Business and Economy

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Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press

Businesses in Maine that rely on summer help are hoping that Congress will come to the rescue.

Because of new limits on the seasonal worker visa program, restaurants, hotels and other tourist-centered operations are scrambling to find seasonal employees. Until Congress opens the door to more H-2B foreign workers, those businesses are finding ways to attract locals onto the payroll.

Linda Bean Won’t Sell Her Businesses As She Readies for Retirement

8 hours ago
C.A. Smith Photography / via Bangor Daily News

PORT CLYDE, Maine — Linda Bean, 76, granddaughter of retail giant founder L.L. Bean and a major player in the Maine lobster industry, does not plan to sell her businesses in the wake of her retirement.

Bean began stepping back last year from managing her myriad businesses and properties that spread across the state.

“The problem is I’m no longer young. I keep looking up the road to when I am no longer here.”

“I have businesses and properties in several Maine counties, and it is not my intention to sell any,” she wrote in an email this week.

Pat Wellenbach / Associated Press file

The Maine PUC has added five more towns to the list of communities will no longer receive regulated for basic landline service under a plan that was approved last year by the state Legislature.

PUC spokesman Harry Lanphear said, as part of the approved schedule, the PUC will no longer regulate provider-of-last-resort services, or POLR, in Scarborough, Gorham, Waterville, Kennebunk and Cape Elizabeth.

Lawmakers are considering a proposal to create a new public-private partnership to expand broadband access throughout the state.

The legislation would create the Maine Broadband Initiative, which would be given authority to undertake planning for statewide broadband services and provide funding for needed facilities.

Democratic state Sen. Shenna Bellows of Manchester sponsored the bill.

Citing New Tariff, Jackman Lumber Mill to Add Jobs, Second Shift

Apr 26, 2017
Bangor Daily News/file

The Dover-Foxcroft-based Pleasant River Lumber company is expanding its Jackman sawmill in anticipation of increased demand for American lumber amid the U.S. government’s plans to levy tariffs on Canadian softwood.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press file

A Portland-based research institute is dropping its yearly forecast of when lobster landings in Maine will begin their annual surge.

A new 20 percent tariff on Canadian lumber imposed by President Donald Trump could produce mixed results for Maine’s forest products industry.

The president’s call for the new import duty is in response to complaints from American lumber companies that claim Canadian mills enjoy unfair subsidies from the Canadian government, which allows them to sell their products in the U.S. at cheaper prices than American companies.

For years, the state’s energy office has been a part of the Office of the Governor, but state Rep. Ken Fredette, a Republican from Newport, said the importance of energy policy is such that it deserves elevation to cabinet-level status.

“Many people rely on a stable energy industry and market for lower prices and they also rely on a reliable energy foundation. The time has come to move this office out of the governor’s office, but obviously still under the executive branch,” he said.

Tom Porter / Maine Public file photo

PORTLAND, Maine — Processed food superpower Tyson Foods is looking to buy AdvancePierre, which includes the Barber Foods brand of Portland.

Tyson announced the potential deal on Tuesday. The $4.2 billion acquisition has been approved by the boards of both companies and is pending the approval of regulators.

AdvancePierre bought Barber in 2011 and employs some 300 people in Portland. The company makes frozen, stuffed chicken products.

Murray Carpenter / Maine Public

Traditional Maine dairies continue to be churned by low milk prices, rising costs and shifting global markets. Some have given up on the industry and sold the farm. But others are taking a new approach that has its own new set of risks and rewards.

PORTLAND, Maine - Maine and Massachusetts will host hearings about potential changes to the East Coast squid fishery.
The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council is hosting the hearings this week. It wants to reduce the number of latent permits for certain kinds of squid.
Longfin squid are fished from Maine to Virginia, with the majority of the catch coming ashore in Rhode Island. Regulators are concerned that the amount of participation in the fishery could become unsustainable if latent permits become active.

PORTLAND, Maine - The pace of Maine's season for baby eel fishing has intensified to the point where fishermen are on target to reach their quota.

Maine's baby eels, called elvers, are an important piece of the worldwide sushi market. They are raised to maturity by Asian aquaculture companies that use them as food.

A group of Portland officials want the city’s public operations to run on 100 percent “clean energy,” as they put it, by 2040.

They say energy efficiency, moving to an all-electric municipal vehicle fleet and installation of more local solar power generation would help achieve that goal.

PORTLAND, Maine - Some changes may be on the way for how the northern Gulf of Maine scallop fishery is managed. 

Preliminary estimates indicate that the scallop harvest for 2017 will exceed a million pounds, well above the total allowable catch of 70,000 pounds.

Regulators attribute the higher numbers to "limited access" vessels, which fish a certain number of days at sea, while smaller boats are assigned a daily catch limit.

OLD ORCHARD BEACH, Maine - While experts warn of a "Trump Slump'' in international visitors, one Maine town is already exceeding expectations.
The Portland Press Herald reports that one hotel manager in downtown Old Orchard Beach has already seen a $200,000 increase in bookings from this time last year.