Editor’s Letter

Ellohay and elcomeway folks,

     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.

Pictured: Abi Davis, UTimes editor.

     Yours truly, 

     Abiyay

P.S.— Eway idday itway, appyhay aprilyay!

UMPI Holding Survival of the Fittest Contest

     The University of Maine at Presque Isle is excited to announce a new survival of the fittest competition where students will get the chance to participate in an outdoor, overnight contest. The student who lasts the entire night and earns the most points wins a cash prize of $500. Throughout the night, students will compete in challenging games, which will earn them points that can be used toward their final score. Participants will also be battling cold weather and high winds, something that is very normal in northern Maine during the spring. The competition is on April 10 and starts at 8 p.m. and will go to 8 a.m.

     The competition will take place on the edge of UMPI’s soccer field. All participants are allowed a few items to bring to the competition. Students can wear only a short-sleeve shirt and shorts. As college students living in northern Maine, they should be able to handle the cold, which is something they experience every day. Students are allowed to bring a tent, a folding chair, a blanket and their phone. Food and drinks will be provided during the event. 

UMPI plans on hosting overnight competition for students.

     There are three games that students will be participating in throughout the night. The first game will be a fire-starting competition, starting at 11 p.m. Participants will be given some wood and tinder. There will be 30 minutes on the clock and whoever finishes first earns three points. The 2nd place winner will earn two points and the 3rd place winner will get one point. This point system will be the same from all three games. 

     The next game will be a bit more challenging, but doable because UMPI is in Maine, a popular area for moose. At 2 a.m., contestants will travel into the woods and search for a moose. Once they see the animal, they will need to ride it back to the contest location. The first three contestants to successfully ride a moose back to the event site will earn their points. 

     “This is going to be one of my favorite competitions. Moose are a big part of Maine’s culture, especially Aroostook County. It is going to be crazy, but I am looking forward to seeing students interact with them,” Debbie Deering, event organizer, said.

     The next game will be a snowman building contest. Students will have 15 minutes to create their best version of a  10-foot-tall snowman. Four of the event runners will be judging the competition and deciding which snowmen are the best. 

     UMPI is excited to hold this event, which no other Maine college or university has done before. This competition is going to be challenging, but the event organizers know that UMPI students are capable of anything, even freezing weather and moose riding.

     “We are hoping that this competition will be the first of many on our campus. We knew that we could hold this event with COVID-19 protocols in place because it is outside,” Eric Blueberry, event organizer, said. “I am excited to see the student turnout and maybe even some moose riding!”

UMPI’s Very Own Secret Society

    For all of those Riverdale junkies, mystery fanatics and elite conspiracy theorists out there, have no fear for I have the inside scoop on UMPI’s very own secret society. Have you ever wondered who’s behind the scenes at the University of Maine in Presque Isle? Who holds all the secrets and mysteries of your beloved college? Well, today’s your lucky day! Before I can get into the details of this Secret Society, we have to look back to the past so that we can look forward to where this mystery organization is today. 

     The college was founded in 1903 and back then was referred to as the Aroostook State Normal School. From the 1890s to the early 1900s, the residents of Presque Isle were working toward creating the post-secondary school. Over the years, the university has changed its name four times. In 1952 it was called the Aroostook State Teachers College. In 1965, it was the Aroostook State College. In 1968, it was named the Aroostook State College of the University of Maine. And last, in 1971, it was renamed what we proudly call it today:  the University of Maine at Presque Isle. But, something that not many know about is that the college’s very own secret society were members of that same community that pushed for the college’s creation, founding the college and controlling things behind the scenes. How could they do this and why? 

     Let’s take a step back and look into the mysterious Secret Society. The Secret Society came together a few years before the college was founded. In 1895 some local citizens decided that they needed to take matters into their own hands for creating a secondary school in Aroostook County. The records are slim and the names are almost all lost, but we still have some secondhand accounts of what happened during the first few years of the Secret Society’s creation.

     “My great grandpappy used to tell me stories about how he and his fellow Secret Society members made IBIS. He was always all serious like when talking about those days. Never really got into the finer details while still sharing the real fun stories,” retired dog walker, Annabel Cranberry, said. 

     “ I never really understood why they named it IBIS until they invented Google translate. Some even say that the college’s mascot was named after them. They were always a secret bunch of people. I guess that’s kind of in the name description if you know what I mean.” 

Orono’s Own Pat’s Pizza Announces Plans to Rebrand Into ‘Pa’s Piz’: The Millennial Dining Experience

     The crown jewel of Orono’s dining scene, Pat’s Pizza, unfurled plans to rebrand on Friday. The marketing move was a direct response to a scathing Yelp review by a displeased customer. Following a long list of complaints, the customer lodged one final dig at the chain location regarding their ancient gumball machine. The once yellow letters that read “Pat’s Pizza” had faded, leaving a sickly pale “Pa’s Piz” in their place. That’s a feat the customer deemed “an appropriate representation of the restaurant’s decline.” Though they were discouraged at first, the staff decided to embrace the new nickname. It began the store’s millennial makeover. The staff are hoping to meet the college-aged customer base where they’re at. Even if it means pulling out the paint–something the store hasn’t done in the better part of a century. “Those kids in Portland are putting us out of business. We want to show them we can keep up!” manager Sam said.

