02-28-2020  11:13 pm   •   PDX Weather    •   SEA weather  
Reparations Gaining Support The Skanner Reports
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NORTHWEST NEWS

PHOTOS: Elizabeth Warren Rallies in Seattle

Washington state’s primary is Tuesday, March 10; voters should have received their ballots by Thursday, Feb. 27

Support for Black Reparations Grows in Congress

The Commission to Study and Develop Reparations Proposals for African-Americans Act now has 125 cosponsors

Shifting Demographics Drive GOP Nosedive on US West Coast

Political districts have flipped in population centers, from San Diego in the south to Seattle in the north

'A World of Hurt': 39 States to Investigate JUUL's Marketing

Oregon is one of five states leading a bipartisan coalition looking into JUUL’s targeting of youth vaping

NEWS BRIEFS

Civil Rights Organization Condemns Trump’s Dangerous Call For Supreme Court Recusals

Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law called the president's recent request for Justices Ginsburg and Sotomayor to...

Voting Rights Advocates File Emergency Lawsuit After Georgia Officials Strike Early Voting Sites

In a similar situation in 2016, hundreds of voters were forced to wait up to four to five hours to cast their ballot ...

Washington’s March 10 Presidential Primary Ballots Mailed to Voters

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State and Federal Agencies Aid Sunken Tugboat in Columbia River

Divers plugged fuel vents this afternoon and the vessel is not actively leaking ...

Multnomah County Promotes Voter Education Project

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New coronavirus cases of unknown origin found on West Coast

Health officials in California, Oregon and Washington state worried about the novel coronavirus spreading through West Coast communities after confirming three patients were infected by unknown means.The patients — an older Northern California woman with chronic health conditions, a high...

Mormon crickets reported early this year in northern Nevada

RENO, Nev. (AP) — Mormon crickets, the grasshopper-like insects that pose threats to crops and drivers. are hatching early this year in northern Nevada.KRVN-TV reports that the Nevada Department of Agriculture has confirmed some of the earliest hatchings of Mormon crickets in years, with the...

Former AD, All-American center Dick Tamburo dies at 90

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Dick Tamburo, an athletic director at three major schools and an All-American center at Michigan State, has died. He was 90.Michigan State announced that Tamburo died Monday.A native of New Kensington, Pennsylvania, Tamburo served as the athletic director at Texas...

OPINION

Black America is Facing a Housing Crisis

As the cost of housing soars the homeless population jumps 12 percent, the number of people renting grows and homeownership falls ...

Trump Expands Muslim Ban to Target Africans

Under the new ban on countries, four out of five people who will be excluded are Africans ...

Martin Luther King Day is an Opportunity for Service

Find out where you can volunteer and make a difference to the community ...

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 ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Restaurants in LA's Koreatown reel amid coronavirus rumor

LOS ANGELES (AP) — In a Koreatown restaurant known for its beef bone broth soup, the lunchtime crowd Friday was half its normal size. The reason was a virulent rumor about a customer with coronavirus.Han Bat Shul Lung Tang was one of five restaurants that lost business after being named in...

Biden looks for first 2020 victory in South Carolina primary

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The Democrats' 2020 nominating fight turned to South Carolina on Saturday for the first-in-the-South primary, with Joe Biden confident that his popularity with black voters will seal him a victory and help blunt some of front-runner Bernie Sanders' momentum.The primary...

'Bernie or brokered': Democratic race at critical crossroads

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The Democrats' 2020 primary season enters a critical four-day stretch that will help determine whether the party rallies behind Bernie Sanders or embraces a longer and uglier slog that could carry on until the national convention.This marks a dangerous moment for a...

ENTERTAINMENT

Ben Affleck on the pain and catharsis of 'The Way Back'

NEW YORK (AP) — Of the many stories that have stuck with Ben Affleck from his Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, one has especially resonated for the actor. Recovery is often described as a process of removing a damaging habit from your life. One man articulated it in a more positive way. He...

Lady Gaga's father cites homelessness for his bar's woes

NEW YORK (AP) — Lady Gaga's father is refusing to pay 0,000 in rent and fees for his restaurant at New York City's Grand Central Terminal, saying the homeless population is hurting his business.Joe Germanotta, owner of Art Bird & Whiskey Bar, said he wants the Metropolitan Transit...

'Amazing Race' suspends filming as virus precaution

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The globe-trotting reality series “The Amazing Race” is taking a breather as a precaution due to the virus outbreak affecting several countries.CBS said in a statement Friday that it had temporarily suspended production and was sending contestants and crew...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Report: Los Angeles deputies shared Kobe Bryant crash photos

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Authorities are investigating whether deputies shared graphic photos of the helicopter...

Grandfather, Navy vet among 5 victims of Wisconsin shooting

The five men who were killed by a co-worker at a Milwaukee brewery include an electrician, a Navy veteran, a...

Liberal gun owners face dilemma in 2020 field

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Like many liberals, Lara Smith considers herself a feminist, favors abortion rights and...

Parents of 'terrified' Africans stranded in China want help

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Virus outbreak in Iran sickens hundreds, including leaders

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — After facing sanctions and the risk of war amid tensions with the United...

Turkey moves ahead with its threats to send refugees to EU

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Hundreds of refugees and migrants in Turkey have begun heading for the...

