Honoring the Life of John Haley

John Haley, the kind and loving teacher at the University of Maine at Presque Isle, died on Sept. 10, 2020. Ever since, the campus has been celebrating his life. As an adjunct teacher and director of University of Experience at UMPI, John was a loved and admired person on campus and in the community.

Remembering John Haley.

Born in Aroostook County, John received his bachelor’s degree from Aroostook State Teachers college, which is now UMPI. He earned his master’s degree from the University of Maine at Orono.
Although he was a seed farmer for 30 years, John truly found his passion as a teacher. He was a mentor and instructor at UMPI for 15 years, where he influenced and inspired others during his time. His impact on the people around him was clear on Sept. 18 during a campus memorial service.

In conjunction with UMPI’s Homecoming Spirit Week and Memories Day, people gathered in front of South Hall for the event. During this service, a select number of students, faculty and staff members gathered for a ceremonial tree planting. President Ray Rice and Business Professor Kim Jones shared some brief words about John during the service, as did others. Kim announced that the Excellence Every Day award, which is given each year to an employee who embodies the university’s service excellence
promise, will be renamed the John Haley Service Excellence Award. Due to COVID-19, only a set number of people were allowed to attend. The individuals who did could see firsthand how much John meant to those around him.

“If I had to describe him in one word, it would be caring,” UMPI senior Roni Shaw said. “He was the type of professor to always keep class light and fun. Everyone was just happy with him around. He was a great man.”

During the ceremony, attendees were able to write a note about John on a small paper owl ornament and tie it to the freshly planted tree. People could also write a note on a luminary bag. The luminaries were placed along the walkway from Folsom and Pullen Hall to the Campus Center and lighted that night. All of the notes and sentiments were collected afterwards, so they could be shared during UMPI’s commencement ceremony in the spring.

“He was the kind of professor who helped us outside of the classroom. He could tell if his students were having a bad day, and he would be the first to try and make everyone else feel better,” UMPI senior Marissa Valdivia Reagle said. “As my English professor, he helped us relate our schoolwork to our personal lives. He always made an effort to talk to us about our lives and how we were doing.”

John Haley’s life continues to be celebrated around campus as the semester goes on. His spirit at UMPI was strong and anyone whom John affected was devastated by the news. His death reminds us of the importance of cherishing the people in our lives, because we do not know the last time we will see them. John was known as selfless and giving person. Although his physical journey is over, students, faculty and staff members are continuing to embrace his life.

How to ‘Boo’ Your Friends This Halloween While Sticking to a Budget

Holidays in the times of Corona have everyone feeling a little glum. While Trick-or-Treating might be a little trickier this year, here’s an easy way to spread a little happiness this spooky season while sticking
to a budget.

To start, you’re going to want to want to set a budget. As a college student, money can sometimes be pretty tight. While you might not have a lot to give, Boo Baskets are the gift that keeps on giving. When you start this little project, keep in mind that the person you Boo is supposed to pass the treat along, Booing someone else. For this example, let’s have a budget of $20.

Once you have your budget set, make a list. On your list, start by putting a festive pail or other cute Halloween bag. Next, add a bag of candy. Aside from these two items, you’re going to want to budget your money in order to add other items to your Boo Basket. Be however creative you want!

The next step is to find your local dollar store, or any sort of inexpensive store. This example Boo Basket has items found at both the Dollar Tree and Walmart. Just to give an idea of prices, below is a list of each item, price and where each thing in the bucket was bought:

– Festive Halloween pail: $1 (Dollar Tree)
– Cute scrunchies: $1 ea. (Dollar Tree)
– Bag of candy: $1 (Dollar Tree)
– Cookie crypt kit: $6.98 (Walmart)
– 2-pack of festive socks: $3.48 (Walmart)
– Halloween hair ties: $4 (Walmart)
– Cute Halloween cup with straw: $0.98 (Walmart)
– Funny Halloween flask: $1.98 (Walmart)

This collage includes all the items found for this example basket.

