Articles by Whit Richardson

 
The Old Town Fuel and Fiber company.

‘This is not your grandfather’s paper mill’: Innovation offers hope to Maine’s paper and pulp industry

By Whit Richardson on Feb. 28, 2014, at 6:12 a.m.
PORTLAND, Maine — If people arrived as pessimists at a forum Thursday morning about the future of Maine’s paper and pulp industries, most left with at least a bit more optimism. With recent headlines focused on the closure of the East Millinocket paper mill, layoffs at Lincoln Paper and Tissue …
The wreckage of a train is pictured after an explosion in Lac-Megantic on July 6, 2013.

Incoming CEO of MMA Railway meets with Lac-Megantic’s mayor for the first time

By Whit Richardson on Feb. 25, 2014, at 2:58 p.m.
The soon-to-be CEO of the Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway on Monday afternoon met for the first time with Colette Roy Laroche, the mayor of Lac-Megantic, Quebec, the site of the train crash last summer that destroyed the village’s downtown and killed 47 people. The meeting, which took place in …
 Bangor Savings Bank on Tuesday morning announced the retirement of its CEO, James Conlon (right) and named a successor, Robert S. Montgomery-Rice (left), who will next year take the reins of Maine's largest locally owned bank.

Bangor Savings Bank CEO to retire, ‘successor-elect’ named

By Whit Richardson on Feb. 25, 2014, at 10:52 a.m.
BANGOR, Maine — Bangor Savings Bank on Tuesday morning announced the retirement of its CEO, James Conlon, and named a successor who will next year take the reins of Maine’s largest locally owned bank. Conlon, who has worked at Bangor Savings Bank for nearly 20 years, including nine as CEO, …
The NewPage paper mill in Rumford

NewPage rethinking merger after Verso debt restructuring hits snag

By Whit Richardson on Feb. 24, 2014, at 2:24 p.m.
Verso Paper’s $1.4 billion acquisition of NewPage Holdings Inc. appears to be closer to falling apart after NewPage made clear last week that it would not waive certain refinancing provisions contained in the original merger agreement, and would be forced to “re-evaluate” the deal if Verso is not able to …
POLL QUESTION
Mike Mattison separates sheet metal parts at Jotul North America's wood and gas stove manufacturing facility in Gorham on Friday.

New emission standards for wood stoves will drive up costs, thwarting desired effect, say Maine manufacturer, dealer

By Whit Richardson on Feb. 21, 2014, at 3:41 p.m.
GORHAM, Maine — The federal government is proposing new emission standards for wood-burning stoves that some in the industry say will increase the cost of stoves for consumers and discourage people from investing in new, cleaner burning stoves — an effect contrary to the government’s intended goal. The U.S. Environmental …
A man drives a forklift at wholesale hardware distributor Emery-Waterhouse in Portland on Thursday. The company, founded in 1842, was acquired by Ace Hardware last week.

Ace Hardware acquires 172-year-old Portland hardware business

By Whit Richardson on Feb. 20, 2014, at 3:13 p.m.
PORTLAND, Maine — Ace Hardware last week acquired a wholesale distributor to hardware stores and lumber mills that was founded in Portland in 1842 and has been owned by the same family for the past 80-plus years. Employees at Emery-Waterhouse’s headquarters and distribution facility in Portland learned the news on …

Maine insurance bureau approves steepest workers’ comp rate decrease in 16 years

By Whit Richardson on Feb. 20, 2014, at 1:34 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine Bureau of Insurance on Thursday approved a rate decrease for workers’ compensation insurance that is expected to save Maine businesses $15.2 million. The bureau based its approval on a recommendation the National Council on Compensation Insurance, a rating organization that analyzes workers’ comp insurance rates …
WHIT RICHARDSON (blog)

The wrong Portland is in line to get Google Fiber

on Feb. 19, 2014, at 3:02 p.m.
Google announced today in a blog post that it has selected nine metro areas to be in the running to receive the company’s next-generation, “ultra-fast”, fiber-optic technology — aptly named Google Fiber. While Portland, Ore., is on the list, Portland, Maine, alas, is not. That’s a mistake. Here’s my thinking: …

Moody’s raises red flag on Maine bonds secured by federal transportation funding

By Whit Richardson on Feb. 19, 2014, at 10:46 a.m.
Moody’s Investor Services has downgraded some of Maine’s transportation bonds because of uncertainty surrounding the future reliability of federal transportation funding. Maine’s bonds are Grant Anticipation Revenue Vehicles, or GARVEEs, and are among those from 16 states that Moody’s on Tuesday downgraded and ascribed a negative outlook. Moody’s lowered its …

First Wind partners with environmental coalition to form $700,000 land conservation fund

By Whit Richardson on Feb. 18, 2014, at 6:37 p.m.
PORTLAND, Maine — Industrial wind developer First Wind announced Tuesday that it has partnered with a coalition of not-for-profit organizations dedicated to preserving the Appalachian Trail to create a $700,000 land conservation fund. The conservation fund will protect the Appalachian National Scenic Trail viewshed lands in Maine. First Wind operates …
The main office of Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway as seen in Hermon.

