Maine knocks New Hampshire promotion of cheap booze

New Hampshire is trying to lure more out-of-staters to its liquor stores, using a promotion that Maine-based critics say is a cheap shot. From now until Labor Day, out-of-state residents can discounts for alcohol purchases at state-owned liquor and wine outlets across New Hampshire, a promotion derided as a “gimmick” by Maine’s liquor agency. Residents of Maine, Massachusetts and Vermont can receive a discount equal to double their home state’s sales tax. For Mainers, that means 11 percent off a purchase of up to $149.99. Gregg Mineo, director of the Maine Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages and Lottery Operations, said New Hampshire’s promotion is a sign that Maine’s new business model for state-run spirit sales is working, and taking a bite out of New Hampshire’s liquor sales. Mineo encouraged Mainers to shop locally for alcohol, since the state supports privately owned liquor stores while New Hampshire’s stores are owned by the state. Read the story.


Nursing home to close in wake of lower state reimbursements and higher minimum wage

An independently operated nursing home has given its residents and staff 60 days to relocate after announcing Thursday that it will shut its doors after 46 years. Roger Wilday, business manager for Ledgeview Living Center in West Paris, said it has become impossible to “continue to pay our employees underneath the current reimbursement system for the state of Maine.” That, coupled with a 2016 law that raised Maine’s minimum wage to $10 an hour, created a perfect storm from which Ledgeview has been unable to rebound. Ledgeview Living Center houses 72 residents and employs 122 people. Read the story.


Regulators spike effort to increase elver quota

Maine’s efforts to expand its lucrative baby eel fishery by increasing its annual quota by 20 percent were shot down Wednesday. But the state did secure an extra 200 pounds of yearly landings to help a Thomaston eel farmer build a new aquaculture center. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, the interstate body that oversees the American eel fishery, cited the “depleted” state of the stock when it rejected the proposal. Licensed Maine fishermen are currently allowed to harvest 9,688 pounds of baby eels, which are also elvers. Maine sought to increase that annual harvest to 11,749 pounds. During discussion, commissioners cited the difficulty that scientists face when estimating the size of the American eel population, especially baby eels, but noted that scientists generally agreed that the stock is depleted. Read the story.


Frontier expands service at PWM

Less than a month after its first flight from Portland, ultra low-cost Frontier Airlines plans new flights to Florida’s Gulf Coast. Frontier will start service to Tampa and Fort Myers in November, according to a news release from the Portland International Jetport Wednesday. Frontier advertises steeply discounted flights, but passengers have to pay extra for items such as $30 to $60 for carry-on luggage or $6 to $25 to select a seat. Flights from Portland to Denver, Colorado and Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina, started on July 10. It will add flights to Orlando this week. Read the story.


Job outlook predicts fewer than 100 new jobs through 2026

A new state report predicts that fewer than 100 net jobs will be created in Maine through 2026. A report from the state Department of Labor’s Center for Workforce Research and Information says that although a significant number of jobs will be added in fields such as health care, food preparation and personal care, other fields such as sales, office administration and production will experience equally large job losses. The report also projects that by 2026, Maine will lose more than 30,000 workers in the 45-to-54 age range and add more than 30,000 in the 65-plus range, meaning more Mainers will be working well into what had been retirement years. Overall, the report predicts net growth of only 94 jobs in Maine from 2016 to 2026, representing total job growth of 0.014 percent over the 10-year period with roughly nine jobs added to the state’s economy each year. Read the story.

Agreement averts telephone workers strike

Negotiators averted a possible strike late Saturday against Consolidated Communications, northern New England’s largest landline telephone company. Union and company negotiators announced Aug. 5 that they had reached three-year agreements, setting aside the possibility that the company’s nearly 1,000 union employees would carry out their threat to strike for the second time in less than four years. The agreements, which would expire on Aug. 7, 2021, are subject to ratification by members of the two unions involved. Negotiations seemed to have broken down over the company’s demand for changes to allow it to hire more independent contractors to make repairs, install equipment and maintain the system. Read the story.


BIW gets $33.6 million to continue work on warship

The Department of Defense has awarded General Dynamics Bath Iron Works a $33.6 million contract to extend work on a class of smaller warships. BIW was awarded the work by the U.S. Naval Sea Systems Command for support services for littoral combat ships. The yard received a contract in 2014 to become the “planning yard” for the Navy’s two classes of littoral combat ships. BIW was responsible for handling on-board and in-shore maintenance, ship alteration design and other material support for the ships. The initial amount awarded to BIW was $9.8 million but the contract total would rise to $100.4 million if all options were exercised, according to the Department of Defense. Read the story.


Auburn plans trade trip to China

Auburn officials will spend 12 days in China next month as part of an effort to encourage more Chinese business investment in the city. Mayor Jason Levesque and Economic Development Director Michael Chammings say they will use the trip to promote tourism, education and economic development. City officials said Fang Cheng Morrow, owner of Prospect Hill Golf Course in Auburn, will pay for the trip, which will include meetings on tourism, factory tours, conversations on educational exchanges and the investment of Asian capital in Auburn’s economy. Morrow, president of Mingjing Industry Group Co., purchased the golf course last year and invested in improvements immediately. At the time, she said she and business partner Nianping Wang were also scouting locally for land to build a 15-acre indoor mushroom-growing factory that could create 150 jobs in the next two years. Read the story.


Idexx accuses rival of poaching employees, theft

Idexx Laboratories, the Westbrook veterinary services firm, has accused two former employees and Portland-based Vets First Choice of stealing secret business plans and information. In a lawsuit filed Friday in U.S. District Court, Idexx said Dan Leach and Agostino Scicchitano took confidential planning documents and training materials from company computers when they moved to Vets First Choice during an “aggressive” push by that company to recruit Idexx workers. The two employees violated non-compete agreements that they would not work for a direct competitor to Idexx after they left the company, and Vets First Choice encouraged the former employees to disregard those agreements, Idexx said. In a written statement, Vets First Choice co-founder David Shaw, who also founded Idexx, said the company was not able to comment on the pending litigation. Read the story.

Brunswick attorney suspended, practice placed in receivership

A Brunswick attorney has been suspended from practicing law in Maine. Court documents accuse James Whittemore of misusing and converting more than $250,000 in trust funds from two unrelated clients. Superior Court Justice Nancy Mills ordered the immediate interim suspension this week. Whittemore will have the chance to respond at a future hearing. The Maine Board of Overseers of the Bar submitted the petition for Whittemore’s suspension in July. An affidavit attached to the petition outlines two separate complaints against Whittemore. In both cases, the clients allege the attorney never delivered money owed to them from his client trust account. Mills’ order requires Whittemore to shut down his law practice, which the court has placed in receivership. Read the story.


NYA sells houses for condo development

A developer has purchased two buildings on Main Street in Yarmouth from North Yarmouth Academy for redevelopment into a condominium complex. The properties, at 149 and 153 Main St., sold for a combined $1,025,000, according to Cardente Real Estate of Portland, which brokered the sale transaction. The buyer, Waypoint Partners LLC, plans to begin work in the fall on what it has dubbed the Shepley and Weld Village Townhomes. Waypoint member Matt Wogan said the company plans to begin selling the 12 units in the summer of 2019. Read the story.