08-17-2022  1:07 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Basic Guaranteed Income Program to Launch for Black Portlanders

Brown Hope’s Black Resilience Fund argues the impact of direct cash payments. 

Oregon Justice Fires Panel Due to Lack of Public Defenders

Criminal defendants in Oregon who have gone without legal representation due to a shortage of public defenders filed a lawsuit in May that alleges the state is violating their constitutional right to legal counsel and a speedy trial.

River Chief Imprisoned for Fishing Fights for Sacred Rights

Wilbur Slockish Jr. has been shot at, had rocks hurled at him. He hid underground for months, and then spent 20 months serving time in federal prisons across the country — all of that for fishing in the Columbia River.

Starbucks Asks Labor Board to Halt Union Votes Temporarily

A store in Overland Park, Kansas is one of 314 U.S. Starbucks locations where workers have petitioned the NLRB to hold union elections since late last year. More than 220 of those stores have voted to unionize.

NEWS BRIEFS

Measure on Portland Government to Appear as-Is on Ballot

Politicians, business leaders and civic activists have called for reshaping Portland’s form of government, which they say...

The Regional Arts & Culture Council Rolls Out New Grant Program

The Arts3C grant program is designed to be fully responsive to what artists and art makers in the community need funding to support ...

OHA Introduces New Monkeypox (hMPXV) Website

As of Aug. 10, 95 people have tested positive for monkeypox in Oregon ...

Wyden, Colleagues Renew Request for FDA to Address Concerns about Dangerous Pulse Oximeter Inaccuracies Affecting Communities of Color

“There are decades of research showing inaccurate results when pulse oximeters are used to monitor people of color” ...

Inslee Issues Directive Outlining Monkeypox Virus Response

As of Friday, Washington state had confirmed 265 monkeypox cases. ...

Wind energy boom and golden eagles collide in the US West

CODY, Wyo. (AP) — The rush to build wind farms to combat climate change is colliding with preservation of one of the U.S. West’s most spectacular predators — the golden eagle — as the species teeters on the edge of decline. Ground zero in the conflict is Wyoming, a stronghold...

Anti-psychotic drugs ordered for man charged with murder

RICHLAND, Wash. (AP) — The man accused of fatally shooting a man inside Richland’s Fred Meyer store was ordered to take mental health medications. Superior Court Judge Joe Burrowes ruled Tuesday that Eastern State Hospital can require Aaron Kelly, 40, to take the anti-psychotic...

Mizzou full of optimism with new QB, defensive coordinator

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Missouri coach Eli Drinkwitz is on his third defensive coordinator in three years at Missouri, and the Tigers are about to start their fifth different quarterback in the season opener in the last five years. Sounds like a program that should be on shaky ground. ...

Hoosiers looking for a turnaround after dismal 2021 season

Indiana linebacker Cam Jones and quarterback Jack Tuttle took matters into their own hands this offseason. They called their teammates together to discuss the goals and aspirations of the program, the need to always play with an edge and to break down precisely why things went wrong...

OPINION

No One Ever Told You About Black August?

Black America lives in a series of deserts. Many of us live in food deserts, financial deserts, employment deserts, and most of us live in information deserts. ...

Betsy Johnson Fails to Condemn Confederate Flags at Her Rally

The majority of Oregonians, including our rural communities, value inclusion and unity, not racism and bigotry. ...

Monkeypox, Covid, and Your Vote

We must start a voter registration drive right here where we live. This effort must become as important to us as putting food on the table and a roof over our heads. ...

Speaking of Reparations

To many Americans, “reparations” is a dirty word when applied to Black folks. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Concerns over segregation display led to post office closure

MONTPELIER STATION, VA (AP) — The United States Postal Service has closed a small Virginia post office over agency management's concerns about its location inside a historic train depot that also serves as a museum about racial segregation. In a statement this week addressing the...

GOP group apologizes for mistakenly posting KKK image

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — A Republican group in Alabama is apologizing after accidentally using a picture of the GOP elephant that contained Ku Klux Klan imagery. The Lawrence County Republican Party intended to post an image of the GOP elephant on its Facebook page, but ended up...

Iowa council member countersues police over protest arrest

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A Des Moines council member is countersuing two police officers who took the unusual step earlier this year of suing several people who participated in a 2020 protest following a Minneapolis officer's killing of George Floyd. Councilwoman Indira Sheumaker's...

ENTERTAINMENT

Film academy apologizes to Littlefeather for 1973 Oscars

NEW YORK (AP) — Nearly 50 years after Sacheen Littlefeather stood on the Academy Awards stage on behalf of Marlon Brando to speak about the depiction of Native Americans in Hollywood films, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences apologized to her for the abuse she endured. ...

Review: Watkins Family Hour captures spirit of variety shows

“Vol. II,” Watkins Family Hour (Family Hour Records) Tom Petty’s pianist plays “Tennessee Waltz,” an Ernest Tubb classic rides a Bo Diddley beat, and a deep cut by the ’60s band the Zombies becomes a Disney-style lullaby. The latest album from Watkins Family...

Prime-time network, cable viewership for the week of Aug. 8

NEW YORK (AP) — For the week of Aug. 8-14, the top 20 prime-time shows, their networks and viewerships: 1. “America's Got Talent” (Tuesday), NBC, 6.45 million. 2. “60 Minutes,” CBS, 5.95 million. 3. “America's Got Talent” (Wednesday), NBC, 5.5...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Attack on Rushdie shows divisions among Lebanese Shiites

BEIRUT (AP) — The stabbing of author Salman Rushdie has laid bare divisions in Lebanon's Shiite Muslim...

