01-22-2022  6:12 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Report: Oregon Has Too Few Public Defenders

Oregon has only roughly one-third of the public defense attorneys it needs to provide reasonably effective assistance to low-income defendants

Blumenauer Boosts Efforts to Put Three Black History Landmarks on National List

Congressman makes case for Mt. Olivet Baptist Church, Dean’s Beauty Salon and Barber Shop, and the Golden West Hotel’s importance to city history and heritage.

Lawsuit Says New Majority Latino District in WA a 'Facade'

A Latino civil rights organization and others filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday that says new political maps in Washington state approved by a bipartisan redistricting panel intentionally dilute Hispanic voters' influence.

Washington Students' Test Scores Drop Significantly

Reports show that between 2019 and 2021, the overall percentage of students who met state standards on the math portion of the exam fell by 20 percentage points.

NEWS BRIEFS

Five Schools Return to In-person Instruction on Jan. 24

Alliance, Faubion, Franklin, Ockley Green, and Roosevelt return to in-person instruction; George, Harriet Tubman and Kellogg...

Portland Winter Light Festival Begins in Two Weeks, Illuminating City for Seventh Time

Free, all-ages, outdoor activity returns with new opportunities for outdoor art experiences all across Portland ...

PassinArt Introduces ‘Play Reading Mondays’

The Spanish Jade and The Learning Curve, both directed by William Earl Ray premiere in February ...

Revamped TriMet Website Makes Planning Trips Easier With Map-Based Tools

Riders can now track real-time locations of buses and trains on their smartphone ...

PHOTOS: Founder of The American History Traveling Museum: The Unspoken Truths Honored

Delbert Richardson's Alpha Phi Alpha, Alpha XI Chapter fraternity brothers presented him a plaque that reads “Your commitment to...

Police: Lacey cops shoot, kill man who fired at officers

LACEY, Wash. (AP) — Lacey police shot and killed a man Thursday night who fired at officers, presumably hitting one in their bulletproof vest, authorities said. Police responded to a home around 8:30 p.m. after a woman called saying she had been attacked and had left the residence...

Peak yet to come, as Oregon sets daily COVID case record

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Oregon health officials predict the number of COVID-19 cases will reach its peak within the next week amid a boom caused by the omicron surge. And authorities believe in early February coronavirus-related hospitalizations will likely surpass previous surge’s...

UNLV promotes interim AD Harper to full-time job

LAS VEGAS (AP) — UNLV has promoted interim athletic director Erick Harper to serve in the job full time. Harper's hiring, announced on Monday, was effective Jan. 1. He had served as interim athletic director since Desiree Reed-Francois left UNLV for Missouri in August. ...

Army stuns Missouri in Armed Forces Bowl on last-second FG

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Cole Talley kicked a 41-yard field goal as time expired and Army rallied to beat Missouri 24-22 in the Armed Forces Bowl on Wednesday night. After the Tigers took a 22-21 lead on a touchdown with 1:11 to play, third-string quarterback Jabari Laws led Army...

OPINION

OP-ED: A House Divided Against Itself Cannot Stand

January 6th, Voting Rights and the Tyranny Threatening America ...

Support Nikole Hannah-Jones and The 1619 Project

This important and ambitious project pulled back the curtain of euphemistic rhetoric composing American historiography that points only to the good in our history and sweeps under the rug the evil deeds perpetrated against people of color ...

In 2021, Organized Labor is Again Flexing its Muscles

We have seen dramatic change in the makeup of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) under President Biden. ...

Study Reveals Racial Pay Gap for Social Media Influencers

The racial pay gap has long presented issues for African Americans in Corporate America and other industries. It’s now filtered to social media. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Jewish leaders urge worship attendance after hostage siege

On the eve of her 100th birthday Saturday, Ruth Salton told her daughter she was going one way or another to Friday night Shabbat services at Congregation Beth Israel, just days after a gunman voicing antisemitic conspiracy theories held four worshippers hostage for 10 hours at the Fort Worth-area...

McConnell responds to uproar over comment about Black voters

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell pushed back Friday against the uproar over a comment he made about African American voters, calling the criticism directed his way “outrageous.” McConnell had been accused of racism for saying that “African...

Abuse victims see inequity in payouts at 2 Michigan schools

Two former University of Michigan football stars who stand to receive as much as 0,000 each through the school's sexual abuse settlement with more than 1,000 students say the per-victim payouts should be much higher, pointing to a similar case at rival Michigan State. Dwight Hicks...

