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NORTHWEST NEWS

Oregon Denies Permit for Pipeline Before Federal Decision

Oregon's Department of Land Conservation and Development says a proposed liquefied natural gas export terminal in Coos Bay would have significant adverse effects on the state's coastal scenic and aesthetic resources, endangered species and critical habitat

Rep. Blumenauer Joined by Sens. Markey, Sanders, and Warren to Introduce Bill to Hold Big Oil Companies Accountable

"Amidst the growing climate emergency, closing this loophole is a small step we must take to hold Big Oil accountable and to protect our communities," said Blumenauer. 

Trump Appointees Weigh Plan to Build Pipeline in Oregon

If the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approves the project, which lacks state permits, it would likely set up a court battle over state's rights

Oregon Lawmakers Ask U.S. Attorney to Investigate Whether Local Police Violated Black Man’s Civil Rights

U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley and U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer said this racial targeting of Michael Fesser "reflects the worst abuses of African-Americans in our nation’s modern history"

NEWS BRIEFS

OneUnited Bank Launches New Limited-Edition Harriet Tubman Card

OneUnited Bank, the largest Black-owned bank in America, introduces the new limited-edition Harriet Tubman Card in celebration of...

Oregon House Votes to End Driver’s License Suspensions for Failure to Pay Fines

Bipartisan Vote Underscores Consensus for Reforms, Makes Way for Senate Action ...

Black History Month 2020: “African Americans and the Vote”

In our celebration of Black History Month 2020, the DPO Black Caucus looks forward to the screening of the award-winning documentary,...

Battle Ground High School Senior Wins Regional Poetry Out Loud Competition, Advances to State

Judges evaluated student performances on criteria including voice and articulation, evidence of understanding, and accuracy ...

DOJ to Investigate Wrongful Arrest of Black Man in Oregon

The decision comes a week after U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley and U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer urged a federal probe into...

Man pleads guilty to helping suspect in deputy shooting

LONGVIEW, Wash. (AP) — A Kalama man pleaded guilty this week to assisting the escape of the man who killed Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Deputy Justin DeRosier in April. The Daily News reports Matthew Veatch, 26, pleaded guilty in Cowlitz Superior Court to rendering criminal assistance,...

Person in custody after gun incident near courthouse

OREGON CITY, Ore. (AP) — A man is in custody Thursday after police say he was waving a gun and threatening bystanders near Clackamas County’s courthouse.Oregon City police said there was a report of a person “menacing with a gun” at the courthouse, which is located on...

OPINION

Black America is Facing a Housing Crisis

As the cost of housing soars the homeless population jumps 12 percent, the number of people renting grows and homeownership falls ...

Trump Expands Muslim Ban to Target Africans

Under the new ban on countries, four out of five people who will be excluded are Africans ...

Martin Luther King Day is an Opportunity for Service

Find out where you can volunteer and make a difference to the community ...

Looking to 2020 — Put Your Vote to WORK!

Ronald Reagan, who turned his back on organized labor and started America’s middle-class into a tailspin, has recently been voted by this administration’s NLRB into the Labor Hall of Fame ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Democrats try to blunt strong California showing for Sanders

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California is the largest prize in the calculations of any Democratic presidential candidate, but it rarely seems that way.But no one is underselling California this time. Bernie Sanders has been working the state for months, organizing intensively among Latinos and...

Tech boom, suburban growth drive Nevada's Democratic shift

RENO, Nev. (AP) — Twenty years ago, long before Nevada was part of the early presidential selection process, the phone typically rang unanswered at Washoe County Democratic Party headquarters in Reno during mid-term elections."We had a small conference room and a tiny reception area, but no...

Woman pleads guilty to crash that killed white supremacist

NEWPORT, Ky. (AP) — A Kentucky woman pleaded guilty on Thursday to manslaughter in a car crash that killed a white supremacist leader.Emily Sherry, 24, entered her plea in the April 2018 death of Robert Ransdell, 37. Sherry was driving under the influence on Interstate 275 when she veered...

ENTERTAINMENT

Success of 'To All the Boys' puts stars on Hollywood's radar

NEW YORK (AP) — The 2018 release of the Netflix teen rom-com "To All the Boys I've Loved Before," changed the lives of its stars, Lana Condor and Noah Centineo, by putting them on Hollywood’s radar."People are taking me more seriously," said Condor, a 22-year-old Vietnamese American....

No conspiracy this time: Dan Brown writing children's book

NEW YORK (AP) — Dan Brown's next book will have a lighter, more musical touch. The “Da Vinci Code” author is working on a picture story, “Wild Symphony," scheduled to be published Sept. 1. Rodale Kids, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, announced the...

Review: A CGI canine yearns to be free in 'Call of the Wild'

Does the dog movie have any new tricks? Do we want it to?For the most part, we want our dog movies like our pooches: comforting, obedient and slightly slobbery. “The Call of the Wild,” the latest adaptation of Jack London’s 1903 novel, is all those things but adds a new twist....

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

TV analyst? Spokesman? Freed ex-governor goes job hunting

CHICAGO (AP) — Job wanted: Ex-governor and ex-con with strong speaking skills and good hair seeking...

Wrestler adds to abuse allegations against university doctor

ANN ARBOR, Michigan (AP) — An Olympic wrestler on Thursday accused a University of Michigan doctor of...

German gunman calling for genocide kills 9 people

HANAU, Germany (AP) — A German who shot and killed nine people of foreign background in a rampage that...

Amid protests, Portugal lawmakers vote to allow euthanasia

LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Portugal’s parliament voted Thursday in favor of allowing euthanasia and...

