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Wealthy Group Buys Heart of a Poor Maine Town to Build an Artist Colony

May 27, 2017
Ashley L. Conti / Bangor Daily News

MONSON, Maine — A nonprofit foundation bought a huge chunk of this small rural town and plans to spend as much as $10 million revitalizing it.

The Libra Foundation has since October spent $750,000 buying a dozen houses, a community center and a general store along Monson’s main drag — as well as a farm on North Guilford Road, said Erik K. Hayward, Libra’s senior vice president.

Gulf of Maine Deep Sea Coral Science Team

The fragile deep-sea corals that populate the canyon walls and basins in the Gulf of Maine provide habitat for many species of fish as well as baby lobster, crabs and squid. But the New England Fisheries Management Council has concluded that the northeast coral beds are threatened when they are disturbed by commercial fishing operations and is weighing new restrictions that could affect Maine.

A dairy plant in Bangor that has sat vacant since 2013 is being renovated into a new facility capable of producing a variety of dairy products.

It’s one of the latest projects from the Portland nonprofit Libra Foundation, which established Pineland Farms, the state’s biggest cheesemaker. along with the Pineland Farms Potato Co.

The group recently sold the spud business to Bob Evans, but Libra Foundation President Jere Michelson says the idea to acquire the plant came about from Pineland’s foray into making mashed potatoes.

Irwin Gratz / Maine Public

Northern Ireland trade consultant Mark O'Connell will tell a Maine audience Thursday that he's taking a wait-and-see approach to Donald Trump's election and the British vote to exit the European Union.

 

"We all need, sometimes, to be given a little bit of a, sort of, wake-up call,” O’Connell says, “that what we've been doing forever - effectively or ineffectively - may not be, you know, sustainable.

 

Fred Bever / Maine Public

After a decade of rapid growth, wind energy in Maine has hit the doldrums. No big new wind projects are likely to go live anytime soon, and it could cost billions to unlock enough of the state’s wind resource — the best in the region — to serve southern New England’s thirst for renewable energy.

Wikimedia Commons

Three thousand pieces of the equipment at the former Madison Paper Co. mill will be sold in an online auction next month. The mill closed last May, putting 214 people out of work.

The mill, and everything in it, have since been purchased by an investment group that includes New Mill Capital Holdings.

Mingle Analytics Founder & CEO Dan Mingle at his office in South Paris.
mingleanalytics.com

A high tech company in rural western Maine employs more than 50 people from all over the state and beyond. About a quarter show up to work at the company’s headquarters in South Paris everyday. But most don’t. And as Lori Valigra reports, the company’s founder says its all part of a strategy that allows Mingle Analytics to maintain a skilled and loyal workforce, without having to leave Oxford county.

AT&T Wireless workers in Maine are joining a nationwide strike by the Communications Workers of America against the company in an attempt to win better terms in stalled contract negotiations.

Dara Kheang says that since he started as a sales associate at AT&T’s Portland store 9 years ago, his effective pay has dropped by more than $5,000.

Maine’s unemployment rate was 3 percent last month, unchanged from March.

State Labor official Glenn Mills says the state’s labor market is pretty tight right now and that’s starting to show up in worker paychecks.

A.J. Higgins / Maine Public

The Trump administration has vowed to review some of the national monument designations carried out in the Obama years, which could include Maine’s Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument.

The University of Maine has received almost half a million dollars from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to investigate what beekeepers and maple syrup producers need to scale up.

UMaine officials say the three-year project aims to increase knowledge of production and marketing challenges, as well as opportunities, for small and medium beekeeping and maple syrup producers in the state.

The project is called Finding the Sweet Spot, such as a geographic sweet spot.

One of Maine's major lobster fishermen's associations is waiting to see exactly how Canadian lobster processors will deal with Maine imports once a new trade deal between Canada and the 28-nation European Union is implemented.

The Associated Press reported Tuesday that the newly approved trade agreement between Canada and the EU eliminates tariffs on Canadian lobster exports to the EU, giving Canada a competitive edge over Maine lobster exports, which will still be subjected to a tariff.

Irwin Gratz / Maine Public

An index of real estate activity in Maine has hit a new high.  

"It's pretty exciting," says Paul Peck, president of the Maine Real Estate and Development Association. "The real estate market is strong. All segments are strong. It's great for employment. It's great for the state. It's great for tax revenue."

Peck says the state's major urban areas and their immediate suburbs are seeing the strongest growth. He says developers are building a mix of residential, retail and commercial projects, reflecting modern desires to live in more walkable communities.

PORTLAND, Maine - A Portland-based brewery is suing a Missouri beer maker over trademark infringement.
 
The Portland Press Herald reports that Shipyard Brewing Co. filed a federal lawsuit against Columbia Logboat Brewing Co. on Monday.
 
Shipyard says Logboat's Shiphead beer infringes on their name as well as their schooner logo and packaging colors. The Maine brewery also contends that Shipyard's line of fruit beers, which include brews like Pumpkinhead and Applehead, could be misconstrued as Shipyard products.
 

Poland Spring Eyes Lincoln Area for $50 Million Bottling Plant

May 12, 2017
Nick Sambides Jr. / Bangor Daily News

LINCOLN, Maine — A Poland Spring representative said he will push his company to build a $50 million bottling plant in the Lincoln area — a crucial but far from final step in the company’s expansion planning.

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