Children cuddle with a soft alpaca named Ms. Boo Boo on Dec. 10, 2022, at Sippy Cup Consignment on Main Street in Lisbon. Credit: Russ Dillingham / Sun Journal via AP

Today is Friday. Temperatures will be in the low to mid-40s from north to south, with mostly cloudy or partly sunny skies across the state. 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.

New COVID variant is quickly dominating in New England

The new variant — XBB — may be more contagious than previous versions of COVID-19.

Mother of slain Edgecomb toddler sought protection order 2 days later

The woman reportedly requested protection against a man she described as “verbally, mentally and physically abusive” on Tuesday.

13 family-owned midcoast convenience stores sold to Georgia-based company

Maritime Farms cited a need to focus on its core energy business as the reason it sold the stores located from Newcastle to Searsport.

There should be enough snowfall in Aroostook for snowmobiling

That’s good news for the many Aroostook businesses that depend on snowmobilers to stay afloat during the winter.

Our photojournalists’ favorite images from 2022

Troy R. Bennett, Linda Coan O’Kresik and Sawyer Loftus chose four of their favorite shots of 2022 and described what makes the pictures special.

The stories you cared about in 2022

From lobsters and housing development to strange wildlife sightings, here’s what you wanted to read about this year.

The top 10 rare birds that visited Maine in 2022

It was a memorable year for birders in Maine, Bangor Daily News birding enthusiast Bob Duschene writes.

UMaine men’s basketball is poised for a big in-conference season

With the non-conference schedule behind them and the America East schedule on the horizon, the Black Bears will have to shore up some things.

Bangor-Brewer hockey rivalry reignites with 1st ‘Fill the Alfond’ game since 2019

It will be the first such game for players on both teams, since the seniors were eighth-graders when the last one was played in January 2019.

WATCH: Breaking down every Maine high school basketball class this season

With the third week of the Maine high school basketball season behind us, Bangor Daily News sports reporters Larry Mahoney and Adam Robinson break down every class for the boys and girls competitions.

Spunky river otters caught playing on midcoast trail cam

Kirk Gentalen comes across a lot of wildlife in his work for the Maine Coast Heritage Trust.

In other Maine news …

Maine state parks assessing storm damage

Historic lighthouse sustained extensive damage in last week’s storm

Volunteers start to replant dunes in South Portland following massive storm

Maine lawmakers face a Friday deadline to submit bills

Free tows home for New Year’s Eve drinkers offered by Bangor company

Maine gives Sugarloaf ski area permission for big expansion

Maine man creates 3rd police standoff in 2 years

Man accused of trying to steal Auburn fire truck

Authorities looking for man who dropped off injured dog at Farmington shelter

Undefeated Ellsworth boys basketball hands Orono its first loss of the season

Sarah Talon leads UMaine women’s win over Bryant in conference opener