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I was happy to read about the $300,000 Future Forest Economic Initiative grant to help bring new economic life to the former East Millinocket paper mill (from the BDN on Jan. 18). After more than a decade of watching successive private equity owners sell off pieces of the mill’s assets, cut the workforce, reduce the town’s tax base by demanding revaluation, and use state and federal incentive programs to pay their investors while leaving the taxpayers holding the bag, it was a relief to see the town take steps to control its own destiny.
Ownership of the property will allow for meaningful economic development and local cooperation after years of turmoil. I only wish the reporter had included the fact that Michael Michaud, the selectboard member he interviewed, is actually former six-term congressman and Maine Senate President Mike Michaud, whose devotion to his hometown, knowledge of public/private funding and ability to bring people together to solve problems continue to benefit people in our state.