The church is a place of prayer and hope. Or it is supposed to be. The faith of four dedicated journalists is shaken when they come across the biggest story of the year: priests in Boston are molesting children. Once the journalists begin investigating, the numbers are astonishing. As it turns out, there are not just a small number of priests involved–there are nearly a hundred! Sacha Pfeiffer stops attending mass services with her Nana. Matt Carroll struggles when he realizes a makeshift rehabilitation house formulated by the church for abusive priests is just down the street from his home. Robby realizes he has had his hands on this story all along. Watch as these reporters break the code of silence developed by the Catholic Church in Boston and reveal the real-life horror of priests abusing their most vulnerable followers. If they cannot publish the story, who is going to help? How else is this going to stop? Back in 2002, prior to the Boston Globe’s probing investigation into the abuse that was transpiring in the Catholic Church, there was very little talk around even the possibility of such acts occurring. The church was considered one of the most powerful entities in the lives of its followers. Making an accusation of abuse held the potential to uproot the lives of those affected. Within church walls, many of the churches had facilitated their own means of resolution to such scenarios by drawing up agreements outside of the court system. This resulted in the makeshift rehabilitation for abusive priests such as the one not far from Matt Carroll’s home. This resolution kept the abuse an inside secret, placing a gag order on the abused and their families, while allowing the priests to continue their lives without being subject to a court hearing. The beginning of this huge societal shakedown began when Sacha Pfeiffer, Matt Carrol, Walter Robinson, Michael Rezendes, Marty Baron and Ben Bradlee Jr. took a strong stance against the ongoing abuse. Taking on this confrontation with the church posed a huge risk to the reporters and the newspaper. The Catholic Church in Boston at the time was known to have a strong political influence and was able to place pressure on entities such as the Boston Globe. Pursuing such a controversial story posed a risk to the credibility of the paper and the employment of the reporters. Providing solid documentation played a key piece in being able to continue pursuing the story. Exposing a huge societal flaw, however, provided the opportunity to ensure changes were implemented to prevent further abusers from being able to manipulate these victims. Despite the risks, publishing the story of the Catholic Church’s abuse allowed the reporters a sense of civic duty, as they were able to educate the public on the inner workings of a major coverup and allow some closure for the victims. Down the line, the team received a well-deserved Pulitzer Prize.

     The film “Spotlight” is the retelling of the true story of how Spotlight, an investigative journalism team for the Boston Globe, covered and wrote the story of the multiple priests abusing children throughout the years in Boston and how the church was covering it up. The film starts in 2001 before 911, but it goes back many years. Robby Robinson, Sacha Pfeiffer, Mike Rezendes, and Matt Carrol are the members of the Spotlight team who are covering the story. Through hardship and struggle, the team would stop at nothing to investigate and bring the wrongdoings of the church into the spotlight.

     The story starts when the Boston Globe received a new managing editor by the name of Marty Baron. He sees the story and puts Spotlight on the case. Their stories usually take multiple months up to years to investigate and write. These journalists gave up time, family relations, and their own well-being to write this story. As they investigate the story, the entire team had to keep it a complete secret, even to the rest of the Globe. No matter if the information could help people around them, they have to keep it top-secret until they can get the story out so that no leaks would happen. 

    One of the first scenes is a reenactment of what sets off this powder keg of a story. A mother reports her two boys being molested by a priest but is pushed into keeping it between them and the church. The scene is very important since it gives us a description of how the church silenced these reports. Marty Baron, the new managing editor of the Boston Globe walks into the story. When Robby Robinson, the editor for Spotlight, didn’t see many features for the story, Baron decided to push it more and put the Spotlight team on the case. 

     The next steps for the Spotlight team were to file a motion to get sensitive documents available to the public. These documents would be essential keys to this story. They provided conclusive evidence of the fact that the church was sweeping these incidents and the molesting of children under the rug. Down the story, almost every single person the team members went to for information or clearance tried to turn them away from the story. They would say that they should keep this between themselves or that it wasn’t a big deal. The story was so filled with the restrictions and the struggle to get information. Even so, the Spotlight team continued. Next, the team talked to a man by the name of Phil Saviano. Phil was the first survivor that the team talked to in person. He was a part of an organization called SNAP that was a support organization for the survivors of priest molestation. He told them his story and advised the team to seek out and talk to Richard Sipe. Richard Sipe was an ex-priest who married a nun and became a psychotherapist and author of six books about Catholicism. 

