Preventing Winter Emergencies

Nobody is prepared for an emergency.  A person can, however, take preventative measures to minimize the dangers.  In an Aroostook winter, even a simple skid can turn into an emergency situation in an instant.  Heavy amounts of snow combined with temperatures well below freezing can trap unprepared motorists.  This article will inform people of five items to keep in their cars in the winter, and how each of the items could save their lives.  Though these steps can prepare motorists in the event of an emergency, telling someone else where you’re heading before you leave is the most effective.

The first item that should be in every Aroostook County vehicle is a blanket.  Whether the blanket is shoved in the trunk or folded in the back seat, a blanket ensures there will always be heat, and they use up little space.  When a motorist calls for a tow in the winter, it takes a lot longer for the tow truck to arrive, and when it does, the tow truck driver’s priority is the vehicle.  Waiting with the vehicle is always the smartest course of action, and without a blanket it could be a very long and very cold wait.  Waiting inside a vehicle trapped in the snow as it idles can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.  The passenger compartment will fill with carbon monoxide if the exhaust of the vehicle is plugged with snow.  For this reason, running the vehicle for heat may not be an option.  It’s best to have a blanket.

The next item is actually a few items: a warm hat, pair of gloves, and insulated and waterproof footwear.  Vehicles leave the roadway in winter, largely due to ice and limited visibility.  A short walk from where a car stopped back to the roadway is almost inevitable.  Without the proper clothing, people could find themselves treading through mid-January, waist-deep snow wearing gym-shorts or a crop top.  It takes seconds for snow to soak a pair of sneakers, and a North Face coat only can keep you so warm in -10*F wind chills.

See the pattern here?  Keeping warm is going to be the toughest challenge and risking carbon monoxide poisoning is too risky.  The third item all motorists should have in their winter kit is hand or foot warmers.  They are inexpensive and provide heat for hours.  Hopefully the tow truck arrives before then.  Hand or foot warmers are a cheap insurance policy that can protect a person from frostbite.  All they require is a simple snap with the hands and instantly the warmer makes heat.

All previously mentioned items are in the car.  The idea is that the vehicle went off the road and all occupants are safe and warm while waiting for help.  The next item that should be in all winter vehicles is an external battery for a cell phone.  External chargers are less than $20 and can charge a phone to full rather quickly.  Without a charged cell phone, calling for help is that much harder: some models of external chargers include a flashlight, too.  This would be a necessity at night.  Of course, most smartphones are equipped with a flashlight, so motorists making sure that puppy is charged should be a first priority.  Without a cell phone, there is no way stranded people can let friends or family know that help is needed.  Motorists could find themselves at the disposal of other people driving by.  This opens a whole new set of dangers.  It’s in the best interest of all motorists to charge their phones before they leave the house.  And don’t forget to keep the charged backup charger in the vehicle for emergency use.

The fifth and final item that every car in Aroostook County should contain is a set of booster cables.  Electricity and cold don’t mix well.  Even good cars will not start in the cold and having a set of booster cables, and a generous friend, can save a person a couple of tow-truck calls a season.  There are even mobile battery boosters that motorists can keep in their vehicles to independently boost their vehicles.

Whether people have 20 years of winter driving experience in Aroostook County or two months, they are almost equally likely to have an incident.  Ice knows no master and the best preventative measure you can take is using appropriate precautions before hitting the roadways.  Cars without snow tires are useless on Aroostook roads this time of year: staying in or finding a different way to travel is recommended.  If travel is unavoidable, travelers always should tell a trusted person of their destination.  Taking these precautions will help any motorist stay safe in an emergency situation.

Say Watt? UMPI Maine Policy Scholar Presents on Power Transmission in Maine

You probably don’t think a lot about how your electricity comes to you. Usually you just flick a switch or press a button. We know that the power travels to our homes from power lines, but how does the power reach the power lines on the roads? The answer is transmission lines.

UMPI senior Evan Zarkadas was the Maine Policy Scholar for the campus this past year. He applied for the scholarship last October and was delighted to be announced as the UMPI scholar.

