08-06-2020  3:37 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Inslee, Culp Advance to November Ballot in Governor's Race

In early returns, with nearly 17% of the vote, Loren Culp, the police chief of Republic, had the largest share among 35 other candidates.

Portland Police Declare Unlawful Assembly During Protest

Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley and Portland City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty addressed event organised by NAACP focused on Black Lives Matter

Shootings Increase During Portland Protests

Between June 1 and end July 31, 2020 there were 125 reported shootings compared to a total of 59 shootings in 2019

Portland Protest Scene Relatively Calm After US Drawdown

Under the deal announced by Governor Kate Brown, the federal agents will withdraw in phases.

NEWS BRIEFS

New Rule by The U.S. Department of Education Would Misdirect $11M from Oregon Public Schools

U.S. Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, and Reps. Peter DeFazio and Earl Blumenauer called a...

Barbara Bush Foundation Partners with Barbershop Books and Penguin to Provide Child-Friendly Reading Spaces in Baltimore and Detroit Barbershops

Developed in Harlem, Barbershop Books is a community-based program that leverages the cultural significance of barbershops in...

All Classical Portland Awards Grant to Support Emmanuel Henreid's 'Livin' in the Light'

Livin’ in the Light documents Onry’s experience as a Black, male, professional opera and crossover singer in Portland, Ore. ...

House Approves Legislation to Stop Trump Attack on Fair Housing

Ocasio-Cortez, Blumenauer amendment would block rollback of anti-discrimination rule ...

Louis Mair Named as New Principal at Harriet Tubman Middle School

Louis comes to Harriet Tubman from Georgia, where he was a leader in building an inclusive and supportive learning community. ...

Chief: Violent Portland protests detract from message

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Clashes outside a U.S. courthouse in Portland, Oregon, have largely stopped since Democratic Gov. Kate Brown reached a deal that called for the draw down of federal agents sent by the Trump administration to protect the building — but the turmoil is far from...

Lack of study and oversight raises concerns about tear gas

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — On June 2, Justin LaFrancois attended a protest against police violence and racism in downtown Charlotte, North Carolina, where he planned to livestream the event for his alternative newspaper’s website. Shortly into the march, police, who reported that water...

Missouri's Drinkwitz takes side in mask-or-no-mask debate

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Eli Drinkwitz has been the head coach at Missouri for just over seven months. He has yet to lead the Tigers onto the football field, much less win a game, yet his role in the community already has forced him to take some important stands.First, it was supporting his new...

Iowa defensive back Jack Koerner hurt in jet ski accident

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Iowa defensive back Jack Koerner sustained serious injuries when he and a passenger on a jet ski collided with a boat on the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri.According to a police report, Koerner and Cole Coffin were hurt at about 6:30 p.m. Friday when their watercraft...

OPINION

Da 5 Bloods and America Abroad

Even before I returned to the United States from my combat tour in Vietnam, I had decided that we were fighting an unjust war. ...

Falling Behind: COVID, Climate Change, and Chaos

Multiple Crises, Multiple Obstacles ...

Bill Deiz urges Oregonians to Defend their Constitutional Rights

Elements of federal police, sent in by our president, are nightly tormenting our citizens with tear gas, impact munitions, kidnappings and beatings, and other criminal acts, in order to suppress our rights of free speech and free assembly ...

The Power of Love

Powerful lessons for me today on forgiveness. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Feds: Man pleads guilty to threatening to burn Black church

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — A North Carolina man has pleaded guilty to threatening to burn down a Black church in Virginia days after one of the church’s leaders took part in a vigil for George Floyd, a Black man who died in police custody in Minnesota.John Malcolm Bareswill, 63, entered the...

Lack of study and oversight raises concerns about tear gas

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — On June 2, Justin LaFrancois attended a protest against police violence and racism in downtown Charlotte, North Carolina, where he planned to livestream the event for his alternative newspaper’s website. Shortly into the march, police, who reported that water...

Lack of study and oversight raises concerns about tear gas

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — On June 2, Justin LaFrancois attended a protest against police violence and racism in downtown Charlotte, North Carolina, where he planned to livestream the event for his alternative newspaper’s website. Shortly into the march, police, who reported that water...

ENTERTAINMENT

Kaley Cuoco takes to skies in 'The Flight Attendant'

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Kaley Cuoco was looking for her next project three years before “The Big Bang Theory” ended. She found it reading a snippet about a book on Amazon.“The Flight Attendant” is a dark thriller with comedic overtones, letting Cuoco employ the love of...

HBO's 'Coastal Elites' cast tackles social satire, anxiety

LOS ANGELES (AP) — For Bette Midler and Sarah Paulson, making HBO's “Coastal Elites” in pandemic-forced isolation proved an unsettling challenge.“It was just bizarre, completely bizarre, because it leads you ... down all these rabbit holes of ‘What’s next?...

Selena Gomez takes the heat in new cooking show

Selena Gomez is taking the heat in the kitchen.The singer-actress slices and dices in “Selena + Chef,” debuting Aug. 13 on the new HBO Max streaming service. The 10-episode series was shot in the kitchen of Gomez’s new Los Angeles-area house. Her grandparents and two friends,...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Virus lockdown for world’s smallest and rarest wild pigs

NEW DELHI (AP) — Pygmy hogs — the world’s smallest and rarest wild pig — are under a...

Facebook, citing virus misinformation, deletes Trump post

Facebook has deleted a post by President Donald Trump for violating its policy against spreading misinformation...

Polish LGBT people leaving as post-vote mood grows hostile

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — When a right-wing populist party won the right to govern Poland five years ago, Piotr...

New lockdown ratchets up economic pain in Australian city

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — A bright side for plant nurseries of Melbourne’s first pandemic...

China sentences 3rd Canadian to death on drug charges

BEIJING (AP) — China has sentenced a third Canadian citizen to death on drug charges amid a steep decline...

N. Korea's escalating virus response raises fear of outbreak

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea is quarantining thousands of people and shipping food and other aid...

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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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