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University of New England senior finds meaningful career in Maine conservation

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“I’ve taken (a class from) her every single semester since I’ve been an environmental science major,” he said, “and she’s given me some great career advice as well as … a lot of knowledge.”  

Woodworth took full advantage of UNE’s field courses to gain the skills needed to succeed in environmental science, said Morgan, adding that she saw him applying what he learned to an internship in urban forestry as well as research in vernal pools and coastal erosion. 

“It was great to see Alex’s confidence grow with each class and the hands-on projects he worked on,” she said, “All his hard work has prepared him well for life after graduation.”  

Woodworth said his new job with SWCA Environmental Consulting aligns perfectly with his passion for outdoor work and restoration projects.  

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“I’m really excited to be outside and on the marsh,” he said, explaining that he will be situated in Brooksville, just 40 minutes from Acadia National Park, working on a marsh restoration project aimed at rebuilding and replanting the area that was previously an old mining site.  

“I really didn’t want to be inside at a desk job,” he laughs, recalling his childhood summers spent volunteering at an urban farm — which he credits for sparking his interest in natural ecosystems.  

“(It was) getting my hands dirty, even if it was just cleaning or pulling weeds or harvesting vegetables, (that) just made me feel a certain way,” he explained. “And I’ve always been chasing that feeling and wanting to keep doing that.” 

As Woodworth embarks on this new chapter, he said being at UNE has provided him with invaluable learning experiences that will help shape the work he will do with the environment moving forward.  

“UNE has prepared me for my future career by giving me the knowledge I think that I need going into (restoration), as well as giving me a lot of critical thinking skills and teamwork skills to be successful,” he said. 

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Maine

Feds grant Maine a lease for offshore wind research project

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Feds grant Maine a lease for offshore wind research project


The federal government has granted the state of Maine a lease for a floating offshore wind research station nearly 30 miles off the southern coast.

The dozen turbines located southeast of Portland would be the first floating, offshore wind research site ever deployed in federal waters. The administration of Gov. Janet Mills requested the lease from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) in 2021, kicking off a multi-year process that involved an environmental assessment, public meetings and engagement with the commercial fishing community.

The stated goal of the research project is to study the technology and how it interacts with the surrounding environment and marine life as well as ways to reduce potential conflicts with existing uses, such as commercial fishing. The research could then influence development of commercial-scale offshore wind in the Gulf of Maine, which Mills has made a critical piece of her administration’s ambitious climate goals.

“Offshore wind offers our state a tremendous opportunity to harness abundant clean energy in our own backyard, to create good-paying jobs and drive economic development, and to reduce our over-reliance on fossil fuels and fight climate change,” Mills said in a statement. “This offer of a lease is a major milestone in our effort to embrace these significant economic and environmental benefits for Maine and Maine people and is a recognition of our nation-leading work to responsibly develop this promising industry.”

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The Gulf of Maine’s near-constant, blustery weather conditions make it one of the nation’s most promising locations for offshore wind. But multiple commercial fishing organizations in Maine and New England have opposed the push by the Mills administration and federal regulators to develop offshore wind in the gulf, arguing that it could harm their industry and marine life.

The gulf’s waters are too deep to utilize the type of turbines envisioned for many other offshore wind projects in shallower U.S. waters. Researchers at the University of Maine Advanced Structures and Composites Center and it’s partner, Diamond Offshore Wind, have spent years developing floating wind turbine platforms that can be deployed in the gulf’s deep waters.

A federal environmental assessment prepared as part of the lease determined that the research project would have “negligible to minor” impacts on marine mammals, fish, commercial fishermen and ship traffic. While the assessment acknowledged the risk of vessel strikes with whales as well as entanglement in with gear during the eight-year research project, the BOEM said most impacts would be avoided through mitigation steps and that any impacts would not affect the viability of most species.

One possible exception is the North Atlantic right whale, an endangered species that is at the heart of a years-long regulatory and legal battle between Maine’s lobster industry, environmental groups and federal agencies.

But BOEM’s assessment states, “the likelihood of a vessel strike or entanglement (with a right whale) as a result of the proposed action is considered very low given the expected limited total extent and duration of activities considered.” Mitigation measures would further reduce that likelihood, the report states.

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Share Your Photos from The First Waterfront Concert of 2024!

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Share Your Photos from The First Waterfront Concert of 2024!


What do you get when you mix excellent weather, one of the best venues in the country, and a trio of talented artists performing on stage on Memorial Day weekend? The answer is the perfect kickoff to what’s looking like to be another season of phenomenal shows on the Penobscot River. Waterfront Concerts are back at the new and improved Maine Savings Amphitheater!

