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Society Notebook: Southern Maine Community College works to meet the needs of more students

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Society Notebook: Southern Maine Community College works to meet the needs of more students


As guests arrived at Southern Maine Community College Foundation’s annual A Light on the Point fundraiser, they had a chance to learn to operate a forklift, do some welding or work on a catwalk – in virtual reality, anyway.

Bath Iron Works’ “Shipbuilder 1,” a mobile lab that brings augmented and virtual reality training to students and prospective employees, was parked outside Oceanview Dining Hall, where the event took place Nov. 2.

“I was walking on a catwalk and was scared to take a step forward,” said Stephanie Bourassa, a guest from South Portland who was surprised by how authentic the virtual reality training felt.

General Dynamics – Bath Iron Works was the lead sponsor of the event and the President’s Award recipient.

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“Increasingly, people don’t become good shipbuilders without a leg up from our community college system,” said Ray Steen, vice president of human resources. “The partnerships we have to identify, recruit and train new talent are critical to our success and essential for our survival.”

Two other award recipients – alumnus Jon Smith of Great Falls Construction and Heather Perry, superintendent of Gorham School District – showcased the building construction and educator college-to-career pipelines.

“SMCC is critical to the southern Maine economy,” Smith said. He graduated from the building construction program at Southern Maine Vocational Technical Institute (now SMCC) in 1988 and started Great Falls Construction that same year. Over 35 years, he has built the company to a 65-person team (that includes his wife Cindy, four of their grown children and a son-in-law). He has served on the SMCC building construction team, on the Gorham school board and on the Gorham Business Exchange.

Gorham was well represented at this event, with Perry being recognized as a catalyst for the Educator Apprenticeship Program, through which a student interested in a career in education can earn a living as they learn, eventually becoming a certified Education Technician II.

“This program strengthens Maine’s educator pipelines,” Perry said. “And it removes barriers. And partnering with SMCC, the first phase of the program is free.”

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With SMCC enrollment continuing to surge as a result of the free college initiative that launched in 2022, Admissions Office Administrative Specialist Kristen Baker and Associate Director of Financial Aid Wendy Laverdiere were jointly recognized as Staff Member of the Year.

“Our fall enrollment is 7,206, up 20 percent over last year,” said interim President Tiffanie Bentley. “We couldn’t manage that pace of change without the dedication of our faculty and staff or without engaged alumni and partners.”

The event raised more than $25,000 to enhance academic and athletic programs, provide needed equipment and fund student scholarships.

“Even when tuition and fees are paid for, most students have unmet financial need,” Bentley said. “To meet that rising demand, this year the SMCC Foundation has awarded $495,000 to nearly 500 students, more than ever before. Yet nearly 900 qualified students with demonstrated need did not receive a scholarship because the funds are not available.”

Amy Paradysz is a freelance writer and photographer based in Scarborough. She can be reached at amyparadysz.com.

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Maine

Par for the Course: Good golf in Maine and on TV

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Par for the Course: Good golf in Maine and on TV


The golf weather in this state becoming good, and so has the golf on TV. This weekend, it’s the 2024 PGA Championship at Valhalla in Louisville, Kentucky.

Bill Kennedy, Golf Columnist

Because the 2024 golf season has gotten off so well, the PGA Championship shapes up as being an exciting tournament. If you are asking why and how the 2024 PGA season is going so well, it is because there have already been so many positive development.

While LIV Golf and the PGA have not yet merged, the disdain between the two sides seems to have subsided, which means that interaction of the two tours is at the very least acceptable. There are 16 LIV Tour players in the PGA, including big-name stars Jon Rahm and Brooks Koepka. And while they may not be hoisting a few at the same bars, the players from the two tours are being respectable and civil to each other.