“I felt proud and honored,” Zarkadas said. “It was a great opportunity for me to advance my research and advocate for an issue that I thought the legislature should focus more on.”

The Maine Policy Scholarship is a year-long program where students work closely with a faculty advisor to explore an issue of policy in Maine. The student provides a final report in a memo to the governor or legislature and presents to a panel at the University of Maine. One student from each of the seven University of Maine System campuses is selected for this scholarship.

Zarkadas was assigned Dr. Larry Feinstein, assistant professor of biology at UMPI, as a mentor. “I serve on the Maine Policy Scholar committee,” Feinstein said. “When Evan was selected, the committee chose the faculty member who was most closely aligned with the student’s topic of interest to be their mentor.”

When he started, Zarkadas spent some time deciding what topic he wanted to cover. Although he was a history major, he wanted to explore beyond his expertise and finally decided to study the weak transmission lines in Maine. In his presentation on Friday, Nov. 8, at the University of Maine, he discussed how renewable energy in Maine would be problematic until the transmission lines were either replaced or improved with newer technology.

“At the beginning, I didn’t know I was going to research transmission lines. My initial topic was energy development in the state. After some initial thought and after some comments by the policy fellows, I decided to focus on a more specific topic. As I was researching, I found a lot of complaints about transmission, so I decided to do my topic on that,” Zarkadas said.

“The primary challenge was how to navigate through such a vast array of information and hone in on a specific topic,” Feinstein said. “Evan’s boundless enthusiasm had him reaching out in multiple directions. Each direction he investigated was accompanied by thorough research, so there was a lot of work there and much of it was so that we could understand which directions not to head in. Ultimately, he honed in on a singular pertinent topic.”

Zarkadas was very passionate about his project and took the challenge in great strides. “Because of the extensive research in the topic and trying to learn all the details of it, I felt like an electrical engineering student,” Zarkadas said.

Zarkadas not only learned a great deal about renewable energy and power transmission, but also found it was an excellent opportunity for experience in research and to make new connections. He hopes to continue some of the research in the future.

Evan Zarkadas presenting at the University of Maine for the Maine Policy Scholarship program.

Shopping for Christmas Gifts Without Breaking Your Budget


Shopping for Christmas gifts does not have to break your budget this year.

One of the greatest gifts of Christmas is giving to those you love. Everyone would like to buy the most expensive gifts for their family and friends, but it can be too expensive for the average person. There are alternatives for gift giving during the holidays, without breaking your budget. A good gift does not always have to be about the number on the price tag. There is a good chance that your friend will enjoy a gift with more sentimental value than an expensive gift. Gift giving does not always have to be stressful. There are many methods and strategies that you can follow this holiday season. If you follow these next steps and ideas, you could end up saving money and possibly have fun while doing it.

There are some simple methods that can be helpful to shoppers before they even hit the stores. Budgeting, shopping early and combining your shopping can be beneficial. Before you shop, budget your money and set a plan for your purchases so that you know exactly what you will be spending. Go Christmas shopping before everyone else. Get your shopping done early so that you can sit back and relax during December. Instead of shopping at multiple places, make all your purchases in one place so that you can save the money toward store taxes and car gas.

“If I am on a budget when I am Christmas shopping, I like to make as many gifts as I can because I feel like it is more meaningful when you put your time into the gift,” UMPI freshman Emily Blauvet said. “I love shopping for my friends and family. That is one of my favorite parts of Christmas. I love watching my loved ones open gifts that I get them. I think Christmas is being with your family and friends and celebrating being together because people often overlook what and who they have in their life.”

Electronics and clothes can be great gifts, but inexpensive items can also show someone how much you care. Handwritten notes or customizable items can be great gifts. Shopping at discount stores such as Marden’s or the Dollar Tree can help. Saving money could also mean buying more gifts for the people who otherwise would not make the list.

