Business and Economy

Business news

Patty Wight

Finding meaningful work can be tough in today's job market. And finding it as a refugee with language and cultural barriers is even tougher. One Maine program is working to connect refugees to work that they already know: farming. And one farm in Lisbon has proved to be crucial training ground to help refugees become self-sufficient.

The state's largest lobster industry group is asking a federal judge to lift a decades-old consent decree, prohibiting it from discussing the issues that affect lobster supply.

IDEXX Laboratories

Gov. Paul LePage today was in Westbrook to cut the ribbon on IDEXX Laboratories new $35-million  "Synergy Center."  

IDEXX Chief Executive Jonathan Ayers told dignitaries and employees gathered for the occasion that the company tried to create a very different working environment.  "We wanted a space that was inspirational and energizing. And we wanted to encourage communication and collaboration," he said.

A consumer survey confirms that Mainers are going out of their way to buy more local produce and seafood. The survey was conducted by researchers at Maine Food Strategy, a sustainability initiative at the University of Southern Maine's Muskie School.

More than a third of people surveyed said they purchased up to a quarter of their food from local sources. Ninety percent said that freshness, flavor, and nutrition were their main reasons for seeking out locally raised food, rather than foods that had to travel long distances.  

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) _ A Maine government survey says the average price of heating oil in the state has held steady from two weeks ago at $3.51 per gallon.
    The Governor's Energy Office said Tuesday that the average statewide price for a gallon of heating oil ranged from $3.24 to $3.87. It also found the average price of kerosene dropped 1 cent over the last two weeks, to $3.98 per gallon. The average propane price is now $2.83, a drop of 5 cents per gallon from two weeks ago.

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) _ The Maine Association of Realtors says Maine single-family home sales increased by 7.25 percent in May.
    The association says 1,302 homes changed hands in May. Realtors report that median sales price dipped 4.79 percent to $169,950 in the past 12 months.
    Maine's home sales differ from nationwide trends. The nationwide median sales price increased 4.9 percent to $213,600 from a year ago while sales decreased 5.7 percent.

FREEPORT, Maine — A Maine company has produced a trio of brightly hued canoes for fashion icon Ralph Lauren's showroom on New York's Madison Avenue.

Lincoln Canoes co-owner Mark Bourgoin tells the Sun Journal that his Freeport crew worked long hours to finish the job, which started with a request for one canoe, and then turned into an order for three.

He said Ralph Lauren's people originally wanted a canoe that's white — an unusual color for a canoe. They liked it so much that they wanted two more in bright blue and yellow.

BANGOR, Maine — A Maine company that sold counterfeit Red Sox, Celtics and Patriots apparel faces a fine of up to $5 million for trafficking bogus goods.

Robert Berg Enterprises Inc., which did business as Berg Sportswear in Corinna, entered a guilty plea Monday in federal court. No sentencing date was set.

Prosecutors say the screen-printing business violated trademarks of the Red Sox, Celtics and Patriots, along with the New York Yankees, Harley-Davidson, John Deere, Jack Daniels, Orange County Choppers and Playboy.

David Carlson

Brewmasters in Maine have a long track record of using some of the state's signature fruits and shellfish to make specialty beers - think oyster stouts, and blueberry and cranberry ales. Until now, though, no brewer has tried to make beer with seaweed. Fishermen have harvested wild seaweed on the Maine coast for more than 40 years, but only recently began farming it. Next month, a brewery on the Mid-coast hopes to begin pouring mugs of Scotch ale made with farmed sugar kelp.

The Maine Military Authority's latest contract will put its skills rehabilitating troop carriers to work on vehicles designed to carry commuters and shoppers.

Boston's transit agency, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority will pay $19 million to have 32 of its articulated buses rehabbed at the Military Authority's shops in Limestone.

Authority spokesman Tim Maccabe says the rehab will add about five years to the lives of the buses. McCabe says the original manufacturer doesn't make these buses anymore.

PORTLAND, Maine — Herring fishermen will ask the New England Fishery Management Council for an emergency action that could include raising their limit for haddock bycatch.

The council will consider the request at a meeting Friday. Federal regulators say Atlantic herring fishermen who fish from midwater trawl boats are on track this year to exceed their limit for incidental catch of haddock in Georges Bank. That would trigger rules that would effectively shut down the herring fishery.

PORTLAND, Maine — The New England Fishery Management Council is set to consider a request for an emergency action about the haddock catch limit in the Gulf of Maine.

The council's meeting takes place Wednesday. The council — an inter-governmental body that represents state and federal interests — is being asked to modify the annual catch limit for the 2014 fishing year for Gulf of Maine haddock. The action would be contingent on a July 2014 stock assessment.

PORTLAND, Maine — A judge has overturned a $1.1 million verdict awarded to the owners of an Aroostook County potato seed farm who had sued their defense lawyer saying he failed to properly represent them in a legal battle.

Vaughn and Mary Sleeper of Island Falls had hired Daniel Lilley's firm in 2001 to represent them and their business, Sleeper Hill Farms, against Agway Inc., the New York-based agricultural conglomerate. The Sleepers alleged Agway withheld money from them.

The Sleepers said Lilley didn't do his job properly.

PORTLAND, Maine — Portland, Maine is set to host a meeting of the New England Fishery Management Council.

The meeting begins Tuesday and continues through Thursday. The council — an intergovernmental body that represents state and federal interests — will consider a request for emergency action regarding the Atlantic herring fishery.

WATERVILLE, Maine (AP) _ The owner of the Hathaway Creative Center in Waterville is poised to start developing a former mill building in the complex.
    Paul Boghossian says his plans for the 53,000-square-foot building, which formerly housed Central Maine Power Co., include developing work spaces for graphic artists, weavers, ceramic artists, glass blowers and others.
    He described them as ``little work studios clustered around a cooperative gallery.