Here are the things you need to  know today......

~Zone forecast from

It has been cold but lakes and ponds may not be ready for ice fishing and other activities. According to WGME wardens say check the ice as you go and carry an ice pack in case you fall through.

From the Associated Press:

Gov LePage says he plans to bring up his proposal to prevent the use of food stamps for junk food during a visit to Washington, D.C. Gov. Paul LePage, who blames the sugar lobby for resistance to his proposal, planned to travel to Washington for a holiday party this week. LePage told The Associated Press that even though Maine children and adults are dealing with obesity and type 2 diabetes, the federal government won't allow him to take soft drinks, chocolate bars and candy off the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program's list of allowed foods. LePage had hoped a new presidential administration would listen. Federal officials earlier this year asked the Republican governor to provide more details.

The state of Maine wants to help residents learn to commercially grow grapes, even if it means putting up with a little wine every now and then. The University of Maine Cooperative Extension is hosting an introduction to grape growth in Augusta on Jan. 11. The state says the class is geared at growers who are interested in small-scale production.

Republican Sen. Susan Collins says the tax reform overhaul now contains proposals she backed concerning state and local taxes, retirement savings and medical expenses. The legislation would slash tax rates for big business and lower levies on the richest Americans. The GOP plans to muscle the $1.5 trillion bill through Congress this week before its break. Collins has said her vote will depend on fixes to the insurance market and Medicare cuts. Maine Democrats point to House GOP resistance.

A Maine task force is set to meet for the first time to come up with state-level fixes to the health care system. The Portland Press Herald reports the task force is set to meet Wednesday and discuss proposals like a single-payer health care system. Meanwhile, Congress is deciding whether to repeal a key provision of former President Barack Obama's health care law. The Congressional Budget Office estimates 13 million fewer Americans would have health care coverage if Congress repeals the mandate that requires people who can't get insurance through an employer to purchase coverage or pay a penalty. The task force's membership includes Democratic Sen. Geoff Gratwick, a retired rheumatologist. Gratwick said he supports single-payer in theory, but wants solutions that can gain wide support.

The father of a woman fatally shot by her ex-boyfriend is calling for more widespread use of ankle bracelets for people charged with domestic violence crimes. The Portland Press Herald reports Vance Ginn says such a program might have helped protect his daughter Stephanie Gebo. Robert Burton was sentenced Friday to 55 years in prison for killing 37-year-old Gebo in June 2015 before leading police on the longest manhunt in state history. Officials say Gebo feared Burton.

The Louisiana-based producer of the Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey says a $1 million expansion of its Maine bottling plant will bring at least 30 new jobs. Boston Brands of Maine, a division of Sazerac Company, says it's moving forward with an expansion at its Lewiston bottling plant. Sazerac this year fought against the Republican governor's unsuccessful prohibition on in-state sales of 50-milliliter alcohol bottles. The alcohol company threatened to reconsider its planned $1 million expansion.

A Maine hunter charged with shooting and killing a woman he mistook for a deer has been formally charged with manslaughter. An Oxford County grand jury returned the indictment against 38-year-old Robert Trundy, of Hebron. The Bangor Daily News reports that he'll be arraigned March 9. The 34-year-old victim, Karen Wrentzel, was digging for gemstones on her property when she was shot.

Maine's Republican governor says he plans to bring up his proposal to prevent the use of food stamps for junk foods during a visit to Washington, D.C. Gov. Paul LePage blames the sugar lobby for resistance to his proposal, which federal officials are reviewing. The governor was traveling to Washington, D.C. for a holiday party this week.

A Nordic skier who won four championships in high school in Maine and captained the Dartmouth team is the United States Paralympic Coach of the Year. Eileen Carey coaches the U.S. Nordic skiing and biathlon paralympic teams. The teams are comprised of athletes with disabilities.

Christmastime is typically a busy time of year for American seafood exporters, as lobster is popular in some European countries around the holiday. But Canada and the EU brokered a deal this year that gets rid of tariffs on Canadian lobster exports to the 28-nation bloc. Members of the U.S. lobster industry, which is based in New England, said exports to Europe have been pretty typical this year, but they're worried about the future.

Officials say power has been fully restored at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. The airport announced on its Twitter page minutes after its midnight deadline, "Power has been restored on all concourses. 5,000+ meals are being delivered to passengers. Trains will be operational soon."

President Donald Trump has added to the growing conservative criticism of special counsel Robert Mueller's move to gain access to thousands of emails sent and received by Trump officials before his administration. Trump says he isn't considering firing Mueller even as his administration was again forced to grapple with the growing Russia probe that has shadowed the White House for much of the year. He repeated his denials that his team was involved in collusion.

The head of Neuro-Oncology at the National Institutes of Health's National Cancer Institute reports that Sen. John McCain has been given treatment at a military hospital for a viral infection and is "responding positively" to ongoing treatment for brain cancer. Dr. Mark Gilbert's office says the 81-year-old Arizona Republican has returned to his home state and will undergo physical therapy and rehabilitation at the Mayo Clinic facility there.

The circumstances surrounding the death of a U.S. Army sergeant in Niger have come into greater focus following a military investigation, The Associated Press has learned. The probe found Sgt. La David Johnson wasn't captured alive or killed at close range, it was revealed. This put to rest a swirl of rumors about how he died. The AP learned that Johnson actually died in a hail of gunfire and fought to the end after fleeing militants who killed three comrades in an October ambush in Niger.

While crews got a break from slightly calmer winds on the lines of the enormous blaze threatening Santa Barbara County, much of the rest of Southern California was buffeted by powerful gusts that increased the wildfire risk across the region. The National Weather Service forecast red flag conditions for extreme fire danger through Sunday evening for Ventura and Los Angeles counties. Some 8,000 firefighters are deployed to the so-called Thomas Fire, which still threatens 18,000 homes.