Posts Tagged ‘Industry News’

NewPage ‘indefinitely’ idles Rumford paper machine

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

By Whit Richardson, BDN Staff

RUMFORD, Maine — NewPage on Tuesday said it would “indefinitely” stop operation of one of the paper machines at its Rumford paper mill by mid-February because of tough economic conditions.

Employees at the Rumford mill — there are about 830 — received the news Tuesday morning, according to Anthony Lyons, a mill spokesman….

Click to read more from the: Bangor Daily News

As WE See It: Addressing the Logging Capacity Issue

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

By ALC Presidnet Brian Nelson

The term logging capacity appears to be the latest buzz word in our industry. There has been considerable discussion on the subject from mills to timberland owners to loggers and most everyone in between. While I admit that the issue is serious to the long term sustainability of the timber industry, the reasons for the shortage are as varied as the potential solutions being offered up. To complicate things even further, the reasons and potential solutions are generally quite different depending on which segment of the industry one is speaking to.

Numerous articles have been written dealing with the many facets of the logging capacity shortage but the one I’d like to touch on is labor. For a business to succeed it has to have an experienced and stable workforce among other things. For a business to continue for generations it needs an experienced management team that can take over when the current owner decides to call it quits.

Like many in this industry my brother and I got started at a very early age by following dad to the woods on weekends and summer vacations. We learned to run each machine by “getting in and pulling levers to see what they do” as our dad would always tell us. We learned to run the operation by following in his footsteps, asking a lot of questions, and learning from our mistakes.

While it hasn’t always been easy there is nothing that I would rather be doing. Logging is all I’ve ever done and all I’ve ever wanted to do. With each passing year we get older and closer to calling it quits and the need for someone to take over our operations increases. The question is “Who is that someone and where are they to get the experience that is needed to take over a logging business?” For many the answer could very well be our children just as many of us learned and took over from our parents.

Logging, much like farming, is a generational industry where many of the businesses are family owned and operated and are past down from generation to generation. The two are also very similar in the sense that you are either born into it or are married into it. The number of young people getting into the industry without any family history in logging is few and far between and with good reason.

While many of us started learning the ropes at a young age in the past, today that is not possible or should I say it is not legal per Federal Child Labor Laws. Logging is considered a hazardous occupation and therefore no one under the age of eighteen may be employed in it.

I understand the reason for the law is to protect the young and inexperienced and I surely wouldn’t want to see anyone get injured whether it is one of my kids or someone else but I believe the law is a bit antiquated. The reason I say that is that I feel it was written in the days when hand falling and bucking with chainsaws were the norm, but today, at least in the Lake States Region, chainsaws are the exception not the rule. Mechanization has greatly improved safety over the years and many of today’s modern machines are safer to operate than some of the jobs our kids are allowed to do.

The American Loggers Council (ALC) has been working on this issue for a number of years now with members of Congress and the Department of Labor. We have been trying to get the same exemption afforded our counterparts in agriculture for our immediate family members between the ages of 16 and 18. Today’s modern logging operations are labor intensive, highly mechanized and technical careers that require on-the-ground training in order to train the next generation to be proficient and productive.

This exemption would ensure that the next generation of mechanical timber harvesters can gain the needed on-the-ground training and experience under the close supervision of their parents who have a vested interest in their children’s safety and in passing down the profession to the next generation of timber harvesters.

Brian Nelson is the current President of the American Loggers Council and he and his brother David and father Marvin own and operate Marvin Nelson Forest Products, Inc. based out of Cornell, Michigan.

The American Loggers Council is a non-profit 501(c) (6) corporation representing professional timber harvesters in 30 states across the US. For more information, visit their web site at www.americanloggers.org or contact their office at 409-625-0206.