Maine railway’s new owner plans to add jobs, regain lost rail traffic

By Whit Richardson on Feb. 18, 2014, at 5:36 p.m.
The company in the process of buying Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway plans to hire more people and regain business the railroad lost after last summer’s disaster in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, although it is unclear whether the company will return to transporting oil. The Central Maine and Quebec Railway, which is …

Protecting Maine jobs was the original intent of 2002 law

By Whit Richardson on Feb. 17, 2014, at 7:34 p.m.
It’s sometimes a dangerous game to play to try to understand the original intent of legislators when they pass certain laws. In 2002, a law was passed that prohibited the owner of the Millinocket and East Millinocket paper mills from entering into an agreement which would allow it to benefit …
This is a September 2011 file photo of an East Millinocket mill.

Cate Street: Selling electricity necessary to keep East Millinocket mill viable

By Whit Richardson on Feb. 17, 2014, at 7:34 p.m.
The owner of the East Millinocket paper mill has said that plans to reopen the mill hinge on the Maine Legislature acting quickly to change what the company calls an out-of-date law that places its operations at a competitive disadvantage. Last week, news surfaced that Gov. Paul LePage’s administration and …
In this July 2012 file photo, Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway worker David Black helped repair and test several locomotives in the company rail yard in Derby. Railroad Acquisition Holdings, the affiliate of Fortress Investment Group that is in the process of buying MMA out of bankruptcy, will change the railroad company’'s name to the Central Maine and Quebec Railway.

New owner, new name: MMA to become the Central Maine and Quebec Railway

By Whit Richardson on Feb. 14, 2014, at 2:56 p.m.
HERMON, Maine — Once the sale of the bankrupt Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway is complete, that name will be filed away in the history books. Railroad Acquisition Holdings, the affiliate of New York-based investment firm Fortress Investment Group that is in the process of buying Montreal, Maine and Atlantic …
WHIT RICHARDSON (blog)

$30K up for grabs. Entrepreneurs wanted.

on Feb. 13, 2014, at 7:13 p.m.
The difference between successful entrepreneurs and everyone else isn’t that the former have all the good ideas. The difference is they act on those ideas. If you have an idea for a business, don’t give up an opportunity to pitch it. Friday, Feb. 14, is the deadline to apply for …
The State House in Augusta in winter 2006.

Maine House approves bill that would let entrepreneurs raise capital through crowdfunding

By Whit Richardson on Feb. 13, 2014, at 4:21 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine House of Representatives on Thursday approved a bill that would give Maine entrepreneurs more leeway in how they raise capital to grow their businesses. The bill, “An Act To Increase Funding for Start-ups,” would make it possible for Maine businesses to raise capital by selling …

Maritimes and Northeast Pipeline owner wants to retrofit pipeline to bring gas from south

By Whit Richardson on Feb. 12, 2014, at 5:27 p.m.
The owner of the Maritimes and Northeast Pipeline has announced plans to retrofit its pipeline to allow it to carry natural gas from southern New England into Maine, the opposite direction of the pipeline’s original purpose. Houston-based Spectra Energy, which is majority owner of the Maritimes and Northeast Pipeline, is …
WHIT RICHARDSON (blog)

Mainer testifies at Senate hearing on ‘encore entrepreneurs’

on Feb. 12, 2014, at 12:16 p.m.
A Maine entrepreneur was scheduled on Wednesday to appear before a joint Senate hearing to discuss the opportunities and challenges facing seniors who start their own businesses. Elizabeth Isele, a part-time Portland resident, spearheads two organizations that provide resources to “encore entrepreneurs,” which is a term I like for individuals planning …
A customer carries lumber at The Home Depot’s Bangor store in this file photo. The Home Depot plans to hire 450 hourly employees in Maine in time for the busy spring season.

Home Depot plans to hire 450 seasonal workers in Maine

By Whit Richardson on Feb. 12, 2014, at 10:52 a.m.
ATLANTA — The Home Depot on Wednesday announced that it would hire up to 450 people in Maine as it gears up for the busy spring season. The Atlanta-based home improvement company currently operates 11 stores in Maine, from Biddeford to Bangor, which employ roughly 1,600 people, according to a …
Bangor International Airport announced that United Airlines was returning to the airport to offer seasonal, round-trip service to Chicago effective June 5. It will be the airport’s first direct service to Chicago since United pulled out in 1993 because low passenger numbers made the service uneconomical.

Bangor’s size, ‘tremendous’ summer tourism bring United Airlines back to Queen City

By Whit Richardson on Feb. 11, 2014, at 5:50 p.m.
BANGOR, Maine — United Airlines’ decision to return to Bangor after a 20-year hiatus hinged on a number of factors, including the city’s promising economy, according to those familiar with the airline industry. On Monday, Bangor International Airport announced that United Airlines was returning to the airport to offer seasonal, …
 
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