Selling Our Soul to C.M.P.

Madison Lecowitch Contributing Writer


   It was a Tuesday night in the Lincoln Auditorium, and the room was brimming with people who traveled to Farmington from all over Maine. Police officers stood watch inside and outside of the auditorium, an unusual spectacle for a usually quiet campus. The crowd had come to testify for and against the proposed Central Maine Power transmission line at a public forum hosted by Maine’s Department of Environmental Protection.

   CMP has been one of the most talked about topics in Maine for awhile now, with what seems to be the majority of Maine rallying together in opposition of the transmission line. The proposed line would run 145 miles from Quebec to Lewiston, where it will connect to an existing grid. The energy would be generated by Quebec hydro-power and would supposedly provide Massachusetts with clean energy to help the state decrease their fossil-fuel emissions.

   According to the maps plastered all over the internet, the transmission line would run right through my home town of Livermore Falls. My town has an abundance of wild animals, from turkeys to deer who rely on the forest for everything. The transmission line would destroy more of the habitat local fauna need to survive. Although Livermore Falls is already apart of the existing transmission line, the clearing would need to be widened to provide room for the new lines. More forest would be torn down and more chemicals would be used to keep the trees and other plants from regrowing.

   Many of the individuals in favor of the proposed plan spoke about the line traveling through logging forests that are already damaged. They spoke about how the power line would provide clear cuts for animals to find food. They spoke about how the power line would help reverse climate change and prevent disasters expected to occur in the next twelve years if we don’t drastically change our impact on the environment .

   They forgot to mention that the transmission line would damage recreational sites and undeveloped Maine forests and species through habitat fragmentation. They also forgot to mention that the lower power rates promised to Mainers would only be a few measly bucks, while CMP would make billions of dollars in profit.

   The Natural Resource Council of Maine has even stated that the new transmission line might actually increase climate-changing pollution, instead of decreasing it. The council also stated that line would clear vegetation through, “263 wetlands, across 115 streams and 12 inland waterfowl and wading bird habitat areas, and near remote Beattie Pond.”

   How would ruining Maine’s natural lands benefit the environment? Isn’t it best for Maine’s ecosystems if we left the woods alone and let the clear-cut plants grow back? Once the transmission line is put up, there will be no replacing cleared trees with new sprouts. Instead, there is the promise of herbicides to keep vegetation from regrowing.

   One of my greatest goals in life is to become a teacher and live happily in Maine. I’ve never felt the need to go anywhere else. I’m always happy when I cross over the Piscataqua River Bridge after a vacation and return to Maine. I want to be able to take long walks in the forest with my family and I want to swim in pristine lakes every summer. I’m not sure if I, or anyone else, could do that if CMP took control of our state. They already control almost all of the power supplied to Maine, and now they have the chance to control Maine’s environment as well.

   Central Maine Power has been in trouble the past year for raising rates for Mainers and now they want to give up valuable Maine land to benefit another state. The people of Maine shouldn’t be selling our land to a company who is owned by large corporation that’s based in Spain.

Central Maine Power has no interest in protecting Maine’s environment and no interest in benefitting the people who live here. 

Laps for a Cause

Laps for a Cause

By Madison Lecowitch Contributing Writer

 Every year UMF hosts Relay for Life, an event supporting individuals who have had cancer impact their lives. This year the event is scheduled for April 12th, with a goal to raise $100,000. Alyssa Higbie, captain of the Campus Residence Council (C.R.C.) team for Relay for Life and senior at UMF, has seen first hand how cancer can devastate families and change lives forever. Through participating in Relay for Life, Higbie has used her experience to help benefit other people battling with cancer.

(L to R): Taylor Rossics, Alyssa Higbie, and Michaela Carney participated in Relay for Life in 2018. This will be Higbie’s third year participating. (Photo courtesy of Alyssa Higbie)

   Higbie first saw cancer impact her family when her dad was diagnosed. He is now a survivor of ten years. “My family was lucky that my dad’s cancer was only mouth cancer and the tumor was taken out, and he is able to be a survivor,” said Higbie. “Not everyone is that lucky, not everyone has as easy of a journey, and that’s why it is important that we do give back – that we do raise money for this.”

