Maple Farm Keeps Up the Maple Sunday Tradition for Generations

     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. 

Kiera Greene pictured in front of her families sugar shack in Sebago, Maine.

     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.”

‘All the President’s Men’

     In 1972 there was a  break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate building in Washington, D.C.  Two reporters for the Washington Post became detectives of the story. Woodward and Bernstein are attached to the grueling case. They want to get the story right and become dedicated to and immersed in the story. Perhaps too immersed, since not only their reputations but also their lives are on the line.  

     Journalism is said to be a profession for people and with people. Even in the 1970s, when the events took place, newspapers such as the Washington Post were accused of producing fake news–although that term wasn’t used. So journalists needed to be able to trust and be trusted. This shows when Ben Bradlee, the executive editor of the Post, had the courage to put his faith in his two reporters. This put pressure on the duo called “Woodstein.”  Their investigative trial led them to big names, all the way to the president.

    These events from over 40 years ago can teach us much in today’s world. This is especially clear when Ben Bradlee says, “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.” The First Amendment includes freedom of speech and of the press. This teaches us that we the people always have a right to speak and find the truth. It’s important that we see dedication to these freedoms. Even through the threats to their lives, the two journalists persevere. They become true journalists by finding out how to tell the story the right way. We see them look through library cards for books in a time where there were no computers to look through logs. They stay persistent and teach us all a valuable lesson about sticking to what you believe is right.

     If they had not pursued the story and had instead taken the easy way out, they would have shown us a different lesson. That would be something that a journalist wouldn’t be proud of because a good journalist doesn’t give up. A good journalist doesn’t give up on the people, doesn’t give up on the freedoms of speech and of the press.  

     This movie is based on the book “All the President’s Men” from the 1970s. We see the outdated clothing and transportation, along with manual typewriters and wired telephones. The outdated materials we see in the movie add an insight into what it could have been like. It helps us understand what journalists went through in the past and go through in the present. We need to know what we have to get to, to get the stories that we see today. We can get caught in our own world and don’t stop to appreciate the people who put effort into getting information.

     You should most definitely watch this movie. “All the President’s Men” is a great movie with a bigger meaning behind it. Not only do we get a flash back to the ‘70s, but we also get to see the investigations behind the stories in the papers. The commitment that the duo Bernstein and Woodward demonstrate shows us what journalism is all about. This movie will be a blast from the past and an insight to the future. 

Three Ways to Paint the World

    Art inspires human beings everywhere. Though many love it, they have not found the time to pursue it on their own. Those who look at art often wonder how the artist created it. Art does not only take mastery of technique. It requires passion and a willingness to make mistakes in the pursuit of perfected expression. At UMPI, some students shared how they pursue art. Get ready for a glimpse into the world of three different art students. 

Using Any Media

     Miranda Cole is a college junior seeking a bachelor’s in fine arts. She has studied many different art media as well as art history. The type of art she shared, however, was mixed media. She is in a mixed media class this semester. Mixed media art uses any material. Cole showed many of her art pieces, both finished ones and ones in the making. She used paint, paper, dried roses, seashells and more. Her favorite thing about mixed media, she said, is the freedom. 

     For one of her art pieces, Cole used a tiny, old Pegasus toy. She owned it for many years, and it was broken. She glued the broken pieces of the toy to a dark board. The pieces were distributed as if Pegasus suddenly fell from the sky and crashed. When the creature hit the ground, it shattered like glass. For the creature’s blood, she used gold paint. This type of art is an example of surrealism. “Surrealism is presenting a reality that wouldn’t really happen,” she said. 

     Cole’s recent art project, “Family Dynamics,” showed a variety of expression techniques. “I decided to go with an abstracted representation of the different relationships the subject of ‘family’ can address,” she said in an essay on the project. “I decided to incorporate general components such as repetitive cutouts of ‘pebbles,’ as I like to call them, and consistent frames.” 

Miranda Cole’s five parts of _Family Dynamics.

