Articles by Darren Fishell

Mike Mattison separates sheet metal parts at Jotul North America's wood and gas stove manufacturing facility in Gorham on Feb. 21, 2014.

‘The product is going to get even better’: Jotul to shift wood stove manufacturing from Scandinavia to Maine

By Darren Fishell on Sept. 18, 2014, at 9:19 a.m.
PORTLAND, Maine — The Norwegian home heating company Jotul plans to expand its Maine-based manufacturing, moving production of its wood stoves to the company’s North American headquarters in Gorham. Bret Watson, president and CEO of Jotul North America, said he expects the company will start manufacturing its first batches of …

Cianbro lands $13.8 million bridge repair deal in Kittery

By Darren Fishell on Sept. 18, 2014, at 9:01 a.m.
PORTLAND, Maine — The Pittsfield-based Cianbro Corp. has won a $13.8 million contract to make repairs to a bridge at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, according to the U.S. Department of Defense. The company beat out two other project bidders, who were not identified in the department’s announcement. The contract calls for …
Oxford Networks President Craig Gunderson (left) shows Gov. Paul LePage around the company's expanded facility on Wednesday in Brunswick.

Oxford Networks unveils $6 million data center expansion in Brunswick

By Darren Fishell on Sept. 17, 2014, at 4:56 p.m.
BRUNSWICK, Maine — There’s one nice thing about putting a data center in Maine: come winter, the harsh cold is an easy way to keep servers cool. That’s a key part of the $6 million expansion unveiled Wednesday in a 52,000-square-foot former Navy communications center at Brunswick Landing, the civilian …
Gov. Paul LePage

More of the same: Slow Maine GDP growth fuels political haymaking

on Sept. 17, 2014, at 9:47 a.m.
Maine’s metropolitan areas lagged growth rates for other areas of the country in the last year, continuing a longer term trend in Maine’s economy. In one-year and 12-year comparisons, growth in the value of goods and services coming from Maine’s major metropolitan areas is below the median for metropolitan areas around the country. …

Spectra, Northeast Utilities partner on $3 billion project to bring more natural gas to New England

By Darren Fishell on Sept. 16, 2014, at 2:39 p.m.
PORTLAND, Maine — The Houston-based Spectra Energy announced Tuesday that Northeast Utilities, New England’s largest electric utility, plans to be a co-investor in a $3 billion effort to expand two major natural gas pipelines in the region, one of which runs through Maine. Spectra’s pipeline expansion proposal was made public …

Federal judge sets trial date for lawsuit alleging Cate Street CEO shielded assets in collections case

By Darren Fishell on Sept. 15, 2014, at 3:34 p.m.
PORTLAND, Maine — A federal lawsuit alleging Cate Street Capital CEO John Halle transferred property and assets to his wife to avoid paying a roughly $2.4 million personal judgment against him has been scheduled for trial in November as a collections case moves forward through Maine District Court. U.S. District …

Fighting words: the most common terms used in ads for Maine’s governor’s race

on Sept. 15, 2014, at 10:19 a.m.
What do “welfare,” “work,” and “ideas” have in common? They’re all words Maine’s gubernatorial candidates are using — frequently — in television ads trying to win your vote. As the barrage of TV ads from Maine’s gubernatorial campaigns ramped up in September, I took a closer look at the words used in those 30-second television spots …
Maine gubernatorial candidates Mike Michaud (left) and Eliot Cutler shake hands at an Environmental and Energy Technology Council of Maine forum on Friday morning at Hannaford Hall in Portland.

Cutler, Michaud talk energy policy despite LePage’s last-minute withdrawal from forum

By Darren Fishell on Sept. 12, 2014, at 5:21 p.m.
PORTLAND, Maine — In a forum quickly reconfigured after the last-minute withdrawal of Gov. Paul LePage, his challengers for the Blaine House delivered speeches detailing how their energy policies would differ from the governor’s and, to a lesser degree, each other’s. The forum was billed as the first major event …

LePage objects to format of Portland energy forum, drops out

By Darren Fishell on Sept. 12, 2014, at 9:07 a.m.
PORTLAND, Maine — An energy forum billed as the first time Maine’s three candidates for governor would speak in the same place did not come off as planned. Republican Gov. Paul LePage abruptly declined to participate in Friday morning’s forum about policy on home heating, energy and the environment. His …
Chris Orestis started Life Care Funding in 2007. The company buys life insurance policies at a discount, taking over premiums and later collecting the death benefit.

