Saddleback to Reopen After Five Years Closed

By Natausha Cogley, Contributing Writer

    Winter is right around the corner and this means that Saddleback Mountain will finally be open after being shut down for five years. 

    Saddleback Mountain is located in the Rangeley Lakes Region and is about an hour away from UMF. They are hoping to open on Dec. 15, just in time for the 2020-2021 ski and snowboard season. After being closed for nearly five years, the mountain was purchased and some big changes were put into place. There is now a brand new high-speed quad ski lift, renovations to the lodge, and investments on new snowmakers. 

    The mountain has 66 ski trails. The Royal Tiger, one of the easier trails on the mountain, is in the middle of the slow zone that contains over half the easy trails on the mountain. “[The slow zone] is a great place to freshen up your skills or hit the mountain for your very first time,” said Olivia Hall, a Rangeley local and avid skier. 

        Saddleback is one of the biggest ski destinations in the state, which means there’s lots of trails for even the most experienced skiers and riders to choose from. Hall recommended Golden Smelt as one of the best trails. “Golden Smelt is my favorite trail because it’s easily missed and not a lot of people can find it. So there’s always a lot of powder on it,” said Hall. 

    As the weather gets cooler at UMF, skiers are itching to try out the new Saddleback. “I haven’t been able to hit the trails on Saddleback since 2015,” said Mary Swiney, a sophomore from Rangeley. “I feel the newly renovated lodge and the new ski lift will significantly improve the mountain and make it more enjoyable.” 

    Rumors are flying about how the Saddleback will look and feel compared to before Saddleback closed in 2015. “I haven’t seen the new lodge yet, but I heard they’re expanding the upstairs and working on a restaurant,” said Hall. There’s expected to be some big changes that everyone is looking forward to. 

    From now until Thanksgiving, Saddleback is offering a discounted full season pass to college students with a valid college ID for $324. The normal price for a college student pass is $449. 

    For more information on their newest additions, renovations, and updates, follow their Instagram @saddlebackmaine, like their Facebook page, or go to their website at

Perspectives on Online Midterms Vary Heavily

by Bella Woodhouse, Contributing Writer

    The recent events of the COVID-19 pandemic have affected the way midterms are being held. 

    Students are concerned with online midterms and have a fear of potential academic fraud, and feeling as if there are now disadvantages to those taking them in person. 

    For students who are taking online classes it can feel as if sometimes you are teaching yourself  much of the material, the professor isn’t there helping you in person. This becomes an issue for midterms thanks to a lack of communication between both the material and professor. Sophomore Kennedy Savoy majoring in Biology Pre-medical voiced her concern, “My statistics class is online and sometimes my professor talks too fast and won’t go back and explain things. This makes it harder on exams like midterms when I feel like I’ve taught myself the material.” 

    Not all professors choose to have a midterm, but for those who did, online challenges may be hard to overcome. Professor Jackson who teaches BIO 110N, Introduction to Avian Ecology feels as if he doesn’t think his midterm being online is a challenge for his students. “I am conducting the midterm online. It is my first time doing it at UMF. Some students do seem to be struggling with things moved online in general; however, most of my students have been completing their online assessments and work just fine. Since they have been taking quizzes and doing other tasks online, I don’t anticipate that the midterm being online would present any additional challenges.”

    A few students took their midterm in person but most chose to take the class online. Students taking  midterms in person can feel as if they have a disadvantage to the students taking the online version. “I took the midterm in person but there was a problem with the online version. Some of the questions were missing and weren’t the same as ours. This caused confusion and the professor didn’t even realize until 20 minutes left of class,” said Sophomore Sydney Beecher. 

    The students taking an online midterm also have a higher advantage on getting a better grade with the potential chance of academic fraud. Beecher felt she had an disadvantage for taking it in person because, “the professor couldn’t watch the online students take the test and I fear even though there is a code of honor for online students, I wouldn’t be surprised if some students didn’t follow it.”

New COVID-19 Cases Prove UMF Isn’t Immune or Invincible

By Malcolm Langner, Contributing Writer


    During phase four of COVID-19 testing, three cases of COVID-19 were reported on the UMF campus. The phase four testing round included 100 randomly selected off-campus students, faculty, and staff. 

    Gracie Vaughan, a sophomore, experienced the panic caused by the virus first-hand when she found out she had tested positive for COVID-19. “I was extremely worried. I work at a place with patrons who may have a very difficult time if they were to catch the virus,” Vaughan said. “My main worry was that I could have infected other people.” 

    Vaughan was asymptomatic, meaning she didn’t show any of the symptoms of COVID-19, but still tested positive for the virus. Despite this, she was concerned for her health and those who were around her. “I’m very lucky that my symptoms didn’t progress for me, but that doesn’t mean that everyone will have the same luck,” said Vaughan. “It was scary not knowing exactly what it could turn into and that alone was even hard on my mental health.” 

    The various COVID-19 protocols and safety measures may seem tedious and have left some with sour tastes in their mouths, but Vaughan was adamant that such measures are for the good of the community. “Just because people our age have a less difficult time with the virus doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. I would be in a very different position if everyone on campus was following the protocols set forth by the CDC (Center for Disease Control) and by the University,” said Vaughan.

