02-26-2024  3:59 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Amid Fentanyl Crisis, Oregon Lawmakers Propose More Funding for Opioid Addiction Medication in Jails

Democrats are looking to counterbalance restoring criminal penalties for possession with expanding access to treatment for a potentially growing number of people in the criminal justice system. The proposal would create a million grant fund for jails looking to provide opioid addiction medication. Federal data shows only 24% of jails provide such medication to people with prior prescriptions.

KGW Apologizes After Airing Racist Image

Television station KGW says it deeply regrets inadvertently showing a racist image during a segment called “The Good Stuff,” which invited viewers to share “cheesy, silly, or memorable” photos from the past. The 1950s image showed children throwing balls towards a sign prominently displaying a racial slur. KGW apologised for “the profound hurt this image inflicted upon our viewers and staff, particularly members of our Black community.” Leaders of the Portland NAACP chapter said they were appalled

Rep. Blumenauer Talks Retirement from Congress and His Plans to Help Put Portland Back Together

U.S. Representative for Oregon has held his seat for nearly 30 years.

NEWS BRIEFS

Black Community Input Helps Fuel George Park Project

The effort is an innovative partnership between the City, Portland Parks Foundation, and The Kidz Outside ...

Renewal of School Local Option Levy Will be on May Ballot

If approved by voters, the levy renewal would maintain the current tax rate and continue to fund approximately 660 teachers and other...

Wyden, Merkley Announce $70,000 for the Oregon Food Bank

“Nothing is more important than making sure folks in need have food to eat, and the resources to thrive,” Wyden...

Historic Church in Seattle Hosts Free Black History Month Film Series for All

New Hope Missionary Baptist Church, located in Seattle’s historic Central District, will host “Freedom Fridays: A Black History...

Vanderbilt visits Arkansas following Battle's 42-point outing

Vanderbilt Commodores (7-20, 2-12 SEC) at Arkansas Razorbacks (14-13, 5-9 SEC) Fayetteville, Arkansas; Tuesday, 9 p.m. EST BOTTOM LINE: Arkansas hosts the Vanderbilt Commodores after Khalif Battle scored 42 points in Arkansas' 88-73 victory against the Missouri Tigers. ...

Grace Beyer sets women's NAIA career-scoring record with 32 points in season finale

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Grace Beyer set the women's NAIA career-scoring record on Saturday, rising to 3,874 points with a 32-point effort in an 80-56 victory for University of Health Sciences and Pharmacy (St. Louis) over Hannibal-LaGrange (Missouri). Needing 14 points to pass the NAIA...

OPINION

Message from Commissioner Jesse Beason: February is 'Black History and Futures Month'

I am honored to join the Office of Sustainability and to co-sponsor a proclamation to mark “Black History and Futures Month” ...

Ending Unfair Contracts Harming Minority Businesses Will Aid Gov. Kotek’s Affordable Housing Goals

Senate Bill 1575 will protect small businesses from state and local government’s unfair contract practices while also allowing the building industry to help the governor meet her affordable housing project goals. ...

February is American Heart Month

This month is a time to recognize that heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, especially in the African American community ...

Thrilling History of Black Excellence in Our National Parks

In every facet of American life -from exploration; conquest; defense; economy; resistance; conservation and the pursuit of human rights – I can show you a unit of the National Park System where the event took place, where African Americans made the...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

United Daughters of the Confederacy would lose Virginia tax breaks, if Youngkin signs off

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Legislation that would end tax benefits for the United Daughters of the Confederacy — the Richmond-based women's group that helped erect many of the country's Confederate monuments — is on its way to Republican Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, who hasn't said whether he...

Attorneys argue over whether Mississippi legislative maps dilute Black voting power

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi legislators diluted the power of Black voters by drawing too few majority-Black state House and Senate districts after the most recent Census, an attorney representing the NAACP and several residents told three federal judges Monday. But during...

MILAN FASHION PHOTOS: Feben, Rave Review promote looks for women of all shapes, ages and sizes

MILAN (AP) — London-based designer Feben opened the last day of Milan Fashion Week with a refreshingly diverse runway in every way, both in size and race. “I think why you are not seeing that around is because you are not seeing a lot of Black women in creative roles,” said the...

ENTERTAINMENT

Movie Review: Buckle up for a queer road trip caper in Ethan Coen’s spry ‘Drive-Away Dolls’

“Drive-Away Dolls” is, technically speaking, made up of old parts. Its script was written two decades ago, when references to Ralph Nader and Chelsea Clinton’s security detail were current. Its homages are even more vintage, with trippy transitions harkening back to the...

A beloved fantasy franchise is revived with Netflix's live-action 'Avatar: The Last Airbender'

NEW YORK (AP) — A new entry in the “Avatar” franchise is about to soar and James Cameron has no part in it. “Avatar: The Last Airbender” is a completely different fictional world from Cameron's Pandora but the two similarly named dueling sci-fi fantasy properties have kept...

A trio of warming spices makes this beefy Egyptian omelet dinner-worthy

Omelets often are served at breakfast or brunch in the U.S., but in plenty of cuisines the dinner table is fair game, too. Which also means you're not limited to American-style omelets, which can be overly cheesy, greasy and salty. We keep things lighter and more flavorful with...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Primary apathy in Michigan: Democrats, GOP struggle as supporters mull whether to even vote

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Rev. Steve Bland Jr. remembers the massive get-out-the-vote effort he helped mobilize four...

Ex-FBI informant charged with lying about Bidens to remain jailed while he awaits trial, judge rules

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A former FBI informant charged with fabricating a multimillion-dollar bribery scheme...

