Articles by Matt Wickenheiser


Verso considering acquisition of bankrupt NewPage?

on July 03, 2012, at 9:34 a.m.
Verso Paper Corp. has made some overtures regarding a “potential business combination” with the bankrupt NewPage Corp., according to a Tuesday release. Both Verso and NewPage are significant employers in Maine. Verso operates mills in Bucksport and Jay, employing 775 and 900, respectively, at the facilities. NewPage employs roughly 750 …

Maine says companies sold fraudulent health insurance

By Matt Wickenheiser on July 02, 2012, at 6:14 p.m.
The Bureau of Insurance on Monday said four companies must stop doing business in Maine and pay penalties of $260,000 resulting from a “fraudulent health insurance scheme.” After consumer complaints of unpaid medical bills, the bureau investigated United States Contractors Trust, Real Benefits Association, Metropolitan Business Alliance LLC (also known …

The First to acquire 2 Camden National branches

on July 02, 2012, at 10:39 a.m.
The Maine banking industry is seeing a few aftershocks following Camden National’s purchase of 15 branches from Bank of America. It was announced Monday that The First will buy the branch at 63 Union St. in Rockland, one of the 15 branches acquired recently by Camden National. It will also …

Maine businesses need to prepare for health care law’s implementation

By Matt Wickenheiser on June 28, 2012, at 11:28 a.m.
PORTLAND | With the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to uphold most parts of President Barack Obama’s health care reform law , Maine businesses must start planning for when the law goes into effect. “The first thing is for companies to acknowledge now that this is going to happen,” said …
During an interview at the Bangor Daily News in Bangor Monday, June 25, 2012, Bangor Savings Bank president and CEO James Conlon discusses the bank's expansion into new areas such as southern Maine and the bank's continued emphasis on customer and community service.

Bangor Savings sees eleventh year of growth in tepid economy

By Matt Wickenheiser on June 25, 2012, at 4:17 p.m.
Bangor Savings Bank saw earnings grow for the eleventh straight year and lent more than $700 million in loans, despite the “ lackluster Maine economy,” bank President and CEO Jim Conlon said Monday. The 160-year-old bank held its annual meeting Monday in Orono, detailing its latest fiscal …

Moving Maine by moving goods

By Matt Wickenheiser on June 23, 2012, at 2:11 p.m.
A new Maine Maritime Academy report looks at the feasibility of developing a Searsport-to-Bangor logistics corridor, networking rail, boat, road and air to move goods into and out of Maine. Past studies have looked at one piece of the region, or only certain aspects of transportation — say rail over …
Michael Huston

A few answers to surviving — and thriving — in a down economy

By Matt Wickenheiser on June 22, 2012, at 6:01 p.m.
Maine continues to claw its way out of the recession that officially ended in 2009, treading slowly on a path to recovery. Economists say the state lost more than 30,000 jobs in the recession. Earlier this week, a new report from the Bureau of Economic Analysis in the U.S. Department …
Shoppers leave a Hannaford grocery store in Topsham in 2009.

Hannaford fixes card processing, some ‘isolated’ issues possible today

By Matt Wickenheiser on June 22, 2012, at 11:38 a.m.
The computer problem that plagued Hannaford Supermarkets was resolved at about 11 p.m. Thursday, a spokesman said Friday. The problem began Thursday morning and prevented most of Hannaford’s 181 stores from processing debit or credit cards. Spokesman Eric Blom said Friday that, working with a third-party software supplier, the company …
David Varney bought his Orr's Island home in April 2011, already having drawn up plans with Long Cove Builders to renovate the inside, including lengthening the staircase, and constructing a big, 14 by 20 foot deck on top of his garage so he could take in views of Casco Bay and Harpswell Sound.

Coastal builders seeing housing boom in the form of renovations

By Matt Wickenheiser on June 22, 2012, at 9:54 a.m.
HARPSWELL | David Varney knew he wanted a home on Orr’s Island with livable space inside, room for visitors and a deck offering views of both Casco Bay and Harpswell Sound. The home he wound up buying fell short of those demands. So he changed it. Even before the …

Home sales take a jump in May

on June 21, 2012, at 4:16 p.m.
The volume of home sold in May jumped 32.02 percent over May 2011, while prices rose by 7.42 percent, the Maine Real Estate Information System said Thursday. According to a release, there were 1,035 homes sold in Maine, with a median sales price of $178,000. Nationwide, according to the National …
A shopper loads groceries into her car at a Hannaford's grocery store in Auburn, Maine, Friday, Dec. 16, 2011.

