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Press Releases

OAPI offers slate of spring events

With winter in full gear and warmer weather in the future, the University of Maine at Presque Isle’s Outdoor Adventure Program International (OAPI) is offering a series of spring adventures for campus and community members to enjoy, including a winter mountain climb, cross country and alpine skiing, and rock climbing.

The first event of the season kicks off on Jan. 21 and again on Jan. 28, Feb. 4, Feb. 11, Feb. 25, March 4, March 11 and March 18 when OAPI offers free rides to Big Rock Ski Area in Mars Hill. The mountain offers free Wednesday night lift tickets and OAPI provides the free transportation to the site. The shuttle departs from Gentile Hall at 4 p.m. and returns by 9:45 p.m. Organizers will cancel if driving conditions are unsafe. If you would like to attend, please be at Gentile Hall by 3:45 p.m.

For women who wish to “learn the ropes” of indoor climbing, OAPI will offer a series of climbing nights for women beginning Tuesday, Feb. 3 in Gentile Hall. No experience is required and instruction will be provided for the sessions which meet on the first Tuesday and third Wednesday of February, March and April from 6-9 p.m. This activity is free for UMPI students and Gentile Hall members; cost for non-members is the $7 day pass fee.

OAPI ventures out for its White Mountain Winter Ascent from Wednesday, Feb. 18 to Saturday, Feb. 21. Participants will be able to experience winter travel in the White Mountains of New Hampshire on this four-day trip.

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Pelletier to teach course on Northern Writers

Acclaimed writer Cathie Pelletier is returning to her northern Maine roots with a new course that she will teach at the University of Maine at Presque Isle this spring on writers who explore northern life and living.

Pelletier will offer the course Northern Writers: A Sense of Place, which will focus on writers of New England and other northern climes as well as those whose works focus on this unique region and way of life. Open to campus and community members, this 10-week course that begins in February will explore the works of those who capture the essence of New England living and carving out a life “up north.”

Pelletier – who has written nine novels including several that examine life as lived in small Maine towns – will provide opportunities for her class to speak in person and by phone with some of the writers whose works they will be reading. While schedules still are being coordinated, Pelletier is hoping to connect her students with writers such as Suzanne Kingsbury (The Summer Fletcher Greel Loved Me), Howard Frank Mosher (A Stranger in the Kingdom), Ernest Hebert (author of the Darby series), Deborah Joy Corey, and Chris Bojahlian, whose book Midwives was an Oprah’s Book Club selection.

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Guerrette named UMPI’s new softball coach

A familiar face will be stepping in to serve as the University of Maine at Presque Isle’s new softball coach. Tracy Guerrette, the Lady Owls’ basketball coach and sports information director for the University, will become the women’s softball coach effective immediately. The softball season begins Feb. 1.

Guerrette replaces Coach Mike Carlos, who coached the Owl women’s softball team the past several seasons. In her new coaching role, Guerrette will prepare the team for competitive play within the NAIA and oversee recruiting efforts.

“I know Tracy will work hard to make our Softball team competitive in the Sunrise Conference this spring,” said UMPI Athletic Director Bill Casavant.

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Hollywood cinematographer works with UMPI students on film project

The University of Maine at Presque Isle became a working movie set between Dec. 8 and 14 as students in Cathie Pelletier’s screenwriting class brought their script to life with the help of a Hollywood cinematographer and a cast and crew hailing from Fort Kent to Portland.

Students in the course Screenwriting and the Filmmaker’s Life, taught by award-winning writer Cathie Pelletier, had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work with Zoran Popovic – the cinematographer for the 2008 film War, Inc., which stars John Cusack, Joan Cusack, Marisa Tomei, Hilary Duff and Ben Kingsley. Popovic and Pelletier – who has written nine novels and had two of them turned into movies – had collaborated on a film project in the past, so when Pelletier asked Popovic this fall if he would be interested in coming to Maine and working as a director on a short film with her students, he agreed to make the trip.

Popovic’s visit and the movie project he and Pelletier oversaw helped students to get a first-hand understanding of what it takes to turn a screenplay into a movie. The students, as well as several volunteer crew members, local thespians and actors from both ends of the state, worked long days and many late nights to film all the scenes in their 20-minute-long short film, titled The Proposal.

