers to begin operations immediately through startup funds, establishing contacts and strengthening business skills.
“By winning, my business plan was suddenly backed and supported by many different people all vowing for its viability,” Myers says. “It gave me the confidence and knowledge necessary to get the ball rolling and start my own business. I think this is a huge obstacle to overcome for any entrepreneur, but an even larger one for a young entrepreneur.”
Spencer Wood, Body Guard Fitness
Wood, who graduated in May and plans to return to UMaine to get his master’s degree in human development, got the idea for his business while playing for the UMaine football team.
“I needed something to keep my body in peak physical condition that I could take on the road and use in the residence halls when I was living on campus,” Wood says.
He describes his business as “the first of its kind.”
“This revolutionary product in full-body fitness and mobility will transform the fitness industry and bodies alike,” Wood says. “It is a unique combination of push-up grip and resistance-band technologies that come together to provide a comprehensive and demanding full-body workout.”
Wood’s goal is for the Body Guard to become a household name and a familiar product in the fitness world. He wants his product to be known for giving users confidence.
Since the challenge, Wood has worked with some of the judges and the Foster Center and is confident the money and counseling he won will greatly affect his business.
“If my product is patentable, which it looks it is, the sky will be the limit,” Wood says.
Henry Bonneau, Bonneau & Son Excavation
Bonneau started his excavation business in May 2012 with a 4-yard dump truck, skid steer and backhoe to complete lawn and residential drainage work. By the end of the summer, he was able to purchase a bulldozer that allowed him to also clear land, put in driveways, dig septic systems and complete large-scale landscaping.
Bonneau says his advertising strategy and eagerness to find work helped him have a successful first year and allowed him to purchase a full-sized 18-yard dump truck.
Last summer’s jobs included septic systems and house lots, as well as larger projects such as working on a $350,000 residential reconstruction project and a land rehabilitation and repair project for Central Maine Power.
Bonneau, who plans to graduate in 2015, wants his company to grow and differentiate itself from other Maine contractors.
“I aspire to emphasize green and ‘low-impact’ construction while incorporating today’s most innovative construction methods and materials,” Bonneau says, adding he already has plans to construct a bioretention cell, or natural soil filter, and look into innovative materials such as tire-derived aggregates.
Bonneau believes the consulting services he won and connections he made from the UMaine Business Challenge will benefit his company.
“I suggest any and all entrepreneurs who are aware of this competition and are anxious to get their business off the ground [or in my case, develop it further] should take full advantage of this opportunity,” Bonneau says.
Matthew Hodgkin, LobsteRX
Hodgkin, who expects to graduate in May 2015, decided to start a business with his partners, Lobster Institute Executive Director Robert Bayer, Lobster Institute Associate Director Cathy Billings, and Stewart Hardison, a business partner from outside the UMaine community, after the four had a conversation about lobster industry waste.
“Our business is taking the lobster processing by-products and trying to find uses for them,” Hodgkin says. “So far we have had success in that we have come across certain antiviral and antineoplastic properties.”
Hodgkin and his partners aim to create products from lobster-processing industry waste. Their goal is to get more money to lobstermen and improve Maine’s economy.
Contact: Elyse Kahl, 207.381.3747
Upward of 12,000 people attended the University of Maine’s 211th Commencement at Harold Alfond Sports Arena May 11 and heard remarks by alumnus Lawrence Bender, the producer of films that have won a total of six Academy Awards.®
This academic year, 1,665 students — 1,333 undergraduate and 332 graduate students — earned degrees from UMaine.
A 10 a.m. ceremony was held for graduates in the College of Business, Public Policy and Health; the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; the College of Education and Human Development; and the Division of Lifelong Learning. Graduates in the College of Engineering and the College of Natural Sciences, Forestry, and Agriculture were recognized at a 2:30 p.m. ceremony.
UMaine President Paul Ferguson, who presided over the ceremonies, encouraged the students to invest their talent, success and great achievements in enriching the world and improving the quality of life of those around them. The hope, he said, is that the students’ experiences and education at UMaine have inspired them to dare and to “achieve greatly.”
“You can be confident that your UMaine education represents the very best of Maine and that you, in turn, represent the very best of Maine,” Ferguson said. “It is with great pride that I remind you that UMaine is now forever a part of your identity, just as you are the legacy of the University of Maine.”
