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Good morning, Portland! Hope you're bundled up: We're starting off the week with a balmy high of 43 degrees and (potentially empty) promises of snow for Tuesday. If you have the means, consider donating warm clothing to people without a house this week. That can be as simple as dropping off wool socks at a neighbor's tent or donating items directly to a homeless service provider. Now, the news:
- Russian police arrested more than 3,000 people protesting the detention of anti-corruption opposition leader Alexei Navalny on seemingly bogus charges. The outdoor protests spanned the country, including cities with temperatures as low as -58 F (!!!), signaling how eager Russians are to move past Putin.
- Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador—a COVID-19 skeptic—has tested positive for COVID-19. In previous interviews, López Obrador has said he won't wear a mask until Mexico had eliminated corruption, which means now the country just has corruption AND nearly 150,000 dead due to COVID-19. Cool flex, guy.
- New Zealand, which has all but forgotten about the global pandemic due to tight border controls, has reported its first case of COVD-19 since November. The 56-year-old woman traveled to Europe for work late last year and tested negative for the coronavirus after a 14-day quarantine. Days after leaving quarantine, she began showing symptoms of COVID-19, and received a positive test, meaning others in the community may now be exposed.
- Even if you're a This American Life skeptic, this episode is worth tuning in to:
I worked with @ThisAmerLife to turn my story about what Black Capitol police officers faced into radio. The interviews were raw & powerful. I'm so glad people get to hear them. For the officer's anonymity we got a voice actor, the amazing @GbengaAkinnagbe https://t.co/nQkZHU3N2g— Emmanuel Felton (@emmanuelfelton) January 25, 2021
- The rollout of COVID-19 vaccines in the US has been a slow, clunky mess. But one state has risen above the rest when it comes to swiftly and successfully administering the vaccine: West Virginia. Please hold your WV jokes and read this story about how the rural state is doling out doses with ease. (You will also learn that the state's motto is, gloriously: "Mountaineers are always free.”)
- Prez Biden reversed Trump's ban on transgender Americans joining the military!
- Make time for this juicy Q & A with Dr. Anthony Fauci, where the 80-year-old infectious disease expert delves into death threats, conspiracy theories, science, and his "two guys from New York" camaraderie with Trump. Asked if he ever considered quitting his government job in 2020: "Never. Never. Nope."
- The Las Vegas area's school district, the United States' fifth largest, is planning on reopening some of its schools after seeing a sobering spike in student suicides. Since schools closed down in March 2020, the district has lost 18 students to suicide—the youngest being just nine years old. As Las Vegas' COVID-19 numbers remain high, the decision pits children's' mental health against a heightened risk of contracting the virus.
- A Tacoma police officer ran over several pedestrians Saturday night after responding to reports of drag racing. The officer claimed he had no choice by to drive at people, because he was afraid that the group was going to break the patrol car window. Those injured survived, but the incident drew protesters to Tacoma the following night to march through city streets, breaking windows and demanding the officer's termination.
- BABY BAT BREAK:
Three sky pups were born recently. These baby fruit bats are called Rodrigues flying foxes, and are among the world's most endangered bats. pic.twitter.com/wjd7jnlXUH— Oregon Zoo (@OregonZoo) January 22, 2021
- The City of Portland has announced its plan to close Hazelnut Grove, a five-year-old tiny home village built and sustained by houseless Portlanders, by February. I took some time to unpack Hazelnut Grove's history and understand how the scrappy village pushed Portland leaders to embrace and expand village-style alternative shelters.
- This Oregonian piece pairs nicely with the above story, as it explores the pitfalls of Mayor Ted Wheeler's "FEMA-like" plan to expand congregate (or, indoor) shelters during a pandemic. As it turns out, not everyone feels at home in a mass shelter.
- A group of medically vulnerable Oregon prison inmates are requesting that a federal judge grant them immediate access to COVID-19 vaccines, adding to a lawsuit they filed against Governor Kate Brown and the state's Department of Corrections in April.
- Meanwhile, Gov. Brown is still struggling to explain the state's vaccine administration rollout plan, which prioritizes teachers before the elderly:
Gov. Kate Brown appears to be holding a press conference mainly to defend her stance to vaccinate teachers before the elderly.— Lauren Dake (@LaurenDake) January 22, 2021
She says it’s a move backed by science.
That’s not true. #orpol #orleg #covid19https://t.co/hiDzavpRR9