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Scholarship established in Peter McConnell’s name

The University of Maine at Presque Isle’s Foundation has received a generous $10,000 gift for a scholarship in Peter G. McConnell’s name. The gift was given by McConnell’s family.

McConnell and his wife, Helen O’Seep McConnell, were friends of the University of Maine at Presque Isle for many years and Helen McConnell graduated from UMPI in 1950.

“We are so pleased to be able to continue the legacy Peter McConnell established during his many years of service to Aroostook County,” President Don Zillman said. “The Peter G. McConnell Memorial Scholarship will provide deserving County students with the kind of education that Peter firmly believed in – learning in order to better serve your community.”

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UMPI Business student earns NESRHM scholarship

A Business student at the University of Maine at Presque Isle recently was presented a scholarship by an affiliate of the world’s largest professional association devoted to human resource management.

Bria Ryder, a sophomore Business Major with a General Management concentration, recently received the Deborah Kierstead and Milton Bailey Memorial Scholarship from the Northeast Society for Human Resource Management, which is affiliated with the Society of Human Resource Management. NESHRM established the scholarship in honor of two of their members who exemplified leadership and community service. Officials annually present the scholarship to two students.

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Fort Fairfield artists focus of next Reed exhibition

An exhibit featuring the talents of Fort Fairfield artists and those with a connection to Fort Fairfield’s past will be on display from Dec. 6 through Jan. 17 in the University of Maine at Presque Isle’s Reed Fine Art Gallery.

The exhibition titled, “It’s Time To Feature Fort Fairfield Artists,” offers a diverse collection of work in recognition of Fort Fairfield’s recent Sesquicentennial celebration. It was compiled by Sesquicentennial chairs, Sarah Ullman and Rayle Ainsworth, as the culminating event in a very successful year-long celebration.

The show will include paintings, drawings, photography and sculptures by experienced and emerging artists.

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UMPI contingent attends Writing Center gathering

Three UMPI Writing Center tutors accompanied faculty member and UMPI Writing Center Director Deborah Hodgkins to the Maine Writing Centers Gathering 2008 at Colby College on Saturday, Nov. 15.

Laura Mooney, Laura Hunter, and Andrea Zappone joined Hodgkins and tutors and directors from Colby, Bates College, the University of Maine, and Thomas College in a day devoted to “Engaged Evaluation: What We Do and Why We Do It.”

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Biology professor presents paper on parasites to educators

A Biology professor at the University of Maine at Presque Isle recently presented a paper on parasites and how they can be useful to middle school teachers during a National Association of Biology teachers [NABT] meeting in Memphis, Tenn.

Dr. Andrea Gorman Gelder noted in her paper “Parasites for the Classroom” that 5th to 8th grade teachers have a unique opportunity to incorporate common arthropod parasites into their curricula. According to Gorman, more than 50 percent of earth’s organisms have adopted a parasitic life style. She explained that well known arthropods like mosquitoes, lice, fleas and ticks serve as “vectors of diseases” and have had a profound effect on both public health and history. They have been responsible for disseminating such pestilence as malaria, plague, West Nile Virus and Lyme disease.

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University, Lumus Construction Inc. announce details of $2 million wind turbine project

Officials from the University of Maine at Presque Isle and Lumus Construction Inc. held a press conference on Monday, Nov. 24 at 11 a.m. to announce the details of their $2 million project to install a 600 kW wind turbine on the northern Maine campus.

The project establishes UMPI as the first university in the State of Maine and one of only a handful in New England to install a mid-size wind turbine. The turbine will produce about 1 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per year and is expected to save the institution more than $100,000 annually in electricity charges. It also will save an estimated 572 tons of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere each year, or the equivalent of removing 123 cars from the road.

“We are so very pleased to be announcing the details of this historic project, which will help to meet the campus’s energy needs, significantly reduce our energy costs, and help us to leave a much small carbon footprint,” President Don Zillman said. “This is the most significant renewable energy project we, as a campus, have ever undertaken, and we are both proud and humbled to be stepping forward as a statewide leader in the utilization of wind as a renewable energy resource.”

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