NYC announces new vaccine mandate for all private sector employers

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that all NYC employers will have to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for their in-person workers under new rules announced on Monday. The vaccine mandate for private businesses will take effect Dec. 27 and is aimed at preventing a spike in COVID-19 infections during the holiday season and winter months. The new guidance would be the most aggressive in the nation. Vaccinations are already required for city employees including teachers, police officers and firefighters, and a vaccination mandate for employees of private and religious schools was announced last week. Current New York City COVID-19 rules also include at least one vaccine dose for indoor restaurant dining, entertainment venues and fitness centers. Under new mandates for indoor dining, entertainment and gyms, two shots will be required for people over 12. One shot will be required for children aged 5 to 11, who are not covered by the current mandate.

de Blasio said that he expects the new mandate to survive any legal challenges. The mandate will apply to roughly 184,000 businesses in the city, which has a population of 8.8 million.  Said de Blasio: “We are going to be working with businesses all over the city and that’s almost 200,000 businesses that are not already covered by the Key to NYC guidelines right now. We are going to be talking to them in the next days on how to put together the right plan to implement this. The specific guidance, the specific rules will come out Dec. 15.”  He added: “We’ve been living with this now for most of two years. We got to put it behind us and vaccine mandates in my experience are the one thing that really breaks through. And we do know this, vaccines every single time, you know, every single time there’s a fear of the vaccine won’t have an impact on a new variant. Well, guess what? Every single time the vaccines have worked. That’s a good track record. Let’s lean into it even more.”

Editorial credit: lev radin /

President Biden announces diplomatic boycott of Winter Olympics in Beijing

On Monday, the White House announced a diplomatic boycott of the upcoming Winter Olympics in China in a show of protest over human rights issues.  The move means President Joe Biden and other American officials will not attend, which is standard practice; however, athletes are allowed to participate in the February games.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a briefing that the decision is in part a signal of opposition to China’s treatment of its Uighur Muslim minority in western Xinjiang province. In March, the White House declared Beijing’s treatment of the Uighurs to be a genocide. Psaki told reporters: “The Biden administration will not send any diplomatic or official representation to the Beijing 2022 Olympic and Paralympic games given the PRC’s ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang and other human rights abuses. The athletes on Team USA have our full support. We will be behind them 100 percent as we cheer them on from home. We will not be contributing to the fanfare of the games.”

Beijing is scheduled to host the 2022 Winter Olympics on Feb. 4-20. It is the first U.S. boycott of any kind for the Olympic Games since President Jimmy Carter ordered a full boycott for the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow over Russia’s military invasion of Afghanistan. No American athletes participated in those Games, and Russia ordered a similar boycott of the Los Angeles Summer Olympics four years later.

Editorial credit: Mirko Kuzmanovic /

Kenny Chesney earns his 34th No. 1 single with ‘Knowing You’

After 37-weeks on the charts, Kenny Chesney‘s single “Knowing You” has officially reached the No.1 spot at country radio. Earlier this year, Chesney released a cinematic music video for the ballad, directed by Shaun Silva and shot in Gloucester, Mass and St. Croix. The video brought the song to life in cinematic form, showcasing Chesney’s acting skills alongside a female counterpart.

Chesney will return to the road with the launch of his Here And Now 2022 Tour, kicking off on April 23 in Tampa, Florida. The trek will also feature Dan + Shay, Old Dominion and Carly Pearce at the stadium shows and Carly Pearce at select amphitheater concerts.

Visit Chesney’s official website for additional details.

Editorial credit: Debby Wong /

Cole Swindell announces headlining “Down to the Bar” 2022 tour

Cole Swindell has announced his headlining “Down To The Bar Tour” in early 2022. Swindell will be joined by Travis Denning and Ashley Cooke on the road, kicking things off on Feb. 17, 2022 in Peoria, Illinois.

Said Swindell: “I am so excited to kick off 2022 back on the road with a headlining tour. “I’ve been big fans of Travis Denning and Ashley Cooke for a while now so to be able to get them for this tour is exciting. The fans are going to be in for a lot of surprises on this tour! It will be hard to top 2021, but getting this tour out there already has me excited for the new year.”

