It appears the time has come for me to retire for the summer, as this is our last issue of the 2020-2021 school year. What an extraordinary adventure this past academic year has been. To think that this time last year we were at the start of the COVID pandemic to now having access to vaccinations is wild. It has certainly been a ride. Hopefully, we can begin to come back together in our studies and everyday life in the fall semester.
I would like to congratulate every person in UMPI’s 2021 graduating class and give special recognition to the U Times’ very own Melanee Terry. Melanee has been a staff writer for the U Times since her first semester at UMPI. From one journalist to another, I hope your snowy owl wings help you find the career of your dreams! I have no doubts that all the 2021 graduates will do amazing things.
As for the summer, I hope everyone has a good one. May the sun be hot and the days feel long. I surely know that I need a break.
Outstanding Post-Baccalaureate/Elementary Education Student Award, Lauren Antworth; Alpha Phi Sigma Honor Award, Chandler Garrison; Art History Award, Adam Bishop; CBE History & Political Science Major Award, Ric Cohen; CBE History & Political Science Major Award, Chris Perry; English Book Award, Justin Ouellette; Erica Hemphill Award, Joy Gibson; Fine Art Talent Award, Josh Birden; Maine Policy Scholar 2020-2021, Lindsay Kay; Math-Science Scholarship, JordanDickson; Outstanding Achievement in Professional Communication & Journalism, Justin Ouellette; Outstanding Achievement in Professional Communication & Journalism, Melanee Terry; Outstanding Accounting Major Award, Grace McCrum; Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Accounting, Manish Pandey; Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Management & Leadership, Patrick Cash; Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Recreation, Owen Gallop; Outstanding Biology Graduate 2021, Kendra Silvers; Outstanding Biology Student 2020-2021, Stephen Cochrane; Outstanding Criminal Justice Major Award, Jake Worthley; Outstanding Exercise Science Major Award, Jordan Hanscom; Outstanding Graduate in Environmental Science & Sustainability, Eric Bagley; Outstanding History & Political Science Major Award, Calvin Mokler; Outstanding Online History & Political Science Major Award, Rogue Reeves; Outstanding Personal Achievement in Education Award, Daniel Warren; Outstanding Physical Education Major Award, Paul Kaplan; Outstanding Post-Baccalaureate/Elementary Education Student Award, Alexandra Smye; Outstanding Secondary Education Major Award, Alexandria Brace; Outstanding Student in Agricultural Science & Agribusiness, Peter Baldwin; Outstanding Student in Environmental Science & Sustainability, Lizzy Deschenes; Rising Star in the Health Administration – Community Health Field, Alyssa Harrington; The Linda Graves MLT Award 2020-2021, Allyn Ladner; University Times Advisor Award, Abigail Davis; Advisor of the Year Award, Stacey Emery; Rising Star Award, Elizabeth “Libby” Blair; Outstanding Student Leader Award, KJ Minter; Resident Assistant of the Year Award, Kendra Silvers; UMPI Spirit Award, Melanee Terry; Civic Engagement & Involvement, Jerranecia “Nicole” Caddell.
Melanee Terry knew she wanted to go far away for college her senior year of high school. “I really liked the New England area,” she said. “So, I was looking at schools there and knew I wanted to play softball.” Her two criteria were met when UMPI’s softball coach at the time, Sara Shaw, reached out on behalf of the university. “At the time, I had never really heard of Presque Isle,” she said. “Or Maine, period. I wasn’t very familiar with the state. But I applied for the school and made the softball team.” Following her graduation from high school, Melanee packed up and made the trip from Moreno Valley, Calif., to Presque Isle, Maine, in fall of 2017. “I try not to count the miles,” she said, smiling. “Just because I get homesick. It’s definitely pretty far, the state of Maine is the farthest I could’ve gone in the country.”
Aside from athletics, Melanee had an interest in pursuing an education in English. “I wanted to go into the English program just because I liked reading and writing in high school,” she said. “But I didn’t really want to go into the literature and Shakespeare side because it really intimidated me.” Melanee recalled looking through UMPI’s English degrees online. From here, Melanee said she was able to contact the professional communication and journalism professor, Dr. J (Jacqui Lowman), who answered her questions about the program.