This list might inspire you, but don’t feel that you have to follow the entire list yourself. Feel free to get anything you want. Just be mindful of your budget. Your friends don’t want you to go bankrupt in
order to make this basket.

Once you have gathered all of your Boo Basket materials, go ahead and place them all in the pail. If you’re feeling a little extra, throw in a piece of tissue
paper to make it look pretty.

Here’s an idea of what a finished basket might look like.

When everything is looking as you want it to, bring your baskets to your

Don’t forget to capture a your friend’s reaction when you drop the basket off to them! Pictured: Maraia Nason of Sebago, ME. Nason attends UMaine at Orono.

friends. Whether they live in the dorm room down the hall, are your roommate or reside across town, drop it off to them. Don’t forget to tell them, “You’ve just been ‘Booed!’”

Making the Best of 2020

Hello everyone, Saint and Dusty here! We hope everyone is doing well during these difficult times. It has been a strange semester, but we are happy to be back on campus with Mummy. Although we cannot see students’ faces, we still can recognize their smells. Mummy’s
classes are not in her usual spot, so we get to travel down the hall. Tuesdays and Thursdays are long days, but we get to see lots of students throughout the day.

Saint and Dusty cuddle up for PCJ 396 on Tuesday mornings.

When students come to class, they take these wet wipes from the front of the class and use them on their desks. It is very stinky, but we are getting used to it. During class time, Dusty and I lie on our cozy bed and enjoy class. We have noticed that students are spread out and do
not sit next to each other like they used to. Mummy only takes us to campus a couple days out of the week, so we try to make the best of it.

With all these changes on campus, we are staying positive for Mummy and her students. We like to greet students, especially the ones in the morning. We cannot see their faces, but we know they are smiling. This semester has been like no other, but it is our job to be there for Mummy. We are ready for whatever the rest of this year has in store for us!

Trick or Treat

Why do people say Trick or Treat? I think we should cut to the chase and ask for what we really want: treats, treats and even more treats. To heck with the tricks, that’s puppy stuff for Saint and me. We are certified service dogs, and we won’t be doing tricks for anybody. We talked it over, and my sister and I are going to ask only for treats.

Hey everybody, Dusty here, and I’m so excited for Halloween this year! I know it must be soon, because the leaves are crunchy on my paws. I can almost smell all the candy, and it’s getting hard for me to wait! I haven’t quite decided on what I want to be, but even if I did, I wouldn’t want to spoil the surprise before the Halloween party. Last year, my big sister Saint
and I were a huge hit. We dressed up as cats! It was hilarious! I mean, c’mon now, dogs as cats!Does is get any crazier than that? It was a foolproof couples costume, and it’s going to be a hard one to beat this year.

I have newfound respect for cats. Wearing these ears gets really uncomfortable.

Last year was my first Halloween at UMPI, but lucky for me, Mummy teaches a lot of classes, and I got to party with all of them. All of the kids wear masks, and not just the masks they wear on other days. These masks have faces on them, and some of the faces are really scary. I hope there aren’t any scary ones this year, because Saint and I are going to six different
Halloween parties in one day. Even better, some of the kids bring candy to the parties! When Mummy isn’t looking, I’m going to grab their wrappers out of the garbage. Goodness I love Halloween!

Best wishes,

Dusty Lowman

A Spooky Season in a Spooky Year

Once October comes around, anybody who loves horror or getting to be someone else for the day is excited for Halloween. This year will not be the same as in the past. With the Coronavirus taking the world by storm, many holidays and gatherings have been put on pause or canceled. In many communities, trick-or-treating and Halloween gatherings will not be happening. While adapting to the pandemic, families across the country are going to have to start new traditions this Halloween.

Halloween during a pandemic might be tricky.

This year has been stressful for everyone, including children. They have had in-person school canceled, recreational sports canceled, and they have been told not to visit their grandparents because it could kill them. They have endured extreme isolation, which could potentially have an effect on their
social skills as they grow up. Like everyone else, they have had a rough year.

