Thanks to all the students, faculty and staff who came out to support the Rainbow League as they marched in the annual Portland Pride Parade. Thanks also, to those who stopped by the SMCC table. We had a great time while more than doubling our participation over last year. We received quite a few student inquiries and lots of positive feedback from former students and faculty who were pleased to see SMCC represented at the event.
A special thank you to: 1) the students in the Rainbow League – for getting involved and making this happen, 2) Rainbow League Advisor, Kathryn Stannard, whose time and care with this group of students has allowed the group to see amazing growth, and to 3) James Duddy, Vince Kloskowski and Julie Mueller, who volunteered some of their Saturday to staff the SMCC table.
Images and information provided by the Dean of Student Life
TEDx SMCCcame to actualization on April 7th, a little over a month after the event, the video of Nicole Maines who spoke about her experience as a transgendered youth, has made its way to Huffington Post.
As of this posting Maines’ talk has surpassed 20,000 views.
We met in Harbor View Memorial Park where the bridge extends from Portland to South Portland. Planes flew above us. Cars approached and receded, and we sat in the grass.
Artist Brian Doody has completed a short set of photographs which he will print and distribute. “The thing that I’m working on now is still developing, but I have a small part of it that I want to publish to get the gears rolling and because of expenses. Ultimately, the larger project I want to be a printed book. I’m working on a small book.” Doody smiles and continues.
“I’m more intrigued with having done the smaller version all myself. The goal is to build momentum and show everyone what I’m all about.” The process behind this book is meditative and, in a way, an initiation. “It can be hard to take myself seriously. Every day I have to remember that.”
Doody grew up in a small town in Maine, where images are abundant, but modalities are not. “I think it’s a class thing. Growing up poor and being poor, you can feel weird about selling things. It’s a weird dynamic. What I’m making now is worth something.”
The move from a small town to place where people are making is something he comes to terms with. His feelings infuse his images; they have exploded. Compiling his work has been a source of abundance and reflection.
“The work that I’m finished with now is about 20 to 30 pages. It’s mostly 35mm prints with some old, old digital work. Those are pretty different mediums, but those are what I relate with most. Very very digital, to the point of transparency or 35mm, which is a very long process where you have to go give it someone else, as a person who doesn’t have a darkroom, get it, pay them, and find a way to upload the work. I like that it’s this very long, challenging process.”
“I learned how to use 35mm when I was 18. Then I stopped, and wasn’t making work for a long time.”
Doody’s use of the two mediums creates a balance based on paradox, a paradox that does not need to be explained to hold power and to warrant exploration.
“I had my years of turmoil and partying. Now that I’ve stopped all that, I’ve come to terms with having a lot of shit feelings every day and having really intense, crippling feelings and using those.”
When drinking, Doody explains, “You have this completely different version of you, that is able to do all these things that you love in this annoyingly confident. Then you stop doing them, and you realize, ‘I’m not like that at all.’” But his real work is something more expressive and whole. It speaks for itself. “This is the thing that keeps me here, grounded and alive.”
“Every time I do shoots now, I find myself being like, ‘Woah, I feel so high.’”
In isolation, Doody found that digital photography and his phone were a source of power. “I realized that I relate a lot to my phone. I love that. I’m attracted to being on Instagram, to being this person that I wanted to show, that was comforting.
“About a year ago, I got back into 35mm. I found my inspiration from looking at other artists. I delved a little deeper, and realized it’s where we are as a society. It’s something I want to explore, to delve deeply into. I want to take it to the next level of using it as an outlet. Wait ten years and this will sound ridiculous.”
Doody has strong relationships with the people he shoots. This is essential for the photographer. “I’m hyper focused on not exploiting the people I shoot. That’s something that turns me off about a lot of photographers. That’s where class comes in. I’ve been looking into the artists that I look at, their work, and where they come from. It’s going a lot deeper than I ever expected it to go.
“Someone I’ve been looking at with a weird eye lately is Diane Arbus. She did a lot of portraits of ‘freaks’, of people who had disabilities, drag queens, and she has this very exploitative way of portraying them. I used to like these photographs a lot, but now I’m really turned off. Where she comes from, she’s kind of had it in her hands. It’s hard because she’s also very talented.
“It’s really important to me to have people be comfortable and to explore a side of themselves that they love. I’m still learning how to do that, how to direct people and then back off and let them do their thing.
“What I’m really looking for is just what they want to show.”
Two weeks ago, The Beacon ran the first of a two-part story about the economic challenges facing SMCC. For the second column, three faculty members from departments that have been directly affected by the realignment process shared their thoughts.
In this discussion, a different perspective is offered from the people who know the nuances of their departments and who are present for their students ever day.
