Editor’s Letter

Ellohay olksfay,

     If you’re wondering ywhay I am writing like isthay, it’s because I am driving ownday a very umpubay road. I feel like the days are starting to get longer. I can’t wait for warm ummersay nights and onglay alksway on the beach. Alas, we have a little itbay to go before enthay. 

     Oh, and how could I forget! Remember to check the weather for next Tuesday. I saw in the forecast that we are expecting clouds with a chance of eatballsmay.

     Until next imtay,

Abi Davis, editor.

No Eggs in These Baskets

     Pastel colored baskets filled with Easter grass, chocolates and other goods from the spring holiday. This is a familiar sight to the children of Maine on Easter morning. It is also a sight that children may not see this year. 

     “He’s concerned about infection rates,” a source close to the Easter Bunny said. The state is currently seeing a heightened number of COVID-19 infections. Fears of illness are deterring the iconic figure from his annual appearance. “He doesn’t think it’s a good idea to house hop when a contagious virus is running rampant.  He wants to make kids happy, but doesn’t want to get them sick.” 

     It is also unknown how a virus like this could affect the holiday symbol. Given his unique nature, no research can be done on the matter. Whether he would serve as a carrier for the virus or can get sick himself is an unanswerable question. It’s also a question that the Easter Bunny does not seem set on finding an answer for, given his precautions. 

     “Other holiday icons that are humanoid have gotten sick shortly after their holidays. He probably took that as a sign to lay low this year,” the source said. “It’s a way for him to protect Easters in the future.”

Bunny In Grass Near Nest Of Eggs.

     The absence of the Easter Bunny this year would have effects outside of children not receiving candy baskets. Commonplace Easter egg hunts arranged by the famous rabbit are also likely to be canceled.  COVID-19 isn’t the only obstacle to the annual hunt. Potential snowfall in April can also throw a wrench into the bunny’s plans. The Easter Bunny’s painted eggs don’t play well with the snow. They either blend in or their pigment bleeds into the snow, taking the hunt out of egg hunt. 

     “If he can’t host a hunt outside because of the snow, he won’t host one inside because of the virus,” the source said. 

     COVID-19 cases are rising across the country. So these effects are likely to spread outside of Maine. 

     Unsurprisingly, this news has gotten mixed reactions from children and parents alike in the state. 

     “I wouldn’t want the Easter Bunny to get sick. I understand why he wouldn’t want to go out like that,” Anya, an 8-year-old from Blaine, said. Other children echoed that sentiment, sad over the potential loss of chocolate but not wanting an important figure to possibly get sick. The division of opinions largely fell across age lines. Children accepted the change, while parents were more skeptical. 

     “If I have to go to work each day, the Easter Bunny should be able to handle one day,” Charles Oakes, Anya’s father, said. His wife nodded, agreeing with the sentiment. 

     With these choices from the Easter Bunny, the holidays this year will continue to look different from usual. A newly formed “normal,” a chocolate-less and egg-less normal. 

UMPI Has a New Synchronized Swimming Team?

     The University of Maine at Presque Isle has many Division III sports. Everyone knows the basketball teams and baseball team. But Julie Baker wanted another sport to compete in. Julie has been swimming for years, but she recently saw the summer Olympics, so she wanted to try synchronized swimming. Sam Rulen is the new team captain for synchronized swimming. They started the program together.

The lake that Julie learned how to swim, which led her to start her own team.

     Julie grew up in Aroostook County and there were not a lot of resources to start a synchronized swimming team. But Julie was prepared to start the team because she grew up doing gymnastics. Gymnastics equips her with the skills to do in her synchronized swimming routine. Sam also grew up taking these classes, not knowing how she would use them in the future.

     Julie and Sam are continually getting asked questions about synchronized swimming. Julie said, “Well, I have been swimming since I was younger. But recently I wanted to start trying to make a team.” Sam said, “We usually practice at Gentle Hall. But in the summer we go down to East Grand Lake as a team group.” Julie and her team have not been to a competition yet, but they are just getting started. 

     Many people ask Julie why she is so passionate about swimming and making a team. Julie said, “Well, swimming is something that I have done for years. I learned to swim before I learned to ride a bike.” Julie added on, “I brought this sport to our school because I wanted to bring swimming and a team sport together. With synchronized swimming, you have to trust that your team members are doing the right thing.” Sam added, “I agree. You work hard all season and you have to trust your teammates enough. Because if you don’t, then there is no point.”

A New and Unique Class in 2023

     Ever dream of becoming a farmer, but don’t want to drop out of college to do so? If so, this is the opportunity for you. During the following school year, there will be a noticeable change for those attending classes at the University of Maine in Presque Isle. UMPI will be offering a new course adapted to instruct students on the alternative lifestyle of farming. “Some of our students may have been raised on or near farms. But some students have come from big cities and have never been anywhere near a farm,” President Ray Rice said. “Even though you don’t need to go to college for this type of job or lifestyle, we still hope students will take advantage of our ability to offer this class.” The course will involve actual hands-on learning outside of the classroom and on what will become UMPI’s new farm.

