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A recent study by the National Low Income Housing Coalition finds that for every 10 Maine families seeking affordable rental housing, there are fewer than 6 units available.

Many of these households spend more than half of their incomes on housing and utilities. They may qualify for housing assistance such as Section 8, but there's often at least a three-year wait. And there are other barriers that can get in the way of help.

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Every week in Maine, landlords try to evict more than 100 tenants through the courts. Others work out informal agreements to have tenants leave by a certain date. Either way, it can be a confusing and frustrating process for both sides.

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State regulators are taking a new look at just how much money Central Maine Power's (CMP) shareholders earn from the company's customers and whether the amount may be excessive — or too low.

In a notice published this week, the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) says that it will investigate whether CMP's profits from delivering electricity are "just and reasonable." The inquiry was prompted by a request from a group of ratepayers who noted that in 2016 CMP shareholders earned a return-on-equity of more than 11 percent — and earned 13 percent last year.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press

The quota for Maine's most valuable fishery by weight won't be increasing. The board of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission voted down a proposal to increase the amount of elvers fishermen could catch by about 20 percent.

The vote comes after the elver season ended early this year because of illegal sales of the baby eels. Maine Department of Marine Resources Jeff Nichols says the quota will stay at just under 10,000 pounds.

WESTBROOK, Maine - Idexx Laboratories in Maine say in a lawsuit that two former employees stole secret business plans and took them to a rival firm in Portland.
 
The Westbrook-based veterinary services lab alleges two employees took confidential planning documents and training materials to Vets First Choice, in alleged violation of a noncompete agreement.
 
The Portland Press Herald reports the federal lawsuit filed Friday alleges VFC is "incentivizing'' Idexx employees to misappropriate trade secrets and violate their agreements with Idexx.
 

In Maine and around the country, evictions are taking a heavy toll — on landlords, tenants and their communities. For landlords, there's the challenge of covering bills when rent isn't paid. For chronically poor tenants, getting evicted often leads to homelessness. And for neighborhoods, studies show, high eviction rates contribute to instability and, with it, increased crime.

(To read the text version of this story, click here)

PROSPECT, Maine - A Maine businessman has revived a 100-year-old recipe for keeping the flies away.
 
The Bangor Daily News reports Ken Theobald III's Ole Time Woodsman has the same distinctive odor as the product that was used by Maine loggers in the 1800s.
 
Theobald says his father bought the recipe from a New York man in 2008. He then bought the company from his father in 2010 and removed "fly dope'' from the description.
 
Since he started selling the product, Theobald says many former customers have shared memories of its unforgettable scent.
 

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press

Consolidated Communications — the company that acquired FairPoint a year ago — has reached a tentative contract agreement with employees’ unions in Northern New England.

The CEO of Consolidated Communications says the agreement reflects improved relations between unions and the company. The president of the Communications Workers of America Local 1400, Don Trementozzi, says negotiations were respectful.

“We did have a viable conversation back and forth, and they did negotiate, although their initial goals were much different,” he says.

In Maine and around the country, evictions are taking a heavy toll — on landlords, tenants and their communities. For landlords, there's the challenge of covering bills when rent isn't paid. For chronically poor tenants, getting evicted often leads to homelessness. And for neighborhoods, studies show, high eviction rates contribute to instability and, with it, increased crime.

(To read the text version of this story, click here)

Maine may have record low unemployment, but a new report says the state will create fewer than 100 jobs by the year 2026.

The report by the Department of Labor’s Center for Workforce Research and Information is further evidence that the state is in an extended rut in terms of economic growth.

Overall, it predicts a net growth of just 94 jobs in Maine between 2016 to 2026. That’s about nine new jobs each year.

Susan Sharon / Maine Public

All this week we’ll be taking an in-depth look at the problem of eviction in Maine in a series called “Eviction: Life Unpacked.”

Two Maine wood-fired power plants remain inactive despite receiving approval for $1.2 million in state subsidies.

The Portland Press Herald reports a July performance report shows the plants only purchased a small fraction of the wood fuel they promised to buy. The newspaper reports owner Stored Solar has trimmed the plants' workforce and plans to restart the plants in the fall.

The plants make electricity with leftover wood from forestry operations and sawdust from lumber mills.

The Governor's Energy Office says the price of heating oil in Maine has dipped but remains above last year's prices due to rising global crude oil prices.

The statewide average cash price for No. 2 heating oil was $2.72 per gallon this week. The office says that the price has remained steady since March, but is up from $2.23 in October.

The statewide price of kerosene has dipped to $3.33 cents, compared with $3.48 in January. Propane prices have dipped to $2.67 compared with $2.83 in February.

Families have less than one month to find new long-term care facilities for 22 residents of a Penobscot County nursing home, which is closing its doors Sept. 1.

In a prepared statement, the management of Mountain Heights Care Facility in Patten said that declining occupancy and MaineCare rates, in addition to a recent increase in the minimum wage, are the primary reasons for the closure.

Patten Town Manager Raymond Foss said the region will be hard hit.

Tony Fischer / Flickr

The Maine Department of Marine Resources (DMR) is imposing a new five-trap limit for lobster trawlers in a restricted area around Mt. Desert Rock — about 6 miles off Frenchboro. Gear conflicts are growing common in the area, as smaller and larger boats compete for access to fertile lobster habitat.

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