Entries Filed in 'Creative Economy'
Today the Joint Select Committee on Maine’s Workforce and Economic Future gave strong bipartisan approval with a vote of 12 – 1 for a $73 million bond package supporting jobs in microbiology, marine resources, and technology.
“This is jobs bond encourages, supports, and stimulates Maine’s economy and job growth,” said Democratic Senator Linda Valentino the Senate Chair of the Workforce Committee. “We’ve heard from economic experts that investment in our innovators will lead directly to commercialization, job creation, and can help bolster Maine’s economic recovery.”
The package is the culmination of the committee’s work over the last eight months after hearing from leaders in the business and research and development communities. The focus of the package is to provide funding that small businesses and institutions will use specifically for job creation efforts.
“This bond proposal helps propel business toward near-term job creation. It’s just what the state needs as it continues to shake off the effects of the recession,” said House Majority Leader Seth Berry , the House Chair of the Workforce Committee. “Targeted, smart investment by the state can create good-paying jobs in 21st century fields that will keep our bright young people here at home, enlarge the markets for what we provide, and push Maine’s economy forward.”
The package includes:
- $ 5 million for the FAME Loan Guarantee Program, which is expected to create or retain 1,935 jobs and has a performance leverage of 17 to 1, will spur investment and innovation;
- $ 15 million for the FAME Regional Economic Development Revolving Loan Program, also known as the REDLIP Program, will be used for flexible loans to create jobs, revitalize downtowns, and strengthen Maine’s rural economy;
- $ 10 million for the Maine Technology Asset Fund which will leverage matching funds on at least a one-to-one basis to promote research development, and commercialization for economic development and private sector job creation;
- $ 8 million for a lab at the University of Maine Cooperative Extension to assist farmers and foresters improve plant, animal and human health;
- $ 15 million for Jackson Laboratories for a new biometric analysis lab which will be matched by $16 million in private and public contributions. An investment in this area can make the state a global resources for precision medicine;
- $ 5 million for a Mount Desert Island Biological Lab which will be matched by $9.5 million in private and public funds to increase biotechnology workforce training from 350 to 500 students per year
- $ 15 million for a marine economy expansion
Since 2011, Maine has ranked last in terms of private sector job growth and has recovered merely one-third of the jobs lost from the recession and
“As a former FAME board member, I know what a difference this could make for job creation. This type of investment can grow small businesses and our rural economies,” said Representative Joyce Maker of Calais.
Rep. Timberlake voted against the measure and Rep. Grant and Rep. Bennett were both absent for today’s vote.
A letter along with the bond measure will now be sent to the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee for review. That meeting has not yet been scheduled.
Tags: Bonds for jobs in Maine
For many the thought of recreating Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” could be daunting. Vanessa Leigh says it’s entirely achievable. She is co-founder of Muse Paintbar, soon to open in downtown Portland. Part art instruction studio, part wine bar, MUSE, is Maine’s first paint & wine bar, and it will be located on 245 Commercial Street in Portland.
“Muse allows local artists to share our passion by offering people of varying artistic talent and experience the opportunity to create a piece of art in a fun, relaxed atmosphere,” said Leigh. “Art can be intimidating. We break down those barriers by providing simple, step-by-step directions that allow participants to get comfortable and gain confidence in the process. By the end of the session, they have had a great time and produced a beautiful piece of art they can be proud of,” said Muse co-founded Vanessa Leigh.
Muse Paintbar will enable people of all artistic abilities to reproduce some of the world’s most well-known art while enjoying wine, beer, and food in a relaxed atmosphere. Without any prior experience, participants follow the artist’s instructions on how to create their very own masterpieces. They will recreate works of art like Hokusai’s Great Wave, seasonal images like Snowy Evergreens and a Saint Patrick’s Day clover, or Maine inspired scenes like Mt. Katahdin.
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Tags: Art in Portland·Maine
A Maine Midcoast Innovation Hub is being created in cooperation with Midcoast Magnet, and will provide a series of support services and programs to identify entrepreneurs in the midcoast region and help them start innovative businesses.
“There is a great deal of creative talent in the midcoast, and the new relationship with Blackstone Accelerates Growth will help the region’s entrepreneurs grow successful businesses here,” said Amanda Roberson Austin, president of Midcoast Magnet and the new Coordinator of the BxG Midcoast Innovation Hub.
The hub intends to support existing midcoast businesses to help them grow. The Innovation Hub program is designed to provide connections for entrepreneurs and businesses, provide access to resources and to help accelerate business growth.
“Our expectation is that working with a strong regional organization like Midcoast Magnet will create a sustainable community of support in the region,” said Martha Bentley, Operations Director for BxG in Maine.
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Maine State Capitol. Photo by Ramona du Houx
A new report shows that from 2009 to 2011, the top one percent in Maine captured 60 percent of all income growth. That is among the findings The Increasingly Unequal States of America: Income Inequality by State, 1928-2011, released today by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI)., which partners with EPI on economic policy analysis, reacted to the EPI findings.
“In Maine, as across America, the income gap between those at the very top of the economic ladder and everyone else is growing wider,” said Garrett Martin, executive director of the Maine Center for Economic Policy (MECEP). “For those nearer the bottom of the ladder, incomes are stagnant or rising at such a slow pace that working families increasingly must struggle just to make ends meet. And basic worker protections like the minimum wage have failed to compensate for this expanding divide.”