     The artwork consisted of five frames. Each frame contained a group of pebbles shapes, which were cut out from construction paper. Cole said each frame was like peeking into a window. Each of the five pictures used different color backgrounds and had the pebbles grouped differently. The pebbles represented people. The different uses of “compositional space” for the pebbles portrayed distinct types of families. 

     Cole explained the one in the center, for example. The pebbles stood in a large group, with one sitting off to the side a bit. “The various blues and merging brush strokes to the subjects are portraying a unifying loyalty and trust,” she said in her essay. She used “color theory,” which means to use color combinations for a special purpose. Different color combinations provoke different emotions and instincts. The colors behind each pebble family are intentional. “This big family dynamic is built on its reliability of one another to bring in the outliers, no matter how big or small,” her essay concluded. She made the different shades of blue swirl around the pebble family. It expressed how the family members came in from all directions.

     “I kind of want to make a narrative to the viewer,” Cole said. Her passion shows in her work. Both the broken Pegasus and the pebble families tell a story. 

‘All the President’s Men’ Sneak Peek

     “All the President’s Men is the true story of two young reporters from the Washington Post and their quest to find the truth. Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein were like oil and water. Even so, they were tasked to work together on a story that few had any faith in. Once rivals and now partners, these two reporters had to follow a dangerous trail to discover the truth of what lay under Washington’s dirty laundry. Is this a minor story with no hope or is this the biggest scandal of the century?

     We start with a failed burglary at the Watergate complex: the Democratic National Committee headquarters. The burglary starts in almost total darkness. The burglars seemed messy and ill prepared. Leaving lights on and talking loudly through walkie-talkies, they were bound to be caught. These five men were taken into custody after this failed attempt. 

Scene from All the President’s Men.

     After the incident, Bob Woodward is asked to cover the case. He goes to the burglars’ arraignment to gather information. He discovers that the burglars are Bernard Barker, James W. McCord and three other men. Bob finds out that the men have a private attorney named Mr. Starkey. This attorney is very expensive and was also obtained without any of the men contacting him. They hadn’t even made any calls since they got arrested. This strikes a chord with Bob, making him think that there’s possibly more to this case than meets the eye. Around this time, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein are teamed up to work on this case together.

     Bob continued to investigate the situation. He called anyone he could to get more information. Just as all hope seems lost, Bob got a call from another Post journalist that in two of the burglars address books there was the name of “Howard Hunt” and a “W House.” Did W House stand for the White House and who was this Howard Hunt? Looking into Howard Hunt more, Woodward and Bernstein split up to do some of their own investigating. 

     Back on the case, Woodstein hit some leads. Bob discovered that Howard Hunt was a former CIA member from 1949 to 1970 and that he was investigating Ted Kennedy. Bernstein has a conversation with a librarian asking for any books and information that Hunt took out about Kennedy. She seems to know what he is talking about and goes to get that information for him. Moments later she denies even knowing who Howard Hunt is. This leads the two men on a hunt to know why this librarian is lying. After Executive Editor Ben Bradlee rejects the story from the front page for lack of cold, hard evidence, the men are back to look for more concrete proof. 

A Hopeful Future for College Students in the UMS

     College students at the University of Maine at Presque Isle and throughout the entire University of Maine System are very excited for their future next semester in the fall of 2021. In a press release on March 10, Chancellor Malloy and the UMS presidents announced, “Faculty and staff to prepare to provide students with traditional, in-person college experience and a return to near normalcy in fall 2021.” This announcement gives UMPI and the rest of the UMS universities a sign of hope, which is much needed considering the difficult year it has been. 

The University of Maine at Presque Isle campus clock.

    Students at UMPI will experience fall 2021 similarly to what is was pre-pandemic. The UMS will do its best to give students a great college experience, despite the circumstances. Students, faculty and staff members will still be requiring people to social distance and wear masks. COVID-19 asymptomatic testing will also continue. The announcement stated that faculty and staff throughout the UMS should plan for in-person classroom instruction, an increase in residence hall occupancy and campus-based activities that involve outside community members.

