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A snowy road being cleared by a snow plow
Portland is forecast to receive up to four inches of snow this weekend. Motoya Nakamura / Multnomah County

Congrats on making it through the darkest day of the year—it’s all uphill from here!

In local news:

• With the new year comes new laws! Oregon legislators were busy bees during this year’s five-month legislative session, passing a host of bills covering police reform to cold medicine that will be enacted on January 1. Read the Oregonian’s round-up here.

• Oregon State University will “likely” require students and staff to get a booster shot in order to be considered fully-vaccinated, the university announced this week. University of Oregon also announced this week that it will require students to get booster shots to attend in-person classes, but did not set a deadline.

• Portland could see up to four inches of snow over the holiday weekend—yikes! Here’s how you can check whether your holiday routes will be plowed.

• The end of the year is the perfect time to kick up your feet and binge watch movies on the couch all day. Lucky for you, the Mercury’s culture writers wrote this handy list of their favorite 2021 movies!

 Eleazar Puente is Lloyd Center’s pretzel man. Owner of the mall’s Auntie Anne’s location since 2012, Puente talked with Portland Monthly about the mall’s future, how the pretzel shop has survived the pandemic, and how he became the location’s manager through a reality TV show.

In national news:

• The Biden administration has extended the pandemic pause on student loan payments until May 1, 2022. Payments were originally going to restart in February.

• The US Food and Drug Administration authorized Pfizer’s antiviral COVID-19 pill Wednesday. The pill, called Paxlovid, can be used to treat COVID at home and was found to reduce the risk of hospitalization or death by 89 percent when taken within three days of a patient’s first symptoms.

• Thanks to pandemic restrictions and federal immigration laws, fewer immigrants are coming to the US and filling key jobs in trucking, warehouse, and food service industries. Economists say the decrease in people immigrating to the US has caused slower economic growth.

• With Omicron cases on the rise as people travel and gather for the holidays, now is a good time to review what to do if you get a breakthrough COVID-19 infection. The Washington Post has your guide on how long to quarantine, what supplies to have on-hand, and when it’s safe to socialize again.

• Finally, I would like to give a special shoutout to Simon Curtis, who found a green tree frog in his lettuce, named him Tony, and has live tweeted the frog’s activities for the past two days—which included escaping from his temporary terrarium TWICE! Oh Tony, you rascal.