Rapid Response Assists Unemployed Paper Mill Workers 

The failed bid by Meriturn Partners to purchase the Katahdin Paper Mills has cast a dark cloud of anxiety over the residents of East Millinocket.”People are walking on tip toes, yes wherever you go, people are asking questions, they’re not angry they’re anxious,” says Mark Scally, Chairman of the East Millinocket Board of Selectmen.While things may seem bleak, Scally says the town will move forward.”There are many other towns in this state without a mill and they’re still existing. We’ll find a way to get by we have no choice.”Scally and other town officials held a meeting with town employees to prepare for what’s to come. Meanwhile, the state Labor Department’s rapid response team is visiting the area to help unemployed paper mill workers get back on their feet.”We’re here to help you we’re here to help you get back to employment, help access our services as quickly as possible so we can assist you because it’s not an easy time for anyone,” says Program Manager Judy Pelletier.Although Meriturn Partners may have walked away from the bargaining table, Scally says he’s optimistic another company will invest in a future with the region.”We’ve made considerable concessions and a lot of hurdles have been overcome in the municipal and state level so people that have gone away because of certain items might want to come back now.”While it’s uncertain if that optimism will turn into reality, Scally says this isn’t the end for the town of East Millinocket.