By: Reese Remington, Contributing Writer.
Farmington, ME – Earlier this year, the announcement came that classes would return in person. This brought an influx of students back to campus, which also meant more students looking for housing. Despite students’ eagerness to live off-campus this year, it was going to be an uphill battle with Farmington’s small real estate pool and competitive market.
One student, Riley Bartell, a fifth-year senior, had a rough time finding housing around Farmington. He even considered living in neighboring towns. After searching all summer, he was only able to find an apartment in Livermore Falls but it fell through.
“There were over 500 applications for this apartment, but I never heard back about it,” Bartell said.
Thankfully, a couple of friends from the baseball team had a room available near campus. Now Bartell doesn’t have to commute to school for his last year.
Roommates, Bailey Blow and Julia Halley are first-time off-campus living students. Their experiences also had obstacles. Both Blow and Halley lived on campus last year and knew it was time to transition to an apartment this year.
“It’s been great. I like that we have roommate dinners – it’s like have a little family. It’s cute. The dining hall was a reason for moving off-campus, so it’s nice having a kitchen and cooking.” Halley said.
Living off-campus doesn’t come easily though. Planning is key to work with how competitive the market is. For Blow and Halley, finding an apartment took months in advance.
“Look early. It was really hard to find this place. Make sure you can financially do it, too because it is a really big commitment. We started looking over winter break (Dec. 2020) for this apartment because three and four bedrooms are a lot harder to find.” Blow said.
While residents in Farmington are calling it a housing crisis, realtor Byron Staples at Foothills Management isn’t as quick to call it that. He sees it as more of a competitive market right now due to a couple of factors. Two large issues that are contributing to the market are the lack of residents moving out of their current residence, and “outside people” coming in. Staples said about “two-thirds of apartments” that typically would go on the market during the season, didn’t.
Currently, there is a solar farm project in Farmington that began in July 2020. The project employed over 300 out-of-state employees all of whom took up any available housing in the area, whether it was hotels or residences.
However, the project should be slowing down by winter this year. With limited housing, it’s important to be sure and proactive while looking for housing, according to Staples.
“In this area, companies market June availability in Jan. and Feb. This means you have to be proactive. Don’t hesitate, and when a landlord reaches out, consider it as a job interview.” Staples said.
It would seem that the competitive market in Farmington may be opening up soon. Though with the pandemic still ongoing, it’s uncertain just how much will change.
For students looking to transition from on-campus to off-campus housing next year, being proactive during the process is key.
By Michael Levesque, Assistant Editor.
Photo from the UMF Athletic Department
On September 10, 2021, student-athletes and members within the University of Maine Farmington athletics department had the opportunity to listen to alumumnist and National Basketball Association coach, Steve Clifford.
Clifford returned to the college from which he graduated in 1983 to talk about his experience coaching basketball at the highest level. Clifford, who graduated from the university in 1983 with a bachelor’s degree in special education, played basketball for UMF all four years. After graduation, he coached at the high school and college level before accepting a position as an assistant coach for the New York Knicks in 2001. Clifford was an assistant coach in the league for 12 more years before becoming the head coach for the Charlotte Hornets in 2013 and later the Orlando Magic. Today Clifford is a coaching consultant for the Brooklyn Nets.
Clifford first talked to a large group of UMF student athletes, where he touched on values that he believes are not only good for NBA players, but athletes in general. “Work, accountability and togetherness… These are the three main ideas that he focuses on with the NBA teams that he has coached,” said McKenna Brodeur in an email. Brodeur is a captain on the women’s soccer team and a post player on the women’s basketball team. “All three ideas…impact a team’s culture,” she said. “Work requires you to put the effort in. Accountability means having discipline and showing up every day on time, as well as knowing the plays and sets. Lastly, togetherness is the goal of the team,” she said. “You need to be able to play together and have a plan to get better.” Brodeur mentioned that some of the messages she learned, she plans on taking to the soccer field. “I want to bring back what I learned from Coach Clifford back to the team. I think it will be a good reminder on why we cannot just show up to practice and expect greatness. We must work toward our goals and aim to do better every day,” Brodeur said.
