Today is Monday. Temperatures will hit the low 80s across most of Maine, with clouds and possible thunderstorms to follow in the evening. Here’s what we’re talking about in Maine today.
Thirty-two more coronavirus cases were reported across the state on Sunday, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. No new deaths were reported, leaving the statewide death toll at 854. Check out our COVID-19 Tracker for more information.
Around noon on Dec. 11, 2019, Christeena Lothrop received a text message from another parent at Auburn Middle School, asking if her son was OK. The text showed a picture of Lothrop’s then-13-year-old son, belly down on the floor of the school’s crowded cafeteria, with a police officer kneeling on either side of his back.
Lothrop would come to learn that her son, whom the Bangor Daily News has agreed not to name for this story, had cut the lunch line, cursed at teachers and refused their requests to follow them out of the cafeteria.
As a handful of small Maine police departments struggling to fill positions close or weigh whether they can keep their doors open, state figures show the number of officers in local police departments has dropped nearly 6 percent since 2015.
Town and city police departments as well as county sheriffs’ offices employed 2,587 officers in 2020, down from 2,745 in 2015, according to annual reports from the Maine Criminal Justice Academy.
Flush with revenue, Maine is on the verge of raising its share of basic K-12 public education funding to a historic threshold. It means little in this small peninsula town crossed by U.S. Route 1.
Like many other communities, West Bath’s property values are driven up by proximity to the ocean. But this is not the gold coast. The town has a median household income of nearly $70,000, higher than the rest of Sagadahoc County but still making for a “blue collar” town where taxes are hard for many to pay, said Keith Hinds, the town’s school board chair.
Maine has received a $300,000 federal grant that will allow three district attorneys to review how they’ve handled domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking cases, and bring a consistent approach to prosecuting the cases, whose victims are primarily women and children.
The three district attorneys will use the funds to hire an additional prosecutor each to focus intensively on those cases. The funds come from a one-year grant awarded under the federal Violence Against Women Act meant to strengthen the criminal justice system’s response to violence against women and enhancing services for victims.
A rush on disinfecting products at the start of the pandemic led to stores everywhere being sold out of hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes. Now, chemical engineers at the University of Maine are working to make sure that doesn’t happen again.
The chemical engineers have been working on a way to create an effective disinfectant on-site at a low cost. The project grew from a UMaine team that worked to address critical shortages during the pandemic.