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The minimum wage next month is increasing in four of the six New England states.

Massachusetts’ 2017 rate of $11 an hour puts it in a tie for top statewide rate in the country, along with Washington state.

Not far behind are Connecticut, with a new rate of $10.10 an hour, and Vermont, at $10.

Rhode Island holds steady in the new year at $9.60, while Maine will see the largest increase in the region. On Jan. 7, its minimum wage will rise $1.50, up to $9 an hour, triggered by a ballot question voters approved in November.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press

For the first month in this budget year, state revenues failed to meet projections in November.

AUGUSTA, Maine — Local unions say FairPoint Communications has gone ahead with plans to lay off more than 100 workers across Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont.

FairPoint on Friday said it understands the personal impact of layoffs but says they address declining revenues and the realities of the telecommunications industry.

The company has said the cuts amount to about 35 workers in Maine, 55 workers in New Hampshire and 20 workers in Vermont.

Tom Porter / Maine Public/file

PORTLAND, Maine - A nonprofit group that focuses on responsible seafood management says it is certifying the Gulf of Maine's lobster fishery as sustainable.

PORTLAND, Maine - Mainers' personal income rose by 1.1 percent in the third quarter of this year.    That placed the state squarely in the middle of the states for the rate of third-quarter growth. 

The biggest driver of the gain in personal income was wages, up 1.5 percent in the quarter.  There were smaller gains in dividends and similar payments, along with government aid.

By industry, the biggest contributors to the gain in personal income among Maine residents were health-related fields, and state and local government employment.

Kevin T. Houle / Flickr/Creative Commons

State regulators are delaying a much-anticipated and hotly contested decision on the future of solar power in Maine.

At issue is a program that allows residents and small businesses with solar installations to get paid retail rates for excess electricity that they supply to the regional grid. Net metering, as it’s called, has been a way for solar users to recoup the big, upfront cost of the investment.

Critics, including Gov. Paul LePage, say those costs are coming way down, and the program benefits wealthy do-gooders at the expense of all electricity users.

Four years ago, Unity College became the first U.S. college to eliminate fossil fuels from its international investment portfolio. Now, Unity College President Dr. Melik Peter Khoury says the central Maine school is redoubling its efforts to create a “net-zero” campus and spread its message of energy sustainability to other higher education institutions.

“I think what Unity College allowed many institutions to do is realize that it was possible — until then there were many conversations, but no institution actually took the plunge,” he says.

Mark Vogelzang / Maine Public

President-elect Donald Trump says he wants to bolster the nation’s military with more ships, planes and ground forces. Even if he is only partially successful, it could mean a big boost to Maine’s defense contractors and to the state’s economy.

Jennifer Mitchell / Maine Public

It’s been more than a year since a new potato variety known as the Caribou Russet was unveiled. But so far, it’s been rather hard to find — getting a new potato onto store shelves isn’t as simple as it may seem.

Not only will Maine’s new minimum wage law have an impact on hourly pay rates, it will also affect some workers’ overtime pay.

Under a recently approved ballot item, Maine’s hourly minimum will rise to $9 an hour next month. And, because the state’s rules on who should get time-and-a-half pay for working overtime are tied to its minimum wage, when the new minimum kicks in, most workers who earn $27,000 a year or less will qualify for overtime.

State regulators have turned back more than half of a rate increase sought by Emera, the electric utility that serves Bangor Hydro and Maine Public Service customers.

The Public Utilities Commission knocked down the company’s allowed return on equity for some investments to 9 percent, partly in response to mismanagement identified by an independent auditor.

Commisioner Bruce Williamson reeled of a list of Emera practices that puzzled him.

A Bangor area waste-to-energy facility and an organization of communities it serves have resolved their differences over a separation agreement that triggered competing Superior Court lawsuits.

In a prepared statement, representatives of the Penobscot Energy Recovery Co. and the Municipal Review Committee said they had reached an agreement leading to the withdrawal of the lawsuits and a clearer path toward the dissolution of their business relationship over the next 16 months.

PORTLAND, Maine - Amtrak's Downeaster has been a runaway success, transporting more than 6 million passengers. But success was no guarantee when the first train departed on the cold, rainy morning.

Even rail advocate Wayne Davis, who successfully lobbied for the service, said the Portland-to-Boston passenger route wasn't a sure thing, even after multiple studies and more than $50 million in taxpayer spending on track upgrades. That was 15 years ago Thursday.

PORTLAND, Maine — Officials in Portland say further discussion is needed before they recommend regulations on short-term rentals to the city council.

The Portland Press Herald reports Jill Duson, chairwoman of the council’s Housing Committee, concluded at a Wednesday meeting that the committee had more work to do.

The city has been discussing short-term rental regulations amid the growing popularity of Airbnb, which allows people to advertise their rooms, apartments and homes for a relatively short period.

A panel of scientists say Maine could greatly increase private-sector investment in clean energy by creating a so-called green bank that would improve access to capital needed to finance energy upgrades.

Steve Clemmer, energy research director at the Union of Concerned Scientists and lead author of the analysis, says the banks are public or quasi-public finance authorities that use limited public dollars to leverage greater private investment in clean energy through innovative financing techniques and market development tools.

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