Special Features

Trouble in the Tundra

A Look at the Willow Project 

By Ryan Hallett, Anthony Crisafulli, and Josh Sullivan

The Willow project. You may have heard of it on social media, the news, or even from your mother over dinner. The Willow Project is a proposal to develop a new oil and gas field in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, which is managed by the Bureau of Land Management. The proposed development area covers approximately 160,000 acres and is located in the northeastern part of the NPR-A. This project is now the biggest Oil project under consideration in the country. The company behind this project is named ConocoPhillips, and they estimate its cost at $8 billion to $10 billion.

The Bureau of Land Management estimates (Photo Cred: Seattle Times) that Willow could produce 576 million barrels of oil over 30 years and the proposed development is expected to create jobs, increase domestic energy production, and generate revenue for the federal government. However, it has also raised concerns about its impact on the environment among many groups. These groups include environmental protection groups and local communities, which are concerned about the potential impacts on wildlife, subsistence resources, and the climate. It has faced opposition from environmental groups and indigenous communities who argue that it would harm wildlife and the environment.

Now, this is something you have to see from both sides. The first side is from the view of the US Government. There are 5 main points of why the project is important and necessary for the US. The first is increased domestic energy production. The project would increase domestic oil and gas production, which could enhance energy security and reduce the country’s dependence on foreign sources of energy. The next is Job creation and economic development. The project could create an average of 1,000 jobs during construction and an average of 450 jobs during the running time. The third main reason is increased government revenue. It’s estimated that the project would generate approximately $16.4 billion in revenue over the life of the project. The fourth point is considering Infrastructure development. The project would require the construction of infrastructure, including pipelines, roads, and other facilities. The last point is independence. Making and extracting our own oil decreases our dependency on the oil exports of other countries. 

Considering all that, there are many environmentalists and indigenous people in Alaska that challenge this project, and there is an extremely popular Change.org petition that has over 4.8 million signatures. (Picture cred: PBS NewsHour) One of the main concerns of opposers is the impact on the climate. By the Biden Administration’s own estimate, the amount of oil extracted could equate to 9.2 million metric tons in greenhouse gas emissions. Some environmentalist groups such as EarthJustice are taking to the courts to strike down the project. They claim that the reports done by the Bureau of Land Management weren’t done to the fullest extent. They claim that they didn’t look for an alternative (which was part of their job) and that the report done by the Fish and Wildlife Service didn’t account for the effect the drilling would have on polar bears.

The Willow project has many advocates and many critics. This project has caused a major uproar among many environmental groups and indigenous peoples in Alaska while gaining the support of the Alaskan congressmen and many local leaders. With the Willow Project being sued by Earthjustice, it’s hard to tell when the project will go underway, but one thing is for certain, someone won’t be happy.

Commotion In The Hawks Nest

An Investigative Piece on Hermon High Athletics 

By: Makena Nevells, Jacob Glidden, and Logan Brower

On January 14th, the Hermon High School Girls Basketball team played the Orono Red Riots. When fans looked up at the Hawks Nest, they saw a lonely two Hawks sitting up in the top row. This was the time where the community, fans, and staff members realized that it was time for a change. Whatever happened to the screaming and rocking of the bleachers when Hermon would make a good play? 

Until January 24th. 

Ten days later, after an email was sent out to all students, as well as a post on social media for the Hermon community, the fans finally showed up.

A packed student section, a loud band, and a community in awe of the sound that was in the Hawks’ Nest that night. 

This needs to be the norm, for ALL sports. Athletes should feel supported no matter what is on the scoreboard. So how can we make this a reality?

Hermon School Board Chair, Jesse Keith suggested that students be let into sports games for free in hopes that it would get them excited and ready to support. With approval from other committee members and continuous support from the community and students, the work for this to become a reality is getting more and more serious.

The idea, Keith says, came from when he went to the University of Maine, and students would be allowed into all games for free as long as they had their student ID’s. 

“We should want our students to participate in Hermon events, whether that be actively playing, acting, etc or by cheering on their fellow classmates.” Keith explains when thinking of the endless extracurricular activities that should be supported. 

“…For those students already actively attending events, this is THEIR school. Many students are working and saving for college, a car, gas, etc and should not have to use those savings to attend THEIR school events.” 

