06-14-2024  9:17 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

‘Feeling Our Age’: Oregon Artist Explores Aging Through Portraiture

64 women were painted and asked to reflect on lives well lived.

Off-Duty Guard Charged With Killing Seattle-Area Teen After Mistaking Toy for Gun, Authorities Say

Prosecutors charged 51-year-old Aaron Brown Myers on Monday in connection with the death of Hazrat Ali Rohani. Myers was also charged with assault after authorities say he held another teen at gunpoint. His attorney says Myers sincerely believed he was stopping a violent crime.

James Beard Finalists Include an East African Restaurant in Detroit and Seattle Pho Shops

The James Beards Awards are the culinary world's equivalent of the Oscars. For restaurants, even being named a finalist can bring wide recognition and boost business.

Ranked-Choice Voting Expert Grace Ramsey on What Portland Voters Can Expect in November

Ramsey has worked in several other states and cities to educate voters on new system of voting. 

NEWS BRIEFS

Montavilla Pool to Reopen in July After Mandatory Maintenance

The pool will open later this summer due to an upgrade to the pool’s plumbing that required a more complex solution to achieve...

Coalition of 43 AGs Reach $700 Million Nationwide Settlement With Johnson and Johnson Over Deceptive Marketing; Oregon to Receive $15 Million

Today, Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum and 42 other attorneys general announced they have reached a 0 million nationwide...

Juneteenth 2024 Events in Portland and Seattle

View events celebrating Juneteenth in the Portland and Seattle area ...

Kobi Flowers Crowned 2024 Rose Festival Queen

Flowers has been active in her school community as member of the leadership team at Self Enhancement, Inc., Varsity Cheer...

Summer Events are Shining Through at Multnomah County Library

Start your June by honoring Juneteenth, celebrating Pride and playing the Summer Reading game. ...

Crews rescue 28 people trapped upside down high on Oregon amusement park ride

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Emergency crews in Oregon rescued 28 people Friday after they were stuck for about half an hour dangling upside down high on a ride at a century-old amusement park. Portland Fire and Rescue said on the social platform X that firefighters worked with engineers...

Washington's Makah Tribe could once again harpoon whales as US waives conservation law

SEATTLE (AP) — The United States granted the Makah Indian Tribe in Washington state a long-sought waiver Thursday that helps clear the way for its first sanctioned whale hunts since 1999 and sets the stage for renewed clashes with animal rights activists. The Makah, a tribe of 1,500...

Josh Sargent out for Colombia friendly, could miss Copa America

McLEAN, Va. (AP) — United States forward Josh Sargent could miss Saturday's friendly against Colombia and could be dropped from the Copa America roster. A 24-year-old from O'Fallon, Missouri, Sargent scored 16 goals in 26 league games with Norwich in England's second-tier League...

Duke tops Missouri 4-3 in 9 innings to win first super regional, qualify for first WCWS

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — D'Auna Jennings led off the top of the ninth inning with a home run to end a scoreless pitching duel between Cassidy Curd and Missouri's Laurin Krings and 10th-seeded Duke held on for a wild 4-3 victory over the seventh-seeded Tigers on Sunday in the finale of the...

OPINION

Supreme Court Says 'Yes” to Consumer Protection, "No" to Payday Lenders 7-2 Decision Upholds CFPB’s Funding

A recent 7-2 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court gave consumers a long-sought victory that ended more than a decade of challenges over the constitutionality of the agency created to be the nation’s financial cop on the beat. ...

The Skanner News May 2024 Primary Endorsements

Read The Skanner News endorsements and vote today. Candidates for mayor and city council will appear on the November general election ballot. ...

Nation’s Growing Racial and Gender Wealth Gaps Need Policy Reform

Never-married Black women have 8 cents in wealth for every dollar held by while males. ...

