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Web only: Lincoln Paper and Tissue to layoff 200 workers, pulp, paper operations idled indefinately
LINCOLN – About 200 Lincoln Paper and Tissue employees have been laid off, the result of the mill's decision to idle its pulp and paper operations, the mills chief executive officer said on Wednesday afternoon.
The layoffs are a result of an early November explosion of the mill's recovery boiler, Van Scotter noted in a brief statement released Wednesday afternoon.
"Given the situation created with the November recovery boiler explosion and the costs associated with this, we have decided to indefinitely idle the Pulp and Paper mill portions of our facility," Van Scotter said in the statement.
"Our Tissue mill business will continue to operate at full capacity," Van Scotter added. "Consequently, we will be downsizing to accomplish this change in operations. These are difficult decisions because they affect our hard working employees and the surrounding communities. However, they are necessary for the long term survival and success of our business."
The mill had been running its pulp mill at a reduced level since the explosion, which did not injury anyone but destroyed the boiler.
In a brief telephone interview, Van Scotter said management is still trying to determine the best way to proceed with the boiler project and lamented the timing of the layoff announcement.
"I think it will be an extended period," Van Scotter said regarding the layoffs. "They will not be permanent layoffs, but indefinite."
Gov. Paul LePage pledged his administration's support for the mill and its workers in light of the layoffs.
“Our administration is going to do everything it can to help these millworkers,” said Governor LePage in a statement. “The explosion at the mill was extremely unfortunate, and we stand ready to assist in investing in the facility."
Members of the Maine Department of Labor's "Rapid Response" team were activated on Wednesday to help LPT officials and employees, according to the statement, while Labor Commissioner Jeanne Paquette will meet with mill officials on Thursday morning, the LePage statement noted.
Those affected by the layoffs were urged to log onto www.maine careercenter.com for information, LePage noted in his statement.
State Sen. Emily Cain also released a statement in response to the layoffs, which reads as follows:
"The announcement that 200 workers will be losing their jobs through no fault of their own is shocking and deeply unsettling, especially as we head into winter. This is horrible. It will not only have an impact on these families, but on the community as a whole.
"The holiday season is an especially challenging time to be out of a job. My heart goes out to all of the families affected by this devastating news, and I will do whatever I can to help those impacted in the months ahead. Lincoln is a community of tough, resilient, and hardworking people. Together, we will get through this challenging time.”
The Lincoln News will have further updates in upcoming print editions.
LP&T working on boiler solution, moving ahead with natural gas work
LINCOLN — LP&T employees continue to work while officials determine the next steps regarding the recovery boiler that exploded last month. The mill continues to work with contractors, insurance company officials and others on the project.
Covanta Energy plant fire quickly contained
ENFIELD —Firefighters were able to knock down a Tuesday morning fire at a local energy plant. A bearing in a conveyor belt at the wood-to-energy plant caught on fire, which was reported to Penobscot County dispatchers at about 5:40 a.m. Once Covanta employees were able to reduce power to the area, firefighters were able to knock down the fire in about 15 minutes. The fire was limited to the area where it started.
Trash pass increase, zero-sort recycling recommendations could face Lincoln Town Councilors at Dec. 9 meeting
LINCOLN — Councilors could vote on a pair of transfer station-related items when they meet on Dec. 9. As part of the proposed meeting agenda, councilors could be asked to approve an increase in the annual "trash pass" fee to $20 and seek bids for a "zero-sort" recycling program as the town seeks to reduce its solid waste costs.
Mackenzie donation received, bond application raises questions
EAST MILLINOCKET — Both school and town officials have said the Mackenzie donation is essential in repairing Schenck High School and keeping the building working with no burden to the taxpayer. The first check for $1 million was hand delivered to the superintendent's office by a family member Nov. 25 and the East Millinocket Board of Selectmen was subsequently asked to open a new account to put the money in.
Missing hunters found safe after two-day search
KATAHDIN REGION — Two men from the Katahdin Region were found safe Sunday evening two days after they went missing while hunting in the north Maine woods. Travis Hafford, 33, of East Millinocket and Ryan Stevens, 33, of Millinocket were located approximately 6 p.m. Sunday at a cabin on Narrow Pond south of Eagle Lake Township in rural northern Piscataquis County. The Maine Warden Service were first alerted that the two men were missing Saturday morning after they were overdue from hunting the previous day.
Recycling bins removed after hypodermic needles found inside
MILLINOCKET — The town of Millinocket has removed the recycling containers at the Northern Plaza Shopping Center after an incident last week when hypodermic needles were found inside. The five containers were located on the east side of the shopping plaza adjacent to Pangburn Family IGA supermarket and used by the town as a disposal site for recyclable materials that were then hauled to the transfer station. Town Manager Peggy Daigle said the town has recently found several inappropriate items in the containers such as trash and pet droppings before an incident on Nov. 26 when hypodermic needles were found in one of the containers.
East Millinocket ambulance rolls over on I-95
EDINBURG — An ambulance from the East Millinocket Fire Department transporting a patient to Bangor hospital was involved in a roll-over accident Monday morning on I-95 south of the Howland exit. The accident occurred around 9:45 a.m. at mile marker 214 southbound in the community of Edinburg approximately three miles south of the Howland interchange. The driver lost control of the vehicle on the ice and slush-covered roadway. The ambulance went across the breakdown lane off the right side of the interstate and rolled over once before coming to rest on its tires facing northbound.