Sierra Peaks Corporation gets Pine Tree Zone tax benefits and sets up in Camden, Maine

April 23rd, 2014 · No Comments · Business & Innovation, Community Maine, Creative Economy

Sierra Peaks Corporation, a New Mexico-based company that develops and manufactures superior acoustic miniature microphones and other communications related devices, is planning to invest more than $3,000,000 in two facilities in Camden. The investment is expected to lead to the creation of more than two dozen manufacturing jobs with the potential for more jobs down the road.

Sierra Peaks will benefit from the Pine Tree Zone tax incentive package set up under the Baldacci administration to promote job creation and even the playing field with other states by making Maine more competitive.

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Will LePage continue to hold Maine back by vetoing innovation bonds and healthcare?

April 23rd, 2014 · No Comments · Budgets, Business & Innovation, Capitol news, Community Maine, Creative Economy, Editorials, Issue 40

Maine's capitol at night, photo by Ramona du Houx

Maine’s capitol at night, photo by Ramona du Houx

Other New England states have recovered almost all the job losses due to the Great Recession. Maine stands alone as the only east coast state that has built back less than half the jobs caused by the economic crash. Not the kind of reputation Maine needs, and most of blame falls at the feet of Governor Paul LePage with his dangerous policies and way of governance.

He hurts the state’s reputation by putting down the people of Maine and discourages businesses owners who may be looking to Maine to locate in. He has publicly badmouthed the President, Maine lawmakers, women, students and children. A governor should be promoting the great qualities the people Maine have— their tireless work ethic, hospitality, ability to be easily trained and their community mindfulness. Not to mention the amazing natural attributes the state has from mountains, rivers, lakes, forests and a 2,000-mile long coast.

Last year the Legislature approved bonds for infrastructure improvements and the people of Maine voted for them. This year LePage used these bonds as a bargaining tool by refusing to release them until he got what he demanded. Meanwhile thousands of construction workers were delayed from working. They had to wait until LePage was done using them as pawns.

This year a new $40 million innovation/small business bond proposal was approved by the Legislature.

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Governor LePage’s vulgar language has no place in Maine politics

April 23rd, 2014 · No Comments · Capitol news

This expose reminds people in Maine what is behind LePage’s behavior, which discredits most everyone in the state and only benefits cooperate interests. Let’s not forget.

There were a number of bills about transparency that the legislature approved this spring, however they have been vetoed by LePage. Some may be brought back to the legislature for a another vote to try and override the vetos.

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Maine DHHS transparency bill fighting fraud vetoed by LePage

April 23rd, 2014 · No Comments · Capitol news, Health Care, Issue 40

Maine State Capitol, photo by Ramona du Houx

Maine State Capitol, photo by Ramona du Houx

The Legislature sent Governor LePage a bill that would require Maine’s Department of Health and Human Services(DHSS) to be more transparent and accountable to Maine citizens but vetoed it.

“I sponsored this bill, L.D. 1829, because the fight against fraud and abuse in our public programs needs to be one of the highest priorities. Part of the problem is that we aren’t working from a common set of facts that let us know what the DHHS is doing well and where it needs to improve,” said Rep. Drew Gattine, who serves on the Health and Human Services Committee. He is also a health care executive whose background is in the management of state Medicaid agencies.

The measure would have required the DHHS to give an annual accounting of all its efforts to fight fraud, waste and abuse in MaineCare, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (cash assistance) and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamp assistance): what’s working and what isn’t, what the DHHS is doing to fight crime and what it is doing on the front end to prevent fraud.

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Federal aid, $1.2 million, for clean water projects in Wiscasset

April 23rd, 2014 · No Comments · News from Washington

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree announced that Wiscasset is getting $1.2 million in federal funding to pay for a new clean-water project that will upgrade some of the town’s pump stations and replace water and sewer lines on Birch Point Road and in downtown Wiscasset.

“This funding is going to make it possible for Wiscasset to make some much-needed upgrades to pumping stations to increase their capacity and replace an old water and sewer line,” Pingree said. “Not only does that help maintain clean-water supplies in Wiscasset, it will bring work to local contractors and give local taxpayers a bit of a break.”

Some of the water and sewer lines are over 40 years old and the pumping stations are over 30 years old and in need of replacement.

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Bath Iron Works of Maine awarded $57 million in contracts

April 23rd, 2014 · No Comments · Business & Innovation

Bath Iron Works was awarded two Navy contracts today for work totaling just over $57 million. One contract, for $28.7 million, is for fleet maintenance work on Navy ships. The other, also for $28.7 million, is for design and engineering work on the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS.) The LCS is a smaller ship designed to operate in near-shore (littoral) waters, carrying small amphibious assault forces, helicopters and equipment that allows it to perform a variety of missions, from anti-submarine warfare to mine-sweeping and intelligence work.

“Both of these contracts show how important BIW is to the Navy and to the nation’s industrial capacity,” said Congresswoman Chellie Pingree. “The experience the yard has in building and maintaining the fleet and their top-notch design and engineering skills are part of what makes BIW a world-class shipyard. It’s no wonder the Navy continues to select them for critical jobs like these.”

Pingree is a member of the House Appropriations Committee, which determines funding levels for Navy programs.