     Richard Sipe helped the Spotlight team members discover that there were over 90 priests in Boston abusing and molesting children, instead of the 13 they had suspected originally. The team starts to get more enemies and attract more tension as the story heats up. Just as the team is about to get the restricted documents that could make this story, 9/11 happened. The story was put aside so that all reporters could cover 9/11 for the next few weeks. The team picked it back up again when the important documents were finally released to the public. The team hurried to get the documents and finish the story before any other paper could. The documents ended up having multiple letters and verifications that high ranking clergy were hiding the fact that they knew about these crimes.

     Baron told the team members that they couldn’t stop the story at just a few priests. They had to prove that this went through the whole church and to write the story about how deep those roots went. The team kept up their investigation, getting evidence that each of these 90 or so priests did these acts and that high-ranking officials of the Catholic Church were hiding it and putting these priests back into new churches. With this information found and the evidence from the documents, the story would be released after New Year’s. When the story came out, it gave hundreds of survivors the courage to call Spotlight and tell them their own stories and how they were abused. The Spotlight’s room of operation filled with the phone calls of survivors calling in. 

     In this movie, people learn and see the harsh reality of these cases. Most to all of them were pushed under the rug. People never had the chance to tell their stories. The Spotlight team members themselves may have lost things while pursuing the story. They may have lost friendships, faith, and relationships with their families.  But they gained a lot from it. The team members got the satisfaction and knowledge that they brought wrongdoers to justice. Even though it should have been done sooner, the team members had finally brought the wrongdoings of the church into the spotlight and helped many survivors get closure as well as prevented many more children from experiencing the same fate. 

Spotlight’s on You: The Story of Pedophilia in the Catholic Church

     The church is a place of prayer and hope. Or it is supposed to be. The faith of four dedicated journalists is shaken when they come across the biggest story of the year: priests in Boston are molesting children. Once the journalists begin investigating, the numbers are astonishing. As it turns out, there are not just a small number of priests involved–there are nearly a hundred! Sacha Pfeiffer stops attending mass services with her Nana. Matt Carroll struggles when he realizes a  makeshift rehabilitation house formulated by the church for abusive priests is just down the street from his home. Robby realizes he has had his hands on this story all along. Watch as these reporters break the code of silence developed by the Catholic Church in Boston and reveal the real-life horror of priests abusing their most vulnerable followers. If they cannot publish the story, who is going to help? How else is this going to stop?

     Back in 2002, prior to the Boston Globe’s probing investigation into the abuse that was transpiring in the Catholic Church, there was very little talk around even the possibility of such acts occurring. The church was considered one of the most powerful entities in the lives of its followers. Making an accusation of abuse held the potential to uproot the lives of those affected. Within church walls, many of the churches had facilitated their own means of resolution to such scenarios by drawing up agreements outside of the court system. This resulted in the makeshift rehabilitation for abusive priests such as the one not far from Matt Carroll’s home. This resolution kept the abuse an inside secret, placing a gag order on the abused and their families, while allowing the priests to continue their lives without being subject to a court hearing. 

     The beginning of this huge societal shakedown began when Sacha Pfeiffer, Matt Carrol, Walter Robinson, Michael Rezendes, Marty Baron and Ben Bradlee Jr. took a strong stance against the ongoing abuse. Taking on this confrontation with the church posed a huge risk to the reporters and the newspaper. The Catholic Church in Boston at the time was known to have a strong political influence and was able to place pressure on entities such as the Boston Globe. Pursuing such a controversial story posed a risk to the credibility of the paper and the employment of the reporters. Providing solid documentation played a key piece in being able to continue pursuing the story. Exposing a huge societal flaw, however, provided the opportunity to ensure changes were implemented to prevent further abusers from being able to manipulate these victims. 

     Despite the risks, publishing the story of the Catholic Church’s abuse allowed the reporters a sense of civic duty, as they were able to educate the public on the inner workings of a major coverup and allow some closure for the victims. Down the line, the team received a well-deserved Pulitzer Prize. 