Four years later, Melanee is happy she chose the PCJ program. “I’m really happy. I didn’t know much about it, like I didn’t know what to expect,” she said. “But now that I’m in it and about to graduate from the program, I’m just really grateful. I’ve learned a lot about myself, academics and education as well.”
In addition to her athletic extracurriculars, Melanee has also been a staff writer for UMPI’s University Times for four years. “Dr. J reached out to me in the first couple weeks of my first semester of freshman year,” she said. “She reached out to me and I just didn’t reply because I didn’t know what to do. So, she reached out to me again and I emailed her back, because I didn’t know much about the club, and she said it would be really good to just join and see. She convinced me.” Melanee says that she looked at the experience as a way for to her meet cool people in her field of interest. “I’m really happy I did (join) because it got me to meet new people and to start journalism,” she said. “To start me writing for ‘Jo Shmo’ and learning how to write in a journalistic style from really early on.”
Looking back at her time at UMPI and in the PCJ program, Melanee is most grateful for the people she has met. Some of her favorite memories aside from softball and meeting people include her involvement with Dr. J’s non-profit, BEYOND LIMITS, and being a part of the PCJ program. “Obviously meeting Dr. J and having experiences with her, but also having experiences with my classmates,” she said.
Dr. J shared her own favorite memory of Melanee. “There are so many memories,” she said. “We’ve had, I think, a lot of fun through the years and a lot of fun this semester because her two classes with me are one-on-one classes. We talk about everything under the sun, you know, the meaning of life. Besides that, though, one of my favorite memories was when we were in PCJ 316 and we had been flailing for a while. ‘What is the essence of this (Assistance Canines Training Services) organization? And Mel had to leave early because she had an interview scheduled. But she just got up and said, ‘I know what it is: Selflessness and Love,’ and left! And I’m like, that is the answer!” Dr. J said it was cool because if you were writing a story or movie, it would be like Elvis just left the building. “How do you top that?” she laughed. “She was spot on. It was absolutely the right answer. Whenever I think of that, I always laugh.”
Something that Melanee is particularly proud of is her senior practicum project. “My senior project is a series of short stories that I’m writing for BEYOND LIMITS,” she said. “I’ve gotten to meet a lot of people. I’ve interviewed 14 people for it, and I wrote 14 stories on them. I got a lot of interviewing and writing experience under my belt.” She said that the overall experience has been really great because of the opportunity to tell Dr. J’s story. “That’s something I’m really honored to do because she’s such an amazing person,” she said. “I’m really grateful that Dr. J even let me do it.” Dr. J reflected on Melanee’s practicum project. “To imagine that she would have come from being so tentative about interviewing to deciding for her big senior project to do a collection of 14 interviews, at least half of them with people she didn’t know at all, and some of the people she had never met,” she said. “That took tremendous confidence. As a teacher, that makes my heart smile.”
Melanee hopes that her UMPI wings help her find a career in writing and interviewing. “I’ll definitely miss UMPI’s campus,” she said, mentioning her fondness of the isolation in comparison to her hometown. “I’ll miss my friends and in terms of the PCJ program, I’ll definitely miss Dr. J, Saint and Dusty, and everyone involved with UMPI’s campus and the PCJ program.” Melanee wanted to give a special shoutout thanking Rachel Rice, who helped her with her marketing and PR knowledge as well as building connections on campus; Rowena McPherson for helping her with graphic design skills; and Coach Edwards, who helped her both athletically and socially over her years at UMPI.
I hope you’re doing well! The weather is warming up out there. I hate to admit it, but I’ve broken out a single pair of shorts. Of course, I can’t wear shorts without sandals. In other words, I’ve held out as long as humanly possible to break out the Birkenstocks and here we are. If I’m being honest, though, I actually waited a little longer to break them out than last year. I recall doing a lot of crazy things at the start of quarantine (cutting bangs, joining TikTok, etc.) and wearing Birks with wool socks in early March was definitely one of them. Although I don’t remember even putting my sandals away last year. At least I can say that I had to go searching for them before I could wear them again this year.
As always, I hope you’re doing well. We’re past the halfway mark of the semester and I hope I speak for all of us when I say I couldn’t be more excited for summer. Whether you plan to work as much as you can or take it easy, I feel like we’re all in need of a little break (whatever that may look like for you)!