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And why not? They’re all making big bucks. The PGA Tour probably would not admit it, but the LIV Tournament has gotten the PGA Tour to significantly raise its prize money amounts. Koepka has won four LIV Tour events at $4 million per championships. Rory McElroy captured the Wells Fargo title May 12 at Quail Hollow and won $3.6 million. Wells Fargo is a top PGA event, but it is not a major. Rory did convert the Wells Fargo title to a first-round 66 at Valhalla, despite the fact that news had broken that he and his wife are getting a divorce.

If you need more proof that the greenbacks are flowing in pro golf, get this.

All of the pros have endorsements and sponsorships, which range from what Tigers Woods gets at $60 million a year, to just thousands of dollars for rank-and-file professionals. All of them are doing extremely well financially. Pro golfers are not poor.

A case in point is the May 14 announcement that Matthew Fitzgerald has been hired by Arrcos as its “tour ambassador.” What he is being paid was not revealed. Rest assured, it is a substantial sum, at least by the standards of working-class folks. Fitzgerald played on championship European Ryder Cup teams and won a U.S. Open, so he is yet another pro golfer using his name to monetary advantage. Viktor Hovland, a 2023 PGA Tour star, and LPGA superstar Nelly Korda also are affiliated with Arrcos.

Objections to the Saudi Arabian-backed LIV Tour have been toned down. Many Americans still think that the Saudis are using golf to gain financial and political influence in the United States. Historically, nations with political philosophies which oppose USA thinking have tried to find a way into the finances and government of our great nation. And a golf entree is a lot easier to deal with than war.

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Golf is the consummate sport of nobility and sophistication. It also has been the venue during which some of the greatest business deals in the world have been made. It is a huge money sport on and off the course.

So, if money is the goal of a competitor, the PGA and LIV tours are the place for pro golfers to be. To a lesser extent, there are the Champions, LPGA and Korn Ferry tours, where big money is not available, but a good living can be made.

Saving the best for last, there is Scottie Scheffler. All he has done to become the No. 1-ranked player in the world is bring home four 2024 tournament crowns – RBC Heritage, Masters, The Players Championship, and the Arnold Palmer Invitational – which has been good for $15.7 million in prize money. Apparently, even a three-week layoff during which his first child was born did not result in golf rust, because on the PGA’s very first hole, he chipped in for an eagle.

Then came his adventure with Louisville police on Friday, when he was handcuffed and arrested for not following police orders. While police were investigating the death of a pedestrian who had been struck by a bus, Scheffler reportedly drove past a police officer, who yelled at Scheffler and then grabbed onto the car and held on until Scheffler stopped about 10 yards later.

Scheffler was booked at 7:29 a.m., about 2 1/2 hours before his updated tee time, as the fatality caused the start of Friday’s play to be delayed. He was released and returned to the course by 9:12 a.m.

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It was a harrowing experience for anyone, much less a person attempting to win a major golf championship. Schauffler seemed to have put that in his rear-view mirror, because he recorded another good round of 5-under 66 and still in the mix at the PGA Championship.

If he stays hot during the PGA, despite distractions, everyone else might be playing for second place.

​​​​​​​* * * * *

The MaineGolf 2024 season is underway.

Men’s Playday action is May 24-25 at Fairlawn, while the Women’s Playday season continues May 21 at Dutch Elm and Lakewood. Today at Natanis Tomahawk, the annual Men’s Club Team Championship is being conducted.

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​​​​​​​​​​* * * * *

This kicks off the 12th season of “Par For The Course.” Hopefully, it leads to a dry season of 2024. Hit ’em straight.

 

Bill Kennedy, a retired New Jersey golf writer and editor now residing on Thompson Lake in Otisfield, is in his 12th season as Sun Journal golf columnist.

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Maine High School Baseball and Softball Scores – Friday May 17

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Maine High School Baseball and Softball Scores – Friday May 17


Here are the High School Baseball and Softball Scores for games played and reported throughout the State of Maine on Friday, May 17th.

