Brunswick composites factory to close

Owens Corning, a global insulation and composites company, will close its Brunswick factory and lay off 60 employees. Machinery at the plant will be transferred to the company’s plant in Wichita Falls, Texas, according to company spokesman Todd Romain. The plant makes technical fabrics out of fiberglass, primarily for the wind power industry. The company is relocating for cheaper transportation and to be closer to its customers, Romain said. Owens Corning will wind down operations and shut down certain machines in the next three months, but the earliest date it expects job losses is Dec. 31, Romain said. Maine employees will not be relocated to the new factory, he said. Read the story.


Scientist receives $1.7 million grant for wound research

A scientist at MDI Biological Laboratory in Bar Harbor has been recognized as an “outstanding investigator” by an arm of the National Institutes of Health for her research on wound healing and has received a grant of $1.7 million, the laboratory said Wednesday. The designation and award by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences will support scientist Vicki P. Losick’s research on the regulation of polyploidization in wound repair, MDI said in a news release. Polyploidization is a mechanism that supports cell enlargement by duplicating the number of chromosomes. It carries a grant award of about $348,000 per year for five years, or a total of about $1.7 million. Read the story.


State appoints new director to oversee medical marijuana program

Maine has named a new director of its medical marijuana program, a position that had been vacant for a year. Craig S. Patterson, a former management analyst in the state Department of Health and Human Services, has filled the position that was last held by Marietta D’Agostino, who left the position about a year ago and is now director of compliance for a Massachusetts-based biotech firm that focuses on the cannabis industry. According to state records, Patterson has been a state employee for about two years. Read the story.

Lawmakers still unsure of revenue, costs of proposed pot law

With two weeks to go before lawmakers vote, state analysts have yet to calculate the fiscal impact of rewriting Maine’s adult-use cannabis law. According to the Office of Fiscal and Program Review’s still evolving projection, recreational marijuana will generate no more than $9.6 million in tax revenues in the first year of legal sales, and no more than $27.7 million a year once the market is up and running. The cost of regulating the market cannot even be guessed because state agencies are only now sharing their projected staffing needs. The Office of Fiscal and Program Review had been waiting to see if state agencies that have been tasked with overseeing some part of the adult-use marijuana industry would testify in front of the legislative committee and tell lawmakers how many new people they would need to hire to regulate the new market, he said. That never happened. Read the story.


Condo project planned on Washington Avenue

A 45-unit condominium complex proposed in East Bayside faces a public hearing and possible vote in Portland on Tuesday. South Portland developer Vincent Maietta said if the estimated $13 million project is approved, he plans to break ground next spring. The condos at 218-220 Washington Ave. would be built in a four-story, 45-foot-tall building on steeply sloped land near the Interstate 295 off-ramp, across from the Eastern Promenade intersection with Washington Avenue. The site has a single-family house, which would be demolished. Read the story.


Madison solar farm fires up

The largest solar array in the state is now fully operational, as the final 25 percent of the 26,000-panel array was brought online Wednesday. The array, which will generate enough electricity to power 700 homes, is spread over more than 20 acres at the Madison Business Gateway. Madison Electric Works, a department of the town of Madison, signed a 26-year agreement with Ohio-based IGS Solar to purchase all the electricity produced by the array at a fixed rate of 7.99 cents per kilowatt. After six years the utility will have the right to purchase the energy farm at an estimated cost of about $6 million. The farm generates enough electricity to satisfy the needs of about 20 percent of the district’s customers. Read the story.


Pet supply store named retailer of the year

Loyal Biscuit, a chain of pet supply stores, was named Retailer of the Year by the Retail Association of Maine. Directors of the association lauded the the owners of the company, Heidi and Joel Neal, for growing their company and their commitment to giving back to the community, according to a release announcing the honor. The company was chosen for its reputation as a well-run family business, impressive growth, social, ethical and environmental responsibility, and staff development procedures. Since 2011, Loyal Biscuit hosted 12 “Pints for Paws” fundraising events that raised more than $28,000 for local animal shelters. Read the story.

Oregon brewery demands Maine beer company stop using ‘apocalypse’ in label

Mason’s Brewing Co. announced via Facebook that it received a cease-and-desist letter from Oregon’s 10 Barrel Brewing. Mason’s, which is in Brewer, included pictures of the letter in its post. The letter demands Mason’s stop using the name “Hipster Apocalypse IPA,” which was released earlier this year. 10 Barrel says the name is too close to its Apocalypse IPA, which came out in 2010. Read the story.

Allagash to stop free samples

Allagash Brewing announced Wednesday in a blog post by founder Rob Tod that it will begin charging for samples of its beer. The Portland brewery had been offering free 4-ounce samples of all four tap beers in its tasting room, but Tod says there are too many visitors to continue giving away beer. A spokesperson for Allagash said they drew 120,000 visitors in 2016 and were on track for over 150,000 this year. The Riverside area where Allagash is located has become a beacon for tourists. A tasting flight will cost $4, Tod said. An additional two samples will cost $4, with sizes varying by style of beer. Read the story.


Court orders GWI to pay $406,000 broadband fee

Maine’s supreme court has ordered an internet service provider to pay more than $406,000 that was supposed to go to a broadband service group and the former Broadband Sustainability Fund. The state and the ConnectME Authority sued Great Works Internet’s corporate parent, three years ago for failing to pay the fee imposed on broadband service provided over fiber cables for its high-speed internet project called Three Ring Binder. GWI contended the state unfairly singled out the project for an unconstitutional tax, but the Supreme Judicial Court ruled Tuesday that GWI had to pay. Read the story.


Vets First Choice investment cracks top 10 in nation

A $223 million investment in Vets First Choice of Portland in July was among the 10 largest U.S. venture capital deals of the third quarter, according to a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers. The investment ranked 10th-highest among all venture capital deals in the U.S. during the third quarter, according to the quarterly PwC/CB Insights MoneyTree report, issued Wednesday. It was the only major venture capital investment reported in Maine for the quarter. Vets First Choice, which provides e-commerce services to veterinary clinics, announced in July that it had received funding from a group of investors led by New York-based Clayton, Dubilier & Rice and Beijing-based Hillhouse Capital Group, with participation from Viking Global Investors, Wellington Management Co., Rock Springs Capital and Sequoia Heritage. It was the largest single venture capital investment in a Maine company since 1997. Read the story.

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