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The week ahead: August 16, 2021

Portland to vote on back-to-school plans, R. Kelly trial begins, SEALs for Sunshine comes through Portland. Here are some stories to watch this week.

MAINE, USA — Here are some stories to keep an eye on for the rest of this week.

Tuesday, August 17

The Portland Board of Education will meet to vote on a return-to-school plan. The board met earlier this month and discussed possible plans for masking, social distancing, and pool testing. They'll take all those plans into consideration and decide how to move forward Tuesday. The public will be able to comment remotely before the vote, which will be at Casco Bay High School. Community members can also attend in person, or livestream the meeting.

Wednesday, August 18

Opening statements will begin on Wednesday in the R. Kelly federal trial in New York. Seven men and five women were sworn in as jurors last week, but they will have to remain anonymous and partially sequestered throughout the trial. Kelly faces several racketeering and sex traffic charges. He had plead not guilty to all of them.

Thursday, August 19

The annual "SEALs for Sunshine" event will come through Portland on Thursday in what will be a grueling challenge for SEALs and other veterans. The "Peak to Peak's Challenge" has participants start by running 7.6 miles down from the peak of Mt. Washington in New Hampshire. Next is a nearly 100 mile bike ride to east end beach in Portland, before they finish with a 2.4 mile swim to Peaks Island. The goal of the yearly event is to support camp sunshine's mission of helping families affected by childhood illness. The race kicks off at 5:30 a.m. 

Friday, August 20

This Friday is the deadline to apply for the Maine Department of Labor's "Back to Work" grant program. The goal of the program is to provide businesses with up to $1,000 in grants to offer new employees who accepted a job between June 15th and July 15th. Employees who qualify would receive the money after they've been on the job for eight weeks. 386 employers in Maine are currently participating in the program, and you can apply by visiting the page on the Department of Labor's website.

More Information:

Portland school leaders lay out return-to-school plans, including universal mask wearing

Jury of 7 men, 5 women to hear R Kelly sex trafficking case

Navy SEALs swim 16 miles for Camp Sunshine

Mills offers cash incentive to get unemployed Mainers back to work; some part-time workers now eligible