The Dollar Tree is a perfect place to get smaller items that can be brought together. The store sells candy, decorations, winter gloves, mugs and more. It also sells Christmas cards and crafts that can be signed or customized to create a sentimental feel. A gift is a gift, it does not matter the size. By giving gifts to people, you are telling them how much you care, despite the size of the gift.

Christmas is about the time you share with family and friends. Exchanging gifts is just another small aspect of the day. Shopping for gifts and receiving them is fun, although there is much more to the day than what is under the tree.

“I love shopping for my friends and family for Christmas. I’m not a big fan of shopping, but I like to think of the smile my friends and family will have when they open their gifts,” UMPI freshman Halle Garner said. “Christmas is all about being with your family. It doesn’t matter what you eat or what presents you get, as long as the holidays are spent with loved ones–period.”

The holiday season is about spending time with the ones you love. Gift-giving is just another aspect to Christmas that everyone cherishes. While shopping for gifts can be exciting, it is important to remember the people whom you spend Christmas with. After all, giving is a much better feeling than receiving.

In Search of Real Chinese Food

I believe many American students in our school have eaten Chinese food. But you know what? Most Chinese food in the United States is not authentic Chinese food.  The food here is often adapted to local tastes. For example, it’s sweeter and less spicy than real Chinese food. Now I will introduce some real Chinese food culture.

It is not easy to give a brief description of the civilization of Chinese food in a short message. That is because there are more than 56 distinct population groups inside mainland China, and the large area causes different dining habits among the different districts.

First of all, we need to know that the old China was developed in a farming society and most of the dining habits and meals culture are based on this factor. Chinese are used to having their dinner together with all the family members, sitting around a table and all people will have one set of dining tools in front of them, including two bowls–one for rice and another for soup–one pair of chopsticks and one plate for meat/vegetables. They will share the food dishes that were made and put into the center of the table. Diners will only pick up the food from the dishes they want to eat. They will pick it up and place it onto the small plate in front of them.

There are two special habits. One is, Chinese diners never pick up rice from the bowl but will hold the bowl toward their lips, then poke the rice into their mouths with chopsticks. The other one is, Chinese always have soup during or after dining.

You can distinguish the style of cuisine by region. There are so many traditional and special Chinese foods, according to the folk culture, district, religion and festival. For the famous classes divided by district, there are styles of Guangdong, Beijing, Shanghai, Sichuan, Northwest and so on. Or the food can be distinguished by folk culture. There are Kajia, Yunan, Fujian, etc. These all above mentioned styles are well-known worldwide.

We can divide the farming products of the main food in China into three styles. Those are Rice in southern and eastern China, Wheat in northern China and Sweet Corn in middle, northern and western China. Because of their farming products, the people living in southern China will have rice, congee or rice noodles as their main food. In northern Chinese people will have wheat-made products such as buns, noodles and pancakes. Of course, people can have any food that they want nowadays.

Climate also affects taste. There is a big difference about the diets between northern and southern China, that is, the dishes made by northern chefs are heavier in taste than those that are comparably light in southern chefs’ recipes. Sometimes we say it is tasty as sweet and fresh southern Chinese food. In the northern and western provinces of China, such as Lingxia, Hebei, Sichuan, Shenxi and Yunnan, the diets are made hot and spicy, because of the humid, cold weather and high altitude. Chinese people believe that to perspire is a good method for preventing diseases caused by humidity and cold.

Are you more interested in Chinese food after reading this article? We welcome you to China to taste the delicious food!

Chinese cuisine dinner icon with rice, baked fish with vegetable, noodle, daikon, cabbage salads, shrimp spring roll, soups with chicken, rice, beef, fish, beef tongue, squid ring, cucumber with pork.

University Stress

College is an exciting transition from high school to college.  But a majority of students may find it difficult to handle the pressures and the demands.  Many factors may lead to students developing stress over the course of their academic careers.  Some of these factors include academic pressure, financial obligations, family and friends, and finding time for self-care.

