Articles by Darren Fishell

Maine gubernatorial candidates (from left) Democrat Mike Michaud, Republican Paul LePage and independent Eliot Cutler face each other in a televised debate on Monday night in Portland.

Gubernatorial candidates exchange quips, policy in televised debate Monday night

By Darren Fishell on Oct. 20, 2014, at 9:43 p.m.
PORTLAND | In a freewheeling and heated hourlong debate co-sponsored by CBS 13 and the BDN, Maine’s three gubernatorial candidates on Monday night all found openings between their respective scripts to fight a war of quips, aiming for laughs and applause from a live audience stacked with a mix …
Dockworkers haul a bowline around a bollard as the Nova Star arrives in Portland for the first time on Thursday, April 17.

Ferry operator resurrects proposal to challenge Nova Star for Maine-Nova Scotia route

By Darren Fishell on Oct. 20, 2014, at 5:41 p.m.
PORTLAND — The leader of an earlier play to restore ferry service between Maine and Nova Scotia has revived a similar effort, seeking to challenge the Nova Star ferry service and run what he called “a proper ferry line.” Bruce McNeil said Monday that his new venture, dubbed Canamerica Cruises, …

A history of FairPoint Communications in Maine

By Darren Fishell on Oct. 17, 2014, at 4:18 p.m.
North Carolina-based FairPoint Communications has struggled since acquiring the landline network of the much-larger Verizon. Here’s a look at major events in the company’s history in Maine, starting with that acquisition: Jan. 17, 2007: Verizon announces $2.7 billion sale of its residential telephone business in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont …
FairPoint workers and their supporters gathered Sept. 11 near the intersection of Main and Railroad streets in Bangor for a rally and informational picket.

Strike impacts: Cops fret about 911 service, Internet woes could hit outside network

By Darren Fishell on Oct. 17, 2014, at 4:08 p.m.
Emergency 911 calls are routed through FairPoint Communications, the company where about 800 Maine-based employees went on strike Friday. That has some law enforcement officials worried about who will maintain the company’s infrastructure if something should go wrong at one of the 26 dispatch centers — or public safety answering …
FairPoint employees stand on the corner of Park and State streets in downtown Bangor on the first day of the strike on Friday.

‘We don’t know what to expect’: FairPoint workers in Maine picket during first day of strike

By Darren Fishell and Nok-Noi Ricker on Oct. 17, 2014, at 1:29 p.m.
The parking lot at FairPoint’s call center on Riverside Drive in Portland was still empty at about 10 a.m. Friday. In the coming weeks and months, who might pull into those and other parking spaces at FairPoint offices around the state is one of the biggest questions ahead for about …
About 2,000 FairPoint Communications workers in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont went on strike Friday. Union officials say negotiations for a new contract have not progressed since the company declared an impasse in talks Aug. 28.

FairPoint unions declare strike; 2,000 northern New England workers to picket job sites

By Darren Fishell on Oct. 16, 2014, at 8:23 p.m.
PORTLAND | Two unions representing workers at FairPoint Communications have called a strike starting early Friday morning. Leaders of the Northern New England chapters of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and Communications Workers of America announced Thursday that 2,000 employees will begin picketing at job sites in Maine, …

Outside groups sling mud at Cain, Poliquin

on Oct. 16, 2014, at 4:16 p.m.
Political action committees trying to sway second district voters have spent the vast majority of their cash on attack ads seeking to take down either Democratic Congressional hopeful Emily Cain or Republican Bruce Poliquin. That is, $9 of every $10 that PACs directed at Cain were attack ads; and about $9.60 of every $10 that PACs directed at …

TD Bank settles backup tape data breach case with 9 states

By Darren Fishell on Oct. 16, 2014, at 1:09 p.m.
PORTLAND | TD Bank has agreed to pay Maine $130,015 as part of a settlement with nine states over a data breach in 2012 that stemmed from an employee losing a set of unencrypted backup tapes with customer data. Attorney General Janet Mills on Thursday announced Maine’s portion of …
Patrick Arnold, president and CEO of Soli DG, eyes a container of crushed lobster shells on Thursday in Portland.

Portland entrepreneur borrows Iceland model to boost ocean product startups

By Darren Fishell on Oct. 16, 2014, at 12:41 p.m.
Did you know there’s $1,600 of value stored in the guts of a cod? It’s not readily apparent, but one Icelandic company that got its start in a special business incubator is extracting digestive enzymes from the fish for use in cosmetic products. The amount produced from …

Is the Nova Star ferry sailing south for the winter?

By Darren Fishell on Oct. 15, 2014, at 5:31 p.m.
PORTLAND | The Florida port of Fort Pierce could be the Nova Star ferry’s home for at least part of the winter, but that’s just one option for the ferry service that just concluded it’s first season of daily trips between Yarmouth, Nova Scotia and Portland. The ferry’s management …
The Nova Star returns to Portland in this September 2014 file photo.

