February 18, 2005
The University of Maine at Fort Kent and Northern Maine Medical Center monthly public affairs television program "The Valley's View," will air a special Fort Kent "March Madness" preview edition on WAGM-TV Channel 8 Thursday, February 24 at 7:30 p.m.
The half-hour show, will take a look at the numerous activities planned in the Greater Fort Kent Area during the month of March, including the Can Am Crown Sled Dog Races and International Paralympic World Championships. The program will be taped in UMFK's new residence hall "The Lodge".
Guests will include Rita Cannan, president of the Can Am organizing committee, who will look ahead to the major winter event that will be held in Fort Kent during the first weekend of March.
The second segment will feature Nancy Thibodeau, event director for the IPC games. Thibodeau will talk about how the upcoming event is both similar and different from last year's Biathlon World Cup. She will also provide a preview of what the community can expect during the games.
Also appearing on the program will be two leaders of the area's largest institutions, Richard Cost, president of the University of Maine at Fort Kent and Peter Sirois, associate administrator of Northern Maine Medical Center (NMMC). Cost and Sirois will discuss the impact of the upcoming events on their institutions and how they are preparing for both.
"This should be a very interesting program. The Can Am and IPC games will not only affect the people of the St. John Valley but all of Aroostook County and the state of Maine," said Jason Parent, Valley's View host and director of university relations at UMFK.
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.
UMFK has been an instrumental supporter and sponsor of both the Can Am races and IPC games.
"We are thrilled that Fort Kent will once again have the opportunity to showcase our first class winter sports recreation facilities, our wonderful community and our warm hospitality," said UMFK President Richard Cost. "Events such as the Can Am, IPC games, and last year's World Cup are providing important new economic, social and cultural development opportunities for the St. John Valley. We will support these efforts in every way that we can. For our students, witnessing these events will provide extraordinary opportunities."
Under the agreement with the IPC, UMFK will serve as the host site and administrative headquarters for a number of activities held away from the Maine Winter Sports Center's 10th Mountain Division Lodge during the two weeks in March.
Specifically, the University will allocate space in the campus SportsCenter in the two weeks leading up to the first competitions for accreditation of hundreds of community volunteers and officials, as well as provide space for distribution of the official volunteer uniform.
In the days leading up to the first sporting contests, the UMFK SportsCenter will also be the site for athlete classification that will allow officials with the IPC to test athletes to determine their level of ability for competition.
Throughout the two weeks of sport, coaches and team officials from each of the participating nations will hold a total of seven team captain's meetings on the UMFK campus. The meetings are held to discuss details of the next day's competition, and in some cases to determine the start order of athletes in the race.
IPC officials will also hold two sports assembly meetings at UMFK during their time in Fort Kent. The gatherings are held to address the future of the IPC movement.
The University will also provide facilities and organizational support for the organizing committee's VIP dinner, and for a closing gala open to all participants and volunteers as a thank you on March 20 after the final day of competition.