   Relay for Life is an event that is run by the American Cancer Society. The event raises money to help families and individuals who are battling cancer. “Relay for Life benefits people who are survivors, people who are dealing with cancer, the families of people who have cancer,” said Higbie. “It could be from financial help, to helping get rides to and from the cancer center, to helping figure out who the best doctors are.”

   Every donation to the organization helps. Last year, UMF and the Farmington community donated $21,000 to Relay for Life. “Every dollar we raise goes to research and it goes to early prevention and screenings,” Higbie said. “It goes to helping people who already have a diagnosis, so it gives help, it gives hope, and it gives care to people who need it the most.”

   Higbie understands how important it is to support other families who are dealing with cancer. “It could have been a lot different for my family if my dad’s cancer was more severe – and so to give back, to help families who might need a little more help then we needed – is really important to me.”

   To Higbie, there is a deeper meaning behind what Relay for Life stands for. “Relay for Life to me means hope. It means a chance of being able to help others, and it means to me a community coming together for a cause,” she said. “It means that people who need help in a dark time can get it, and if I can be a small part of that – that’s wonderful.”

   This will be Higbie’s third year participating in Relay for Life. Higbie has found that community support is what makes the event so spectacular. “Last year I raised $500 personally, and it was really all about talking to friends, family members and people from my church. A lot of the donations were $10-$15 a piece, so it’s not like it’s just one big donation from one person.”

  There will also be fundraising taking place throughout the night at the event. “We have live performances like the UMF Dance Team, Clefnotes and Deep Treble [who performed last year]. Different clubs have different tables around, as well as the community,” Higbie said. “We did snow cones last year, someone else had nail painting, and someone else had raffle baskets. It’s a real community event where everyone comes together to raise money.”

   Relay for Life will be held in the FRC on April 12th. The event is scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. and usually ends early in the morning. Higbie encourages anyone who wants to participate to join the C.R.C. team and to email her at if there are any questions. To join the Relay for Life as a runner/walker a minimum $10 donation is required. “Everyone should join! Join a team, go as an individual, go for it,” Higbie said. “If you want to just go and support, you can also do that too.” 



Aspiring Educators Club Strives to Create Prepared Teachers

By Madison Lecowitch Contributing Writer

    The UMF Aspiring Educators Club inspires students to be lifelong educators who are passionate about teaching the next generation of leaders.

   Bradley Howes, a junior at UMF, has participated in Aspiring Educators Club since his sophomore year. He decided to join when a former member came into one of his special education classes to promote the club.

   Howes became the club’s treasurer once he realized the benefits that came with being involved in the club. “I enrolled for the treasurer after I came up with some fundraising ideas that met the clubs financial obligation,” said Howes. “It was once that I became the treasurer that I realized all the stuff that I could do that wasn’t written in the rules.”

   The “stuff” that Howes was referring to includes setting up events, fundraising opportunities and promoting the club through class discussions around campus. Anyone who joins the club is encouraged to set up their own educational events. “If the students have an idea they want to do, they can come to any of us, and we will make it happen,” said Howes.

   Jamie Dillon, president, joined the club to create opportunities for herself, to learn how to make connections with other educators and to provide connections for other people.

   Dillon wants to see students in education majors thriving at UMF and in their careers. “[I hope to see] future educators more excited and less discouraged to go into the teaching field, so that they can make personal connections with one another and have strength in numbers and be more confident when they go out and get real jobs as teachers.”

   The club was created five years ago with the goal to benefit students from all education majors. Howes encourages everyone who wishes to gain experience as an educator to join.“Pragmatically it makes you look good, because when you put that on a resume it shows you’re trying to be a lifelong learner and continuingly improving educator,” Howes said. “That’s a big thing that a lot of schools are looking for that a lot of people overlook.”

