Men’s Rugby Tackles Beast of the East

Men’s Rugby Tackles Beast of the East

Nolan Pakulski, Contributing Writer

   The Men’s Rugby Team recently tra

The UMF Men’s Rugby Team prepared vigorously for the Beast of the East tournament (Photo courtesy of UMF Men’s Rugby Team)

velled to the proving grounds of Rhode Island to participate in the Beast of the East rugby tournament.

   Beast of the East is the largest collegiate rugby tournament in the world. Teams from all over the country come to compete for the cup. Last year, the UMF Rugby team won the finals— a goal that they were hoping to accomplish again this year.

   The tournament began with a rough start. “The weather [on] the first day was absurdly wet and chilly. Beast is near the coast, so this is super typical,” said team member Tom Young in an email interview. “We at least had [a tent] this year, but it didn’t help much. At one point we even cut a hole in some trash bags and wore them as ponchos.”.

   Despite the bad weather, the team defeated Johnson and Wales University of Rhode Island, in an astounding victory of 75 to 0. Next, UMF played Franklin Pierce University of New Hampshire, with a final score of 73 to 0— another impressive victory for the men’s rugby team.

   The next day of the tournament was the finals matches for the cup, during which UMF played UMass Dartmouth in a very close and well-matched game. Patrick Powers, a second year on the team, said, “They came out and scored 13 points in probably the first ten minutes, and then we came back and scored five point. Then we scored two more times (10 points) in the second half. We were up 15-13 for the last 15 minutes, [but] in the last two minutes they broke through and scored.”

   Although doing remarkably well, the team fell slightly short of their goal. “We lost in our semi-final match match against UMass Dartmouth. That’s the team that we beat in the cup championship [last year],” said Powers. “It was very intense. They played really well and they definitely earned it.”

   Part of the reason they lost was due to situational components to the game. Opportunities aren’t made on the field, and sometimes the ball doesn’t go the right way, as is the same with all sports. “This is such a good team, full of great players, and we know what we’re capable of on the rugby pitch,” said Powers.

   One of the ways that the players prepared for the tournament was by cutting their hair as a way to raise funds for the team, and to simply continue the tradition. “Everyone is recommended to do it once during their four years,” said Powers. “It raises a good deal of money for us.”

    This fundraiser begins by deciding which players are going to participate, and then people bid to cut the hair of these players. The highest bidder gets to cut the hair of the player that they bid on in any way they want. Powers bid in the auction to cut Nikolai Lane’s hair, another player on the team, and he won the bidding and got to decide how it was cut. “It is a fun tradition… and a really great conversation starter,” said Young.

   Anyone interested in joining the Men’s Rugby team can contact, Jack Neary at

Let Me Hit Your Juul, Bro

Nolan Pakulski Contributing Writer

   Vaping, a habit growing in popularity across the nation as well as among UMF students, is prohibited under school policy, a regulation seemingly unknown to the student population. UMF is a federally funded institution and must comply with federal laws restricting the use of substances. Therefore substances such as cigarettes, nicotine vapes and marijuana vapes are forbidden on campus.

    “They’re not to be on campus. You can’t have them in dorms. [Campus] is smoke free property,” said Officer Sandy Burke of Public Safety. Around campus are green signs that say campus is a tobacco free zone and vaping falls under that category.

   But among students it seems to be a normal thing to vape on campus. “I think it’s quite popular,” said Burke. “I’ve seen some students walking around with them.” If found in possession of a nicotine vape, Public Safety will confiscate the device.

   Marijuana vapes likewise cannot be used or possessed on campus. It is similar to tobacco’s regulations in policy but marijuana is federally illegal, even if the user is 21 years of age making it legal by Maine state law. Marijuana possession on campus can result in a fine or a court summons. Generally though, Public Safety will confiscate the marijuana and potentially issue a fine. But according to Burke, consequences may reflect the frequency at which an individual is caught with substances as it “depends on [how] many times. Then you get a summons.”

   Vaping has become increasingly popular in the U.S. since its introduction into the market in 2007. So much so that the Surgeon General, Dr. Jerome Adams, has proclaimed it to be an “epidemic.”

   In most vapes is a substance known as “e-liquid” that according to the FDA contains nicotine, “varying compositions of flavors”, propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, and other chemicals. These chemicals are heated and turned into a vapor which the user inhales into their lungs.
“It’s just like any other drug, its addicting” said Burke. Currently there is little regulation on what goes into the “e-liquid” which makes it dangerous to the consumer.

   E-liquid comes in a variety of flavors ranging from mint, synthetic tobacco, and even Swedish Fish. The flavor is part of why it’s so appealing to consumers who otherwise would not have started using nicotine products in the first place, as flavoring eliminates the unappealing aspect of smoke from traditional tobacco products. The FDA cites, from a 2013-2014 study, that in 81% of vape users, “the availability of appealing flavors as the primary reason for use”.

   A startling study conducted by the FDA, researchers found that 3.62 million middle and high schoolers in 2018 used e-cigarettes. The FDA classifies e-cigarettes/vapes as being “non combustible tobacco products”. Although the vapor is produced through combustion, it is still harmful to the user’s lungs. Vaping and the smoking of marijuana, creates an effect on the lungs known as “popcorn lung”, in which parts of the lung become scarred and more narrow, which can cause breathing issues in those afflicted with the condition.

Salmon in the Sandy

By Nolan Pakulski Contributing Writer

   On the cold clear morning of March 6, 2019, Nancy Prentiss and her Bio 110 class helped the Maine Department of Marine Resources deposit the eggs of Atlantic Salmon into a tributary of the Sandy River.