Other holidays this year have already been canceled. Families were forced to spend Easter and the Fourth of July at home. Trick-or-treating is also going to be very unusual this year and children will once again have to suffer the consequences.

When the end of October comes around, children usually look forward to trick-or-treating by dressing up, but it is much different this year.

“Some Halloween traditions my family and I have is decorating the inside and outside of our house. My mom makes some delicious food, and we watch movies. It must be difficult for children this year,
since they won’t be able to do those normal Halloween traditions,” UMPI sophomore Halle Garner said.

State officials around the country are advising parents and their children to avoid trick-or-treating and Halloween parties. Halloween is a special day that gives children many long-lasting memories that they
will bring with them into adulthood. This year’s Halloween is not only disappointing but stressful for children, especially since they will be missing out on experiences all people should have during their
childhood.

“I personally I think not having trick-or-treating is a smart idea because there is a pandemic going on. Going from door-to-door is not the safest, especially for children,” UMPI senior Bethany McAvoy said. “I have seen a lot of stuff online where people can still dress up at home and make their own fun.”

The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention describes trick-or-treating as “high risk activity” because of the traveling done by children from house to house. Although surfaces such as candy wrappers aren’t a significant source of spread for COVID-19, trick-or-treating can still be done safely. Smaller communities across the country are still planning trick-or-treating in their neighborhoods as long as it is done in a safe manner.

Although this holiday will be different, there are many things that families can still do to make the best out of their spooky season. Trick-or-treating is a popular Halloween tradition, but there are many other ways children can celebrate the holiday safely in a world of COVID-19.

There are a variety of ways families and their children can create new traditions in 2020. Pumpkin carving at home is fun Halloween activity, which is low risk and suggested by the CDC. A costume contest at home and through Zoom or Facetime with friends is a perfect way to show off your costume. Families can make Halloween treats and baked goods from home, which will satisfy those sweet tooth cravings. Decorating the inside and outside of your house with scary decorations could lead to a
neighborhood drive-through event. Another option is to turn down the lights and have a movie night with your family.

All of these options are great substitutes for trick-or-treating this Halloween season. Despite not being able to celebrate Halloween as usual, it is important that families are still spending the holiday together and safely. It has been a difficult year for children and their families, but they have made it this far. Adapting to this pandemic is not easy and yet families across the country are succeeding. Halloween in 2020 is going to be different, but something that this year has taught people is that we are up for a challenge.

A Pumpkin’s Ending

Orange, spooky smiles light up doorsteps for the festivities of Halloween. The pumpkin becomes famous this time of year and rightfully so. Many take part in the tradition of carving jack o’ lanterns. Sales
skyrockets and millions of pumpkins make their way into homes. It is a perfect ending–almost. Millions of pounds of pumpkins end up in landfills each year. Pumpkins are an organic waste. There are many
ways to reuse or responsibly dispose of pumpkins.

Two Pumpkins in Different Cycles of their Lives.

You can add pumpkins to your compost bin. Any and all seeds should be removed beforehand. The birds are likely to feast upon these. In fact, some animals are known to eat the entire pumpkin. Wildlife such as deer and squirrels are known to snack on pumpkins. Many zoos collect pumpkin donations after Halloween. Animals love the taste, and we don’t blame them.

Lately, the perfect fall flavor of pumpkin spice has taken over. Recipes online say how to make this Halloween squash into tasty desserts and appetizers. But if these great options for using leftover pumpkins are not for you, there are other ways to naturally dispose of them.

An easy way to dispose of a pumpkin is to bury it. By burying pieces of the pumpkin in soil, you are allowing nature to do the rest of the work. Over time, the pumpkin pieces will break down and enrich the soil. This is great for plants especially. And if all else fails, smash it. It is eco-friendly and entertaining.

The pumpkin is great from beginning to end. It is a tradition with seemingly no downside. Fewer pumpkins now end up in landfills, but we still have a way to go. There are many fun, eco-friendly ways to dispose of pumpkins. This can be the year we choose to honor the pumpkin by disposing of it properly.