     The entire country is moving forward with the pandemic and that includes the state of Maine. With more and more people getting the COVID-19 vaccine, the country is beginning to feel hopeful. Universities and colleges around the country are also moving forward. UMS and other state college systems are doing their best to offer their students a quality college experience. 

     “I think it will be nice to have campus opened up more normally. I am not really a fan of classes over Zoom because I have a hard time with online classes,” UMPI student Bethany McAvoy said. “It will be nice to have more activity on campus because it seemed so quiet this year.” 

     The 2020-2021 school year was not ideal for many people. But despite this, the UMPI community worked together to make it a great experience. Students, faculty and staff members at UMPI dealt with a lot of changes to campus, but they still persevered. The fall 2021 semester is looking very hopeful for the UMPI community, which is something that everyone has dreamed about since the beginning of the pandemic. 

     “I am beyond thankful that the appropriate precautions were put in place to make UMPI such a safe place to work and learn these past two semesters. With that being said, I am ready for a normal return in Fall 2021,” Danielle Pelkey, assistant director of financial aid, said. “I am hopeful students, staff and faculty can experience a more normal environment for in-person instruction, dorm room occupancy and more in-person events.”

‘All the President’s Men’: The Film You Never Knew You Needed to See

     “All the President’s Men”: what can I say? It’s the action film that swapped guns for typewriters and bullets for ink. It’s the action film that proved white collar crime can be just as exciting as cold-blooded murder. It’s the action film whose true events inspired generations of future investigative journalists and filmmakers alike. It’s the action film that won four Academy Awards. And it’s the action film that you need to see, if for no other reason than the fact that watching two unlikely heroes take down a criminal president is uniquely American. And that watching a man, a woman and pen and paper change the course of events is, well, cool.

     You, the viewer, will follow the story of Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward. They’re two of the journalists responsible for exposing the events of Watergate. Watergate was a political scandal in the seventies. Several burglars broke into the Democratic National Committee, which is a building within a large group of buildings in Washington, DC. They were connected to President Richard Nixon’s reelection campaign, and they were looking for documents and trying to wiretap phones. President Nixon took great lengths to cover up the robbery, but as you’ll see, two journalists made sure that the American public knew the truth. They battle their board of editors, chase sources, collect evidence and publish their findings. 

     This film is both a masterclass in journalistic integrity and immersion through ultra-realism. That’s making the audience feel like a part of the story by making the story look like the real thing. You’ll experience wide shots that make you feel as though you are watching the characters through binoculars. And that you, yourself, are being watched by someone else. You’ll experience the kinds of high-intensity situations that journalists do. The camera will constantly be giving you all sorts of information to comb through. You’ll be exposed to scribbled notes you can’t seem to read fast enough. You’ll listen to conversations you can’t quite hear. You’ll be frustrated alongside the characters as they struggle to hear interviewees over the phone because people are working in the background, too. Just like you. Another special camera lens will make you nearsighted. You’ll be able to see two characters in perfect focus at the same time, even when they’re seen from two very different distances. It’s up to you who you watch more. The newsroom you’re plopped into was carefully reconstructed by set designers to be as identical to the real thing as possible, down to exact measurements and the same model of work desks. The papers scattered about are real trash from the Washington Post’s offices. At some point during the film, you’ll start to feel like the third journalist within this power duo. It’s an uncommon audience experience, and you’ll want to take part in it.  

     In a time where love for your country had to outweigh criticism of it, exposing the president was off-limits. Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein’s actions proved that no one was above the law, even the commander of it. They secured the future ability of the media to uncover important truths about the most powerful of people. That’s huge. So, if you want, give it a watch. Feel like a journalist for a couple of hours. Live a different life. If for no other reason, try it out because any action film that swaps the intensity of the car chase opener for the intensity of the clacking typewriter is worth watching. 