Swindell’s “Down Home Crew” fan club members can purchase tickets beginning today, December 7 at 10 a.m. local time, with general sale tickets for most markets going on sale either this Friday (December 10) or December 17. Check for further details.

Editorial credit: Debby Wong /

Kim Kardashian West to receive ‘Fashion Icon’ honor at 2021 People’s Choice Awards

Kim Kardashian West has been chosen to receive the ‘Fashion Icon’ honor at the 2021 People’s Choice Awards, which is set to air on NBC and E! Tuesday from the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica.

Jen Neal, executive vice president of entertainment live events and specials at NBCUniversal Entertainment television, said in a press release: “For nearly two decades, Kim Kardashian West’s style evolution has disrupted and influenced trends on a global level and cemented herself as a force to be reckoned with within the fashion industry. For being a cultural inspiration, trailblazer and so much more, we can’t wait to honor Kim with this year’s People’s Fashion Icon award.”

The People’s Choice Awards allows fans to vote for their favorites artists across all genres of entertainment. This year’s event has ‘F9’ leading the film categories with eight nominations, while ‘This Is Us’ tops the TV categories with six nominations. Justin Bieber tops the music categories with 10 nominations.

The 2021 People’s Choice Awards, hosted by Kenan Thompson, will air simultaneously on NBC and E! on Dec. 7 at 9 p.m. ET.

Editorial credit: Asatur Yesayants /

Sony drops first-look trailer for ‘Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse (Part One)’

Sony unveiled the title and first-look teaser for the Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse, dubbed Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse (Part One).   The title implies the film will serve as the first installation of a two-part sequel; the first part is scheduled for release in theaters Oct. 7, 2022, and the second part to be released sometime in 2023.

Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse will chronicle Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) as he groups up with Miguel O’Hara (Oscar Isaac), “Spider-Man 2099”, and Spider-Gwen (Hailee Steinfeld) to face off with a powerful super-villian.  Along with Moore, Steinfeld and Isaac, Jake Johnson will once again voice Peter Parker, while “Insecure” creator and star Issa Rae will be lending her talents to the role of Jessica Drew, aka Spider-Woman.

Click to see first-look teaser – here.

Editorial credit: Faiz Zaki /

Fitzpatrick Trophy Semi-Finalists Announced

The 12 semifinalists have been announced for the Fitzpatrick Trophy, given annually to Maine’s top high school senior football player.

Among those announced from Central Maine teams:
Casey Mills, Cony tight end/defensive end
Liam Von Oesen, Waterville quarterback/linebacker
Hunter Hayes, Leavitt quarterback/safety
Austin Seavey, Foxcroft Academy quarterback

All the semi-finalists listed here:

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Three Killed in Bangor Blaze

Three deceased adults were discovered inside Union Street duplex building fire yesterday afternoon, Dec. 5. in Bangor. The had been vacant for approximately a year

Two people escaped the burning structure. One was assisted by a passing citizen. The other was rescued by the Bangor Fire Department. One of the rescued was transported to a local hospital for medical attention.

The have been identified as 28-year-old Tim Tuttle, 31-year-old Dylan Smith and 56-year-old Andrew Allen. The remains of all three have been transported to the Medical Examiner’s office where autopsies will be conducted. All three were homeless.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

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US Announces Diplomatic Boycott of Beijing Winter Olympics

The United States will not send diplomatic representatives to Beijing for the 2022 Winter Olympics. A diplomatic boycott was announced today, Dec. 6, which means no no U.S. government officials will attend. However, American athletes will still be allowed to compete.

The move is because of China’s human rights record.

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Icy Roads Contribute to Multiple Crashes on I95

Part of Interstate 95 remains closed this afternoon, Dec. 6, after icy roads contributed to multiple crashes.

Poor driving conditions contributed to several crashes that closed Interstate 95 near Dixmont, Etna, and Plymouth. Interstate 95 Southbound remains closed and traffic is being diverted off the interstate at Exit 167. The interstate is expected to remain closed for the next 4-6 hours.

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