Business and Economy

Business news

RainWise, Inc.
RainWise, Inc.

TRENTON, Maine (AP) _ A company in Trenton has won a contract with the Maine Forest Service to create a fire condition weather page for the public.

RainWise Inc. says it's developing "Fire Danger Portal" that will offer a summary of current conditions and fire weather predictions to the public.

John Bott, spokesman for the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry, tells WNSX that it's all part of how the rangers are using technology and social media to inform the public.

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) _ A new owner is set to close on the Canadian assets owned by the railroad blamed for a deadly oil train derailment in Quebec.

More than a month ago, parties completed the sale of U.S. assets of Montreal, Maine and Atlantic to a subsidiary of New York-based Fortress Investment Group, which has changed the railroad's name to Central Maine and Quebec Railway.

Bankruptcy trustee Bob Keach said he expects the Canadian closing to happen Monday.

WATERVILLE, Maine (AP) _ An economic development organization in Waterville, Maine, hopes expanding the city's foreign trade zone will help companies better compete in a global economy, but businesses so far are taking a wait-and-see approach.

Foreign trade zones are in the United States but considered outside the country for customs purposes, allowing companies to reduce duties on imported products and eliminate them on exports.

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.