The Mercury provides news and fun every single day—but your help is essential. If you believe Portland benefits from smart, local journalism and arts coverage, please consider making a small monthly contribution, because without you, there is no us. Thanks for your support!
Good morning, Portland! And a special good morning to my new dog, Josephine, who is perfect in every way:
And here are the headlines!
• Omicron could become the most dominant strain of COVID-19 in Oregon within a month, meaning that a new wave of infections could be on its way. But Oregon's hospitals are still struggling with labor and capacity, and only 20 percent of Oregonians have gotten boosted so far.
• Students and environmental advocates urged Portland Public Schools (PPS) board members to advance the district’s proposed climate change response policy to a board vote at a school board meeting Tuesday. The student advocates are fearful the climate policy will only continue to be weakened and never be put into action if board members don’t vote on the policy soon.
• We're getting a break from the rain today, kind of!
Temps held steady last night and are mostly 38-42 around the valley at this hour. I expect a quiet day with mostly cloudy skies overall and a few spotty showers. Saturday begins with light showers, followed by a steady rain band arriving during the afternoon hours. pic.twitter.com/EUGpQwisnT— Rod Hill (@KGWRodHill) December 16, 2021
• McMenamins was hit with a ransomware attack over the weekend that left most of its computer systems down. "The family-owned company has reported the incident to the FBI and is also working with a cybersecurity firm to identify the source and full scope of the attack," McMenamins leadership said in a statement last night. They better not try to hack into my Cajun tots next!
• The UK is currently seeing its own COVID surge, fueled by Omicron. Some experts see the wave as a warning sign about what could be in store for the rest of the world—but different countries are preparing to different extents.
• In an attempt to avoid the Biblical End Times, Evangelicals are making their own End Times, and all of us have to suffer:
In a survey, almost half of white American Evangelical Christians said they wouldn't get vaccinated. For some, it’s because of a fear that it could brand them with the Mark of the Beast. pic.twitter.com/upDwPrFY5C— VICE News (@VICENews) December 16, 2021
• Record-breaking tornadoes swept through Nebraska, Minnesota and Iowa yesterday, leaving at least one person dead. This comes just a few days after another wave of extreme tornadoes killed more than 70 people in Kentucky.
• A new study shows that people who play in the NFL are four times as likely to develop ALS compared to the average adult male population. ALS is a deadly neurodegenerative disease, and the disparity is due to brain injuries suffered by pro football players.
• And finally, feast your eyes on this cool art:
Photos: Portland's One Grand Gallery is currently hosting the global conclusion of the artist Brett Westfall's touring art show, Signs of Life, featuring strawberries painted on Nike shoes, a smashed cello, and more.https://t.co/zFbHSPj8fc— Portland Mercury 🗞 (@portlandmercury) December 15, 2021