1. This year, Portland residents will be casting their vote for mayor and someone new has already thrown their hat in the ring. District 2 City Councilor Spencer Thibodeau announced that he plans on running against current mayor — and member of his own party — Ethan Strimling. Thibodeau says he has worked to improve life for Portlanders, from issues like affordable housing to tackling climate change. (NewsCenterMaine)
2. Talks between President Trump and congressional Democrats aimed at ending the partial government shutdown collapsed in disarray Wednesday, with the president walking out of the White House meeting and calling it “a total waste of time” after Democrats rejected his demand for border-wall funding. Furious Democrats accused Trump of slamming his hand on the table before he left, and they said he ignored their pleas to reopen the federal government. With the shutdown nearing the three-week mark, some 800,000 workers are about to miss their first paycheck. (Press Herald)
3. The South Portland Planning Board met Wednesday night to unanimously approve the city’s first recreational marijuana facility. The proposal is for the company “Seaweed,” which will build a 3,200 square-foot facility off of Running Hill Road, close to the Maine Mall. The proposal passed on the conditions that the business get a state license and provide a plaque for a possible ancient burial site. (WGME)
4. Former University of Maine Coach, Joe Harasymiak, has been honored by the American Football Coaches Association as the 2018 Football Championship Subdivision National Coach of the Year. Harasymiak led the black bears to a 10 and 4 record and the team’s first C.A.A. title in five years. Maine advanced to the F.C.S. semifinals for the first time in program history. He left UMaine on December 20 to accept a job as a defensive assistant at the University of Minnesota after three seasons as the Black Bears head coach. (NewsCenterMaine)
5. Scientists in British Columbia, Canada, have detected a repeating radio signal known as fast radio bursts, or FRBs, that they believe are emanating from a galaxy 1.5 billion light-years away. This is just the second time that FRBs have been detected. (Twitter)
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