To have students receive Student IDs at the beginning of the school year, the process itself for the students will be relatively easy. Taking school pictures at the beginning of the year will help the students be able to go to the fall sports season games that start their regular seasons right after school begins. (Photo Credit: Brian Walsh)

“It needs to be the norm for people to show up and support, regardless of the sport.” Principal Brian Walsh says when asked how he felt about the possible change. 

Walsh also hopes that the new facility will spark student interest and get more participation in some of the fall sports that deserve to get appreciated, in order to set the standard right away. And with costs out of the way, this should be a smooth transition. 

Senior student-athlete Allie Cameron who got a hint of the excitement her Freshman year (2020) explains that the fans’ support makes an impact on the outcome of the game, “Honestly I am not sure what the outcome of the game would have been if not for the fans and student section being there”, Cameron says, even going as far as saying it was like the Cross Insurance Center atmosphere from her Freshman year when the girls made it to the State Championship. “ I think everyone should always show up and support their teams. It truly makes a difference while playing”. 

Cameron has experience in Basketball as well as Soccer, and explains how a student section for the other team is always fun as well, as it keeps the game intense and makes a playoff atmosphere.

In order to really discover how impactful free admission would be to the student section, we decided to take a poll of the student body at Hermon High School. Of the 110 responses we received, 50.9% claimed that they do not regularly attend games at Hermon. However, 77.3% of the same respondents claimed that if attendance was free they would go to games. This clearly shows that allowing students to attend the games for free would increase the attendance rate for all of our sporting events at Hermon.

(Photo Credit: Anthony Delmonico)

All in all, the goal for Hermon Athletics is to get the student section back to how it used to be. As Rick Sinclair, Athletic Director at Hermon High School said, “Now there is no excuse to NOT come and support”. 

Silver is the New Gold

By: Lyndsee Reed

The Hermon Hawks Cheering team are no strangers to successful seasons and this one has been no different.  While they might’ve had a rough start to their competitive run, they managed to pull it together when they needed to most.  They definitely proved this past Saturday why the Hermon name has been one to respect for so many years.    

Although at the beginning of  the season it didn’t always seem that way.  Their first three performances were not their best work.  The Hawks placed third in their first showcase in Orono, with minor stunting issues and a few penalties.  The Big East competition that followed is one they presumably would like to forget.  Taking place in Ellsworth, everything that could possibly go wrong seemed to.  Barely any stunts hit, the pyramid was unsuccessful, there were more tumbling penalties, and definite timing issues.  Yet the girls managed to bounce back the next week in their own home gym, placing third again with only a miss in the pyramid. 

(Photo Credit: Midcoast Photo)

Yet all these performances have only been small battles in the overall huge war for them.  The Hawks really shined in the Regional and State competitions.  With their stunts hitting and their pyramid finally succeeding, the energy that was produced from their success was contagious.  Junior Saige Lang believes that the difference between the beginning of the season and the end of it was the growth of the team’s “mental strength and determination. I would honestly say what changed our team was the serious talks we had, and the consistency in practice.”  Having everyone on the team contribute and do their jobs, along with the added “positivity throughout”, really brought them to work harder as a unit.

And all that hard work paid off as the Hawks were crowned Regional along with State Runners-up to Ellsworth at both of the final competitions.  Although it might not have been the gold they were fighting for, the Hawks couldn’t have been more proud of the effort they put out on the floor.  Lang mentioned that this year has been one they’ve had to really earn: “Unlike previous years, we had to really work for placement at competitions.  And even when we may have not had a perfect routine, we were still proud of ourselves for giving it all we had.”  
(Photo Credit: Midcoast Photo)

The Hawks came to realize this season that it isn’t always about winning.  While that is ultimately the goal, the lessons you learn along the way and the bonds you create with teammates, aren’t something you need a gold medal to value.  Lang voiced her appreciation of those very moments throughout these last few months:  “Overall this was the best season I have ever had. I grew relationships and friendships with people that I am sure I will have for a very long time, which makes it all the better.”