New White House Plan Could Reduce or Eliminate Accumulated Interest for 30 Million Student Loan Borrowers

Multiple recent announcements from the Biden administration offer new hope for the 43.2 million borrowers hoping to get relief from the onerous burden of a collective

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

San Francisco park where a grandmother was fatally beaten will now have her name

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The San Francisco park where a grandmother was beaten and then later died from her injuries will now bear her name. Family and friends will gather Saturday for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially usher in the newly named Yik Oi Huang Peace and Friendship...

Opal Lee gets keys to her new Texas home 85 years after a racist mob drove her family from that lot

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Opal Lee, the 97-year-old Texan known for her push to make Juneteenth a national holiday, was given the keys Friday to her new home, which was built on the same tree-lined corner lot in Fort Worth that her family was driven from by a racist mob when she was 12. ...

Victims cited in DOJ report on Phoenix police brutality call on city to implement mandated reforms

PHOENIX (AP) — Phoenix residents who have spoken out against police brutality hailed on Friday a scathing U.S. Justice Department report outlining a pattern of excessive force and racial discrimination, saying it lays blame not just at the feet of law enforcement but the leaders of the nation’s...

ENTERTAINMENT

Meet Will Butler, the singer-songwriter who makes Broadway's 'Stereophonic' rock

NEW YORK (AP) — The assignment was daunting: Write a song for an onstage moment of transcendence. Make it kind of funny and exciting and for a five-piece band. Write it so it justifies an audience sitting in their seats for two hours before they hear it. And, oh, it must plausibly be a rock hit...

Roger Daltrey talks new tour, thoughts on Broadway’s ‘Tommy’ and future of The Who

NEW YORK (AP) — As Roger Daltrey hits the road on a short solo tour this June, he’s unsure if fans will ever see another tour from The Who. “I don’t see it. I don’t know whether The Who’ll ever will go out again,” he told The Associated Press over Zoom. The...

Book Review: Yume Kitasei explores space in a heist-driven action adventure novel

Grad student Maya Hoshimoto is having a hard time settling down on Earth after a thrilling career as an art thief, stealing looted objects and returning them to their people. So when her best friend Auncle — an octopus-like being from another solar system — offers one last job, of course she...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

US Navy faces its most intense combat since World War II against Yemen's Iran-backed Houthi rebels

ABOARD THE USS LABOON IN THE RED SEA (AP) — The U.S. Navy prepared for decades to potentially fight the Soviet...

Illinois is hit with cicada chaos. This is what it's like to see, hear and feel billions of bugs

RIVERWOODS, Ill. (AP) — The ground had seemed to undulate at night, alive with bugs. Crawling cicada nymphs,...

Unsafe levels of E. coli found in Paris' Seine River less than 2 months before Olympics

PARIS (AP) — Water in the Seine River had unsafe elevated levels of E. coli less than two months before swimming...

Unsafe levels of E. coli found in Paris' Seine River less than 2 months before Olympics

PARIS (AP) — Water in the Seine River had unsafe elevated levels of E. coli less than two months before swimming...

Serbian court rules to extradite to Belarus a critic of its authoritarian regime

BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — A Serbian court has ruled to extradite a Belarusian filmmaker and pro-democracy...

Muslims start the Hajj against the backdrop of the devastating Israel-Hamas war

MINA, Saudi Arabia (AP) — In sweltering temperatures, Muslim pilgrims in the Saudi city of Mecca converged on a...

Mark Sherman the Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Xavier Alvarez was in good company when he stood up at a public meeting and called himself a wounded war veteran who had received the top military award, the Medal of Honor.

Alvarez was lying about his medal, his wounds and his military service, but he wasn't the first man to invent war exploits.

He was, however, one of the first people prosecuted under a 2006 federal law aimed at curbing false claims of military valor.

Concerns that the law improperly limits speech and turns people into criminals for things they say, rather than do, are at the heart of the Supreme Court's review of his case and the Stolen Valor Act.

Veterans groups have come to the aid of the Obama administration, which calls the law a narrowly crafted effort to protect the system of military awards that was established during the Revolutionary war by Gen. George Washington. The high court will hear the case Wednesday, which is Washington's 280th birthday.

