04-22-2024  12:39 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
  • Cloud 9 Cannabis CEO and co-owner Sam Ward Jr., left, and co-owner Dennis Turner pose at their shop, Thursday, Feb. 1, 2024, in Arlington, Wash. Cloud 9 is one of the first dispensaries to open under the Washington Liquor and Cannabis Board's social equity program, established in efforts to remedy some of the disproportionate effects marijuana prohibition had on communities of color. (AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson)

    The Drug War Devastated Black and Other Minority Communities. Is Marijuana Legalization Helping?

    A major argument for legalizing the adult use of cannabis after 75 years of prohibition was to stop the harm caused by disproportionate enforcement of drug laws in Black, Latino and other minority communities. But efforts to help those most affected participate in the newly legal sector have been halting.  Read More
  • Lessons for Cities from Seattle’s Racial and Social Justice Law 

    Lessons for Cities from Seattle’s Racial and Social Justice Law 

     Seattle is marking the first anniversary of its landmark Race and Social Justice Initiative ordinance. Signed into law in April 2023, the ordinance highlights race and racism because of the pervasive inequities experienced by people of color Read More
  • A woman gathers possessions to take before a homeless encampment was cleaned up in San Francisco, Aug. 29, 2023. The Supreme Court will hear its most significant case on homelessness in decades Monday, April 22, 2024, as record numbers of people in America are without a permanent place to live. The justices will consider a challenge to rulings from a California-based federal appeals court that found punishing people for sleeping outside when shelter space is lacking amounts to unconstitutional cruel and unusual punishment. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

    Supreme Court to Weigh Bans on Sleeping Outdoors 

    The Supreme Court will consider whether banning homeless people from sleeping outside when shelter space is lacking amounts to cruel and unusual punishment on Monday. The case is considered the most significant to come before the high court in decades on homelessness, which is reaching record levels In California and other Western states. Courts have ruled that it’s unconstitutional to fine and arrest people sleeping in homeless encampments if shelter Read More
  • Richard Wallace, founder and director of Equity and Transformation, poses for a portrait at the Westside Justice Center, Friday, March 29, 2024, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Erin Hooley)

    Chicago's Response to Migrant Influx Stirs Longstanding Frustrations Among Black Residents

    With help from state and federal funds, the city has spent more than $300 million to provide housing, health care and more to over 38,000 mostly South American migrants. The speed with which these funds were marshaled has stirred widespread resentment among Black Chicagoans. But community leaders are trying to ease racial tensions and channel the public’s frustrations into agitating for the greater good. Read More
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NORTHWEST NEWS

The Drug War Devastated Black and Other Minority Communities. Is Marijuana Legalization Helping?

A major argument for legalizing the adult use of cannabis after 75 years of prohibition was to stop the harm caused by disproportionate enforcement of drug laws in Black, Latino and other minority communities. But efforts to help those most affected participate in the newly legal sector have been halting. 

Lessons for Cities from Seattle’s Racial and Social Justice Law 

 Seattle is marking the first anniversary of its landmark Race and Social Justice Initiative ordinance. Signed into law in April 2023, the ordinance highlights race and racism because of the pervasive inequities experienced by people of color

Don’t Shoot Portland, University of Oregon Team Up for Black Narratives, Memory

The yearly Memory Work for Black Lives Plenary shows the power of preservation.

Grants Pass Anti-Camping Laws Head to Supreme Court

Grants Pass in southern Oregon has become the unlikely face of the nation’s homelessness crisis as its case over anti-camping laws goes to the U.S. Supreme Court scheduled for April 22. The case has broad implications for cities, including whether they can fine or jail people for camping in public. Since 2020, court orders have barred Grants Pass from enforcing its anti-camping laws. Now, the city is asking the justices to review lower court rulings it says has prevented it from addressing the city's homelessness crisis. Rights groups say people shouldn’t be punished for lacking housing.

NEWS BRIEFS

Earth Day Announcement: Mt. Tabor Park Selected as a 2024 Leave No Trace Spotlight

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Governor Kotek Announces Chief of Staff, New Office Leadership

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Governor Kotek Announces Investment in New CHIPS Child Care Fund

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With homelessness on the rise, the Supreme Court weighs bans on sleeping outdoors

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court wrestled with major questions about the growing issue of homelessness on Monday as it considered whether cities can ban people from sleeping outside when shelter space is lacking. The case is considered the most significant to come before the...