150 Years of County History Preserved

It’s getting harder to move around the library’s special collections room at the University of Maine at Presque Isle. It’s for a good reason, though. The central hallway is filled with stacks up to five feet high of huge, hardcover books.  These books are bound newspapers, part of two recent donations to the UMPI library.

Last spring, Roger Getz, director of library services at UMPI, heard that the Aroostook County Commissioner’s Office was seeking a new home for some of its archives. The main attraction in these archives was an extensive collection of Aroostook County newspapers. The collection started in the 1860s and continued until the 1990s. There were also photographs and paintings.

Getz felt that the UMPI library would be an ideal place for these archives. The library already had a lot of information on local history. He took a trip to the commissioner’s office and made his pitch. It wasn’t a hard sell.

County Administrator Ryan Pelletier wasn’t happy with the way the archives were being stored. They were hard to get to and use. Some of the items were beginning to deteriorate. “Roger reached out to us with a great presentation,” he said. “Presque Isle is a good central location.”

Pelletier hopes the move will make the collection more accessible. “It’s history that could have been lost,” he said. “People didn’t even know it existed.” He pointed out that many of the documents aren’t anywhere else in Maine.

Library staff members worked hard to organize the new resources.  They shifted the whole UMPI collection to make space. It seemed like the new arrivals would fit. But that was before the second donation came.

Northeast Publishing was Aroostook County’s main newspaper publisher. It was changing facilities and could no longer keep its collection of old papers. UMPI received this gift on short notice. “We were not anticipating the donation from Northeast Publishing,” Getz said. Once again, space was a problem.

The new materials are definitely not a problem, though. This collection of newspapers is much more current. It fills the time gap left by the other donation. “We now have a newspaper history of Aroostook from the mid-1860s to the present,” Getz said.

These resources are already proving useful. Faculty and community members have already used the papers for research. They have been used to fact-check claims of high school sports achievements. It will also be a great resource for UMPI students doing projects on local history. “It’s extremely relevant to this direct area,” Getz said. He pointed out that even advertising was recorded. This could be used in studies of County business history.

At present, library staff members are working to create enough space to make the volumes readily accessible. It’s not an easy task. The library has a small staff. They need to sort and move older news files. They need to shift more books and shelves. They need to install new shelves. They need to organize the new donations. They need to count and catalogue the new materials. And that’s on top of keeping the library running. Getz said it could take more than a year to fully finish the process.

In the meantime, the newspapers can be accessed. It will be exciting to see how people will use these resources. Hopefully this new level of opportunity will inspire new levels of creativity and research. Persons interested in using the papers should see Getz at the library.

Roger Getz shows off UMPI_s newest resource, archived newspapers.

UMPI: 2019 Year in Review

2019 was a special year for the University of Maine at Presque Isle as lots of success and memories were made on campus with students, staff, faculty and community members. Students excelled in the classroom, resulting in a great deal of recognition for the university. UMPI gave back to its local and global community. Comedians, musicians and more visited campus during the year, creating many memories that people would not forget. Select students around campus not only did well with their academics, but succeeded with extracurriculars. UMPI’s athletic teams also had an exciting year during their first season competing in the North Atlantic Conference. Through these accomplishments and milestones, UMPI definitely had a year to remember.

The year started strong with UMPI’s Medical Laboratory Technology program receiving a $200,000 training center on Jan. 10 in Pullen Hall. The men’s basketball team made history with the university’s first ever appearance in a NAC playoff game. Griffin Guerrette was named NAC Rookie of the Year and Shyquinn Dix was named 1st Team All-Conference during the 2018-2019 season. Justin Rupple hosted UMPI’s first variety show, which included entertainment from students, faculty and community members. This event proved so memorable that UMPI decided to host another variety show this semester.

