12-05-2023  5:58 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Atmospheric River Brings Heavy Rain, Flooding and Warm Winter Temperatures to the Pacific Northwest

The National Weather Service reported that rainfall records were shattered in some areas of the Olympic Peninsula. Washington and Oregon officials have urged drivers to use caution as standing water and flooding affect roadways. 

Oldest Black Church in Oregon Will Tear Down, Rebuild To Better Serve Community

As physical attendance dwindles, First African Methodist Episcopal Zion is joining the growing trend of churches that are re-imagining how best to use their facilities.

Cities Crack Down on Homeless Encampments. Advocates Say That’s Not the Answer

Homeless people and their advocates say encampment sweeps are cruel and costly, and there aren't enough shelter beds or treatment for everyone. But government officials say it's unacceptable to let encampments fester and people need to accept offers of shelter or treatment, if they have a severe mental illness or addiction.

Schools in Portland, Oregon, Reach Tentative Deal With Teachers Union After Nearly Month-Long Strike

The agreement must still be voted on by teachers who have been on the picket line since Nov. 1 over issues of pay, class sizes and planning time. It must also be approved by the school board.

NEWS BRIEFS

2024 Rose Festival Court Applications Are Open

Applications for the 2024 Rose Festival Court Program presented by Unitus Community Credit Union are now available on the Rose...

Talk A Mile Event Connects Young Black Leaders with Portland Police Bureau Trainees

Talk A Mile operates on the idea that conversation bridges gaps and builds empathy, which can promote understanding between Black...

Turkey Rules the Table. But an AP-NORC Poll Finds Disagreement Over Other Thanksgiving Classics

Thanksgiving may be a time for Americans to come together, but opinion is divided over what's on the crowded dinner table. We mostly...

Veteran Journalist and Emmy Award-Winning Producer to Lead Award-Winning Digital Magazine Focused on Racial Inequality

Jamil Smith will drive The Emancipator’s editorial vision and serve as a key partner to Payne in growing the rising media...

Regional Arts & Culture Council and Port of Portland Announce Selection of PDX Phase 1 Terminal Redevelopment Artists

Sanford Biggers and Yoonhee Choi’s projects will be on display with the opening of the new terminal in May 2024 ...

Ex-Alaska Airlines pilot accused of trying to cut plane's engines indicted on endangerment charges

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The former Alaska Airlines pilot accused of trying to cut the engines of a Horizon Air flight has been indicted on 84 endangerment charges, but is no longer charged with attempted murder, authorities said Tuesday. The district attorney’s office in Oregon’s...

Atmospheric river soaks Pacific Northwest with record-breaking rain and unusually warm temperatures

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — An atmospheric river has brought heavy rain, flooding and unseasonably warm temperatures to the Pacific Northwest, closing rail links, schools and roads as it shattered daily rainfall and temperature records in Washington state. Amtrak said Tuesday that no...

Missouri RB Cody Schrader wins Burlsworth Trophy

BENTONVILLE, Ark. (AP) — Missouri running back Cody Schrader has won the Burlsworth Trophy, given to the nation's best player who started his Division I career as a a walk-on. Schrader, who walked on two years ago after transferring from Division II Truman State, leads Division I...

AP names LSU's Daniels unanimous SEC offensive player of year; Watson named top defensive player

LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels is the unanimous pick as Associated Press Southeastern Conference offensive player of the year, while Mississippi State linebacker Nathaniel Watson is defensive player of the year. Missouri coach Eliah Drinkwitz won coach of the year honors Monday after...

OPINION

Why Are Bullies So Mean? A Youth Psychology Expert Explains What’s Behind Their Harmful Behavior

Bullied children and teens are at risk for anxiety, depression, dropping out of school, peer rejection, social isolation and self-harm. ...

Federal Agencies Issue $23 Million Fine Against TransUnion and Subsidiary

FTC and CFPB say actions harmed renters and violated fair credit laws ...

First One to Commit to Nonviolence Wins

Every time gains towards nonviolence looked promising, someone from the most aggrieved and trauma-warped groups made sure to be spoilers by committing some atrocity and resetting the hate and violence. ...

Boxes

What is patently obvious to all Americans right now is the adolescent dysfunction of Congress. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Attorneys for family of absolved Black man killed by deputy seeking M from Georgia sheriff

WOODBINE, Ga. (AP) — Attorneys for the family of a Black man fatally shot by a Georgia deputy during an October traffic stop have given formal notice of plans to sue the sheriff's office in a letter demanding million in restitution. Civil rights attorneys Ben Crump and Harry...

Video shows Alabama police officer using stun gun against handcuffed man

REFORM, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama police officer is on leave after video circulated on social media showed her appearing to shock a handcuffed and compliant man with a stun gun and telling him to shut up after he cried out in pain. The video shows a white female police officer shocking...

Illinois scraps plan for building migrant winter camp due to toxic soil risk

CHICAGO (AP) — Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s administration announced Tuesday that it is scrapping plans for a temporary winter camp for migrants in Chicago, citing the risk of contaminants at the former industrial site. The setback comes as Chicago struggles to house more than 24,000...

ENTERTAINMENT

Eddie Izzard returns to New York for a version of Shakespeare's 'Hamlet' with just one actor onstage

NEW YORK (AP) — Eddie Izzard is returning to a New York stage this winter for an ambitious version of “Hamlet.” It's ambitious because the actor-comedian will be the only one on stage. Izzard will play all the William Shakespeare parts in a one-person staging adapted by Izzard's...

Music Review: Violent Femmes debut, a cult favorite, turns 40 with an expanded new edition

In 1983, Milwaukee trio Violent Femmes released their self-titled debut, an album that would quickly enter the college-rock pantheon for its spirited acoustic punk. Forty years later, Craft Recordings has released a deluxe edition of the record, in which the cult band turns back the...

In Mexico, a Japanese traditional dancer shows how body movement speaks beyond culture and religion

MEXICO CITY (AP) — When music requires her to cry, Japanese traditional dancer Naoko Kihara barely alters her expression. It’s her arms and torso that move like a slow-motion wave. “Expression is minimal because we cry with our body,” said Kihara, wrapped in her white and navy...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Denny Laine, founding member of the Moody Blues and Paul McCartney's Wings, dead at 79

NEW YORK (AP) — Denny Laine, a British singer, songwriter and guitarist who performed in an early, pop-oriented...

To phase out or phase down fossil fuels? That is the question at COP28 climate talks

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — After days of shaving off the edges of key warming issues, climate...

Supreme Court signals it will uphold a tax on foreign income and leave a wealth tax for another day

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court on Tuesday seemed inclined to uphold a tax on foreign income while leaving...

U.S. imposes new round of sanctions over Russia's invasion of Ukraine

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. on Tuesday imposed sanctions on a Belgian involved in procuring electronics for the...

Brutal killings of women in Western Balkan countries trigger alarm and expose faults in the system

BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — A man in Bosnia killed his wife and streamed the murder live on Instagram. In...

Former DEA informant pleads guilty in 2021 assassination of Haiti’s president

MIAMI (AP) — A former confidential informant for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration pleaded guilty Tuesday...

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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