Clifford’s visit then transitioned to the basketball court where he conducted a coaching clinic. With UMF men’s basketball players on the court and coaches from around the state in the bleachers, Clifford conducted a few drills and offered coaches advice on running a successful basketball team. “[Clifford] showed us different drills and plays and how they transitioned to success at the NBA level,” said Jack Kane, a center on the men’s basketball team. Kane mentioned how other coaches were there to learn as much from Clifford as they possibly could, including UMF’s own coach Sam Leal. “Coach was taking notes in the stands, listening. He was not ‘coaching’ at all,” said Kane. Kane, like the other members of the team actually completing the drills that day, hopes that what they learned from Clifford can translate to a successful season this winter.
For more photos of Clifford’s visit, check out the athletic department’s instagram page @umfatheltics.
By Charity Webster, Contributing Writer.
The New Commons Project in collaboration with the Maine Humanities Council is facing the end of its five year grant this spring, at which point the public humanities initiative will be forced to adapt or conclude. The New Commons Project is a humanities initiative that brings cultural works to UMF.
“At this point we don’t know what the post-grant future will look like, but I am very hopeful that someone will want to build on the success of the New Commons Project and apply for a follow-up grant,” Co-director and co-author for the grant Kristen Case said.
Case has been with the project from the beginning. The total budget for the grant which was provided by the Mellon Foundation was $500,000. The grant was used to hire project coordinators Dr. Stephen Grandchamp and Dr. Erika Rodriguez. Other expenses included paying visiting scholars and artists who come to campus events.
“Part of the intent of the grant is to bring world-class speakers and performers to the area, giving both students and community members opportunities to engage cultural works in ways they wouldn’t otherwise be able to in a small, rural town,” Case said. “We wanted to do something to foster the sense of the university as a resource not only for students but also for the wider community.”
The project has provided avenues for community engagement and opportunities for individuals to come together and have otherwise difficult conversations in a safe place. She said they are extremely proud specifically about the conversations the New Commons Project has fostered around race, immigration, and Indigenous history. Each month they feature one of the 24 cultural works that were proposed by students, faculty and members within the community.
“The hope is to continue it not exactly as it is but in some capacity when the grant runs out” said Co-Director, Stephen Grandchamp.
Currently with The New Common Project and Co-Sponsored with Emery Hall is a cultural work called Reimagining Real. UMF assistant professor of Visual Arts Ann Bartges and Emery director Kristen Case curate “a broad survey of artworks by local and nationally-recognized artists engaging the legacy of realism in the 21st century, continuing, complicating or contesting this tradition.” (Found on the Emery Community Arts Page). This exhibition is free and open to the public till October 21st. Also coming soon are workshops on artist Andrew Whyeth and his painting “Christina’s World”
All events are free and open to the public. https://newcommonsproject.org for more information.
By Adrienne Foss, Contributing Writer.
A pre-existing trail surrounding Prescott Field has recently been extended by over half a mile to meet the Americans with Disabilities Act standards and regulations. The highly trafficked trail is used by people all around the community, and the adaptations made will benefit nearly 40% of the Franklin County population according to project organizers.
The High Peaks Alliance is a non-profit organization that played a vital role in the creation of this trail. The organization wanted to know how they could improve the overall accessibility of this piece of land that so many people were already enjoying.
“We realized that there were no accessible trails in all of Franklin County,” Executive Director of the High Peaks Alliance Brent West said. He believes that more people need to get outside and to feel comfortable in the environment they’re in, and having safe and accessible trails is one of the first steps towards meeting that goal. “We hope that the work we do allows for more people to have more opportunities,” West said.