Stress is a feeling of emotional or physical tension.  It can come from events or thoughts that make you frustrated, angry or nervous.  Stress is a natural reflex that can be positive in some situations, such as getting out of danger or meeting a deadline.  When it is prolonged, however, it can cause symptoms that can cause trouble in your life.

Stress causes many physical and psychological symptoms and often leads to procrastination. Physical symptoms of stress include headaches, muscle tension, chest pain, fatigue, changes in sex drive, upset stomach and issues with sleep.  Psychological symptoms of stress include anxiety, restlessness, lack of motivation/focus, feeling overwhelmed, irritability and sadness/depression. These symptoms sometimes give way to certain behaviors, including overeating/under eating, angry outbursts, drug/alcohol misuse, tobacco use, social withdrawal and getting less physical activity.

In a research study, students reported that stress and stress-related factors are actively affecting their academic performance.  Approximately 32 percent of surveyed students stated that they were suffering academically due to stress.  The percentage of college students who seek counseling has increased by 30 percent from 2010 to 2015.  Out of these students, 45 percent of them report stress as their reason for seeking counseling services.

Activities such as social clubs, special interest groups and sports may lead to friendships and help ease feelings of loneliness in the first few months of college.  A surefire way to manage stress from leaving home to attend college is to go home from time to time.  A healthy diet is a crucial aspect of leaving home and beginning college successfully.  Sleep is also crucial at improving and maintain high performance in an academic setting, plus it naturally helps alleviate symptoms of stress and anxiety.  Try to engage in some sort of exercise that you enjoy on a regular basis.  Physical health can help alleviate mental health struggles that you may be experiencing.  Creating a budget can lower financial stress. The local financial departments on college campuses have the tools and resources to help students who may be struggling with this responsibility.

Some students at UMPI shared their own strategies for relieving stress.  Kelley McNary said, “I personally do something that requires a lot of physical effort, like work out at the gym. It’s even better when there are other people participating in the physical activity, like at my martial arts class. It allows me to feel productive and reduce stress.”

“I tend to listen to music a lot or watch Netflix. Something to take my mind off things for a while,” Erica Slomienski said.

It is important to stay positive as a college student. Whether it’s from moving away from home for the first time, financial issues and/or academic pressures, develop techniques to cope when stress begins to invade to reduce any negative feelings. Keeping a positive outlook increases well-being and lowers feelings such as depression and anxiety.

If you are feeling overwhelmed by feelings of stress, don’t hesitate to seek help from a mental health professional.

On campus, we have counselor Ralph McPherson who is available to help students. He can be reached by phone at (207) 768-9791 or by email at

Student Support Services can be reached at (207) 768-9732 or

Crisis and Counseling Centers Crisis line (local) is also available 24/7 at 1-888-568-1112.

There are also local psychiatric and counseling facilities available in Presque Isle, including the following:

  • County Behavioral Medicine (207) 554-2600.
  • The Northern Lighthouse Inc. (207) 540-1522.
  • Central Aroostook Psychiatric Services (207) 764-9700.

Presque Isle Loop Brings Much-Needed Transportation to the City


Don Sawyer assists Dr. J off the Presque Isle Loop.

The city of Presque Isle has a new form of transportation available to its residents. The Presque Isle Loop, an innovative metro-style bus, is now traveling through the city, making it the first fixed bus route in Presque Isle. The Loop has 16 stops through town and is affordable for anyone looking for a ride. The bus, which started on Oct. 15, was formed by the Going Places Network in collaboration between multiple agencies and organizations throughout Aroostook County.

The bus is operated by the Aroostook Regional Transportation System and it seats up to 36 passengers. The bus is also accessible to all who may have a disability. The bus features free Wi-Fi, air conditioning and spacious seats.

The bus will give access to a variety of Presque Isle residents who may need transportation. From college students to the elderly, the bus will give new opportunities to people who did not have it before. Many students at UMPI or NMCC do not have cars or a means of transportation. The Presque Loop is a new resource for them. Older citizens of the city who can not drive on their own will now be able to travel. People who work around town will now be able to use the bus. If people without a car would like to make a trip to Walmart, they can now do that through the bus.