Editor’s Letter

Greeting folks,

 

     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)! 

     Until next time,

Pictured: Abi Davis, UTimes editor.

     Abi Davis

Island Bound

   Three miles off the coast of Bar Harbor there is a group of islands called the Cranberry Isles. The small community has found the islands help them feel safer about COVID. Knowing everyone on the island, it’s easier to know where people have been. It’s also easier to be socially distant, since that is what most of the islanders feel is normal. Not many people move to the island, so they are used to seeing the same crowd. But being socially distant took on a whole new meaning when COVID started. 

     The pandemic has been around for over a year now. As people rushed to the store when COVID started, the islanders seemed to already be prepared. The islanders, already used to have to stock up weeks’ worth of groceries for their families, found what most call a change to be easy.  

A view right from the Dock restaurant on Islesford. This view just cannot be replaced.

     Since there has been access to the local ferry, some island folk are staying on the island. They find it much safer to stay at home, sticking to their island roots. Tammy Palmer, a year-round resident since 2013, hasn’t left the island since March of 2020. She said, “Knowing who has been where has made me feel more secure about not getting COVID.”  The small island community has been a great asset during the pandemic for everyone. Knowing what other people do during the day helps the islanders feel safer.   

     There is no doubt that the pandemic has had an effect on us all. But has it brought the island communities closer, or has it made them more divided? Tammy Palmer said, “There are two groups of people on the islands. The group where COVID  hasn’t been affected at all, and the people who are more worried about COVID. Those two groups seem to be at odds with each other.”  This is where the island communities can relate to other communities. People, regardless of traveling risks, still choose to travel anyway. 

     Even though the number of tourists is fewer, people are still traveling to the islands. This is not only affecting local businesses such as the Dock Restaurant, but how people socialize as well. Hannah Folsom, a year-round resident since 2006, said, “There is normally a great sense of community when it comes to visiting our elderly. But with social distancing and the risk of exposure, the elderly aren’t getting the amount of visits they normally get.” But the elderly isn’t the only generation that is socializing less. 

     Socializing with people in the community is a big part of the island communities. In the wintertime there are only about 120 people between the two islands. So making friends with who you have is what islanders do. Hannah Folsom found herself gathered with her island family less after the coronavirus started. She said, “I do miss being with people more. I found socializing had a big effect on the islanders.”  Some differences that islanders noticed once the pandemic started was not only having to wear a mask in town, but socializing. Normally people gather once or twice a week to catch up. But different people were finding it harder. 

     The pandemic might have separated the community a little, but nothing more than normal. Living on an island during COVID has made the islanders feel safer, mentally and physically. Whether it’s asking if anyone is at the store so they can grab something for them or not having many visitors, some things haven’t changed. The island community is used to being able to distance themselves from the world. 

Four of the Smartest Personal Finance Moves College Students Can Make This Year

1.Focus on paying down your debt before placing priority on retirement.

     This may seem like common sense, but student loans only grow and gain interest with time. Retirement is more of a long-term goal. The money made in a part-time job will make no dent in retirement. It can definitely make a dent in student loans, though. Retirement accounts are best set aside until your career begins. 

     The best plan of attack is to just know your loan plan really well. Ask questions! These can include the costs of interest, the first payment date and how many years you’ll have to pay the money back. If you don’t have subsidized federal loans, your loans will collect interest the entire time you’re in school. And it adds up (potentially hundreds or thousands of extra dollars). So, consider paying some of your interest payments while you’re still in school. These can be funded primarily through a part-time job. It’s a small sacrifice that will set you up for success in the long run. 

 

  1. Build up good credit using a credit card.

     Once you’re out of school, your credit score will matter greatly to potential landlords and employers. They’ll likely run it as part of a background check. It can be equally as bad to have no credit score as having a bad one. So start building one early. Open a credit card at your bank and use it for small purchases. Focus on ones that you know you can instantly pay back using money from your checking account. Good examples are small grocery store runs, little cosmetic purchases, lunch out with friends. If you pay it off instantly, it won’t collect interest and will remain easy to pay off. Assuming you can do this regularly, over the course of a few years, you’ll have built up some good credit. This will also help in the future when you try to buy a house or a car.

