MFPC Newsletter April 2020
Everyone wants to help Jay mill, but it will take time to assess options
I think I can speak for everyone in our closely connected industry, when I say, we are so happy no one was hurt during the explosion at the Pixelle mill in Jay on Wednesday. But the damage to the mill will certainly impact our entire industry since we have such an integrated supply chain. We all are talking and thinking about this, but there are no quick or easy solutions.
Pixelle, based in Pennsylvania, is a new member of the Council, completing its $400 million purchase of the mill in February. Everyone wants to help the workers and the mill, but right now we have to give management a chance to access the damage and their options.
Investigators are now working to determine what went wrong and that will take time, although the early view was that a ruptured pressure vessel ruptured in one of the mill’s two wood digesters. The paper machines were not affected by the explosion, according to Roxie Lassetter, Pixelle human resources manager, but “ we are not in a position to estimate the exact timing of restarting any part of the mill.”
Waiting for more information is hard, but at this point that is what we have do. Read more.
- Gov. Mills unveils actions to protect housing during COVID-19 pandemic
- Jobs For Maine’s Graduates distributing supermarket gift cards
- Gov. Janet Mills extended a state of civil emergency for the state of Maine for another 30 days on Tuesday, April 14, a move that enables Mills to retain her emergency powers to enact or relax prohibitions on social activities and commerce until May 15 in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Read more.
- Pierce Atwood – COVID-19: Main Street Loan Facilities – If your business did not meet the size limitations of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) there are facilities being developed for larger businesses (although they are also available for firms with PPP loans). One of those programs is the Main Street Loan Facility. This program provides for unsecured terms loans in which the bank lender holds 5% and sells 95% of the loan to the Federal Reserve. Read more.
- Gov. Mills Issues Executive Order Moving Primary Election to July 14th: The order, which is effective immediately, also allows applications for absentee ballots to be made in writing or in person, without specifying a reason, up to and including the day of the election. It also extends the deadline for qualifying contributions under the Maine Clean Election Act to May 19, 2020.
- Maine small businesses to receive $1.5 billion in paycheck protection funds
- U.S. Department of Labor’s Unemployment Insurance Guidance Letter 15-20 (UIPL) providing guidance to states for Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC). For department resources on COVID-19, please visit: https://www.dol.gov/coronavirus. Read more.
SFI invites participation in Standard Revision process
- Light traps: In 2019, 17 light traps were operated statewide and we witnessed a dramatic increase in light trap catches, with 502 adult SBW moths caught at twelve sites, although not the same sites as in 2018
- Overwintering larvae: Just under six percent of sites were positive in 2018, with a combined total of 25 larvae recovered from 17 of 290 sites. Just over 10 percent of sites were positive in 2019, with a combined total of 70 larvae recovered from 30 of 271 sites.
- Defoliation Surveys and Assessments: Although no defoliation was detected during aerial survey (feeding needs to be approaching a moderate level of damage before it is visible from the air.) Defoliation assessment indicated there was in fact a shift towards higher levels of defoliation severity, with fewer sites being categorized as trace and more sites now falling into the low and moderate categories.
Institutional Challenges to Workforce Development in Maine
By Thomas Remington, Harvard University, Maine Policy Review
The problem of workforce development in Maine has become acute. An important factor for understanding the issue of workforce development, in Maine and nationally, is rising economic inequality. High inequality impedes the working of labor markets, and over time, reduces opportunity and mobility. In Maine, as elsewhere, income gaps have widened between rich and poor while the middle class has been shrinking. Moreover, the gap between high-income and low-income counties has been growing. Meantime, many good-paying jobs are going unfilled. Comprehensive institutional solutions can help overcome these problems by matching supply and demand in the labor market, but they are not simple or cheap. Read more.
Cerahelix founder leaves to manage UMaine’s 3D printer program
Susan MacKay, the co-founder and CEO of Cerahelix Inc., has resigned from the company to take the position of senior research and development program manager with the University of Maine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center in Orono.
Alex Crowell, a Cerahelix board member and investor, has taken over as interim CEO at the Orono-based company, Maine Startups Insider reported on Monday.
At UMaine, MacKay will turn her attention to managing the Advanced Structures and Composites Center’s large-scale biobased additive manufacturing program, working with Oak Ridge National Laboratory. She will help research, develop and commercialize products that use the developing technology, 3D printing. Read more.
- Visit Maine PLT Facebook – www.facebook.com/MainePLT
- If you don’t have access to Facebook, here is the link to National PLT YouTube videos.
- Learn how to choose a PLT activity and then find a wealth of free resources for that activity online, both on national PLT’s website and beyond.
- Read activity descriptions from the pK-8 EE Guide, from the Environmental Experiences for Early Childhood and from the high school guide, Monitoring Forest Health
- Find links to other resources.
Since 1961, the Maine Forest Products Council has been the voice of Maine’s forest economy. MFPC’s members are landowners, loggers, truckers, paper mills, tree farmers, foresters, lumber processors and the owners of more than 8 million acres of commercial forestland, but they are also bankers, lawyers and insurance executives. The Council represents members at the Maine Legislature and across the state, in Washington D.C. and across the U.S.
Patrick Strauch, Executive Director;
Pat Sirois, SFI Coordinator
Sue McCarthy, Office Manager