• April Maine conference on tourism theme - Destination Maine: Purveyors of Originality

    The 2018 Governor's Conference on Tourism will take place April 3 and 4 in Portland. This year's program of speakers, workshops and breakout sessions will address critical issues for the growth of Maine tourism, with a focus on skills-building, workforce development, and tactics for expanding visitation throughout the state. 

    Maine's annual tourism conference brings together approximately 400 industry businesses, organizations and stakeholders from across the state each year for an exchange of ideas and best practices to help build one of Maine's most vital and valuable industries.

    The 2018 conference theme reflects the Maine brand value, Originality, the core of the Maine Office of Tourism's marketing program.

    The two-day conference will open with an afternoon of information sessions and skills-building workshops, using Portland as the conference campus with workshops at a variety of locations in addition to the conference home at the Holiday Inn by the Bay. The evening opening reception will take place at Bayside Bowl.

    The Day 1 sessions will include a presentation on the results of the 2017 DestinationNext statewide survey, and updates from Cruise Maine, the Maine Motorcoach Network, and Experience Maritime Maine. Skills-building workshops will share best practices and "how-to" advice for video storytelling, successful social media, cybersecurity, experience building, and digital marketing.

    The Day 2 conference agenda will include the Maine Office of Tourism 2017 report, a roll-out of Maine's 2018 tourism marketing campaign, and the annual Governor's Conference on Tourism awards luncheon.

    Maine Department of Economic and Community Developmad a panel discussion on workforce development challenges and opportunities in Maine. He will be joined on stage by Maine Office of Tourism Director Steve Lyons.
    "Our goal is to strengthen our industry partners and help build their success by providing tools and strategies that work in today's competitive tourism market," said Lyons. "Maine is a world-class destination, with so much to offer to visitors. Working together, we can continue to grow and prosper."

    Keynoter Kelly McDonald, one of the nation's top experts in multicultural marketing and consumer trends, will talk about how to market to and meet the needs of a diverse customer base through customized service and targeted outreach.

    Conference breakout sessions will share insights from Maine businesses that are successfully leveraging existing assets and events to attract a wider audience. 

    More information and registration is available at
  • Talk about Food Safety for Maine Midcoast Farmers

    March 29 from 5:30-7pm

    Knox-Lincoln Extension, 377 Manktown Rd, Waldoboro

    A major reason that farmers commit their lives to producing food is to provide healthy sustenance for their communities. Yet there are a number of ways disease-producing organisms can enter the food stream.

    On Thursday, March 29 from 5:30-7pm, join Jason Lilley at Knox-Lincoln Extension office (377 Manktown Rd, Waldoboro) to learn about on-farm hazards that may lead to food-borne illness as well as the practices that all farmers can implement to minimize risks. Lilley will also discuss the basics of the Food Safety Modernization Act and who must comply, but this program does not meet required FSMA training standards.

    This is the second in a series of free programs for farmers and gardeners presented by Knox-Lincoln Soil & Water Conservation District, Maine Coast Heritage Trust, and Midcoast Farmers Alliance.  FMI about future programs and to register: 596-2040,, or

    Jason Lilley is the Sustainable Agriculture Professional with UMaine Extension in Cumberland County. His work focuses on farm safety as well as soil health, cover cropping, and nutrient management for vegetable production. He is currently involved in a multi-regional project to research the benefits and food safety risks of manure use on organic vegetable farms.

  • Alert to Corporations and Non-Profits Regarding Misleading Solicitations in Maine

    From the Secretary of State Matt Dunlap's office:

    Maine corporations have received misleading solicitation mailings again this year from a business operating under the name Maine Council for Corporations. These mailings include an "Annual Records Solicitation Form" and an offer to compile "corporate consent records in lieu of meeting minutes" for a fee of $150.

    Please be advised that the form provided by the Maine Council for Corporations is not prescribed or recognized by the Maine Department of the Secretary of State and this mailing does not come from the department's Division of Corporations. Additionally, the department does not require corporations to file the records that the form describes.

    The "solicitation form" looks similar to the Division of Corporations' annual report form, so although the solicitation correctly states that Maine Council for Corporations is not a government agency, some corporations have confused the form for the prescribed annual report. Maine corporations have received similar solicitations in recent years from Corporate Records Service.