Don Sawyer, a bus driver for the Loop, spoke about its recent success. “On a good day, we get about 25 people,” Sawyer said. “I used to drive buses for the schools. This is a lot better than having 50 screaming kids behind you,” Sawyer laughed. The most popular stop for the Loop is Walmart. He also mentioned that a stop at Walmart gives people more than an hour to shop before the bus comes back, which is plenty of time to get what you need.

The first two weeks of the Presque Isle Loop in October were free to all riders. Since then, ticket prices are $1.75 for one way and $3.50 for a roundtrip. Children under the age of 5 ride the bus for free with a parent or guardian. Discounted fares are available to people ages 18 years and under or 60 years and older. Military Veterans and their spouses with ID will be offered a discount as well as people with mobility disabilities. Passengers will also have the option to purchase a GoPass with unlimited rides. This pass can either consist of a week for $18 or a month for $72.

The start of the Presque Isle Loop begins at UMPI by the Campus Center circle, then heading to the Plaza on Main Street near Big Cheese Pizza. The next stops are at Academy Street, the Presque Isle Nursing Home and Griffin Street. The bus makes several more stops through town including the Aroostook Centre Mall, Walmart, the Micmac Health Center, NMCC and more. On average, the bus stops at each location every 70 minutes.

UMPI professor Jacqui Lowman, a wheelchair user, had no trouble getting on the bus. “I thought it was amazing. I was so impressed. I thought the bus would be nice, but I had no idea that is would be that nice. It was very warm, and it had a great view out the window,” Lowman said. “There are many people who need to go to appointments or need to get to work and they do not have a vehicle. We’ve needed this for a long time. It is very affordable, and I think it is just going to keep building.”

The Presque Isle Loop has been a success since its opening in October and it is bound to continue its growth. This bus allows the city of Presque Isle to become more innovative and helpful to its citizens. It gives its community members a means of transportation in a city that has never had it before. The bus is another example of the steps Presque Isle is taking to improve the lives of its citizens. When people ride the Loop, they are not only helping themselves, but also their city. The Loop gives citizens a safe and convenient ride across town or wherever they may need to go in the future.



What Is This New Unified Accreditation?

The University of Maine System’s logo.

     You might have seen some news stories lately that are talking about a new model that the University of Maine System is considering for its future called Unified Accreditation. You could most likely read those articles and news stories to learn more about this new topic that is currently prevalent in our university. But at the end of the day, what remains memorable are just big words and confusing sentences about a topic that has proven to be really difficult to explain and deal with. 

     What is Unified Accreditation?

     According to the “Summary of Process Considerations and Framework for Pursuing Unified Accreditation” that was presented by the University of Maine System Chancellor Dannel P. Malloy at the Board of Trustees meeting this past November, the University of Maine System is composed of seven unique universities (UMaine, USM, UMA, UMF, UMFK, UMPI, UMM). These independent universities are not separate legal institutions. For example, no university can sign contracts or own property by itself without the approval of the University of Maine System Board of Trustees. Each campus every 4-5 years has to go through an accreditation process by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE). When this accreditation process takes place, NECHE accredits each university separately, as its very own separate accredited institution, and each campus has to go through the same process in order to receive its accreditation. This has proven to be both challenging for the system, but also a great obstacle for both students, faculty and for the accomplishment of the system’s future goals. With the proposal of a Unified Accreditation, the system is hoping to unify each UMS campus separate accreditation into one statewide institutional accreditation covering all UMS universities. It will furthermore mean that the currently separate NECHE accreditations will be joined together at the system level, with the University of Maine System recognized by NECHE and the U.S. Department of Education as one accredited institution made up of the current seven UMS universities. 

     But what does that mean for students? And does it benefit us?