UMPI’s First Class Cow.

     UMPI’s farm will have free-range farm animals such as cows, pigs, goats and chickens. “We have lots of space at this school with many open fields nearby. We are certain we can make the adjustments to have this course open for the Fall of 2023,” President Rice said. 

     Students who choose to participate in this course will learn how to collect eggs and milk. They will also have the responsibility of feeding and engaging with the farm animals. They will face problems that any other farm would have to face, such as live births and caring for the sick or the injured animals. 

     “I’m excited about the program. I have never worked on a farm before, so it would be a big learning experience. It is unique and other colleges don’t offer things like this” Kate Anne, who is currently attending UMPI, said. “They have offered agriculture programs before in the past and farming is related to agriculture. So, I am hopeful it will work out,” Kate said.

     Some concerns about the possible damage occurring from this new course have been addressed. “We are not worried about any damages these animals may cause. If that was the case, we’d be more worried about potential damages from students,” President Rice said. The animals will do more to benefit the school. The animals will work daily at eating the grass, so it does not overgrow out on the fields. The farm animals will also provide much-needed mulch for the gardening club. “There are too many benefits that this course would offer to our students and campus,” President Rice said.

     At this point in time, it is still unclear who will be teaching this course. “There are many qualified professors.  It is just a matter of fitting it into the schedule,” President Rice said. Professors who are interested in teaching the course will receive an incentive for signing up.  For students who are interested in taking this course, be sure to look for it in the course catalog while signing up for classes for the fall of 2023.

UMPI Athletics Getting Major Upgrade

The NCAA Is Getting Its Northernmost Division I School 

     The University of Maine at Presque Isle has an enrollment of around 1,100 students. It has just three resident dorms and 12 building structures. The small-town feel of UMPI is why many students choose to attend. Naturally, UMPI currently competes at an NCAA Division III level. They are part of the North Atlantic Conference. But starting in the 2023-24 athletic season, that will all change.

UMPI Men’s basketball team competes against NVU-Lyndon in front of a packed crown on Senior Day 2022.

      UMPI athletic administrator and men’s basketball coach, Daniel Kane, recently made a huge announcement. UMPI will become a Division I school. “We are all beyond excited. It will be huge for the university to get this exposure,” Kane said. UMPI will compete in the Atlantic Coast Conference for all athletics. 

     Their conference opponents will be many universities known for their athletic success. Duke University, North Carolina Chapel Hill, the University of Virginia are a few. “As the men’s basketball coach, I personally can’t wait. We get to go to Duke and UNC and compete against those powerhouses,” Kane said. 

      Also worth noting is the revenue that UMPI will bring in for traveling to those huge schools. One trip to Notre Dame will bring in nearly a quarter of a million dollars for the university. “Obviously the money will be a huge benefit. We hope we can use it to improve not just athletics but for every aspect of UMPI,” Kane said. 

Reed Art Gallery Robbed

     Robbery is common in all places across the United States. This is true in our small, quaint town of Presque Isle. Early yesterday morning, UMPI janitor, Kristine Butler, came across something surprising, to say the least. As she was doing her normal morning rounds, she noticed something rather odd. When Kristine went to mop the floors of the Reed Art Gallery, she discovered that all of the art had gone missing!

Here is a photograph of the empty walls of the Reed Art Gallery where the art once sat.

     Kristine immediately reported this to her supervisor. He then contacted Frank Sullivan, the Director of the Reed Art Gallery, and the local police. The local police have started investigating, but there have been no leads yet. The head of security on campus, Frederick Thomas, is also trying to find leads.

     The theft took place between Wednesday evening and Thursday morning, when they were discovered missing. The paintings and drawings were located on the third floor of the CIL, east of the library. The works were apparently just ripped right off the walls where they were hung framed and on permanent exhibit. There was no sign of forcible entry to the room.

     A real fear for the local police department is that the art was taken as a “prank.” Frederick Thomas said, “The person who took this art, with whatever intention they had behind it, has gotten a lot more than they bargained for. We are working with the best to find the culprit.” Thomas and Sullivan have said, “Charges will not be pressed if the art is returned to us within the next 48 hours.”

     This is a huge loss to the local community as this is one of the only sources of public art. The students attending UMPI are rallying to raise funds to aid in finding the art.

     If you or anyone else you know has any information as to the whereabouts of this art, then please call the local police station.

The Circus Is Back in Town!

     It has been over two years since Aroostook County has received a visit from any circus shows. “It’s really just a sad thing,” Ray Rice, President of the University of Maine at Presque Isle, said. “My wife and I would always bring our daughter and make a really nice day of it.” Rice says that Spring 2022, however, has something big in store for the county. “I’m bringing the circus back!” Rice exclaimed.

