Heather Martel and Rodney Robichaud listen to a band playing on the stage at the city's first New Year's Eve celebration in Auburn, Maine, Monday, Dec. 31, 2018. Credit: Andree Kehn | AP

Happy New Year. Temperatures will be in the mid-40s, with precipitation throughout the state.

Here’s what we’re talking about in Maine today.

Bangor’s quirky tradition of throwing a beach ball off a roof on New Year’s Eve continues

Credit: Gabor Degre

–Despite the ice and midnight rain, hundreds came out to West Market Square the evening of Dec. 31 to see Bangor’s annual New Year’s Eve tradition: tossing a light-covered beach ball off the roof of the building that houses Paddy Murphy’s.

The federal government shutdown could harm coastal home sales

–While other parts of the country saw lagging home sales at the end of 2018, sellers in the Northeast fared well. However, that could change quickly because buyers can’t close on coastal properties without federally approved flood insurance.

A convicted murderer with multiple prison escapes on his record has been indicted

–Arnold Nash had just 14 months remaining on his sentence for the 1991 beating death and robbery of his Sullivan neighbor when he escaped from the Mountain View Correctional Facility in Charleston in September. The Penobscot County grand jury indicted Nash late last week for his prison escape, paving the way for a trial.

Maine has seen its first flu death of the season

Credit: David Goldman | AP

–Overall, Maine’s flu season to this point has been less intense than it was last year, with fewer positive flu tests and fewer hospitalizations. But the state saw its first flu-related death last week. According to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the victim was a Hancock County resident over the age of 65.

Illegally introduced landlocked alewives could put some Maine fisheries at risk

–In a development that may have serious impacts on the fisheries in one of eastern Maine’s storied coldwater ponds, a state biologist has confirmed the presence of landlocked alewives in Hancock County’s Beech Hill Pond.

UMaine football team loses another assistant coach to a conference rival

–The unprecedented success of the 2018 University of Maine football team continues to have negative repercussions for the program.

With former head coach Joe Harasymiak and defensive coordinator Corey Hetherman already having moved on, another UMaine coach is leaving.

Do this: Take a crack at ice climbing in the Camden Hills

Credit: Aislinn Sarnacki

–The ice loomed ahead in frozen waterfalls, bumpy mounds, rippling walls and tapered icicles. As the water ran over the cliffs and down the steep slope, it solidified into wild shapes that could only be conquered with ice axes, spiked boots and a sturdy rope.

“You want to find the best spot for the ice ax to go in,” Noah Kleiner said as he brushed crusty snow away to reveal the smooth surface of the wall.

In other news …

Maine

The end of a mushing era on Rusty Metal Farm

Gorham police rescue owl hit by car

Maine man accused of stabbing son after argument in car 

Business

Shutdown threatens to undercut home sale gains in Northeast

2018 was rough on the Bangor Mall, but ‘all is not bleak in Bangor’ 

Where to find Maine’s best jobs during the next decade

Politics

Maine Democratic leaders say ACA protections will be first order of business in 2019

Many King, Baldacci documents deleted from state servers

How LePage fared in achieving the goals he set in his 2011 inaugural address

Opinion

Happy New Year

What the shutdown tells us about America

Arctic refuge threatened by reckless oil and gas rush

Sports

Husson women’s basketball team knocks off 8th-ranked Chicago

Patriots rout Jets, clinch another first-round bye

Chattanooga hands UMaine women fourth consecutive loss

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