The Maine CDC reports 142 new cases of COVID-19 and 1 additional death. Now that the FDA has approved the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 single-dose vaccine, the Maine CDC is preparing to place its first order of eleven-thousand-five-hundred doses.

Starting on Wednesday, Maine residents age 60 and over can begin to receive their vaccination. Governor Janet Mills announced on Friday that the vaccination schedule is being accelerated, with residents 50 and older eligible in April and 40 and over in May. See the complete schedule at WDEA dot AM.

After three fatal fires in the past week, fire officials are cautioning residents about the importance of having working smoke detectors. Homes should have a smoke detector placed outside each sleeping area. In addition, families should have an escape plan and a pre-determined meeting place away from the building.

A new, smaller work-release facility is being built at the site of the former Downeast Correctional Center, which was closed by Governor Paul LePage in an effort to cut costs. The new facility will house around 50 low-risk inmates, who will be eligible to leave to work at jobs each day and return in the evening.

Memorial services are being held in Maine and across the nation today, in an effort to turn March 1st into a national day of mourning for people who lost their lives to COVID-19. The Floral Heart Project will hold services at the Town Green in Blue Hill and at Knowlton Park in Ellsworth.

Organizations around Maine will split nearly $300,000 to promote arts and literature programs, with the largest award going to the Portland Museum of Art. Points North Institute in Camden will a portion to support the Camden International Film Festival, and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture will get also benefit in support of residencies for emerging artist.

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