     Take Gabe Ferris, a sophomore at American University, for example. Gabe has a credit card that he uses for purchases that are under $15 only in order to do just this. “Most of my purchases are small because they are easier to pay back at the end of the month and because they encompass nearly everything I need or want to buy regularly.” And even though he can’t visualize those bigger purchases like houses or cars right now, he still wants to work toward them. “That’s precisely why I have and use my credit card. I think it’s important to build credit at a young age, so I have an established and high credit score when I look to lease an apartment or want to finance relatively big purchases in the next few years.”

Games Without Fans

     Watching games is always fun because it gives you something to get loud and cheer about. Not only that, but when someone hits a big shot, you can just feel it in the air. But since the Coronavirus hit, things have changed. Fans have not been allowed into gyms to watch games but rather are forced to watch via livestream or on TV or maybe even look at the stats after the game.  

     What some people might not realize is that this doesn’t only affect the fans.  It also affects the players themselves. According to Nick Perfit, “Not having fans makes the games feel more like scrimmages. Not hearing the cheering from the fans after big plays changes the game a lot. Your team has to make its own energy since the crowd can’t.”

     But even though Nick, like many, sees this pandemic as a struggle for sports fans and players, he views it also as a challenge for society as a whole. And even though the games may be different, Nick still believes that the team appreciated playing even more this season, when team sports were canceled at so many schools. 

     Fans give these players an extra spark that allows them to play the way they do. It may be easier to compete without the fans in big moments, but it also takes away the feel of the big moments at the same time. This in result takes away a key aspect of the game. Now when playoffs come around, there’s no such thing as home court advantage because those fans are that extra advantage. 

     According to K.J. Minter, “It’s different at first because you’re so used to seeing and hearing the fans’ energy throughout the play of the game and now it’s more so on your team to come up with that extra spark. 

     Getting that extra spark from the bench is tough because all the players are already tired from the play of the game. It’s also very different so the players aren’t used to having no one else but themselves to cheer for the team. Even when all these athletes were younger, there were the parents from both teams there to cheer and support their children’s teams. 

     It’s frustrating not being able to go to the games and support your team in person. But at least games are still being played during this tough time that we’re facing around the globe. These games give us something to look forward to as well since they give us a feel of normalcy for a few hours. 

     It’s nice to remember how things used to be because it allows us to look at the light at the end of the tunnel. We can think about how life’s going to be after this pandemic. Once life returns more to the way it was, there will be less stress for everyone and it will allow fans to come back and do what they do best: give that extra spark. 

‘All the President’s Men’ and the Importance of Journalism

     The 1970s film “All the President’s Men” tells the true story of an international scandal and the reporters who uncovered it. The Washington Post reporters Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward investigated a burglary at the Democratic National Committee. What they found was shocking. President Richard Nixon’s Committee to Re-Elect the President had been at the root of the operation. The Committee even bugged the office phones and stole important documents. The journalists faced many challenges, but they still chose to pursue the story and uncover the truth for the American public.

All the President’s Men.

     The executive editor of the newspaper, Ben Bradlee, also played an important role. He supported his reporters and believed in the story when nobody else did. In one famous quote from the movie he said, “Not that there’s a lot riding on this. Only the First Amendment and Freedom of the Press and maybe the future of our democracy.” By writing the story, the journalists exposed misinformation and injustice at the hands of those in power. They showed that journalists can and will hold people accountable for their actions. They also proved why protecting the press is important. 

     If the Post had not published this story, there’s no telling what would’ve happened. The people in power would have continued to abuse it until someone held them accountable. Misinformation would have continued to spread. The U.S. government would have failed to uphold the country’s values.

     There are many lessons to be learned from this important moment in history. As journalists, we should make it our goal to expose injustice, give a voice to the voiceless and fight for what is right. We should not back down when we are silenced. We should pursue important stories, even when people doubt us. 

     Another important lesson for journalists is about accuracy. As journalists, it is our job to expose the truth. In order to keep people informed and uphold our reputation, we must seek out reliable sources and always fact check. In the movie, Bernstein and Woodward confirmed their information with multiple sources. This was a high profile case and if any misinformation had been shared by the press, it would present an enormous risk. 

