Articles by Darren Fishell

 

Workers’ compensation insurer reports record return of $18 million for Maine employers

By Darren Fishell on Sept. 30, 2014, at 9:14 a.m.
PORTLAND | The Maine Employers’ Mutual Insurance Co. will issue an $18 million dividend to about 17,000 policyholders based in Maine. That dividend amount is the highest in the Portland-based company’s history, topping a $16 million dividend issued last year to Maine employers, which equaled about 13 percent of …
An aerial view of Portland's Thompson's Point peninsula provided by developers of a $100-plus-million project to the city's Planning Department.

State Theatre manager signs deal for outside concert venue at Portland’s Thompson’s Point development

By Darren Fishell on Sept. 30, 2014, at 9:05 a.m.
The general manager of the State Theatre has signed an agreement to operate a new outdoor concert venue at Thompson’s Point, where developers Forefront Partners are working on a broader redevelopment effort. Mainebiz reported developers of the project and Lauren Wayne, general manager of the State Theatre, …

Third firm courts Maine regulators for cash to back natural gas pipeline expansion

By Darren Fishell on Sept. 29, 2014, at 7 p.m.
PORTLAND | Three companies have formally offered natural gas pipeline capacity to state regulators, who are considering whether they should charge a new fee to all of Maine’s electricity customers to help pay for projects designed to bring more natural gas into the Northeast. On Monday, Houston-based Spectra Energy …
POLL QUESTION
The Katahdin Paper Co. mill in East Millinocket

GNP creditors petition to move bankruptcy case to Maine, but trustee objects

By Darren Fishell on Sept. 29, 2014, at 1:20 p.m.
PORTLAND | A group of Maine-based creditors has asked a Delaware court to move the bankruptcy case of Great Northern Paper Co. to Maine, where an attorney said 56 percent of the 1,159 creditors are located. But the Delaware trustee now handling the case plans to oppose that measure, …

Feds award $2.5 million to Maine community college to support training in health care, construction, social work

By Darren Fishell on Sept. 29, 2014, at 10:38 a.m.
FAIRFIELD | The U.S. Department of Labor has awarded Kennebec Valley Community College $2.5 million to support job training programs in health care, social work and construction. The grant award comes as part of the last round of a $2 billion pool of money from a federal fund to …

Fraser Timber’s Masardis mill to be sold to Quebec firm

By Darren Fishell on Sept. 26, 2014, at 4:38 p.m.
The Levis, Quebec-based company Maibec has reached a deal to buy Fraser Timber’s lumber mill in Masardis, a deal expected to close by the end of the year. Maibec announced the deal with the mill that employs about 135 people in a statement this week. It did not disclose the …
CAMPAIGN 2014
Richard Wood, an engineering manager at Molnlycke Manufacturing, gives guests a tour of the company's $14 million facility at Brunswick Landing in 2013.

Question 3 asks Maine voters to borrow $12 million to boost innovation, downtowns, rural economy

By Darren Fishell on Sept. 26, 2014, at 11:25 a.m.
Editor’s note: This is one of a series of articles examining the bond questions that will appear on the Nov. 4 ballot in Maine. Question 3 reads: Do you favor a bond issue to provide $4,000,000 in funds to insure portions of loans to small businesses to spur investment and …

Maine regulators deem smart meters safe, but opt-out questions remain

By Darren Fishell on Sept. 25, 2014, at 10:31 a.m.
PORTLAND | After a years-long inquiry, state regulators have decided the radio-transmitting electricity meters installed at the homes of about 615,000 Central Maine Power Co. customers do not pose a threat to human health. The two members of the three-person Maine Public Utilities Commission who discussed the issue Tuesday …
INFOGRAPHIC

Delaware court to determine where GNP bankruptcy will be heard

By Darren Fishell on Sept. 24, 2014, at 5:55 p.m.
PORTLAND | The next major step in the bankruptcy of Great Northern Paper Co. will be to determine whether court proceedings will move to Maine from Delaware, where the case was filed. A Bangor judge Wednesday filed an order in line with federal bankruptcy law, calling for a Delaware …

Maine public advocate warns North American Power customers about price surge

By Darren Fishell on Sept. 24, 2014, at 5:34 p.m.
A state watchdog for power prices has issued a warning to customers of electricity supplier North American Power, which charges variable rates for electricity after the conclusion of a six-month fixed contract. The Maine Office of the Public Advocate said thousands of Emera Maine and Central Maine Power customers signed …
Tom Welch, chairman of the Maine Public Utilities Commission

Maine’s top utility regulator to retire early, leaving next governor to appoint two-thirds of key panel

