Issue 41: Maine’s Creative Economy moves forward without LePage

July 25th, 2014 · Filed under: Issue 41

Summer Issue 4. Photo by Ramona du Houx

Summer Issue 4. Photo by Ramona du Houx


POLITICS:

Exclusive Interview: Congressman Mike Michaud: His passion to help people and his economic policies -

OP-ED, by State Senator Colleen Lachowicz: While Maine is the only state in New England without Medicaid expansion the Legislature enacted significant other healthcare laws

Editorial: Hope is on the horizon for Maine’s small businesses and healthcare- with Michaud

CREATIVE ECONOMY AND COMMUNITY:

Nouveau Cirque Theater/ New Circus comes to Maine setting the stage for a transformation in New England shows

Waterville’s potential as Maine’s art hub grows with Common Street Arts

Maine’s Old Port Festival has become a huge success

Portland’s non-profit art collective needs a new home

Neil Rolde’s new book: Real Political Tales- Short Stories by a Veteran Politician

SCIENCE:

Maine becomes first east coast state to study, plan, and prepare for ocean acidification

Maine is leading the way with RGGI- makes it easier to work with new EPA carbon standards –

BUSINESS:

Report shows Maine leading the way in farming revival

$100 thousand grant award supports environmental sustainable economic development strategy for Maine

Statoil pumps $2.5 billion in UK offshore floating wind project instead of Maine

DeepWater Buoyancy to add 15 new jobs now they have Pine Tree Zone tax exemptions

The largest microbrewer of Japanese Sake is in Kittery, Maine

Bakery specializing in old world artisan bread

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Congressman Mike Michaud: His passion to help people and his economic policies

July 25th, 2014 · Filed under: Community Maine, Creative Economy, Economy, Exclusive Interviews, Issue 41

Mike Michaud helped secure funds for UMaine's first in the Americas floating wind turbine project, VoltunUS. Photo by Ramona du Houx

Mike Michaud helped secure funds for UMaine’s first in the Americas floating wind turbine project, VoltunUS. Photo by Ramona du Houx

Back in 2005 the Federal Government’s Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission announced that there would be closures of military bases across the country. Maine was targeted at three major facilities: Kittery-Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Brunswick Naval Air Station (BNAS) and Defense Finance and Accounting Services Center (DFAS) in Limestone.

The State’s Congressional Delegation swung into action along with Gov. John Baldacci, and the communities effected. Press conferences and meetings were held at each threatened facility, sometimes one a day at each location, and Congressman Mike Michaud was at the majority of them, from promoting the attributes of workers in Limestone to rallying shipyard employees in Portsmouth. He fought for the workers and their communities in Portsmouth and BNAS in Maine and D.C., even though those bases were not in his congressional district.

After ten years of reporting on the Congressman’s activities, I’ve learned that there is nothing more important to him that making sure the people of Maine are treated fairly and have good paying jobs with healthcare benefits.

Congressman Mike Michaud gives a shipyard union leader a congratulatory hug for helping to Save the Shipyard from BRAC closure in 2003. Photo by Ramona du Houx

Congressman Mike Michaud gives a shipyard union leader a congratulatory hug for helping to Save the Shipyard from BRAC closure in 2003. Photo by Ramona du Houx

Recently we talked about his economic development plans for Maine.

Q: What is your highest priority?

A:

My biggest priority is building a Maine economy that works for everyone, not just the wealthiest among us. That starts with job creation, but it also means an intense focus on education, starting with early childhood, and continuing through college; it means a higher minimum wage and expanded access to health care for nearly 70,000 Mainers, and 3,000 veterans; and it means empowering business to grow and expand.

Under Gov. LePage and his failed policies, Maine has lagged behind the rest of New England in private-sector job growth. His “open for business” policy is nothing but rhetoric. He’s actually driven hundreds of millions of dollars of private-sector investment out of the state.

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New census data shows thousands more Mainers do not have health care

September 16th, 2014 · Filed under: Health Care

New census data released today shows thousands more Mainers are going without health care in the aftermath of Governor Paul LePage’s refusal to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

According to federal Census Bureau data released today, the number of Mainers without any form of health care coverage grew by 12,000 in 2013 and the state uninsured rate rose from 10.2 percent in 2012 to 11 percent in 2013. Nationally, the rate of uninsured fell by .2 percent. Maine and New Jersey were the only states to experience an increase in the percentage of their people who do not have health insurance.

Speaker of the House Mark Eves, who led the effort to expand lifesaving health care to 70,000 thousands Mainers, including nearly 3,000 veterans, said the data show Maine is going in the wrong direction.

“Maine is falling behind because our Governor and his allies put ideology over the health of our people and the strength of our economy,” said Eves. “We had a chance to provide lifesaving health care to nearly 70,000 Maine people, and instead thousands lost coverage. We had a chance to grow thousands of jobs and invest millions of dollars into our economy and into our hospitals, and instead now we are lagging behind the nation in job growth and health.”

