Daily Archives: February 10, 2010

Shoe shop, take two

Former owner of Maine Shoes

buys it back, starts new company

 LEWISTON — Almost 11 years ago, Michael Rancourt sold his shoe company to Allen Edmonds, his biggest client for hand-sewn, high-end loafers.

Allen Edmonds is changing, and Rancourt and his son Kyle have bought the business back.

As part of the deal, they got private label contracts for names such as Ralph Lauren and employees who have been in the hand-sewing business for so long that some worked for Rancourt’s father, Dave.

Rancourt & Co. Shoecrafters is working out of one wing of Allen Edmonds’ factory on Commercial Street, temporarily, on the hunt for new space.

“I sat down with every person I offered a job and said, ‘Look, we’re going to start over again,”’ said Michael Rancourt, a Lewiston native.

Click on the link for the rest of today’s story by Kathryn Skelton of the Lewiston Sun-Journal.

‘Black Sam’ Bellamy and the ‘pirate’s republic’ in Maine

You gotta love pirate trivia. And you had to know there was plenty of it to go around when it comes to Maine. The rocky coast must have made it a perfect place for pirates and pirate ships to hide. I also seem to recall from what my high school history teach told us in class that it was a good place to offload booze during Prohibition and marijuana during the Age of Aquarius.

Here’s the pirate trivia question from DownEast.com.

Why was Maine a special place for the pirate captain Samuel Bellamy?


Bellamy planned to establish a “pirate’s republic” in the remote Machias area of eastern Maine.

I’m not very trusting of Wikipedia, but here’s a link to the entry for Capt. Samuel “Black Sam” Bellamy.

Towers collecting wind data as SAD 1 weighs power plans – Bangor Daily News

 Towers collecting wind data as SAD 1 weighs power plans – Bangor Daily News.

Coffeehouse observation No. 41

I think I just saw a dingo walk by the coffeehouse. … Here doggy, doggy, doggy …

Go to Coffeehouse Observer for more coffeehouse observations.

Coffeehouse observation No. 40

A toddler just toddled by at the coffeehouse carrying a sippy cup and wearing a down vest with little hearts on it. She brushed my leg because, well, the leg was in the way. I’m not sure if she had French roast in the sippy cup.

Go to Coffeehouse Observer for more coffeehouse observations.

Maine eyes federal jobs bill

Maine summit seeks

ideas from businesses

 AUGUSTA, Maine — Legislative leaders called on Congress Tuesday to pass another stimulus package featuring tax breaks for small businesses that add employees, investment in infrastructure improvements and additional financial relief for states.

Gov. John Baldacci, meanwhile, held a jobs summit with business leaders from around the state on Tuesday to solicit ideas on steps government can take to help companies and the state grow their way out of the recession.

 “That’s why every one of you gets up every day and it’s certainly before me every single day,” Baldacci told representatives from 80 businesses across the state.

At a midday press conference, Democratic leaders from the House and Senate urged Congress to move forward with a jobs stimulus bill reinvesting money from the federal bailout of financial institutions, known as the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP.

Click on the link for the rest of today’s story by Kevin Miller of the Bangor Daily News.


Fraser aims to heal pain of workers

MADAWASKA, Maine — Having just completed a painful contract negotiation with its largest American union, Fraser Papers Inc. now will work to heal divisions within the local paper mill and to finish the company’s emergence from bankruptcy protection, its chief contract negotiator said Tuesday.

“We are pleased that the agreement is ratified,” said Bill Peterson, Fraser’s human resources director. “We know it was difficult for people and it is one giant step that had to occur in order for [a new company] to be born, or to emerge into existence.

“We are obviously closer to the finish line today than we were yesterday,” Peterson said Tuesday.

About 65 percent of the 460 members of United Steelworkers Locals 291, 365 and 1247 approved a new three-year deal Monday that put into effect an immediate 8.5 percent wage cut. Union votes on Nov. 22 and Dec. 30 had rejected the contract overwhelmingly.

Management declared last week that the new deal is among three conditions the re-formed, post-bankruptcy Fraser company, temporarily called Newco, must meet to prevent the closing and scrapping of the 680-worker mill and its sister pulp mill across the St. John River in Edmundston, New Brunswick.

Click on the link for the rest of today’s story by Nick Sambides Jr. of the Bangor Daily News.


UMaine to oppose wind power lawsuit

UMaine to oppose wind power lawsuit

Close to Home: Falmouth students lend habitat help in Mississippi | Portland Press Herald

 Close to Home: Falmouth students lend habitat help in Mississippi | Portland Press Herald.

Activists’ appeal to put wind rules in spotlight | Portland Press Herald

(Maine lawmakers and regulators have to figure out how to fix the problems and get wind power going. Otherwise, there may be no other choice than to hand over the keys to the nation to the Saudis or the Chinese. — KM)

Activists’ appeal to put wind rules in spotlight | Portland Press Herald

Here, in America, ‘I have my life’

From across the globe,

they come seeking

freedom and opportunity

FALMOUTH — The last time Lisa Cooke of Falmouth watched the Olympics with her husband and children, she realized it was time to become an American citizen.

Cooke, a native Australian, rooted for Australia while her English husband, Paul, cheered on the United Kingdom’s athletes. That left their two children, Douglas, now 8, and Adelaide, now 11, to support the U.S. teams.

“They were not too pleased with us,” said Cooke.

That was part of the reason why Cooke swore the oath of U.S. citizenship Tuesday with 46 other people from 24 countries in a naturalization ceremony at Falmouth Middle School.

Every year, about 1,100 foreign residents in Maine become U.S. citizens. Most take the oath in administrative ceremonies held in courtrooms.

The ceremony at Falmouth Middle School, which has become an annual event, is a much more elaborate observance. This year, it featured performances by the school chorus and a speech by Reza Jalali, a writer and refugee activist who lives in Falmouth.

The group was surrounded by hundreds of camera-toting friends, family members and fifth graders, who acted as hosts after studying U.S. immigration.

Click on the link for the rest of today’s story by Beth Quimby of the Portland Press Herald.