07-14-2024  9:59 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather

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NORTHWEST NEWS

Wildfire Risk Rises as Western States Dry out Amid Ongoing Heat Wave Baking Most of the US

Blazes are burning in Oregon, where the governor issued an emergency authorization allowing additional firefighting resources to be deployed. More than 142 million people around the U.S. were under heat alerts Wednesday, especially across the West, where dozens of locations tied or broke heat records.

Forum Explores Dangerous Intersection of Brain Injury and Law Enforcement

The Portland Committee on Community-Engaged Policing hosted event with medical, legal and first-hand perspectives.

2 Men Drown in Glacier National Park Over the July 4 Holiday Weekend

 A 26-year-old man from India slipped on rocks and was swept away in Avalanche Creek on Saturday morning. His body has not been recovered. And a 28-year-old man from Nepal who was not an experienced swimmer drowned in Lake McDonald near Sprague Creek Campground on Saturday evening. His body was recovered by a sheriff's dive team.

Records Shatter as Heatwave Threatens 130 million Across U.S. 

Roughly 130 million people are under threat from a long-running heat wave that already has broken records with dangerously high temperatures and is expected to shatter more inot next week from the Pacific Northwest to the Mid-Alantic states and the Northeast. Forecasters say temperatures could spike above 100 degrees in Oregon, where records could be broken in cities such as Eugene, Portland and Salem

NEWS BRIEFS

Echohawk Selected for Small Business Regulatory Fairness Board

Indigenous woman and executive leader of Snoqualmie-owned enterprise to serve on national board advancing regulatory fairness and...

HUD Reaches Settlement to Ensure Equal Opportunity in the Appraisal Profession

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today that it has entered into an historic Conciliation...

HUD Expands Program to Help Homeowners Repair Homes

The newly updated Federal Housing Administration Program will assist families looking for affordable financing to repair, purchase, or...

UFCW 555 Turns in Signatures for Initiative Petition 35 - United for Cannabis Workers Act

On July 5, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 555 delivered over 163,000 signatures to the Oregon Secretary of...

Local Photographer Announces Re-Release of Her Book

Kelly Ruthe Johnson, a nationally recognized photographer and author based in Portland, Oregon, has announced the re-release of her...

Things to know about heat deaths as a dangerously hot summer shapes up in the western US

PHOENIX (AP) — A dangerously hot summer is shaping up in the U.S. West, with heat suspected in dozens of recent deaths, including retirees in Oregon, a motorcyclist in Death Valley, California and a 10-year-old boy who collapsed while hiking with his family on a Phoenix trail. Heat...

California reports first wildfire death of the 2024 season as fires persist across the West

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Wildfires fueled by strong winds and an extended heat wave have led to the first death in California of the 2024 season, while wind-whipped flames in Arizona have forced hundreds to flee from what tribal leaders are calling the “most serious” wildfire on their reservation...

Missouri governor says new public aid plan in the works for Chiefs, Royals stadiums

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Gov. Mike Parson said Thursday that he expects the state to put together an aid plan by the end of the year to try to keep the Kansas City Chiefs and Royals from being lured across state lines to new stadiums in Kansas. Missouri's renewed efforts...

Kansas governor signs bills enabling effort to entice Chiefs and Royals with new stadiums

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas' governor signed legislation Friday enabling the state to lure the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs and Major League Baseball's Royals away from neighboring Missouri by helping the teams pay for new stadiums. Gov. Laura Kelly's action came three days...

OPINION

Minding the Debate: What’s Happening to Our Brains During Election Season

The June 27 presidential debate is the real start of the election season, when more Americans start to pay attention. It’s when partisan rhetoric runs hot and emotions run high. It’s also a chance for us, as members of a democratic republic. How? By...

State of the Nation’s Housing 2024: The Cost of the American Dream Jumped 47 Percent Since 2020

Only 1 in 7 renters can afford homeownership, homelessness at an all-time high ...

