GENERAL BUSINESS: Credit card magnate, philanthropist Chuck Cawley dies

The man who poured millions of dollars into the midcoast to build credit card giant MBNA has died.

Charles Cawley, whose call centers in Camden, Belfast and Rockland and elsewhere in Maine employed 4,500 at their peak, died at his home Wednesday. He was 75.

Cawley’s impact went well beyond his contributions of jobs and buildings that supported the credit card giant, but was also renowned for his philanthropy, which exceeded $50 million.

Cawley, who had a home in Camden with his wife, Julie, founded MBNA in 1982 as the credit card subsidiary of MNC Financial, a regional bank holding company centered in Baltimore. In 1993, he opened a regional marketing center in Camden, near where his family had summered for years. From that first call center, which initially had 250 workers, MBNA built other facilities throughout the early ’90s and grew to employ thousands. Read the story.

Fairchild Semiconductor sold to Arizona rival

Fairchild Semiconductor, which has about 650 employees in Maine, is being sold to an Arizona company for $2.4 billion.

ON Semiconductor of Phoenix, a Fairchild competitor, is buying the chip maker using mostly borrowed funds.

Neither company indicated Wednesday whether the sale would result in layoffs. The combined companies will overlap in some product areas. Both make chips that control power supplies, ON Semiconductors’ chief executive said in a conference call Wednesday that the overlap was “minimal” and the product lines would complement each other.

But an industry analyst said Fairchild’s plant is older than most owned by ON and the company doesn’t have a reputation as an innovator – both attributes that complicate its position under the new owner. Read the story.

REAL ESTATE & DEVELOPMENT: Board upholds train shed permit

The state Board of Environmental Protection voted 5-0 on Thursday to uphold the Department of Environmental Protection’s decision to permit the construction of a train layover facility in Brunswick.

The board rejected an appeal filed by a group of residents who live near the site where the 60,000-square-foot train shed is now under construction.

Consigli Construction is building the $12.4 million facility for the Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority. The rail authority says the layover facility will allow for more frequent and efficient Downeaster service because trains could be stored overnight in Brunswick rather than return each night to Portland.

Many neighbors had opposed the project because of concerns about noise and pollution. A group of them appealed the DEP decision in June to approve the stormwater management plan submitted by the rail authority. Read the story.

East End building eyed for condos

A team of developers is looking to convert one of the oldest buildings in the India Street neighborhood of Portland into 10 high-end residential condominiums.

The development company, Clean and Simple Living, has submitted an application with city planners for eight studio and two, one-bedroom condos at 273 Congress St., the former location of the Angela Adams home furnishings store. The building is currently being used as offices.

Sale prices for units, ranging from 571 square feet to 1,043 square feet, are expected to range from $230,000 to $350,000, though those prices could change depending on final construction costs. The first floor retail space would be preserved. Read the story.

LEGAL: Vendors receive payments from Nova Star

The owner of the Nova Star has begun making settlements with companies owed money by the ferry operator, according to court records.

Singapore Technologies Marine, a Singapore shipbuilder that owns the Nova Star ferry, has settled with Portland Pilots, Sprague Operating Resources, and McAllister Towing and Transportation Co. for bills incurred during the ferry’s operation shuttling passengers between Portland and Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.

The vessel was seized by U.S. marshals on Oct. 30 and placed under arrest in Portland Harbor while claims seeking payments of more than $3 million were sorted out in U.S. District Court of Maine. Read the story.

TRANSPORTATION: Controversial location for York toll plaza approved

The Maine Turnpike Authority is moving forward on a controversial plan to build a high-speed toll plaza 1.5 miles north of the existing York plaza rather than at the site preferred by the town of York.

The toll road’s board of directors voted unanimously Thursday to instruct staff to seek permits to build the plaza at mile marker 8.8. Construction could start in the spring of 2017 if the permits are awarded.

Although expected, the board’s decision sparked outrage by opponents of the plan who have been battling the relocation for years.

The turnpike authority’s staff had recommended the site, as did a consultant, who told the authority it would save $20 million if it built the plaza at Mile 8.8 on the turnpike rather than at Mile 7.3, a site 400 feet north of the existing plaza.

The town of York and Think Again, a collection of concerned residents, prefer having the new toll plaza built at Mile 7.3. Read the story.

RETAIL: New brewery planned for Westbrook

Mast Landing Brewing Co., which got its start in a garage in Freeport, plans to open the city’s first brewery and tasting room in an industrial building downtown by the end of January.

The Westbrook Planning Board on Tuesday approved the change of use for the former home of Atlantic Limousine at 920 Main St. into a microbrewery.

Mast Landing joins a rapidly growing craft beer industry in the state, where about one third of its 67 breweries opened in the past two years, according to the Maine Brewers’ Guild. Read the story.

Tim Hortons closes shops

Tim Hortons Cafe & Bake Shop closed numerous stores across central Maine as well as in New York last week in the latest reorganization for the Toronto-based coffee shop chain.

The chain abruptly closed two stores in South Portland – at the Maine Mall and on Market Street – as well as one on Western Avenue in Augusta, prompting the Maine Department of Labor to activate the agency’s Rapid Response Team to assist workers displaced by the closures.

Three Tim Hortons stores in the Lewiston-Auburn area also were closed Wednesday, according to the Lewiston Sun Journal, and one in Biddeford.

It was unclear Wednesday evening whether more Tim Hortons locations in Maine had shuttered or were facing closure. A spokeswoman for the company, which has been rapidly expanding in the U.S. in recent years, did not answer questions about the number of stores slated for closure in Maine. Read the story.

TECHNOLOGY: App maker backed by Google

Chimani, a five-year-old company that’s building a series of free mobile apps for national parks and other outdoor destinations, was tapped Wednesday by Google to be one of nine exclusive launch partners for Google’s new App First Indexing technology.

Chimani, which got a shout-out at Google I/O in June, has been working with Google on the launch for several months. In partnership with Chimani, Google has indexed more than 25,000 points of interest and events related to national parks and other outdoor attractions, according to the company. Read the story.

ENERGY: Electric rates to dip for CMP-served customers

Home and small-business customers served by Central Maine Power who buy electricity through the state’s standard offer will see slightly lower rates in 2016.

The Maine Public Utilities Commission on Tuesday accepted a bid for energy supply that is 3.7 percent lower than last year’s average, which will translate to roughly a savings of $1.35 a month on a typical homeowner’s bill. Energy supply rates that currently are 6.71 cents per kilowatt hour will dip to 6.46 cents next year. For a typical CMP customer using 540 kilowatt hours a month, that will cut the energy portion of the bill from $36.25 to $34.90, according to PUC calculations.

The standard offer is the default rate for the 40 percent or so of customers who don’t sign contracts with a competitive energy supplier, but it’s also an indicator of overall retail market rates and trends. Read the story.