Spring in Bloom at Cook Florist

     The official start of spring was on March 20th. Even though the weather has been warm and sunny and the snow is melting away, most of Aroostook County’s citizens still haven’t felt the spring spirit. Well, look no further than your local florist shop, Cook Florist! Even though the snow is still slushy and the sky still gray, Cook Florist has the spring pick-me-up you’ve been needing these past winter months. 

     The shop is owned by Karen Duncan and managed by her daughter Megan Allen. Karen is a third-generation floral designer, while Megan is a fourth-generation floral designer. The mother and daughter duo, along with a few staff members, have been diligently working under COVID regulations for the past year or so, from wearing their masks to making sure everything is clean and sanitary for the customers. Cook Florist is the perfect place to get a lovely floral arrangement for yourself or a loved one you haven’t seen in a while. 

     Karen said, “I grew up in the florist world. My grandparents Sid and Edna Cook started Cook Florist in 1943. My parents carried on the tradition. I always said I would never become a florist. My parents worked seven days a week and I did not want that. In 1983, I found myself unemployed with rent due, so I begged my mother for a job. Turns out I loved the work and was good at it.” Megan had a slightly different path toward becoming a florist. She said, “I became a florist to continue the family business when I realized I wanted to stay in Presque Isle after high school.” After both mother and daughter decided to become florists, they went to get certified for the job. 

     “I learned a lot of design from my co-workers and my mom. But I wanted more. I attend many professional florist shows. Maine State Florists and Growers Association offered certification classes in a program titled ‘Professional Certified Florist.’ I did earn that,” Karen said.

     Karen also got certified through a harder  program called “Maine Master Floral Designer.” Karen said, “Earning that title makes me want to excel with each design.” 

     Megan also got certified through the “Maine Master Floral Designer” program.

    Spring is one of the busiest times of year for Cook Florist. From Easter to Mother’s Day, the shop is bustling with customers and flowers. Even though the shop hasn’t gotten a lot of wedding and party orders, they are still busy with orders. Not even a global pandemic can stop people from enjoying some cheerful flowers and well-crafted dish gardens. 

     What can you expect to find at Cook’s? Well, now that the weather is warming up and the snow is melting, you can find a large variety of planted hydrangeas, bulb plants such as tulips and hyacinths, mixed bulb plants and calla lilies. You can also find many well-crafted spring arrangements, from lovely roses and mixed colored tulips to bright Gerber daisies and beautiful irises. Cook Florist also has many Easter designs ready in their cooler. If blooming arrangements and plants aren’t your style, Cook’s has a wide variety of dish gardens full of perfect indoor plants and large potted plants that can fill any room with beautiful greens to brighten up your winter blues. They even carry a variety of hanging plants if you have an animal that likes to munch on your house plants. 

     If fresh flowers and plants give you allergies, have no fear for Cook Florist has you covered. At the moment, Cook Florist has a wide variety of silk and permanent arrangements to decorate your home. You can choose bright picnic baskets with colorful flowers and cheerful birds or beautiful wall hangings for your home. The possibilities are endless at Cook Florist. If you don’t have a green thumb and you’re not a huge fan of bright and cheerful permanent arrangements, you can come and check out Cook’s new fake succulent desk arrangements. These fake succulent arrangements will brighten up any dreary office and are perfect for a small desk or shelf. No sunlight or water is needed! 

    Being a florist is hard work but also comes with great rewards. “My Favorite thing about being a florist is the variety of jobs I do every day. I can go in and design flowers, work with plants and dirt, sit down with the bride and design her perfect day or deliver flowers to a customer. It is never boring,” Karen said. 

     Even though the work is fun, it can also be  hard at times for a designer. “I love this job and my work. It is not always easy. I have sat down with families that have lost a loved one under the worst circumstances. But I want to be there to help. I work at a job I love and I am very lucky to do so.”

