11-13-2019  5:53 pm   •   PDX Weather    •   SEA weather  
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NORTHWEST NEWS

GOP Mailer to Oregon Voters Mimics US Census Form

The mailers are labeled "2019 Congressional District Census" and solicit donations to Trump's campaign. Voters are reminded that official U.S. Census Bureau surveys will never ask respondents for money.

Veterans Day: Honoring Those Who Serve and Continue to Serve

On this Veterans Day, the staff at The Skanner News honors all who have served and continue to serve in our nation's armed forces

FBI Reports Cybercrimes are Rising Because of Sophisticated Scams

Oregon man offers warning after he was scammed into giving away his family's life savings to criminals

Worker Who Yelled Racist Slurs at Black Customer Gets Jail

Audio and video showed a disturbing scene, said Deputy District Attorney Nicole Hermann

NEWS BRIEFS

Noose Found at Oregon Health & Science University

Surveillance cameras did not capture the area; investigator are reviewing who had access ...

DEQ Extends Air Quality Advisory Due to Stagnation

DEQ expects the air quality advisory to last until at least Tuesday, Nov. 12 ...

Forest Service Waives Fees in Honor of Veterans Day

The USDA Forest Service will waive fees at day-use recreation sites in Oregon and Washington on Monday, Nov. 11 in honor of Veterans...

Two Local Nonprofits Announced as Grant Recipients for Portland-Area Programs

Financial Beginnings Oregon and Portland Parks Foundation will receive a total of 0,000 plus leadership resources through Bank of...

State Seeks Volunteers to Rank Investments in Washington’s Outdoors

The Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office is recruiting 50 volunteers to evaluate grant proposals for parks, boating...

College Football Picks: Auburn at center of all down stretch

Over the next three weeks, Auburn will be in the middle of the action even though the Tigers are outside the playoff race.No. 13 Auburn plays two top-five playoff contenders in No. 5 Georgia (No. 4 CFP) and No. 4 Alabama (No. 5 CFP) at home in November, and depending upon how the Tigers do their...

No. 11 Florida looks for different outcome against Missouri

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Florida linebacker David Reese insists things will be different against Missouri this week.He believes his team's preparation, focus, effort and intensity will change — along with the outcome. It's imperative if the Gators are going to make it to a New Year's...

OPINION

5 Ways Life Would be Better if it Were Always Daylight Saving Time

A Professor from the University of Washington says DST saves lives and energy and prevents crime ...

Importance of Educators of Color for Black and Brown Students

A new report examines the ways that school leaders of color’s experiences and perspectives influence how they build school culture ...

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" ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

College Football Picks: Auburn at center of all down stretch

Over the next three weeks, Auburn will be in the middle of the action even though the Tigers are outside the playoff race.No. 13 Auburn plays two top-five playoff contenders in No. 5 Georgia (No. 4 CFP) and No. 4 Alabama (No. 5 CFP) at home in November, and depending upon how the Tigers do their...

No. 11 Florida looks for different outcome against Missouri

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Florida linebacker David Reese insists things will be different against Missouri this week.He believes his team's preparation, focus, effort and intensity will change — along with the outcome. It's imperative if the Gators are going to make it to a New Year's...

Junkyard Dawgs: No. 5 Georgia's stellar D a team effort

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — Kirby Smart has coached some stellar defenses.This might be one of his best.Never mind the lack of star power."They've got some of those same traits as the good defenses I've been able to be around," the Georgia coach said Monday. "But this group probably doesn't have that...

ENTERTAINMENT

With success and offers, Sterling K. Brown learns to say no

NEW YORK (AP) — With a hit TV series, awards, plus film and TV opportunities, Sterling K. Brown admits he’s experienced “a lot of pinch me moments” in recent years. But, with all those possibilities and offers, the 43-year-old has also learned a very important...

Justices could return cable TV race bias suit to lower court

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court seems likely to overturn a lower court ruling in favor of an African-American media mogul and comedian who’s suing cable giant Comcast for racial discrimination.The justices appeared to be in broad agreement Wednesday that an appeals court applied...

Review: Driver brings 6,700 pages to life in ‘The Report’

Of all the statistics involving the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report on the CIA’s post-9/11 detention and interrogation program — better known as the “Torture Report” — let’s focus on this for a second: It had 38,000 footnotes.This mammoth...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Astros sign stealing charges latest to tarnish reputation

HOUSTON (AP) — Not too long ago, the Houston Astros were the feel-good story of baseball. Led by their...

Female country acts across generations unite at CMA Awards

Female acts may be scarce on contemporary country radio and the country charts, but they brought girl power to the...

Vote totals set to be double-checked in Kentucky gov’s race

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Republican Gov. Matt Bevin could face a legacy-defining decision when the vote totals...

Astros sign stealing charges latest to tarnish reputation

HOUSTON (AP) — Not too long ago, the Houston Astros were the feel-good story of baseball. Led by their...

Female country acts across generations unite at CMA Awards

Female acts may be scarce on contemporary country radio and the country charts, but they brought girl power to the...

