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

Public Hearings about NECEC Held at UMF

Public Hearings about NECEC Held at UMF

By Darby Murnane & Emily Mokler Assistant Editor & Editor-in-Chief


The public forums provided a platform for discussion about the CMP powerline. (Photo by Emily Mokler)

Maine’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) hosted a week-long collection of hearings and two public forums on the UMF campus to address the proposed Central Maine Power (CMP) transmission line during the first week of April. This project, the New England Clean Energy Connect (NECEC), has been met with controversy from Maine residents as both those for and against the project have voiced concern over how the state’s actions will impact the course of climate change.

   The transmission, according to The Portland Press Herald, will run 145 miles from the Canadian border just north of route 27 to Lewiston, ME, and approximately 50-55 miles of this would be newly constructed lines, the remaining distance consisting of existing lines that would be widened by 75-150 feet. Electricity generated by Quebec Hydropower would be carried to Massachusetts via the NECEC to aid MA. in meeting state green-energy standards. The transmission line is set to run directly through Farmington.

   Many Mainers came forward during the public forums on April 2 and 4 to argue in favor of the line and implored the DEP panel members to take timely and productive steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Speakers often cited the estimated 12 years the world has to take proactive steps in reversing climate change before it is too late.

   The project is also meant to provide economic benefits to Mainers as workers will be needed for construction. Matt Marks, CEO of Associated General Contractors of Maine (ACG) spoke at the April 6 forum on behalf of his company to argue for the NECEC job opportunities, stating that AGC had lost 10,000 workers in recent recessions.  “More than 5200 megawatts of oil, coal, and nuclear power plants will be retired from from 2013-2022. And another 5000 megawatts of coal and oil fire generation could retire in a couple years,” Marks said. “We need to replace these plants and 1200 megawatts of clean, reliable hydropower delivered to Lewiston, maine will be the region’s  largest source of electricity from clean energy.”

   Conversely, those speaking against the NECEC expressed fear that environmental damage and greenhouse gas emitted by the construction of the line will outweigh the proposed benefits. As an estimated 50-55 miles of land would be cleared to make way for the transmission line, environmentalist opponents argue that the deforestation and carbon dioxide (CO2) released from clear-cut vegetation essentially cancels out what CO2 is meant to be eliminated by the NECEC.

   Tom Saviello, a former Maine Senator, also spoke at the April 6 forum, adding to the environmental debate with his expertise in forestry, having earned a Phd in Forest Resources from University of Maine. “One tree can absorb as much carbon a year that a car produces while driving 26,000 miles. Over the course of a life, a single tree can absorb one ton of carbon dioxide,” Saviello said. “So if we take the 55 miles of the corridor, that’s 150 feet wide and the rest 70 feet wide, we’ll cut a lot of trees which will equate to about 800,000 pounds of car carbon emissions.”

   There was some discrepancy among speakers about how many trees would actually be cut as many in favor of the line argued that the supposedly pristine wilderness through which the line would run is already crossed by access roads, as well as stretches of working forests such as logging ground. Yet those against the line noted that logged forests are able to regrow, whereas land home to transmissions line are routinely sprayed with herbicides to keep vegetation at bay.

   As Saviello testified before the DEP panel, he also commented on Maine’s legal responsibility in addressing climate via environmental law, stating, “We set goals for Maine, not New England. So I do suggest this part of the law should be addressed as part of the site location permit for [NECEC] can be issued.”

Colombian Psychedelic Rock – Wait, What!?

By Milo Fitzgerald Contributing Writer

    Every Monday from 6pm to 8pm, Ale Zarco takes to the small, dark DJ booth across from the Dining Hall armed with an array of nearly unknown music genres and history lessons for cultural context, she challenges listeners to step out of their comfort zone through her radio show What!?

   “What!? is supposed to be a place where you hear things that challenge your ears a little bit,” Zarco said. They make an effort to share music that won’t be played on any other radio station. However, like most people, Zarco has their standards. “I do a lot,” Zarco said, “But I don’t do classic, and I don’t do white country music.”

   Zarco instead shares black country artists, who are “more representative of the beginning of country music in America.”