Baseball

  • Bucksport 16 GSA 2
  • Camden Hills 2 Messalonskee 1
  • Central Aroostook 11 Southern Aroostook 1
  • Cony 10 Belfast 5
  • Ellsworth 12 John Bapst 2
  • Greenville 13 Central 1
  • Hall-Dale 13 Telstar 0
  • Hampden Academy 5 Bangor 4
  • Hermon 6 Nokomis 1
  • Hodgdon 13 Madawaska 3
  • Katahdin 9 Fort Fairfield 4
  • Lawrence 12 Winslow 1
  • Leavitt 8 Erskine Academy 0
  • Lincoln Academy 3 Gardiner 2
  • Mranacook 5 Mountain Valley 1
  • Mattanawcook Academy 5 Houlton 3
  • Medomak Valley 4 Morse 2
  • Mount Ararat 4 Brewer 2
  • Oak Hill 14 Madison 1
  • Oceanside 11 Waterville 4
  • Piscataquis 13 Central 1
  • Sacopee Valley 4 Old Orchard Beach 0
  • Saint Dominic 3 MCI 0
  • Schenck 20 Shead 1
  • Skowhegan 8 Mount Blue 2
  • Stearns 10 Lee Academy 0
  • Valley 3 Buckfield 2
  • Washburn 11 Ashland 3
  • Washington Academy 13 Sumner 0
  • Wells 5 Poland 1
  • Winthrop 13 Dirigo 0
  • Woodland 9 Calais 2

Softball

  • Biddeford 16 Bonny Eagle 6
  • Brewer 11 Mt. Ararat 1
  • Buckfield 3 Valley 0
  • Bucksport 18 GSA 1
  • Central Aroostook 10 Southern Aroostook 3
  • Cony 13 Belfast 10
  • Gardiner 5 Lincoln Academy 1
  • Gorham 14 Noble 1
  • Hall-Dale 19 Telstar 0
  • Hampden Academy 10 Bangor 4
  • Hodgdon 16 Madawaska 1
  • Katahdin 15 Fort Fairfield 0
  • Kennebunk 4 Westbook 3
  • Lawrence 14 Winslow 2
  • Leavitt 6 Erskine Academy 2
  • Madison 11 Oak Hill 6
  • Massabesic 4 Sanford 1
  • Mattanawcook Academy 8 Houlton 4
  • Medomak Valley 8 Morse 4
  • Messalonskee 3 Camden Hills 2
  • Nokomis 4 Hermon 3
  • North Yarmouth Academy 8 Freeport 2
  • Poland 7 Wells 2
  • Sacopee Valley 18 Old Orchard Beach 0
  • St. Dominic 17 MCI 5
  • Schenck 9 Shead 2
  • Skowhegan 16 Mt. Blue 1
  • Sumner 5 Washington Academy 4
  • Thornton Academy 11 Deering 2
  • Woodland 17 Calais 0

It’s time to nominate someone for the Week 5 High School Athlete of the Week, for performances May 13-18 . Please email your nomination to chris.popper@townsquaremedia.com, letting us know why the individual should be the Athlete of the Week. Please include stats, and make sure you indicate what school this individual attends, and what sport they’re playing! All nominations should be received by Sunday, May 19th. Voting for Week 5 will take place May 19th-23rd with the winner being announced on Friday, May 24th.

LOOK: Can You Recognize These Iconic ’70s Objects

Let’s take a walk down a very groovy memory lane and ponder some of the things that made life easy, fun and undeniably cool in the ’70s.

Gallery Credit: Stephen Lenz

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Gunman’s family told deputy before Maine’s deadliest shooting that they hadn’t removed his weapons

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Gunman’s family told deputy before Maine’s deadliest shooting that they hadn’t removed his weapons


Cara Lamb, ex-wife of shooter Robert Card, testifies, Thursday, May 16, 2024, in Augusta, Maine, during a hearing of the independent commission investigating the law enforcement response to the mass shooting in Lewiston, Maine. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

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