   One of the greatest benefits that come with joining the club is the connection with the Maine Education Association. “[MEA] oversees all of the educators within the state of Maine, which includes preservice educators. We collaborate with their student collaborator, Dan Allen, to make sure we’re meeting their obligations,” said Howes. “He provides us with opportunities, we provide them with data and interest and what one of the best teaching schools in Maine is talking about. It is a mutually beneficial relationship where they want to get new blood and new information and we want their experience and their tips for us.”

   Memberships to join the MEA are $28 for students. The club usually leaves money in the budget for free memberships that are need-based. A membership with the MEA allows you to attend two conferences, one in the fall that is held in Rockland and one in the spring that is held at UMF. In addition, you also receive access to the MEA magazine where there are helpful tips and information for future educators.

   Howes encourages students to join the club as early as possible. “It is probably most beneficial for people to start early in the club around your freshman age. I started around my sophomore age, which means I got into my position as a junior and realistically that only gives me a year and a half to participate in it,” said Howes. “And then I have to student teach and that becomes my full attention.”

   The Aspiring Educators Club meets every Tuesday at 7:30 pm in the Ed. Center, Rm.107. Howes encourages anyone who wishes to participate to come to the meetings. If there are any questions, students can contact Howes, or the rest of the Executive-Board at any time. The E-board includes Jamie Dillon, Danielle Bowler, Bradley Howes and Michaela Wright. “Anyone on the E-Board is open for questions,” Howes said. “Jamie Dillon is the president and you can email her at [].” Howes’s email is

From the Windows, To the Walls: Tim Cleans all of Purington’s Halls

From the Windows, To the Walls: Tim Cleans all of Purington’s Halls

By Madison Lecowitch Contributing Writer

Purington custodian Tim Burnell enjoys the relationships he forms with students on campus (Photo by Madison Lecowitch)

   Every morning at 7 a.m. Tim Burnell, the custodian of Purington Hall, begins his tasks for the day by dusting, vacuuming and cleaning bathrooms. On snowy winter days, you can find him outside shoveling sidewalks and throwing sand on the ground, making sure nobody falls. Burnell loves cleaning, but to him, the best part of his job is the relationships that he has built with students.

   Burnell, age 57, has worked as the custodian of Purington Hall for eight years. Prior to his years working as a custodian, Burnell spent many years working on another passion of his.

“After high school I went to vocational school for welding, and I was a welder for 28 years,” Burnell said. “I worked in the shipyards, construction sites and I spent almost 24 years in the paper mill as a pipefitter.”

   Burnell’s switch from welding to custodial work was due to wanting more time with his family: “I [left] the paper mill mostly because my son was young, and it seemed to be the right thing to do,” said Burnell, “When I worked in the paper mill, I had to work a lot of long hours and you never knew when you were coming home, and that was very hard on the family.”

   Burnell finds the best part of his job to be the students that he builds relationships with: “There’s no question that the most enjoyable part of the job is meeting the students” said Burnell, but “being able to be here for the students and getting to know them,” is also important to him.

   Josh Beckett, a senior and C.A. in Purington, has known Burnell for many years. “This is my third year living in Purington Hall,” said Beckett, “Tim is always available helping residents with whatever they need.”

   Jocea Jordan, a freshman living in Purington, remembers when she met Burnell on move-in day: “He was walking around the halls checking if anyone needed help with moving stuff,” Jordan said, “even though I live six hours from home, I was comforted in the fact that I knew someone would be there to help me out if I ever needed anything.”

   Burnell loves his job, but sometimes being the custodian of Purington can become a little redundant. “[During] the summers I will say, definitely when the students leave, the fun goes away,” said Burnell, “we have a lot of projects going on, and it’s almost like your constantly cleaning and cleaning and doing that process over and over again.”