Juneteenth is a Sacred American Holiday

Today, when our history is threatened by erasure, our communities are being dismantled by systemic disinvestment, Juneteenth can serve as a rallying cry for communal healing and collective action. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Historically Black town in Louisiana's Cancer Alley is divided over a planned grain terminal

WALLACE, La. (AP) — Sisters Jo and Dr. Joy Banner live just miles from where their ancestors were enslaved more than 200 years ago in St. John the Baptist Parish, Louisiana. Their tidy Creole cottage cafe in the small riverfront town of Wallace lies yards from property their great-grandparents...

Pastors see a wariness among Black men to talk abortion politics as Biden works to shore up base

WASHINGTON (AP) — Phoenix pastor the Rev. Warren H. Stewart Sr. has had countless discussions this election season with fellow Black men on the economy, criminal justice, immigration and other issues dominating the political landscape in their battleground state of Arizona. But never abortion. ...

Morehouse College president says he will retire next June

ATLANTA (AP) — Morehouse College President David Thomas announced that he will retire next year, saying it is time for new leadership at the prominent all-male, historically Black school he has led since 2018. Thomas, 67, said in a statement Friday that he will retire June 30,...

ENTERTAINMENT

Book Review: 'Hey, Zoey' uses questions about AI to look at women's autonomy in a new light

Dolores is going through the motions of life when she finds a potentially marriage-ending surprise in her garage: a high-end, lifelike sex doll imbued with artificial intelligence named Zoey. There are a lot of places that author Sarah Crossan can go from here — when is it cheating?...

Book Review: 'Loving Sylvia Plath' attends to polarizing writer's circumstances more than her work

A popular form of writing nowadays is one that involves reexamining the lives of people, often members of marginalized groups, who have otherwise been flattened or short-changed by history. How has society’s assumptions or prejudices informed how a person is remembered, many authors...

Book Review: Gonzo journalist Barrett Brown’s memoir a piquant take on hacktivism’s rise

His talents in full flower and basking in public admiration, gonzo journalist and inveterate anti-establishment troublemaker Barrett Brown is jailed in his native Texas on various federal felony charges. It is 2013 and Brown’s adventures have included helping Anonymous hacktivists...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Treason and espionage cases are rising in Russia since the war in Ukraine began

TALLINN, Estonia (AP) — When Maksim Kolker’s phone rang at 6 a.m., and the voice on the other end said his...

The RNC's first day will still focus on the economy. Here's what to know about Trump's plans

WASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump goes into the Republican National Convention with bold promises about the U.S....

When does a presumptive nominee become a nominee? Here's how Donald Trump will make it official

WASHINGTON (AP) — Monday 12:01 AM Nearly 2,500 delegates are gathering in Milwaukee this week for...

Scientists, a journalist and even a bakery worker are among those convicted of treason in Russia

TALLINN, Estonia (AP) — Over the past decade, Russia has seen a sharp increase in treason and espionage cases. ...

A Pakistani court acquits ex-PM Khan but supporters' hopes of his release are dashed

ISLAMABAD (AP) — A Pakistani court on Saturday overturned the convictions and seven-year sentences of former...

What to know about the growing number of treason and espionage cases in today's Russia under Putin

Treason cases were rare in Russia 30 years ago, with only a handful brought annually. In the past decade and...

By Rhetta Peoples Special to the NNPA from the Florida Sun

ORLANDO - The American justice system has often been scrutinized for being one-sided or biased when it comes to justice.

According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, an agency of the U.S. Department of Justice, African Americans make-up more than 38 percent  of national prison inmates, who are also predominantly male.  However, the U.S. Census Bureau reports Black people are only approximately 14 percent of the U.S. population.

 A Chief Judge in Central Florida is proof that even national statistics have exceptions.

Often referred to as the "Judge's Judge", Chief Judge Belvin Perry, Jr., of the Ninth Judicial Circuit Court, is the highly respected African American judge with a lead role in one of the most highly publicized court cases in history. Judge Perry received his Juris Doctor from Thurgood Marshall School of Law and received both his Bachelor of Science degree in History and Masters of Education from Tuskegee University.