ENTERTAINMENT

Eva Longoria Bastón's doc looks at Chávez, De La Hoya fight

Boxing legend Oscar De La Hoya wanted to make a documentary about his 1996 fight against Julio César Chávez. It was coming up on 25 years since the “Ultimate Glory” showdown and he figured the time was right to look back. So he asked Eva Longoria Bastón, his friend of 20 years, if she’d be...

Review: Penny and Sparrow push past Americana in 'Olly Olly'

“Olly Olly,” Penny and Sparrow (I Love You / Thirty Tigers) In the first few unassuming bars of Penny and Sparrow’s new album, “Olly Olly,” it is not immediately apparent that this collection of songs signifies a shift for duo Andy Baxter and Kyle Jahnke. ...

'SNL' comics Jost, Davidson buy Staten Island Ferry boat

NEW YORK (AP) — “Saturday Night Live” comics Colin Jost and Pete Davidson have purchased a decommissioned Staten Island Ferry boat for 0,100 with plans to turn it into New York's hottest club. Jost and Davidson teamed up with comedy club owner Paul Italia on Wednesday's...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Booster shots needed against omicron, CDC studies show

NEW YORK (AP) — Three studies released Friday offered more evidence that COVID-19 vaccines are standing up to...

McConnell responds to uproar over comment about Black voters

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell pushed back Friday against the uproar over a...

Thich Nhat Hanh, influential Zen Buddhist monk, dies at 95

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — Thich Nhat Hanh, the revered Zen Buddhist monk who helped spread the practice of...

Dior reconstructs Paris in spectacular Fashion Week show

PARIS (AP) — Dior took over Paris’ iconic Place de la Concorde for a menswear show Friday whose theme was none...

Russia hits all-time high of new infections, blames omicron

MOSCOW (AP) — Daily new coronavirus infections in Russia reached an all-time high Friday and authorities blamed...

Burkina Faso forces fire tear gas at anti-govt protests

OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso (AP) — Security forces fired tear gas at protesters barricading the streets and...

Will Graves, AP Sports Writer

Terrence Jones 'Hoopmixtape:' The Skanner News Video here

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Kentucky spent 13 straight springs watching other schools play in the Final Four, a destination college basketball's winningest program considers its birthright.

At most places, that's hardly a drought.

In the Bluegrass, it's a lifetime.

Now coach John Calipari and the Wildcats are two wins away from a national title. Finally.

Brandon Knight scored 22 points and fourth-seeded Kentucky advanced to the Final Four for the first time since their 1998 national title with a 76-69 win over second-seeded North Carolina on Sunday in the East Regional final.

"We got Kentucky back," senior center Josh Harrellson said. "A lot of people doubted us. A lot of people really didn't think we'd be the team we are. We really pulled it together as a team, and we're back now."

The Wildcats (29-8) will play Connecticut in Houston on Saturday night after turning back a late surge by the Tar Heels (27-10), who erased an 11-point deficit before running out of gas in the final 2 minutes.

DeAndre Liggins added 12 points for Kentucky, including a 3-pointer from the corner with 37 seconds remaining to help lift the Wildcats.

A season after falling a game short of the Final Four behind a roster filled with future NBA stars, the Wildcats are heading to the national semifinals for the 14th time behind Knight's heady play and Calipari's relentless energy.

He revitalized the flagging program a year ago behind superstar John Wall. In Calipari's second season, he delivered on his promise to return Kentucky to glory.

Even if the guy who hired him wasn't sure this would be the year Kentucky would end its 13-year drought between Final Fours.

"I thought he was building toward it, but I didn't think this was the year," Kentucky president Lee Todd said.

It didn't look like it in January, when the Wildcats couldn't win a close game. It didn't look like it in February, when they couldn't win on the road.

Calipari admitted it didn't look that way two weeks ago, when his team was relegated to a fourth-seed despite convincingly winning the Southeastern Conference tournament. The powers that be put Kentucky in the same bracket as top overall seed Ohio State.

"I just thought the path to get here would be so ridiculous," Calipari said, "that we would have to play out of our minds or people would have to get knocked off."

Done and done.

Kentucky edged Ohio State on Friday, then gave the Final Four another blueblood program, though with a twist. There will be no No. 1 or No. 2 seeds playing the last weekend of the season since 1979, well before the field expanded to 64 teams in 1985.

The Wildcats have a pedigree and a roster full of highly touted freshmen. Yet they're just as reliant on holdovers such as Liggins and Harrellson.

