Decked out in her snow booties, Kona, a 3-year-old German shepherd, jumps up to catch a flying disk thrown by her owner Lindsay Gorham at Broadway Park in Bangor on Wednesday. "We are from Florida and her paws are so sensitive that she needs booties," Gorham said. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

Today is Thursday. Temperatures will be in the low 20s to high 30s from north to south, with cloudy skies and a chance for light snow across much of the state. Here’s what we’re talking about in Maine today.

The latest on the coronavirus in Maine

Another 1,377 COVID-19 cases have been reported across the state, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. No new deaths were reported Wednesday, leaving the statewide death toll at 1,623.

The number of Mainers hospitalized with the coronavirus rose to 413 on Wednesday, topping the previous record of 403 set on Monday.

As omicron continues to spread, the Maine Department of Education announced that schools with mandatory masking policies will no longer be required to conduct contact tracing, as it is nearly impossible to keep pace with the the virus’ spread. The newest variant is believed to spread faster, and be contagious sooner, than earlier iterations of the coronavirus.

Omicron surge could more than double number of hospitalized Mainers, projections say

Maine’s hospitals are already being pushed to the brink, seeing a staffing shortage and a significant number of health care workers out due to COVID.

Paul LePage floats COVID-19 vaccine requirement for welfare recipients

Paul LePage’s proposal cuts across odd political coalitions, as Republicans generally favor more welfare restrictions but oppose vaccine mandates.

Couple’s plan to turn a Portland church into a cocktail bar derailed for months by deed barring ‘sinful’ acts

It took novel legal maneuvering from the Cormans’ attorney to smooth things out between the long-dead church founders and very-much-alive money lenders.

A century ago, Brewer was the epicenter of Maine’s ‘blue’ ice industry

Though harvesting natural ice was replaced by mechanized ice production in the 1940s, ice was a main export for the Bangor region for nearly a century.

Effort to create a public power utility could miss Maine’s 2022 ballot

Any lag in getting the more recently proposed questions could blunt momentum for two referendum campaigns after Maine voters rejected the $1 billion Central Maine Power Co. corridor.

Woman found dead in Lubec is Washington County’s 7th homicide victim in 2 years

The victims represent 16 percent of the 44 people in Maine whose deaths are being investigated or prosecuted by state officials as homicides.

ALSO: Lubec man accused of killing girlfriend arrested in Virginia

Mainer given a ‘lifeline’ by new Alzheimer’s drug upset that more can’t get the pricey medication

The Alzheimer’s Association said that the Medicare decision creates further health inequities and asks patients to participate in a clinical trial on a drug that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration already approved.

John Conti, who helped plan Bangor’s future without Dow Air Force Base, dies at 90

John Conti served on the Bangor City Council from 1963 to 1966, including one year as chair, during a pivotal time in the city’s history.

Young bull moose thrills hikers in Bangor City Forest

Suddenly, a hiker saw snow falling to the ground off a nearby tree. Seconds later, the hiker was up close and personal with a moose.

Hey, birders! Our feathered friends aren’t as eager to get a close look at you.

There’s no need to approach a bird too closely. That’s what the binoculars are for.

In other Maine news …

5th person charged with murder in Machias drug robbery that left teen dead

Susan Collins among Republicans recruiting Maryland governor for Senate bid

Burst pipes flood shuttered Bucksport motel as legal battle drags on

Penobscot County hires Bangor firm to take on overcrowded jail project

5 hurt after man pulls knife during argument in Waterville

Maine considers new protections for ballots, voting machines

Foxcroft Academy girls basketball strategy: ‘It’s organized chaos’

Penobscot County hires Bangor firm to take on overcrowded jail project

Angus King and Democrats try to flip moderate holdouts on voting-rights agenda

States are hoarding $5.2 billion in welfare funds even as the need for aid grows

Last of new class of Navy warship departs Bath shipyard

Portland International Jetport runway to close in April for renovations

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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.