Donna Landis rescues one of her chickens on Wednesday who had wandered away from her farm, Tilly's Paradise, in Norway. Credit: Andree Kehn / Sun Journal via AP

Today is Friday. Temperatures will be in the low 30s to mid-40s from north to south, with mostly sunny skies across much of the state. Here’s what we’re talking about in Maine today.

The latest on the coronavirus in Maine

Three more Mainers have died and another 1,115 coronavirus cases were reported across the state, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The statewide death toll now stands at 1,822. Check out our tracker for more information.

Maine hospitals stretched to the brink by COVID surge see relief as cases drop

COVID may be loosening its iron grip on hospitals for the first time since the infectious omicron variant took hold in Maine in December.

Janet Mills uses election-year address to meet GOP demand for $500 relief checks

If approved by the Legislature, the $500 relief checks would go to 800,000 Mainers at a total cost of $411 million.

PLUS: You can read the governor’s full State of the State address here.

4 key moments from Janet Mills’ State of the State speech

She highlighted areas of agreement on budget issues while defending her record on the COVID-19 pandemic in her State of the State address on Thursday.

Jared Golden condemns ‘scam PAC’ using his name and veteran status to raise money

The American Veterans Support Group PAC devoted only 15 percent of spending last year to supporting candidates.

PLUS: 3 indicted over alleged ‘straw donor’ scheme that funneled money to pro-Susan Collins group

Good credit isn’t enough to break into Portland’s tight housing market

Even trying to find housing in Portland is a “nightmare.”

Newcomers may find themselves shut out of Maine’s pogie fishery

The fishermen who can catch pogies could soon be limited to only those who have historically gone after the important baitfish.

Amish quickly rebuilding on the site of the burned-out store in Unity

No doubt about it, the Unity Amish community knows how to get things done fast.

Milbridge harbor needs to be dredged again after bridge project filled it with silt

Because of the buildup, the U.S. Army Corps has approved another dredging project for an approximately mile-long section of the river.

Aroostook schools are already extending school year because of snow days

With three significant snowstorms in the last couple of weeks, many schools closed early or canceled classes altogether, pushing the school year deeper into June for some.

Wanted: Food vendor who doesn’t need a kitchen for Portland’s mini castle

You could be the next tenant of Portland’s 128-year-old miniature stone-and-slate fortress in Deering Oaks Park.

Maine’s prison chief disputes hours of testimony, saying solitary confinement isn’t used

The state’s use of solitary confinement came under scrutiny after a Bangor Daily News report on Zachary Swain’s plight in prolonged isolation.

Maine child welfare board members who resigned in protest see hope in Janet Mills initiative

The bill would give the ombudsman’s executive director a five-year contract and control over staffing, as well as funding to provide health insurance for staff.

UMaine’s Anne Simon reached a basketball milestone at a blazing pace

Junior guard Anne Simon is just the 23rd player in UMaine history to eclipse the 1,000-point mark.

In other Maine news …

Massive fire engulfs Bar Harbor hotel

Maine lobster could lose sustainability label over right whale concerns

Moxie could return to stores this weekend

Man found guilty in 1993 Alaska university killing case

Embattled Skowhegan selectman comes under fire for ‘unacceptable’ behavior

Houlton man indicted in connection with 2020 arson of predominantly Black Massachusetts church

Hampden man and 4-year-old son plow driveways to buy foster kids winter gear

3 indicted over alleged ‘straw donor’ scheme that funded pro-Susan Collins group

Ben Barr’s ‘trying to win hockey games’ in his return to UMass this weekend

UMaine men’s basketball defeats Albany for 1st road win of season

Lawsuit against CMP’s parent withdrawn

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.