     As consumers of news, we can also learn a lesson from what the Washington Post did. Not everyone in a position of power can be trusted. Not everything we are told is true. We must open our eyes to new possibilities and open our minds to new information. 

Oprah Winfrey’s Royal Interview: A Catalyst for Discussions

     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. 

Prince Harry and Meghan with Oprah Winfrey, taken from their interview.

     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.” 

Spring Fever at UMPI!!

     We are all starting to find it hard to stay on task in classes, and we are all tired of winter.  Now is the time to get moving and go for walks and enjoy the fresh air and warm sunshine.  Maybe that might be running outside or walking on the bike path with some friends up to Mantle Lake Park.  It’s a nice relief knowing that the semester is coming to an end, and we did it!!  What an accomplishment to make it through this whole year with all the restrictions in place.  We did it and you should be proud of yourselves!

     If you are looking to get outside and go hiking, don’t forget that Aroostook State Park, Nordic Heritage Center and Big Rock Mountain are great places for hiking and mountain biking.  If the weather is really nice, don’t forget that Gentile Hall has kayak and canoe rentals if you are interested in going with some friends down the Aroostook River.  Getting outside for some physical activity is very important for us to stay healthy physically–but also mentally–as we start preparing ourselves for final exams.

     I know some of us are ready to lose the COVID weight that we may have gained during this pandemic.  Now is the time to start thinking about eating more fruits and vegetables.  A healthy tip to weight loss is to start eating your greens.  You can put green grapes, kiwi, green pears, green apples and some honeydew into a bowl.  For vegetables you can cut up some cucumbers, green peppers, broccoli, pea pods and some cooked green beans.  Place the veggies on a plate and add your favorite dipping sauces, such as ranch dressing or hummus, for a nutritious lunch or snack.

COVID-19’s Silver Linings: Feeding Dreams and Feeding Your Soul

     Beth Walker of Bethel, Maine, is grateful for the way COVID restrictions paused her hectic life.  With time to reflect on what was important to her, she focused on self-care and a dream she always had.  

      Before the first COVID case was reported in Maine, Beth’s employment working  at Dicocoa’s Bakery & Café, as a Jackie of all Trades, ended. Because of the owner’s health history, the café closed early March 2020. 

     Beth applied for unemployment and found that she needed to tap into her background with the state legislature to move her claim forward.  She messaged her rep for help to complete the process. With assistance from an aide, Beth navigated through the necessary steps to success.  Her husband Frank, who is also a chef, wasn’t quite as lucky, and the process took 1 ½ months.

     Survival on the farm wasn’t a problem for the Walkers.  Beth and Frank had a supply of their own canned produce. When Dicocoa’s closed, the owner sent her employees home with food.

     Beth said that her stress initially came from not seeing people. That stress evaporated as Beth and Frank found that they were thriving with the changes. Beth said lockdown gave them time to think about who they wanted to give their energy to. “You realize who your real and true friends are.”  

     Beth described their life before COVID, trapped in Bethel’s culture. Evenings with friends were spent socializing in town, going to the pub and drinking a lot.  COVID removed the Walkers from Bethel’s alcohol-based food industry.

     Beth said, “We were done with not feeling great.”  She wants to use her time to be with people who spark interest. “When you find a group of people on the same path, that peer pressure is gone.”

     Dicocoa’s was not able to offer her full-time again: Beth was unemployed form March through June. During the summer and fall, she worked at Pie Tree Orchard until it closed Nov. 4 as COVID spiked again. 

     COVID restrictions were freeing for the Walkers. Beth has more energy and ambition.  Being healthy is part of her sustainable living goal. “My goal is to have a farmstand business. COVID was a God-saver for me and a kick in the pants.” 

     Beth had her moments of uncertainty and self-help talks. “I think you have to be conscious of your positivity. I can fall down that rabbit hole of, ‘Can I do it? Do I want to?’”

     Beth and Frank are making a living, fulfilling a dream and thriving.  The chefs are cooking and baking at home.  Customers pick up on La Ferme’s screened-in porch. Whoopie pies, cinnamon rolls and chocolate chip cookies are weekend staples. 

La Ferme offers homemade and farm fresh food on the porch. (Photo by Beth Wallker).