BIW gets contract for four more destroyers

Bath Iron Works has been awarded a $3.9 billion contract to build four additional DDG-51 Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers, ensuring a robust workload for the Bath shipyard through 2022. Still, BIW was bested by its primary competitor, Huntington Ingalls Industries of Pascagoula, Mississippi, which was simultaneously awarded a $5.1 billion contract to build six of the U.S. Navy destroyers. Typically, new contracts for Arleigh Burke-class destroyers have been split evenly between BIW and Huntington Ingalls. At $3.9 billion for four destroyers, BIW is charging the Navy $975 million per vessel. In comparison, Huntington Ingalls’ $5.1 billion contract for six destroyers indicates that BIW’s top competitor is only charging $850 million per vessel. BIW officials released a statement about the new contract late Thursday, but did not comment on the fact that it included two fewer ships than what the competition received. Read the story.


Oyster farm raises concerns in Maquoit Bay

Just three years after launching The Mere Point Oyster Co. in Brunswick, owners Doug Niven and Dan Devereaux are looking to create the state’s second-largest oyster farm, a 40-acre endeavor on Maquoit Bay. For the owners, the expansion is the natural next step in their business’s growth, but some neighbors fear the project will turn the bay into an industrial area. Mere Point has had smaller leases to harvest oysters on the bay for years, but is now proposing a 40-acre farm that could eventually produce 5 million oysters annually. Residents are concerned with the scale of the operation, and members of the Maquoit Bay Preservation Group attended last week’s Brunswick Town Council meeting to voice concerns about the proposal, notably the impact it would have on the environment and on activity in the bay. Read the story.



Eimskip exec steps down

The longtime executive in charge of U.S. operations for the Icelandic cargo shipping firm Eimskip has resigned. Larus Isfeld worked for Eimskip for nine years and led its relocation to Portland and expansion in the city. Isfeld said he intends to stay in Portland and work on “ambitious projects.” He did not respond when asked what new work he is considering, but Isfeld is connected to the New England Ocean Cluster, a marine business incubator that plans to open a co-working space on the Portland waterfront in early 2019, according to its website. Andrew Haines, vice president of marketing and sales, will be interim managing director of Eimskip’s U.S. operations, the company said in a written statement. Read the story.


Bangor-based health system changes its name

Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems is changing its name to Northern Light Health to reflect its ongoing shift from a loosely affiliated group of regional providers to a highly coordinated statewide health care system in Maine. Since the acquisition of Mercy Health System and its flagship institution Mercy Hospital of Portland in 2013, EMHS’s geographical reach has exceeded the original regional limitations that its name suggests, said Matt Weed, senior vice president and chief strategy officer at EMHS. Prior to 2013, EMHS was centered in the Bangor area with operations stretching as far north as Presque Isle. Now, it operates nine hospitals across northern, eastern and southern Maine, along with a variety of primary care and specialty physician practices, long-term care, home health and hospice agencies, and ground and air emergency transport. Read the story.



Governor’s wind commission loses another member

A vocal critic of commercial wind energy in Maine has resigned from Gov. Paul LePage’s secretive commission to study the industry, saying the group “lacks urgency, credibility and focus.” Chris O’Neil, a consultant to the anti-wind organization Friends of Maine’s Mountains, said he welcomed the creation of the Maine Wind Energy Advisory Commission as a positive step toward investigating what he contends are the industry’s harmful impacts on the state’s “quality of place.” But in a resignation letter to LePage – also a fierce critic of the wind industry – O’Neil said he had ” little faith that it will achieve much, if anything.” O’Neil said in the four months since his appointment there have been no meetings, and the commission has lost members over that time. Read the story.