     A major part of the paint job is the development of new menu items. The staff are cooking diligently around the clock. And not in vain. The new pies are West Coast-themed and deemed “hipster worthy” by many customers. A favorite of the trial period was the “Could Be California” pizza. It features imitation-imitation crab meat made from Maine lobster and is topped with Trader Joe’s avocado. One customer called it “a confused ode to the California roll.”      

     Another winner was the “Orono Oregon-o,” a pizza that comes with a 1-inch-thick layer of Pat’s original dried oregano. It’s the forgotten green spice of pizza parlors everywhere. “We needed to put it somewhere,” Sam said, as he admitted that most tabletop jars had solidified the untouchable herb into cylindrical blocks. “It really is original,” he went on. As it turned out, the grand pat-riarch, Pat Farnsworth, had bottled it himself upon opening the store back in 1931.

Did Someone Say UMPI Football?!?!

  You heard it here first folks! The University of Maine at Presque Isle is getting a football team. Its initial season will be the fall of 2021 semester. Coach Roger Stinson has decided to step up and help coach the team along with his assistant coach, Roberto De La Pena, by his side. Cullen Marrella, the head strength and conditioning coach, said, “I’m looking forward to the upcoming season and can’t wait to show what UMPI can do.” 

     They hope to get 12 games for their initial season. As a matter of fact, they have their opening game against the New England Patriots here at UMPI on Park Family Field. 

One of the NCAA Footballs UMPI’s team will use.

     Most of the athletes on the UMPI sports teams are expected to join the team. UMPI decided to start a football program because a lot of students had requested one. Also, President Rice thought it would be a good idea to approve this because football is the most watched sport in the U.S. He believes that if we had a football team, we could potentially draw more students to attend UMPI as well as get more local fans to come to the games and support the school. This would help the school as a whole because the more money the games bring in, the more it helps our programs when it comes to getting bigger and better things. This includes things such as equipment and facilities, as well as just our overall campus life. 

     Coach Stinson has started his search for football players around the country to bring back here to Maine. The main resource he’s using to find players is NCSA. It’s a website that stands for Next College Student Athlete. This website is where players make a profile with videos of themselves playing the sport that they would like to play in college.

Maine’s Newest (Lowkey) Natural Oasis

     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 camp Bisson visits on the lake, belonging to the Pelletier family.

     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.”

View from the dock of the family’s camp.

     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. 

Spring Cleaning at Gentile Hall!

     Spring is such a great time of the year for mud and water!!  We sure have a lot of it with all the snow melting.  So here at Gentile we have decided to stop cleaning the facility until mud season is over.  So we welcome all to come on in and wear their muddy, wet shoes in the facility for the next month.  

     I know this is the time of year that everyone is getting beach body ready with summer right around the corner.  So we have decided that it’s OK to go shirtless in the fitness center.  We find it very entertaining watching people take selfies and flexing in the mirrors.  We encourage our weight room users to slam the weights as much as possible. We have all decided that we miss summer and enjoy listening to the sound of thunder throughout the building.  Not only is it great for the plates and barbells, but it marks the floors in beautiful patterns.  We also challenge anyone willing  to use copious amounts of chalk in the fitness center because we have decided that it looks good on the black mats.  

    It should be a wonderful spring here at Gentile and we challenge everyone to a window decorating contest.  Feel free to put your sweaty hands and foreheads on all our windows and doors because we think it will make the facility look prettier.  

     Due to COVID 19 concerns, I feel it would be best if everyone workout in HAZMAT suits.  This will be a great way to lose extra water weight and it will protect everyone and you against the deadly virus.  Workouts with HAZMAT suits are better than Fitbits!  For any questions or concerns, feel free to contact me at keli.marston@maine.edu.

Wild Animal Terrorizing UMPI Community

    A few members of the University of Maine at Presque Isle community have recently seen a suspicious wild animal near the far end of campus by the tennis courts. This medium-sized animal has even attacked a student and a staff member in the last month. The campus community is on edge and everyone is on the lookout for this dangerous animal, some people are calling a “Rakunk.”

     A couple of people around campus have seen this animal and they are describing it as having brown fur and stripes along it’s back. Individuals who have been near the animal have noticed that it has a very pungent odor. A few people immediately assumed that it was a skunk due to the smell, but many others who have seen the animal thought it was a raccoon. 

     “I had just gotten out of the gym and I was walking back to my dorm. I saw an animal by the gates near the soccer field and I thought it was raccoon. But then I noticed that it had stripes,” Cole Beaver said. “I talked about it with my roommate and he joked around by saying it was a Rakunk.” 

     Students across campus are now calling this mysterious animal “The Rakunk,” which people believe is a raccoon-skunk hybrid. Some people have even parked their cars by the tennis courts to catch a glimpse of the Rakunk. 

