A man carries a tray of coffee to his vehicle on Congress Street in Portland on Saturday during blizzard conditions. Credit: Troy R. Bennett / BDN

Today is Thursday. Temperatures will be in the mid-30s to low 40s from north to south, with a chance for rain throughout the state. That rain will change over to snow tonight with a late week storm expected to dump up to 18 inches over 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 1,340 coronavirus cases reported across the state, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The statewide death toll now stands at 1,759.

At Wednesday’s weekly coronavirus briefing, Maine CDC Director Nirav Shah announced that the state would be ceasing contract tracing, because the omicron variant is faster spreading and it is more difficult for the state to identify everyone who has been a close contact with a case of COVID-19.

However, hospitalization data suggest that the highly contagious variant may be receding in Maine, as emergency room visits for the coronavirus, along with the number of patients in critical care or on ventilators has shown a decline since January.

A town official in Camden recently resigned after raising concerns that the town had not adopted or implemented enough safety protocols to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

As the Food and Drug Administration prepares to hear testimony on whether to authorize a Pfizer vaccine for children as young as 6 months, here’s what you should know.

Janet Mills has work to do to win broad political support for her utility overhaul

Janet Mills’ proposal has been met with agreement on the need for more accountability for Maine’s utilities, but some are seeking more dramatic actions.

ALSO: Janet Mills wants clearer standards and accountability for electric utilities

The odds of Maine’s 1st 2-way governor’s race in 40 years just got higher

While there are three unenrolled or third-party candidates vying for the position, Gov. Janet Mills and former Gov. Paul LePage are likely to face off in Maine’s gubernatorial race.

ALSO: Former lawmaker who led anti-corridor fight won’t run for Maine governor in 2022

A Cape Cod chef plans to transform a shuttered Bangor gas station

Bethany Gregory has big plans for the former Six Mile Falls Store near the town line with Glenburn.

The educational gender gap grew in Maine last year

Nearly 89 percent of female high school students graduated within four years in 2021, compared with 84 percent of male students.

A Portland grammar school uses an ancient holiday to help the homeless

More than 300 children took the opportunity to honor St. Brigid by blessing clothing donations for Portland’s homeless community.

They’ve been wrestling together since they were 5. Now they want to win Mattanawcook its 1st state title.

Jackson Sutherland and Isaac Hainer have been wrestling together since kindergarten, and now they’re two of Mattanawcook’s star competitors.

Former Greenville police chief charged with criminal threatening

Jeffrey Pomerleau, 53, of Greenville was arrested Jan. 15, though the circumstances surrounding his arrest have not been made public.

A critical Maine species will be able to move more freely after Bradley dam repairs

The repaired dam will ensure that hundreds of thousands of alewives will be able to continue swimming toward nearby Chemo Pond.

You can now learn to fly at Owls Head airport

For nearly 20 years, Penobscot Island Air has served as a lifeline to island communities in Penobscot Bay. With the new flight school, the trusted company will also teach people to fly planes.

Maine regulator warns community solar projects might not be as ‘clean’ as they suggest

Andrew Landry from the Maine Office of the Public Advocate said that electricity from community solar projects may be “more dirty than the power you get from the grid.”

Snowmobilers in Hermon will stuff their suits with eggs for a good cause this weekend

Each raw egg that participants stuff in their snowmobile suits represents $50 in donations for Pine Tree Camp, an organization that supports people with disabilities and their families.

In other Maine news …

4 Mainers among incoming UMaine football class

Maine’s former poet laureate says Judaism influenced his work more after his brother died on 9/11

Owner of Union Street drug house where man died sentenced to a year and a day in federal prison

UMaine women’s ice hockey team has its longest winning streak in 17 years

America East bans departing Stony Brook from postseason championships

Maine Turnpike looks at cash-free tolls

Tractor trailer carrying processing chemical for french fries crashes in The County

Freeport man accused of stabbing 82-year-old to death found not responsible due to insanity

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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.