Loggers Meet in Grapevine, Texas

Monday, July 29th, 2013

Peterbilt hosts American Loggers Council Summer Board meeting

Hemphill, Texas (July 29, 2013) – Members of the American Loggers Council (ALC) gathered on July 26 through July 27 in Grapevine, Texas for their Summer Board of Directors meeting that was hosted by Peterbilt.

The two day program began with a Friday morning meeting and tour of the Peterbilt production facilities located in Denton, Texas where Jim Zito, National Vocational Sales Manager for Peterbilt and Dan Brunner, Regional Vocational Sales Manager for Peterbilt lead discussions on not only their line-up of products being offered to the timber harvesting industry, but a look into the future as to what part liquefied natural gas might play in the industry.

Following the morning discussions, members were treated to a tour of the 430,000+ square foot production facilties where Peterbilt is producing many models of its trucks, including their latest Model 567.  The group was able to walk the floor while asking questions and seeing much of the technology that goes into building the Peterbilt line of trucks.

Following the plant tour, members gathered again to comment and ask questions pertaining to the tour, as well as the rebate program that Peterbilt is currently offering to ALC members in good standing with their State and Regional logging associations; details available on the ALC web site at www.americanloggers.org.

Peterbilt treated the ALC Board members to lunch at Rudy’s Barbeque Restaurant for a real taste of Texas prior to returning everyone to the hotel.

Saturday morning, the American Loggers Council Board of Directors met to review committee work and other proposals that have been presented since their last meeting in March.  Reports were heard from the executive, legislative, transportation, communications, membership and nominations committees.

ALC Board members discussed the current review process for the Sustainable Forestry Initiative program and came up with recommendations for ALC comments geared toward logger training and education programs as well a defined amount of timber that can be delivered from untrained loggers to a consuming SFI Program participating mill.

Other business included approval to work with Media Planet to produce a 12-18 page editorial that would appear in USA Today as an insert, depicting logging and the role that it plays in our economy and the professionalism that now exists within the industry.  Circulation is expected to be close to 500,000 copies in targeted areas where the general public needs to know more about the industry.

A slate of nominees for officer positions was introduced by the nominations committee, and those positions will be voted on at the Annual Meeting to be held in Marksville, Louisiana on September 28th.

Fleetmatics representatives Rick Mills and Steve Gorman presented the Board members with the latest technology available for fleet management that can be utilized in the log trucking industry to help cut costs and haul more efficiently.  Fleetmatics is one of the newest sponsors of the ALC.

ALC Vice President Brian Nelson commented that he was “very thankful for Peterbilt for rolling out the red carpet for the ALC and its members,” and that he felt that “with Peterbilt’s support combined with the many other organizations that are currently sponsoring the American Loggers Council, that the opportunities for growth and bringing about needed changes to the industry could happen.”

ALC Executive Vice President Danny Dructor stated that, “It is a real opportunity to share quality time with our sponsors, and grow those relationships.  What we do, here at the American Loggers Council is not only important to our members, but to all of those whose livelihoods depend on a healthy logging infrastructure.   I wish to thank all of our friends at Peterbilt for the tremendous effort that was made in making us feel welcome, and more importantly, establishing the groundwork that we hope will keep us working together for years to come.”

About the American Loggers Council

The American Loggers Council is a 501(c)(6) organization representing timber harvesting professionals in 30 states.  For more information contact the American Loggers Council Office at 409-625-0206 or visit their website at www.americanloggers.org.

In Memoriam: Richard A. Thomas (February 8, 1945 – October 14, 2012)

Monday, October 15th, 2012

In Memoriam: Richard A. Thomas (February 8, 1945 – October 14, 2012)

GUILFORD- Richard A. Thomas, age 67, passed away surrounded by family on Sunday, October 14th at Mayo Regional Hospital in Dover-Foxcroft. He was born on February 8th, 1945 to Clyde and Carolyn (Pray) Thomas.

