01-28-2021  7:52 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
MLK Breakfast 2021 Watch Now
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Veteran Immunologist, Dean of HBCU Medical School, on COVID Vaccines

Dr. James Hildreth is an expert on engaging the Black community to overcome healthcare disparities.

Seattle-area Hospital System Rebuked After Offering Vaccine to Donors

Governor Inslee said, "We need to give everybody a fair shot at the vaccine … We’ve got to maintain public credibility in the system"

Police Find No Bias, Terror Motive in Portland Road Rampage

Police identified the driver as Paul Rivas of Oregon City. He was booked on initial charges of second-degree murder, assault and failure to perform the duties of a driver.

Mayor Ted Wheeler Decries Ongoing Violence

At a news conference Monday, Wheeler also said he had filed a police report about an “incident” that happened to him, but he did not elaborate

NEWS BRIEFS

BLM Seattle Demands Mayor Durkan Halt Bargaining With Seattle Police Officers Guild

The demand follows a storm of condemnation against SPOG President Mike Solan, who tweeted that the Black Lives Matter movement was in...

Everybody Reads Program to Hold Event with Author Ross Gay

Ross Gay, author of The Book of Delights will speak at a special event in April—free for people in financial hardship ...

The Mayor Turns 90: A Paul Knauls Celebration to be Held Friday, January 22

Albina legend Paul Knauls, Sr. will be celebrated with a virtual event featuring public officials, musicians, and community...

People For the American Way Supports Congressional Gold Medal for Officer Eugene Goodman

Goodman, a Black U.S. Capitol Hill police officer, diverted a white mob away from the unprotected Senate chambers during the violent...

St. Andrew Parish Announces 2021 Martin Luther King, Jr. Service Awards

The Community Service Award went to cameron whitten of the Black Resilience Fund ...

Lawyer pepper-sprayed by Portland mayor apologizes

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A lawyer who Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler hit with pepper spray after the man aggressively confronted him on Sunday has released a statement expressing remorse. “I am remorseful for my decision to confront Mayor Wheeler on Sunday, Jan. 24, and I am sorry he felt...

Washington health officials: residents only for vaccines

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Upcoming mass COVID-19 vaccination clinics will be limited only to people who live or work in Washington state, the state Department of Health said Wednesday.The upcoming clinics in Ridgefield, Spokane, Kennewick, and Wenatchee have limited spots due to the scarcity of...

Ex-Cardinals coach Wilks new defensive coordinator at Mizzou

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Steve Wilks is returning to coaching as the defensive coordinator at Missouri.Wilks, who was hired by Tigers coach Eli Drinkwitz on Thursday, took last year off after spending the previous 14 seasons in the NFL. The stint was highlighted by a year as the head coach of...

Music City Bowl between Iowa and Missouri canceled

The Music City Bowl between Missouri and Iowa was canceled Sunday because COVID-19 issues left the Tigers unable to play.The game scheduled for Wednesday in Nashville, Tennessee, is the second bowl called off since the postseason lineup was set on Dec. 20, joining the Gasparilla Bowl. Overall, 18...

OPINION

Demos President K. Sabeel Rahman Issues Statement on Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2021

We see painful parallels between the America in which King lived and the present day ...

This is America: White Privilege, Black Lives Matter, and Violence at the Capitol

The violence we witnessed in the United States Capitol on January 6 is nothing new. ...

SPLC Action Fund President: Attempted Coup Displays Organized, Extremist Violence Plaguing the United States

Insidious racism took the form of an American president openly encouraging with “love” violent extremists ...

Commentary: Exit in Disgrace

Will Trump leave in the middle of the night, embarrassed by his four years of crude, rude, lying, and beyond belief incompetence? Or will he be escorted out by a secret service detachment? ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Singapore mosques, worshippers react to teen’s attack plans

SINGAPORE (AP) — Two Singapore mosques that authorities said were the targets of a planned terrorist attack by a 16-year-old student stayed open Thursday as police stepped up patrols in the area.Staff at the Assyafaah Mosque and Yusof Ishak Mosque in northern Singapore said already-frequent...

Oregon puts debate over race in vaccine rollout to test

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The role that race should play in deciding who gets priority for the COVID-19 vaccine in the next phase of the rollout is being put to the test in Oregon as tensions around equity and access to the shots emerge nationwide.An advisory committee that provides...

San Francisco to strip Washington, Lincoln from school names

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The names of Abraham Lincoln, George Washington and other prominent figures including California Sen. Dianne Feinstein will be removed from 44 San Francisco public schools, a move that stirred debate Wednesday on whether the famously liberal city has taken the national...

ENTERTAINMENT

In ‘Palmer,’ Timberlake embraces stillness of a broken man

NEW YORK (AP) — Justin Timberlake turns 40 this week and seemingly has the energy of a teenager, recently performing a new song for the inauguration celebration, welcoming a second son with wife Jessica Biel and starring in the new Apple TV+ film, “Palmer.” Timberlake plays...