The Hawks came out with something to prove this year and that’s exactly what they did.  They grabbed the silver this season, but also managed to showcase the effort and work that goes into the sport of cheering.  It’s far from easy, but the Hawks truly put in the extra effort in order to accomplish their goals.  Showing how Hermon cheering over the years has created a tradition unlike any other.

The Pep Band is Back!

By: Logan Brower

The Hermon Pep Band, a group that has been inactive for several years since the pandemic began, has made a return. Led by Hermon’s new band director James Zabierek, the pep band has been entertaining the crowd and electrifying the student section at basketball games in the past few weeks. 

Mr. Zabierek “went to (and also taught at) a rural Aroostook county school where basketball games were the biggest event in town all winter, and the pep band was always a big part of the experience of attending games as a player, fan, or musician.” This experience he had with pep bands in the past became one of the driving forces for why he wanted to bring it back. Among other reasons for wanting to bring back the pep band, it “also gives us a different type of crowd to play for. It’s a less formal environment and different demographic than the typical spring and winter concert.” This is great for the Hermon band because they are able to share music with people who may never hear them play otherwise.

Students are also very excited about the return of the pep band. Junior saxophone player Cooper Wade loves playing pep bands for the games: “It’s a very upbeat energy, it’s fun to go out and play music for people.” Josh Sullivan, a senior saxophone player, enjoyed playing in the past: “Freshman year I had a really fun time with it, doing the tournament games was really fun.” With the band now back Josh thinks that it feels “pretty good” to be able to play again.

On top of being excited just because the pep band is back, students in the band are also excited about the revitalized music catalog. In past years the band was playing songs that were old, and most of them had never heard before. With Mr. Zabierek, this was able to change: “I think it’s important to use pep band as an opportunity to let students have some input in the program and play modern popular music that they will like and will hopefully amp up the team and crowd.” Members of the band were able to make suggestions and now have a revitalized catalog including recent songs such as “Blinding Lights” by The Weekend and “Industry Baby” by Lil Nas X.

This return isn’t going to stop here. Mr. Zabierek is “currently giving pep band music to some of the middle school students so they can get a head start on it.” Not only is the pep band back now, but things are looking bright for the future of the pep band as well.

From a Hawk to a Black Bear,  Saulter Continues to Fly

By: Makena Nevells 

Even as a little girl, playing on various travel and rec. programs Michaela Saulter has always wanted to play soccer at the University of Maine. Now, she has that chance. 

“Giving it my all as a Black Bear is the biggest goal I have for myself.”

In finishing her 12th year of playing soccer, continuing to play in College has always been her goal. With standards and goals set and achieved, she committed to the University of Maine at Orono, to play Division 1 Soccer, in December. With soccer being her only sport, she plays year-round, on travel teams, and at her local indoor facility Fields 4 Kids, to continue getting practice during the off-season. 

Saulter says the success and skills have not come easy. An unfortunate ankle injury during her Sophomore year created some indecision and drawbacks; hurting it again could become a more serious issue. Due to this, she lost a bit of confidence and knew she was holding back while still recovering. With her perseverance and determination, she was able to come back stronger than ever, and help the Hermon Hawks girls soccer team to a perfect record during the 2020 school soccer season. 

With her family and friends surrounding her, Saulter gives thanks to her Father for always wanting the best for her and pushing her when she was younger. With this motivation, she was able to have a positive attitude every time she stepped out on the field. Balancing skill, attitude, and motivation, she attracted the eyes of many different colleges, including Husson University, The University of Southern Maine, Maine Maritime Academy, Bryant University, and Franklin Pierce University. With a difficult decision to make, it came down to the best fit for her, taking into consideration the lifelong friendships she has made, her family, and her life always being in Hermon, she decided to stay close and live out her dream of playing D1 at UMO. 

“I’m looking forward to becoming a better soccer player overall and that’s exactly what playing at the next level will do.”

Even though College Soccer will be different, Saulter is up for the challenge, and  looking forward to the opportunities it is going to give her while using her experience as she has played soccer her entire life. With a positive attitude and outlook, Saulter will put being a Hawk behind her, and become a Black Bear, living her dream of playing soccer.

The Coyotes: A Franchise in Ruin? 

