Shadows follow dancers from the Portland Ballet as they rehearse in Westbrook on Wednesday. Credit: Troy R. Bennett / BDN

Today is Friday. Temperatures will be in the low 30s to low 40s, with cloudy skies in the north and mostly sunny skies to the south. Here’s what we’re talking about in Maine today.

Here’s the latest on the coronavirus in Maine

Another 283 coronavirus cases were reported across the state on Thursday, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Thursday marked the highest single-day increase in coronavirus cases Maine has seen since Feb. 4, when 301 were reported. No new deaths were reported, leaving the statewide death toll at 743. Check out our COVID-19 Tracker for more information.

The pandemic continues to complicate the jobs picture in the state and around the country, with jobless claims ticking up in Maine last week.

All Mainers 16 and older will become eligible for COVID-19 vaccines on Wednesday

In this March 2, 2021, file photo, Mary Rich of Waterboro is vaccinated by Kennebunk Fire Rescue paramedic David Garriepy during a MaineHealth COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Sanford. Credit: Gregory Rec / Portland Press Herald via AP

The decision to make younger Mainers eligible for the vaccine sooner comes as the virus has shown little sign of slowing in Maine despite the accelerated vaccination rollout, and as appointments have been slower to fill as supply has grown.

PLUS: Maine will still get its full scheduled shipment of Johnson & Johnson vaccines next week after a batch failed a quality check at a Baltimore factory.

A hit-and-run driver left him for dead. Now his friends and community are rallying behind him.

Jason Blake Credit: Courtesy of Stephanie Blake

Just over a month ago, Jason Blake was left lying critically injured in the middle of Oak Hill Road. Now he is at the beginning of a long recovery.

Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan would send Maine scrambling to replace old lead water pipes

In this July 26, 2019, photo, a glass of tap water sits on a counter in Montreal, Quebec. Credit: Mackenzie Lad / Institute for Investigative Journalism/Concordia University via AP

“We want to make sure that when somebody turns on their water tap they do not have lead.”

After years of scrapped plans, Rockland has ‘cautious optimism’ that Amtrak will return

In this July 10, 2012, file photo, Amtrak Conductor Peter McHugh stows the gangway as the Downeaster to Boston leaves Portland. Credit: Troy R. Bennett / BDN

The extension could bring an economic boon for the city, but similar plans have fallen through in the past.

Maine’s highest court upholds murder conviction and sentence of Marissa Kennedy’s mother

Sharon Kennedy, the mother convicted of murdering her 10-year-old daughter, Marissa Kennedy, listens to the prosecution speak at the Waldo Judicial Center in Belfast during her sentencing hearing in February 2020. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

Sharon Kennedy is serving a 48-year prison term for her role in the 2018 beating death of her 10-year-old daughter Marissa in Stockton Springs.

Aerospace company plans to launch next generation of rocket in Limestone this summer

bluShift Aerospace made history on Jan. 31 by launching the Stardust 1.0 at roughly 3 p.m., marking the world’s first commercial launch of a rocket powered by a bio-derived fuel. Credit: Chris Bouchard / Aroostook Republican & News

The Stardust 2.0, an improved iteration of the first rocket but with the same amount of power, would be launched from the Loring Commerce Centre in Limestone — where the 1.0 made history — at the end of the summer.

New 95-acre preserve offers a long, hilly hike in Phippsburg

The new McKay Farm Preserve in Phippsburg features ledges throughout the forest. Credit: Courtesy of Phippsburg Land Trust

The McKay Farm Preserve offers a 2.1-mile loop hike that navigates hills, ravines, ledges, fields and an old town road. It’s connected to the trail system of the neighboring Cooley Center Pond Preserve, which extends the loop hike to 4.8 miles.

Wildlife will visit, even near our largest cities

A bobcat stands on a rock, surveying the situation. Credit: Courtesy of Mike Collins

This bobcat stopped to survey a Seattle suburb, where they are frequent visitors.

Barn cats are the homesteading partners you didn’t know you need

Provided shelter, food, water and appropriate veterinary care, barn cats are perfectly happy and useful parts of a homestead. Credit: Courtesy of Kassie Dwyer

While barn cats don’t long for a human companion, they can still lend a helping paw — or claws — to homesteaders with rodent problems.

This Presque Isle semipro baseball star played in the 1936 Berlin Olympics

Billy Shaw of Presque Isle steps up to the plate during a semipro baseball game during his career in the 1930s. Credit: Courtesy of Hubert S. Shaw Jr.

Billy Shaw had a reputation as a dangerous and timely hitter.

In other Maine news …

Sabra recalls hummus over potential salmonella exposure

Man accused of robbing 4 banks since 2006 pleads not guilty to robbing Bangor bank

Woman flips her Jeep in Auburn Walmart parking lot

Video exonerates Portland activist accused of brandishing gun during protest against police violence

Janet Mills asks for federal action on ‘forever chemicals’

Nestle sells Poland Spring to private-equity firms