    Please be advised that the Division of Corporations does not mail out the annual report form. The legal deadline to file annual reports with the Secretary of State's office is June 1, and corporate entities can file those reports online at .

    Any corporation that has questions about the solicitation or form is encouraged to obtain advice from its lawyer or business advisor. In addition, those with questions can contact the Maine Division of Corporations at (207) 624-7752 for information about corporate annual report and other business entity filing requirements under Maine law.


  • Rep. Fay’s K-9 emergency treatment bill signed by Maine's governor

    Rep. Jessica Fay’s bill to ensure working and service dogs have more access to emergency care was signed into law by the governor last week.

    The bill clarifies existing Maine law governing treatment of animals by extending Good Samaritan liability protection to cover trained emergency personnel who treat working and service animals in emergency situations.

    “I’d like to thank Governor LePage for signing this common sense piece of legislation,” said Fay, D- Raymond. “These dogs and the people who work with them are absolutely dedicated to each other, and this law will give these specially trained dogs a better chance to survive a serious injury in the field.”

    The bill, LD 1716, “An Act to Protect Persons Who Provide Assistance to Law Enforcement Dogs, Search and Rescue Dogs and Service Dogs” was proposed by law enforcement personnel, and it enjoyed wide bipartisan support.  It will go into effect 90 days after the Legislature adjourns.

    Fay is serving her first term in the Maine Legislature and represents part of Casco, part of Poland and part of Raymond. She serves on the Legislature’s Environment and Natural Resources Committee.

  • Maine judge grants temporary injunction against LePage's shut down of Downeast prison

     By Ramona du Houx

    “I am very relieved that Judge Murphy saw that the governor overstepped his authority when he shut down the facility without legislative approval,” said Rep. Anne Perry, D-Calais. “Downeast was a model for how to reintegrate prisoners into society. They were getting confidence and hope to prepare for life outside of prison. There is a lot of damage to undo from the governor’s action.”

    Perry was talking about the temporary injunction that was granted by Superior Court Justice Michaela Murphy against Governor LePage’s attempt to close the Downeast Correctional Facility in Machiasport, Washington County, Maine. When the facility shut its doors by order of LePage the community was shocked. The action was done in the night without any consultation with local authorities.

    “The governor was wrong to close the facility, especially in the underhanded way he did it, and I am glad the judge recognized that,” said Rep. Robert Alley, D-Beals. “Lots of local businesses counted on Downeast employees, but more than that, local businesses and other organizations counted on the prisoners and the work they did in the community.”

    Justice Murphy’s ruling in part noted that: “Given the statutory language requiring the establishment of DCF in Washington County, the Legislature's decision not to continue to delegate the authority to close facilities to the DOC, and the Legislature's language in the biennial budget, the Court finds that the Legislature's intent was to retain the authority to decide which facilities should remain operational and which facilities should close. While it is within the Commissioner's discretion to determine how to operate the DCF program, only the Legislature has the authority to decide not to fund DCF and rescind the requirements set out in 34-A M.R.S. § 3901.”

    Legislation to fund Downeast Correctional Facility for an additional year is still pending in the House of Representatives after an initial vote of approval.

    LD 1704 "An Act To Fund the Downeast Correctional Facility" sponsored by Representative William Tuell, R-East Machias, was passed in the House by a vote of87 to 59 and in the Senate by a vote of 31 to 3.

    The bill awaits final enactment in both chambers and action by Governor LePage. 

  • Nearly 60 Area Businesses to be Represented at the Belfast, Maine Regional Job Fair on March 20th



    The upcoming Belfast Regional Job Fair on Tuesday, March 20th will have a record number of employers participating.  According to Belfast Economic Development Director Thomas Kittredge “we are thrilled that we have surpassed last year’s number of participating employers.  In the first year of the event we had 40 of them, and now, in our second year, we have 57 employers, ones who are representing a wide variety of economic sectors and business sizes.  I am confident that there will be something here for each and every job seeker who attends the job fair.”