Gina Oswald has worked as a professor in Rehabilitation Services for three years at the University of Maine at Farmington. She has been working for and with people with disabilities for nearly 22 years, and she is always looking for ways to improve general accessibility and to remain inclusive. Oswald has also been a board member of the High Peaks Alliance since 2020 and has since been making extensive contributions to the accessibility aspects of the community. She has worked closely with West to see that this project comes to life. “Being in the field for so long, not only does it keep me passionate about these things, but it keeps me informed about what is and isn’t accessible for all,” Oswald said. “The world is a better place when everybody has the same opportunities and access.”
The ADA trail received funding and grants from multiple organizations in Maine, including the High Peaks Alliance and the Northern Forest Center. The Northern Forest Center provided a $50,000 grant to go towards the project, and the High Peaks Alliance fundraised the rest of the cost. The project added up to a total of $96,000.
The trail now extends from Front Street to the Narrow Gauge parking lot, and it consists of crushed natural and local rock that gives the appearance of smooth pavement. This now provides a safer and more reliable surface for people using a wheelchair, walker, or stroller. There was also a concerted effort to include braille, sign language, and tactile, along with other languages like French and Wabanaki on the informational signs around the trails.
The High Peaks Alliance is constantly seeking additional funding for future projects, and there are big plans for both the Farmington area and Franklin County as a whole.
“We have smaller local goals along with bigger and more grand hopes and dreams,” Oswald said.
By Autumn Koors Foltz, Staff Writer and Astrologer.
Consider Libra season a breath of fresh air. Ruled by Venus, Libra is an air sign positioned in cardinality. Cardinal signs come at the beginning of the season, and inspire a push into new experiences with strength. The goddess of romance and pleasure ruling the season, consider this a time to evaluate your relationships. Where is the balance to be found in them? Do you take as much as you give? As the moon moves into both Taurus and then Gemini in the following days, use this as the basis for the stock taken in relationships. Taurus urges stability. Gemini asks for intellect and sociality. Trust yourself, and let the stars move you. On September 27th, Mercury will go into retrograde until October 17th. Retrograde describes the illusion caused by Earth’s placement, where a planet appears to be moving reversely across the sky. Mercury is the planet of communication, so the retrograde is traditionally associated with problems in this area — love letters gone missing, cues gone misinterpreted, professional frustration. Use this as an opportunity to hone patience. Remember: the retrograde is only an illusion. Mercury is still moving as it began.
Familiar with Libra season in your own cardinality, allow yourself to take the season of your polar with charge. The first of the 12 zodiacs, think beyond your first impression: how do you let others see your flame?
As the year begins to wane, don’t get lost in the mud, Taurus. Sprout yourself from the hardening Earth and establish yourself.
Let go of the desire to know someone fully, or not at all, Gemini. Allow yourself, and others, to take control of their image. What may at first seem hidden can be with good reason.
In the season of another cardinal sign, expect your world to become packed to the point of clutter. Be aware of your desire to either shut things out or control them completely: Cancer, dear water sign, not everything must be underwater.
Feel your innate, fiery charisma blossom under the watch of Venus — but don’t forget the rooting of your fixed sign. Be decisive. Be edgeful.
Don’t feel your grip on the world loosen as your mutable, changeable season fades, Virgo. You have strewn yourself in your own Earth and will begin your fall-time blossom.
Libra, be cutting. The wind must lash at times, and so should you. Do not let your desire for balance be mistaken as a desire for nothing at all. Even in your own season, do not feel hesitant to declare yourself and presence.
You don’t need to love everyone so deep you lose yourself in everyone. Shut your lips, stop your kissing. Turn into yourself, Scorpio.
Sagittarius, nobody will follow you when you burn the path behind you. Don’t put the fire in your sign, but learn to capture its warmth: not its char.
Something in the air is changing, Capricorn. Let it. Don’t feel compelled to work everything to same: newness can serve just as beautifully in direction.
Aquarius, do you ever feel like you’re speaking to the trees? Don’t stop yourself: what those around you won’t understand will not be your own undoing.
If the season changes, Pisces, let it. Don’t become burdened with the truth that nothing stays: not even the moon.