01-17-2020  6:25 am   •   PDX Weather    •   SEA weather  
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NORTHWEST NEWS

The Skanner in Step With Changing Times

Celebrating a history of service

Starbucks, Home of the $4 Latte, is Moving Into Poor Areas

Starbucks plans to open or remodel 85 stores by 2025 in rural and urban communities across the U.S. The effort will bring to 100 the number of "community stores" Starbucks has opened since it announced the program in 2015

Native American Curriculum Rolls Out in Oregon Classrooms

The state developed the curriculum, as required by Senate Bill 13, with the input of Native leaders for 18 months, but is still behind. A soft roll-out begins this month

Community Surprised at Police Chief’s Departure, Concerned by Quick Replacement

Deputy Chief Jami Resch immediately named as successor.

NEWS BRIEFS

Annual “Salute to Greatness” Luncheon Celebrating Students, Community & Civic Leaders

Keynote Speaker: Ms. Rukaiyah Adams, Chair of Oregon Investment Council & Chief Investment Officer at Meyer Memorial Trust....

Grant High School Students to Read Their Own Work at Broadway Books

Local author and writing instructor Joanna Rose will lead thegroup of young writers at the event to be held on Wednesday, January 22 ...

AG Rosenblum Announces $4 Million Settlement with CenturyLink

Since 2014, Oregon DOJ has received more than 1,200 consumer complaints about CenturyLink ...

Black Guest at Downtown Portland Hotel Sues Over ‘No Party’ Promise

Felicia Gonzales claims the front desk clerk at the Residence Inn told her that all guests had to sign the policy, but she watched...

National Urban League Warns Trump Administration: Don't Weaken Community Reinvestment Act to Allow Racial Discrimination in Lending

Proposed changes to the Community Reinvestment Act could further limit access to the American Dream ...

Woman dies, firefighter hurt in Klamath Falls house fire

KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. (AP) — Authorities say a woman died in a house fire in Klamath Falls. Klamath County Fire District 1 officials say the blaze with a possible person inside was reported early Thursday by people passing by. Authorities say bystanders tried to get inside but were...

Storms cut power in Washington state mountain towns for days

SKYKOMISH, Wash. (AP) — Rural mountain communities outside Seattle that have been without power for days and cut off from the outside world by a series of winter storms saw some relief as convoys brought in food and other supplies.The storms have dumped several feet of unusual snow on parts...

New Missouri coach Eli Drinkwitz predicts success

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Eli Drinkwitz was saying all the right things after being introduced as the new football coach at Missouri, laying out his vision for the once-proud program with unwavering confidence and bold proclamations.Then the former Appalachian State coach made a minor...

LSU's Burrow, Auburn's Brown named AP SEC players of year

LSU quarterback Joe Burrow is a unanimous selection as the offensive player of the year on The Associated Press All-Southeastern Conference football team.The top-ranked Tigers also have the SEC’s coach of the year in Ed Orgeron and the newcomer of the year in freshman cornerback Derek...

OPINION

Looking to 2020 — Put Your Vote to WORK!

Ronald Reagan, who turned his back on organized labor and started America’s middle-class into a tailspin, has recently been voted by this administration’s NLRB into the Labor Hall of Fame ...

How Putting Purpose Into Your New Year’s Resolutions Can Bring Meaning and Results

Only 4% of people report following through on all of the resolutions they personally set ...

I Was Just Thinking… Mama in the Classroom

I wrote my first column in 1988 for a local newspaper about a beloved Dallas guidance counselor and teacher that most students called “Mama” ...

How Being 'Tough on Crime' Became a Political Liability

In one of the most stunning shifts in American politics in recent memory, a wave of elected prosecutors have bucked a decadeslong tough-on-crime approach adopted by both major parties ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Germany: Ugly anti-Semitic remnant at center of court battle

WITTENBERG, Germany (AP) — High on the wall of a German church where Martin Luther once preached, an ugly remnant of centuries of anti-Semitism is now at the center of a court battle.The so-called “Judensau,” or “Jew pig,” sculpture on the Town Church in...

Trump campaign tries robust outreach to expand his appeal

WASHINGTON (AP) — Selfies on a “Women for Trump” bus tour through Iowa. Volunteer training at a “Black Voices for Trump” organizing session in Philadelphia. A vice presidential headliner at a "Latinos for Trump” event in Florida.President Donald Trump's...

Organizers appeal ban on arms at upcoming Virginia gun rally

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A gun-rights group has filed an emergency appeal of a judge's ruling upholding the Virginia governor's ban on firearms at a pro-gun rally that's expected to draw thousands of gun activists to the state Capitol on Monday.The Virginia Citizens Defense League and Gun Owners...

ENTERTAINMENT

For Gloria Gaynor, God is key to her survival in life, music

NEW YORK (AP) — Gloria Gaynor sees the hand of God in every aspect of her life, particularly when it comes to the tune that may be the most famous disco song every created.Gaynor recalls when she first was presented with “I Will Survive,” it was intended to be the B-side of...

Cicely Tyson savors life, new OWN series at 95

PASADENA, Calif. (AP) — Cicely Tyson doesn’t quibble with those who marvel at her long life and career, now in its eighth decade. The acclaimed actress said she doesn't take her staying power for granted.“You know how old I am,” a smiling Tyson, 95, told a TV critics...

'Better Call Saul' gets renewed for 6th and final season

PASADENA, Calif. (AP) — “Better Call Saul” has been renewed for a sixth and final season consisting of 13 episodes that will air in 2021.The upcoming fifth season debuts Feb. 23-24 on AMC. The “Breaking Bad” prequel starring Bob Odenkirk will air 10 episodes this...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Eminem drops surprise album, advocates changes to gun laws

Rapper Eminem once again dropped a surprise album, releasing “Music to Be Murdered By” on Friday...

