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Valley's View season premiere to focus on November 8 referendum questions

October 21, 2005

NR05164

The University of Maine at Fort Kent and Northern Maine Medical Center jointly produced television program "The Valleys View" will return for its seventh season on WAGM-TV this Wednesday, October 26 at 7:30 p.m.

The production, taped on-location at UMFKs Lodge residence hall, will feature a detailed discussion of the referendum questions Mainers will face at the polls on November 8.

The guest in the first two segments will be veteran lawmaker and current State Senator John Martin (D) Eagle Lake, who has long-served as a political science faculty member at UMFK.

Martin will discuss each of the referendum questions with program host Jason Parent, UMFK director of university relations and alumni affairs.

Senator Martin will provide context and perspective on each of the questions voters will face on Election Day. He will address the rationale behind each measure, explain in more specific terms what each question is asking, as well as discuss the implications for Northern Maine question by question, said Parent.

Considered an off-year election because no state or federal office holders will be elected, the November 8 referendum questions, with the exception of question 1 the People's Veto, have drawn little attention.

The question at the top of the ballot asks Mainers if the want to reject the new law, voted in by the State Legislature, which protects people from discrimination in employment, housing, education, public accommodations and credit based on their sexual orientation.

But, in addition to this issue, which has garnered most of the attention, voters will be asked to approve $83 million through five bond questions, which cover the gamut from public infrastructure and the environment to economic development and higher education.

Question six, which would allocate funding for building construction and improvements at public institutions of higher learning throughout the state, will be the topic of the final segment of the program. Parent will be joined by UMFK President Richard Cost, who will discuss specifically what money would come to the Fort Kent campus, as well as the University of Maine at Presque Isle and Northern Maine Community College.

Three infrastructure repair and upgrade projects totaling $290,000 at UMFK are included in a $9 million referendum question six Mainers will decide on this November.

If approved Fort Kent would proceed with work on three deferred maintenance projects campus officials have listed as high priority.

The largest amount of money, $170,000 is dedicated to completing a re-roofing project on the University's SportsCenter.

A second project funded at UMFK through question six, is a replacement of the existing fire alarm system in the Fox Auditorium. The existing system is the original from the building's construction in 1969.

The $70,000 project would replace the alarm equipment in the University's performing arts facility. The auditorium is the only venue of its kind in the St. John Valley and is heavily used to host both campus and community events.

The final UMFK project included in the bond issue is designated to both repair the brick façade and to reshape the outer edge of the roof of 40-year-old Powell Hall. Estimates peg that work at $50,000.

The Valley's View is a monthly program which takes an in-depth look at contemporary issues using local experts as guests to address the selected topics.

The program will continue to feature two regular segments, the "College Question," which looks at new and exciting developments on the UMFK campus, and "Your Healthcare Connection", which explores concerns in healthcare, using professionals from NMMC.

The health feature will be produced and taped at NMMC, using hospital personnel. CarolAnne Dube, public relations director for the hospital will host the segments.

The "College Question" will be hosted by Kate Fecinta, UMFK's new student success coordinator.

The show will air directly following the popular syndicated game show "Wheel of Fortune".