He graduated from PCHS in 1963 and went on to start his own business, R.A. Thomas Logging. He enjoyed snowmobiling, hunting, ice fishing and smelting, talking, and working. He was one of the original members of the Master Loggers Organization. He spent countless hours at his cottage on Lake Onawa with family and friends.

He is survived by his beloved wife of 47 years, Roberta; his children, Melissa, Richard, Angela, and Jeanine; 10 grandchildren; 2 brothers, Gerald Thomas and his wife Carol, and Kenneth Thomas and his wife Wanda; a sister, Rose (Thomas) Folsom and her husband Stan; Snickers (his much loved dog and riding partner) and many amazing friends.

He was predeceased by his parents; and a brother, Russell Thomas.

A celebration of his life will be held on Saturday, November 3rd at 1:00pm at the PCSS gymnasium.

Burial will be in the Lawn Cemetery in Guilford at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, please, feel free to make donations to our local school, SAD #4, Attn: Superintendents Office, 25 Campus Drive, Drop #2, Guilford, ME 04443 or the Guilford Fire Department, 390 Church Street, Guilford, ME 04443.

Arrangements by Crosby & Neal, Guilford.

Editor’s Note:

We are saddened by Richard Thomas’ passing. Richard was a long time member of the board of the PLC of Maine and his wisdom and insight will be greatly missed.

From all of us at the Professional Logging Contractors of Maine, our condolences, thoughts, and prayers are with Richard’s wife Roberta, the Thomas family, and the employees of R.A. Thomas Logging.

10-18-2012 Update: Richard’s Celebration of Life service will be at Piscataquis Community Secondary School, 9 Campus Dr. Guilford, Maine 04443, on Saturday November 3rd @ 1:oo PM.

FYI: Mapquest (http://www.mapquest.com) lists the school as “Piscataquis High School” not “Piscataquis Community Secondary School”.  – MAB

It is with great sadness we report Richard Thomas passed away on Sunday, October 14th at a Dover-Foxcroft hospital.

Richard has been a long time member of the board of the PLC of Maine and his wisdom and insight will be greatly missed.

We will pass along information regarding service times as we get them.

From all of us at the Professional Logging Contractors of Maine, our condolences, thoughts and prayers are with Roberta, the Thomas family, and the employees of R.A. Thomas Logging.

Robert Linkletter Wins Austin Wilkins Award

Friday, September 28th, 2012

Athens Businessman Robert Linkletter Receives Wilkins Award for Forest Stewardship

AUGUSTA – Today, Governor Paul LePage, along with the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (ACF) and the Maine TREE Foundation, honored a well-known Maine forest-products businessman who has made outstanding contributions to forest management and the forest industry with the ninth annual Austin Wilkins Forest Stewardship Award.

Linkletter, owner of the Maine Woods Pellet Co. in Athens, received the award for his significant contributions to the Appalachian Trail/Maine Department of Conservation 2011 “Saddleback Connector” initiative. That initiative created an invaluable interface between the national hiking trail and the region’s snowmobile and ATV trail loops.

“The Linkletters’ businesses are a perfect example of how we can choose to support both our economy and natural resources. We all have a vested interest in protecting Maine’s natural resources, and sustainable working forests are key,” said Governor LePage. “I am pleased to see the Linkletters’ leadership in showing how it’s done.”

Established in 2004, the Wilkins Award is named after Dr. Austin Wilkins for his lifelong leadership in being a steward of Maine’s forests. The award is the major recognition for landowners and individuals who are outstanding examples of managing the working forest of Maine in an exemplary and sustainable way. It is the only award that recognizes stewardship of the working forest.

Also attending this year’s award ceremony were ACF Commissioner Walter Whitcomb, Sherry Huber, Maine TREE Foundation executive director, and Dr. Bill Beardsley, former Maine Department of Conservation commissioner.

Linkletter and his family own and operate timberlands as Linkletter Timberlands, LLC. He also is vice president of Linkletter and Sons Trucking of Athens. The businessman received a mechanical engineering degree from the University of Maine and is one of the state’s first Master Loggers. He also serves as president of the Professional Logging Contractors of Maine.