    The list of businesses who will be at the job fair include: Army National Guard, ASK . . . for Home Care, athenahealth, Bangor Savings Bank, Bank of America, Belfast Co-Op, Bonney Staffing Center, Broadreach Family & Community Services, Camden National Bank, Cianbro, The Colonial Theatre, Ducktrap River of Maine, Fisher Plows (through Kelly Services), Front Street Shipyard, Genesis HealthCare, Hamilton Marine, Hammond Tractor, Horch Roofing, The Inn at Ocean's Edge, Knox County Homeless Coalition, L.G. Whitcomb Grading and Landscaping, Lincolnville Communications, Lincolnville Lobster Pound, Living Innovations, MaineHealth (Coastal Region), Manpower, MAS Community Health, Mathews Brothers Company, Motivational Services, OnProcess Technology, Penobscot Community Health Care, Penobscot McCrum, PeopleReady, Private Home Care, Project Flagging, ReVision Energy, RH Foster, Robbins Lumber, Robert Half, ServiceMaster, Spectrum Generations, Spurwink Services, Sweetser, Three Tides Waterfront Bar, University of Maine Cooperative Extension 4-H Camp at Tanglewood, Viking Lumber, Waldo Community Action Partners, Waldo County Communications, and Whitecap Builders.

    In addition, the Belfast Area Chamber of Commerce will be representing a number of smaller businesses who are looking to fill positions, including: The Alden House Inn, Belfast Bay Shade Company, Belfast Dental Care, Green Home Solutions, Meanwhile In Belfast, Primerica, Rollie’s Bar and Grill, and SERVPRO.

    Finally, entities such as the Belfast Creative Coalition, the Maine Department of Labor at the Rockland CareerCenter, Workforce Solutions, and several area realtors will also be present at the job fair as resource providers.

    The Belfast Regional Job Fair is a collaboration between the City of Belfast, the Belfast Area Chamber of Commerce, the Belfast Creative Coalition, the Maine Department of Labor at the Rockland CareerCenter, Our Town Belfast, the University of Maine Hutchinson Center, and Workforce Solutions. 

    The 2018 Belfast Regional Job Fair will be held on Tuesday, March 20th, 2018, from 9:00 am until 2:00 pm, at the University of Maine Hutchinson Center in Belfast.  The University of Maine Hutchinson Center ( is located at 80 Belmont Avenue (Maine State Route 3) in Belfast, approximately ¾ mile west from the intersection of Belmont Avenue and U.S. Route 1. 

    The 2018 Belfast Regional Job Fair is free for all job seekers.  Job seekers are not required to register for the fair, but they are encouraged to RSVP via Facebook at '2018 Belfast Regional Job Fair’ (  As some employers may choose to conduct interviews at the fair, job seekers are also encouraged to be prepared by dressing appropriately and bringing resumes/relevant supporting materials

  • Maine job committee supports three year extension of job creating Pine Tree Development Zone Program

    Maine Pine Tree Zones helped coastal businesses as well as inland communities. Photo of Portland, Maine's harbor by Ramona du Houx 

    By Ramona du Houx

    Lawmakers on the Labor, Commerce, Research and Economic Development (LCRED) Committee gave initial support to LD 1654, An Act To Protect Economic Competitiveness in Maine by Extending the End Date for Pine Tree Development Zone Benefits. The committee increased accountability by requiring annual reports and amended the program to expire in 2021. The amendment also accepted other recommendations made by the OPEGA report to assess its true capacity to create jobs.

     Close to 400 companies have been certified under the Pine Tree Zone program, bringing good jobs and benefits to the state. The PTZ model helped grow Maine's economy until the great recession. Without PTZ's the state would be suffering economically worse than it is. Governor LePage has not managed to raise Maine out of the recession, even though every other state in New England is doing better since the great recession. LePage has held back important research and development bonds, which helped grow the economy as well as helped companies that set up here as PTZ businesses. Much of their R&D was conducted at the University of Maine, using voter approved bonds.

    “Whenever the Legislature directs taxpayer dollars towards incentives for businesses to create jobs, it’s incredibly important we demand transparency, accountability and benchmarks to make sure the tax breaks are doing what they’re supposed to do,” said Rep. Ryan Fecteau (D-Biddeford), chair of the LCRED Committee. “Pine Tree Development Zones are important for many rural Maine communities and I’m proud of committee members for working together to strengthen accountability before voting to renew the program.” 

