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A hand paying for gas at the pump
President Biden is expected to release oil from US reserves to combat high gas prices. Grace Cary / Getty Images

Goooooood morning, Portland! Let’s jump into the latest news.

In local news:

• It’s official: Oregonians 50 and older can now receive a second booster shot, as long as it’s been four months since their last COVID-19 vaccination. Oregon health officials approved the fourth shot Tuesday after federal regulators green lit it earlier in the week.

• The principal of Alsea Elementary School is suing the school district for allegedly enabling former superintendent Marc Thielman to create a hostile work environment. The lawsuit claims Thielman talked about his genitals and sex life on a near daily basis and the school district ignored repeated complaints about his behavior. If Thielman’s name sounds familiar, it may be because he made headlines in January for directing the school board to reject Oregon’s mask mandate and then announced his run for governor the following month.

• The idea of a bullet train between Vancouver, Seattle, and Portland is still alive and well in Washington. The concept has been kicked around between Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia leaders for the past five years, but Washington lawmakers are starting to tuck away money for the project. The state set aside $150 million for the project—which could cost up to $42 billion—in hopes of using that money to leverage investments from the federal government.

In national news:

• In tech company news: Facebook/Meta paid a major Republican consulting firm to develop a nationwide campaign aiming to turn the public against TikTok. The campaign placed anti-TikTok opinion pieces in major media outlets and seemingly made up stories of dangerous trends on the app in an effort to redirect scrutiny from Facebook onto their competitor at a time when Facebook is struggling to retain younger users who often favor TikTok.

• As the pandemic wages on, researchers are turning their attention to people who have not caught COVID, particularly those who are unvaccinated. Experts say that people with so-called “super immunity”—being resistant to the virus without vaccination—may hold the key to developing a vaccine that is more resisted to future COVID mutations and variants. About half of Americans have not caught COVID (yet).

• President Joe Biden is planning to release up to 1 million barrels of oil per day from the nation’s petroleum reserve in an effort to stabilize or reduce gas prices. The Department of Energy reports it has more than 568 million barrels of oil in reserve as of March 25.

• Several severe storms moved through the Southern US last night, killing at least two people in Florida and leaving homes and businesses damaged from high winds and isolated tornadoes. Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas, Missouri, and Texas were also hit by the storms. An estimated 185,000 people are without power as of Thursday morning.
 
For Funsies:

• AHOY THERE, STONERS! The SPLIFF Film Festival—featuring short, hilarious, trippy, and thoughtful mini-movies about cannabis and made by stoners just like YOU—is coming to Revolution Hall for one night only on Saturday, April 16! GET THOSE TICKETS NOW!

• Say ‘Hi’ to your cat for me:

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