UMaine awarded an honorary degree to film producer Lawrence Bender, whose noteworthy projects such as “Inglourious Basterds,” “Pulp Fiction” and “Good Will Hunting” have been honored with 29 Academy Award® nominations, including three for Best Picture. His film, “An Inconvenient Truth,” which raised unprecedented awareness about climate change, won the Academy Award® for Best Documentary Feature.
In his remarks, which included a standing ovation, Bender said he would not have the life he lives today if not for his University of Maine experience, and he urged the students to find success through consistent hard work and persistence.
“How can you achieve greatness? I would say three basic things,” said Bender, who graduated from UMaine in 1979 with a degree in civil engineering. “One, you must find your passion. Two, failure must be a possibility. And three, never give up, especially when you are failing.”
“The ability to allow yourself to fail is the ability to allow yourself to go full on and to break boundaries. Many times it’s only by failing that you find the real truth. And this is not esoteric, this is basic to the heart of all entrepreneurism.”
Other Commencement speakers included students Emma Burgess Roy of Auburn, Maine, a graduating senior in international affairs, with a concentration in women’s studies; and Lindsay LaJoie of Van Buren, Maine, a graduating senior in food science and human nutrition.
LaJoie is the 2013 salutatorian. The 2013 valedictorian is Spencer Hathaway of Turner, Maine, who received two bachelor’s degrees — economics and business administration in accounting.
Also honored at Commencement, as well as at a Faculty Appreciation and Recognition Luncheon today, were four faculty members in physics, insect ecology, finance and computer science. Professor of Physics Robert Lad, director of UMaine’s Laboratory for Surface Science and Technology is the 2013 Distinguished Maine Professor, an award presented by the University of Maine Alumni Association in recognition of outstanding achievement in the university’s mission of teaching, research and public service.
Professor of Insect Ecology Francis “Frank” Drummond is the 2013 Presidential Research and Creative Achievement Award recipient. This year’s Presidential Outstanding Teaching Award recipient is Professor of Finance Richard Borgman. Professor of Computer Science George Markowsky is the recipient of the Presidential Public Service Achievement Award.
University of Maine System Board of Trustees members Samuel Collins and retired Adm. Gregory Johnson, a UMaine alumnus, delivered greetings from the board in the morning and afternoon sessions, respectively.
Alumna Samantha Lott Hale, chair of the University of Maine Alumni Association Board of Directors, welcomed the new graduates to the ranks of the more than 105,000 University of Maine alumni worldwide.
Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745
When Mainers hear the term “local seafood,” a few words come to mind more than others — healthy, fresh, good, “Maine” and lobster. But ask those same people what they think when they hear the term “sustainable seafood” and the answers are less clear, varying from “I don’t know” and “nothing” to “it takes a long time to get” and “harvested.”
University of Maine Associate Professor Laura Lindenfeld and doctoral student Brianne Suldovsky, who are affiliated with UMaine’s Department of Communication and Journalism and Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center, are conducting a social research project to understand how consumers, especially in inland Maine areas, perceive seafood, and whether they view local and sustainable seafood as important.
The research team, along with Teresa Johnson, assistant professor of marine policy at UMaine’s School of Marine Sciences, also hopes to learn what infrastructure exists for Maine’s seafood market, and how communication can be improved between producers, distributors and buyers.
The one-year Seafood Links Project, funded by Maine Sea Grant, focuses on surveys and interviews with consumers, restaurants, culinary schools and grocery stores in the Bangor and Portland areas.
Lindenfeld says the project is targeting the Bangor area and its connections, as well as looking at Portland as a model city supportive of local seafood.
“By comparing the Bangor area with the Portland area, we can look at a city where restaurants and markets are advancing seafood in interesting ways, with a lot of conversation across the industry,” Lindenfeld says. “What could we do in Bangor that would make sense and how could we learn from that experience to transfer that to other inland areas?”
With a large network of people involved in the seafood industry, the researchers decided to focus on looking into the decision-making process at restaurants, culinary schools and grocery stores.
Lindenfeld says it is important to come into the project with an open mind and not presume to know how the network is working and what consumers want. To get a sense of what questions to ask whom, the team started with a round of consumer surveys.
The team found people were interested in the question of where their seafood comes from.
“People said ‘Wow, I’ve never thought of this before. You’re right, we market beef, we market potatoes and vegetables and fruit with an origin, but we don’t talk about where the seafood comes from in our restaurants.’ Why should seafood be treated differently than other kinds of food?” Lindenfeld says.
Lindenfeld and Suldovsky have found the issue of food origin is complicated when it comes to seafood.
“It’s not as simple as this steer came from that farm in The County,” Lindenfeld says.