Nova Scotia commits another $5 million to Nova Star ferry service as LePage promises aid bill

By Darren Fishell on Oct. 15, 2014, at 2:45 p.m.
PORTLAND | The province of Nova Scotia has agreed to give operators of the Nova Star ferry service another $5 million (Canadian dollars). Meanwhile, Gov. Paul LePage will introduce legislation to provide the company a $5 million line of credit. Adrienne Bennett, spokeswoman for LePage, confirmed those plans in …

Bath Iron Works recruiters heading to Bucksport to speak with millworkers losing jobs

By Darren Fishell on Oct. 14, 2014, at 5:46 p.m.
PORTLAND | Representatives from Bath Iron Works are heading to Bucksport on Thursday to speak with Verso Paper employees about hundreds of job openings at the shipyard in trades requiring similar skills. Matt Wickenheiser, Bath Iron Works spokesman, said a human resources representative and employees in the electrical and …
A color-coded map of Falmouth shows where Summit Natural Gas plans to install gas distribution lines over the next four years.

Summit faces $150,000 fine for drilling natural gas pipes through Maine sewer lines

By Darren Fishell on Oct. 14, 2014, at 3:27 p.m.
PORTLAND | State regulators want Summit Natural Gas of Maine to pay a $150,000 fine after discovering the company damaged sewer lines in 25 places during horizontal drilling installations in Augusta, Gardiner, Yarmouth and Cumberland. The discovery of problems with the company’s natural gas pipeline installations using trenchless, horizontal …
FairPoint employees conduct an informational picket in Bangor in this August 2014 file photo.

Unions: FairPoint freezes employee pensions in lingering labor dispute

By Darren Fishell on Oct. 14, 2014, at 1:02 p.m.
PORTLAND | The unions representing FairPoint workers in northern New England said the company froze employee pensions on Tuesday, a step that comes as part of the company’s imposition of work terms to which the unions did not agree. The local chapters of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers …

Topsham construction firm owned by Crooker family for 79 years sold to local investors

By Darren Fishell on Oct. 14, 2014, at 9:18 a.m.
PORTLAND | Topsham-based contractor Harry C. Crooker and Sons has been sold for an undisclosed price to its chief engineer and a group of local investors. The company announced the sale in a news release early Tuesday, noting that “the company remains locally owned and operated while retaining all …
Michael Hillard, professor of economics at the University of Southern Maine. Hillard says that public investment in other countries has led to the decline of paper mills in Maine.

‘Industries don’t last in one place forever’: Public investment abroad fueled Maine paper mills’ decline, economist says

By Darren Fishell on Oct. 13, 2014, at 5:41 p.m.
PORTLAND | The most pressing question after the closure of three paper mills in Maine this year: “What now?” Municipal and state officials say potential buyers are still sniffing around shuttered mill properties and related assets in Old Town, East Millinocket and Bucksport, but there’s an air of uncertainty …

British manufacturer makes good on Caribou expansion plans

By Darren Fishell on Oct. 13, 2014, at 3:42 p.m.
British filter manufacturer Porvair has started on a 7,000-square-foot expansion at the site of Chand Eisenmann Metallurgical, which it acquired last year for $5.5 million with the promise of new investment. The company said in a statement that construction on the approximately $1 million expansion will be completed in December, …
The Old Town Fuel and Fiber mill is seen Sept. 10 in Old Town.

Creditors petition for Old Town Fuel and Fiber’s bankruptcy, claiming $1 million in debt

By Darren Fishell on Oct. 13, 2014, at 12:24 p.m.
PORTLAND | Four companies Friday asked a bankruptcy judge to put the shuttered Old Town Fuel and Fiber into Chapter 7 bankruptcy to satisfy their claims the company owes them more than $1 million. Red Shield Acquisition LLC, the corporation that owns the wood pulp mill and other assets …
Maine Attorney General Janet Mills

National settlement could mean money for 96,000 AT&T customers in Maine

By Darren Fishell on Oct. 10, 2014, at 11:03 a.m.
PORTLAND | As many as 96,000 Maine AT&T cellphone customers could share about $225,000 after a national settlement over unauthorized third-party charges to those customers, a practice dubbed “mobile cramming.” Maine Attorney General Janet Mills announced the state’s take from the $105 million national lawsuit early Friday. Most of …
Pharmacist Sarah DeRaps does a final accuracy checks on medication orders at Apothecary By Design in Portland on Tuesday before they are shipped out to customers.

‘We are not afraid of competing against mail-order pharmacies’: Portland firm thrives in specialty medication market

By Darren Fishell on Oct. 10, 2014, at 7:47 a.m.
It’s rare to hear a business praise its state’s regulations, but a Portland pharmacy is relying in part on Maine law to gain a stronger foothold in the growing market for specialty medication. By volume, the market is dominated by major national mail-order pharmacies, but the founders …
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