    Prentiss and her class snowshoed through the woods that morning, until they reached the Sandy River. “[It] was a gorgeous day in the single digits, about 8 degrees. I’m not sure if the temperature ever broke out of the single digits,” said Prentiss.

   The tributary – a stream that flows into the river – that the group snowshoed to is called the South Branch. The students and Prentiss hauled the equipment they would need through several feet of snow. This equipment included coolers of already fertilized salmon eggs, water cannons, and aluminium cones. The water cannons and cones were used to create artificial redds – nests on the river bottom that wild salmon lay their eggs in.

   First the aluminum canister is inserted and then the water cannon blasts away the pebbles on the bottom to create a sandy place for the eggs. In charge of the whole operation was Paul Christman a marine scientist who works for the Maine Department of Marine Resources.

   The eggs that were used were provided for the project by the Craig Brook Fish Hatchery, in East Orland Maine, about 2 hours away from Farmington. The eggs had already been incubating for 8 weeks before coming to the South Branch.

   After a few hours of planting the eggs, the job was finished. Prentiss and her class then returned to campus. “I think it was a fun and very interesting activity, more or less in our backyard. For me it was real exciting to be physically part of trying to save an endangered species,” said Prentiss.

   The students in the class enjoyed the project as well. “I had a lot of fun going out in the woods – especially getting to snowshoe out to the egg site – it was a good time,” said Mariah Bonneau, a sophomore in the class.

   Atlantic Salmon used to number in the millions, returning up the rivers to spawn in New England’s waterways. As European settlers progressed, mills and dams were placed on numerous rivers throughout the Northeastern United States. Gradually the population of Atlantic Salmon has declined enough so that scientists can count the few salmon that return to Maine waterways to spawn.

   However, the salmon population is being helped along by the planting of eggs in Maine rivers to allow the species to come back. In addition to egg planting, dilapidated dams are being removed, (Farmington voted to remove during November) and people are building fish ladders (or elevators) for the fish to help them move up the rivers.

   Maine is currently the only state where Atlantic Salmon still return up the rivers. The project that the Bio 110 class participated in is an attempt to raise the number of salmon to help the species survive.

    “It is possible to bring back the salmon. The idea is that we can help them with part of the life cycle,” said Prentiss. “They say that the Sandy River may be one of the best, if not the best, [for the salmon] because of the temperature and flow, the structure of the gravel bed, the clean water, and the aquatic insects [for the salmon] to eat.”

   The eggs are planted every year around late February or early March, and volunteers are always welcomed. Anyone interested in participating in next years egg planting can contact Paul Christman at

Philosophy and a Talking Tree: Peter Hardy on his New Novels

Philosophy and a Talking Tree: Peter Hardy on his New Novels

Nolan Pakulski Contributing Writer

Peter Hardy discusses many difficult topics in his novel trilogy. (Photo courtesy of UMF Staff Page)


    Professor Peter Hardy, Associate Professor of Mathematics, has published a trilogy of novels that explore modern issues, possible futures for mankind, and some of the greater mysteries of life, which all revolve around a talking tree.

  Released on Dec. 1st, 2018, the novels are centered around the existence of the sentient tree named Thorn who lives on Blueberry Hill and the two main protagonists, Paxton and his friend Tucker. The series takes place over the course of two weeks in 1999, just before the turn of the millenium. During this time, Paxton and Tucker speak with the ancient, hundred year old tree, and cover all kinds of topics.

    The genre would be “mind, body spirit,” Hardy said. The novels go into new problems such as climate change and its eminence in modern society and the very near future. The protagonists discussion doesn’t end there, however, as they also grapple with ancient questions regarding death, God, and reincarnation. The three beings that gather at the top of Blueberry Hill are all related some way as they explore what their pasts lives were.

   Hardy expressed that by exploring their pasts, they might be able to figure out possible futures and how they can try to save the world. Each chapter of the novels start with a poem that the meaning of will be discerned through reading the chapter. Hardy did try to incorporate his works into one of the courses he teaches, but he said that “it’s hard to teach out of your own book,” because students are reluctant to really discuss it. But Hardy says, “If you’re thinking, I’m doing my job.”

    The idea for the novels began while Professor Hardy was in college. “It’s been something percolating since college” Hardy said. The novels draw their inspiration from the real world and contemplated “the Buddhist idea that all life is sentient.” The idea “percolated for ten years” were first thought of by Hardy while he and friend went hiking in college. On these hikes Hardy said, “around 1995 [ I ] put pen to paper”. Hardy says it took around 20 years to finish the original book which was around 1000 pages. Hardy then broke it up into three different books.

   The novels are unique in many respects. The physical books themselves have original art on the covers, done by Hardy’s daughter Zoe. The novels are also unique for their multimedia experience as each novel in the trilogy has a corresponding CD of original music to to accompany it. When purchasing the music, Hardy says it’s better not to buy online.

   Professor Hardy has also, very recently, finished the first book in a new trilogy called The Square. The Square takes place in a dystopian future in which The Wall has been built and the rise of a far right society known as The Republic. The Wall in the universe of the The Square has a section off portion of Texas where immigrants and people associated with liberalism go that it called The Square. The plot in The Square sees Paxton and Tucker attempting to escape The Square with a prophet who can save mankind. They will also see what The Republic is really like. As of yet there is no release date for this new segment of the Thorn universe.

   Hardy’s books are currently available at Devaney Doak & Garrett Booksellers in downtown Farmington, the University store, the Barnes and Noble website, and