12-09-2022  10:24 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4

NORTHWEST NEWS

Kwanzaa Returns In-Person to North Portland Library

For the past 20 years, North Portland Library has been hosting a community Kwanzaa event. After a two-year pause of in-person events, it's back.

NW Portland Store Allegedly Selling Psychedelic Mushrooms Raided

Witnesses say customers lined up around the block after a national story broke on the local business

Awash in Illegal Marijuana, Oregon Looks at Toughening Laws

So far this year, police have seized over 105 tons of illegally grown marijuana in Oregon. The grows use massive amounts of water in drought-stricken areas, contaminate the environment and employ migrant laborers who live in squalid conditions.

Merkley Introduces Bill to Ban Private Equity Firms from Predatory Housing Practices

End Hedge Fund Control of American Homes Act seeks to return single-family housing stock to families.

NEWS BRIEFS

Oregon Celebrates the 10th Open Enrollment Period Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA)

Eligibility rules have changed, making health coverage more affordable for an additional estimated 40,000 Oregonians ...

Volunteers of America Oregon Receives Agility Grant From the National Council on Problem Gambling

The funds will support the development of a Peer Driven Problem Gambling Prevention Campaign targeting high school and college-age...

Commissioner Jayapal Invites Community Members for Coffee

Multnomah County Commissioner will be available for a conversation on priorities and the county's work ...

GFO African-American Special Interest Group Meeting to Feature Southern Claims Commission

The Dec. 17 meeting of the Genealogical Forum of Oregon will feature Shelley Viola Murphy, PhD via ZOOM. Murphy will discuss the...

Charter Commission Concludes Study, Issues Report

The Portland Charter Commission have concluded their two-year term referring nine proposals to the November 2024 election and...

Oregon lawsuit spotlights destruction of Black neighborhoods

A home that was a fixture of Bobby Fouther's childhood is now a parking lot, the two-story, shingle-sided house having been demolished in the 1970s along with many other properties in a predominantly Black neighborhood of Portland, Oregon. “Growing up there was just all about...

Pricey pants from 1857 go for 4k, raise Levi's questions

RENO, Nev. (AP) — Pulled from a sunken trunk at an 1857 shipwreck off the coast of North Carolina, work pants that auction officials describe as the oldest known pair of jeans in the world have sold for 4,000. The white, heavy-duty miner's pants with a five-button fly were among...

Saxen's 19 help Saint Mary's knock off Missouri State 66-46

MORAGA, Calif. (AP) — Mitchell Saxen's 19 points helped Saint Mary's defeat Missouri State 66-46 on Wednesday. Saxen had six rebounds for the Gaels (7-3). Aidan Mahaney scored 13 points and Alex Ducas finished with nine points. Chance Moore led the Bears (4-5) in...

Purdue Fort Wayne takes down Southeast Missouri State 89-68

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (AP) — Jarred Godfrey scored 19 points as Purdue Fort Wayne beat Southeast Missouri State 89-68 on Wednesday night. Godfrey had eight rebounds and five assists for the Mastodons (6-4). Bobby Planutis scored 14 points, and Quinton Morton-Robertson had 13. ...

OPINION

‘I Unreservedly Apologize’

The Oregonian commissioned a study of its history of racism, and published the report on Oct. 24, 2022. The Skanner is pleased to republish the apology written by the editor, Therese Bottomly. We hope other institutions will follow this example of looking...

City Officials Should Take Listening Lessons

Sisters of the Road share personal reflections of their staff after a town hall meeting at which people with lived experience of homelessness spoke ...

When Student Loan Repayments Resume, Will Problems Return Too?

HBCU borrowers question little loan forgiveness, delays to financial security ...

Tell the Supreme Court: We Still Need Affirmative Action

Opponents of affirmative action have been trying to destroy it for years. And now it looks like they just might get their chance. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

AP WAS THERE: Supreme Court legalizes interracial marriage

WASHINGTON (AP) — EDITOR’S NOTE: On June 12, 1967, the U.S. Supreme Court was wrapping up the final orders for the term. Among the cases before them was that of Richard and Mildred Loving, an interracial couple who had been sentenced to a year in jail for violating Virginia’s ban on marriage...

Pennsylvania panel updates anti-discrimination regulations

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A state panel on Thursday narrowly approved new definitions of sex, religious creed and race in Pennsylvania's anti-discrimination regulations, with three members appointed by Democrats in favor and two Republican appointees voting no. The Independent...

St. Louis mayor appoints commission to consider reparations

ST. LOUIS (AP) — St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones is appointing a reparations commission that will “recommend a proposal to begin repairing the harms that have been inflicted” by slavery, segregation and racism. St. Louis joins a growing list of places trying to determine how to...

ENTERTAINMENT

'Top Gun' named best film by National Board of Review

NEW YORK (AP) — “Top Gun: Maverick,” 2022's biggest box-office hit, has been named the best film of the year by the National Board of Review. Though the National Board of Review, a long-running organization comprised of film enthusiasts and academics, has no overlap or...

AFI Awards to honor ‘Avatar,’ ‘Elvis,’ ‘Abbott Elementary’

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Next month’s AFI Awards will honor films including the “Avatar” sequel, “Top Gun: Maverick,” “Elvis” and popular television series like “Abbott Elementary,” “Better Call Saul” and “The White Lotus.” The American Film Institute announced...

The Year of the Slap: Pop culture moments in 2022

Taylor Swift was up. Elon Musk was in, out, and in. Tom Cruise was back. BTS stepped aside, and so did Serena Williams, and Tom Brady too — oops, scratch that. But the slap? The slap was everywhere. Ok, so maybe it wasn’t on the level of a moon landing, or selection...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Trump lawyers in court for sealed hearing in Mar-a-Lago case

WASHINGTON (AP) — Lawyers for Donald Trump were in court Friday for sealed arguments as part of the ongoing...

'Aftersun,' 'Banshees' lead AP's best films of 2022

The Associated Press’ Film Writers Jake Coyle and Lindsey Bahr's picks for the best movies of 2022: ...

New Peru president appears with military to cement power

LIMA, Peru (AP) — Peru's first female president appeared in a military ceremony on national television on Friday...

China's Xi vows to buy more Mideast oil as US focus wanes

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Chinese leader Xi Jinping vowed on Friday to import more oil and natural gas...

Russian politician sentenced for Ukraine action criticism

MOSCOW (AP) — A prominent Russian opposition figure was on Friday sentenced to 8 1/2 years in prison after being...

New abnormal: Climate disaster damage 'down' to 8 billion

This past year has seen a horrific flood that submerged one-third of Pakistan, one of the three costliest U.S....

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."

© 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

Photo Gallery

Photos and slide shows of local events