By Darren Fishell on Sept. 24, 2014, at 12:24 p.m.
PORTLAND | The chairman of the Maine Public Utilities Commission will retire early — at the end of this year — leaving the governor elected in November with the influential job of appointing two of the regulatory commission’s three members. Tom Welch, chairman of the PUC, said Wednesday he …
STATE & CAPITOL (blog)

LePage camp outspends Michaud, Cutler in September

on Sept. 24, 2014, at 5:30 a.m.
Candidates for the Blaine House have taken in about $6.7 million and spent about $4.2 million of that, as of one week ago. As election day nears, the dynamics of that spending are changing. Each campaign filed their latest fundraising and expenditure reports by a midnight deadline Tuesday. I’ve pulled together some different views of …
STATE & CAPITOL (blog)

LePage campaign spending surges in first half of September

on Sept. 24, 2014, at 5:30 a.m.
Candidates for the Blaine House have taken in about $6.7 million and spent about $4.2 million of that, as of one week ago. As Election Day nears, the dynamics of that spending are changing. Each campaign filed its latest fundraising and expenditure reports by a midnight deadline Tuesday. I’ve pulled together some different …
The Katahdin Avenue industrial park in Millinocket is a shell of what it was in this picture taken on May 4, 2014. The stripping down of the former mill site was part of a Great Northern Paper Co. LLC effort to revitalize the East Millinocket paper mill and start a $140 specialized pellet mill in the park.

Great Northern Paper files for bankruptcy, lists more than 1,000 creditors

By Darren Fishell and Nick Sambides Jr. on Sept. 23, 2014, at 2:53 p.m.
EAST MILLINOCKET | Great Northern Paper Co. LLC filed for bankruptcy protection in a Delaware court Tuesday, listing more than 1,000 creditors and at least $50 million in debt. Great Northern’s Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing might have been spurred by advance word of a petition filed Tuesday by three …
An over-sized Bean boot sits outside the L.L. Bean flagship store in Freeport in this November 2013 photo.

L.L. Bean to open outlet store in Minnesota’s Mall of America

By Darren Fishell on Sept. 23, 2014, at 11:40 a.m.
PORTLAND | L.L. Bean will open its first U.S. outlet west of the Mississippi River — in Minnesota’s Mall of America — later this year. The Star Tribune reported that the Freeport-based retailer will announce the opening of a 29,000-square-foot outlet store Tuesday. The store is scheduled to open …

Home sales up, prices down during Maine’s busiest month for real estate

By Darren Fishell on Sept. 22, 2014, at 4:43 p.m.
PORTLAND | Single-family home sales rose in August, compared with last year, as the median price paid for those homes dipped to $178,000. The total volume of home sales for the state’s busiest month for real estate transactions rose 3.3 percent from one year ago, bucking a national and …
Chris Dumais, South Portland's information technology director, describes the path a new fiber optic broadband Internet network will take through the city's downtown on Monday in South Portland.

GWI beats out Maine Fiber Co. for South Portland municipal fiber contract

By Darren Fishell on Sept. 22, 2014, at 3:53 p.m.
The Biddeford-based Great Works Internet won a deal to install high-speed fiber optic Internet connecting municipal buildings in South Portland, beating out a company with which it recently settled a months-long legal dispute. Through the deal with South Portland, GWI will build what CEO Fletcher Kittredge …

Report: Maine workplace deaths dropped in 2012

By Darren Fishell on Sept. 22, 2014, at 11:54 a.m.
PORTLAND | The number of people who died in 2012 because of work-related accidents in Maine declined 27 percent compared with 2011, when that number hit the highest one-year total since 2003. A Maine Department of Labor report released Monday found that 19 people died because of accidents at …
WIDGETS AND DIGITS (blog)

Just how accurate are Maine’s monthly unemployment estimates?

on Sept. 22, 2014, at 9:23 a.m.
So, everyone, let’s all talk about the elephant in the room: The unemployment estimates out Friday. Missed them? Well, if you were following along through the morning, you may have been confused about just when was the last time that preliminary estimates of unemployment rose in Maine. That may have been my fault. (It …
The former Cumberland County Civic Center, know known as the Cross Insurance Arena, in Portland.

Firm that runs Cross Center in Bangor picked to manage Portland arena

By Darren Fishell on Sept. 19, 2014, at 4:51 p.m.
Trustees for the newly named Cross Insurance Arena have decided to outsource management of the former Cumberland County Civic Center to Global Spectrum, the Philadelphia-based entertainment venue manager that oversees Bangor’s Cross Insurance Center. The trustees for the Cross Insurance Arena voted Friday to begin negotiating a …
 
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