Texas to execute man for slaying of Dallas real estate agent

HOUSTON (AP) — A man who fatally stabbed a real estate agent inside a model home in suburban Dallas faces...

Wind energy boom and golden eagles collide in the US West

CODY, Wyo. (AP) — The rush to build wind farms to combat climate change is colliding with preservation of one of...

Kenya's president-elect will 'engage' in any court challenge

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Kenyan president-elect William Ruto says that if there’s a court challenge to the...

China and US spar over climate on Twitter

BEIJING (AP) — The world's two biggest emitters of greenhouse gases are sparring on Twitter over climate policy,...

South Korean leader: Seoul won't seek own nuclear deterrent

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea’s president said Wednesday his government has no plans to pursue its own...

Julie Watson the Associated Press

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- U.S. troops are increasingly using an easy-to-get herbal mix called "Spice," which mimics a marijuana high, is hard to detect and can bring on hallucinations that last for days.

The abuse of the drug has so alarmed military officials that they've launched an aggressive testing program that this year has led to the investigation of more than 1,100 suspected users, according to military figures.

So-called "synthetic" pot is readily available on the Internet and has become popular nationwide in recent years, but its use among troops and sailors has raised concerns among the Pentagon brass.

"You can just imagine the work that we do in a military environment," said Mark Ridley, deputy director of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, adding, "you need to be in your right mind when you do a job. That's why the Navy has always taken a zero tolerance policy toward drugs."

Two years ago, only 29 Marines and sailors were investigated for Spice. This year, the number topped 700, the investigative service said. Those found guilty of using Spice are kicked out, although the Navy does not track the overall number of dismissals.

The Air Force has punished 497 airmen so far this year, compared to last year's 380, according to figures provided by the Pentagon. The Army does not track Spice investigations but says it has medically treated 119 soldiers for the synthetic drug in total.

Military officials emphasize those caught represent a tiny fraction of all service members and note none was in a leadership position or believed high while on duty.

Spice is made up of exotic plants from Asia like Blue Lotus and Bay Bean. Their leaves are coated with chemicals that mimic the effects of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, but are five to 200 times more potent.

More than 40 states have banned some of its chemicals, prompting sellers to turn to the Internet, where it is marketed as incense or potpourri. In some states, Spice is sold at bars, smoke shops and convenience stores. The packets usually say the ingredients are not for human consumption but also tout them as "mood enhancing."

Service members preferred it because up until this year there was no way to detect it with urine tests. A test was developed after the Drug Enforcement Administration put a one-year emergency ban on five chemicals found in the drug.

Manufacturers are adapting to avoid detection, even on the new tests, and skirt new laws banning the main chemicals.

"It's a moving target," said Capt. J.A. "Cappy" Surette, spokesman for the Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery.

The military can calibrate its equipment to test for those five banned chemicals "but underground chemists can keep altering the properties and make up to more than 100 permutations," Surette said.

Complicating their efforts further, there are more than 200 other chemicals used in the drug. They remain legal and their effects on the mind and body remain largely unknown, Navy doctors say.

A Clemson University created many of the chemicals for research purposes in 1990s. They were never tested on humans.

Civilian deaths have been reported and emergency crews have responded to calls of "hyper-excited" people doing things like tearing off their clothes and running down the street naked.

Navy investigators compare the drug to angel dust because no two batches are the same. Some may just feel a euphoric buzz, but others have suffered delusions lasting up to a week.

While the problem has surfaced in all branches of the military, the Navy has been the most aggressive in drawing attention to the problem.

It produced a video based on cases to warn sailors of the drug's dangers and publicized busts of crew members on some of its most-storied ships, including the USS Carl Vinson, from which Osama bin Laden's was dropped into the sea.

Two of the largest busts this year involved sailors in the San Diego-based U.S. Third Fleet, which announced last month that it planned to dismiss 28 sailors assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan.

A month earlier, 64 sailors, including 49 from the Vinson, were accused of being involved in a Spice ring.

Many of the cases were discovered after one person was caught with the drug, prompting broader investigations.

Lt. Commander Donald Hurst, a fourth-year psychiatry resident at San Diego's Naval Medical Center, said the hospital is believed to have seen more cases than any other health facility in the country.

Doctors saw users experiencing bad reactions once a month, but now see them weekly. Users suffer everything from vomiting, elevated blood pressure and seizures to extreme agitation, anxiety and delusions.

Hurst said the behavior in many cases he witnessed at first seemed akin to schizophrenia. Usually within minutes, however, the person became completely lucid. Sometimes, the person goes in and out of such episodes for days.

He recalled one especially bizarre case of a sailor who came in with his sobbing wife.

"He stood their holding a sandwich in front of him with no clue as to what to do," he said. "He opened it up, looked at it, touched it. I took it and folded it over and then he took a bite out it. But then we had to tell him, `you have to chew.'"

An hour later when Hurst went back to evaluate him, he was completely normal and worried about being in trouble.

"That's something you don't see with acute schizophrenic patients," he said. "Then we found out based on the numbers of people coming in like this, that OK there's a new drug out there."

Hurst decided to study 10 cases. Some also had smoked marijuana or drank alcohol, while others only smoked Spice.

Of the 10, nine had lost a sense of reality. Seven babbled incoherently. The symptoms for seven of them lasted four to eight days. Three are believed to now be schizophrenic. Hurst believed the drug may have triggered the symptoms in people with that genetic disposition. His findings were published in the American Journal of Psychiatry in October.

He said there are countless questions that still need answering, including the drug's effects on people with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or traumatic brain injuries.

What the research has confirmed, he said, is: "These are not drugs to mess with."

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