A great black-backed gull stands on one leg during a snowstorm in Portland. Credit: Troy R. Bennett / BDN

Today is Thursday. Temperatures will be in the single digits to mid-20s from north to south, with mostly sunny skies throughout the state. We’re currently monitoring an ocean storm that could bring significant snowfall to Maine this weekend. Here’s what we’re talking about in Maine today.

The latest on the coronavirus in Maine

Two more Mainers died and another 1,524 coronavirus cases were reported on Wednesday, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Check out our tracker for more information.

A COVID-19 outbreak has been reported within the Belfast Police Department, the first time since the pandemic began nearly two years ago that it has experienced one.

Maine’s backlog of positive COVID-19 tests grows by 10K in a week

The backlog, which grew from 46,000 to 56,000 since last week, means the state has been severely undercounting the daily case totals that have been a prominent measure of the pandemic.

Bangor will start testing wastewater for coronavirus as omicron surges

Wastewater testing can show how widely the virus is spreading in the general population, rather than only in those being tested for it.

PLUS: More than a dozen Maine communities will start testing wastewater for COVID-19

After both parents died, 2 Maine towns stepped up to keep teen sisters in their home

Devyn and Jordyn Robinson were determined to stay in the only home they’ve ever known.

Susan Collins open to working with Democrats on replacing retiring high court justice

It puts Collins among the Republicans most likely to break ranks on this nomination.

PLUS: Liberal Justice Stephen Breyer will retire, leaving Joe Biden to fill vacancy

Mainers rally to help rebuild the Amish store in Unity

The outpouring of support Caleb Stoll and the community are receiving from around Maine has buoyed his spirits at a tough time.  

Unity organic farmers pausing sales after finding ‘forever chemicals’ in soil and water

Songbird Organic Farm has been advised it can leave its produce on shelves, since the products pose an apparently low risk level of PFAS contamination.

An Aroostook restaurant put hot dogs and potato chips on a pizza to celebrate Loring heritage

The “Maine Attraction” pizza has become one of the popular items at B-52 Pizza and Subs of Limestone.

Can-Am musher pulls out of Iditarod after truck crashes into sled dog team

“These dogs are my life. I can’t imagine even being out on a race trail right now while they’re back here in pain, with decisions needing to be made.”

Judge to decide on newspapers’ lawsuit against Maine State Police

Justice William Anderson heard arguments in a case that began about a year ago, when the Bangor Daily News and the Portland Press Herald jointly sued Maine’s largest police force over redactions it made to final records of officer discipline.

Mount Desert is taking over an ambulance service as volunteers become scarce

Northeast Harbor Ambulance, which has provided emergency services to Mount Desert since 1938, said last year it planned to dissolve by January 2023.

A very curious otter visits these Moosehead Lake ice fishermen

You never know what you’re going to see out in the Maine wilderness.

In other Maine news …

11-year-old dies in Washington County crash

2 hikers rescued from Appalachian Trail

Stonington fisheries nonprofit seeks new leader who wants sustainable rural fishing communities

New medical center in Dover-Foxcroft will bring specialty services to rural area

Inmate seeking to use Maine’s ‘death with dignity’ law charged with 12 counts of rape

Hydro-Quebec halts work on its part of hydropower corridor

Maine House upholds Janet Mills’ veto of bill to allow farmworkers to unionize

Maine eyes staffing increase in busy family court system

Maine recovers nearly $475K in stolen wages

Maine lobstermen could soon face even more gear regulation

Millinocket recovery center is paying hotels so people have a place to sleep

New public advocate confirmed by Maine Legislature