10-17-2019  11:31 pm   •   PDX Weather    •   SEA weather  
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NORTHWEST NEWS

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

Grocery Workers Union Ratifies Contract with Stores

The United Food and Commercial Workers Union has agreed a three-year contract for stores in Oregon and Southwest Washington

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 ...

Person with measles passed through Portland airport

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The Multnomah County Health Department says a person who passed through the Portland International Airport on Saturday has become sick with measles.The Oregonian/OregonLive reports the health department said people who were in the airport during that time may have been...

Court issues temporary stay on flavored vaping ban in Oregon

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Oregon's Court of Appeals on Thursday put a halt to the state's ban on flavored vaping products two days after it took effect.The Oregonian/OregonLive reports the temporary stay issued appears to apply only to tobacco-based vaping products, sold under the oversight of...

No. 22 Missouri ready to test road skills at Vanderbilt

No. 22 Missouri (5-1, 2-0 SEC) at Vanderbilt (1-5, 0-3), Saturday at 4 p.m. EDT (SEC Network).Line: Missouri by 20 1/2.Series record: Missouri 7-3-1.WHAT'S AT STAKE?Missouri can show they play as well on the road as at home coming off a five-game home stand. A win keeps them atop the SEC East....

Bryant bounces back to lead Missouri over Mississippi

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Last week, when he heard a pop in his left knee after being hit low, Missouri quarterback Kelly Bryant briefly saw his college football career pass before his eyes. The injury wasn't as bad as it looked, and Bryant played like his old self in a 38-27 victory over...

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

Kessel scores twice, leads Coyotes past Predators 5-2

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — The way Phil Kessel had been playing for the Arizona Coyotes at the start of the season, scoring a goal was just a matter of time.The veteran forward put it all together Thursday night, scoring his first two goals for Arizona, and Christian Dvorak scored his third goal...

Cummings recalled as powerful orator who took on White House

BALTIMORE (AP) — Maryland Rep. Elijah E. Cumming, who died Thursday at age 68, was remembered as a moral voice of conscience in a divisive era — a leader who fought for civil rights and took on the White House as a prominent figure in the impeachment inquiry of President Donald...

Kobach fires Kansas Senate campaign aide over hateful posts

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Republican Kris Kobach's campaign for the Senate in Kansas says it has fired an aide after learning he regularly posted hateful comments about Jews and racial minorities on a white nationalist website.The latest campaign finance report filed by Kobach's campaign shows it...

ENTERTAINMENT

Country artists bring tears, prayers to CMT awards show

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Country music artists cried together and prayed together at an emotional CMT Artists of the Year awards show that reflected the tight-knit community of artists who supported each other through success and loss.Country singer Kane Brown, who was one of several artists...

'Spirited Away,' other Studio Ghibli films head to HBO Max

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The vast catalog of storied Japanese animation house Studio Ghibli is heading to the new HBO Max streaming service.Films such as "Princess Mononoke," ''My Neighbor Totoro" and Oscar-winner "Spirited Away" will be among the titles available to stream when HBO Max launches...

For Springsteen, 'Western Stars' made sense after book, play

NEW YORK (AP) — "Western Stars" was just the change of pace that Bruce Springsteen needed after baring his soul over the past few years.First, he shared his darkest secrets in his memoir, "Born to Run." Then he spent more than a year telling his story five nights a week in Springsteen on...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Astros power past Yanks for 3-1 ALCS lead, Verlander up next

NEW YORK (AP) — They have the pitching, and they don't need the pitches. Certainly, the Houston Astros have...

Boris Johnson gets EU Brexit deal; next hurdle is Parliament

BRUSSELS (AP) — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's career of disdain for the European Union was a thing...

Trump, in Texas, bashes Democrats as 'crazy,' unpatriotic

DALLAS (AP) — President Donald Trump tried to turn impeachment rancor into a political rallying cry...

Protesters bar Haiti's president from visiting historic site

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haiti's embattled president was forced on Thursday to hold a private ceremony...

Pakistan blacklists, expels global journalists' group leader

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan blacklisted and expelled the Asia coordinator of global press freedom group the...

Silver: China asked for Rockets GM Daryl Morey to be fired

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said Chinese officials wanted Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey to be fired...

McMenamins
Bill Mears CNN Supreme Court Producer


WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A custody battle involving the "best interests" of a 3-year-old Cherokee girl will be taken up by the U.S. Supreme Court, an issue spanning the rights of adoptive parents and the desire to preserve Native American families within tribes.



The justices announced they will hear an appeal from Matt and Melanie Capobianco, who legally adopted little Veronica in 2009, shortly after the birth mother agreed to give up the child. Oral arguments in the case will likely be heard in April with a ruling by late June.



The South Carolina Supreme Court in July ruled for the biological father, who had sought custody shortly after the child's birth. He is a registered member of the Cherokee Nation and is raising the child in Oklahoma.