Computer problem means no card payments for Hannaford shoppers

By Matt Wickenheiser on June 21, 2012, at 3:04 p.m.
Customers at most Hannaford Supermarkets are unable to use credit or debit cards to pay for their purchases because of a computer problem that began this morning. Customers can still pay by cash or checks, said Hannaford spokesman Eric Blom. “Most our stores are not able to process electronic payments …
Bill Duncanson, lead technician at D&M Auto Repair on Congress Street in Portland, works on a car in the shop Tuesday. finds Maine “check engine” repair costs second-lowest in nation

By Matt Wickenheiser on June 21, 2012, at 12:38 a.m.
A new study finds Maine has the second-lowest car repair costs in the nation, when it comes to vehicle problems associated with the “check engine” light. According to a study released Thursday by, the average cost for such car repairs in Maine was $289.56 per transaction in 2011. That …
Betsy Biemann

Maine Technology Institute president resigns suddenly

By Matt Wickenheiser on June 18, 2012, at 4:05 p.m.
“We’re not going to get into whether she was asked to resign,” DECD spokesman Doug Ray said.

First Wind, Emera deal closes

on June 18, 2012, at 11:38 a.m.
First Wind Holdings LLC and Emera Inc. have closed their deal to jointly own and operate wind energy projects in the Northeast through a new company, Northeast Wind Partners. First Wind is the largest developer of wind farms in Maine, and Emera is the parent company of Bangor Hydro. Under …

Zumiez, maurices latest two stores at the Bangor Mall

on June 18, 2012, at 9:22 a.m.
With a new women’s clothing story now under construction and a new boarding-focused store poised to begin construction, the Bangor Mall is “pretty much filled up,” according to General Manager James Gerety. “There isn’t a space that is vacant – all of our spaces either have permanent tenants, short-term tenants …

Katahdin Trust expands presence in Bangor

By Matt Wickenheiser on June 13, 2012, at 11:27 p.m.
Katahdin Trust Co. on Wednesday opened its latest Bangor operation, continuing a push into the market that began in earnest four years ago. The Houlton-based bank has been making loans in the Bangor area for about a decade, President and CEO Jon Prescott told the Bangor Daily News, and opened …
A little brown bat with white-nose syndrome.

White-nose syndrome prompts state action on bats

By Matt Wickenheiser on June 12, 2012, at 5:21 p.m.
The state is asking residents and pest control experts to give bats a break between June 1 and Aug. 15 to help preserve the population in the wake of a deadly disease first discovered in Maine last year. White-nose syndrome was first detected in eastern North America in 2006, and …
Brewer Kevin Glessing boxes up freshly labeled bottles of Peeper Ale at Maine Beer Co. Wednesday, June 6, 2012, in Portland. The Maine Beer Company is off Riverside Street, within a stone's throw of several other craft breweries.

Beer makers helping their neighbors in two Portland brewery clusters

By Matt Wickenheiser on June 08, 2012, at 3:30 p.m.
Tom Bull’s got a bunch of hops in his company’s refrigerator – which makes sense, as the company is Bull Jagger Brewing Co. The thing is, the hops aren’t his. They belong to Maine Beer Co., a neighbor in the same building that needed some extra space. …

Rumford mill workers ratify new union contract

on June 08, 2012, at 12:33 p.m.
The union that represents workers at Rumford’s NewPage paper mill said its members have agreed to a new four-year contract with the company. Ohio-based NewPage filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last September, and remains in bankruptcy. The company employs roughly 750 in Rumford, and also has mills in Kentucky, …
Matt Schlobohm

Unions complain that workers ‘took it on the chin’ in Maine’s last legislative session

By Matt Wickenheiser on June 07, 2012, at 3:47 p.m.
Business and labor groups say Maine’s latest legislative session had its ups and downs for their members, but union leaders say the downs were pretty deep. The wrap-up of the 125th Legislature last week also marked the end of the first period in decades in which Republicans controlled the Blaine …