Coalition calls for energy guidelines

A diverse group of 20 organizations on Wednesday released a set of guiding principles it says Maine should follow to take advantage of expanding clean-energy technologies, while protecting the environment and strengthening the economy. The six principles are contained in a document called Energy Pathway for Maine. Advocates include businesses and interest groups such as Coastal Enterprises Inc., Reed & Reed, East Brown Cow Management, the Island Institute, the Maine Council of Churches and the Shellfish Growers Climate Coalition. The group say it’s important to have a public dialogue about these ideas, as Mainers prepare to elect a new governor and Legislature. The Energy Pathway for Maine document will be mailed to all legislative and gubernatorial candidates, as well as other stakeholders. Read the story.



Judge finds DA candidate violated bar rules

A judge has ruled that district attorney candidate Seth T. Carey violated several Maine Bar Rules, including unlawful conduct stemming from his unwanted sexual advances involving a woman who lived in his Rumford home. “In this case, the court concludes that the nature of the conduct in question reflects adversely on Carey’s trustworthiness and fitness as a lawyer,” Justice Thomas Warren wrote in his 18-page order on the Maine Board of Overseers of the Bar petition against Carey. The judge’s decision Friday came a month after a three-day hearing in Cumberland County Superior Court at which counsel for the board presented its case in support of sanctions against Carey, including disbarment. A hearing on which, if any, sanctions should be imposed on Carey for the bar violations is expected to be scheduled by the court. The board’s attorneys presented evidence and witnesses, including a woman who claimed that Carey had made persistent unwanted sexual advances and evicted her after she repeatedly rebuffed him and recorded the wrong basketball game for him one time. Read the story.


State seeks to revoke Arundel composter’s license

Environmental regulators intend to revoke the licenses of an Arundel composting company accused of producing noxious odors, polluting a local stream and obstructing state inspectors. Maine Environmental Protection Commissioner Paul Mercer issued notice last month to Dubois Livestock and Excavating Inc., informing the farm and earthwork operation on Irving Road that the department intended to pull the company’s three compost licenses. The notice followed attempts the department says it made for over a year to get Dubois to fix more than two dozen environmental rule violations outlined in three separate notices issued to the company in 2017. The state alleges that Dubois’ flawed composting operation emitted foul smells across the neighborhood, produced compost that contained salmonella, leached polluted runoff into a nearby stream and accepted fish sludge in violation of its permits. The agency further alleges that Dubois staff barred inspectors from entering its property and denied record requests. Company President Randy Dubois rejected the state’s allegations in a written statement Tuesday. Read the story.



Vets First Choice unveils plans for new HQ

Vets First Choice has received city approval to begin construction on a new headquarters in downtown Portland to support the company’s rapid growth and expansion. On Tuesday night, the Portland Planning Board approved a site plan for the 170,000-square-foot facility, which will feature space for more than 1,500 employees including offices, a pharmacy, a fulfillment center and software and data science labs. The project, at 12 Mountfort St., represents a major milestone for Vets First as the company looks to establish an even larger presence in the region and accommodate the significant growth it has experienced over the past few years. Vets First has said the facility also would serve as the headquarters for a planned new company that would be created when it merges with the animal health division of Henry Schein Inc. of Melville, New York, which would be spun off as its own publicly traded company late this year or in early 2019. Read the story.

Maine Med files plans for Congress Street expansion

Maine Medical Center is moving forward with the third and final phase of the hospital’s $525 million expansion project, filing site plans for a six-story building on Congress Street in Portland’s West End. Maine Med’s application, filed Tuesday with the Portland Planning Board, proposes a 265,000-square-foot building with a main entrance to the hospital complex on Congress Street aimed at making it easier for visitors while improving the hospital’s “presence” on the city street. The structure will be built at the current location of Maine Med’s Gilman Street parking garage and will feature 64 private patient rooms plus 19 cardiovascular care procedure rooms. The new medical building is the third phase of Maine Med’s five-year, $525 million expansion that stands to reshape a primary corridor through Portland’s West End neighborhood. If granted final site plan approval by the planning board, Maine Med plans to begin construction on the Congress Street building in 2020 after a new parking garage is completed on St. John Street and the Gilman Street structure is demolished. Read the story.

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