Parker McCollum in Bangor

David Bugenske/TSM Maine

George Birge and Corey Kent Got the Party Started at Maine Savings Amphitheater

George Birge in Bangor

David Bugenske/TSM Maine

Maine Savings Amphitheater security opened the doors at 5:58pm and effectively and efficiently got the eager and excited crowd of concertgoers inside the venue in time to catch the beginning of George Birge’s set.

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The Texan most known for his hit “Mind on You” definitely left us with our minds on him. We were already anticipating Birge’s return to the Bangor Waterfront after he closed with his latest single, “Cowboy Songs.”

George Birge and Jordan Verge

Jordan Verge/TSM Maine

While George Birge took time to take photos with as many fans as possible including our very own Jordan Verge, Corey Kent hit the stage and continued the theme of the evening of bringing the Texas party to the great state of Maine.

Corey Kent in Bangor

David Bugenske/TSM Maine

Kent belted out hits like “Wild as Her” and “Something’s Gonna Kill me” while playing his new single, “This Heart” to all Mainers’ delight. The energy in the venue was at peak levels as Kent made way for the first headliner of 2024 at Maine Savings Amphitheater, Parker McCollum.

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Parker McCollum Rocked Maine Savings Amphitheater as the First 2024 Headliner

Parker McCollum in Bangor

Simon French/Waterfront Concerts

The “Burn It Down” rising star burned it down in Bangor to officially launch the 2024 Waterfront Concerts. Burned it down metaphorically, of course, and thank goodness. Lots of work has been put into the Maine Savings Amphitheater and it SHOWS and SOUNDS. As someone who has been fortunate to see shows at venues all over the country, they do not get better than this.

David Bugenske/TSM Maine

David Bugenske/TSM Maine

There were a vast selection of drinks and food options with the best beers being offered. We never waited longer than 5-minutes for food or drinks. At one point there was a long line for one of the women’s restrooms, but it moved quickly. The staff at the amphitheater have clearly been prepped and trained to keep a crowd moving quickly and safely for everyone to enjoy their experience to the fullest.

Here are the shows coming up for this season’s epic Waterfront Concert Series in the new and improved Maine Savings Amphitheater!

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2024 Bangor, Maine Waterfront Summer Concert Lineup

Here are the performers who will be coming to the Maine Savings Amphitheater on the Bangor Waterfront in the summer of 2024.

Gallery Credit: Jordan Verge

Join Q106.5 at Urban Pizza Prior to Every Country Show at Maine Savings Amphitheater

Urban Pizza Pre-Party

Sales Lord Free/TSM Maine

While we wait for the doors to open for every country show this summer, be sure to join David & Cindy across the street from the amphitheater at Urban Pizza.

Jordan, Cindy, & David

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David Bugenske/TSM Maine

We will have games, music, giveaways, and awesome pre-party specials from Urban Pizza. Our next pre-party will be two hours before doors open for Lainey Wilson on June 29th. See you there!

The Top 10 Drunkest Cities in Maine

There’s no doubt about it, Maine likes to drink, but where in the Pine Tree State do Mainers like to drink the most? RoadSnacks did the math, and we’ve got the top 10 ‘drunkest’ cities in Maine!

Gallery Credit: Jordan Verge





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‘American Idol’ star Julia Gagnon to pursue a career in music, starting with a Maine tour

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‘American Idol’ star Julia Gagnon to pursue a career in music, starting with a Maine tour


Julia Gagnon at home in Cumberland after her whirlwind “American Idol” journey. Sofia Aldinio/Staff Photographer

Now that Julia Gagnon is back home after her star turn on “American Idol,” the Cumberland singer wants to thank as many of her fellow Mainers as she can.

And she plans to do it in person.

Gagnon, 22, is planning a Maine tour this summer, visiting and performing at some 15 to 20 sites, including Down East and up north. Full tour details will probably be announced in the next couple of weeks, Gagnon said, but one of her Maine shows is already being advertised: July 13 at the Moxie Festival in Lisbon Falls.

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Gagnon, who came home to Maine last Wednesday after spending nearly two months filming “American Idol” episodes in Hollywood, said she’s also working on a song about Maine that she plans to record soon with her fiancé and musical collaborator, Nate Haven.



She said she has some “exciting things” planned for the fall that she can’t talk publicly about yet but, for now, wants to focus on Maine and all the people here who watched her and voted for her while competing on “American Idol.”

“I really just wanted to focus on Maine, performing and thanking people,” said Gagnon, who grew up in Cumberland and graduated from North Yarmouth Academy.

