Lobster embezzlement costs $4.5 million

A federal judge Thursday ordered a company allegedly set up to help facilitate a scheme to steal lobsters to pay a judgment of more than $4.5 million.

The ruling came in a civil suit filed by Sea Salt, a Saco restaurant and lobster wholesaler, against a former employee and part owner over lobsters allegedly shipped off the books and resold. The suit, filed last September, alleged that Matthew Bellerose of Scarborough shipped lobsters from Sea Salt without generating shipping labels or invoices so the company didn’t bill and wasn’t paid for the crustaceans. Sea Salt alleged that Bellerose, who had worked for the business since 2009, shipped nearly $1.5 million worth of lobster that he and a partner then sold.

Source: Portland Press Herald

Maine Fishermen Should Plan For Accelerated Ocean Warming

Climate change is triggering more and more surprise variations in temperatures in the world’s oceans, including off Maine, and those spikes are changing ecosystems in ways that looking at the past wouldn’t predict.

That’s one of the conclusions of a new study out Monday from the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, which finds that the bigger-than-expected temperature swings are benefiting some species while hurting others, and that has effects that can be felt up the food chain by the humans that depend on those ecosystems.

Source:  | Maine Public

Company admits wrongful foreclosures in Maine

Ocwen Financial Corporation will refund or credit 24 Maine residents more than $50,000 in attorney’s fees they were assessed when their homes were foreclosed upon, and the company will pay $24,000 in civil penalties and $10,000 in investigative costs to the state of Maine, as part of a Consent Agreement signed last week.

Ocwen is a national provider of loan servicing for lenders. It is headquartered in Florida and has offices in several states. In its Consent Agreement with Maine’s Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection and Attorney General, Ocwen admitted that after July 2014 it pursued foreclosures against Maine homeowners based on paperwork which the state found to be legally defective.

Source: WAGMTV

Northern Maine only place in eastern US with clear night sky 

There are precious few places left in the United States where you can still view a “pristine” night sky, according to a new study in the Journal of Environmental Management. Situated far from the glare of city and small town lights, these places offer the same unimpeded view of the cosmos that our ancestors saw thousands of years ago, before electric lighting conquered the darkness.

Source:  Portland Press Herald

Windham rejects proposal for subdivision standards

The Planning Board voted Monday not to recommend proposed new subdivision standards to the Town Council that would have prioritized open space and kept the rural character of the town’s subdivisions.

The proposal was formulated by the Long Range Planning Committee, and Planning Director Amanda Lessard presented the new standards at a Town Council meeting June 4. The standards were then sent to the Planning Board for review.

Source:  Portland Press Herald

State admits it was wrong to resist federal crackdown on oil tank pollution

Maine was wrong to fight a federal crackdown on hazardous emissions from petroleum storage tanks in South Portland and Searsport, a state official now admits, but there is still no consensus on how to safeguard the public from air pollution produced by oil facilities across the United States.

For much of the last decade, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection sided with oil companies and defended a widely disputed method of estimating air pollution from storage tanks that was developed by the petroleum industry, according to documents obtained by the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram under a Freedom of Access Act request.

Source: Portland Press Herald

Portland Water District issues warning about deceptive mailing that urges water testing

The Portland Water District is warning customers about a deceptive postcard that urges people to get their water tested due to seasonal changes.

The water district said it has received several calls from people in Cape Elizabeth who have received the postcard.

Officials said people in other communities might have received it as well.

Source: WMTW

Reopening Old Town Mill Expects To Produce Pulp By August

The new owner of the Old Town pulp mill has hired 130 workers and expects the reopened facility will begin producing pulp by the end of July, a major turnaround for a plant that shed nearly 200 jobs when it closed in 2015. More than 1,000 people applied for the open positions at the Old Town mill, which was bought in October by ND Paper, a subsidiary of the Chinese company Nine Dragons Paper (Holdings) Ltd.

Source: Maine Public

Locals have been tricking visitors with this Down East ‘mall’

You’re in Machiasport, wondering what local sites you should check out. A local resident tells you that you really should visit the Bucks Harbor Shopping Mall.

Sounds impressive, right? So you decide to take a look.

You might at first dismiss the observation that the road to the mall is suspiciously narrow, curvy and lined with trees that provide a thick canopy, unlike most multi-laned mall roads. Then, as you pull up to the mall’s parking lot, you see that it’s gravel and large enough for maybe a dozen vehicles. The one-story structure it leads to is not much larger than a double-wide trailer, and it looks like it has been closed for years.

Source:BDN Maine