The university held Planet Head Day, a cancer fundraiser, in Wieden Hall on March 16. Guest speaker Shay Stewart-Bouley spoke on March 26 at a campus diversity dialogue discussing racism. Faculty member Michelle Mishaan exhibited her art in the Reed Gallery with her painted landscapes of Aroostook County. UMPI celebrated the 18 annual University Day on April 10 with a variety of student presentations. Star basketball player Shyquinn Dix was featured on CBS’ “60 Minutes,” following his life-changing experience before UMPI. On April 5 “Free Hugs” motivational speaker, Ken E. Nwadike, Jr., gave students a night to remember during his discussion. The Cinemaniacs Film Club presented screenings of their original film “The 9th Reward.”

“The 9th Reward was the first full film that I ever made. It was very successful on campus, but I was also really proud of the accomplishment because the movie was a team effort. Everybody worked really hard to make it happen,” producer of the film, Tiffany Smith, said. “2019 was a big year, because I co-produced The 9th Reward and a documentary on the History of UMPI. It was also the year that my videography business really took off.”

The Art Club held the 4 Annual Trash to Fashion Show on April 22, creating innovative fashion pieces from recycled goods. The highly anticipated Zillman Family Greenhouse was welcomed to campus during the groundbreaking ceremony on April 25. The greenhouse will benefit the agriculture science program on campus. The women’s softball team competed in the NAC conference tournament, finishing third. Later in the month, former Owl softball player, Alissa Edwards, was hired as head coach for the program. Aaron Marston was officially hired as the head women’s soccer coach and Shea Cushman took over UMPI’s Nordic ski program.

The university held its 110 Commencement ceremony on May 11, with 112 students participating. Bringing in the new academic year, UMPI announced a new Cybersecurity bachelor’s degree starting in the fall of 2019. Cross Country coach Christopher Smith was honored for his 30 plus years of service with the athletics department. UMPI was recognized as one of the top 5 Most Innovative Schools for Regional Colleges in the North, along with four other top rankings in the “U.S. News and World Report 2020 Best Colleges” list.

Homecoming 2019 was a success as usual, filled with entertainment and fireworks for students and community members. The end of the year was especially bright when news came that UMPI had won one of the largest grants in university history. The U.S. Department of Education’s announced that the University was selected for a 2019 Title III Strengthening Institutions Program grant worth nearly $2.25 million over a five-year cycle. The 8 Annual Purple Pinkie event was held on campus and through Aroostook County, raising over $3,000 for efforts to eradicate polio around the world. UMPI’s History Club established the Little Free Library on Nov. 22 in the Owl’s Nest, a large bookcase used for book exchanges with people on campus and around the community. The club’s president and well-known student on campus, Evan Zarkadas, not only founded the library, but also had other accomplishments through the year.

“The Free Little Library was an idea that I had over the summer and a project that I thought would be a great addition to this campus. I was following a few social media pages from the Free Little Library foundation and the idea was very appealing to me, and I was admitting the incredible work they do, so I decided to establish one here on campus,” Evan Zarkadas said. “One word that would describe my 2019 is Inspirational. From all of these experiences, awards, projects, learning curves, etc. I have become even more inspired to keep moving forwards, gain as much experience and enjoy life even more and keep doing great things, while at the same time give back to my community, family and friends.”

UMPI finished out the year strong with another national ranking. The university was recognized in “Washington Monthly” magazine for 2019 college rankings, earning spots in the Top 50 Liberal Arts Colleges: Northeast and Top 50 Best Bang for the Buck: Northeast.

Through student success, university awards, guest speakers and more, 2019 was one of the university’s strongest years. Many memories were made during the year that will be carried into 2020 as UMPI hopes to have an even better year as it continues to grow as an institution. The university’s success in 2019 was represented by individuals across the county, nation and world who embody what it means to be an UMPI Owl.

A Year to Remember for UMPI in 2019.

The White Lady of Millinocket Maine

 

Highway exit sign to Millinocket where the ghost story originated.

 

If you live in Maine, then you might have a good understanding of why author Stephen King based many of his stories in this state. There is fog so thick, you could cut it with a knife and nights seem to last forever in the winter. Maine is home to many ghost stories: one of its more famous ones being Haynesville Road and the paranormal activity that comes with it. But what some may not know is that there is another stretch of road in Maine that has had rumors of a ghost since the 1950s.