    LD 1654 as originally drafted extended the Pine Tree Development Zone Program for five years with no additional accountability measures. The committee changed it to three years.

    The Pine Tree Development Zone Program (PTZ), established by the Maine Legislature in 2003 under the Baldacci administration, allows eligible businesses the chance to significantly reduce or eliminate state taxes for up to ten years while creating quality jobs in certain professions or by moving existing jobs in qualifying industries to Maine. Quality jobs are defined as those that meet certain income thresholds, offer healthcare coverage and access to retirement plans among other provisions.

    Eligible industries include biotechnology, aquaculture and marine technology, composite materials technology, environmental technology, advanced technologies for forestry and agriculture, manufacturing and precision manufacturing, information technology and financial services. Approximately 200 businesses statewide currently qualify.

    LD 1654 faces further votes in the full House and Senate.

  • Maine's Ranked-choice voting people's found valid with 66,687 signatures

    By Ramona du Houx

    Certification of the people's veto of "An Act to Implement Ranked-choice Voting in 2021" is complete and Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap confirmed today that the effort has enough valid signatures to move forward to a vote.

    “The people of Maine have once again spoken loudly and clearly: they want ranked choice voting. We are confident that the Secretary of State’s office will move forward in a responsible manner to implement RCV for the upcoming primary, and we hope that Republicans in the Legislature will drop their senseless opposition to the peoples’ will and, instead, join with Democrats to provide the tools and funding necessary to fully support a smooth implementation of RCV in the coming months,” said Maine Democratic Party Chairman Phil Bartlett.

    The proponents of this veto effort submitted 14,026 petitions with 77,305 signatures to the Elections Division of the Bureau of Corporations, Elections and Commissions on Friday, Feb. 2, 2018. Elections Division staff have completed the process of certifying the petitions and found 66,687 valid signatures, while 10,618 were not valid. Petitions for this effort were issued on Nov. 6, 2017 and a minimum of 61,123 signatures from registered Maine voters is required.

    The veto question will now go before voters at the primary election on June 12, 2018 and the primary elections for U.S. Senate, Governor, U.S. Congress, State Senate and State Representative will be decided by a system of ranked-choice voting.

    The Secretary of State's office has prepared an implementation plan outlining all the steps necessary to conduct the June 12 primary election using ranked-choice voting. Implementation of that plan will begin immediately. 

    This people's veto effort would repeal parts of Public Law 2017, Chapter 316 , which was passed by the Maine Legislature in October 2017. Ranked-choice voting was initially approved by the voters in November 2016; legislators voted for the delay/indefinite postponement due to constitutional conflicts in the ranked-choice voting law. The law would delay the implementation of ranked-choice voting until December 1, 2021 unless, prior to that date, the voters of the State ratify an amendment to the constitution of Maine; and would indefinitely postpone implementation if the constitutional change is not made. 

    The people's veto seeks a partial implementation of ranked-choice voting, as permitted by the Maine Constitution, for Maine's primary elections and for federal elections. If the ballot question is approved in June, ranked-choice voting would be used for the offices of U.S. Senate and U.S. Congress for the general election in November. If it is not approved, PL 2017, C.316 will take effect and ranked-choice voting will not be implemented, unless the voters amend the constitution as provided therein.

    Visit to view the proposed legislation in its entirety.
  • Maine's Rep. Blume’s coastal hazards commission bill due to climate change progresses

    Flooding in Maine at the seacoast town of Lincolnville across RT 1 after the March 2nd storm.

    Maine Rep. Lydia Blume’s bill to create a commission to examine the threats posed by weather and climate-based hazards to Maine’s coastal communities was approved by the Legislature’s Environment and Natural Resources Committee last Friday and will come before the House for an initial vote this week.

    The bill adapts a model successfully used by New Hampshire to set up a commission consisting of a wide array of stakeholders and experts to assess the coastal risks and hazards brought about by the changing climate. The New Hampshire efforts resulted in a detailed recommendation report to help coastal communities prepare for, and deal with, future conditions.