    Vaughan mentioned that she was like most others in that she didn’t believe the disease could ever touch her, but she wants to use her experience as a positive, rather than a negative. “I think if people see someone they know has the virus, it will become more real to them,” said Vaughan. 

    For the students on campus who haven’t contracted COVID-19, seeing that UMF isn’t immune to the virus was a wake up call. For Mackenzie Dyer, a sophomore, this was especially true. “Seeing these cases really opened my eyes. Even though I follow the guidelines, I never really thought that the virus would, or even could, get to UMF,” Dyer said. “I can’t even imagine being told that I have COVID-19.”

    Dyer isn’t just worried about her own health, but of UMF as a whole. “I love it at UMF. I would hate to see the campus close down early–or even worse, get closed down for the entirety of the spring semester–because we couldn’t follow safety protocols,” said Dyer.  

    Not only do the ramifications of a COVID-19 outbreak cause closures on campus, but they could put the lives of family members at risk. “If we get sent home and there have been several cases of COVID-19 on campus, I worry especially about the possibility of bringing it back to my house,” said Dyer. “Just because it might not give me any problems doesn’t mean my family members will have a similar fate.” 

    As UMF is receiving its first COVID-19 cases, Maine as a state has been increasing once again in positive cases. On Oct. 31, Maine totalled 101 new cases; the most new cases in a day since May 23, with two cases from Franklin Country “If we all work together now that means this whole situation will be a lot shorter in the long run. Please think of other people before deciding not to follow safety protocols,” Vaughan said. 

Students Willing to Sacrifice Health for Lunch-Time Conversations

by Sam Shirley, Staff Photographer


   Dining has a different look this year in the North Dining Hall. Students are greeted with tables seating only two each in efforts to promote social distancing and reduce the spread of COVID-19. 

    This creates a different dining experience for many, including varsity pickleball team captain Damon Hayward. Hayward tells us, “We used to crowd all twenty of us around one table at lunch time in the dining hall. We were practically sitting on each other’s laps, but it made it easy for us to discuss last night’s game.”

    This year things are different; “They want us to sit six feet away from each other,” says Hayward. “It’s ridiculous, how can we be cool and superior if we aren’t all together in our clique while we eat?”

    However, the rules imposed by administration don’t always deter students from sitting together in large groups. Another team member, Nicole Arlington, told us, “So what? It’s a virus. Some people get sick. Some people die. It probably won’t be us, so I’m willing to take that chance to sit with my friends,” She went on to question, “What are they going to do? Send the police in to tell us that we can’t sit here?”

    Regrettably, at this point our interview with the pickleball team was cut short by Campus Police arriving and dispersing the group. “Believe it or not, there’s more to our job than ensuring each student gets at least one parking ticket during their time at UMF,” stated Campus Police officer Gerald Beckett, when asked about enforcement of social distancing rules.

    Fortunately, not all students share this sentiment about the new socially distanced dining. Fifth-year undergraduate Zachary Peebles stated, “I’ve always sat alone in the dining hall for the past four years anyways. This isn’t much different, except now I’m not the only one sitting alone.”

   At press time, Facilities Management was last seen attaching weights to the chairs, so that if students insisted on moving them, they were at least getting in their daily workout at the same time.


*This article is a work of satire*

Students Get Ready For FAFSA

by Brittney Lee, Contributing Writer

    UMF students have begun filing their FAFSAs in preparation for the 2021-2022 school year. 

    The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) determines the amount of aid that a student receives for their schooling, and must be completed by March 1harley carter

, 2021. However students should complete it as soon as possible—if any issues arise or changes need to be made to their applications. 

    Second year student, Harley Carter, said in an email, “I have not started [my FAFSA]yet, but I plan to in the next week or so, as it is better to get it in early.” 

    If the FAFSA is not finished by the deadline, students may not receive financial aid. UMF junior, Ali-Banks Mitchell said via email “last year I applied late and I learned my lesson.” 

    Not filing on time can cause some unwanted issues for students in need of financial aid. “I couldn’t get a work study or a federal pell grant.” Banks said. “I lost out on about $7,000 dollars just from filing late.”

   Thankfully an issue like this isn’t impossible to fix, Banks said “I had to appeal to get the aid I usually receive and even then I still owed more than I did last year.”

  Students may also struggle to get financial information from one or both parents when filling out the FAFSA. Carter said via email “It is hard for me to file because there is a lot of back and forth with my mom about her financial information.”

    “My parents are divorced so I have to include my step-father on the application along with my mother. This makes filing complicated because I am consistently tracking them both down for their financial information,” said Carter.

    To help get the FAFSA done correctly and on time students can visit Merrill Center as well as speak with the Financial Literacy Peer Educators on campus, known as “FinLit”. 

    FinLit is a resource for students to use for advice on budgeting as well as assist students when filing their FAFSA. Mitchell said in an email “I went once when I was stressed about my bill my freshman year to see what I could do before going to Merrill.” 

    Students can visit to start and submit their FAFSA. This website also contains contact information if there are any questions or concerns about filing. Students can also visit Merrill if they are struggling with their financial aid.