Ed Brown walks back to his snowmobile after checking on a snow gun at the New Hermon Mountain ski area Wednesday. Credit: Gabor Degre

Good morning. Temperatures will be in the mid-20s with sunny skies throughout much of the state.

Here’s what we’re talking about in Maine today.

A Maine district wants to have kids do schoolwork on snow days. But the state won’t let them.


–A pilot project to have students and teachers work remotely on school days hit a snag when state education officials refused to allow those days to count toward the 175-day minimum attendance requirement. Local officials plan to appeal that decision in January, when a new administration takes office. Until then, students in the affected midcoast communities will be sledding and throwing snowballs at each other instead of solving equations on days when classes are canceled.

The 13 Maine natives on the Black Bears football team are proud of the team’s historic run

–This weekend’s semifinal playoff game represents the farthest the University of Maine football team has ever advanced, and the 13 home-state players say they love being a part of it.

“Every kid dreams about something like this, especially if you went to high school here,” said Gunnar Docos from Oxford Hills High School in South Paris, the team’s starting left tackle on offense.

Fake Christmas trees are increasingly popular. What does that mean for Maine tree farms?

Credit: Ashley L. Conti

–Christmas trees are often at the center of holiday memories: the fresh tree smell permeating the air, ornaments glinting from evergreen branches, piles of presents nestled snugly under their needled boughs. So you may be surprised to learn that a 2017 survey found that 81 percent of American households that have a Christmas tree will use an artificial tree.

But in Maine, data shows that real tree farms are doing fine.

DHHS’ use of $5 million for Bangor psychiatric facility violates court order, watchdog says

–The state’s proposal to pay for a new psychiatric facility in Bangor violates a decades-old court order that requires the state to continue improving its mental health services, says the former Maine Supreme Court chief justice who monitors the state’s compliance with the court order.

Bucksport wants to move an old building 50 feet


–The circa 1881 passenger railroad station on Bucksport’s Main Street is unheated, and hundreds of artifacts displayed there by the Bucksport Historical Society are threatened by the building’s mold and mildew. So the historical society wants to see the building moved 50 feet closer to the road and add a basement.

All this Mainer wants for her birthday is for you to donate tampons to homeless women

–That time of the month is uncomfortable as it is. Imagine being homeless. That’s why Tanisha Gilbert of Hudson has been collecting hundreds of boxes of pads and tampons over the past few weeks. She’s assembling them into “period packs” that she’ll give to the Bangor domestic violence prevention organization Partners for Peace. “Access to tampons and pads can mean the difference between being able to live with dignity or not,” Gilbert said.

Do this: See ‘The Snow Queen’ in Belfast

Credit: Leah Bannister | Midcoast Actors' Studio

–A charming production of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale “The Snow Queen” is a wonderful theatrical remedy to the cold weather and chilly relations swirling in Belfast this winter.

“The Snow Queen” will be performed at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and at 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Crosby Center, 17 Court St., Belfast. For information, call 370-7592 or visit midcoastactors.org.

In other news…

Maine

Record number of Maine nursing homes closed this year, displacing hundreds

Joyce McLain’s murderer wants Maine’s top court to throw out his conviction

Portland jetport breaks record with 2 million passengers in 2018

Bangor

Penobscot County wants a new jail for 300 inmates. Price tag? $65 million or more

This mysterious portrait shows the Bangor man who was almost president

Proposal to open a Tradewinds convenience store in Bangor resisted by some neighbors

Business

State OKs application for new rehab center at York Hospital

License lottery in Hallowell leaves medical marijuana provider unable to sell cannabis

Pot shop likely to replace closing Maine bookstore

Politics

LePage won’t be a docile lame duck

Senate passes 2018 Farm Bill, a victory for food sovereignty in Maine

Judge gives ex-Trump lawyer Michael Cohen 3 years in prison

Opinion

Rapid increase in vaping threatens to reverse decline in teen smoking

Now is the time to cut taxes and reform government

Men and boys must join work to end sexist attitudes and behavior

Sports

UMaine linebacker earns second team All-America honors

Basketball Hall of Fame to bring 13 regular-season games to Cross Insurance Center

Portland cheerleader picked to perform in London’s New Year’s Day parade

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Lindsay Putnam

Lindsay Putnam is a senior editor for sports and features at the Bangor Daily News. Lindsay previously worked as an editor and reporter at the New York Post. She's a York Beach native and Colby College...