    “The recent storms along the coast, and particularly the storm this last weekend, have highlighted to me the need for this commission,” said Rep. Blume, D-York. “I hope that my colleagues in the Legislature recognize the timeliness and importance of this bill to our crucial coastline.  This is a matter of public safety and protecting our coastal economy.  The more we are able to do now, the more we can save money and lives in the future.”

    The bill, LD 1095, creates a broad-based working group with representatives from municipalities, state agencies, regional planners, legislators and other coastal stakeholders. It will report back to the Legislature with findings detailing the hazards faced by coastal communities and the plans and resources needed to deal with them.

    “The commission is going to be critical to help us be proactive concerning the kinds of changes that are now so evident,” Blume said. “Its work can provide us with the necessary guidance, coordination, direction and best practices to help all our coastal communities prepare for the hazards they face.”

    Blume is serving her second term in the Maine Legislature and represents the coastal part of York.  She serves on the Legislature’s Marine Resources Committee.

  • Maine Community Forestry Grants Available

    Project Canopy, the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry’s community forestry program, will award $75,000 in grants to local governments, municipalities, educational institutions, and non-profit organizations that support efforts to develop and maintain long-term community forestry programs.

    Funded by the USDA Forest Service, Project Canopy grants are available in two categories: planning and education grants and tree planting and maintenance grants. Typical grants range from $6,000 to $8,000 and require a 50-percent cost-share with cash or in-kind services. Since 2005, Project Canopy has awarded more than $1.5 million in funding for community forestry projects.

    Project Canopy is a program of the Maine Forest Service under the Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry. It encourages communities to develop project proposals that support sustainable community forestry management, increase awareness of the benefits of trees and forests, and increase the health and livability of communities through sound tree planting and maintenance.

    Project Canopy Director Jan Ames Santerre provided recent examples of community projects that can benefit from Project Canopy grants. Projects of note in 2017 include Auburn ($9,000), Camden ($10,000), and Biddeford ($10,000) for shade tree inventory and management planning for street trees; and Machias ($8,000), Alfred ($8,000), and Standish ($8,000) that allowed those towns to plant trees in downtowns and town parks. “In addition to helping communities with general maintenance planning, these grants allow towns to respond to threats from invasive pests such as the emerald ash borer. They can also support community beautification through street tree planting,” said Santerre.

    Planning and education grants have a maximum award of $10,000, while planting and maintenance grants have a maximum award of $8,000. To be eligible to apply for a 2018 assistance grant, all applicants must attend a grant workshop before submitting an application. The grant workshop will be held on March 13, 2018 via the web. The workshop will cover such topics as grant writing, project development, sustainable community forestry management and grant administration.

    Grant applications are due by 5:00 p.m., Friday, April 6.

    To learn more about the Project Canopy Assistance program and to sign up for a grant workshop, contact Project Canopy Director Jan Ames Santerre at (207) 287-4987.

    More information is available on the web at

  • How to Apply for Maine's Island Institute’s Aquaculture Business Development Program

    Island Institute is now accepting applications for its 2018 Aquaculture Business Development (ABD) program. In its third year, the program helps fishermen and others from fishing communities to diversify and launch small-scale aquaculture businesses. The nonprofit is looking to work with coastal and island residents who are highly motivated to start their shellfish or seaweed aquaculture businesses within the next two years.
    Applications are being accepted through March 23, 2018.

    The Aquaculture Business Development (ABD) Program will provide training on how to grow oysters, mussels, and seaweed; knowledge of the state leasing process, site selection, and community relations; the opportunity to visit established aquaculture operations from New England to Canada; connections to existing aquaculturists and industry experts; assistance in developing a business plan, marketing strategy, and farm management plan; and access to financing and continued business support for the first three years of business operation.

    This year’s program will begin with all-group and individual meetings in April, followed by a two- to three-day aquaculture boot camp where participants will receive hands-on training at sea farms in early May.
    Throughout the summer, participants will receive one-on-one assistance from Island Institute staff as they start their businesses, and the year will round out with in-person meetings in the late fall and winter.

    Applications and additional information are available at, or by calling the Island Institute at 594-9209. For questions regarding the Aquaculture Business Development program, contact James Crimp at, or Stephenie MacLagan at

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