"They're committing fraud. They're impersonating somebody else. They take on attributes of somebody else, attributes of a hero who served honorably," said Pam Sterner, whose college term paper calling for the law wound up in the hands of members of Congress. "When you do that, impersonating someone else, that's fraud, not freedom of speech."

Civil liberties groups, writers, publishers and news media outlets, including The Associated Press, have told the justices they worry the law, and especially the administration's defense of it, could lead to more attempts by government to regulate speech.

When he established military decorations in 1782, seven years before he was elected as the nation's first president, Washington himself also prescribed severe military punishment for soldiers who purported to be medal winners but weren't. Since then, many men have embellished their war records, and some have won special recognition.

It long has been a federal crime to wear unearned medals, but mere claims of being decorated were beyond the reach of law enforcement.

The House of Representatives has more than once voted to name a post office after men who claimed awards they never received. The Air Force named an award after a man who falsely claimed to have survived the Bataan Death March and been awarded the Silver Star in World War II. The Boxing Writers of America named its perseverance award after the late Pat Putnam of Sports Illustrated because of his made-up tale of surviving a Chinese prisoner of war camp in the Korean War and receiving a Navy Cross.

The Stolen Valor Act aimed to solve that problem, and garnered significant support in Congress during a time of war.

"The admiration and respect for the military increased dramatically after 9/11 and the false claims, as well," said Thomas A. Cottone Jr., a retired FBI agent who investigated phony award cases.

Alvarez made his claims by way of introducing himself as an elected member of the Three Valleys Municipal Water District in Pomona, Calif. There is nothing to suggest that he received anything in exchange or that listeners especially believed him.

Even Alvarez' lawyers acknowledged their client sometimes has trouble telling the truth. "Xavier Alvarez lied," they declare in the first sentence of their Supreme Court brief and go on to recount six separate lies in the next few lines.

He lied when he claimed he played hockey for the Detroit Red Wings, married a Mexican starlet who made paparazzi swoon, was an engineer, rescued the American ambassador during the Iranian hostage crisis and was shot when he went back for the U.S. flag. Alvarez also lied, they said, when he talked about his military service.

But the lies Alvarez told harmed no one, they said, so what he did couldn't be considered fraud.

A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco struck down the law as an unconstitutional restraint on free speech and said the government might instead invest in an awards database that would make it harder for people to lay claim to medals they never won. Last month, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver upheld the law in a separate case, saying the First Amendment does not always protect false statements.

The issue might never have reached this stage if not for the efforts of Sterner, and her husband, Doug.

He is a decorated Vietnam veteran who has made it his work in recent years to ensure that service members get the recognition they deserve and expose those who falsely claim acts of heroism under fire. Rather than wait for the government to act, Doug Sterner has entered nearly 100,000 award citations since Civil War in his online database, including all 3,475 Medal of Honor winners in U.S. history. His archive is used by the Military Times newspapers, published by Gannett Co.

Pam Sterner went back to school in her early 40s at Colorado State University in Pueblo, Colo. In a political science course, she wrote a paper that grew out of her husband's frustrations over phony award claimants whose worst punishment was public embarrassment. That paper eventually led to the Stolen Valor Act.

Doug Sterner's database did not save Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, from some embarrassment when he invited cameras and reporters to watch him pin medals on an elderly Korean War veteran in June.

The veteran, Myron Brown of Utah, said his Distinguished Service Cross and Silver Star were awarded belatedly, and he asked Chaffetz to present them to him publicly.

After the ceremony took place, Sterner and others raised questions about the medals and the Pentagon confirmed to Chaffetz in December that they were not authentic.

"Others have been burned by this. I have too, but I want to solve the problem," Chaffetz told the Salt Lake Tribune. He is planning a hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee he leads to explore creating a government-run awards database.

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Online:

Military Times Hall of Valor database

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The Skanner Foundation's 38th Annual MLK Breakfast