 Judge Perry has served as Chief Judge of the Ninth Judicial Circuit Court since 2001 and is a member of the Florida Bar, Orange County Bar Association, Texas Bar Association, and Trial Court Budget Commission.  Perry said, "I'm humbled and grateful for the confidence of my fellow judges in re-electing me to this position."

 The irony of his position is significant in the overall view of criminal justice in America because African American men highly populate U.S. prisons and jails.  Specific to the Casey Anthony case, it is rare to see White women being a part of statistics that have been dominated by African American men in what is sure to be one of America's most historical and watched cases.  

 Judge Perry is not only an icon in the African American community but also an inspiration to African American men.  His direct manner and voice has been the subject of commentaries and radio mocks because of his southern accent or lack of what broadcasters may call a "General American Speech", like that of President Barack Obama or General Colin Powell and is typically what mainstream Americans expect to hear from a person of a higher position. 

 However, journalists and talk show hosts neglect the real issues when they focus on the accent.  Dr. Cornel West, Attorney Willie Gary and the late Attorney Johnny Cochran, among others, also spoke with a certain flare of their culture yet, each left footprints in their areas of expertise.

 Judge Perry is set to preside over the trial in which Anthony is charged with first-degree murder charge of her 2-year old daughter Caylee Anthony, who had not been seen for more than a month before she was reported missing by her grandmother, Cindy Anthony, after she admitted to smelling an odor similar to that of a "dead body" in her Casey Anthony's car. 

 Months later, Caylee was found dead only a short distance from the Anthony family home.  The child's death was ruled a homicide by the medical examiner, even though the cause of death remains undetermined.

 Anthony became a suspect after she neglected to report her daughter missing, exhibited strange behavior, searched numerous times online for chloroform, an ingredient in children's medicine that is potentially hazardous, law enforcement found a mysterious stain in the back of her car that resembles a toddler in the fetal position and she gave authorities a vivid description of "zanny the nanny", a female baby-sitter who she claimed mysteriously disappeared with her daughter.  To date, none of her allegations have turned out to be credible.

 Anthony still maintains her innocence, claiming she was protecting her daughter from people who she claimed threatened to hurt her and her family if she were to report the child missing.

 Defense attorney Jose Baez has filed several motions requesting to dismiss key evidence from the trial, including the infamous stain that appears to resemble a child in the fetal position found in the back of Anthony's car.  Judge Perry ruled the evidence could be admitted into evidence.  Also, Judge Perry denied the request of the defense to exclude the expert opinion testimony of Dr. David Hall, a Botanist who testified that he analyzed fragments of roots from the area in which the victim's body was recovered.  

Recently, Judge Perry denied the defense motion to exclude alleged identification of the chemical composition of human decomposition odor, or testimony relating to air, carpet samples or paper towels tested by Oakridge Laboratories.

 Judge Perry is not only known as a well-respected judge, but also for his days as a prosecutor. His reputation as a sound prosecutor was solidified in what came to be known as the Black Widow trial, in which Judy Buenoano was sentenced to death by electric chair for the 1971 murder of her husband. She was also convicted for the murder of her son and attempted murder of her fiancé in 1983.  She was also believed to be responsible for the 1978 death of her boyfriend in Colorado. 

The Court, under the direction of Judge Perry, kept the location of the selection of the jury unknown until the actual day of jury selection. Currently, the jury is being chosen in Pinellas County, an area located on the outskirts of Tampa, Florida.  Reportedly, there are four African Americans currently in the jury pool. Once the jurors are selected, they will be transported to the Orlando area where they are expected to stay in area hotels for the duration of the trial, which is expected to take up to eight weeks. To date, Judge Perry has dismissed dozens of jurors based on conflicts with the case.  He said, "I do not want to have to do this again," respectfully referring to not having the taxpayers or the court spend time, energy, and money to retry this case. Perry said, "I am not naïve enough to think we'll encounter no one who has heard this case, but the goal is to find people who have not been oversaturated with the media."