News

Jewelry store encounters ban on sign walker, a little-known part of Maine’s billboard law

It’s not an unusual sight: people holding signs at intersections advertising store-closing sales, or, come October, wearing Halloween costumes while holding signs for seasonal costume shops. But in Maine, the signs they’re holding are illegal.

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FirstPark investment yet to deliver jobs promised to central Maine communities that bought in 15 years ago

The T-Mobile call center in FirstPark employs around 600, jobs that some say were worth the millions of dollars that area taxpayers have poured into the development over the last 15 years. But there are only about 200 employees in the rest of the park, scattered among less than two dozen small medical offices and financial firms. On paper, the investment hasn’t come close to paying off for the 24 central Maine communities that invested in FirstPark, cities and towns that have lost $5 million and counting.

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Landlords across Maine scrambling to test for radon to comply with law

If you rent an apartment or house, you should hear from your landlord by the end of March about the results of a radon test for the air in your home. But don’t hold your breath. A state law passed in 2009 requires the air and the water in all residential rental buildings to be tested for radon, but it’s clear many landlords and property owners have yet to test.

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Gardiner sees first city-owned business park lot sales since 2011

The city of Gardiner recently sold two lots in Libby Hill Business Park, the first sales since 2011 at the park the city built along Brunswick Avenue 15 years ago.City officials say they hope the lots sold to Riverside Disposal earlier this month mean the more than $9 million in debt for initial construction and subsequent expansion will start paying off.

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UMA to work with private developer on dormitory housing

The University of Maine at Augusta, which opened 50 years ago without a campus and has only recently shifted its focus to four-year degree programs, is planning another step in its evolution: opening a dorm on campus in 2017. If it goes as planned, the project will not only be a first for the Augusta college but also for the University of Maine System.

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At Augusta homeless shelter, demand far outweighs supply

Kristopher Hartford and Tatiana Nirza said they were lucky to get beds in the Bread of Life homeless shelter with their 7-month-old son just two days after they called. Many others aren’t as fortunate. Openings at the 30-bed emergency housing shelter are usually filled within 24 hours.

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Maine smelt camp operators experience worst season ever

An early freeze brought smelt fishing shacks out along the Kennebec River and other tributaries of Merrymeeting Bay before January, but some operators might cut their seasons short for a reason unrelated to the thickness of the ice: a lack of fish. The lead smelt biologist for the state and smelt camp operators say this has been the worst season for smelt they’ve ever seen.

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Readfield and Wayne evaluate each other as part of new professional development method

Evaluating teachers can be a contentious subject, but teachers and administrators at two central Maine elementary schools are using an evaluation strategy that they say is improving instruction and creating a culture where teachers learn from each other. “I think it’s good to have that additional layer, feeling like you’re being held accountable for what you’re teaching,” one teacher said.

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Bank leaders say support won’t change after merger

If Camden National Bank’s acquisition of The Bank of Maine closes in October as expected, the city of Gardiner will lose a downtown tenant and a longtime supporter of the community.The Bank of Maine, formed in 1834 as Gardiner Savings Institution, gave $1 million for the construction of the city’s Waterfront Park and has supported a variety of community groups and initiatives.

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