   Burnell always gets excited when the first day of the new school year arrives. “Freshman move-in day is about as good as it gets,” said Burnell, “it’s just enjoyable to see the new students coming in and helping them get set up in their rooms, and meeting their parents. When everybody moves back in August, it’s like everything starts to come back to life again.”

   Burnell has always strived to be the best in anything he does, and it shows in his work at UMF. “When I’m here, my office door is open, and I’m not gonna hide in my office. I totally enjoy helping the students, it’s what drives me,” Burnell said, “being competitive, I want to have the cleanest building on campus, that’s my goal.”

   Burnell is proud of his work in Purington Hall, and hopes to be here for at least another eight years. “The cliche is you find something you like, you’ll never work a day in your life. You know I always kind of chuckled at that, but it’s very true because I enjoy being here and doing what I do,” said Burnell, “it’s really not work to me here.”

Painting Your Way Towards a Sense of Community

Painting Your Way Towards a Sense of Community

By Madison Lecowitch Contributing Writer


UMF Senior Juliana Burch is the host of Paint Night. (Photo courtesy of Juliana Burch)

The Center for Student Involvement at UMF will be holding monthly Paint Nights in The Landing to promote creativity, inclusivity and community. Juliana Burch, a senior at UMF, is the host of paint night.

   Burch’s job is to select a painting to recreate, and to show students how to paint it with step-by-step instructions. “I’ll go on the internet and I’ll look at paint night photos on google images to kinda see what people do, and I try to find one that I think would be fun and that I would want to have on my wall,” Burch said. “I try to pick one that I feel people would want to do that might help them to feel better.”

   Burch is majoring in English, with a double minor in International and global studies and film studies. She explains that painting has alway been a passion of hers. “I’ve always really loved art,” Burch said. “It’s such a great way to shut off a part of your brain. The worrying and the anxiety and the stress and everything that college and life puts on you.”

   Although Burch enjoys all things art, painting doesn’t come very easy for her. Burch is color blind, which affects her ability to see specific colors. “I was in a bit of an accident when I was younger in the garage, and it resulted in a minor explosion, and basically the way I see color now is I can see green fine, but I can’t see blue and yellow,” Burch said. “Blue and yellow kind of blend in to green, so where everyone can see the green spectrum, the blue spectrum and the yellow spectrum, they’re all one long spectrum of green for me.”

   Burch really tries to focus on making others happy. At the first Paint Night, students painted a sunset with cacti and shrubbery. “We’re in the middle of winter. It’s cold and it’s dark and it’s sad, so I wanted to do a sunset or sunrise because I feel those fill people with hope and happiness,” Burch said. “I thought that might be a nice way to warm people up with how cold winter is.”

   Burch explained that Paint Night was formed to bring UMF together as a whole. “I’m a Community Assistant in the residence halls, and we host programs every semester to try and encourage kids to get out of their room and meet people and engage in, and kind of foster that sense of community that Farmington has,” Burch said.

   Amethyst Leeman, a freshman, enjoyed the engaging community atmosphere that was created for Paint Night. “It was fun, and I liked hanging out with friends and seeing everyone’s finished product,” Leeman said. “I thought Juliana was fun, she really engaged the audience.”

   The first paint night had about 24 attendees. Burch hopes that more people will show up for the next paint night. “I would love to try to make this a bigger event, especially if we have the funding for it,” Burch said. “I don’t want to turn people away from wanting to paint.”

   In an email interview, Sydney Goodridge, a student on campus, explained that she chose to participate in Paint Night because it’s a creative outlet for beginning artists. “I participated in Paint Night because it seemed fun and simple enough for a novice,” Goodridge said. “I loved how Juliana created a pleasant atmosphere and easy-to-follow instructions.”

   The next Paint Night will take place Monday, Feb. 25 at 8 p.m. Burch’s email is, and she encourages people to reach out to her for tips and suggestions on what they would like to paint next, or any music suggestions they have for the upcoming paint nights.