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Students join teachers in NYC to demand safer COVID protocols and remote learning.
Students join teachers in NYC to demand safer COVID protocols and remote learning. Scott Heins / Getty Images

Good afternoon, Portland! It's another fabulous day in the United States of America. Let's get to the headlines.

IN LOCAL NEWS:

• The Tigard-Tualatin School District announced today that it is joining a number of Portland Public Schools and moving its middle and high schools to distance learning through January 21 with COVID-19 cases causing extensive absences since winter break. The move to distance learning will affect some 7,000 students between the district's three middle schools, two high schools, and one of its ten elementary schools.

• Speaking of COVID (what else?), Oregon continues to see record-setting case numbers. State health officials today reported 8,040 new cases and 35 deaths on Tuesday, the third-highest number of cases since the start of the pandemic nearly two years ago. The rate of hospitalization, while not growing as quickly as it did during the Delta surge, is nevertheless rising—up five percent since the start of the week.

• Duncan Hwang, co-director of the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO), has been appointed the region's newest Metro councilor. Hwang, who has served on both the Metro and City of Portland affordable housing committees, is filling the District 6 seat vacated by Bob Stacey in October. Hwang's term will expire in January of 2023. Isabella Garcia has more.

• Portland's Biketown service is expanding to cover St. Johns and outer East Portland. Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty, who runs the Bureau of Transportation, announced the expansion at a press conference on Monday. "For too long, our East Portland and North Portland neighborhoods have been lacking the city services and convenient transportation access that the rest of Portland takes for granted,” Hardesty said. "I’m so glad to see PBOT prioritizing racial equity in expanding access to our bike share system."

IN NATIONAL NEWS:

• With school systems across the country persisting with in-person classes in spite of ever-rising COVID numbers, students are taking matters into their hands. Students across New York City walked out of classes this morning demanding better COVID safety protocols and remote learning options. Oakland students may be next.

The New York Times is reporting that a key figure in the assassination of Haitian president Jovenel Moïse only joined the murder plot because he'd been told that it had the full support of the United States. While there are no direct links between the US and the assassination, six American citizens or residents have been accused of participating in the plot.

• After a store in Buffalo became the first Starbucks store in the country to unionize in December, more locations of the coffee chain are in the process of unionizing. A Starbucks store in the Buffalo suburb of Cheektowaga voted to become the second unionized location yesterday, while a Starbucks store in downtown Cleveland is aiming to become the first location in Ohio to unionize.

• Across the pond, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is in trouble for violating COVID protocols again—with new reporting stating that he and his wife attended a party with some 30 other people in the 10 Downing Street garden during the spring of 2020 when England was under lockdown.

• It’s back for 2022! America’s sexiest, funnest dirty movie fest, HUMP! Coming at ya starting February 24 at Revolution Hall—GET YOUR TICKETS NOW!

• Finally, in case you missed this over the holidays...