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High gas prices and deadly flu virus to be discussed on April 28 Valley's View

April 22, 2005

NR05067

The University of Maine at Fort Kent and Northern Maine Medical Center monthly public affairs television program "The Valley's View," will feature a discussion on the impact of high gasoline prices to the local economy and household budgets, when the program airs on WAGM-TV, Thursday, April 28 at 7:30 p.m.

The half-hour show, which takes an in-depth look at contemporary issues using local experts as guests to address the selected topics, is broadcasting from "The Lodge", UMFK's new residence hall.

With gas prices well above the $2 a gallon mark in Northern Maine and setting new record highs across the nation, County residents are wondering when the trend upward might reverse itself.

Compounding the problem is the fact that prices have been on the rise for more than a year and some industry experts believe the national average price per gallon may settle closer to the $3 mark sometime this summer.

The relatively sustained price hikes coupled with no foreseeable drop in cost in the near future is expected to have a more far reaching impact on the global, national and local economy.

It will also present challenges for individuals and families who are facing an increasing percentage of their income going toward paying gasoline and fuel oil costs.

Joining program host Jason Parent in the first segment to discuss high gasoline prices and their more far-reaching impact on the economy will be Brad Ritz, UMFK professor of business and economics.

In the second segment, Kim Borges, UMFK professor of environmental studies will address ways in which individuals can better conserve energy and cut back on gasoline and fuel consumption to help compensate for the higher costs and to be better stewards of the environment.

The final segment will feature a discussion on a completely different topic.

Earlier this month, scientists around the world were scrambling to prevent the possibility of a pandemic after a nearly 50-year-old killer influenza virus was inadvertently sent to thousands of labs.

Alice Carpenter, infection control nurse at Northern Maine Medical Center, will talk about what happened, the nature of the virus, if the danger of a global outbreak has been averted and what if anything local people should do to protect themselves.

"Both of these topics will make for some fascinating discussion," said Jason Parent, Valley's View host and director of university relations at UMFK. "There isn't an individual in Northern Maine who has not felt the crunch in their budget as a result of the high cost of gasoline and heating oil, and certainly many people are wondering if they need to work about protecting themselves from an influenza virus that was thought to have been eradicated decades ago."

Also part of the program will be the "College Question," a segment that will look at new and exciting developments on the UMFK campus, and "Your Healthcare Connection" which will look at concerns in healthcare, using professionals from NMMC.