1. The White House has begun laying the groundwork for a declaration of national emergency to build President Trump’s border wall. The administration is eyeing unused money in the Army Corps of Engineers budget, specifically a disaster spending bill passed by Congress last year that includes $13.9 billion that has been allocated but not actually spent for civil works projects. The military construction budget is also being eyed as a potential source for unspent funds, with billions more potentially available there. (Press Herald)
2. Four lawmakers in Maine are floating bills that would seal or expunge the records of people with past marijuana convictions. The move comes as Maine continues its transition into a legal marijuana state. Supporters of legalized marijuana and criminal justice reform say prior offenders shouldn’t have to carry the consequences of a criminal history for something that’s no longer illegal. (NewsCenterMaine)
3. For the first time ever, Allagash White will be available in cans. The brewery says starting next month cans will be available around New England as well as New Jersey and parts of New York. The cans will be offered in four packs of 16 ounce cans. The company says it will also offer a new year-round canned beer called “River Trip” which is a Belgain-style session ale. (WGME)
4. Sarah Thomas keeps making history. She was the first woman to ever officiate a college football bowl game. Then she became the NFL’s first full-time female official. This weekend, she’ll be the first woman to officiate an NFL playoff game. Thomas, now in her fourth season as an official, will work the AFC divisional playoff game between the Los Angeles Chargers and the New England Patriots on Sunday. (WMTW)
5. Pinkfong’s “Baby Shark” made its debut on the Billboard Hot 100 this week. According to the publication, the popular kids track entered at #32 on the chart dated January 12. While “Baby Shark” dates back decades, the South Korea-based educational brand created its own version of the track in 2016. It has gained traction in recent weeks, thanks to the “Baby Shark Challenge,” which finds participants dancing along to the song and mimicking its commands when applicable. (Billboard)
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