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Democrats in the Maine House have held off a Republican bid to slow down the minimum wage increase passed by voters nearly two years ago – at least for now.

The original bill would have cut the yearly increase in the minimum wage that was ratified in 2016, while also cutting the current rate of $10 an hour to $9.50 come June 1. But the proposal was amended to eliminate the proposed wage cut while implementing a 50-cent per year increase to replace the one-dollar increases in current law.

Madawaska Paper Company Acquires Arkansas Mill As Part Of Buying Spree

Apr 5, 2018
Linda Pelletier/SJVT / Bangor Daily News

Twin Rivers Paper Co., a specialty paper company based in Madawaska, said Wednesday it will buy an Arkansas paper mill that makes unbleached kraft papers.

Patty Wight / Maine Public

Maine Senator Susan Collins' says she's doubtful that Congress will take action anytime soon to stabilize the Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplace. Her proposal to lower health insurance costs was not included in the omnibus spending bill passed last month, and Collins now says she’ll refocus her strategy.

Unemployment in Maine's three urban areas continued to be low in February. Figures released Wednesday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) show Bangor had a jobless rate of 3.4 percent, Lewiston-Auburn 3 percent and Portland-South Portland 2.5 percent. All three areas were below the comparable rate for the nation as a whole in February; that figure was 4.4 percent.

While Bangor's unemployment rate rose .1 percent last month, all three metro areas now have jobless rates more than a half-percentage point lower than they did in February 2017.

Ed Damm

Building a vacation home on an artificial lake can have pitfalls, as water levels rise and fall within certain limits, at the whim of whoever owns the dam. Waterfront property owners in Ellsworth are hoping to take some control over their summer shoreline, as the owner of two dams on the union river seeks a renewal of its federal licenses.

BOSTON - Interstate fishing managers are considering changing the rules governing the fishery for a popular species of flounder.
 
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says managers are seeking comments about possible changes to the summer flounder fishery. The fish has been brought to land from Maine to Florida over the years and the catch was worth more than $30 million in 2016.
 
An entry in the Federal Register about the proposal says it concerns revisions to commercial and recreational quotas for the fish. Comments are due by April 30.
 

Jennifer Mitchell / Maine Public

We all know the association between Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and its home state of Vermont. The brand is known in all 50 states and 40 different countries. Now one Maine-based company is looking to become the Ben & Jerry's of gelato.

The airport that serves the Bar Harbor area is hoping to get a new summer air carrier now that a seasonal airline says it’s no longer able to do so.

Pen-Air, which has been offering service to the Hancock County-Bar Harbor airport since 2012, decided to stop serving Bar Harbor at the end of June after the carrier lost a contract awarded by the U.S. Transportation Department to serve Presque Isle’s Northern Maine Regional Airport.

Susan Sharon / Maine Public/file

Gamblers in Maine spent nearly $54.6 million on slots and table games at the state's two casinos last year.

Those numbers are from the Gambling Control Board's annual report out this month. The report also finds that while Oxford Casino made about $2 million more in 2017 than in 2016, Hollywood Casino made about $900,000 less than the year before.

Milton Champion is the executive director of the Gambling Control Board. He says both casinos made some changes this year.

northernoutdoors.com

Massachusetts officials say they are ready to negotiate final terms for the construction of a $950 million transmission line to carry electricity from Canada's Hydro-Quebec dam system through Maine down to the Bay State. Central Maine Power says it can complete the project by 2022, but it is facing some opposition.

A $45 million tax break for Bath Iron works is one step closer to becoming law. The tax break would be stretched over the next 15 years.

The Senate voted 25-9 to approve an amended version of a bill that provides a tax break to the shipbuilder in return for at least $200 million spent on construction, improvement, modernization or expansion. The company will also have to maintain at least 5,500 workers.

The original bill would have provided a $60 million tax break and without the minimum investment and workforce requirements currently in the amended version.

Massachusetts has dropped Northern Pass, the $1.6 billion project from Eversource that was set to deliver hydropower from Canada through a 192-mile transmission line in New Hampshire.

The decision to terminate the earlier selection of Northern Pass was announced Wednesday by the Massachusetts Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs. The state will instead move toward an agreement with New England Clean Energy Connect, a hydropower project proposed by Central Maine Power Co.

Courtesy Maine Medical Center

The Portland Planning Board Tuesday gave the green light to Maine Medical Center's plans for a $512 million dollar expansion of its facility in the city's West End.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press

With several changes, the House has approved a tax break for Bath Iron Works that will provide the shipbuilder with $45 million worth of tax relief over 15 years. But there’s a catch — in return, the company will be expected to make investments in the facility and keep the workforce at minimum levels.

The Bath shipyard’s current tax break, worth $60 million, is due to expire next year, two decades after it was first approved. But this time around, the Legislature’s Taxation Committee wanted BIW to give something in return.

Robert F. Bukaty / AP Photo

The price of elvers in the first few days of the season, is being reported as the highest ever for the fishery.

Maine has the only significant fishery for the young eels, also called elvers, in the country. The Elver season started Thursday March 22, and the Maine Department of Marine Resources is reporting they're currently selling for just over $2,800 a pound.

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