Former insurance lobbyist teaches seniors how to avoid Medicaid for end-of-life care

By Darren Fishell on Sept. 12, 2014, at 8:17 a.m.
PORTLAND, Maine — Chris Orestis has attracted millions in investment to Life Care Funding, the company he started in 2007, but the veteran insurance industry lobbyist is counting on old skills to grow the still-young venture nationally. State legislators are the next battleground for the company, which buys life insurance …

Live coverage: Michaud and Cutler share energy, environmental policies; LePage refuses to participate

By Darren Fishell on Sept. 12, 2014, at 7:45 a.m.
PORTLAND, Maine — Maine’s three gubernatorial candidates were slated to share the same stage for the first time during a Portland forum Friday morning, presenting their policy platforms on energy, the environment and Maine’s heating policy and programs. The forum is not a debate, but will give each candidate 30 …

Major Rockland employer inks deal to convert to trucked-in natural gas

By Darren Fishell on Sept. 11, 2014, at 12:56 p.m.
PORTLAND, Maine — Boston-based Xpress Natural Gas has landed a contract to truck compressed natural gas to FMC BioPolymer in Rockland, where the major regional employer is preparing to change its primary fuel source this fall to save on energy costs and reduce emissions. FMC, a multinational company in Rockland …

Federal flood map changes raise new questions for Maine homeowners, municipalities

By Darren Fishell on Sept. 10, 2014, at 5:50 p.m.
PORTLAND, Maine — Maine homeowners and municipalities along waterfronts are caught at the complicated center of three major forces: changing sea levels, flood risk assessments and federal flood insurance policy. The changes all stand to affect development and insurance prices along the coast and the state’s inland waterways, an issue …
Several hundred FairPoint Communications workers held a demonstration in Longfellow Square, demanding for the company to return to bargaining in this August 2014 file photo.

Top New York finance official joins unions in urging FairPoint to resume negotiations

By Darren Fishell on Sept. 09, 2014, at 3:13 p.m.
PORTLAND, Maine — New York state’s chief financial officer is throwing his weight behind workers at FairPoint Communications, who are putting pressure on the company to return to bargaining to avert a strike. Thomas DiNapoli, comptroller for the state of New York, wrote a letter last week to John Angelo, …
Bill Becker of Key Private Bank, president of the Portland Community Chamber, speaks at one of the organization's regular Eggs & Issues breakfast events in December of 2013 at the Holiday Inn By The Bay.

Chamber hopes annual economic assessment helps Portland get down to business

By Darren Fishell on Sept. 09, 2014, at 7:52 a.m.
PORTLAND, Maine — Maine’s largest city continues to have the brains, but does its economy have the brawn? The Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce is raising that question after releasing its fifth annual economic scorecard for the city, measuring a range of indicators it has aligned with the city’s economic …

Maine environmental agency OKs permit for state’s largest wind farm in Bingham

By Darren Fishell on Sept. 08, 2014, at 6:14 p.m.
PORTLAND, Maine — A subsidiary of Boston-based First Wind gained final approval Monday to build the largest wind farm yet approved by state regulators. The Maine Department of Environmental Protection was expected to grant the permit for the company’s proposed wind farm in Bingham after it issued a draft order …

Outside groups pump about $2.2 million into Maine governor’s race

on Sept. 08, 2014, at 3:21 p.m.
The race for the Blaine House has already attracted about $2.2 million in spending by groups not specifically connected with a campaign, primarily for television ads. The total is ahead of the five-person contest in 2010, when outside groups had spent about $1.6 million by early September in independent expenditures. We’ve gathered the latest reports …
Staffers from U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree's office get a sneak-peek tour of the Nova Star cruise ship in Portland on May 9. The ferry service will end for the season three weeks earlier than originally planned, the company announced Monday.

Portland-Nova Scotia ferry cuts its first season short by 3 weeks, runs to stop Oct. 13

By Darren Fishell on Sept. 08, 2014, at 11:59 a.m.
PORTLAND, Maine — Nova Star Cruises will end its sailing season in October, three weeks earlier than planned, as a result of a low volume of motor coach tours. The company said in a statement Monday that its final sail date will be Oct. 13, leaving that night from Portland …

How Maine ranks as ‘business friendly’ under Gov. Paul LePage, in 5 charts

By Darren Fishell on Sept. 05, 2014, at 4:01 p.m.
When you think of “business friendliness,” what comes to mind? Perhaps how it was a key promise of Gov. Paul LePage’s 2010 campaign. Perhaps Forbes magazine’s dogged placement of Maine dead-last in its annual “business climate” rankings, based on a proprietary formula. Or perhaps it’s the sign that lets you know that not only is Maine …

How Maine ranks as ‘business friendly’ under Gov. Paul LePage, in 5 charts

on Sept. 05, 2014, at 4:01 p.m.
When you think of “business friendliness,” what comes to mind? Perhaps how it was a key promise of Gov. Paul LePage’s 2010 campaign. Perhaps Forbes magazine’s dogged placement of Maine dead-last in its annual “business climate” rankings, based on a proprietary formula. Or perhaps it’s the sign that lets you know that not only is Maine …
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