When a department is suspended, questions naturally arise. What holes will the absence of this department leave in our school and in Maine’s community? What students will we no longer serve? What will happen to the building? What alternatives were discussed beyond suspension? And what does this absence mean for the future of SMCC?
The announcement that the 60 year-old Construction Technology Department would be suspended has left many disconcerted. The suspension means that no more students are enrolling in the department, and after those who are in enrolled have graduated, the department will be shut down.
Two growing industries in Maine are Construction and Food Service. Both of these departments took hits in the realignment decisions that were announced this February.
Construction Technology has a long history of partnerships with businesses in Maine. One partnership is with the Associated General Contractors (AGC) of Maine, the largest lobbying organization for construction in Maine. Two employees from the AGC spent the better part of last winter recruiting students from Maine high schools for the Construction Technology Department at SMCC, which has not recruited in the last five years.
Construction Technology has annual Advisory Meetings with business owners in Maine. At the last industry meeting, one topic was the discussion between unskilled construction workers and skilled workers. The former often earns a wage of $10 to $12 per hour. Department Chair, David Eng, spoke of a former student who continued his education and started with a salary of $70,000. “I was like, can you get me a job?” he quipped.
Eng continued to speak of the types of students Construction Technology serves. He said, “We have half a dozen veterans in our program. They need to be in degree programs in order to receive their benefits.” With the Department shutting down, some non-degree courses will be offered, but they will not serve these veteran students.
In addition, “Retraining for millworkers will also cease, because we no longer offer a degree program.”
When asked about where students will go now to receive training, Eng explained that there are programs at Eastern Maine and Central Maine Community Colleges. However, Eng stated, “Eastern Maine focuses on cabinetmaking and furniture making. They have one lab that could fit inside one of our three labs.
“Central Maine has a 16 person capacity. They have a good program, however, eight people have already enrolled, and they have 44 applicants which is by far their best year.” The increase in application could be a result due to SMCC’s program being suspended as well as the recruitment that ACG did, the fruits of which will not be seen.
There are no public plans for how the Construction Technology building will be used now that the program has been suspended. The heavy equipment will return to Automotive Technology, where it once was and was moved from. Eng pointed out how difficult, let alone expensive, it would be to convert the three lab spaces in the building into classrooms. When there are no longer full-time faculty in the building, one wonders what will happen to it.
One alternative to closing the Department would have been to form a one-year certificate program, which the Advisory Board resisted, wanting instead to maintain the two-year degree program. The heavy equipment course will stay, and MCCS is fighting to maintain the Composite Science Department after the controversy that happened at the Midcoast Campus earlier this year.
Eng said he empathized with the administration saying that he wouldn’t want the job of the President.
Empathy for the administration is an obvious thread and was expressed from the Culinary Arts Department, which has lost two full-time faculty members this year, including their Chair and the pastry chef.
Maurice Leavitt stated, “It’s important to hold both sides of the changes. This is a great opportunity to grow even while it’s hard to sit with that loss and grief.” He warns against being quick to jump into criticism.
Like the comments made by Charles Gregory, Dean of Academic Affairs, about wanting to make Culinary Arts prestigious, Leavitt said, “This is about building community by opening up and involving food producers. We need to be more aware, closer to where our food comes from and the energy that gets this food to our table.” Dean Gregory mentioned farm-to-table, and even sea-to-table, which will be explored with aqua-ponics. Leavitt said, “Everybody wants to raise the bar.”
There’s talk of working with other departments. The possibility of collaboration with the Horticulture Department, where there is talk of growing wasabi, unique in that it is not grown en masse in Maine and is not needed in large quantities, is one that can be explored.
While two full-time positions have been eliminated, Culinary Arts is allowed to hire adjuncts to teach these courses.
Sally Powers, Associate Professor in the Nursing Department, discussed the realignment in the Nursing Department. One full-time position has been eliminated, and the classes taught by this professor will be taught by adjuncts. While Nursing has a strong full-time enrollment rate and graduation rate, the cost of operation is high. Powers said the Department, “will have to change the course delivery and clinical components to work for students,” and bring the same quality of education to nursing students.
One component that makes the cost of operation more than Liberal Studies is the clinical experience that students receive. Powers explained, “Supervisors of clinicals must have their master’s in nursing.” In addition, “One faculty member can only supervise up to 8 students at a time. One faculty member could not observe 30 students at once,” while making sure that patients received the quality of care they needed.
Clinicals are performed in the community in hospitals and long-term care facilities. The hands-on experiences that nurses receive, in addition to their training in “technology, theory, science, arts, communication, and political activity,” make nurses adept members of society, highly qualified in their work. Powers said, “By nature, nurses want to contribute, to provide excellence, to be active members of the world. In order to do this, we need to provide resources and financial support if we want to continue to produce nurses we are proud of.”