On their way back from their honeymoon, a couple were driving down Brownville Road. not too far from Millinocket, Maine. The couple’s car swerved off the road for unknown reasons and crashed. The husband instructed the wife to stay in the car while he went to look for help. When he returned, she was not to be found, and no one could figure out what happened to her. At least, not until she began haunting the road and nearby bridge. To this day, Millinocket locals claim to see her while driving through the Brownville Road.

One local, Kayla Mcinnis, who is attending UMPI, has this to say about the story. “My friends told me. I was at a campground and they dared me to go with them.” Mcinnis also had information as to why the Lady haunts the road. “I think the myth, the lady died and someone stole her wedding ring and she’s there for revenge.” So perhaps there is more to this story than some may know. There are many stories about ghosts seeking revenge. But Mcinnis’ next comment indicated that the White Lady may not be dangerous. “If you bring a necklace and ask her questions, she’ll show up. It worked, but none of it was dangerous.”

Another local from Millinocket, Megan Waceken, has heard stories of the White Lady but does not have any personal experiences. Waceken has some insight on the bridge where the story takes place. “It is a dangerous bridge and there’s always a lot of those bigger trucks, too, on the dirt roads,” Waceken said. “It’s not very…the best road condition there and there’s always accidents on that road with wildlife and people speeding.”

They say the location of the crash can be found on the original Brownville Road. So, if you are willing to take the trip out, beware. When the weather takes a turn and the fog rolls in, you may find the White Lady of Brownville Road walking along or on the bridge. Or if ghost stories are a little more to your liking, perhaps ask around the next time you’re in Millinocket. The locals might have a story or two of their own to share.

 

 

 

Rolling in the Dough: How UMPI Got the Largest Grant in School History

The university we all call home just got a little more help thanks to UMPI’s being selected to receive a grant worth almost $2.25 million.  The United States Department of Education made the announcement in early October that UMPI had been selected for a 2019 Title III Strengthening Institutions grant to be distributed over the next five years.

Serving as Title III Project Director, Dr. Deb Roark, UMPI executive director for university advancement and external affairs, was instrumental in UMPI’s attainment of the grant.  Dr. Roark mentioned the opportunities that the Department of Education selection brings to campus.  “We have an opportunity over these next five years to build and solidify UMPI’s reputation with respect to the student experience.”  More important to students, faculty and staff, Dr. Roark described the plan for the money’s use.  “These funds are dedicated to increasing access, improving the student experience and providing our students with the tools they need to successfully transition from the campus to their careers.”

In addition to career readiness programs, the grant allows UMPI to introduce two new bachelor’s degree programs in fields in which workers are in high-demand.  The two new majors–Computer Science and Health Administration–weave in smoothly with UMPI’s preexisting course offerings.  UMPI also is developing stronger career readiness programs and more opportunities for students to have on-site experience when they graduate.

President Ray Rice spoke to the significance of the new majors and readiness programs introduced in a campus press release: “The (new) programs here will help us to better meet the workforce needs of our region and state while providing our students with new avenues for prosperous careers…. (The new programs) will allow us to even better prepare out students for future careers.”

The grant allows UMPI to introduce another computer lab as well, as it will be needed for the new computer science major.  Renovations and updates in technology validate “U.S. News & World Report”’s 2020 Best Colleges list as a top 5 Most Innovative School for regional colleges in the North.  The chancellor of the University of Maine System, Dannel P. Malloy, spoke to the innovation offered at Maine’s universities.  “Student-focused innovation attracts investment and is one of the reasons why Maine’s public universities deliver unmatched quality and affordability.”

Receiving this grant brings only good for UMPI and its students.  Growth is what small universities such as UMPI need to survive.  Having a larger variety of majors and innovative technology will attract more students.  No matter what, $2.2 million is a lot of money that will all be used to help UMPI.