Patty Bruce, a volunteer with Portland Wheelers, pedals Mathew Russell around South Portland on Saturday, July 9, 2022, with a special, adaptive bicycle. The Portland Wheelers provide bicycle rides to those who can't ride a bike themselves. Credit: Troy R. Bennett / BDN

Today is Wednesday. Temperatures will be in the mid to low 80s from north to south, with mostly sunny skies and a slight breeze. See what weather is in store for the rest of the day here. Here’s the latest on gas prices in Maine. Here’s what we’re talking about in Maine today.

The latest on the coronavirus

One more Mainer has died, and another 504 COVID-19 cases were reported by the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. That brings the statewide death toll to 2,462. Check out our tracker for more information.

The new BA.4 and BA.5 strains of the coronavirus are thought to be much more contagious than previous variants, and federal health officials are cautioning that the strain should be taken seriously to help prevent a dramatic uptick in cases and deaths.

Names of health care workers who sued Janet Mills over vaccine mandate now public

Alicia Lowe, Debra Chalmers, Jennifer Barbalia, Natalie Salavarria, Nicole Giroux, Garth Berenyi and Adam Jones all were fired after they sought and were denied exemptions for religious reasons, according to the complaint.

Maine’s university system expects years of shortfalls will hit small campuses hardest

After dipping into reserves this year, the University of Maine System expects to face at least four more years of multimillion-dollar budget deficits, setting the stage for future cuts likely to hit small campuses hardest.

ALSO: UMaine system chancellor’s new contract shows rocky relations with trustees

We need your help to understand if we’re talking straight

We’ve placed a survey at the end of some stories to help us understand if our writing is direct, plainspoken and useful to you.

These cyclists are pedaling for those who can’t

Portland Wheelers have expanded its weekday operations to include weekend bike rides using their custom electric-assist bicycles.

Portland ranks last for population growth in the region

Of the 34 communities in the Portland metro for which the U.S. Census Bureau recently released population numbers for 2021, the city of Portland ranked dead-last in growth since 2020, losing 100 residents.

LifeFlight unveils new simulation training labs

A new simulation training lab in Bangor will give emergency care training to first responders in a life-like setting, better preparing them for situations in the field.

Land speed racers will try to break the elusive 300 mph-barrier at Loring

Land speed racers will converge on the former Loring Air Force Base in Limestone this weekend to try to break the 300 mph barrier.

Governors meeting turns Maine’s biggest city into a national political hotspot

Lobbyist gatherings usually mean Robyn Schnaible has to travel out of state. This week, she only has to travel across the bridge to Portland.

Sea Dogs’ founding president Charlie Eshbach has died

Eshbach, who was 70, died after a lengthy illness, the Sea Dogs announced Tuesday.

Historic renovation by Maine boatbuilders transformed New Jersey’s official tall ship

The AJ Meerwald, the official tall ship of the state of New Jersey, is restored, rejuvenated and just about ready to return home after a 10-month historic restoration by expert boatbuilders in Belfast.

Waterville businesses hope the downtown upgrades are worth the headache

Businesses are dealing with the effects of construction and limited parking for customers as the city enters its last several months of work along the main stretch of downtown — and hoping that they’ll benefit in the long term.

In other Maine news:

The Maples make their debut as Maine’s 1st women’s semi-pro basketball team

Portland won’t hire new city manager until after November election

How to go rockhounding for Maine gems and crystals

Use your garlic scapes to make this flavorful spin on pesto

Maine hopes new law will cut down theft of catalytic converters

After decades of engaging teens in sports, Bangor’s police athletic league is no more

Guilford woman accused of stabbing boyfriend claims she acted in self-defense

Bangor’s Barbara Cardone drops bid for 4th House term

Houlton man pleads guilty in car fire that damaged jail administrator’s house

Mainers have lost nearly half a million dollars through real estate scams. Here’s how to avoid them.

Susan Collins votes with Democrats to confirm Joe Biden’s ATF pick

Man drowns at Sebago Lake after apparent medical event

Man claims MDI bar owner fractured his skull in 2020 assault

This native Maine plant can treat a variety of health conditions

Don’t go fishing without these 5 must-have flies

Safety board says cockpit crew caused 2019 Presque Isle crash landing

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.