Powers said that the loss of funds for education was a larger societal issue. “We will build large buildings, we’ll build casinos, but we have to invest in educated people.” She pointed out that nurses epitomize the mission of SMCC. SMCC’s mission statement reads: “Southern Maine Community College empowers students to respond to a changing world and enhances economic and cultural development in Southern Maine by providing a variety of educational opportunities and partnerships.”
Powers said that nurses leave SMCC and do very well. “They leave with a drastically increased earning capacity which has completely change their lives and their ability to support their families. Does the community want to support that?”
Powers believes that students will not notice any major changes in their quality of education, because, “Nurses are really good at picking up what needs to be done. However, in the long-term, any one person can only pick up the pieces for so long.”
Proper funding of the Maine Community College System, and SMCC, is something that should be on the minds of everybody. This includes not just administration and faculty, but students and community members. What is at stake here is not just filling positions for industries that require a skilled workforce, but a system that enables people to better their lives.
For some this means working out of a restrictive economic circumstance. International students use this education as a means for supporting their families and starting careers. For all students, the system allows for exploration of possibilities that will help them see their potential.
Corrections: In the first column, we stated that 10 positions had been realigned. The correct number of positions realigned is 15. We also misstated that two full-time positions in the nursing department were realigned. Only one position was realigned.
Communications & New Media Major
The weekend of May 7th saw the YSCC tournament come to SMCC at the Graves Athletic Complex. In the opening game of the tournament NHTI beat CMCC 3-2 to move on to the championship game against the Seawolves.
The Lynx got on the scoreboard in first inning plating three runs off of starting Seawolves pitcher Nate Boyle. Boyle started off the game striking out the first batter, giving up a single to the next batter, who would advance to third on a ground out. The Lynx would plate their first run of the inning on an error by the Seawolves which also allowed the batter to reach first base safely. The Lynx would continue to get batters aboard. With two outs and men on first and second a Lynx double scored two runs pushing the NHTI squad to a three run first inning.
Boyle would end the inning by getting the seventh batter he faced to ground out to the shortstop stranding a Lynx runner. The bottom of the opening inning saw the Seawolves load the bases only to be denied scoring any runs when Shaun Murphy flied out to center field. After holding NHTI scoreless in the top of the second inning SMCC went to town scoring six runs in the bottom of the inning. Tucker Lee put the ball in play and reached first on an error by the shortstop.
Following a flyout from Nate Cyr, Joe Apon reached first when the Shortstop de-
cided to throw to second for the force out, and allow Apon to safely reach 1st. Apon was able to add a step to his lead, and successfully take second base. The following at bat, Tim Rodrigues drove in two runs on the RBI single, which kickstarted SMCC’s six run inning. Caleb Burpee, the very next batter, drove Rodrigues in on an RBI single. A Caleb Chambers single allowed Rodrigues to find his way to the opposite corner, on third base. Kyle Reichart has been delivering in big situations all year, and he was able to send Burpee home on with an RBI single. The six run inning was solidified when Sean Murphy knocked a 2 RBI single to score Riechart and Chambers. SMCC proceeded to walk away from the Lynx, as the final score read, 10-5 in SMCC’s favor.
The Lady Seawolves Softball team refused to let the wet spring put a damper on their season. After finding themselves in the win column only a couple of instances during the season. The Lady Seawolves squared off against the third ranked NHTI Lynx for a doubleheader. The Lynx are among the the YSCC’s top squads, sporting a 19-1 record headed into the double-header against the Seawolves on April 23rd.
Grace Davis of SMCC started on a rel-
ative high note with a strikeout, which was short lived. Her strikeout was followed by an offensive bombardment by the Lynx. NHTI went up 5-0 and never had to look back for the remainder of the contest. NHTI pitcher Tori Lemay, finished a productive day with 8 strikeouts. The Lady Seawolves could not find an answer to the explosive offense, and solid pitching that was exhibited by NHTI. NHTI fired on all cylinders starting with the opening pitch of the ball game. An offensive onslaught in the first inning put SMCC down early and quick, by eight runs. SMCC could not claw their way back into the game, and after another five run inning in the sixth, it was apparent that the game was out of reach of the SMCC Seawolves.
SMCC and the Lady Seawolves traveled to Vermont to take on The College of St. Joseph’s in the YSCC tourney. SMCC put up a solid fight against St. Joes., at St. Joe’s came away on top to put a cap on SMCC’s season in which they look to improve on next year.
This Seawolves baseball squad has had a more favorable spring season in the Yankee Small College Conference. Kyle Reichart and the SMCC Seawolves finished the season with a strong 9 game stand that included seven victories. After a six game win streak, SM lost 2 of the final 3 games of the regular season.