Suldovsky says from what she has learned of the process, fishermen come to a dock to sell their product to buyers who then send the seafood out to be processed, most of the time to Canada. Packaging then says the seafood came from Canada when it was actually caught in Maine.
“How do you successfully market that or communicate that it’s processed in Canada, but it’s caught in Maine?” Suldovsky asks. “And do consumers even care? To them is Canada the same thing as local?”
The preliminary round of surveys gave the team a look at the public’s perceptions of sustainable seafood, which is seafood that is either caught or farmed in ways that consider the long-term effects on oceans and the environment.
“There’s just no cohesive understanding or meaning with the word ‘sustainable’ and yet you have grocery stores like Hannaford marketing sustainable seafood because consumers are demanding it,” Suldovsky says.
Lindenfeld stresses the importance of knowing how people feel about terms such as “sustainable” and whether it matters for marketing.
“We may be promoting products in ways that absolutely do not resonate with what people care about most,” Lindenfeld says.
The next set of interviews for the project will include a representative sample of people in Maine’s inland areas that remain underserved as opposed to coastal areas.
Lindenfeld says they hope to understand which terms imply what, and what people value and communicate the findings to the seafood industry.
They also hope these interviews will give them a picture of the network of fishermen, buyers and distributors looks like and how these relationships and communication between them can be improved.
Lindenfeld sees communication within the network, especially in the Bangor area and near coastal communities such as Bar Harbor and Belfast, as a possibility for improvement.
“A lot of people (in the Bangor area) will order from Portland or the midcoast area. Individual trucks will drive up, drop the seafood off once a week and go back down when there are suppliers on the coast right here who may not even know who to talk to,” Lindenfeld says. “So to us it’s this big gap in communication that can be overcome. There’s remarkable resources, there are incredible people, well-meaning people who want to support each other, who care about the state and the region. A little bit of communication research could go a long way.”
Contact: Elyse Kahl, 207.381.3747
University of Maine Horticulture Club members and greenhouse management students will be offering hundreds of plants they raised for the annual Black Bear Beauties Plant Sale, May 17–19 on campus.
The sale will be 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Friday and Saturday, May 17–18, and 12–4 p.m. Sunday, May 19, at the Lyle E. Littlefield Ornamentals Trial Garden, next to the University Credit Union on campus.
Club members describe the Black Bear Beauties as rugged, often native plants suitable for Maine gardens. Students in the Horticulture Club and greenhouse management course grew about 30 plant species, including woody shrubs, herbaceous perennials and herbs in greenhouses on campus.
Horticulture Club President Ryan Urquhart and Vice President Meghan McLain say students recently potted more than 300 plants, and will do the same with more herbs in the final weeks leading up to the sale.
Perennials are ordered in plug trays to guarantee quality. The students grow the plants for two to three months, according to graduate student Shuyang Zhen.
McLain says it is important to order plants from climates similar to Maine, such as Minnesota as opposed to Florida, so they can easily adapt to soil and temperatures in the area.
Popular household herbs, such as basil, dill, oregano, parsley, thyme and cilantro are grown organically from seed.
Herbaceous perennials in 6-inch containers cost $7–$10, herbs are $3 for a pot containing up to four plants. Costs of the woody species plants vary. All come with recommendations for care and suitable growing environments.
The most popular plants last year were purple, aromatic plants, such as lavender; plants that are attractive to butterflies and bees such as anise hyssop; and plants that do well in the shade, such as hostas, says Zhen.
Stephanie Burnett, UMaine associate professor of horticulture, says if people aren’t sure whether they want to purchase plants, they should still visit the Littlefield Gardens in peak season.
“My favorite part about holding the sale is connecting our horticulture program with the Greater Bangor and Orono community. It is wonderful to meet new people — and see people who revisit the sale every year — and to share a love of plants with them,” Burnett says.
Funds raised support student scholarships, the Lyle E. Littlefield Gardens and the Horticulture Club, says Burnett.
Grower of the Year Scholarships — $300, $200 and $100 — are awarded to the three greenhouse management students who grow the highest quality plants throughout the semester.
Upward of $5,000 was raised last year to aid UMaine horticulture and gardens.
For more information or to request disability accommodations, call Stephanie Burnett, 207.581.2937.
Contact: Elyse Kahl, 207.381.3747
A week of lectures, panel discussions and tours highlighting humanities research and exploring its intersects with community partners will be held May 13–16 on campus and in downtown Bangor, coordinated by the University of Maine Humanities Initiative.
