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PORTLAND, Maine - A new lawsuit accuses Poland Spring water of deceiving customers by putting the words "100 percent natural spring water'' on product labels.
 
The federal class-action lawsuit in Maine targets corporate parent Nestle Waters North America, which is accused of bottling water from wells and municipal sources that don't meet the federal definition of spring water.
 
New York attorney Gregory Nespole said Tuesday that consumers paid a premium for spring water and received "common groundwater.''
 

CONCORD, N.H. - The U.S. Department of Commerce says it is giving a Concord, New Hampshire, firm more than $500,000 to try to build the economy of the northern forest region of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and New York through investing in the wood products industry.
 
The commerce department says the grant is going to Northern Forest Center Inc., which it says will bring technical assistance to wood products companies and related firms in the states. The department says it is expecting the project to help create or retain 400 jobs.
 

Sharon Kiley Mack / Bangor Daily News

Maine’s traditional industries would take a hit from higher taxes if the Trump administration makes good on a threat to withdraw from a trade deal with South Korea, a major market for the state’s lobster and blueberry industries.

“Lobster companies could be in jeopardy if this [pact] is stopped,” said Tom Adams, CEO of lobster wholesaler Maine Coast of York, one of a half-dozen lobster wholesalers in Maine selling to South Korea. “It could impact the lobster industry at home from staff to the boat.”

In the wake of the massive security breach at credit reporting agency Equifax, the Maine Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection is urging Mainers to take the matter seriously and take steps to protect their identity, financial accounts and credit reports.

Bureau Principal Examiner David Leach says, while there are state and federal laws in place to protect consumers in the event of a data breach, Mainers have an important tool they can use.

Progress for Maine

Backers of a ballot initiative that could pave the way for a casino in York County publicized a website and released architectural renderings for the building Thursday. The group also says Old Orchard Beach is one town under consideration for the facility, if it’s approved by Maine voters in November.

In an effort to increase low- and middle-income housing opportunities in Portland, city councilors have approved zoning incentives for development along some city corridors and in certain commercial areas.

Jeff Levine, planning and urban development director for the City of Portland, says the city was hearing from affordable housing developers that they were getting outbid for properties they were trying to buy on the private market.

He says the developers couldn’t commit as much money because they didn’t know whether they’d be able to get necessary zoning changes.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press/file

The federal government is awarding more than $1 million to a Maine-based research project on climate change and Gulf of Maine fisheries. The results could change the way catch quotas are set for groundfish species such as cod and haddock.

Fisheries regulators set catch quotas based on historical data on species abundance in any given area. Now scientists will seek ways to estimate how groundfish will respond, looking forward, to water temperature changes in the Gulf of Maine, which in 10 years has warmed faster than 99 percent of the rest of the global ocean.

A.J. Higgins / Maine Public

A lobsterman’s biggest expense is the boat.

Nick Woodward / Maine Public

If you’re in the market for a length of steel chain, a hatchet or a decorative wrought iron fence, you just head over to the hardware store. But there was a time when crafted metal pieces could only be ordered at a dimly lit, blazing hot workroom known as the blacksmith’s shop — and a few real blacksmiths still exist in Maine.

PORTLAND, Maine — Former independent gubernatorial candidate Eliot Cutler has resigned from his job aimed at helping get a new graduate center off the ground in southern Maine.

George Campbell, president of the University of Southern Maine Foundation, will be the interim CEO of the new graduate center at the University of Southern Maine.

PORTLAND, Maine — Maine’s Republican governor is asking President Donald Trump’s administration to ease up stiff softwood lumber tariffs he says are leading to "devastating" job losses.

Gov. Paul LePage this month asked U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to exempt Canadian provinces such as New Brunswick and Quebec from the tariffs. Softwood lumber like spruce, pine and fir is used for everything from construction to newsprint.

The U.S. government has been collecting preliminary tariffs on imported softwood since April.

Courtesy of CashStar

A company based in Portland that provides software platforms to retailers who want to sell, market and distribute gift cards has been acquired by a California-based financial technology company that operates in 26 countries.

CashStar has been purchased by Blackhawk Network for $175 million. Cash Star head Ben Kaplan says being acquired by Blackhawk will make it easier for CashStar to build an international business.

Labor markets remained strong in all three of Maine’s major urban areas in July.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics found unemployment low and edging lower in Bangor, Lewiston-Auburn and the Portland-South Portland labor markets.

The Portland-area jobless figure was the lowest: 2.8 percent. Lewiston-Auburn, at 3.4 percent, was still a bit lower than the state’s unemployment rate last month. Bangor was a bit higher than the state figure, at 3.7 percent.

Maine Attorney General Janet Mills is cautioning people thinking about contributing to the Hurricane Harvey relief effort to make sure they know who they’re donating to.

Mills says, while a natural disaster brings out the best in people, it can also give rise to those who want to take advantage of the situation.

“Try to scam you out of your money, prey on your good intentions and your real desire to help other people in the world, and take your money and not use it for the purpose intended,” she says.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press

Maine’s wild blueberry crop is likely to be much smaller this year than in recent summers because the industry is contending with troubles such too much rain, wind and cold in the spring, too little rain later on, disease and poor pollination.

David Yarborough, blueberry specialist with UMaine Cooperative Extension, says while the number of berries is pretty good, they are very small this year.

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