Senator King Joins Push To Boost Rural Broadband Access

A Maine senator says a plan to boost innovation and job growth in rural areas by providing money for broadband access would benefit his state, much of which is forested and sparsely populated. Independent Sen. Angus King says he’s getting behind the Revitalizing Underdeveloped Rural Areas and Lands Act, which is also called the RURAL Act. The proposal is supported by Republicans and Democrats and it would ensure access to government grants and assistance for tax-exempt electrical cooperatives.

Source:  Maine Public

Bucksport approves tax break for proposed salmon farm

The Town Council voted 7-0 on Thursday night to approve a tax break for a company that proposes to bring one of the state’s first land-based Atlantic salmon farms to the site of the former Verso Paper mill. Whole Oceans CEO Jason Mitchell told the council during its meeting that with the tax-increment financing deal approved, the company will apply to the town next month for a permit to build the aquafarm, with construction slated to begin in the fourth quarter of this year.

Source: BDN Maine

Rep. Golden’s bill would allow federal programs to help cannabis businesses

Maine’s junior member of Congress, 2nd District Democrat Jared Golden, is pushing a measure that would force the federal Small Business Administration to stop saying no to cannabis-related businesses.

Golden’s bill would prohibit a number of SBA programs, from the Veterans Business Outreach Centers to the Small Business Development Centers, from declining to help otherwise eligible small businesses solely because they deal in cannabis-related products.

Source: Portland Press Herald

Brower acquires publication catering to seniors

Reade Brower, owner of Masthead Maine and RFB Enterprises, has acquired MAINE SENIORS magazine. Masthead Maine and RFB Enterprises publishes six Maine daily newspapers and more than 25 Maine weeklies, as well as, TravelMAINE, Downeast Dog  News, The Real Estate Magazines for Mid-Coast Maine and Portland and other specialty publications.

Brower states, “I am excited to take over the reins of Maine Seniors. David Nealley has done an outstanding job building this magazine to be at the forefront of this important niche market. The feature stories and important information in each issue make this a must-read for Maine seniors and those who love them.”

Source:  Camden Herald

Summer labor crunch hits Maine businesses hard

Summer visitors to Maine eateries, inns and other seasonal attractions are likely to notice that service is slower, hours of operation are more limited and employees appear tired and stressed at some establishments.

That’s because the state’s labor shortage has become so acute that industry leaders say it now affects virtually every business and organization, especially those that staff up for the summer tourism season.

“In my mind, we’ve reached the tipping point … where our ability to provide the kind of service that Maine is known for drops, or we have to close places and cut back on hours and can’t serve the demand,” said Steve Hewins, president and CEO of HospitalityMaine, a trade group for hotels and restaurants.

Source: CentralMaine.com

15 Maine communities opt into legal marijuana

The number of cities and towns opting in to legalized marijuana is slowly growing in Maine as the state gets closer to accepting applications for licenses.

Democratic Gov. Janet Mills signed a bill in late June that sets up a legal framework for recreational sales. The state Office of Marijuana Policy plans to begin accepting applications for recreational marijuana business licenses by the end of the year.

So far, at least 15 municipalities have opted into adult use marijuana, said David Heidrich, spokesman for the marijuana office. Those cities and towns have decided to authorize businesses that grow, process, test or sell marijuana.

Source: AP News

Woolwich residents to hear if recreational pot sales will be allowed 

The owners of Farley’s Cannabis Farm, a local medical marijuana dispensary, are waiting impatiently for Woolwich town officials to figure out what rules they want to set for marijuana sales in town. “We go to every town meeting and try to educate them because they don’t know what they’re doing,” said Kelli Small, co-owner of Farley’s Cannabis Farm. Small and her daughter Sayra have also given the board another town’s ordinance as a guide for writing Woolwich’s.

Source:  Portland Press Herald

Montville pastor donates land for facility for newly released inmates 

Many inmates look forward to the day they are released from custody, back into the free world, but for others, release day arrives wrought with anxiety about what comes next. For those with a felony record, finding jobs can be difficult, as can securing a place to live that doesn’t put them directly back into the circumstances that led them to jail in the first place. Without a job, it can be difficult or impossible to fund even basic things such as transportation, food, and shelter.

One local man, who counts divine inspiration as a motivating factor, is determined to help those ending their incarceration by offering them a place to get back on their feet.

While the facility is still in its planning phase, Peter Sheff, Waldo County treasurer and pastor of Abundant Grace Church, says he doesn’t worry too much about where the funds for the project will come from.

Source:  PenBay Pilot

State looking to help wild blueberry industry

Maine lawmakers might try to pump some life into the state’s troubled wild blueberry industry by overhauling the makeup of the commission that promotes the state’s most important fruit crop.

Maine is America’s sole significant commercial producer of wild blueberries. These are smaller than the ubiquitous cultivated blueberries and are used in lots of frozen and processed products. The industry is weathering a difficult time, as harvesters collected about 57 million pounds of the fruit in 2018, down nearly 11 million pounds from the previous year. Prices have been lukewarm, too.

Source: Portland Press Herald