     The student who was attacked by the Rakunk was a freshman commuter student who was just taking a walk in between classes. She was walking by some trees near the back of campus when it came at her. She thought it was just a squirrel, so she approached it, only to find the Rakunk. It was the middle of the day, so many people are confused about why the attack happened. 

People are on the lookout for a raccoon-skunk hyrbid on UMPI’s campus.

     The Rakunk made his second attack a few weeks later in the early morning. It attacked an UMPI facilities worker and he suffered bruises and scratches. The animal attacked his upper body, leaving many scratches on his arms and face. The facilities worker remembers it running up on him from the side. He noticed that the animal had a terrible smell and was very frantic. 

     Campus security and the Presque Isle Police Department are doing everything they can to catch the animal and possibly identify its species. Nothing like this has ever happened before on UMPI’s campus, and everyone is concerned about their safety. 

     “Please stay away from that area of campus. We do not want anymore attacks happening from this dangerous animal,” Taylor Gram, Vice President of UMPI, said. “I have heard many speculations regarding its identity, but I can assure you that there is no such thing as a Rakunk. The safety of our community is first priority at this institution.”  

Marvel Just Got Real! UMPI Scientist Discovers Vibranium

  UMPI has made history. Its geology research members made the news public on March 5. They discovered traces of a rare, priceless substance. Scientists and Marvel fans know it as “vibranium.”

     “I led my research team on a trek through some the woods in the area. We brought tools to collect samples of bedrock,” Frederick Feigel, a student seeking a geology Ph.D., said.

The priceless vibranium sample displayed in Feigel’s hand.

“I was dead mad we had to do it in the winter. But, my course schedules and chaotic events with my family gave me no choice,” Feigel said with a laugh. “I wanted samples of the limestone bedrock surrounding Presque Isle. It was for my Ph.D. dissertation. It suggests a new theory about limestone bedrock formations. By studying the samples with a new research method, I hoped for some crucial data,” he said.

     Feigel said he never expected to find vibranium. “On one of the larger rock samples, I did a drill test,” he said, “Then, all of a sudden, as I peacefully drilled along, I heard a loud ringing noise! My small drill jerked out of my hand. In the rock, the drill’s handle kept spinning. I pulled it out. Something in there made the end smash in like Play-Doh.”

     Feigel removed the hard substance from the rest of the rock. At first, he thought it was palladium. Like palladium, the material was shiny, silver and metallic. He still felt unsure and ran more tests. The tests went on for weeks. He began to think he had found a new element. Then Lania Irving, one of his colleagues, said it might be vibranium. The research members conducted more tests. Two days later, they found that Irving guessed right. 

     “Since we let out the news, my phone rings off the hook!” Feigel said. Vibranium is rarer than uranium. With many uses, the substance conducts very well. It weighs a third of the same mass of steel. As the name suggests, it uniquely absorbs vibration. The U.S. military owns most of the vibranium in the country. 

     The sample Feigel discovered weighs 1.18 ounces. Vibranium prices increased during the quarantine. Hence, the sample would sell for over $19 million. 

     Feigel said he has received calls from top universities, including MIT and Cambridge. Not only schools, but mining companies ask about his findings. “I’m sending the vibranium sample to geology labs around the country for free,” Feigel said, “And the property value of the small section of woods I took samples from is skyrocketing to hulking prices.”

UFO Driver Gets DUI

    An extraterrestrial space being was arrested on charges of driving under the influence last Tuesday. Officer Smith came across the strange vehicle driving erratically through the air 9 p.m. in Mars Hill. The driver was reported going 20 over the speed limit, flying erratically off the road and hitting several treetops before Officer Smith pursued the vehicle. 

Mars Hill’s Route 1 Main Street is getting new drainage systems, sidewalks and other work as part of a $5 million road work project along 1.6 miles of Route 1 in Blaine and Mars Hill.

     Resident Karl Knocks saw the entire event unfold. “He was off the road going every which way and I was scared for him and anyone else on the road,” Knocks said. “I put in a call to the station because if I hadn’t and someone got hurt, I would feel awful.”   

     Officer Smith took the call as he was near the area. The suspect led Smith on a chase lasting about 15 minutes before the vehicle came crashing to the ground. Smith was the first on the scene and confirmed nobody was hurt in the crash and the vehicle received little damage. But the extraterrestrial was placed under arrest after failing several sobriety tests including the breathalyzer, blowing a 1.6. 

     “It’s a dangerous world out there and when you’re behind the wheel drunk, you’re creating that danger,” Smith said. “I’m just glad nobody was hurt and that he can live another day.” 

     The suspect had multiple beer bottles in his UFO and several vehicle violations discovered after a quick search. He was also reported littering and more beer bottles were collected down the road.  

     “Never seen anything quite like it, to tell you the truth. But laws need to be followed,” Smith said. The suspect could provide neither a driver’s license nor his registration when asked by Officer Smith. The extraterrestrial being will be facing charges and spending time in Presque Isle’s jail.  “It’s a tough lesson to learn. But my hope is that the roads are safer,” Smith said.