Adjusted for inflation, the minimum wage in Maine is no higher than it was 40 years ago and substantially lower than its peak in 1968.
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Tags: Maine's income disparity
Green Living, an eco-conscious lifestyle magazine, has declared Portland Maine as one of 7 Happy Cities in America.Green Living magazine, published in Scottsdale Arizona, declared Portland as the only one “Happy City” in the East.
“This designation by Green Living confirms what Portland residents already know – that life is good here,” said Mayor Michael Brennan.
Simone Butler of Green Living magazine indicates that Portland is one community that “reigns superior” as a result of national polls and surveys.
Portland’s organic foodie atmosphere was emphasized, as well as having the best lobster in the county.Other benefits the magazine listed were that the city has “impressive air and water quality”, waterways for boating and the scenic White Mountains for hiking and other outdoor adventures. They also identified the lower than average obesity rate and twice as many physicians per capita than other cities.
The others that made the list were San Diego, CA., Honolulu, HI., Boulder, CO., Bend, OR., Lincoln, NE., and Minneapolis, MIN.
Tags: Maine·Maine's quality of life·Portland
The USDA Rural Development announcement that grants has been awarded to Maine for distance learning and telemedicine initiatives. The projects funded are designed to expand educational opportunities for Maine students and provide necessary equipment to monitor patients in rural areas.
“USDA has a strong track record of helping rural communities build the infrastructure it needs to get ahead, and I’m pleased this funding has been improved. The opportunities provided through these investments will greatly benefit Maine’s students as well as provide necessary medical services to some of our most rural populations,” said Congressman Mike Michaud.
DThe projects provided by USDA Rural Development:
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Tags: Obama's education inititive helps Maine
The energy of Bangor’s Folk Festival, 2013, uplifted attendees on the waterfront. photo by Ramona du Houx
The American Folk Festival has announced the first color fun run to take place in Bangor. The run, called Color Bangor, will take place on April 26, and will incorporate color, running and walking, and high energy. The run will be similar to other color-themed runs that have taken place throughout Maine and around the country.
“We have seen color fun runs in a number of cities in Maine, and it was surprising to me that we have not yet seen one in Bangor,” said Heather McCarthy, Executive Director of the American Folk Festival. “These runs are enormously popular, extremely fun, and rooted in an long-established Hindu and Indian tradition called the Holi or Festival of Colors. That tradition makes it an even better tie-in with the cultural experience the American Folk Festival brings to the Bangor Waterfront every Summer.”
Color Bangor is scheduled to take place on Saturday, April 26. It will be a route that will incorporate the Bangor Waterfront. Participants will start the route wearing a white Color Bangor T-shirt. At each kilometer mark, a variety of colors will be launched onto runners, resulting in a colorful display on the runners’ shirts and themselves as they cross the finish line. The “colors” are non-toxic colored corn starch, FDA approved and perfectly healthy to use in this manner.
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Nearly half of Maine households are one mishap away from financial ruin, according to a report released today by the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED).
Treading Water in the Deep End: Findings from the 2014 Assets and Opportunity Scorecard calculated the value of liquid assets-savings accounts, stocks, mutual funds, and retirement accounts. It found that 43.5 percent of American households and 46.5 percent of Maine households would fall into poverty within three months in the event of a sudden job loss, medical emergency, or other shock to their finances. In addition to assessing the economic health of low- and middle-income households and small businesses, the report ranks states based on their polices to promote economic opportunity and financial security.
“Historically, Maine has fared better than most states in CFED’s scorecard and this year is no different, but the report highlights clear opportunities to keep from losing ground in the future,” said Maine Center for Economic Policy executive director Garrett Martin. “Most importantly, Maine must accept federal funding to provide health care for an additional 70,000 people under the Affordable Care Act, and increase the state earned income tax credit and make it refundable.”
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Tags: Mainer's at risk of financial insecurity·The need for the ACA in Maine
Maine is the second state, after Connecticut, to sign a GMO labeling bill into law.
The bill sponsored by Lance Harvell, R-Farmington, was signed into law by Governor LePage as promised, but won’t go into effect until five contiguous states pass labeling laws as well.
If labeling laws are passed in these adjacent states food products containing genetically modified ingredients must be labeled in order to inform consumers.
“MOFGA supporters have worked tirelessly, organizing five different legislative campaigns on this issue since the early 1990s. The time was right for a diverse and collaborative effort to take hold and move the discussion forward. People want and have the right to know what’s in their food,” said Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association Executive Director Ted Quaday.
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Tags: Agriculture·GMO fight in Maine
Congressman Mike Michaud speaking in Washington, D.C to the news
Today, Representative Mike Michaud announced that a spending measure that will be voted on tomorrow in the House of Representatives contains $5 million he pushed to include for the Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC). Michaud authored the legislation that created the NBRC, which invests in the most economically distressed areas of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and Upstate New York. In previous years, the NBRC has not been funded at more than $1.5 million.
“This is a significant increase in funding that I know our region will put to good use,” said Michaud. “Because commission projects leverage significant additional funding, the impact of even a small investment can be substantial. By more than tripling the previous funding levels, this bill provides our communities with more economic development opportunities that will allow them to capitalize on local strengths and create jobs.”
Last summer Michaud said in an interview that he was working with Sen. King to help move to fund the NBRC.
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Tags: Congressman Mike Michaud·Economic Development funds for Maine