A seldom used reserve a year ago who has flourished in his final season, Harrellson again held his own against North Carolina's bigger, more heralded front line, scoring 12 points and grabbing eight rebounds as Kentucky avenged a 75-73 loss to the Tar Heels in December in Chapel Hill.

It was a different story in New Jersey. And in March.

It's a month Kentucky and North Carolina have owned for years. They've combined for 210 NCAA tournament victories — 105 each — but Sunday's victory was the Wildcats' first in three NCAA meetings with the Tar Heels.

Not that North Carolina coach Roy Williams was in the mood for a history lesson.

"I'm going to focus on what a wonderful group of kids and what a wonderful year it was," he said. "But it still doesn't take away the hurt that you feel today."

Tyler Zeller led the Tar Heels with 21 points and nine rebounds and Harrison Barnes added 18 points, but North Carolina fell behind early and struggled to keep the hot-shooting Wildcats in check.

"No question, I thought we were going to pull it out," Barnes said. "We've been through so many of these situations before. Losing didn't enter my mind until the final horn sounded."

Instead, it was Harrellson giving teammate Eloy Vargas a bear hug and Knight flexing at midcourt before gleefully cutting down the nets while Barnes and the Tar Heels trudged slowly off the floor.

It's a scene Kentucky has longed for — a mission that began in earnest when the program lured John Calipari away from Memphis in 2009.

He promised he wasn't "the grand poobah" the day he signed his eight-year, $31.65 million contract, but there's little doubt who rules the Bluegrass now.

"You play at Kentucky to raise banners, and I'm happy we did this," said Kentucky athletic director Mitch Barnhart. "I'm happy for these guys, because no one gave them a chance."

Calipari joins Rick Pitino as the only men's basketball coaches to lead three different programs to the Final Four. Calipari's previous visits at Massachusetts in 1996 and Memphis in 2008 were vacated by the NCAA for rules violations, but Calipari was not found liable in either instance.

Barnhart said Calipari wanted his Final Four appearances with the Wildcats "to stick." Time will tell, though he's already restored the luster to a program that's slowly slipped off its perch over the last decade.

That lust for a championship banner is why Kentucky went after Calipari so aggressively, making him the highest paid coach in the country.

He came close a year ago, as the Wildcats missed their first 20 3-point attempts in a dismal 73-66 loss to West Virginia.

There were no such issues Sunday. Knight hit a 3-pointer barely 3 minutes in, and Kentucky kept right on shooting. Darius Miller, Terrence Jones and Doron Lamb also drilled 3s of their own to give the Wildcats an early confidence boost. Kentucky made 12-of-22 3-pointers on Sunday, very different from the miserable 4-for-32 effort they put together last season.

But that was a different team, one Calipari likened to a bulldozer. This one is a little smaller, a little leaner. And ultimately, a little more successful.

When they weren't knocking down jumpers from all over, they were getting their hands in passing lanes, pestering the bigger, longer Tar Heels into sloppy mistakes.

At one point Barnes found himself in an awkward position and tried to throw the ball off the backboard to himself. No dice. Harrellson, as he was almost all game, was right in position to gobble up the North Carolina mistake.

Kentucky roared into the halftime with a 38-30 lead then made it stand up as North Carolina failed to take advantage when the Wildcats grew skittish with the lead.

Kentucky wobbled, but it didn't falter and instead rocketed to Houston on the heels of a 10-game winning streak.

No team has been to the Final Four more than North Carolina, and the Tar Heels were poised to add to their NCAA-record 18 appearances after mauling Marquette in the regional semifinals on Friday.

Instead, their resurgent season ended with a downtrodden Barnes glumly shaking hands as Kentucky players donned Final Four caps a few feet away.

The game mirrored much of the talented freshman's season. He struggled early then caught fire late, scoring eight straight at one point as the Tar Heels clawed back into it.

Yet he faltered in the final minute, missing a 3-pointer after Liggins' big shot then missing another one after Knight hit two free throws to give Kentucky a six-point lead.

Barnes refused to discuss whether he'll return next year.

"All I know is the last two years I played basketball it ended with a championship, not a loss," he said. "I never felt like this before."

Neither have the Wildcats, all of whom where in grade school when Kentucky beat Utah in San Antonio for their seventh national title in 1998.

They don't need to be reminded of the program's rich history. It dangles from the rafters at Rupp Arena. Now they have a chance to add their own chapter to the legend.

"This is a great tradition that we have to live up to," Knight said. "It feels good that we were able to do this for Kentucky."

The Skanner Foundation's Martin Luther King, Jr. Breakfast

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