Christmas lights
In this Dec. 7, 2021, file photo, a zooming camera lens makes holiday lights look different Portland. Credit: Troy R Bennett / BDN

Today is Thursday. Temperatures will be in the high teens to low 30s from north to south, with a chance for morning snow flurries and partly or mostly sunny skies throughout the state.Here’s what we’re talking about in Maine today.

The latest on the coronavirus in Maine

Eight more Mainers have died and another 1,275 coronavirus cases were reported across the state Wednesday, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s the highest single-day increase in cases Maine has seen since the pandemic began. The statewide death toll now stands at 1,356. Check out our tracker for more information.

There are now a record 379 Mainers afflicted with the coronavirus who have been hospitalized around the state, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. 

There’s a COVID-19 outbreak at the Maine State Prison where 21 residents have tested positive for the virus. It’s one of multiple correctional facilities recently to see COVID-19 outbreaks across the state.

Pfizer said Wednesday that a booster dose of its COVID-19 vaccine may protect against the new omicron variant even though the initial two doses appear significantly less effective.

Bowdoin College on Wednesday became the second private higher education institution to require that students, faculty and staff receive a COVID-19 booster shot.

Maine hospitals may have to ration care for the 1st time if pandemic worsens

Many of Maine’s hospitals have been making hard decisions for weeks about what kind of care they can provide.

ALSO: As coronavirus cases continue to rise after Thanksgiving and Maine continues to break its record for COVID-19 hospitalizations, hospital systems fear the situation could get much worse.

Janet Mills activates Maine National Guard to staff hospitals overwhelmed by COVID-19

Gov. Janet Mills signed a directive allowing up to 75 members of Guard to be used in non-clinical settings in the facilities.

Boba and bao buns among the offerings at new Asian market in Bangor

Fat Panda Boba Tea & Market will offer a full array of Asian goods, catering to the region’s Asian community and lovers of Asian cuisine.

Old Town mill asks locals for cardboard as raw material gets more expensive

The ND Paper mill is inviting residents of Old Town, Bradley, Milford and Orono to drop off corrugated cardboard, cereal and pizza boxes.

More Mainers have grown, foraged and hunted their food during the pandemic

Most Mainers weren’t just looking for a new hobby, though — they were seeking new ways to feed themselves and their families.

Replacing aged fire stations in small coastal towns won’t come cheap

Many small Maine communities rely on aging infrastructure that will eventually have to come up to modern standards when they are replaced.

Outdated culverts are making road washouts from storms worse

Roadside flooding caused by constricted or blocked culverts can cause environmental damage even when a road stays fully intact.

Court suggests religious schools OK to get Maine tuition aid

The Supreme Court could use this case to resolve the extent to which religious schools may use public funding for explicitly religious activities, such as worship services and religious education courses.

ALSO: Legal experts predicted that the U.S. Supreme Court would find that Maine’s ban on public funding for religious schools violates the U.S. Constitution after oral arguments before justices on Wednesday.

Another report calls out Maine’s failure to fix dangerous conditions in youth prison

The Center for Children’s Law and Policy report shows that Long Creek has not fixed issues that have plagued the facility for years.

Rural restaurants feeling pinch of worker shortages are closing early

For Aroostook County, a rural region that was already suffering from the effects of population loss on its workforce and where dining options are limited, fewer workers means decreased hours for small, locally owned restaurants that serve as community hubs.

In other Maine news …

Accused Brewer bank robber held on $7,500 bail

‘It’s an amazing feeling,’ South Portland’s 1st Somali mayor says of her election

Union Street fire victims remembered at candlelight vigil

Belfast could soon approve a large-scale marijuana growing business

Man dies in head-on crash in Palmyra

Front-end loader crashes into Biddeford duplex

MDI Hospital planning $13M renovation to redesign campus, upgrade main building

Class C North’s competition may be one of the tightest in boys basketball

Trio of girls from iconic Maine basketball families lead talented Class C North

A positionless East Millinocket native leads Husson basketball’s championship push