Alan Cook uses a leaf blower on the driveway of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Skeetfield Road on Thursday in Oxford. Credit: Andree Kehn / Sun Journal via AP

Today is Friday. Temperatures will be in the low 70s, with cloudy skies and a chance for showers throughout the state. Here’s what we’re talking about in Maine today.

The latest on the coronavirus in Maine

Two more Mainers have died and another 716 cases of COVID-19 were reported across the state, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The statewide pandemic death toll stands at 1,009.

Following President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate, many sectors are trying to determine how to implement the requirement. The Bangor school district is still debating the logistics of the provision, as each violation can carry a fine of up to $14,000.

As of Thursday, 72 Maine schools have been identified as sites of outbreaks, and the Brewer Community School announced it would be going remote for a week following positive COVID-19 cases.

A U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention panel on Thursday backed the authorization of COVID-19 boosters in people over the age of 65, as well as people whose jobs put them at high risk of contracting the virus.

Patient count drops at EMMC after record hospitalizations last weekend

The record of 59 COVID-19 patients at the Bangor hospital on Saturday eclipsed a previous record of 58 from two days earlier. As of Thursday, EMMC had 47 patients hospitalized with COVID-19.

Fallen Hancock deputy leaves behind a legacy of kindness

Luke Gross was one of the good guys.

‘The world needs more like Luke in law enforcement’: Hancock County sheriff remembers fallen officer

Hancock County Sheriff Kane praised deputy Luke Gross, who he described as an outstanding officer who had a passion for helping within his community.

Police from Kittery to Presque Isle memorialize sheriff’s deputy killed on duty

Condolences and prayers went out to Deputy Luke Gross’ family, the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office and the wider community that Gross served.

Passamaquoddy Tribe reclaim land once used as dumping ground for toxic military waste

Now the tribe has turned it into a park, and is working with conservationists to restore fish populations on the river below.

Multi-year bridge replacement project in Old Town could start in February

The Stillwater bridge was originally built in 1952 and is in poor condition.

A deeper look at some claims from Paul LePage’s 2022 campaign kickoff speech

The former governor made claims on a range of issues, including his proposal to eliminate the personal income tax, that benefit from scrutiny.

Augusta would move to the 2nd District under bipartisan redistricting deal

The joint plan released Thursday, which would leave the heavily Democratic-leaning city of Waterville in the 1st District, represents a clear compromise.

New Bangor High program aims to help predominantly white school confront racism

That follows reports of racism in recent years at the high school.

Vendors who rely on Common Ground are staging an alternative fair to save their businesses

Instead of sitting back and wishing things were different, Robin Pratt and her fellow longtime Common Ground participants have banded together.

In other Maine news

2-year-old dies after he was found unresponsive in Cornville pond

Turnpike worker injured when alleged drunken driver crashes into Falmouth toll booth

Maine’s minimum wage will increase to $12.75 next year

UMPI is using state tourism grant to draw more visitors to famous Solar System Model 

Buxton man accused of threatening ‘to kill Jews with my AR-15’ indicted by grand jury

Clifton wind farm expansion on track to be online in September 2022

Robert Tardy, Maine lawmaker who later lobbied for agricultural interests, dies at 77

Camden nearing agreement with the state to resolve sewer overflow problems

Maine home sales in August decline for the second month in a row

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.