Walking Trails in Presque Isle

    Are you bored? Feel like there’s nothing to do? Well, spring has sprung and the snow is melting. One excellent thing to do would be to grab a group of friends, or go alone, and find a walking trail. One thing about Presque Isle that is marveled by many and draws the attention of out-of-staters is its natural beauty. Presque Isle is teeming with beautiful woods, mountains and lakes just waiting to be explored. Even the UMPI campus has nature trails to offer.

Here lies a green barn adjacent to the train tracks behind UMPI.

     According to one student, Megan Waceken, “Having places we can go outside right by the school is so important to me. There is so much room to explore.” Another UMPI student, Signey Johnston, said, “I never really did much around campus until my friends brought me to the train tracks behind school. It’s so cool back there! Ever since then I have been going back, with them and by myself, to be out in nature.” The walking trails really have cemented the bonds between UMPI and its students.

     Another great reason to go outside and go explore the nature of Presque Isle is the blatant fact that finals are coming! We all know how stressful these things can be. It is wonderful to allow yourself a break and spend time in the great outdoors, even for just an hour or so. As Megan Waceken said, “We see so much and it’s a great break from school work.” 

     Having the ability to step out of your dorm room and immediately be surrounded by the beauty of nature is something that many campuses around the United States cannot offer. Take advantage of where you live and explore!

A Still Moment

     Often, for many people, life flashes by in the blink of an eye. Historical events come and go, and what’s left behind is a bleak memory. One way to capture life’s moments is through photography. Photographs can enrich the mind and enhance the senses. By looking at an old photograph, you can see still moments of time. One thing to honor fantastic photojournalists and their photographs is the Pulitzer Prize. The Pulitzer Prize is an award for an achievement in American journalism, literature or music. There are a number each year. Pulitzer Prizes have been awarded to journalists, photojournalists and artists since the early 20th century. Each decade has had numerous Pulitzer Prize winners for photojurnalism, and throughout this piece, a few noteworthy photographs will be discussed.

     In the 1940s, the Iwo Jima (1945) Pulitzer Prize Winner was taken. This image depicts a group of U.S. Marines standing a United States flag in Iwo Jima, Japan, after their “capture of the peak.” This picture evokes a lot of feeling, especially for those Americans who lived during World War II. You can feel the triumph in the photo. The men who seemed completely and utterly exhausted used all their might to plant the United States flag, invoking a nationalistic feeling in many Americans. This picture also invokes a feeling of hope, as during World War II, many people were terrified of what the outcome of the war would be. 

      Skipping ahead a few years, for the 1960s, the Saigon Execution (1968) Pulitzer Prize Winner was taken. This image depicts the final moment of a Viet Cong prisoner’s life. You can see the terror in the prisoner’s face as he is about to lose his life. You can also see the sadness he is feeling. He knows he is about to die and looks utterly petrified. You can feel this man’s loneliness as he is about to die in the company of a photojournalist and the man about to execute him. Last, you can see the still-faced man about to take the life of another. He is utterly emotionless, and his facial expression looks as if he could care less. As the photographer of this photo, Eddie Adams, stated in the documentary, however, this was a war. This was just a thing that “happened.” This demonstrates how war can bring out the heartlessness and selfishness in people. 

Spotlight: A Terrible Truth

     “Spotlight”: this 2015 film tells the story of a journalist team, who, in 2001, gets assigned to investigate allegations against John Geoghan, an unfrocked priest accused of molesting more than 80 boys. Led by editor Walter “Robby” Robinson, reporters Michael Rezendes, Matt Carroll and Sacha Pfeiffer interview victims and try to unseal sensitive documents. The reporters make it their mission to provide proof of a cover-up of sexual abuse within the Roman Catholic Church. This movie will leave you on the edge of your seat and with a bitter taste in your mouth.

     After watching this film, viewers may be wondering: Prior to watching this movie, would many people be aware of these issues going on in the church? The answer is a bit complicated. Yes and no. Throughout the last 20 years or so, you would always hear jokes about priests and little boys. It was common knowledge that members of the church took their power and used it to attack young children, but not to the extent that it actually was. People knew, but did not really know the real damage that was being caused to these children and the extent of how many children were being taken advantage of.

     What can people learn from this film? A lot. This movie leaves a very sour taste in the mouths of people who are Catholic. Their beloved religion was tainted by men who have sick urges. People will learn the extent of the problem. Even the journalist team did not realize the extent of this issue until further investigation. They believed there to be about 15-20 priests who sexually abused children. The number ended up being around 250 priests, however, which is sickening to think about. This movie also sheds light on the trauma that is caused to the victims of sexual assault. The personal interviews that were conducted in this film can become very intense and leave you with a pit in your stomach, filled with anger. 

Art Is Everywhere–Even in Northern Maine

     Tucked away deep into the Northeast Coast of the United States lies a small town called Presque Isle, Maine. Many people call this town their home. Presque Isle used to be a booming little place, filled with life. After the closing of the Loring Air Force Base, however,  things began to get quiet for the people of Presque Isle. 

     This town is overflowing with the beauty of nature. Forests, streams, lakes, fields and mountains are spread throughout. Despite this, there are not many attractions. Many people, especially those attending college in Presque Isle, know this all too well. For the people who are searching for a bit of culture in their everyday lives, there is a saving grace. The University of Maine at Presque Isle (UMPI) art department. Here local students and local artists alike are able to create and present beautiful works of art, worthy to be seen.

     According to Michelle Mishaan and Frank Sullivan, talented, enthusiastic, instructors of art at UMPI, there are numerous degrees that students can pursue in the field of art. The most popular is a four year Fine Arts degree. In this degree, students in their senior year can create and display their own art exhibit in the art gallery. Also, Frank and Michelle want their students to “walk away from their classes with more confidence than when they started on creating successful works of art.” In her classes, Michelle says that students work on the tools needed to make the work and how to think about it within the planning phases of creating art. 

     Whatever their major, Michelle and Frank believe that all students should take an art class to expand their thinking. That will “surprise themselves on what art can be to appreciate how art is made and why it is important.” 

     According to Michelle, “Art helps students think outside the box and think creatively to problem-solve a variety of issues. Students walk away from art classes with increased self-confidence and self-understanding, enhanced communication skills and improved cognition.” 

     Frank said, “The ability to communicate with visual imagery has always been an important aspect of the human experience. I believe that anyone can learn the fundamentals of visual language, whether through drawing, painting, sculpture, design or any other modality. Fluency in the language of visual form will enrich anyone’s life by increasing their ability to communicate and express themselves….”

     Art is a form of expression that can help people look within themselves to express themselves in a variety of different ways. UMPI students will be able to walk away from an art class with skills they can use forever in their lifetime.

     But what if the student life is not for you? Or you already have a career and still wish to view art? UMPI has multiple art galleries the public can view as well! There is art all around campus! 

     “The University has an extensive collection of original art. The Reed Art Gallery on the upper level of the Center for Innovative Learning hosts a number of exhibitions throughout the year, featuring work from a variety of artists as well as pieces from the university’s collections. There are numerous pieces of art on display throughout the campus in classrooms, hallways, meeting rooms, offices, etc. The Pullen Gallery, on the third floor of Pullen Hall, regularly displays work by UMPI students.” 

     Frank said that starting in April, the seniors will have their art exhibits on display, each with their own unique style and techniques used in their work.

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.