McMenamins
Kimberly Hefling the Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Handsome and friendly, Clay Hunt so epitomized a vibrant Iraq veteran that he was chosen for a public service announcement reminding veterans that they aren't alone.

The 28-year-old former Marine corporal earned a Purple Heart after taking a sniper's bullet in his left wrist. He returned to combat in Afghanistan. Upon his return home, he lobbied for veterans on Capitol Hill, road-biked with wounded veterans and performed humanitarian work in Haiti and Chile.

Then, on March 31, Hunt bolted himself in his Houston apartment and shot himself.

Friends and family say he was wracked with survivor's guilt, depression and other emotional struggles after combat.

Hunt's death has shaken many veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Those who knew him wonder why someone who seemed to be doing all the right things to deal with combat-related issues is now dead.

"We know we have a problem with vets' suicide, but this was really a slap in the face," said Matthew Pelak, 32, an Iraq veteran who worked with Hunt in Haiti as part of the nonprofit group Team Rubicon.

After news of Hunt's death spread, workers from the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors met with veterans visiting Washington for the annual lobbying effort by the nonprofit Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans, or IAVA. A year earlier, Hunt had been with other veterans in dark suits calling on Congress to improve the disability claims process.

He had appeared in the group's ads encouraging veterans to seek support from an online network of fellow veterans.

Snapshots posted on Facebook reflect a mostly grinning Hunt. In one, he has a beard and is surrounded by Haitian kids. A second shows him on the Capitol steps with fellow veterans. There's a shot of him from the back on a bike using his right arm to help push another bicyclist who is helping to guide an amputee in a specially modified bike.

Friends and family say Hunt suffered from depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. But with his boundless energy and countless friends, he came across as an example of how to live life after combat.

"I think everybody saw him as the guy that was battling it, but winning the battle every day," said Jacob Wood, 27, a friend who served with Hunt in the Marines and in Haiti with Team Rubicon.

But some knew he was grieving over several close friends in the Marines who were killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"He was very despondent about why he was alive and so many people he served with directly were not alive," said John Wordin, 48, the founder of Ride 2 Recovery, a program that uses bicycling to help veterans heal physically and mentally.

In 2007, while in Iraq with the Marine's 2nd Battalion, 7th Regiment, Hunt heard over the radio that his 20-year-old bunkmate had died in a roadside bombing. Hunt later wrote online about sleeping in his bunkmate's bed. "I just wanted to be closer to him, I guess. But I couldn't - he was gone."

A month later, Hunt was pinned by enemy fire in his truck as a fellow Marine, shot in the throat by a sniper, lay nearby. Hunt wrote that seeing his friend placed in a helicopter, where he died, is "a scene that plays on repeat in my head nearly every day, and most nights as well."

Three days later, a sniper's bullet missed Hunt's head by inches and hit his wrist. He didn't immediately leave Iraq. His parents say Hunt asked to fly to a military hospital in Germany a day later so he could accompany a fellow Marine who was shot in both legs.

"I know he's seen some traumatic stuff in his time and I guess he holds that to himself," said Marine Sgt. Oscar Garza, 26, who served with Hunt in Iraq. "He was a very compassionate Marine, a very passionate person, one of the few people that I know that has a big heart and feels a lot of people's pain and makes it his own."

Hunt's mother, Susan Selke, said after Hunt was wounded, she'd hoped her son would get out of the military. Instead, he went to school to be a scout-sniper and went to Afghanistan. He seemed to do well. He was honorably discharged in 2009, married and enrolled at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.

He was frustrated by the Veterans Affairs Department's handling of his disability claim. He also piled up thousands of dollars in credit card debt as he waited for his GI Bill payments. Hunt found an outlet to help improve the system by doing work with IAVA. He helped build bikes for Ride 2 Recovery and participated in long rides.

Using his military training, he went to Haiti several times and Chile once to help with the countries' earthquake relief efforts. He proudly told his parents of splinting an infant's leg, and after meeting a young orphaned boy in Haiti named D'James, tried to persuade his family to adopt him.

"If I had one thing to say to my fellow veterans, it would be this: Continue to serve, even though we have taken off our uniforms," Hunt wrote in an online testimonial for Team Rubicon. "No matter how great or small your service is, it is desired and needed by the world we live in today."

Hunt's friends say he was an idealist and voiced frustration that he couldn't make changes overnight. He also questioned why troops were still dying.

"He really was looking for someone to tell him what it was he went over to do and why those sacrifices were made," Wood said.

Last year, Hunt's life took a downward spiral. His marriage ended, he dropped out of school and he began to have suicidal thoughts, his mother said. She said Hunt sought counseling from the VA and moved in temporarily with Wordin in California.

Things seemed to improve for Hunt in recent months after he returned to his hometown of Houston to be near family.

He got a construction job, leased an apartment, bought a truck and began dating. He called friends to discuss the possibility of re-enlisting. In the days before he died, he hung out with friends, and he had plans the following weekend to do a Ride 2 Recovery bike ride. He even told Garza he couldn't wait to see him at a Fourth of July reunion with other Marines.

Then he was dead.

"Clay was always a fighter," Wordin said. "He was always a guy to stick things out and he basically quit life, and I was mad that he felt he had to do that at that particular time."

Hunt's friends and family count him a casualty of war - just like his buddies who died in the battlefield.

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