Actor Gérard Depardieu faces another sexual assault complaint as #MeToo echoes through French cinema

PARIS (AP) — French actor Gérard Depardieu faces another complaint of sexual assault, this time from a movie...

Majority of countries argue Israel violated international law in last historic hearing at UN court

THE HAGUE (AP) — The United Nations’ highest court on Monday wrapped up historic proceedings into the legality...

Supporters of Brazil's Bolsonaro stage huge demonstration to defend him amid investigations

SAO PAULO (AP) — Supporters of former President Jair Bolsonaro staged a huge rally jamming a main avenue in...

Feleti Teo is named Tuvalu's new prime minister after elections that ousted Taiwan supporter

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Tuvalu’s former Attorney General Feleti Teo was named prime minister of the tiny...

Manuel Valdes the Associated Press

TOLUCA, Mexico (AP) -- For years, three tiny squirrel monkeys led a life of luxury on a 16-acre ranch surrounded by extravagant gardens and barns built for purebred horses.

More than 200 animals, ranging from mules to peacocks and ostriches lived on the ranch in central Mexico and hundreds more stayed on two related properties, many in opulent enclosures. Also kept on the grounds were less furry fare: AK-47 assault rifles, Berrettas, hundreds of other weapons and cocaine.

The ranch's owner was Jesus "The King" Zambada, a leader of the powerful Sinaloa drug cartel. He had developed a love for exotic species shared with other kingpins. Just two days before Zambada's arrest, police confiscated two tigers and two lions from a drug gang hideout on the forested outskirts of Mexico City.

As federal authorities capture a growing number of gang leaders, many of their pets are being driven from their gilded cages into more modest housing in the country's zoos.

That's proved overwhelming for some institutions, which are struggling to cope with the influx. But it's also giving Mexican animal lovers a bounty of new creatures to admire.

Like Zambada, who was apprehended in October 2008, the squirrel monkeys sit in state custody, chirping away at gawking children at the Zacango Zoo, about an hour outside Mexico City.

Their previous home "was a very big enclosure made of good quality material," said Manlio Nucamendi, the zoo's coordinator. "But they didn't have the right diet and medical attention."

Mexican forces have discovered drug cartel private zoos that housed tigers, panthers and lions among other animals of exotic breeds, though the federal Attorney General's Office, which supervises all seizures from drug gangs, couldn't provide an exact count of the number of animals seized.

Whatever the number, officials have been challenged to house the armies of confiscated drug cartel animals.

"Within the limited resources of the Mexican government, there are a lot of efforts to ensure the welfare of these animals," said Adrian Reuter Cortes of the conservation group the World Wildlife Fund in Mexico. "But even the zoos have limits, and can't welcome all the animals."

The government usually calls zoos for help because they have the expertise, equipment and vehicles to transport large animals, said Frank Carlos Camacho, executive director of the wild animal park Africam Safari in the central Mexico city of Puebla and president of the national association of zoos.

"There's some risk involved in handling animals like big cats, bears and large herbivores," Camacho said.

He said he has heard of drug cartel zoos that included giraffes, buffalos and camels.

As the cinematic gangster film "Scarface" portrayed in 1983, private zoos have long been considered status symbols for drug kingpins eager to show off their wealth.

Descendants of Colombian drug boss Pablo Escobar's hippopotamuses still roam his private zoo in Colombia, which became state property after his killing and is now a tourist attraction. Three of the beasts escaped and lived in the wild for two years.

Some kingpins also use the beasts for more nefarious purposes.

Leaders of the ruthless Mexican Zetas cartel have been rumored to feed victims to lions and tigers kept in their properties, local media have reported.

Animals are also used in the drug trade as smugglers. Over the past couple of years, traffickers have tried to ship drugs inside frozen, cocaine-stuffed sharks, snakes fed with bags of cocaine and bags filled with transparent liquid cocaine inside containers shipping tropical fish, Reuter Cortes said.

As with drugs, Mexico is a main corridor for the illegal trafficking of animals to the United States. The country also has a healthy domestic demand for animals, with big cats found in some urban markets.

In July, Mexican authorities seized more than 5,500 illegal animals and plants during a nationwide three-day operation.

Not all exotic animals, however, are as lucky as Zambada's monkeys. Many animals found in drug cartel captivity or in private homes suffer from malnutrition or have been de-clawed or de-fanged, said Nucamendi.

"It's a symbol of status and power," he said. "It's a bizarre psychology for the people that keep these animals."

As he showed off the zoo's grounds on a recent afternoon, Nucamendi jumped over a barrier and knelt to greet Diego, a 2-year-old jaguar, who responded by pressing his face against the chain-link fence. Diego's former owners in Tijuana used to charge for pictures with him, Nucamendi said.

Elsewhere in the zoo was a 3-decade-old elephant seized from a circus because his owners didn't have the proper permits. Workers joke that the elephant is an illegal immigrant because he was sneaked from the U.S. to Mexico.

An 8-month-old male lion cub, also called Diego, arrived malnourished from private owners. Now fatter, Diego plays with two other lion cubs also on exhibit.

As for the squirrel monkeys, they'll be moved to a bigger exhibit being planned in a remodeling of the zoo.

Although some of the confiscated animals had finer housing before, their new homes offer genuine care from the people watching them.

"It's more important for us to guarantee the welfare of these animals than the criminal investigations," Nucamendi said. "That's our duty. We offer our bodies and souls for the welfare of these animals."

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The Skanner Foundation's 38th Annual MLK Breakfast