     If you’d like to check out Cook Florist to buy something or just explore, the store is located at 174 Main St., Presque Isle, Maine 04769. If you have no time to visit the shop, then you can call their number at (207)769-2731 and order an arrangement of your choosing. For more information and to be able to see what they sell, you can also visit their website,


Reflections on Pulitzer Prize Winning Photographs

     “A Glimpse of Life: The Pulitzer Photographs” is a short film that features some of the most powerful images photojournalists have taken across many decades. Each photograph is emotional and captures an important moment in history. As photographer Eddie Adams said, “If it makes you laugh, if it makes you cry, if it rips out your heart, it’s a good picture.” This is something that all of the Pulitzer Prize photos have in common.


Babe Ruth Farewell, 1949

This photograph, by Nathaniel Fein, pictures famous baseball player Babe Ruth standing before a full stadium. The photograph captured Ruth from behind. It shows the player’s worn jersey with the famous number three printed on it. Ruth is slightly hunched over with sickness and age. The crowd as well as his teammates are giving him a standing ovation on his day of retirement. This is an example of excellent photojournalism because it captures an important moment in history from a unique angle. In this photograph Babe Ruth is not as young and healthy as he once was. But the image shows that he will be remembered and loved by many for years to come. 


Seattle Firefighters, 1975

This photograph, by Jerry Gay, pictures four exhausted firefighters sitting on the ground amid rubble and smoke. All of the men are looking in different directions, clearly deep in thought. They are holding their helmets in their hands. Gay said, “Because they had their helmets off, the picture looked like soldiers.” This aspect of the photograph illustrates the life-threatening and heroic nature of fighting fires. This is an example of excellent photojournalism because it tells a story, hinting at the events the firefighters had witnessed just before the photo was taken. It evokes both fear and pride from the audience, among other emotions.


Colombia Mudslide, 1986

In this photo series, photographer Carol Guzy captured a deadly mudslide and the people affected by it. One photograph, is of a woman trapped in mud and water. Only her face shows above the surface. Two people are crouched beside her, trying to pull her out. This is an excellent example of photojournalism because it captures a devastating historical moment and evokes so much emotion from the audience. The photographer, having witnessed the tragedy, said, “Just to be able to deal with this, I would seek out those moments of humanity and courage.” This photograph is a fine example of that. The woman pictured had been trapped for three days. The Pulitzer Prize winning photo is a tribute to her unbelievable resilience.

Woman trapped in the Columbian Mudslide.


Rwandan Refugees, 1998

In this photo series, Martha Rial captured Rwandan refugees, focusing primarily on the faces of children. In one image, the photographer captured a small, malnourished boy eating out of a bowl. He is sitting on the ground, surrounded by other refugees. Despite his circumstances, he has a smile on his face. Rial said, “I really felt like I was viewing life in its most fragile form.” This image perfectly captures that fragility. But it also captures the resilience within the child. It evokes emotions of both sadness and happiness. This is why it won the Pulitzer prize and why it is an excellent example of photojournalism.


Kosovo, 2000

This Pulitzer Prize winning photo, by Carol Guzy, pictures a baby being lifted over a barbed wire fence. There is a woman on the other side of the fence reaching for the child as well as other witnesses with concerned expressions nearby. The sky is blue and the background is mountainous. This photo is an example of excellent photojournalism because it illustrates a moment in history that will always be relevant. In the photo, refugees are seeking safety for themselves and their children. The photograph shows the danger and sacrifice that people will suffer to save their loved ones. 

     The photos featured in “A Glimpse of Life: The Pulitzer Prize Photos” each tell a unique story. They all evoke a number of emotions from the audience, and likely even more emotions from the photographer. Many of these photos are of traumatic, emotional and otherwise important historical events. The photographers often sacrificed their own comfort, health and happiness to capture these moments. This is, in part, what makes each photo so powerful and what makes photojournalism such an important job. 

