These are some of the stories central Maine is talking about today.

(AP) — The number of Mainers enrolling in health care exchanges under the Affordable Care Act continues to grow even with a decision by Maine Community Health Options to cut off new enrollments.  Part of the growth comes from people exploring their options as they realize they're going to face a bigger tax penalty if they fail to act. The latest figures from the federal government indicate more than 66,000 people are enrolled in Maine. Community Health Options had the lion's share of the business. But they said Harvard Pilgrim and Anthem have good options that'll remain after Community Health stops accepting new enrollments through its website Tuesday and through the federal website on the day after Christmas.

(AP) — The heads of Riverview Psychiatric hospital in Augusta and DHHS are set to meet with a government oversight committee to discuss the treatment of patients. THey meet with the Legislature's committee on Jan. 22. Both had been asked to appear to answer questions about the hospital. The committee threatened to subpoena them earlier this month if they did not appear at one of its January meetings. The state-run hospital lost its federal certification in 2013 after an inspection uncovered problems such as overcrowding and the use of correctional officers to oversee patients.

(KJ) – Augusta city councilors will vote Thursday on whether to end the curbside collection of recyclables. According to the KJ, the order would end the city’s current recyclables collection as of May 1. The once-a-month service collects only a limited variety of materials, which must be sorted from each other. Curbside usage has dropped as the single stream drop off locations was available. Last year the curbside recycling program collected 120 tons at a cost of $879 per ton, compared to 160 tons at a cost of $113 a ton collected in the single-stream drop-off recycling program. Regular trash pick may be expanded into those weeks or there is talk of creating a single stream curb side pickup.

(KJ) -- There is a mystery person or persons in Waterville leaving packages for those in need. The bags contained blankets, soap, toothpaste, a toothbrush, shampoo and snacks. They were left along Main Street in downtown Waterville on Monday with notes inside that said, “If you’re cold, this gift is for you. Always remember, someone cares.” A few days after Thanksgiving in Waterville, someone placed winter clothing on hangers and hung it from lighted trees in Castonguay Square were Christmas cards that said, “Pay it forward.” The director of the Mid Maine Homeless shelter is happy people in the community are reaching out, she also says it would be wonderful if they included the shelters contact information, so they can help find lasting solutions.

(WGME) -- A Winthrop company is helping reduce the impact of concussions in football. Alba-Technic out of Winthrop is a finalist in a competition sponsored by the National Football League. It’s a soft headgear protects the back and front of the head from dangerous and deadly falls and impacts. The patented shock absorbing honey-comb material is what's making news today.  Alba-Technic is a finalist in the National Football League’s head health challenge. The league is interested in new materials that absorb or dissipate impact from big hits, and as a finalist there are some perks, and more work ahead. Ferguson says the “smarty” will be on the market in six months and their final product will be submitted to the NFL in a year.

(AP) — Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump says temporarily banning Muslims from entering the U.S. is a matter of security, not religion. Trump defended his proposal at Tuesday night's GOP debate in Las Vegas. Rivals Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio largely spared Trump from criticism, saying they understand why Trump raised the idea of banning Muslims. But fellow candidate Jeb Bush called Trump a "chaos candidate."

(AP) —Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton says the American people "cannot give into fear" in the aftermath of attacks in Paris and California. Clinton on Tuesday presented her strategy to protect the homeland and prevent domestic terrorist attacks. Her plan includes proactive steps for capping Islamic State recruitment in the U.S., especially online, and for stopping potential jihadists from training overseas.

(AP) — Schools in the Los Angeles area will reopen Wednesday, following threats of a large-scale jihadi attack that shut down the entire school district on Tuesday. New York City schools received the same threat, but dismissed it as a hoax and continued with classes. In LA, the threat came in the form of an email to a school board member.