The Maine CDC 318 reports 706 new cases of COVID-19 statewide and 11 more people diagnosed with the virus who have died. 4 of the deceased were from Penobscot County, while the others were from southern Maine.

On his last day in office, former President Donald Trump pardoned 70 people, including an Aroostook County man who was serving a life sentence in federal prison for running a statewide marijuana smuggling operation. 64-year-old Michael Pelletier of St. David had asked to be released due to health concerns and a decision from a U.S. District Judge was pending before he was granted clemency. Pelletier will be released from prison but his convictions will remain on his criminal record.

More than $18 million in money from the CARES Act is being channeled to Maine’s farmers and food producers. The money will also benefit food banks and food pantries to help with unplanned expenses brought on by the pandemic. Find more information about COVID-19 resources on the Department of Agriculture’s website.

The YMCA Alliance of Maine has received a $2.5 million community block grant that will help low to moderate income families afford before-and-after-school care. Y programs across the state will use the money to provide childcare, educational and social and emotional support for children during the pandemic. Residents are encouraged to contact their local YMCA to learn more about the available resources.

Members of Health Equity Alliance were on the Bangor Waterfront Wednesday morning, handing out 85 Winter Care backpacks to those in need. Each bag contained things like socks, gloves, and hand sanitizer, all of which was donated by the community during the organization’s winter gear drive.

Healthy Acadia in Ellsworth will host monthly listening circles for Downeast teens and young adults to come together and share their experiences, and work together to enact positive change in their communities. The first meeting will be held via Zoom this afternoon, beginning at 3. Find more information at Healthy Acadia dot org.

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