Oregon lodge famously featured in 'The Shining' will reopen to guests after fire forced evacuations

GOVERNMENT CAMP, Ore. (AP) — Oregon's historic Timberline Lodge, which featured in Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 film “The Shining,” will reopen to guests Sunday after a fire that prompted evacuations but caused only minimal damage. The lodge said Saturday in a Facebook post that it...

Two-time world champ J’den Cox retires at US Olympic wrestling trials; 44-year-old reaches finals

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) — J’den Cox walked off the mat after dropping a 2-2 decision to Kollin Moore at the U.S. Olympic wrestling trials on Friday night, leaving his shoes behind to a standing ovation. The bronze medal winner at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016 was beaten by...

University of Missouri plans 0 million renovation of Memorial Stadium

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — The University of Missouri is planning a 0 million renovation of Memorial Stadium. The Memorial Stadium Improvements Project, expected to be completed by the 2026 season, will further enclose the north end of the stadium and add a variety of new premium...

OPINION

Stupid is as Stupid Does. C'mon People!

Trump and others of his ilk are constantly railing against Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. In my opinion, it's the new N-word. ...

Op-Ed: Why MAGA Policies Are Detrimental to Black Communities

NNPA NEWSWIRE – MAGA proponents peddle baseless claims of widespread voter fraud to justify voter suppression tactics that disproportionately target Black voters. From restrictive voter ID laws to purging voter rolls to limiting early voting hours, these...

Loving and Embracing the Differences in Our Youngest Learners

Yet our responsibility to all parents and society at large means we must do more to share insights, especially with underserved and under-resourced communities. ...

Gallup Finds Black Generational Divide on Affirmative Action

Each spring, many aspiring students and their families begin receiving college acceptance letters and offers of financial aid packages. This year’s college decisions will add yet another consideration: the effects of a 2023 Supreme Court, 6-3 ruling that...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Foundation to convene 3rd annual summit on anti-Asian hate, building AAPI coalitions

NEW YORK (AP) — A foundation launched in the wake of anti-Asian hate will hold a wide-ranging conference bringing together Asian American and Pacific Islander notable figures for a third year. The Asian American Foundation will hold a Heritage Month Summit next month in New York...

Iowa lawmakers address immigration, religious freedom and taxes in 2024 session

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — After a marathon day that stretched into Saturday's early hours, Iowa lawmakers wrapped up a four-month legislative session that focused on reforming the way special education is managed and speeding up tax cuts. The Republican-led General Assembly also waded into issues...

2nd former Arkansas officer pleads guilty to civil rights charge from violent arrest caught on video

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A second former Arkansas law enforcement officer has pleaded guilty to violating the civil rights of a man he repeatedly punched during a violent arrest in 2022 that was caught on video and shared widely. Former Crawford County sheriff's deputy Levi White...

ENTERTAINMENT

What to stream this weekend: Conan O’Brien travels, 'Migration' soars and Taylor Swift reigns

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Music Review: Jazz pianist Fred Hersch creates subdued, lovely colors on 'Silent, Listening'

Jazz pianist Fred Hersch fully embraces the freedom that comes with improvisation on his solo album “Silent, Listening,” spontaneously composing and performing tunes that are often without melody, meter or form. Listening to them can be challenging and rewarding. The many-time...

Book Review: 'Nothing But the Bones' is a compelling noir novel at a breakneck pace

Nelson “Nails” McKenna isn’t very bright, stumbles over his words and often says what he’s thinking without realizing it. We first meet him as a boy reading a superhero comic on the banks of a river in his backcountry hometown in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Georgia....

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Report urges fixes to online child exploitation CyberTipline before AI makes it worse

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Review of UN agency helping Palestinian refugees found Israel did not express concern about staff

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Work starts on bullet train rail line from Sin City to the City of Angels

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Israeli leaders criticize expected US sanctions against military unit that could further strain ties

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Russia convicts the spokesperson for Facebook owner Meta in a swift trial in absentia

A court in Russia on Monday convicted the spokesperson of U.S. technology company Meta, which owns Facebook and...

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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The Skanner Foundation's 38th Annual MLK Breakfast