Philippine volcano still 'life threatening' despite lull

TAGAYTAY, Philippines (AP) — An erupting Philippine volcano remains life threatening despite weaker...

Germany: Ugly anti-Semitic remnant at center of court battle

WITTENBERG, Germany (AP) — High on the wall of a German church where Martin Luther once preached, an ugly...

Guatemala officials disperse migrants, but some keep trying

CHIQUIMULA, Guatemala (AP) — United States officials are crediting tough measures taken over the past year...

Libya's rival military commander seeks support in Greece

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — The commander of forces fighting the U.N.-supported government in Libya visited...

Locust outbreak, most serious in 25 years, hits East Africa

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — The most serious outbreak of locusts in 25 years is spreading across East...

McMenamins
Russel Westbrook throws it down at All-Star weekend
The Black Athlete by Omar Tyree

Each year in mid-February, the NBA All-Star Game plants itself in a different American city and takes over for a weekend’s worth of basketball games, events, after parties and entertaining shows, with plenty of American celebrities in attendance from every walk of life.

 

In 2002, I attended the NBA All-Star game festivities in my hometown of Philadelphia, and enjoyed a Roots concert, while bumping into a dozen of old friends from my high school days. That next year in 2003, I attended All-Star Game events in Atlanta, where I finally had a chance to witness the legend of Allen Iverson and his dozen-man entourage at a hotel restaurant. Both occasions remain eye-popping and memorable, as if they had just happened yesterday.

 

I never even thought about attending the actual games. I was fine with watching it all on TV; the sophomore and rookie challenge, the celebrity charity game, the 3-point contest, guard skills performances, the slam dunk contest, an army of fun interviews, and the All-Star game itself.

 

With the NBA All-Stars, their peers and families all sitting at courtside, we get a chance to witness them return to being oversized kids, who once dreamed about being professional athletes and making an All-Star game appearance in a number of capacities themselves. These happy ballers then receive an overflow of validation from the excited movie stars, musicians, politicians, popular businessmen, supermodels and comedians, who all sit at courtside with them and whoop it up for the big show, while thousands of fans sit and enjoy it right behind them.

 

Each year I sat at home and watched as a kid myself, and as an adult with my two sons, while only imagining what it felt like to be: Dr. J; George Gervin; Michael Jordan; Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Shaquille Oneal, Kobe Bryant and now Lebron James: Dirk Nowitzki: Stephen Curry: James Harden: Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. What does it feel like to be celebrated by so many American citizens and superstars in their own light, who all come out and sit still to be amazed by you?

 

For those few hours in time, the world seems to stop and stand still for superstar basketball players; or at least it felt that way to me. The validation of skills was the reason why we all wanted to become professional athletes in the first place, not just to play the game and to live comfortably with million-dollar contracts; but to be celebrated for adding something special to the world--whether it be in football, boxing, baseball, hockey, track and field, World Cup soccer, or the Olympic Games.

 

With as much glitter, star-power and fashion statements that are made each year during the Academy Awards, The Grammys, The ESPYs, American Music, MTV, Soul Train, BET and NAACP Image Awards, nothing seems as fun or as natural as the NBA All-Star Game. There’s no fake adoration or bitten tongues, while dressed in thousand-dollar designer gowns and penguin suits from athletes who celebrate their game, themselves and each other. It’s all real excitement and jubilation, while dressed in warm-up, sneakers, blue jeans, jackets, shades, baseball caps and jewelry.

 

I watched it all again this weekend from New York City, where a Muggsy Bogues-sized comedian Kevin Hart—who has become a staple at NBA events—won another celebrity game becoming MVP, while playing against 13-year-old phenom, Mo’ne Davis, who is now transitioning from Little League Baseball, to her first love of basketball.

 

I watched Steph Curry and his gray-headed dad, Dell, lose in a team shoot-out against a current NBA player, a retired NBA veteran and a current WNBA player, before Steph went on to later swish 21 of 25 shots for a record 27 points to win the 3-point shooting contest. Zach LaVine, a 19-year-old leaper, who was a UCLA freshman last year this time, scored a perfect 100 points after two incredible back-to-back dunks, with legendary leaper, Dr. J, taking his sweet old time as the fifth and final decision-making judge.

 

Then we watched the marquee game, where Oklahoma Thunder’s fireball of energy, Russell Westbrook, scored 41 points for the MVP Award--one shy of Wilt Chamberlain’s record of 42 in 1962. The teams also scored a combined record of 321 total points in a 163-158 win for the Western Conference over the East.

 

That’s 321 points with no overtime minutes, and a new record of 48 3-pointers. You talk about going all out to excite the fans; that’s what the NBA All-Star Game is all about—FANtastic!

 

No wonder my two sons dreamed so hard of outgrowing their dad for dunking height. They dreamed of joining Victor Olapido, the Maryland-born son of Nigerian and Sierra Leone immigrant parents, who came in second to LaVine in the Slam Dunk Contest, while the world stood still to watch, along with young professional basketball hopeful from more than twenty-five different countries around the world, now from Brazil to Russia.

 

Sometimes I wish the NBA All-Star Game and events could last for a whole week instead of a mere weekend. If only the rest of us could have a weekend of celebration like they do for what we do, we could all feel reenergized each year to continue loving the jobs and careers that we engage in and celebrate each other. Wouldn’t that be nice? It would make us all feel like All-Stars.

 

Omar Tyree is a New York Times bestselling author, an NAACP Image Award winner for Outstanding Fiction, and a professional journalist, who has published 27 books, including co-authoring Mayor For Life; The Incredible Story of Marion Barry Jr. View more of his career and work @ www.OmarTyree.com

 

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