Articles by Whit Richardson

 
WHIT RICHARDSON (blog)

White House to serve Maine trout tonight

on Feb. 11, 2014, at 5:32 p.m.
At the White House this evening, guests attending the state dinner for French President François Hollande will have the opportunity to try smoked trout from Maine. According to U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree’s office, the smoked trout comes from Ducktrap River of Maine on Belfast. It will be the only Maine product served …
WHIT RICHARDSON (blog)

Employers get more time to comply with Obamacare

on Feb. 10, 2014, at 5:58 p.m.
The U.S. Treasury Department on Monday announced that it is again delaying implementation of the employer mandate under the Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare. The employer mandate is that part of the sweeping health care reform law that calls for employers with more than 50 full-time employees …
Lincoln Paper and Tissue in December.

Maine’s sole tissue producer faces threats from abroad and closer to home

By Whit Richardson on Feb. 10, 2014, at 9:46 a.m.
Much has been written about the challenges facing the paper industry in Maine. In most cases, however, all paper manufacturers are lumped together without regard for the specific types of paper they produce. The majority of the paper produced in Maine is what’s known as coated paper, which is used …

Maine employers can expect nearly 8 percent reduction in workers’ comp rate, largest since 1998

By Whit Richardson on Feb. 06, 2014, at 2:55 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Employers in Maine are expected to save $15.2 million on workers’ compensation insurance this coming year, thanks in part to a reduction in on-the-job injuries and the ability of the state workers’ comp board to control medical costs. The Maine Bureau of Insurance on Thursday received a …
The Brunswick Inn, which has used that name since 2009, won its lawsuit against a newer establishment in downtown Brunswick, the Inn at Brunswick Station, over its use of a similar name.

Battle of the Brunswick inns: Inn at Brunswick Station ordered to change name

By Whit Richardson on Feb. 05, 2014, at 2:34 p.m.
PORTLAND, Maine — A federal judge has ordered The Inn at Brunswick Station to change its name because it’s too similar to that of nearby The Brunswick Inn. Any new name can also not include both the words “Brunswick” and “inn” in the title, the judge said. The trademark fight …
A Dead River Company fuel truck in Brewer.

Heating oil customers on budget plans facing increased monthly payments

By Whit Richardson on Feb. 05, 2014, at 1:36 p.m.
Citing an extended cold snap that began in December, heating oil suppliers are increasing the monthly payments of certain customers who are burning more oil this winter than expected. Customers from Dead River Co. and Downeast Energy who contracted for oil at a set per-gallon price have reported having their …
WHIT RICHARDSON (blog)

‘Pine Tree Zones on steroids’ won’t help small Maine businesses grow

on Feb. 05, 2014, at 8:39 a.m.
In case you missed it, Gov. Paul LePage gave his State of the State address Tuesday evening in front of a joint session of the Maine Legislature. For a full recap of the governor’s speech, I suggest reading this well-done roundup written by my colleague Mario Moretto. He hit on …
Robert Keach

Lawyers spar over where Lac-Megantic wrongful death claims should be decided

By Whit Richardson on Jan. 31, 2014, at 6:21 p.m.
PORTLAND, Maine — A federal judge heard arguments Friday in a case that centers on whether Maine or Illinois should be the place of jurisdiction for wrongful death claims associated with the July 2013 derailment and explosion of a Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway train in Lac-Megantic, Quebec. At issue …
Workers look at the derailed oil cars in the downtown core in the town of Lac-Megantic, Quebec, in July 2013.

Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway lawsuit blames owner of crude oil for Lac-Megantic disaster

By Whit Richardson on Jan. 31, 2014, at 4:35 p.m.
BANGOR, Maine — The trustee overseeing the bankrupt Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway has sued the companies that owned and arranged for the transportation of the crude oil that MMA was carrying at the time of the deadly July train derailment in Lac-Megantic, Quebec. Robert Keach, a bankruptcy attorney serving …
Tom Brigham (left) and John Bennett.

After 92 years as a family business, Oakhurst Dairy to be acquired by national cooperative

By Whit Richardson on Jan. 31, 2014, at 1:35 p.m.
PORTLAND, Maine — It’s the end of an era for Oakhurst Dairy, the dairy processor owned and operated in Portland by the Bennett family since 1921. On Friday, Oakhurst announced it had been acquired by Dairy Farmers of America, a national farmer-owned cooperative based in Kansas City, Mo. The sale …
VIDEO
A tray of whole, unbroken scallops wait to be packed into a can outfitted with a time and temperature indicator at Bristol Seafood on Portland's waterfront on Wednesday. The company recently got a cash infusion from a Silicon Valley investor.