Outfielder Caleb Burpee (Kennebunk, ME) led this Seawolves group in the regular season with 36 hits, while batting .364 and posting a .420 OBP. Kyle Reichart (Portland, ME) was the leading power hitter for SM, leading the squad with 9 dingers and 29 RBIs.
Communications & New Media Major
Year after year, you cheer for your team with blood, sweat and tears. You follow the team experiencing the ups and downs of winning and losing, but one thing remains constant, the sense of camaraderie that comes with following a team like the Portland Pirates. The connection is impossible to replicate, and now will be harder to build this bond was broken with Portland Pirates fans on April 30th.
The news of the Pirates leaving Portland hit the street is an unorthodox manner after a 20 year season ticket holder was denied a purchase for his season tickets. The City of Portland soon caught wind of the departure, and bid farewell to our own Portland Pirates.
As reported in the Portland Press Herald, “Scott Prue of Biddeford was in the Pirates’ office at 4 p.m. to pick up a jersey won by his son in a raffle and to renew three season tickets. Ben Locke, director of ticket operations, was helping Prue with the transaction when an associate called Locke to a back room. Two minutes later, he came back and said he was sorry, but ‘apparently the team was moving to Springfield and that I had to leave the office,'” Prue said. ‘As I was leaving, I had to unlock the front door
because they had locked it.’”
Before the Pirates landed in the Civic Center the Maine Mariners were the team that took to the ice. The Maine Mariners were a much needed source of entertainment for the fast growing metropolitan area. Professional hockey in Maine soon came to ban immensely popular place where hockey fans became regulars, supporting a storied program that made the playoffs in 11 out of 15 years. In the 77-78, 78-79 and 83-84 seasons the Maine Mariners franchise found themselves hoisting the Calder Cup, as they were crowned champions, which added to the colorful heartbeat of the city.
The Mariner’s would pull up anchor and leave Portland in 1992 to be replaced by the Portland Pirates in 1993. The introduction of the Pirates to Portland was a wonderful one has the Pirates would win the Calder Cup their inaugural year. The
Pirates posted a 43-27-10 record that stands as their most successful one.
As the 90’s progressed, attendance, and the perennial success of hockey in Portland slowly declined, as did the brick faced crumbling Civic Center. 70’s style off-white walls, and brick façade’s became visions of the past as a $33 million renovation plan gained momentum. In 2011, taxpayers voted to approve a $33 million bond that detailed a major facelift for the Cumberland County Civic Center. After it was all said and done and the taxpayers approved the renovations to the Civic Center. In 2013 Civic Center management and Pirates ownership could not reach an agreement upon terms of a new lease. Ownership was not pleased with many aspect of the proposed agreement, the primary issue being the allocation of food and liquor sales between the two parties according to the Portland Press Herald. A stalemate in lease negotiations led to The Portland Pirates to play their entire home season in the Lewiston Bank Colisee.
According to the Portland Press Herald, on February 4, 2014, the year following the summer of the lease dispute, the Pirates and arena trustees reached a 5 year agreement that would have the Pirates occupying the freshly re-done arena through 2020.
The negotiations were finalized after Ron Cain bought a majority stake in the team, which led to a short lived, renewed appreciation of the hockey club. Cain leaped at the opportunity to leave Portland and the arena high and dry, after realizing that the $33 million renovation would nearly be impossible to pay back due to the trend of attendance in the arena.
The Portland Pirates had struggled to break even in previous years, so how could a $33 million renovation kick start a hockey program that has struggled turning a profit? The building was old, and did in fact need work, but one can only ponder the price tag and the plan to pay back the bond.
Were there no alternatives to a $33 million, top of the line, renovation job that completely left the old CCCC unrecognizable?
The taxpayers are left on the hook once again, as last year the building lost $600,000 and leaves the county taxpayers on the hook for the operating cost of the arena. Obviously, without the Pirates (or even with them) The Cross Insurance Arena will never be able to operate out the red unless someone comes up with a fairy tale plan.
This hockey fan, as many other hockey enthusiast must feel, remembers walking up the steep concrete steps into the glossy cement ladled lobby of the CCCC. Now a sleek new entrance with escalators carries fans into an arena the will slide into silence unless a new hockey team comes to Portland.
Cain and the Pirates were gone with the wind, and before the dust settles, if it ever will, the City of Portland needs to look long and hard at where they went wrong and should impose more sanctions against the team than the $100,000 fee that is being charged due to the breach of the lease agreement. When a reporter initially brought this issue to Mayor Strimling’s attention, he was as clueless as Scott Prue was when he was denied purchase of his season ticket.