07-14-2024  7:40 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

AP PHOTOS: Shooting at Trump rally in Pennsylvania

This collection of photos shows the aftermath of a shooting at former President Donald Trump's rally in Butler,...

A few short minutes after Trump took the stage, shots rang out

BUTLER, Pa. (AP) — At 6:02 pm Saturday, to the strains of “God Bless the U.S.A.,” former President Donald...

Carlos Alcaraz wins Wimbledon by beating Novak Djokovic and now owns 4 Slam titles at age 21

LONDON (AP) — Carlos Alcaraz was ready from the get-go this time. A year ago in the Wimbledon final against...

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...

Charles Wilson the Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Registered sex offenders who have been banned from social networking websites are fighting back in the nation's courts, successfully challenging many of the restrictions as infringements on free speech and their right to participate in common online discussions.

The legal battles pit public outrage over sex crimes against cherished guarantees of individual freedom and the far-reaching communication changes brought by Facebook, LinkedIn and dozens of other sites.

"It's going to be really, really hard, I think, to write something that will achieve the state's purpose in protecting children online but not be restrictive enough to be unconstitutional," said Carolyn Atwell-Davis, director of legislative affairs at the Virginia-based National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.

Courts have long allowed states to place restrictions on convicted sex offenders who have completed their sentences, controlling where many of them live and work and requiring them to register with police. But the increasing use of social networks for everyday communication raises new, untested issues. The bans generally forbid offenders to join social networks or chat rooms or use instant-messaging programs - just a few of the online tools that civil liberties advocates say have become virtually indispensable to free speech.

After hearing challenges, federal judges in two states threw out laws or parts of laws that they deemed too stringent. In Nebraska, the decision allowed sex offenders to join social networks. And in Louisiana, a new law lets offenders use the Internet for shopping, reading news and exchanging email. A case filed against Indiana's law is under review.

Authorities insist the bans address a real problem: the need to protect children from pedophiles who prowl online hangouts visited by kids.

"It's hard to come up with an example of a sexual predator who doesn't use some form of social networking anymore," said Steve DeBrota, an assistant U.S. attorney in Indianapolis who prosecutes child sex crimes.

Ruthann Robson, a professor of constitutional law at the City University of New York, said the bans could eventually be taken up by the Supreme Court if the justices decide there's a constitutional question.

"If we think that the government can curtail sex offenders' rights without any connection to the actual crime, then it could become a blanket prohibition against anyone who is accused of a crime, no matter what the crime is," Robson said.

Supporters of the bans say they target repeat offenders such as a Maryland man charged with extorting a 16-year-old girl Indiana girl to perform sexual acts during video chats. He was free on bond when he was accused of doing the same thing to more underage girls.

Trevor J. Shea, 21, of Mechanicsburg, Md., was sentenced to 33 years in federal prison in January after pleading guilty to seven counts of production of child pornography.

Xavier Von Erck, founder of Perverted Justice Inc., a group devoted to exposing online sexual predators, said it doesn't make sense for judges to let pedophiles troll the Web for more victims but revoke the voting rights of people convicted of lesser crimes. He called that "judicial hypocrisy."

The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana, which is challenging Indiana's 2008 law, argues that it's unconstitutional to bar sex offenders who are no longer in prison or on probation from using basic online services.

"To broadly prohibit such a large group of persons from ever using these modern forms of communication is just something the First Amendment cannot tolerate," said Ken Falk, legal director of Indiana's ACLU chapter.

The case is scheduled for a court hearing Thursday. The main plaintiff, referred to in the suit only as "John Doe," was convicted on two counts of child exploitation in 2000 and released from prison in 2003, according to federal court documents.

The man cannot send questions to televised debates or comment on news stories on local websites because doing so requires a Facebook account, the ACLU contends. Neither can he communicate with his out-of-state family members using the social network or post his business profile on LinkedIn.

The plaintiff is also forbidden to supervise his teenage son's Internet use or investigate questionable friend requests sent to his child, the ACLU claims.

Prosecutors argue that social networking sites aren't the only forms of communication.

"The fact is that telephones still work. People including registered sex offenders may still congregate, discuss, debate and even demonstrate," Indiana Deputy Attorney General David Arthur wrote in a brief.

Television and radio are still widespread and offer numerous call-in shows. Newspapers still accept letters to the editor, he added.

The ACLU says precedent is on its side. The lawsuit cites a February ruling in Louisiana in which U.S. District Judge Brian Jackson found that the state's prohibition was too broad and "unreasonably restricts many ordinary activities that have become important to everyday life."

Louisiana lawmakers passed a new law this month that more narrowly defines what sites are prohibited. News and government sites, email services and online shopping are excluded from the new rules, as are photo-sharing and instant-messaging systems. The measure takes effect Aug. 1.

But courts continue to wrestle with the issue in Indiana and Nebraska, where a federal judge in 2009 blocked part of a law that included a social networking ban. A second legal challenge by an Omaha-area sex offender is set for trial in July.

"I think policymakers are struggling to come up with the right policy that makes sense," Atwell-Davis said. "There's no silver bullet."

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Follow Charles Wilson on Twitter: https://twitter.com/CharlesDWilson

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