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Holiday Happenings is a daily roundup of giving opportunities and events taking place from Thanksgiving week through New Year's Day.

The Washington State Department of Health says flu activity in the state is now considered very high. KING 5 reports state health officials on Thursday reported over 1,200 new flu cases from Nov. 13-19, which was more than double the case count of previous weeks. Health officials say Influenza type A has been the most common flu strain found in recent weeks. Officials said 7.5% of physician visits between Nov. 13-19 were for flu-like illnesses, up from a 1.8% baseline. Officials say seven people in the state have died so far this season from the flu, including one child. Officials encourage people to get their flu and COVID-19 vaccines and stay home when sick.

Democrats who control the Illinois General Assembly have approved followup clarifications to their watershed criminal justice overhaul. The proposal passed Thursday appeases critics by adding numerous offenses to a list of crimes that qualify a defendant to remain jailed while awaiting trial. The House approved it after the Senate on the last day of the fall session and before the Jan. 1 effective date of the so-called SAFE-T Act. The act chiefly eliminates the longstanding practice of requiring cash bail for criminal defendants. Critics say bail penalizes the poor and  the goal is to detain dangerous people awaiting trial while not locking up those who pose no threat but can’t afford bail.

Pasco Police in southeast Washington state say one of their officers was shot and wounded while making an arrest. The agency said on Facebook that the officer was shot Thursday afternoon and was in stable condition at a local hospital. The Tri-City Herald reports that a person was taken into custody after officers surrounded a house in Pasco. Police have not released any information about the circumstances of the shooting including whether the officer fired a weapon or if the person in custody also was shot. A regional special investigations unit is helping with the investigation.

An ex-convict who led Las Vegas police on a chase before officers found the severed head and dismembered body of his friend in a stolen vehicle a year ago was sentenced Thursday to at least 18 years in prison. Eric Holland called himself truly remorseful for the shooting death of Richard Miller. But that provided little comfort to Miller’s daughter, who tearfully told a judge she couldn't make sense of her father's killing. Holland is 58. He could serve up to 45 years behind bars. Without providing details, he suggested in court there was more to the case and said he hoped authorities would continue investigating his motive for the killing.


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