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Nick Woodward / Maine Public

Church bells still summon the faithful to the start of worship, and you can still hear them ring out on special occasions in certain town squares. But these days, the dulcet tones of handmade bells and chimes are increasingly being drowned out by electronic gadgets.

Mill Says it Has Major Buyer Lined Up for Tissue Paper, Seeks Taxpayer Help

16 hours ago
Nick Sambides Jr. / Bangor Daily News

Catalyst Paper Corp. wants Maine taxpayers to sweeten a $56-million investment in a tissue-making machine at its Rumford mill, as part of a company overhaul plan of untold cost that it calls Project Falcon.

The company said the project would allow it to take advantage of a growing market for the tissue paper, and even has a “major paper merchant” lined up to buy all that the new machine can produce. Catalyst told state investors the tissue paper enterprise will be able to support 62 full-time jobs, worth $79 million in annual payroll and benefits.

With an eye toward increasing affordable housing in Portland, Mayor Ethan Strimling has proposed changes to a city zoning ordinance.

One change would double the amount of so-called workforce housing required in housing developments of 10 or more units. Strimling also wants to lower how much people would have to pay to own or rent such units.

Strimling says he wants to make sure middle-income people are able to afford to stay in the city.

PORTLAND, Maine — A new minor league hockey team coming to Maine will now provide a lot more money for its county-owned stadium home in Portland.

The Portland Press Herald reports the new deal will benefit both the taxpayer-backed Cross Insurance Arena and its managing company Comcast Spectacor. Spectacor announced in June that it had purchased an Alaskan hockey team to play in Portland for the 2018-19 season.

Portland lost its minor league team when the Portland Pirates were sold and moved to Springfield, Massachusetts.

Fred Bever / Maine Public

Maine is the most rural state in the nation and, also, one with some of the poorest internet access. Out on the coastal islands, internet service ranges from lousy to nonexistent.

Declining demand for coated paper is behind the upcoming closure of a paper machine and associated equipment in Jay.

“We will be permanently shutting down the No. 3 paper machine at the Androscoggin Mill in Jay, effective Aug. 1, and we expect that the shutdown will be complete by the end of the third quarter of this year,” says Verso spokesperson Kathi Rowzie.

Report: Bangor Art, Cultural Nonprofits Generate Millions in Economic Activity

Jul 19, 2017
Magnus Stark / via Bangor Daily News

Bangor’s nonprofit art and cultural organizations in 2015 generated $10 million in economic activity and created hundreds of full-time jobs, according to a study from a Washington D.C. lobbyist group.

The study, completed by the organization Americans for the Arts, found that 14 nonprofits in Bangor, including the Penobscot Theatre Company, the American Folk Festival, the Maine Discovery Museum, the University of Maine Museum of Art, and the Bangor Historical Society, spent $3.4 million in fiscal 2015, and audiences at their events spent $6.6 million.

A.J. Higgins / Maine Public

The view from the top is magnificent, but getting to the summit of Cadillac Mountain at Acadia National Park has been taking a little longer this year.

Owners of a family owned daily newspaper, the Lewiston Sun Journal, and 16 other publications in Maine have announced the sale of their company to MaineToday Media, the parent company of the Portland Press Herald. There are no expected layoffs and both newsrooms will continue to operate separately.

AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine’s liquor agency is proposing to raise retail prices on liquor, including the tiny alcohol bottles that survived the Republican Gov. Paul LePage’s efforts to ban their sale.

Maine’s bureau of alcoholic beverages wants to raise retail prices on 50-milliliter bottles from 99 cents to $1.49.

Price changes would also affect different-sized varieties.

The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States says it’s evaluating the proposal.

A state spokesman said prices changes were planned long before "‘nips’ became a household phrase."

New workers may be on the way to seasonal businesses in Maine struggling with a labor shortage. Federal officials say they are adding 15,000 new visas for temporary foreign workers, following pleas from industries that depend on them.

Greg Dugal, government affairs director for the Maine Inn Keepers Association, says it's not too late in the season for Maine businesses to benefit, given that they will lose many student workers when they return to school in late summer.

PORTLAND, Maine - Federal fishing regulators will allow fishermen to catch a little bit more monkfish over the next three years.
The monkfish is a popular food fish that's native to the East Coast. They're a staple of displays in New England fish markets, where they often stick out because of their bizarre appearance.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says it's increasing the monkfish quota in the northern fishery management area by 8 percent. The quota's going up in the southern fishery area by 1 percent.

The U.S. House of Representatives has approved an amendment authored by Maine Second District Congressman Bruce Poliquin designed to ensure BIW is on track to build two DDG-51 destroyers. A provision was added to the House Fiscal Year 2018 National Defense Bill that would have retroactively imposed new statutory requirements on ships authorized and funded in prior fiscal years. Poliquin’s amendment blocks the provision.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine is implementing a new lottery system for licenses to fish for baby eels, which are worth more than $1,000 per pound on the worldwide sushi market.
Maine and South Carolina are the only U.S. states with fisheries for baby eels, called elvers. Maine's fishery is much larger, and the elvers have been especially valuable in recent years because foreign sources have dried up.

One Town’s Effort to Save Maine’s Forest Economy Reflects a Statewide Hope

Jul 14, 2017
Micky Bedell / Bangor Daily News

Tom Cushman’s not an energy trader. Not exactly.

Every morning before heading into the woods, he checks the going rate for electricity, estimating whether the wood-to-energy plants he supplies are going to break even.

“If they haven’t got that, then they have to cut back production,” Cushman said. “And that means I’m going to have to cut back my production, which isn’t good.”