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Michaud’s Northern Border Regional Commission gets $1.2 Million for Maine

September 16th, 2014 · Filed under: Business & Innovation

Michaud at Hinkley Boats. The company has worked in partnership with the UMaine composite laboratory to improve their boats.

Michaud at Hinkley Boats. The company has worked in partnership with the UMaine composite laboratory to improve their boats.

Maine is receiving more than $1.2 million from the Northern Border Regional Commission – which was created by legislation U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud authored several years ago with the aim of rejuvenating some of the most economically distressed areas in New England.

“When I authored the legislation creating the Northern Border Regional Commission, I did so with the hope that it would create good jobs for Mainers and help jumpstart the parts of our state where business development is needed most,” said Michaud. “Today’s latest round of grants to Maine communities and organizations is more proof of how the NBRC is working just as we had hoped – it’s protecting and even creating jobs, and it’s giving many of our communities the tools and infrastructure they need to flourish.”

Today’s grantees in Maine are:

· $250,000 to Indian Township Passamaquoddy Reservation, to build a maple processing facility in Jackson;

· $250,000 to the town of Hartland to line a solid waste landfill facility (NBRC estimates this will save 142 jobs);

· $226,000 to the town of Ashland, to upgrade a section of highway that is central to the town forest-products intermodal facility;

· $230,000 to the Maine Woods Products Association, to start a training and credentialing program for industry employees; and

· $250,000 to the city of Ellsworth, to develop a station to expand the availability of high-speed internet along the city’s main thoroughfare (NBRC predicts this will support up to 100 new jobs).

“These are great investments for our state – they’ll create jobs, strengthen infrastructure and make our state a better place to do business,” added Michaud. “I’m pleased the NBRC has been such a success, and I look forward to future investments in our state.”

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Wind turbine project will generate $11 million for Hancock County

September 14th, 2014 · Filed under: Business & Innovation, Economy, Energy Issues, Environment, Maine's green energy potential

Wind turbine project approved by Hancock County Commissioners September 12th will generate $11 million in property tax revenue for the county over a 30-year period agreement.

The commission voted 2-1 in approval of a tax increment financing (TIF) district for the project, which will install 17 turbines, at 500 feet tall, with a 3-megawatt capacity in Townships 22 and 16. Of the $11 million in property tax revenue, Hancock County will keep $5.82 million, while the rest will go to Hancock Wind, a First Wind subsidiary.

The agreement allows Hancock Wind to retain 70 percent of its annual tax payments to the county for the next 20 years, but for the last 10 years of the agreement the county will receive 100 percent of the tax revenue.

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Michaud discuses plan for Maine’s Energy Future at E2Tech Forum- LePage missing

September 12th, 2014 · Filed under: Economy, Energy Issues, Environment

Mike Michaud helped secure funds for UMaine's first in the Americas floating wind turbine project, VoltunUS. Photo by Ramona du Houx

Mike Michaud helped secure funds for UMaine’s first in the Americas floating wind turbine project, VoltunUS. Photo by Ramona du Houx

U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, discussed his plan for creating jobs, reducing energy costs and protecting Maine’s environment by making Maine a leader in alternative energy development today at the E2Tech gubernatorial forum.

Gov. LePage refused to attend the event.

“Maine can and must do more to cut heating costs and energy bills in Maine. My administration will make energy efficiency and clean energy development a top priority,” Michaud said. “I’ve set a goal of cutting the use of home heating oil in half by 2030. It’s an aggressive goal, but I think we can do it by promoting renewable energy in Maine, including wind power, solar, ocean energy and investing in efficiency and weatherization.”

In his MAINE MADE business and investment plan, Michaud proposed several detailed initiatives to make Maine a leader in renewable energy development, including a Maine solar power initiative, the creation of the Maine Ocean Energy Center of Excellence that would partner with the private sector to cement Maine’s place as a leader in off-shore renewable energy production and a commitment to support energy efficiency.

At the event, Michaud praised the work that businesses, organizations and groups like E2Tech are doing in Maine to promote renewable energy and said Gov. LePage has stood in the way of progress for nearly four years.

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Gorham-based research group to get $1.1 million for wind power technology

September 10th, 2014 · Filed under: Business & Innovation, Energy Issues

The VolturnUS 1:8 comfortably resting in the water. The full size offshore wind VolturnUS turbines will be over 600 feet tall— taller than the Washington Monument. The big units will be fabricated onshore and assembled on the water. Photo by Ramona du HouxCongresswoman Chellie Pingree said today that the Gorham-based Biodiversity Research Institute (BRI) is getting a $1.1 million federal grant to help them develop innovative new technology to detect birds and bats near wind turbines. Pingree had pushed for the funding for BRI and said it will help the growing wind power industry in Maine while protecting important bird and bat species.

