11-29-2021  10:28 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

City’s Budget Windfall Means More for Police, Despite NAACP Demands

Group calls out lack of engagement from City Hall.

Oregon Resists Dropping Controversial Investments

Oregon residents are increasingly pushing for the state to divest from fossil fuel companies and other controversial investments, but the state treasury is resisting and putting the onus on the Legislature.

COVID-19: Oregon Drops Outdoor Mask Requirement

Oregon still has in place, a statewide indoor mask mandate for all public settings

Oregon Supreme Court Dismisses Challenge to Legislative Maps

The Oregon Supreme Court on Monday dismissed two challenges filed by Republicans to new state legislative districts approved by the Legislature in September.

NEWS BRIEFS

Vsp Global Partners With Black EyeCare Perspective to Eliminate Inequities and Increase Representation of People of Color in the Eye Care Industry

Partnership includes scholarships, leadership development, and outreach to prospective optometrists ...

Shop Local and Earn Free Parking With Parking Kitty

Find the purrfect gift for your loved ones by supporting small businesses and shopping local this holiday season, thanks to the...

Oregon Records More Than 5,000 COVID-19 Related Deaths

Today, Oregon health officials reported 103 new COVID-19 related deaths, bringing the state’s death toll to more than 5,000 ...

Northwest Library Site Acquired as Part of Multnomah County Library Capital Bond Projects

Location will help library move towards permanent spaces, expedite other bond projects ...

Four LGBTQ Leaders to Be Inducted Into Hall of Fame

Governor Kate Brown included in 2021 class of inductees to be honored at Victory Fund’s 30th Anniversary Gala ...

Flooding in Washington state not as severe as earlier storm

BELLINGHAM, Wash. (AP) — Localized flooding in Washington state from another in a series of rainstorms doesn't appear to be as severe as when extreme weather hit the region earlier in the month. People in the small communities of Sumas and Everson in northwest Washington had...

Northwest residents urged to stay alert as storms roll in

Weather officials urged Northwest residents to remain alert Sunday as more rain was predicted to fall in an area with lingering water from extreme weather earlier this month. “There's some good news and some pending news,” said Steve Reedy, a meteorologist with the National...

No. 25 Arkansas beats Missouri, caps best season since 2011

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — Sam Pittman grinned for almost the entirety of his postgame press conference Friday night. The Arkansas coach and his team had done something no others ever had. The No. 25 Razorbacks capped their regular season with a 34-17 victory over Missouri,...

Mizzou's Drinkwitz returning to Arkansas for rivalry game

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — Just 45 miles of interstate highway separate Eli Drinkwitz from where he started and where he is now as Missouri's head football coach. Raised in the small Arkansas town of Alma, Drinkwitz will come full circle Friday when his Tigers visit No. 25...

OPINION

State is Painting Lipstick on Its One-of-a-kind, Long-term-care Law

Starting in January, the unpopular law imposes a stiff new tax of 58 cents per 0 earned for every worker in the state ...

Giving Thanks

Just by being alive we can be sure of having moments of sadness as well as happiness. When you’re active in politics, you experience both wins and losses. Sometimes it can be hard to feel grateful. ...

Acting on Climate will Require an Emphasis on Environmental Justice

Climate change affects us all, but its effects aren’t distributed equally. ...

Small Businesses Cannot Survive With Current Level of Postal Service

At The Skanner News office we received an important piece of correspondence that was postmarked June 12, 2021, and delivered to us on November 4, 2021. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Lee Elder, 1st Black golfer to play Masters, dies at age 87

Lee Elder, who broke down racial barriers as the first Black golfer to play in the Masters and paved the way for Tiger Woods and others to follow, has died at the age of 87. The PGA Tour announced Elder’s death, which was first reported Monday by Debert...

Former US Rep. Carrie Meek remembered as trailblazer

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Carrie Meek, who died Sunday, is being remembered as a trailblazer, a descendent of slaves who became one of the first Black Floridians elected to Congress since Reconstruction. But the late Congressman John Lewis had another way of describing her. ...

PGA Tour says golf pioneer Lee Elder, the first Black golfer to play in the Masters, has died at the age of 87

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla., (AP) — PGA Tour says golf pioneer Lee Elder, the first Black golfer to play in the Masters, has died at the age of 87....

ENTERTAINMENT

Chris Diamantopoulos builds a hot career, on screen and off

NEW YORK (AP) — When you see Chris Diamantopoulos on screen, you may get a sense of déjà vu. The actor regularly pops up in movies and TV shows as a variety of characters, and he's fine if you find yourself trying to place where you've seen him before. “I want people...

Pistol Annies craft holiday album for the not-so-sentimental

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Country star Miranda Lambert readily admits that she doesn't really like Christmas music at all. The only thing that would get her in the spirit to do a holiday record was singing with her two best gal pals from the Pistol Annies, Ashley Monroe and...

Barbra Streisand, Lea Salonga, more mourn Stephen Sondheim

Tributes quickly flooded social media following the death of Stephen Sondheim as performers and writers alike saluted a giant of the theater: “Rest In Peace, Stephen Sondheim, and thank you for your vast contributions to musical theater. We shall be singing your songs...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

EXPLAINER: Can world powers curb Iran in new nuclear talks?

JERUSALEM (AP) — Can the landmark 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers be restored? As Iran and six...

EXPLAINER: What we know and don't know about omicron variant

GENEVA (AP) — The World Health Organization says it could still take some time to get a full picture of the...

Doctor: Many South Africans ill in surge have mild symptoms

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — South Africa's rapid increase in COVID-19 cases attributed to the new omicron variant is...

Scotland's leader aims for independence referendum in 2023

LONDON (AP) — Scotland’s leader said Monday that she will renew her push for independence from the United...

Jailed former president of ex-Soviet Georgia faces court

TBILISI, Georgia (AP) — The imprisoned former president of ex-Soviet republic Georgia appeared in court Monday...

Belarusian leader accuses Lithuania of dumping dead migrants

MOSCOW (AP) — Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko on Monday accused Lithuanian authorities of dumping the...

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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