Business and Economy

Business news

This week, readers of Maine Today Media, which includes the Portland Press Herald, Kennebec Journal and Maine Sunday Telegram, are being advised that they can no longer access all their online content for free. They'll be able to access 10 stories before hitting what's known as a paywall - or, put another way, before they have to sign up for a subscription. It's a strategy more than half the newspapers in the country have undertaken as a way to boost revenues. 

Knight725 / Creative Commons

Earlier this year, cable giant Comcast announced a deal to acquire competitor Time Warner Cable. A few months ago communications giant AT&T announced a deal to acquire Direct TV. All four companies operate in Maine, and the new media behemoths would control large shares of both the multichannel TV market and Internet services.

Thermogen Industries, the start-up that's struggling to launch a wood pellet plant at the old paper mill in Millinocket, got some more bad news this week.

The company planning to build a wood pellet plant at the site of the former Great Northern Paper mill in Millinocket has lost some key funding for the project.

The head of the Maine State Employees Association says she's disappointed, but not surprised, by a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that prohibits an Illinois union from collecting "fair-share" union fees from part-time, home health care aides.  

Maine is one of 26 states that require all public employees who are represented by unions to pay similar dues, whether they officially join or not.  


Jun 30, 2014

 Kickstarter, indiegogie, gofundme and more, learn about the world of crowdfunding. Have you considered using a crowdfunding site to launch a business or fund your big idea? If so, how do you do it? How do you choose which projects to donate to? And how does a new Maine law change the crowdfunding landscape? We'll discuss the pros and cons of crowdfunding with experts and those who have "crowd-funded" successfully.

Dean Girdis Downeast LNG CEO. Photo by Telegraph Journal.
Telegraph Journal

The company that wants to build a gas import and export terminal in Washington County says it plans to file new preliminary paperwork with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) early this week.

"We'll also make applications to the Department of Energy for a free trade export authorization to export LNG, and a non-free trade," said Dean Girdis Downeast LNG CEO.

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.