Friday, October 19th, 2018

Then & Now Briefs

Posted on February 23, 2016 in Briefly, News
By USM Free Press

Then November 3, 1997 USM enrollment skyrocketing Since its beginning in 1970, USM has increased its student population by 70 percent, according to information from the Portland Press Herald. The university has also added 17 new graduate and undergraduate degree programs since then and now supplies educational needs to more students than any other school in Maine. With new programs, enrollment is hoped to increase by 470 students over the next four years to a total enrollment of 10,700. By contrast, the University of Maine’s enrollment rates have dropped from a 1990, 11,895 peak to the current enrollment of 9,213. As the University of Maine lost about 1,000 students since 1993, USM has gained roughly 700. State Sen. Jane Amero. R-Cape Elizabeth, Republican minority leader, sees these figures as warranting a more proportionate distribution of state funds between schools. Legalized marijuana A vote may appear on the November 1998 ballot attempting to legalize marijuana for medical purposes, according to the Portland Press Herald. The Maine Citizens for Medical Marijuana hopes to collect 51,000 petition signatures between now and then to make it so. They are working closely with America for Medical Rights, the California-based group which successfully sponsored a similar referendum in California known as Proposition 215. Unlike Proposition 215, which allows broad-based medical application of marijuana, Maine citizens are proposing medical marijuana use only in cases of people suffering from AIDS, glaucoma, cancer or multiple sclerosis. April 5, 1999 National Alcohol Screening Day The first annual National Alcohol Screening Day will be held on April 8, 3pm-7pm in both the Brooks Student Center in Gorham and in Portland Hall. USM is one of 500 campuses nationwide participating in the event. The event is sponsored by University Health and Counseling Services and Student Life. The purpose of the event is to raise awareness and answer questions. “We’re not trying to diagnose people,” said Paul Dexter, Substance Abuse Counselor. “We’re just trying to address any concerns or red flags.” Self tests will be available. These tests can be reviewed with a health and counselling professional. Some of the activities at the event include the fatal vision goggle test, the alcohol 101 CD rom interactive program, two videos running throughout the day and a celebrity alcohol wall. November 1, 1999 Police get the boot One of the boots that the USM Police Department uses to hold cars was stolen from a vehicle on the Portland Campus. The lock was returned to USM Police the following day, but as of Thursday the thief was not found. The boot locks are used to hold cars of students who have acquired a large number of unpaid fines. The device locks onto a car’s tire, keeping the vehicle stationary and forcing the owner to visit USM Police and pay his fine. A safe net for Y2K bugs The USM Bookstore is encouraging professors to get an early start on ordering books for class, just in case Y2K complicates anything. “Our software and hardware vendors assure us that we will move into a new millennium without a glitch,” said Nicole Piaget, director of USM Bookstores, in a letter to the USM community, “but we have less confidence in publishers, suppliers and shippers.” Also, the way in which professors order textbooks has been changed, which may add to the complications and stress involved in ordering this year. Course packets take a minimum of six weeks from the time ordered to the time of availability, and the Bookstores would like to have that process finished before Jan. 1. April 24, 2000 Leave the vampires be… New lights installed on the back of the Costello Sports Complex for safety felt more like Hermes riding his sun chariot to Tower’s residence. “I can’t sleep at night,” said Barbara McPhail, a seventh floor resident of Wood Hall. Motioning with her arms stretched towards the ceiling, McPhail spoke of three white beams that penetrate her window each night, one shining directly into her face. The installation of the light was suggested by USM President Richard Pattenaude, who grew concerned for the area that is usually shrouded in shadow. McPhail agrees the area is dark at night, especially along the path to the baseball field, but she feels USM may have misjudged the strength and placement of the lights. Facilities Management had been concerned about lights shining into dorm windows during installation, wrote Dave Early, executive director of FM in a message to President Pattenaude. The Free Press was unable to reach Early for comment Friday. Now Protecting Maine from terrorism Last week Sen. Angus King held two roundtable discussions with public officials to talk about how they can protect Mainers from terrorist acts. The argument is that due to coastal tourist areas and big concert venues, Maine is potentially susceptible to an attack. “We’re facing a new type of terrorist,” King said. “It’s individuals. It’s lone wolves who are radicalized.” Some officials in attendance pointed out the difficulty with being proactive against terrorism, claiming that programs are constantly being cut whenever they lose federal funding, so the money just isn’t there. Sen. King recognized that it was going to be another tough budget year, but said that it was important to invest in public safety. Warming waters threaten lobsters A recent study shows that due to the warming of the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, lobsters and other marine animals are becoming more susceptible to diseases. One species of sea star has already vanished from the coast of Washington and lobsters in southern New England have already been affected and it’s only a matter of time before Maine lobsters are at risk. These diseases are causing sea stars to turn to mush and are killing lobsters by getting under their shell and causing lesions, according to the study. Researchers are claiming that these marine animals have been harvesting these viruses for a while and the warming waters is just increasing its potency. Supreme Court Judge Antonin Scalia found dead at age 79 Justice Antonin Scalia was found dead at his home on February 13 from an apparent heart attack. The justice was 79 years old and had been serving on the supreme court since the late 1980s. The judge’s death has sparked some controversy, since now there is a vacancy on the Supreme Court. Republicans are claiming that they don’t want President Obama to elect a democrat for the supreme court, some have even claimed to filibuster and any attempt made by President Obama to elect someone. A funeral service was held for Justice Scalia last Friday, mostly friends and family were in attendance, but President Obama decided not to attend, saying that he would pay his respects in private. Vice President Joe Biden and his wife were in attendance. Harper Lee dies at 89 Harper Lee, famed author of the classic To Kill a Mockingbird, was confirmed dead by a spokeswoman at HarperCollins last Friday. For a long time Lee was known for writing just the one book, which became a staple in almost all high school English classes across the country. To Kill a Mockingbird was published in 1960 and detailed social injustice through the eyes of a young girl. The book was a wild success, sparking a movie adaptation that would go on to win an Oscar, and many people wanted more. Lee gave them nothing until last year when she published a sequel to her 1960 classic entitled: “Go Set a Watchman.” Lee’s legacy will continue to live on through her words, just as her classic tale will continue to mold the minds of America’s youth throughout the country for the foreseeable years to come.

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