Vote totals set to be double-checked in Kentucky gov’s race

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Republican Gov. Matt Bevin could face a legacy-defining decision when the vote totals...

McMenamins
Ashley Fantz CNN

(CNN) -- Every day in his cell in one of the most notorious prisons in Latin America, an American father wrote a letter to his little boy. Jason Puracal would tuck the papers away, trying to fight the fear that his son might grow up never knowing his dad.

"Jabu was my sunshine. My ray of hope. When I was in there -- it was dark ... it was so ... hard ... I just imagined I could see him," Puracal told CNN on Monday night via phone from New York.



Puracal seemed to choke up a little. After all, he was speaking less than two days after gaining the freedom he thought he'd never have again -- the result of a Nicaraguan court system ruling last week that his conviction could not stand.

Puracal took a breath and laughed. He lovingly shushed the loud giggles of his 5-year-old.

"Come on, play!" the boy said as he tugged at his father.

Puracal, from Washington state, had been behind bars since November 2010, when Nicaraguan authorities raided his real estate office in the coastal tourist city of San Juan del Sur and accused him of money laundering, drug trafficking and involvement in organized crime. He was sentenced to 22 years in August 2011.

Puracal survived "day by day, minute by minute," he told CNN's Anderson Cooper in an exclusive interview Monday night.

"It's a fight for your life every second of the day," he said.

For nearly two years, a chorus of supporters -- including a former FBI agent, a U.S. congressman and several noted human rights attorneys -- fought to clear Puracal's name. They said that there was no evidence to support the charges and that the American's prosecution was rife with legal mistakes and misconduct.

Earlier this summer, Puracal's defense team presented their arguments before an appeals court in Nicaragua, which decided last week to vacate all charges against him.

One of Puracal's attorneys picked him up from the notorious La Modelo prison near Managua late last week and drove him out of the gates. Puracal immediately took a hot shower, and then another and another.

The prison is notorious for its harsh treatment of inmates and for housing some of the region's most violent criminals. Puracal said he had been beaten and been refused water and food for days at a time and had developed a painful inflammation in his bowels and lost a lot of weight.

Puracal talked about the experience with Cooper on Monday night.

"It is a notorious prison -- just the conditions and overcrowding of it and the danger of it. What is that first moment like when the gate slams behind you and you realize the reality of where you are?" Cooper asked.

"I was with rapists, murderers and actual drug dealers," Puracal said. "It's a very violent place. There's a lot of tension between different groups in there; not only the conditions, but the other people around you."

There were times, in the beginning, when Puracal just couldn't believe what was happening to him.

"I didn't believe that I was there, and I kept thinking to myself, 'Oh this is just a big mistake' and that they will let me go any day now," he said. "And the whole time, 'Oh yeah, any day now I should be going,' and it just kept dragging on and dragging on."

What is it like being a free man?

"It's wonderful ... it's very overwhelming," Puracal said. "But I'm happy to be back with my family my wife and my son. ... It's still very, very surreal. The whole experience has been very unbelievable."

He said that his sister Janis Puracal, a Seattle lawyer who was his biggest advocate, sometimes was able to visit him in prison. She brought stacks of supportive e-mails. They were from friends and family but also from strangers who heard about his case through the awareness group FreeJason.com, which publicized his case.

The e-mails were a huge help, but "there were days where I started losing hope," he said. "It's a very negative environment, that prison."

Puracal meditated on his son. He thought about his Nicaraguan wife Scarlett.

They met not long after he moved from Washington state to the country, first to work as a Peace Corps volunteer and then as a real estate agent.

The couple settled in San Juan del Sur, a popular beach town in southwest Nicaragua.

On November 11, 2010, Nicaraguan police raided Puracal's ReMax office and his home.

Police also took custody of Puracal's truck and the clothes he was wearing; yet 48 hours after he was detained, police asked him to put his clothes back on and get into his truck so authorities could take pictures, according to former FBI Agent Steve Moore, who has reviewed the case documents. He said police then claimed they found a substance that could be cocaine.

"Basic chain of command was not followed," Moore, part of a group of vocal supporters, told CNN in February.

"You can imagine you feel greatly violated that you are being accused of these horrific crimes with absolutely no evidence," Puracal told Cooper. "But I just didn't believe that those things can happen. You don't think that it can happen to you."

By late Monday night, Puracal was exhausted. He kept playing with Jabu, though.

He still has all those papers, the life lessons he wrote for his son.

"I want to turn them into a book for him," he told CNN. "I want him to be able to keep it."

He still loves Nicaragua, he said. He doesn't blame a country for the acts of a few people. He plans to go back to college to get a degree in sustainable urban development to do what he began in the Peace Corps years ago.

"I still do love Nicaragua. I still believe in its potential. I still love the people there," he said. "There's wrongful convictions in every country around the world, including the United States, so I can't isolate it just to Nicaragua. And I hope that one day that I'll be able to finish some of the social projects that I was working on."

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