Elephants and ballerinas performing at the Dingling and Bros. distant cousin’s show, Ringling and Bros. and Barnum and Bailey circus.

     Dingling Bros. and Farnum & Hailey Circus, based out of Nunya, ME, is a small circus touring company. Their act includes three lion tamers up against four big cats; two elephants accompanied by ballerinas who perform on their backs; and a sword swallower. “These performers are really next level,” Rice explained. “I can’t wait to get them here.” Hotel capacities are at their highest during the weekend of UMPI’s graduation the second weekend of May. So Rice decided that he would open his campus to the carnies, whose show starts the same week. “I’ve met these people,” he said. “These are some of the nicest, kindest people I have ever met. I couldn’t be happier to host them.  I know that the students of UMPI will enjoy getting to know them just as much as I have.”

Apple Releases a New Product: The iDiffuser

     On Tuesday, March 4, 2022, Apple issued a new product’s release. The release is the newest product in the Summer 2022 lineup. The release featured an advertisement for this new product: the Smartphone Oil Diffuser.

A prototype of the iDiffuser.

     “One day, I was on the subway in New York City. I was going to work as usual. The subway was always dark, dreary and damp. It smelled like sweat and hot breath,” Greg Longhorn, a product designer for Apple, said. Longhorn, 28, of Kentucky, has relocated to New York City. He has been working with Apple for about three years. 

     “I thought to myself, what is a new and innovative product for this year’s release? We have iPhones. We have iPads. We have it all. What we don’t have is a product that affects our nostrils.” 

     Longhorn spent countless hours scouring user manuals for oil diffusers. He wanted to know how they work. He also needed inspiration for a design. Apple is well-known for its simplistic designs and bright colors. Longhorn did not want to surprise Apple fans too much. He did want to let his creativity shine. 

     “First, I wanted to see how oil diffusers work. I’m not an engineer. I just draw for a living. I was having trouble drawing the diffuser because the shape is awkward. It’s really small, too. I teamed up with an Apple engineer, Jake Johnson,” Longhorn said. 

Cafeteria Upgrade

     After years of complaints from UMPI students and meals that have left students unsatisfied, UMPI has decided to switch to caterers.  UMPI will have them throughout the school year rather than a mainstay food company. This change is taking place at the beginning of next fall. So the school year of 2022-2023 marks the beginning of a new era for UMPI’s cafeteria and UMPI in general. UMPI is planning on having multiple vendors throughout the semester. One that we know about is Buffalo Wild Wings.

     We heard from a couple of UMPI students about the changes occurring in the cafeteria.  So we at the U Times decided to take a poll.  The results show that more students said that they would come to the cafeteria for their meals more often now that the cafeteria is gaining a sense of variety. That was one of the key reasons students were complaining about the food. It would be hard for any traditional food service company to provide this.  

     UMPI takes a lot of pride in taking care of their students and making them feel comfortable. As a matter of fact, some would say that’s UMPI’s best quality: the efforts they put in for their students. That was a key reason for the change. They knew it would cost more. But it was worth it to keep UMPI students happy and ultimately keep them around. UMPI want their students to know that they’re listening and want to do their students right. 

     Another key reason for the change was the participation in the meals at the cafeteria. UMPI found out that more students would rather eat out than eat at the cafeteria because of the lack of variety, as mentioned above. Typical food services have a limited variety because they need to provide economical options to students while making enough profit to keep going.  

     UMPI students are excited for next fall. They can’t wait for the new academic year to begin to get good foods that they aren’t used to getting.

UMPI Student Abducted by UFO

     Do you believe in aliens from outer space? New evidence suggests that aliens are indeed among us. Beware because they may be coming after you. William Jenkins, sophomore student at the University of Maine at Presque Isle, claims he witnessed his roommate, Tommy White, being abducted by a UFO. 

     “We were just walking around campus to get some fresh air after a long night of studying,” Jenkins said. “We were looking up at the stars when we noticed a bright light coming down from the sky. All of a sudden, right before us, there was a UFO hovering above the campus.”

UFO abduction of UMPI student.

     Amazingly, Jenkins managed to capture a photo just moments before the abduction. “Tommy just started walking toward the UFO like he was hypnotized or something,” Jenkins said. “I screamed out to him, ‘Tommy, what are you doing? Come back!’ But it was like he couldn’t hear me. He was in some sort of trance. I knew nobody would believe me, so I quickly grabbed my cell phone to take a snapshot. The second after I took the photo, they disappeared. Just like that, both Tommy and the UFO were gone.”

     It’s been several days since Tommy White has vanished. No one on campus has seen or heard from him since Jenkins took the photo. “He hasn’t been back to our dorm room. All of his stuff has remained untouched,” Jenkins said. “I’ve been calling his cell phone every day, but it just keeps going to voicemail. I hope that he’s OK, wherever he is.”