Maine seafood company set for ‘exponential’ growth as Silicon Valley investor buys in

By Whit Richardson on Jan. 31, 2014, at 6:32 a.m.
PORTLAND, Maine — Darrell Pardy isn’t afraid to think big. He and his business partner, Ray Swenton, have already grown their company, Bristol Seafood Inc., into one of the largest seafood processors in Maine. From its facility on Portland’s waterfront, the company employs 75 people and does $40 million a …
The NewPage paper mill in Rumford

Verso-NewPage merger could be in trouble

By Whit Richardson on Jan. 30, 2014, at 8:40 a.m.
Verso Paper Corp. has run into a problem that has the potential to derail its $1.4 billion deal to merge with NewPage Holdings Inc. As part of the merger agreement, which was announced earlier this month, Verso Paper initiated a debt exchange offer in which holders of its debt would …
Former Senator George Mitchell

Wrongful death claimants in Lac-Megantic disaster want George Mitchell to oversee allocation of railroad’s funds

By Whit Richardson on Jan. 29, 2014, at 7:54 p.m.
BANGOR, Maine — A Chicago law firm on Wednesday filed a proposal that would appoint former U.S. Sen. George J. Mitchell to oversee the allocation of available funds in the Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway’s bankruptcy case to the victims who have filed wrongful death and personal injury claims. The …
Maine Medical Center in Portland

Maine Medical Center, Waldo County General Hospital seek to open retail pharmacies

By Whit Richardson on Jan. 28, 2014, at 4:52 p.m.
MaineHealth is seeking to open retail pharmacies at Maine Medical Center in Portland and Waldo County General Hospital in Belfast. The pharmacies would be on the grounds of each hospital, but would operate as retail businesses and be open to any consumers, not just hospital patients. The health care system’s …

Maine’s jobless rate dropped to 6.2 percent in December, continuing downward trend

By Whit Richardson on Jan. 28, 2014, at 12:25 p.m.
According to preliminary data released Tuesday by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, Maine’s unemployment rate was 6.2 percent in December. That figure is a new five-year low, down from a rate of 6.4 percent in November and 7.2 percent in December 2012. However, these numbers are preliminary, and the …

Blackstone entrepreneurial program expands reach with new hires, more ‘innovation hubs’

By Whit Richardson on Jan. 27, 2014, at 4:53 p.m.
PORTLAND, Maine — Blackstone Accelerates Growth, the three-year-old effort to help spur development of Maine’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, is growing with the addition of two hires and increased involvement throughout the state. The Maine Technology Institute, which administers the initiative, has hired Jess Knox to be statewide director for the initiative …
The Verso mill in Bucksport is shown in an October 11, 2011 file photo.

Verso agrees to purchase Bucksport power plant

By Whit Richardson on Jan. 27, 2014, at 1:34 p.m.
BUCKSPORT, Maine — Verso Paper Corp. has agreed to purchase the full assets of a power plant that is co-located with its paper mill in Bucksport. The deal is not final, but Verso plans to acquire 100 percent of Bucksport Energy LLC, which owns and operates a gas-fired power plant …
Rumford's NewPage paper mill as seen from Granite Street in Mexico.

Verso-NewPage merger could bring upheaval before prosperity for Maine mills, say experts

By Whit Richardson on Jan. 26, 2014, at 5:42 a.m.
The proposed merger of Verso Paper and NewPage Holdings, announced on Jan. 6, sent shockwaves through the local and global paper industries. Verso’s stock shot up more than 570 percent, analysts started chattering about implications for the global paper market, and millworkers in Maine expressed hope the deal would improve …
First responders fight burning trains after a train derailment and explosion in Lac-Megantic, Quebec early July 6, 2013 in this picture provided by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada.

After bankruptcy sale, what’s next for beleaguered Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway?

By Whit Richardson on Jan. 25, 2014, at 5:40 a.m.
The sale of the bankrupt Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway is all but certain at this point, but the buyer — Fortress Investment Group — remains mum on its reasons for wanting to acquire the bankrupt railroad or its future plans. While Fortress may not be talking, the Bangor Daily …

Shareholders approve Oxford Networks’ sale to Canadian firm

By Whit Richardson on Jan. 24, 2014, at 6:04 p.m.
BRUNSWICK, Maine — The shareholders of Oxford Networks voted on Thursday to approve a deal that would see the Lewiston-based telecommunications company be acquired by a Canadian private equity firm. The vote paves the way for Montreal-based Novacap to acquire Oxford Networks for $50 million, which includes a payment of …
 
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