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GOOD MORNING, PORTLAND! It's pretty cold and wet out there, but at least it's so far it's not like last April when we got that freak snow storm that knocked all the buds off fruit trees and the fall harvests were all messed up. This is the attitude I'm taking to most things in 2023: Hey, it could be worse! Or could it? Let's find out!


• Congratulations are in order for everyone who enjoys breathing on people seeking healthcare: As of today, masks are no longer required in healthcare settings in Oregon. I think if we're gonna spread germs, let's just go all the way and ditch the bathroom soap dispensers. Surgeons should stop wearing gloves. Leeches are medicine again. We'll call it "retro healing," and you pay extra if you leave the hospital without consumption.

• Oregon Governor Tina Kotek is aiming to end a pandemic-era policy that paid for remote workers living outside of Oregon to get reimbursed for travel expenses when required to come back for in-person meetings and what have you. Oregon? More like Moregon—because more of you have to be here. 

• Speaking of goings-on in Oregon's beautiful capital city: Salem will soon open a new "low-barrier" shelter for people experiencing homelessness which allows all genders, pets, and does not require sobriety. Salem saw a 15 percent increase in homeless residents between 2021 and 2022; I hope some of them find the new shelter beds cozy and welcoming. 

• Whoopsie: A Washington man who took a selfie at the January 6th insurrection has been found guilty of participating in the January 6th insurrection. 

• KOIN news reports that folks at Friends of the Columbia Gorge are trying to set up 200 new miles of trails in a "gorge towns to trails" system. As a Hood River native, my heart is preemptively with the service industry worker townies who feign interest in the trails while making very expensive smoothies for enthusiastic outdoorsy people.


• All eyes are on New York City today as we await Trump's upcoming court appearance. CNN has live updates here if you need to do that to yourself. 

• New York Representative and entertaining, yet alarming, compulsive liar George Santos briefly appeared at the arraignment, but bailed when it got too crowded. I don't go to brunch on weekends. I get it. 

• If you are one of the few with eyes not trained on New York City today, there's something pretty incredible happening in Tennessee, where huge crowds of students have taken to the streets to demand action on gun reform following a weekend spent burying their state's victims of a school shooting:

• In other legal news, the trial of the Gwyntury concluded last week, but we have tasted celebrity courtroom drama, and we are thirsty for more! MORE! Good news: Leonardo DiCaprio is testifying in the money laundering trial of Fugees' rapper Pras Michel. Bad news: This is like being offered a pamplemousse La Croix when you want an actual grapefruit. It's a whisper of a good time, but it isn't what we want, or, honestly, deserve.

• From NPR: There's a new contagious disease in the United States, and it spreads from cows to people. I'm gonna be honest with everybody and admit that I read only the headline and copied it into this news roundup. If someone could please read the story at that link and report back to me that we're actually doing okay as a civilization and this is nothing to worry about, I'd really appreciate it.

• It took a beef to get me interested in college basketball, but I'm so deep in this thing about Louisiana State University teammate Angel Reese doing the "you can't see me" hand and then tapping her ring finger at Iowa rival Caitlin Clark, and now Jill Biden wants to invite Clark along with the winning LSU team to celebrate at the White House? If you haven't followed this saga yet, before clicking on the links, I have a challenge for you: guess which player is black and which player is white.

• That's all for now, friends. If anybody needs me today, I'll be compulsively refreshing the news with a box of popcorn at the ready. Bye!