“The wind power industry is creating jobs in Maine while developing new sources of clean energy,” Pingree said. “But for the industry to keep growing we have to develop better ways to make sure wind turbines aren’t having an impact on the environment. This research that BRI is collaborating on will help do that and is a great example of how Maine can be a leader in clean energy technology.”

BRI will use the grant to further develop a system of high-tech cameras that detect birds and bats in the area of wind turbines. The project is a collaboration with private and public partners including the University of Maine, First Wind and HiDefAerial Surveying.

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Vice President Biden impressed by Maine’s manufacturing history and potential

September 4th, 2014 · Filed under: Business & Innovation, Capitol news, Economy, Labor issues, Speeches

Vice President Biden made a point to try and shake everyone's hand in the audience. Photo by Morgan Rogers

Vice President Biden made a point to try and shake everyone’s hand in the audience. Photo by Morgan Rogers

Vice President Biden toured the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard September 3rd with Maine Congressman and Gubernatorial candidate, Mike Michaud, to highlight the history and future of Maine’s manufacturing innovation.

The tour of the 214-year-old Naval Shipyard gave Michaud a chance to share Maine’s shipbuilding history, manufacturing potential, and University of Maine’s “Bridge-in-a-Backpack” initiative, with Biden.

“I’ve traveled a million miles around the world as vice president and I traveled a million miles before that,” said Biden to more than a 1000 attendees at the shipyard. “And the fact of the matter is you’re the best in the world. It’s true.”

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Mike Michaud honored with ‘Working Class Hero’ award from Labor Council

September 1st, 2014 · Filed under: Labor issues

U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud was recognized by the Southern Maine Labor Council (SMLC) with their Working Class Hero Award today. Fellow Maine Rep. Chellie Pingree and SMLC President Douglas Born presented Michaud with the award at the organization’s annual Labor Day Breakfast in Portland.

“I’m incredibly honored to receive this award from the Southern Maine Labor Council. Maine’s workforce represents the heart of our communities and the true engine of our economy,” said Michaud. “I’ve never forgotten my roots, and I’ve never forgotten the importance of using my position in Congress to work for the betterment of all Maine families. I know that by continuing to stand side-by-side, we can keep making meaningful advancements on the issues most important to Maine families.”

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New living wage report: Maine families struggle to make ends meet

August 26th, 2014 · Filed under: Economy

The latest in a series of reports, authored by the national Alliance for a Just Society, on the divide between what Maine workers need to earn to afford basic necessities and what available jobs in Maine actually pay was released today.

The report finds that a living wage (enough money to cover food, housing, health care, utilities, household expenses and to save for the future) for a single adult with no children working full-time in Maine would be $15.82 an hour. Two adults, both working and with two children, would have to earn $19.49 an hour to make ends meet. The minimum wage in Maine is currently only $7.50 an hour.

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New KeepME Home initiative to make life better for older Mainers

August 21st, 2014 · Filed under: Business & Innovation, Health Care

The Maine Council on Aging (MCOA)—made up of over 30 organizations working to ensure the well-being of Maine’s older adults—announced its support today of a package of legislative proposals presented by Speaker of the Maine House of Representatives, Mark Eves.

“Maine is the oldest state in the nation — each day more than 50 people turn 65. These numbers must be a call to action for our state leaders,” said Eves, who has who has spearheaded a statewide aging initiative to address Maine’s aging challenges. “We must transform how people age in our state so they can live independently in their communities and homes. That is the goal of the “KeepME Home” initiative.”

The “KeepME Home” initiatives announced by Speaker of the Maine House of Representatives, Mark Eves addresses several critical needs for older Mainers: affordable housing near services, access to needed home care and financial security.

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Maine small businesses to create over 20 new jobs with federal Value Added Producer Grants

Pingree fought successfully for a dramatic increase in funding in the 2014 Farm Bill

August 20th, 2014 · Filed under: Community Maine

Five Maine small businesses would receive a total of $471,571 in federal Value Added Producer Grants from the USDA. Funding for the program has risen dramatically—from $15 million to $63 million over five years—thanks to Pingree’s successful efforts to have an increase included in the 2014 Farm Bill.

“Value Added Producer Grants are critical investments to help small food producers like the ones we have in Maine take their businesses to the next level. These funds allow them to expand their operations, find new markets, and develop new products,” said Congresswoman Chellie Pingree. “I couldn’t be happier that the increased funding will allow more Maine producers to take this opportunity, creating and saving dozens of jobs in the process. It’s exciting to see the new innovations this diverse set of recipients will create with this investment.”

The 2014 Farm Bill, which sets the nation’s agriculture policy every five years, was signed into law by President Obama earlier this year. Pingree wrote and advocated for numerous provisions that will promote local agriculture, sustainable farming, and help young farmers.

The funding is being provided through USDA Rural Development’s Value-Added Producer Grant program.

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