Past Wilkins Award recipients have included: Dr. Austin Wilkins; Seven Islands Land Co. and Pingree Heirs; Sherry Huber and John Hagen of the Manomet Center for Conservation Science; Roger Milliken Jr. and the Baskahegan Timberlands Co.; Baxter State Park Director Jensen Bissell; Prentiss & Carlisle of Bangor; and president of the Robbins Lumber Co. of Searsmont, James L. Robbins.

For more information on the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry, go to: http://www.maine.gov/acf

For more information on the Maine TREE Foundation, go to: http://www.mainetreefoundation.org/index.htm

For more information about Maine Woods Pellet Co., go to: http://www.mainewoodspelletco.com/index.html

Obamacare’s Insurance Rule Is Upheld by Supreme Court

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

The Supreme Court, in a landmark ruling Thursday, upheld the individual insurance requirement at the heart of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul.

The court on Thursday handed Obama a campaign-season victory in rejecting arguments that Congress went too far in requiring most Americans to have health insurance or pay a penalty.

Chief Justice John Roberts announced the court’s judgment that allows the law to go forward with its aim of covering more than 30 million uninsured Americans.

Source: http://finance.yahoo.com

Update:  Link to the Court’s Ruling (PDF)

Raye & Thomas Visit E. Millinocket Mill & Millinocket Thermogen Site

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

Maine Senator Doug Thomas (R-Ripley); Everett O’Neill, GPN’s Vice President of Operations and Manufacturing, and Maine Senate President Kevin Raye (R-Perry)

EAST MILLINOCKET – Maine Senate President Kevin Raye (R-Perry) and Senator Doug Thomas (R-Ripley) visited the Great Northern Paper mill in East Millinocket on Tuesday, June 5th, where they toured the mill and met with representatives of Cate Street Capital.  Raye and Thomas also visited for a first-hand look at the site on the campus of the closed Millinocket mill where Thermogen Industries plans to create jobs manufacturing torrefied wood pellets.

The Thermogen proposal received a boost in May when Raye and Thomas successfully included an amendment to the state budget that makes the project eligible for participation in Maine’s New Markets Capital Investment Program (NMCIP).  Raye sponsored the law establishing the New Markets tax credit last year, in an effort to encourage private sector investment in job creation in areas of Maine that have been left behind economically.

The amendment pushed by Raye and Thomas this year increased the cap for the program from $10 million to $40 million, which will encourage Cate Street Capital to make an investment in the project through its Thermogen Industries subsidiary.

“Cate Street really did create a dual opportunity,” said Senator Thomas. “Making use of the idled Millinocket paper mill property as a wood-product manufacturing facility is a great idea, a natural fit, and a boost to a town sorely in need of new jobs,” said Senator Thomas. “It’s also a boost to Maine port towns where these wood products will be shipped overseas.”

“The New Markets Tax Credit is designed to boost the economy in areas of greatest need,” said Raye.  “That’s why I introduced it, and it is exciting to see it hold such great promise for the Katahdin Region, which has been hit so hard by the loss of traditional paper-making jobs.  We need to do everything we can to encourage quality jobs and ensure a bright future for rural Maine.”

The Senators were greeted in East Millinocket by Richard Cyr, CEO and President of Great Northern Paper (GNP) and Thermogen, and COO of Cate Street Capital. Everett O’Neill, GNP’s Vice President of Operations and Manufacturing, took Raye and Thomas on a tour of the East Millinocket mill, and then the Senators visited Millinocket with Cyr and other company officials.

“Those of us who live and work in rural Maine have seen so many manufacturing plants idled and wasting away,” said Senator Raye. “The New Markets Tax Credit and other steps we have taken to make Maine more jobs-friendly are making a difference as we look to the future.”