By: Meah Curtis, Ryan Hallett, Ryan Shorey, and Logan Brower

The Arizona Hockey team, formally known as the Coyotes, is being kicked out of their stadium. The city of Glendale, where the coyotes reside, decided not to renew the operating agreement past the 2021 – 22 season. This is a massive hit for the Coyotes, who are consistently at the bottom of the standings in the NHL. The aforementioned operating agreement caused the Coyotes to move out of their stadium immediately, and into ASU’s Mullet Arena (Arizona State University) stadium. But why did the Coyotes get downgraded from a proper NHL stadium to a mere College arena? Are the coyotes in financial trouble? 

 “The Coyotes spent the previous 18 years at Gila River Arena in Glendale before the city cut ties with the franchise following the 2021-22 season. A dispute between the city and the team over tax delinquencies and unpaid rink charges in early December of 2021 set in motion the city’s decision not to renew the agreement.”  (Via Sportsnet.ca) The City of Glendale, where the arena is located, has not been receiving the proper payments from the team to keep the arena. And from the data and tax receipts, the team has not made nearly enough profit to maintain using the stadium. 

When looking at comparisons with other teams, both in the National Hockey League and other teams located in Phoenix, It can be seen that the Coyotes are at the bottom of the list in nearly every category. It could be shocking to see the differential between the Coyotes and the other teams in Phoenix, however, this appears to be relative to the sport’s popularity on a general scale as opposed to a reflection of the people of Phoenix’s interest levels specifically. While the Coyotes seem to compare pretty well with some of the other teams on this list, especially looking at the Florida Panthers, they still tend to fall behind. The comparison with the Minnesota Wild, a program that sits right around the middle of the league in terms of value, is the big key to showing how far behind Arizona truly is. While it may fall on similar ground with other teams sharing a similar market size, you don’t have to go halfway up this list before the difference becomes clear: the Coyotes just aren’t bringing in as much revenue as other NHL teams.  

The Arizona Coyotes have been known to struggle with finances since being a team in the NHL. In 2009 they got dragged into bankruptcy court under their owner Moyes. In the years following this, they had lost $70 million and were on track to lose $45 million more in the season 2008-09. After the court had calculated the liquefied assets that the Coyotes had left over from their bankruptcy report, the NHL filed a $61 million lawsuit against Moyes. Moyes ended up owing creditors of the Arizona Coyotes $10 million. All this debt originated from the Coyotes originally being based out of Winnipeg, Manitoba, and making the move to Phoenix, Arizona. In Winnipeg they were sustaining the team and when they moved the problems started. The income from merchandise was down along with the attendance. Due to low attendance, they had too big of a stadium for the number of people buying tickets. So eventually the debt year after year piled up on owner Moyes until he was forced to file bankruptcy. 

After the Moses lawsuit, the Glendale City Council voted to pay the NHL $25 million to manage the stadium until they could find a new owner. This went on until 2014 when Andrew Barroway served as the majority owner until 2019. This is when Xavier Gutierrez took over ownership. The Coyotes were still struggling with making rent payments for their current stadium which seats 14,198 to a smaller stadium that Gutierrez pushed for. He is building a stadium to seat 5,000 people so that the Coyotes can potentially max out the capacity of the building every night. This will ensure that they can pay rent on the stadium because they will not have extra space to pay for that they are consistently not using.  

The Coyotes spent the previous 18 years at Gila River Arena in Glendale before the city cut ties with the franchise. Team owner Alex Meruelo plans to build a $2.1 billion hockey arena, adjoining entertainment, and a residential complex on 46 acres of city-owned land at Rio Salado Parkway and Priest Drive, just west of Tempe Town Lake, on a site long used as a landfill. The team would have preferred to stay at Gila River Arena while building their new rink, but in August of 2021, the city of Glendale leaders threatened to lock the team out of the building after the Coyotes failed to pay the city and state $1.3 million in taxes. They kicked out the Coyotes from the arena, opting out of their joint lease agreement with the team.

The current arena holds 5,000 seats and two NHL regulation-size ice sheets. The Coyotes will have three times fewer seats than any other NHL team at Mullett Arena. But, the Coyotes are hoping to draw eyes playing in the Mullett Arena, as the team becomes the first NHL team to share an arena with an NCAA team since 1928.

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