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Maine Bank foundation donates $100,000 to nonprofits

April 23rd, 2014 · No Comments · Community Maine

The Bangor Savings Bank Foundation will donate $100,000 to nonprofits across Maine as part of their annual Community Matters More program. During the month of February 2014, more than 86,000 Mainers voted for organizations they care about, and 68 Maine nonprofits will be receiving grants in May.

“Obviously, Maine people understand the vital role that these organizations play in their communities, and they want to do what they can to help. And when you look down the list of the grant winners, it is clear that nonprofits of all sectors are integral to Maine’s community spirit. Not only is Bangor Savings Bank committed to providing financial support, we are very grateful to all those who participated,” said iJim Conlon, Bangor Savings Bank’s president and CEO.

Eight nonprofits that received the most community votes will each receive a $5,000 grant. They are:

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Issue 40: Will LePage hold Maine back without innovation bonds and ACA healthcare

April 22nd, 2014 · No Comments · Issue 40

ISSUE 40: Will LePage continue to hold Maine’s economy back without innovation bonds and Affordable Care Act healthcare?

EDITORIALS—

The VolturnUS floating offshore wind turbine 1/8th pilot at it's launch. VolturnUS is the only offshore wind turbine in the Americas. photo by Ramona du Houx

Will LePage continue to hold Maine back by vetoing innovation bonds and healthcare? -

Rep. Seth Berry: Maine needs small business and innovation bond package -

CAPITOL NEWS—

Speaker’s bill to increase property tax credit

Task force to find funds to end student hunger becomes law without LePage’s signature -

LePage’s veto of ACA funds keeps healthcare from 70,000 Mainers

Maine DHHS transparency bill fighting fraud vetoed by LePage

Budget eliminates and reduces DHHS wait lists for people with disabilities, ups reimbursements for struggling nursing homes

Maine’s first-in-nation bill to help foster children finish college

LePage’s veto spree hurts people, the environment, education, jobs and Maine’s quality of life -

Gov. LePage’s dangerous actions make bad national news for Maine

JOB NEWS—

Maine to get $600,000 to help increase value of crops grown in the state

Maine lawmakers pass $50 million job bond plan

President Obama announces over $500 million in job training and apprenticeship grants

1441444_10153424507255383_194496931_nCongressman Michaud makes a strong case to close the wage gap

WORKERS RIGHTS—

President issues executive order prohibiting retaliation against employees of federal contractors who discuss salary

LePage’s proposed “Business Zones” were anti-workers rights

ART AND ENTERTAINMENT—

DSC_8234-copyNouveau Cirque Theater comes to Maine with Bowdoin College’s Harrison Bergeron

Artists combat human trafficking in Brunswick, Maine

Maine Arts Education Day at the Capitol a success

VETERANS’—

Rep. Fowle’s Maine veterans court bill heads to governor’s desk

Michaud visits Togas

SCIENCE—

ed03fcd529a284100b84109c07603df4East Coast’s first ocean acidification bill

International design award for innovative Bigelow Laboratory

FDA finds Bigelow Laboratory in compliance with standards for first-in-nation shellfish toxin method

ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT—

Maine parents protest by returning products containing toxic chemicals to Walgreens in Portland, Bangor

Jackson’s thermal energy bill to look at renewable biomass for energy production becomes law

$1 million federal grant to protect Maine coastal lands

Lawmakers advise LePage to strengthen mining rules, protect waters and taxpayers
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Sen. Haskell’s law protects businesses from false patent claims

April 22nd, 2014 · No Comments · Business & Innovation, Capitol news, Issue 40

A bill sponsored by Assistant Senate Majority Leader Anne Haskell to make it harder for “patent trolls” to harass and extort money from Maine businesses has been signed into law by Governor Paul LePage.

“These scammers are a drain on honest businesses and the Maine economy,” said Senator Haskell. “This new law will discourage fraud while still protecting honest patent holders.”

A “patent troll” is a person or company that claims that a patent it holds is being infringed upon by a business, and then threatens to sue the business unless outrageous licensing fees are paid. Businesses are faced with the choice of paying off the troll or risking expensive and time consuming lawsuits.

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Portland, Maine makes Baxter Boulevard a car-free oasis on Sundays from May 4 – November 9

April 22nd, 2014 · No Comments · Community Maine, Public Safety

Maine's Portland City Hall during the holidays,  photo by Ramona du Houx

Maine’s Portland City Hall during the holidays, photo by Ramona du Houx

The City of Portland and its partners today announced that it is launching Sundays on the Boulevard starting May 4, 2014. Baxter Boulevard, with one of the best views in Portland, will be transformed into an urban oasis for bike riding, running, walking, skateboarding and other recreational activities. The road will be closed to cars on Sundays from May 4 through November 9, 9:00 AM – 4:00PM, from Vannah Ave to Payson Park.

“We hope to capitalize on the momentum that was created when the Boulevard was closed last year to cars during our public works project,” said Michael Bobinsky, Portland’s Director of Public Services. “People really took advantage of the roadway during this time and enjoyed it as a recreational space. This is just a formal extension of that.”

The impetus for Sundays on the Boulevard follows the City’s public works project last year that kept the Boulevard closed to cars for eight months. The program is part of a growing number of open street projects, in which streets are closed temporarily to auto traffic so that people may use them for walking, bicycling, dancing, playing and socializing. There are more than 100 documented initiatives across North America, according to the Open Streets Project.

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