10-21-2019  6:09 am   •   PDX Weather    •   SEA weather  
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Washington State to Vote on Affirmative Action Referendum

More than two decades after voters banned affirmative action, the question of whether one's minority status should be considered in state employment, contracting, colleges admissions is back on the ballot

Merkley Introduces Legislation that Protects Access to Health Care for Those Who Cannot Afford Bail

Under current law, individuals in custody who have not been convicted of a crime are denied Medicare, Medicaid, and veterans’ benefits

New County Hire Aims to Build Trust, Transparency Between Community and Public Safety Officials

Leneice Rice will serve as a liaison focused on documenting and reporting feedback from a community whose faith in law enforcement has been tested

Hank Willis Thomas Exhibit Opens at Portland Art Museum

One of the most important conceptual artists of our time, his works examine the representation of race and the politics of visual culture

NEWS BRIEFS

GFO Offers African Americans Help in Solving Family Mysteries

The Genealogical Forum of Oregon is holding an African American Special Interest Group Saturday, Oct. 19 ...

Third Annual NAMC-WA Gala Features Leader on Minority Business Development

The topic of the Washington Chapter of the National Association of Minority Contractors' event was 'Community and Collaboration' ...

Building Bridges Event Aims to Strengthen Trust Between Communities

The 4th Annual Building Bridges of Understanding in Our Communities: Confronting Hate will be held in Tigard on...

The Black Man Project Kicks Off National Tour in Seattle

The first in a series of interactive conversations focused on Black men and vulnerability takes place in Seattle on October 25 ...

Protesters Rally in Ashland to Demand 'Impeach Trump Now'

Activists are rallying in Ashland Sunday Oct, 13 to demand impeachment proceedings ...

Trial to begin in jumi.4B Oregon forestry management lawsuit

ALBANY, Ore. (AP) — A trial in a jumi.4 billion breach-of-contract lawsuit brought against the state of Oregon by 150 counties and other taxing districts over the issue of forest management is scheduled to begin Thursday.The lawsuit, filed nearly four years ago, claims the state has not...

Leaking pipe in Northeast Portland releases sewage

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A sewer pipe in Northeast Portland leaked an estimated 1,000 gallons (3785 liters) of untreated sewer water into an embankment.The Oregonian/OregonLive reports the Portland Bureau of Environmental Services plugged the leak Saturday near I-84 and Northeast 21st...

AP Top 25: Ohio State jumps Clemson to 3rd; Wisconsin falls

Ohio State edged past Clemson to No. 3 in The Associated Press college football poll and Wisconsin dropped to 13th after being upset ahead of its showdown with the Buckeyes.Alabama remained No. 1 on Sunday in the AP Top 25 presented by Regions Bank, receiving 24 first-place votes. No. 2 LSU held...

Vaughn scores twice, Vandy upsets No. 22 Missouri 21-14

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Derek Mason wants it known he's the best coach for the Vanderbilt Commodores.Riley Neal came off the bench and threw a 21-yard touchdown to Cam Johnson with 8:57 left, and Vanderbilt upset No. 22 Missouri 21-14 on Saturday with a stifling defensive...

OPINION

Atatiana Jefferson, Killed by Police Officer in Her Own Home

Atatiana Jefferson, a biology graduate who worked in the pharmaceutical industry and was contemplating becoming a doctor, lived a life of purpose that mattered ...

“Hell No!” That Is My Message to Those Who Would Divide Us 

Upon release from the South African jail, Nelson Mandela told UAW Local 600 members “It is you who have made the United States of America a superpower, a leader of the world" ...

Rep. Janelle Bynum Issues Response to the Latest Statement from Clackamas Town Center

State legislator questions official response after daughter questioned for ‘loitering’ in parking lot ...

Why Would HUD Gut Its Own Disparate Impact Rule?

"You can’t expand housing rights by limiting civil protections. The ’D’ in HUD doesn’t stand for ‘Discrimination’" ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Addressing growing fan behavior problem top priority for NBA

About a dozen NBA players gathered for a teleconference with officials in the league office this summer, making their case about what they believe is one of the biggest problems in the game.Fan behavior, they said, is getting worse.The numbers show they're right, and if that isn't troubling enough...

Report: Synagogue massacre led to string of attack plots

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) — At least 12 white supremacists have been arrested on allegations of plotting, threatening or carrying out anti-Semitic attacks in the U.S. since the massacre at a Pittsburgh synagogue nearly one year ago, a Jewish civil rights group reported Sunday.The...

Hearts, Bristol City start racism investigations

LONDON (AP) — British soccer clubs Hearts and Bristol City have started investigations following allegations of racist abuse involving their fans during games over the weekend. In the Scottish capital Edinburgh, Rangers striker Alfredo Morelos was alleged to have been targeted after...

ENTERTAINMENT

'Maude' co-star, character actor Bill Macy dies at 97

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Bill Macy, the character actor whose hangdog expression was a perfect match for his role as the long-suffering foil to Bea Arthur's unyielding feminist on the daring 1970s sitcom "Maude," has died. He was 97.Macy died Thursday night in Los Angeles, his friend Matt Beckoff...

2nd Sesame Street Place park opening in San Diego

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — There are plenty of sunny days to sweep the clouds away where SeaWorld is opening its next theme park.Officials with SeaWorld Entertainment and Sesame Workshop announced Monday that they are opening the country's second Sesame Place park in San Diego in spring 2021. The...

'Maleficent: Mistress of Evil' claims No. 1 over 'Joker'

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Walt Disney Co.'s "Maleficent: Mistress of Evil" knocked "Joker" out of the No. 1 spot at the box office, but just barely.Studios on Sunday say the film starring Angelina Jolie and Elle Fanning grossed an estimated million in North America and 7 million...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Online ordering boom gives rise to virtual restaurants

NEW YORK (AP) — Frato's Pizza looks like a typical family restaurant, with its black-and-white checkered...

AP FACT CHECK: Trump exaggerates scope of cease-fire deal

WASHINGTON (AP) — As President Donald Trump describes it, the U.S. swooped into an intractable situation in...

Duchess of Sussex calls 1st year of marriage difficult

LONDON (AP) — The Duchess of Sussex says her first year of marriage to Britain's Prince Harry has been...

Outcry in Ukraine over song mocking ex-central bank chief

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukrainian officials on Monday lashed out at a parody song targeting Ukraine's former...

Spain to exhume dictator Franco's remains to discreet grave

MADRID (AP) — Spain's Socialist government says it will exhume and relocate the remains of dictator Gen....

Duchess of Sussex calls 1st year of marriage difficult

LONDON (AP) — The Duchess of Sussex says her first year of marriage to Britain's Prince Harry has been...

McMenamins
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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