     The recent few years have been very interesting and at the same time frustrating among UMPI students when it comes to credits, financial aid and accessing resources from the rest of the University of Maine campuses. There have been plenty of student stories that make clear the frustration and difficulty that students are having while trying to complete their education in our institution. That frustration is what partially drove the trustees to consider this issue and finally (this idea was first introduced in 1986) to create a new pathway to answer these issues. As a student, you might have noticed that for small campuses such as ours, Fort Kent orMachias, the availability of getting courses is becoming more challenging, while certain majors in some instances cannot complete some of the requirements for graduation because the courses are not available anymore in the home campus. When this happens, students have to enroll at another UMS institution to fulfil their course needs. When they enroll in a course from another University of Maine System campus–for example USM or UMA–these credits come in as transfer credits, which means that students might lose financial aid at their home campus because of the limit of home credits a student has to take to be considered full time. On the other hand, these transfer credits don’t count for Dean’s List and for GPA on the home campus. There have been instances where students did not make Dean’s List because of that. 

     In extreme cases, students have had to leave the campus residence halls because they took more transfer courses from another UMS institution. UMPI senior Destiny Wetherell faced some of these issues last year, when she had to leave the campus residence halls because she had to take more courses from another UMS institution that were not being offered at UMPI but were required if she wanted to get her degree. This made her not qualify for financial aid here at her home campus. “It is frustrating to know that I was allotted an amount that would have been enough to live on campus here at UMPI, but I had required courses for my degree that were not being offered for a number of reasons, such as not being taught for a number of years or retired professors not being able to be replaced. Due to this, I had to look outside of UMPI for said courses and/or alternatives, which took a large chunk of my financial aid. This caused me to no longer have enough financial aid to live on campus. It was an extremely hard decision to make Wetherell said. “I had either to take the courses and not live on campus or live on campus but be set back due to the missing courses. It is also a situation that could be avoided and I hope it will be in the future.” This is just one of the numerous stories that students share naming their frustration about this “bureaucracy” that they have to face just to complete their degrees.   

     According to the chancellor’s report, “With Unified Accreditation, UMS universities and their faculties will be able to work out seamless ways for students to take courses from other UMS universities without having to transfer them back in, with their financial aid following them when they do and with the credits they earn from other UMS universities applying to their qualification for Dean’s list status. Over time, with UMS universities working out the details in coordination with System leadership, UMS students could have access to the full array of courses and programs across the entire System.”

     What this means is that with Unified Accreditation, they hope for all the processes to be simplified and become more transparent, bring greater opportunities for the campus and its students and remove all barriers when it comes to student success.

     Unified Accreditation is currently designed to secure the futures of the smaller UMS universities and with that serve the state effectively, respond to market changes and demands and, most critically, better support the students and their future. There is still a lot of work to be done, and it will certainly will not be achieved in the course of a year or two. But it will rather be a continual process to make things better.     

Editor’s Letter

Dear readers

From where I’m sitting, I can see that the trees outside of Pullen/Folsom Hall are bare. This can only mean one sad thing: snow is coming. Now I know it’s only October, but I swear I saw some snowflakes last night when I was driving home from work. Don’t fear though, because that just means it’s that time of the year when Netflix starts to release all their cheesy Christmas movies. It also means I have an excuse to wear wool socks with my Birkenstocks again. Oh, how I love the crisp fall air and all the excuses cold weather brings me.

Yours truly,

Abi Davis, editor.

Abi Davis

Good Times at the Snowy Owl Marketplace


People shop in Gentile Hall during the Snowy Owl Marketplace.

On Sept. 28, the University of Maine at Presque Isle hosted the Snowy Owl Marketplace as part of its Homecoming Weekend. From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Gentile Hall was filled with a variety of vendors and tables. Students and community members packed the gym in order to see what they could get their hands on during that Saturday.

Many university clubs and sport teams participated in the event, hoping to raise money for their program or organizations. The International Students club sold potatoes and noodles. The Bio-Med Club sold cookies. The History Club sold a variety of coffees. The Criminal Justice Club had lots of success by selling Krispy Kreme Donuts. University Times sold fruit cups, drinks and macaroni and cheese. The baseball team ran a concession stand, selling popcorn, candy, hotdogs, drinks and more. The softball team sold baked goods and coffee.