South Sudan rival leaders agree to form coalition government

JUBA, South Sudan (AP) — South Sudan’s rival leaders on Thursday announced they have agreed to form...

Turkish soldiers killed in Syria amid threats of escalation

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Two Turkish soldiers were killed Thursday in an airstrike in northwestern Syria,...

McMenamins
Christina Hoag the Associated Press

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Officials at an elementary school rocked by teacher sex abuse claims are investigating yet another allegation of misconduct, this one involving a teacher's aide accused of sending love letters to an 11-year-old boy.

The mother of the fourth-grader told the Los Angeles Times (http://lat.ms/z9XilN ) that the aide, a woman the mother appeared to be in her 50s, sent at least three letters to her son in 2009, including one that read: "when you get close to me, even if you give me the chills I like that. Don't tell nobody about this!"

The allegations come as school district administrators move to replace the entire staff at Miramonte Elementary School as the Los Angeles Unified School District investigates two veteran teachers arrested last week.

Mark Berndt, 61, is charged with committing lewd acts on children, ages 6 to 10, between 2005 and 2010. The alleged acts include blindfolding children, feeding them semen, taping their mouths, and photographing them in a "game."

The furor led to two parents coming forward Thursday to complain that teacher Martin Springer, 49 who had worked at the school for 26 years, fondled two second-grade girls in his classroom.

Springer pleaded not guilty Tuesday after he was charged with committing lewd acts upon one girl in 2009. Bail was set at $300,000.

Police have set forth no connection between the cases, but parents' confidence has been badly shaken.

In the latest allegations to come to light, the teacher's aide wrote a letter signing herself "sad girl" because she was being transferred to another school, the mother alleged.

The mother went to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, which directed her to the school. During a meeting that included the mother, her son, his teacher and an assistant principal, the teacher's aide acknowledged writing letters and said she had a grandmotherly affection for the boy.

The aide no longer works for the school system, district spokeswoman Gayle Pollard-Terry said.

The move to replace the entire has been met with mixed feelings.

Some parents applauded the decision, but others protested the move and circulated a petition calling for the staff at the school to be reinstated.

All 120 staff members at Miramonte will be replaced as of Thursday after a two-day school shutdown as part of Los Angeles Unified School District's investigation into the two veteran teachers arrested last week.

"It's the most severe action I've seen taken by a school district," said Terri Miller, president of Stop Educator Sexual Abuse, Misconduct and Exploitation, an advocacy organization based in Las Vegas.

The decision Monday came after about three dozen people protested in front of the main doors of the school earlier in the day, some carrying a banner that read, "We the parents demand our children be protected from lewd teacher acts." It also followed a march later in the day, in which 100 angry parents marched from the elementary school to the nearby administrators meeting.

Mother Maria Jimenez said some parents would at least like to have been notified that this was being considered as many feel it's drastic. "They did this without advising us or consulting us," she said.

Parents on Monday night handed Superintendent John Deasy a petition with 400 signatures calling for open doors and allowing parents to observe classrooms and act as hall monitors.

But they did not want good teachers removed, said Martha Escutia, a lawyer and former state senator who is helping parents to organize a group named Mothers of Miramonte.

"This is not being very well received," Escutia said. "Some kids have established close relationships with their teachers."

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said he supported Deasy's decision to replace the staff.

"I think we need to do everything we can to make sure these kids, these students and their families, get the help that they need and to get to the bottom of how this happened," he said.

The school board on Tuesday voted unanimously to fire Springer. He has 30 days to file an appeal.

Berndt was fired in January 2011 after the district learned of a sheriff's department probe. He appealed and resigned six months later.

Miramonte's old staff will continue being paid and will be housed at an undisclosed location at least until August while each person is thoroughly interviewed, Deasy said.

Replacing teaching staffs at schools has been done in LAUSD and other schools, but in cases of chronically low academic performance. Teachers usually must reapply for their jobs, and the turnover does not also extend to support staff.

It's unclear whether any staffers will return to Miramonte. On Tuesday, they were packing up their classroom belongings to head to a nearby newly constructed school that is unoccupied, district spokesman Tom Waldman said.

The new principal will be a retired principal, while the rest of the new staffers, including some 90 teachers, are former district personnel who were laid off due to budget cuts in recent years, the district said.

Deasy said the new staff members are being vigorously screened for any previous complaints against them. Each of the approximately 90 teachers will be accompanied in class by a psychiatric social worker to address possible issues caused by the scandal and the midyear disruption.

The cost of the plan has not yet been determined, but Deasy said he was sparing no expense to understand how the abuse occurred over some years and no one reported it.

The district's investigation, which will be handled by an independent commission led by retired California Supreme Court Chief Justice Carlos Moreno, will include interviewing past students and staff at Miramonte.

School sex abuse expert Mary Jo McGrath, an attorney who has conducted some 350 abuse investigations, said the investigation could uncover more cases.

"It's not a witch hunt, it's just that someone is really looking," she said. "Cases start unpeeling like an onion. It's always the same pattern."

Berndt is charged with committing lewd acts on children, ages 6 to 10, between 2005 and 2010. The alleged acts include blindfolding children, feeding them semen, taping their mouths, and photographing them in a "game."

Berndt, who worked at the school for 32 years, remains jailed on $23 million bail and could face life in prison if convicted.

Springer pleaded not guilty Tuesday after he was charged with committing lewd acts upon one girl in 2009. Bail was set at $300,000.

Investigators said they know of no connection between the men. Berndt and Springer took their classes on at least two joint field trips in the past decade, according to the Los Angeles Times.

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Associated Press writer Robert Jablon contributed to this report.

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