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A screenshot of Governor Kate Brown speaking at an event
Governor Kate Brown extended Oregon's pandemic state of emergency through June 2022. Gov. Brown's Office

Snag yourself some free tickets to see The Dandy Warhols or comedian Jon Dore by entering the Mercury’s Free Ticket Tuesday! And now… the headlines!

In local news:

• Governor Kate Brown extended Oregon’s state of emergency order Tuesday due to the expected surge of COVID-19 cases due to the newly emerging Omicron variant. The state of emergency, which allows Oregon to access greater federal relief funds, will remain in place until June 2022.

• Forget Spotify Wrapped—the Mercury’s culture writers have the best year-in-music review! Take a look at what seven albums defined the year for the Mercury’s music connoisseurs.

• A Multnomah County Sheriff’s deputy plead guilty Tuesday to stealing COVID-19 vaccine cards from a jail he worked at. Deputy Robert James Haney, who was reported by his coworkers, stole two vaccine cards from a jail-run clinic in May, apparently planning to use the cards to forge his vaccination status. It was later announced that law enforcement employees are exempt from the Multnomah County employee vaccine mandate, so the whole thing was a big swing and a miss for Ol’ Robert.

• Calling all coffee enthusiasts: Portland Cà Phê, a Vietnamese woman-owned coffee roaster and café, is crushing the coffee game. In addition to serving up single origin arabica and robusta coffee, the Southeast Portland café offers a delicious bánh mì selection. Read Jenni Moore’s full review here!

• In honor of Homeless Persons' Memorial Day, check out the Mercury’s guide on how to help your unhoused neighbors this winter season, including information on open shelters, places to donate, and how to volunteer your time.

In national news:

• President Biden announced the federal government will offer 500 million free rapid at-home COVID tests, increase support for overburdened hospitals, and double down on vaccination efforts in response to the surge of Omicron cases beginning throughout the country. During his address on COVID Tuesday, Biden stressed that the holidays could be normal for vaccinated people and dangerous for the unvaccinated.

• In a mic-drop-esque move, Utah billionaire Jeff Greene resigned from the Mormon church and donated $600,000 to Equality Utah, an LGBTQ advocacy group. The Mormon church opposes same-sex marriage in addition to the recent Equality Act, a federal bill that would prevent LGBTQ people from housing and employment discrimination.

• A search warrant task force in Kentucky delivered its recommendations Tuesday for search warrant reforms in the state after Breonna Taylor was killed by Louisville police using a “no-knock” warrant last year. The recommendations include additional training for police officers, a database that allows the public to track the number of warrants executed in each zip code, and additional accountability measures for police seeking warrants.

• In the early days of the pandemic, the Federal Emergency Management Agency launched a massive COVID-19 funeral assistance program. The agency hired 4,000 contractors across the country, many of whom were people in their early 20s without related job experience, and turned them into de facto grief councilors responsible for distributing life-altering aid.

• I’ll leave you with this perfect video brimming with unbridled joy: