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From the Associated Press:

Maine health officials continue to combat the state's high rate of whooping cough with the new vaccine mandate. The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention is requiring incoming seventh-grade public school students to receive a second dose of Tdap, a vaccine that protects against tetanus, pertussis and diphtheria. Maine has one of the highest rates of pertussis- a contagious respiratory disease - in the country. Officials say school nurses are working to ensure students are vaccinated and records updated.

Maine's Nov. 7 ballot will include a special election to fill a House seat left open when a lawmaker died. First-term Rep. Gina Mason died Sept. 5 at age 57. Maine's four political parties will now caucus to choose their candidates for the seat.

Sen. Susan Collins is joining an effort to extend the Federal Perkins Loan Program for two years. Collins says the popular program is to set expire on Sept. 30 and approximately 1,500 colleges and universities won't be able to make the loans unless Congress acts. She says that would leave about a half million students without access to a key source of aid.

The busiest portion of Maine's annual bear hunt is entering into its final days as the bait season is coming to a close. Hunters are allowed to lure bears with bait until Saturday. Bait is typically sugary human food such as doughnuts. The majority of the bears harvested in Maine are taken during bait season.

Some 60,000 people are expected to head to Unity, Maine, this week for the state's annual celebration of rural living and organic farming and gardening. The 2017 Common Ground Country Fair runs from Friday through Sunday. The fair presents a series of workshops and events that are geared to celebrating rural life.

Schools across New England have been forced to push back the first day of class, consolidate bus routes and pay sign-on bonuses to recruit drivers due to a shortage of yellow bus drivers. School districts and bus contractors say recruiting drivers is tough because of low unemployment and poor pay and benefits. A recent survey by School Bus Fleet Magazine found 90 percent of school districts and bus contractors reported some level of shortage last year.

An eastern Maine town plans to vote to prohibit marijuana retail stores and pot social clubs. The town of Surry is set to hold a public hearing Sept. 20 to discuss the ordinance. A special town meeting is scheduled for Oct. 2. Possession of up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana became legal earlier this year but lawmakers pushed back legalization of marijuana sales to next year.

St. Louis police have arrested dozens of people as protests over the acquittal of a white former police officer charged with killing a black suspect turned from nonviolent demonstrations to vandalism for the third consecutive night. More protests are expected Monday, three days after a judge cleared ex-officer Jason Stockley in the 2011 shooting death of 24-year-old Anthony Lamar Smith. Hundreds have protested every day against the judge's ruling.

President Donald Trump is mocking North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as "Rocket Man" _ but national security adviser H.R. McMaster says "we ought to probably not laugh too much" about it. Trump's advisers say North Korea faces destruction unless it shelves its weapons programs and bellicose threats. North Korea will be high on the agenda for world leaders this coming week at the annual meeting of the U.N. General Assembly. Trump is scheduled to address the U.N. on Tuesday.

A strengthening Hurricane Maria is swirling toward the eastern Caribbean, with forecasters warning it probably will be a major storm by the time it passes through the already battered Leeward Islands late Monday. Maria grew into a hurricane Sunday, and forecasters say it is expected to become much stronger over the next 48 hours following a path that will take it near many of the islands wrecked by Hurricane Irma and on to Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Haiti.

He may not have an Emmy, but Donald Trump has had a huge impact on television's annual awards ceremony. He was the butt of jokes and pointed political commentary. "Saturday Night Live," which made a living on political comedy, had its biggest year thanks to its political skits, and the dystopian drama 'The Handmaid's Tale' is winner of the major drama awards.

Police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, believe the killings of two black men were racially motivated. Police say in both shootings last week, the suspect fired from his car, walked up to the victims as they were lying on the ground and fired again multiple times. Police believe a 23-year-old white man who's in custody on drug charges is a suspect in the killings.


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