   “Pioneers of music and music styles, people who stood out for how they changed the genre,” Zarco said are the type of artists they enjoy featuring on What!? British-Iraqi hip hop, psychedelic cumbia, African blues, Egyptian pop, and Latin American jazz are just a few of the various genres featured on the show.

   Along with discovering new artists, Zarco takes inspiration from music she has collected over time.  “I have four years of playlists on Spotify that I draw upon,” they said. The playlist titles are as diverse as the music itself, from “Moondayz” and “ThissHeavy” to “friends with stress”, “wqit actually what is this?” and “soothing nuclear ear candy”.

   “I like it when people start dancing to some music that they would have never heard on any other radio station,” Zarco said.

   For most people, music is catalyst for expression and has the power to elicit strong emotional responses. Through consideration, representation, and unification, “music is a way for people to express themselves,” Zarco said. “I think music can be a tool for building compassion and building understanding between people.”

   Zarco shares her public Spotify playlists on Facebook on the evening she will be playing them. Recently, they posted a playlist called “Dubby Queen” with the caption “Gonna be playing music that brings a healing sound to ill societies. Peaceful beats against a marching army. Beautiful melodies to soothe the pain of hardship.”

   Music is also a universal language with the capacity to transcend place. “Borders don’t stop music, and music is a traveling thing and can be moved across different cultures, for good reasons and for bad reasons, I guess,” Zarco said. “I definitely like finding people that I think respect the genres that they use, and try to add something new and authentic to it.”

   Her current favorite genre of music is Colombian psychedelic cumbia, which came of age in the 1960’s. Cumbia is an Afro-Colombian genre that became popular in coastal cities in Colombia, Peru, and Mexico. The fusion of psychedelic rock and cumbia began as a result of globalization and opposition to the Vietnam War, which made the cumbia genre more accessible to younger generations.

   In this sense, it is clear that music never really goes out of style, but is constantly evolving and reviving over time and space. Music is never static, and What!? is here to remind us of that.

91.5 WUMF: “Where Undiscovered Music is Found”

By Abby Shields Contributing Writer


   91.5 WUMF is a radio station/club on campus, that plays various genres, with a hope to bring out of the ordinary music to campus. “The station’s philosophy is to bring new, unheard music to UMF and the greater Farmington community,” said station manager Nathaniel Red.

   “The radio station is on at all times. When DJs have their show, the floor is theirs to play what they want, but otherwise we have a rotation of music, that’s submitted by the music directors, and that music plays over the air continuously, when a show isn’t happening,” said Red.

   There is a wide range of music played from alternative, hip- hop/RPM, local, loud rock, and world music. These different “stations” were picked as it helps them cover a large range of music, allowing a different assortment of to be heard.

   The station plays a variety of different music with each music director in charge of a different genre. The music directors help students find music to play during their radio shows. “We play a little bit of everything on the radio, it’s just based off what is submitted to our station to be heard,” said Red.

  There are 11 positions on the executive board, a few being the station manager, production manager, alternative music director, hip-hop/RPM music director, world music director, local music director, and loud rock music director. All these directors have similar jobs, however none are the exact same. Each varies depending on their genre, etc.

   Kai Smith, World music director, said, “I keep up with all of the songs we’re sent that are from other parts of the world and/or music genres that don’t fit in the other categories. It’s a mix between all sorts of genres from all over the world, as well as jazz, blues, and country.”

   Red said, “Generally the executive board is filled with members of the club who really love music, and love to be a part of college radio, similar to the rest of the club members too!” When it is time to fill positions for the next year, each member votes for one person, for each position and whoever wins the vote has that role for the following year.

   Not only does WUMF play music, they also do interviews. Their latest include John Five, a American guitarist, Butcher Babies, a heavy metal band from Los Angeles, and OK Go, a American rock band originally from Chicago, Illinois.

   “We’re always looking for more people to come and join the club! We’d love for students to come and have their own radio show. Also, we accept local bands music, so if anyone has some tracks out there, send them our way, and maybe we can get them some air time,” said Red.

   Students who are interested in joining the club should contact the productions manager Sylvia at “They’ll help any student who wants to become a DJ,” said Red.    

    Students can stop by the office anytime to speak with an executive board member. The office is located by the door behind the station in the student center. Students can also contact them at an address listed on the contact list located on the station door.

   To request a song on-air, just call (207) 778-7353.