The week culminates with a Maine Humanities Summit May 17 in Augusta.
The events involve 37 participants, including UMaine faculty and staff, leaders of regional arts and cultural organizations, and area teachers and policymakers. The interdisciplinary sessions showcase UMaine arts and humanities research and explore ways of making this scholarship more visible and pertinent to community partners.
All events are free and open to the public. Registration is required for the Maine Humanities Summit.
More information is online or by contacting UMaine Humanities Initiative Director Justin Wolff, 207.581.3259.
A summary of the events:
On campus, May 13
Faculty and Staff Development Seminar, 8:30 a.m.–2 p.m., with introductory remarks by Dean Jeff Hecker and President Paul Ferguson at 9 a.m.; “Politics, Performance and Palimpsests: The Cartography of Social Space,” with Robert Glover, Michael Grillo, Sarah Harlan-Haughey and James Warhola at 9:30 a.m., all in Hill Auditorium, Barrows Hall; lunch at the Innovative Media Research and Commercialization Center, followed at 2 p.m. by “Online Teaching” with Justin Hafford, Richard Powell and Owen Smith, moderated by Jeff St. John.
On campus, May 14
Faculty and Staff Development Seminar, 8:30 a.m.–2 p.m., featuring “Humanities Approaches to Nonviolence,” with Doug Allen, Hugh Curran and Tina Passman at 9 a.m.; “Teaching Beyond Disciplinary Boundaries” featuring Katherine O’Flaherty, Stefano Tijerina and Jennie Woodard at 11 a.m.; and “Wasahpskekmenehan (Marsh Island): A Wabanaki Sense of Place” with Gretchen Faulkner, John Bear Mitchell and Micah Pawling, moderated by Darren Ranco, Hill Auditorium, Barrows Hall.
Downtown Bangor, May 15
“The Garden Artists: A Retrospective Look at Collective Women’s Art in Changing Times,” by Mimi Killinger, with a University of Maine Museum of Art tour led by director George Kinghorn, 10 a.m., May 15, UMaine Museum of Art, 40 Harlow St., Bangor.
Walking Tour of Downtown Bangor, led by Tom McCord and Ben Sprague, 11:15 a.m., May 15, starting at the Hannibal Hamlin statue on Kenduskeag Canal, downtown Bangor.
“Connecting Classrooms and Cultural Organizations: A Dialogue,” a panel moderated by Marcia Douglas and featuring Marcie Bramucci, Kal Elmore, Mimi Killinger, George Kinghorn and Bari Newport, 1:30 p.m., May 15, Penobscot Theatre, 131 Main St., Bangor.
“Humanities and the Book,” featuring presentations by Barbara McDade — “The Bangor Book Festival”; Elizabeth Neiman — “The Minerva Press and Romantic-era Redefinitions of Literature”; and Rachel Snell — “Nineteenth-century Cookbooks and Public Domesticity,” 3:15 p.m., May 15, Bangor Public Library, 145 Harlow St., Bangor.
Collaborate and Celebrate: The University of Maine Humanities Initiative, featuring live music by Larry LeBlanc & Mike Conant, and Raw Chicken, a fine art exhibit curated by participants in the UMaine Museum of Art’s Young Curators program, and other activities to usher in Penobscot Theatre’s production of “Around the World in Eighty Days,” 5 p.m., May 15, Maine Discovery Museum, 74 Main St., Bangor, sponsored by the University of Maine Humanities Initiative, Maine Discovery Museum and the Downtown Bangor Arts Collaborative.
On campus, May 16
Faculty and Staff Development Seminar, 8:30 a.m.–noon., featuring “The Downeast Fisheries Trail,” with Kathleen Ellis. Catherine Schmitt and Natalie Springuel at 9 a.m.; “Interdisciplinary Community Engagement,” with Melissa Ladenheim, Linda Silka and Claire Sullivan, 10:45 a.m., Hill Auditorium, Barrows Hall.
Augusta, May 17
Maine Humanities Summit, featuring panel discussions on humanities-related topics, including museums, libraries and public policy, with remarks by Hayden Anderson, director of the Maine Humanities Council, and Julie Richard, director of the Maine Arts Commission, and a lunchtime address by award-winning journalist Colin Woodard, speaking on “Liberal Arts in the Real World: An Author-Historian-Journalist’s Argument for the Importance of the Humanities,” 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m., May 17, Governor Hill Mansion, Augusta. Registration required: email firstname.lastname@example.org.