Her experience on “American Idol” – where she finished in the top seven contestants out of thousands who auditioned – convinced her to pursue music for now. When she auditioned for the show last fall, she was a senior at the University of Southern Maine with plans to go to law school and someday practice family law. But those plans are on hold for now, she said, though she definitely wants to graduate and still might go to law school.

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“I know it’s kind of odd to have law school as your backup plan,” she said.

JULIA’S JOURNEY

Gagnon began appearing on the ABC singing competition show in March. She got rave reviews from celebrity judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan on just about everything she sang and captivated viewers around the country. She got enough votes from the nationwide audience week after week to make it to the final seven contestants. She was voted off during the May 5 episode but then stayed in Hollywood and sang during the final episode, May 19, along with other top contestants.

She made connections while on “American Idol” that could help her music career. She said she got to talk off camera to Bryan, a country music star, who she connected with and who she said “understood who I was.” She said Bryan told her that one of the most important things in launching a career in the music business is to have people who you can trust representing you.

Taking that advice to heart, she has hired Brian Root, of Winthrop, as her manager. Root is a producer of the Central Maine Idol competition, which Gagnon won last year. He’s also organized watch parties for her and helped promote her appearances on “American Idol,” which aired weekly on ABC TV stations.

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“He’s kept organizing things for me and posting things about me, so one day, I messaged him and asked him to manage me,” Gagnon said.

Julia Gagnon performs on “American Idol.” Disney/Eric McCandless

During her run on “American Idol” she was roommates with Abi Carter, the eventual winner. The two became close friends, and Gagnon said they’ve talked about collaborating musically at some point and comparing notes about their forays into the music business. She said they plan to be in each other’s wedding parties.

It’s been a wild six months for Gagnon. She auditioned for “American Idol” in Nashville last fall. Then at Christmastime, Haven – her partner of more than two years – proposed to her. No firm wedding date has been set, the couple said. In March, she began competing on “American Idol,” in episodes filmed in Hawaii and then live episodes in Hollywood. Her parents, Jim and Meg Gagnon, of Cumberland, flew to LA several times to watch their daughter perform live. They were both there when Gagnon was voted off.

Julia Gagnon signs during her “American Idol” audition. Photo courtesy of American Idol and Fremantle

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Gagnon, who was born in Guatemala, said she had been bullied and harassed for her looks while growing up in Maine. Until middle school, she never sang out loud in her school chorus; instead she lip-synced, not wanting to draw attention to herself. She gradually began singing in high school, gaining confidence in her talent.

Still, being on “American Idol” helped her gain even more confidence, Haven said.

“It’s been a really crazy time, but my overall feeling has been just an immense sense of pride in her, knowing how far she’s come, and she’s really come out of her shell so much,” said Haven, 21.

Julia Gagnon and her fiancé, Nate Haven, play together at her home in Cumberland. Sofia Aldinio/Staff Photographer

Gagnon and Haven will perform together during the Maine summer tour. Gagnon said she was keenly aware of and appreciated support from people of all ages in all parts of Maine. There were watch parties organized by fans in southern and central Maine, and students at North Yarmouth Academy spent an afternoon holding “Honk if you love Julia” signs along Main Street in Yarmouth. Sen. Angus King called her at one point to wish her luck and tell her she’s made her home state proud.

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Second grader William Cashman, center, reacts as a passing vehicle complies with his North Yarmouth Academy classmates’ chants of “Honk if you love Julia” on May 1. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer, file

Gagnon said there were a couple of performances during her run that really stood out to her. One was when she sang “Need a Favor” by rapper and singer Jelly Roll. After singing an Aretha Franklin song early on, she didn’t want to be pigeon-holed as a soul singer and said getting praise for the Jelly Roll song gave her confidence that she could succeed doing a range of styles, including those she feels more comfortable with.

“I’m not a soul singer, but I write folk music with a soul voice. Doing that song gave me more freedom to do the type of music I wanted to do,” Gagnon said.

Another performance that stood out to her was when she sang “Something in the Orange” by country singer Zach Bryan and dedicated it to the memory of Haven’s grandmother Sherry Haven, of Sanford, who died in March from pancreatic cancer.

“That song is about losing somebody and knowing they’re not really gone,” Gagnon said.

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Julia Gagnon plays the piano at her home in Cumberland. Sofia Aldinio/Staff Photographer

When Gagnon first appeared on the show, she talked about how she wanted to go on “American Idol” to share something with her birth mother in Guatemala, who has been sick for some time while battling an infection after a fall. Gagnon only made contact with her birth mother for the first time a few years ago.

Gagnon said Friday she heard from her birth brother in Guatemala after her “American Idol” run. He said her birth mother is in the hospital again, but she doesn’t have many other details.

“He made a point of telling me they had all watched me and were proud of me,” said Gagnon.

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