A diverse assortment of vendors from outside of campus also attended. Many arts and crafts tables were out on display. Another booth had soaps, lotions and bath bombs for sale. Many vendors had autumn and Halloween decorations. Jewelry, blankets and even flavored marshmallows were also sold during the marketplace.

Danielle Pelkey and Laurie Boucher, both employees in the UMPI student financial services office, ran a vendor booth at the marketplace. The pair sold customized crafts and gifts. “I think the Snowy Owl Marketplace went really well. There was a lot of participation from local crafters, artisans, vendors and student organizations/clubs. There’s already brainstorming taking place for next year to make it even better. It was nice having it located at Gentile Hall where the weather didn’t affect the set up and more individuals were able to take part in,” Danielle Pelkey said. “We will definitely be participating again in the future. It was a great way to showcase our homemade and customized items for upcoming holidays.”

The year’s Snowy Owl Marketplace was different from the others held in the previous years. In past years, the marketplace was called the block party. The term Snowy Owl Marketplace is now its new and improved name. The past events were also always held outside at the tennis courts. Due to the weather, Homecoming organizers decided to change the location. A Car Show was held outside of Gentile, which brought in some visitors to the event. UMPI’s men’s and women’s soccer teams also competed in games during the time of the marketplace, bringing in more people.

“I had a great time. I really enjoyed coming out with friends and looking at arts and crafts, jewelry, artwork and homemade baked goods vendors had to offer. It also was very affordable, which gave me a lot to choose from. Even with being indoors, it didn’t take away from the whole marketplace feel. Going to the Snowy Owl Marketplace is something I definitely would do again,” UMPI sophomore Savannah Borland said.

This year’s Snowy Owl Marketplace brought hundreds of UMPI students, staff and community members together for a special day that will be looked forward to during next year’s Homecoming weekend.

An Instant Classic

This year’s Homecoming was a success thanks to community members, alumni and students too.  The car show was no exception.  Participants brought classic rides from as far south as Patten, with vehicles dating back to the 1930s.  From original owners to grandpa’s ride, all owners took great pride in their rides.

Cordell Smith brought his 1967 Chevrolet Impala SS, popularized by the television series, “Supernatural.”  This Impala never made the big screen, but its story is just as interesting.

“My grandfather had a bunch of old cars.  Before he died a couple years ago, he made sure to give this one to me,” Cordell said. “At least, when I turn 25 technically.  For now, it’s at my grandma’s house and I can work on it when I visit.”  Cordell is only 15 years old but did admit, “She lets me drive it in the yard if I mow her lawn.”

Joe Grant and his wife drove their 1966 Plymouth Belvedere II all the way from Patten to be in the car show.  Joe feels that the beauty of old cars won’t be matched ever again.  That’s why he brought his Plymouth to car shows all summer long.  Even the rain couldn’t stop the Grants.  Joe joked about the free cleaning.  “It’s been babied since I’ve owned it.  The wife and I very seldom take it out in the rain.  But hey, you gotta wash ‘em sometime, right?”

Mike Marshall drove his 1954 GMC work truck to the Homecoming celebration.  This was his truck’s first ever appearance at a car show.  The rare, five-window truck has survived a lifetime of work and Mike still uses it regularly.  “I probably use it like a truck more than a toy,” he said about the old GMC. “But that’s nothing compared to what they used it for originally.  I got it from a paper mill in Portland.  Guys would stand on the hood in a warehouse and as they went down the rows, they’d work off it.  I had to put a whole new hood on it because the old one was all shoved in,” Mike said.

Every car has a story, the same as people.  The survivors, like the old work truck or grandfather’s hotrod, are the stories worth sharing.  This is why it’s so important for these car shows to continue: to trade stories and history.  Each dent, scratch or rust bubble tells its own tale.  Homecoming is much like an alumni car show.  The “collectors” group and share history, stories and tricks of the trade.  Only, they leak a lot less.