Mild late-winter weather means early road ‘postings’ in northern New England

Monday, March 19th, 2012

PORTLAND, Maine — Heavy trucks are being temporarily banned from thousands of miles of secondary roads across northern New England with the early arrival of spring…

…In the northern Maine town of Fort Kent, TNT Road Co. employees are working shifts starting at 10 p.m. to load and deliver shipments of wood chips, bark and sawdust to biomass energy plants. They have to work at night rather than their usual 4 a.m. shifts because that’s when the temperatures cool down far enough, to below 28 degrees, so they can drive on the rural paved roads and dirt logging roads to pick up and deliver their loads.

Read full story on BangorDailyNews.com

See an interactive the current posted state roads on MDOT’s website

November 25, 2011 “From the Field” Newsletter

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

The November Department of Conservation Newsletter From the Field has been published.

CLICK HERE to read it

AGREEMENT REACHED TO ALLOW HEAVIEST TRUCKS ON ME’S INTERSTATE

Friday, November 11th, 2011

Senator Collins convinces House-Senate negotiators to approve plan to allow heavier trucks to use Maine’s federal interstates for at least 20 years

Senator Susan Collins (R-ME)

WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Senator Susan Collins, the top Republican on the Senate Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, has successfully negotiated an agreement that would allow the heaviest trucks to travel on federal interstates in Maine for at least 20 years instead of forcing them off the highways and onto Maine’s secondary roads and downtown streets.

While the Senate originally approved Senator Collins’ provision to make this change permanent, the House never approved a similar provision.  As a member of the committee charged with working out the differences between the two bills, Senator Collins successfully negotiated this 20-year compromise agreement. Final votes in the House and Senate are expected next week.  The bill would then be sent to the President for his signature.

Senator Collins has led the effort to allow trucks weighing up to 100,000 pounds to travel on Maine’s federal interstates –including I-95, 195, 295, and 395.  Senator Collins has worked closely with Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), also a member of the Transportation Subcommittee, and this agreement for Maine is paired with a similar change for Vermont.

“We faced significant opposition to our plan to permanently allow the heaviest trucks to drive on our federal interstates in Maine and Vermont,” said Senator Collins.  “But moving these trucks from our downtown streets and onto the federal interstates where they belong has always been one of my top transportation priorities.  The agreement that I negotiated to allow the heaviest trucks on the highway for at least the next 20 years is a major accomplishment that will help shippers, truckers, and Maine’s job creators.  More important, it will improve safety for Mainers who live, work, and go to school along the secondary roads, and busy downtowns where these trucks are currently forced to travel.”

Senator Collins’ effort is supported by the Association of Police, the Maine State Police, the State Troopers Association, the Maine Department of Public Safety, the Chiefs of Police, the Maine Motor Transport Association, the Parent Teacher Association, and the Bangor School Department, who have all expressed the importance of safety in getting these heaviest trucks off our local roadways and onto the interstates where they belong.

Currently, the heaviest trucks in Maine are diverted onto secondary roadways that cut through our downtowns on narrow streets, creating a major safety concern.  In most of the surrounding New England states and nearby Canadian provinces, the heaviest trucks are free to use the interstates, but not in Maine and Vermont.  This puts Maine businesses at a distinct competitive disadvantage.  Heavy trucks already operate on some 22,500 miles of non-interstate roads in Maine, in addition to the approximately 167 miles of the Maine Turnpike.  But the nearly 260 miles of non-Turnpike interstates that are major economic corridors are off limits.

In 2009, a pilot project that Senator Collins wrote, was included in the 2010 Omnibus Appropriations bill.  This one-year pilot project allowed trucks weighing up to 100,000 pounds to travel on Maine’s federal interstates.  According to the Maine Department of Transportation, during the one-year period covered by the pilot, the number of crashes involving trucks on Maine’s local roads was reduced by 72 compared to a five-year average.


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