Volunteers and leaders from the Together Place recovery center and the United Way of Eastern Maine worked together to beautify a section of the city close to downtown by planting flowers, a vegetable garden and cleaning up the Second Street Park. These flowers were planted along Union Street at Second Street. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

Today is Thursday. Temperatures will be in the high 60s to high 70s from north to south, with mostly cloudy skies and a chance for scattered showers throughout the state. Here’s what we’re talking about in Maine today.

Here’s the latest on the coronavirus in Maine

Another 12 coronavirus cases were reported across the state on Wednesday, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. No new deaths were reported, leaving the statewide death toll at 858. Check out our COVID-19 Tracker for more information.

President Joe Biden and his White House are planning a slate of travel and events this weekend to celebrate his administration’s progress combating the pandemic, though the country fell short of his July 4 vaccination goal.

End of Nirav Shah’s TV briefings marks symbolic step in Maine’s COVID-19 fight

Gov. Janet Mills presents Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention Director Nirav Shah with a 12-pack of Diet Coke at a press conference in the State House on Wednesday. Shah’s love for the soft drink was well-documented during numerous press briefings during the pandemic. Credit: Troy R. Bennett / BDN

The news conferences were a daily ritual at the start of the pandemic when the virus captivated the state’s attention and Mainers were isolated in their homes, unsure about next steps.

It’ll cost more than $2.5M to repair Down East roads and trails washed out in June rainstorm

Guardrails along Route 186 in the Gouldsboro village of Birch Harbor hang suspended in the air on June 9 after torrential rain that morning caused a creek to swell and flow over the road, eventually sweeping part of the road away.

The deluge turned trickling creeks into rivers and washed away large sections of road in Jonesboro, Machias, Roque Bluffs and Birch Harbor.

Beautification effort targets Bangor neighborhood that has seen many of the city’s overdose deaths

A man walks his dog through Bangor’s Second Street Park on Wednesday. Volunteers and leaders from the Together Place recovery center and the United Way of Eastern Maine worked together to clean up the park last Monday, which included the removal of several hypodermic needles.

The group is sprucing up the area just outside of downtown that includes Union Street and First, Second and Third streets.

Penobscot County is paying thousands to clean up trash-strewn former YMCA building

Debris and trash are strewn behind the old YMCA on Hammond Street in Bangor.

The parking lot of the former YMCA has so much debris and trash in it that it will cost Penobscot County an estimated $4,000 to $5,000 to clean it up.

Utility takeover bill gets new life after skeptical Maine lawmaker flips back to support it

Rep. Seth Berry, D-Bowdoinham, speaks at the Belfast Rotary Club about his consumer-owned utility proposal on Nov. 13, 2019. 

Rep. Seth Berry, D-Bowdoinham, amended his bill on Wednesday to make the new utility pay property taxes. That change won over Sen. Ned Claxton, D-Auburn, who was one of two senators who flipped to derail final passage earlier this month.

New $8.5B Maine budget upping school, local aid sails toward passage in Legislature

Sen. Bill Diamond, D-Windham, is pictured in his committee seat on March 13, 2017. Credit: Micky Bedell / BDN

The budget has been workshopped for weeks after the governor revised her package following nearly $1 billion in revised revenue projections for the next two years.

Kennebec River rescue highlights challenges of protecting endangered Atlantic salmon

The Lockwood Dam on the Kennebec River in Waterville was the site of an Atlantic salmon rescue effort June 15.

Those committed to restoring the Atlantic salmon in our rivers sometimes go to extraordinary lengths to help.

Monthly art walk returns to the ‘Arts Capital of Maine’

A family walks down Main Street in Rockland, past the Farnsworth Art Museum and Strand Theater, two of the arts-related institutions helping to cement Rockland’s reputation as an art destination.

Folks in the arts and downtown community feel the return of the tradition will be a great way to bring people together as the pandemic wanes.

In other Maine news…

Tenants of federally subsidized Auburn complex barred from using window AC units

Man accused of hitting Mass. state trooper with Jeep arrested in Auburn with child rape suspect

Former Brunswick hotel owner accused of using campaign funds to pay off hotel debt

Founder of New England School of Communications dies at 84

Janet Mills vetoes bill to let Maine tribes run gaming businesses

Bill to jumpstart northern Maine’s renewable energy industry earns Janet Mills’ signature 

Maine law restricting facial recognition technology statewide is one of the nation’s toughest

Woman killed in Brownfield collision

Leela Stockley

Leela Stockley is an alumna of the University of Maine. She was raised in northern Maine, and loves her cat Wesley, her puppy Percy and staying active in the Maine outdoors.