Oscar-winning, 'irreplaceable' Cloris Leachman dies at 94

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Cloris Leachman, an Oscar-winner for her portrayal of a lonely housewife in “The Last Picture Show” and a comedic delight as the fearsome Frau Blücher in “Young Frankenstein” and self-absorbed neighbor Phyllis on “The Mary Tyler...

At Sundance, pandemic dramas unfold on screen and off

NEW YORK (AP) — Peter Nicks had for months been documenting the students of Oakland High School, in California, when the pandemic hit. “It’s in the Bay,” says one student of the virus as he and others mill together in a classroom, excitedly contemplating the cancellation...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

How many variants of the coronavirus are there?

How many variants of the coronavirus are there?There are many circulating around the world, but health experts are...

EXPLAINER: Why it's hard to make vaccines and boost supplies

With demand for COVID-19 vaccines outpacing the world’s supplies, a frustrated public and policymakers want...

Unrest grows in crisis-hit Lebanon amid coronavirus lockdown

TRIPOLI, Lebanon (AP) — Lebanese security forces fired volleys of tear gas at rock-throwing youth in the...

Africa secures another 400 million COVID-19 vaccine doses

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Another 400 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been secured for the African...

US: Germany is 'highly valued' station for American troops

BERLIN (AP) — Germany is “highly valued” as a station for American soldiers, U.S. Secretary...

EXPLAINER: Why India's farmers are revolting against PM Modi

NEW DELHI (AP) — A sea of tens of thousands of farmers riding tractors and horses stormed India’s...

MLK Breakfast 2021 Watch Now
Mitch Weiss the Associated Press

GASTONIA, N.C. (AP) -- The attorney for a North Carolina man accused of robbing a bank so he could receive health care in jail says the issue illustrates the nation's health care crisis.

Attorney Michael Neece said Wednesday that 59-year-old James Verone was a good law-abiding citizen before robbing the bank.

But he said Verone, who has serious health issues, had nowhere to turn because he was unemployed.

"This is a man who is a veteran, a man who had worked his whole life for the American dream," Neece told the Associated Press. "But that dream has now become the American nightmare, not only for him but for numerous people."

Police said Verone on June 9 handed a bank teller a note demanding $1. Then he sat down and waited for police to arrive.

He has been charged with one count of larceny from a person. He was being held in the Gaston County jail on $2,000 bond. But Verone doesn't want to post bond because he wants to be in jail for the medical care.

Neece, who was just appointed Verone's attorney, said the problems facing his client could happen to anyone.

"He contributed to a system and has worked for that system. He paid his taxes and did everything he was supposed to do. But when he needed help, the system couldn't help him. He had to try to figure out a way to get his health care needs met."

Verone outlined his dilemma in a letter to The Gaston Gazette that he mailed before he committed the robbery. He told the newspaper that he planned to rob a bank because of his health care problems, and told them they would be able to find him in the Gaston County jail.

"When you receive this a bank robbery will have been committed by me. This robbery is being committed by me for one dollar," he wrote. "I am of sound mind but not so much sound body."

When the newspaper interviewed him, he said: "I prepared myself for this."

Neece said he talked to his client and was trying to find out more details of his life.

But he said Verone moved to North Carolina from Florida after working as a Coca-Cola deliveryman for years. Once in North Carolina, Verone, who had never been in trouble with the law, landed a series of jobs, including driving a truck and working in a convenience store.

Meanwhile, his health problems continued to mount: He had a herniated disc, arthritis and other ailments.

When Verone's savings were gone, Neece said, he didn't want to go to the doctor because he lacked the money. He also didn't want to burden family members. So he hatched a plan: If he robbed a bank, he knew would spend time in prison, where he would receive free medical care for his ailments.

Neece said his client didn't want to hurt anyone. So he didn't take a gun. A few days before the robbery, he sold or donated his furniture and paid his last month's rent. At the time, he was living in a run-down apartment complex in Gastonia.

"I remember him selling the stuff. We didn't know where he was going," said Gene Robinson, who lives nearby. "He kept to himself, but he would smile and talk. He never caused no trouble." He said Verone's son stayed there for a while, helping his father. When Verone moved out, he didn't say where he was going.

On the day of the robbery, Verone took a cab and stopped in front of an RBC Bank branch that he chose at random. He went inside and handed the teller a note demanding $1. Then he told the teller he would just sit down and wait for police to arrive.

When Gaston County sheriff's deputies arrived, Verone was arrested without trouble. But because he only asked for $1, it was considered a larceny instead of a bank robbery - a federal offense for which he would spend more time in prison if convicted.

Neece said Verone would appear Friday in Gaston County court, and he's not surprised about the public's reaction to his plight. It has reignited debate about the nation's health care system.

"When you look at what he did, he was doing it to get health care for himself," the lawyer said. "But obviously what he did touched a nerve in the country about health care. A lot of people like Verone are hurting."

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