Spotlight: ‘Church Allowed Abuse by Priests for Years

     On Jan. 6, 2002, the Boston Globe’s headlines put the Boston archdiocese in their spotlight: “Church Allowed Abuse by Priests for Years: Aware of Geoghan record, archdiocese still shuttled him from parish to parish.” This story was a shock to most, an indictment on others, and a voice for the victims.  

     Widespread and systemic child sex abuse was the biggest story since  9/11 for Boston Catholic families. Shock waves hit around the world. 

   “Spotlight” shows how the Boston Globe’s investigative team, Spotlight, challenged their culture, faith and friends in search of the truth. Their investigation revealed the many layers of hushed silence. It exposed how the church manipulated a faithful Boston Catholic culture to cover up its sins.     

     The script and actors are incredible in their portrayal of what being from Boston and being Catholic meant in 2001. It also shows what it meant to be an outsider. 

     Marty Baron (Liev Schreiber), the new executive editor, was the outsider with fresh eyes. Marty was not Boston-born and raised, and he was not Catholic. He was an outsider in a city where that was considered a deficiency. Marty came to the paper with a reputation for budget cuts. With two strikes against him, he requested a meeting with the editor of Spotlight, Walter “Robby” Robinson (Michael Keaton), and the managing assistant editor, Ben Bradlee Jr. (John Slattery).  

    Marty familiarized himself with the city and the newspaper before the meeting. But when he suggested that Robby change the focus of Spotlight’s investigation, the men were not immediately sold on Marty’s idea.

     The outsider editor, with a 53 percent Catholic subscriber base, requested that the team investigate Cardinal Bernard Law’s (Lou Cariou) handling of molestation allegations. The men hedged, but Marty pressed. “This strikes me as an essential story for a newspaper.” Motivated a little by the outsider’s authority and a little by conviction, Spotlight began an investigation.

    Robby, Sacha Pfeiffer (Rachel McAdams), Matt Carrol (Brian d’Arcy) and Mike Rezendes (Mark Ruffalo), Spotlight’s team, shared the same Boston Catholic background but dug in deep to follow wherever the truth leads. 

A Glimpse of Life -The Pulitzer Photographs-

     “A Glimpse of Life” shares stories of photos that have won what is considered by many to be the highest award in journalism. This short 20 minute movie is a really wonderful way to get more information about what goes on behind the scenes. When you watch this movie, you will get to see how journalists see the world. Even if you might not be interested in photojournalism, this movie is a great way to see the people behind the photos you see in papers. 

     Much of what the public is aware of comes from photojournalism. When danger strikes, journalists and photojournalists alike are among the first people on the scene. In this movie we get to see that journalists tend to run toward that danger, not away from it.          

     A journalist is supposed to give a voice to the voiceless and speak to the public. Stan Grossfeld, a two-time Pulitzer winner featured in the movie, says, “If I care about something, I can make half a million people care.” 

     When you watch this film you might recognize some of these photos.  Even if you don’t, that’s OK because you get to hear about the stories that go along with the photos. You get inserted into the moment that the photo was taken. It’s a truly amazing feeling to see what kinds of efforts go into what you might think of as everyday photos. Here are some photos from the movie. 


1940s: American soldiers putting up the American flag on Iwo Jima.

– Joe Rosenthal 1945

1960s: A prisoner was being brought out of a building when suddenly another person walked up, drawing a gun. As soon as the gun was brought up, the photographer took the photo. This is the last moment of the prisoner’s life. 

-Eddie Adams, 1969 

“Saigon Execution”.

1970s: What was thought to be a routine rescue “went to garbage” when a balcony collapsed. The 2-year-old child lived, but her godmother died later that day. 

-Stanley Forman,1976

1980s: U.S.A. after winning at the Olympics. First thing that was done was connect with the fans. 

-The Orange County Register Staff, 1985

1990s: Don Lopez’ Last attempt to save a drowning girl. This is a crucial shot that shows the desperation of the situation. 

Woman trapped in the Columbian Mudslide.

-Annie Wells, 1997