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NORTHWEST NEWS

PCC Cascade Expands its Food Pantry for Students

The majority of PCC students are food insecure, with up to 15% homeless

Controversial Washington Lawmaker Spreads Views Across West

Republican Rep. Matt Shea was suspended from the Republican caucus in the wake of a December report that found he was involved in anti-government activities and several lawmakers have called on him to resign, something he says he will not do

2020 Census Begins in Remote Toksook Bay, Alaska

Census takers begin counting remainder of 220 remote Alaska villages as part of national headcount

St. Andrew Parish Presents 2020 Martin Luther King, Jr. Awards

The awards are given to people whose service embodies the values of Dr. King, who used nonviolence, civil disobedience, and Christian teaching to advance the cause of civil rights in America

NEWS BRIEFS

Labor Commissioner, Senator Announce Bill to Fully Enforce Housing Discrimination

A survey found that more than one in four prospective Portland renters were discriminated against because of race, national origin or...

Washington State Bill to Increase School Staff is Introduced in the Legislature

The bill includes recommendations from a workgroup of K–12 education stakeholders ...

Giant Sea-life Sculptures Wash Ashore at Oregon Zoo

Traveling art exhibit aims to raise plastics awareness for healthy oceans ...

States Sue Trump Administration Over New 3D-Printed Gun Rule

The administration’s latest rule allows 3D-printed gun files to be released on the internet ...

Shari's Restaurants Celebrate National Pie Day

Receive a free slice of pie with any entrée purchase at participating Shari's locations from 4 p.m. till 10 p.m. on Thursday, Jan....

Grand jury: Officer acted in self-defense in fatal shooting

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A Multnomah County grand jury has found no criminal wrongdoing in the Portland police fatal police shooting of 51-year-old Koben Henriksen who was seen waving knives at passing cars in early December.The grand jury determined that Officer Justin Raphael lawfully acted...

Man who stabbed ex-girlfriend sentenced to 15 years

WALTON, Ore. (AP) — A man who stabbed an ex-girlfriend west of Eugene was sentenced Monday to 15 years in prison.David Lucius pleaded guilty in court last week to first-degree assault, unlawful use of a weapon and stalking, KEZI-TV reported.He will also complete three years of post-prison...

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

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 ...

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” ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

New Zealand's Ardern seeking reelection in Sept. 19 vote

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern may be lauded around the world as a liberal icon but whether she can translate that into a reelection victory in September remains uncertain.Ardern on Tuesday announced the general elections would be held on Sept. 19. She is...

Photo cropping mistake leads to AP soul-searching on race

NEW YORK (AP) — A “terrible mistake” in cropping an African climate activist out of a photo sent to customers of The Associated Press prompted soul-searching and some tense staff conversations over issues of racism and inclusion Monday at the news organization.The AP...

Racist graffiti on college campus; group wants investigation

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Name tags for three students at the University of Richmond students were defaced, and a Muslim advocacy group on Monday called for a hate crime investigation into one of the instances.The Council on American Islamic Relations said in an email that it asked the school to...

ENTERTAINMENT

At Sundance, Clinton warns of voter suppression in election

PARK CITY, Utah (AP) — Since losing the 2016 election to Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton has released a memoir about that defeat, launched a political action committee and penned another book about “gutsy women” with her daughter, Chelsea. But Clinton’s most prominent...

Billie Eilish, a voice of the youth, tops the Grammy Awards

NEW YORK (AP) — Singer Billie Eilish, who gave voice to young people struggling with depression on a do-it-yourself album she made at home with her older brother, is atop the music world.The 18-year-old made history at the Grammy Awards Sunday. Not only did she become the youngest person to...

DiCaprio, Zellweger and more Oscar hopefuls attend luncheon

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Renée Zellweger, Al Pacino and dozens of other Academy Award nominees bowed their heads in a moment of silence Monday for Kobe Bryant to open the annual Oscars luncheon, a somber moment in an otherwise sunny annual affair that serves as a meet-and-greet, celebration...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

1 point from defeat 7 times, Federer wins Australian Open QF

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Roger Federer was not going to go gently, of course, no matter how daunting the...

In #metoo era, Kobe and other athletes often get a pass

DENVER (AP) — Folded conveniently into the narratives about his “complicated past” was the...

What to know for year two of the Trump tax plan

It’s that time again. The IRS began accepting and processing tax returns for individuals on Monday. Last...

Turkish rescuers find last quake victims; death toll hits 41

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkish emergency teams on Monday recovered the bodies of the last two missing quake...

Britain's EU Journey: When Brexit won the battle of Europe

LONDON (AP) — Britain officially leaves the European Union on Friday after a debilitating political period...

Irish leader says EU to have stronger hand in UK trade talks

LONDON (AP) — Ireland’s prime minister warned Britain on Monday that Brexit is far from finished --...

McMenamins
Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar the Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Removing a potential political distraction ahead of next year's elections, the Obama administration Friday announced an early end to a health care waiver program that has come under fire from congressional Republicans.

Political considerations were "absolutely not" part of the decision, said Steve Larsen, head of a section of the Health and Human Services department that oversees President Barack Obama's health care law.

Larsen said no new applications for waivers will be considered after Sept. 22. Approvals or renewals received by the deadline will be good through 2013. Starting in 2014, the main coverage provisions of the health care law will take effect, and such waivers will no longer be needed.

The waivers address a provision of the law that phases out annual dollar limits on coverage by health insurance plans. Starting this year, plans could not impose a limit below $750,000. But some plans, offered mainly to low-income workers, currently provide $50,000 a year in coverage, and in certain cases much less.

Those plans would have been forced to close down or jack up premiums significantly, leaving more people uninsured.

The waivers were established to avoid disrupting existing coverage. In 2014, taxpayer-subsidized insurance will be available to most of the people now covered by the affected plans.

Some Republicans charged favoritism in the granting of the waivers, alleging that they were being granted to unions. But a review this week by the Government Accountability Office found that HHS had approved over 95 percent of the 1,400 waiver applications it received, most of them involving employer plans. The nonpartisan investigative agency also found that the administration used objective standards to make its decisions.

Larsen said Friday that insurance experts have advised his office that most plans that needed waivers probably already applied for them this year. For that reason, the effects of ending the program early would be negligible.

A conservative policy expert who has been critical of the program wasn't buying the technical explanation.

"It looks like they finally figured out they were in a public relations hole and decided to stop digging," said Ed Haislmaier of the Heritage Foundation think tank.

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