Oprah Winfrey’s two-hour interview with Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, has sparked conversations around the world, as new details about their departure from Britain were revealed. Allegations of racism, insensitivity and deep-rooted issues within the royal system have left many with questions and varying commentary. According to television network CBS, more than 49.1 million people have streamed the interview. Among those viewers are Jack Bisson, 20, and Maraia Nason, 20, who attended a viewing party of the event.
One of the most arguably shocking revelations made in the interview was in regard to Meghan’s mental health. “I just didn’t want to be alive anymore,” Meghan said in the interview. “And that was a very clear and real and frightening, constant thought. And I remember how he [Harry] just cradled me.” It was after this that Meghan shared that she had gone to the institution to ask for mental health services. She, however, was denied access to help.
Bisson weighed in. “On the one hand, I sort of get how the royal family wants to keep their perfect image for the public,” he said. “But that being said, I think that denying anybody help when they’re sick is wrong. Meghan straight up saying she wanted to kill herself indicates the need for some sort of medical attention and the fact that the royal family would not acknowledge this is reminiscent of the situation Diana was in back when she did her interview. She basically said the same thing then that Meghan is now.” Bisson went on to raise points about the Royals’ naivete regarding mental health.
Nason shared similar thoughts. “The way in which Meghan was denied mental health services from the institution was distasteful,” she said. “Essentially because of her status and the attention it would draw, she could not receive help from a hospital. She was pushed into a corner, unable to access any treatment. This denied access must have only further contributed to her mental illness.”
The history of maple sugaring and production in Maine goes back far before the Pilgrims had landed at Plymouth Rock in 1620. Native Americans had been making sugar from the sweet sap of maple trees for many years. Up until the 15th century when sugar cane was brought to the Americas, maple sugar was the primary form of sugar in the United States. Now, pure maple syrup is thought of as a delicacy. In Maine, Maine Maple Sunday is a day for sweet tooth fanatics to enjoy an organic and preservative-free option while supporting small and local businesses.
Maple Sunday is held annually on the fourth Sunday of March. Kiera Greene’s family lives in Sebago, Maine. Her family is quite familiar with what it takes to get ready for such an exciting annual event. “We start by tapping trees as soon as the weather cooperates,” she explained. “The nights have to be below freezing and the days have to be above freezing for sap to run.” Greene’s family owns and operates Greene Maple Farm. The farm was founded in 1969 by Ted and Loretta Greene. “I have been helping out with Maine Maple Sunday ever since I could walk,” she said. “I’ve had the same tree that I’ve tapped ever since I was two-years-old.”
The process of getting the maple sap from the tree to the bottle and to a maple lover is a lengthy one. “Making maple syrup is quite long,” Greene said. “You have to have enough sap to boil and once that has boiled, you put it through filters and put it in the finish pan, where it will be packaged once it is ready.” Then you have to consider the number of taps. “Last year, Greene Maple Farm had around 971 taps,” she said. “But this year we’ve surpassed 1,000.”
I hope you are all doing ellway. The weather we’ve been having has me so tempted to pull out my Birkenstocks. I keep thinking it might be warm enough for me to not worry about ockssay. My roommate thinks I’m just being impatientyay. But a girl can eamdray! I think I speak for everyone when I say I can’t wait to see grass again. Something about the smell of spring puts me in etterbay iritsspay.
As always, I want to say that I hope everyone is doing well, as things are still a little extraordinary due to COVID. I know that I’ve been keeping busy by trying to perfect my oothiesmay recipe before summer hits. For my recipe so far, I put: angomay, awberriesstray, and a whole ananabay with almondyay ilkmay and anillavay eekgray ogurtyay. I like mine a little sweet, so I also add a smidge of oneyhay before blending to erfectionpay.
Well, that’s all I have for this month. I look forward to writing you again when, hopefully, April showers bring May flowers.
Jack Bisson, 20, grew up in Raymond, Maine. “I’ve lived around here my entire life,” he said. “That’s why I was so surprised to hear about this supposed natural wonder right in my hometown.” Bisson was referring to Maine’s most recently discovered natural wonder, Raymond Pond. The pond’s surface area covers 344 acres, and its maximum depth is 42 feet. To qualify as a natural wonder, something must be deemed a natural site or monument that was not created or significantly altered by humans. “What makes this place special are the natural underground aquifers,” he said. “They’re like, hot. So, when everything else is cold and snowy this time of year, Raymond Pond sits at a toasty 86 ℉. The water’s warm and everything is green and vibrant.”