Dusten Brown had earlier signed a legal document agreeing to put the girl up for adoption, but his attorneys say the father did not understand the extent of the waiver, and that the birth mother misrepresented the child's American Indian heritage to social service workers when the adoption was finalized.



At issue is whether Brown, as the onetime non-custodial father, can gain parental custody, after the non-Indian mother initiated an adoption outside the tribe.



A special congressional law governs such interstate adoptions, since the current 556 federally recognized tribes all fall under Interior Department oversight, giving those tribes certain unique benefits and rights. 



Lawyers for the Capobiancos say federal law does not define an unwed biological father as a "parent."



The adoptive couple was excited that the high court will hear their case. 



"We weren't sure what to expect," Melanie Capobianco told CNN's Randi Kaye. "It was a low chance and we just feel really extremely happy that they decided to hear it."



Her husband, Matt, added, "It restored some hope and a little faith in the judicial system." 



The federal law in question is the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) of 1978, a response to decades of often abusive social service practices that resulted in the separation of large numbers of native youngsters from their families, in many cases to non-Indian homes.



The legislation was designed to "promote the stability and security of Indian tribes and Indian families by the establishment of minimum federal standards to prevent the arbitrary removal of Indian children from their families and tribes and to ensure that measures which prevent the breakup of Indian families are followed in child custody proceedings."



Brown's relationship within the "federally recognized government" of the Cherokee Nation means Veronica -- named in court papers as "Baby Girl" -- is a member of the tribe and subject to their jurisdiction.



"It's not anyone's intent ever to rip a child away from a loving home," said Todd Hembree, the Tahlequah, Oklahoma-based tribe's attorney general. "But we want to make sure those loving homes have the opportunity to be Indian homes first."



Still, the Capobiancos argue that the little girl's real home is with them.



"Veronica was always a part of our home from birth and we just felt like she was in a happy place and that those kinds of needs could have been met through us," Melanie Capobianco said. "I just don't think that was what Congress was thinking about when that act was passed."



 As with many custody fights, there is wide factual disagreement over the circumstances of both the couple's breakup and subsequent adoption of the child. Opposing sides even disagree on what legal issues the high court should address.



The Capobiancos think the issue should be about whether the ICWA law can improperly block adoption proceedings voluntarily initiated by a non-Indian mother who had sole custody of her child, due to what the adoptive parents say is the Indian father's failure to establish a legal parent-child relationship under state law.



But Brown argues he successfully established paternity under state law, and qualifies as a "parent" under the ICWA, thereby giving him proper control and custody of his daughter. 



He said in legal papers that the child was conceived when the couple was engaged, and "excited" he would be a father. But Brown claims the biological mother broke off the now-strained relationship by text message. He agreed to relinquish his parental rights in exchange for not paying child support, but said the mother never indicated she intended unilaterally to give the child up for adoption.



And Brown claims the biological mother tried to "conceal" his Indian heritage during the adoption process with the Capobiancos, who live in Charleston, South Carolina.



Establishing such heritage would normally make it very difficult for the Cherokee Nation and state social services to agree to any non-Indian adoption and removal from the state.



By this time, Brown was deployed to Iraq on a one-year deployment in the U.S. Army, making it hard to press his custody claims. Veronica lived with the Capobiancos for two years before the high court in South Carolina ruled for the father. Brown took his daughter back to Bartlesville, Oklahoma, on New Year's Eve 2011.



The state's top court that ruled in his favor said Brown had "a deeply embedded relationship" with his American Indian heritage, in which Veronica will be raised.



But the Capobiancos point to another part of the state court's conclusion: that despite a ruling against them, they were "ideal parents who have exhibited the ability to provide a loving family environment." That court said its hands were tied, and that federal law trumped state law.



"Courts in seven states have held that ICWA does not bar courts from terminating the parental rights of a non-custodial father under state law when the father abandoned his child to the sole custody of a non-Indian mother," said Lisa Blatt, attorney for the couple.



She says the father's initial agreement to give up his parental rights meant he forfeited any subsequent efforts to establish custody, when the child was already in a happy, stable home environment.



The Capobiancos argue Brown had refused to offer any financial assistance to the biological mother until they were married and "wanted nothing to do" with the pregnancy. 



As a single mother with two other young children, the biological mother felt she had no choice but to give her daughter up for adoption, said a legal brief filed by her lawyers. They say she complied with the adoption laws in both states and with the tribe.



The couple also says they long wanted to be parents and had seven unsuccessful attempts at in vitro fertilization. She is a child developmental psychologist and he is an automotive body technician. They were in the room when Veronica was born, and had an "open" adoption, meaning the biological mother could and did maintain a relationship with Veronica.



The case is Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl, a Minor Child Under the Age of Fourteen Years (12-399). 



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