The hidden gem is thought to be a naturally occurring oasis formed by an underground aquifer. The aquifer then creates enough pressure for water to seep to the surface, forming the oasis. Aquifers like this allow for life to exist in harsh climates like those of Maine winters. Being the only oasis to exist in the state, Maine has agreed to add the location to its list of natural wonders. Other natural wonders on the list include tourist attractions such as Bubble Rock in Acadia National Park and Vaughan Woods in Hallowell, also dubbed “Hobbit Land” based on how much the Woods look like the “Shire,” where J.R.R. Tolkien’s imaginary Hobbits live.
The pond, which sees most of its visitors in the summer, expects no growth in the number of tourists. “My girlfriend’s family has a camp on the island,” Bisson said. “Usually in the winter, the only people we’ve seen on the pond are snowmobilers. They ride their sleds to the end of the road, get off, and hike in for a swim. Other than that, it’s pretty quiet. That’s the way most of the people who have camps and summer homes on the pond like it.”
The inclusion of Raymond Pond on Maine’s list of natural wonders will provide locals with assurance that the pond’s environment will be protected. “I know that that makes my girlfriend’s family happy,” Bisson said. “She grew up coming here with her siblings and spending time here with her cousins. Her family to this day celebrates big things like graduations and holidays here. It would be a shame for something like this to be ruined by too much people traffic.” The town plans to limit the number of visitors to the location in the winter months to ensure the area, which is populated with personal property, remains quaint.
I hope you all had a lovely Valentine’s Day, or day after Valentine’s Day (cashing in on all the discounted chocolate). Life has been quiet here in southern Maine, as I’ve been taking this semester remotely from home. I never thought I’d miss poutine more than I do right now.
Did anyone else hear that Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow in Groundhog Day? That allegedly means that we’re going to have an additional six weeks of winter. What do you think? I hope that the weather starts to warm up. I’ve been going through a lot of wood trying to keep the house warm these past couple weeks. In fact, I had to get four more pallets of wood! Hopefully I won’t go through all of it. Fingers crossed we start to see signs of spring here soon.
With all that is still going on in the world today, I hope you all are staying safe and healthy. I know a lot of people just want some normalcy back, and I feel that way, too. It’s felt like a long winter and I think a little warmth would do us all some good. Here’s hoping for warmer and sunnier days.
Nestled in the heart of Maine’s Lakes and Mountain region is Pleasant Mountain. The ski resort first opened its slopes to visitors in 1938, having only a 1,100-foot tow rope that served lower parts of the mountain’s slopes. By the mid 1950s, Pleasant Mountain installed Maine’s first T-Bar as well as the state’s second chairlift. The 4,300-foot double chairlift brought skiers from near and far to the top of the north peak of the mountain, overlooking Bridgton’s Moose Pond. By the late 1980s, new ownership of the mountain brought changes. Of the many improvements to the slopes, lifts and facilities, the owners also renamed Pleasant Mountain to Shawnee Peak.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Shawnee has worked diligently to meet and comply with CDC recommendations, as well as orders per Maine’s Governor Janet Mills, in order to ensure visitors’ safety. Sam Fleck has worked at Shawnee Peak for three years as a barback, working closely with the bartender. “Shawnee Peak has taken many precautions for the pandemic to keep both the customers and employees safe,” he said. “The amount of people inside has been limited and only a certain amount of people are allowed in a room at a time.”
Fleck shared several other changes Shawnee has made, including more food options offered outside and the Blizzards Pub deck being renovated to provide covered seating, complete with heaters. Bethany MacKay, 45, observed these changes on her recent trip to the mountain. “They’re really trying hard to make it accessible in a safe way. I do hope that they follow through and continue that,” she said. “Having that outdoor space makes it a lot easier and it’s nice. People can gather within their own group and there’s still plenty of space.”
The mountain’s central location makes it a hub for school ski teams and families not looking to drive too far for a day of skiing. Maya Vanhise, 14, started skiing when she was in third grade. Vanhise enjoys Shawnee for both its size and its friendly atmosphere. Vanhise feels the changes made have had a minimal impact on the overall atmosphere. “I feel like things are pretty similar,” she said. “Like, people are pretty nice just because we’re all going through the same thing.”