05-16-2022  8:47 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

No Sea Serpents, Mobsters but Tahoe Trash Divers Strike Gold

Scuba divers who spent a year cleaning up Lake Tahoe’s entire 72-mile shoreline have come away with what they hope will prove a valuable incentive

House Passes Bipartisan Update to Anti-Poverty Program Led by Bonamici, Thompson

The Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) program has not been updated since 1998.

Portland Unrest Drives Interest in 2 Congressional Primaries

The problems have given Republicans a megaphone and raised the stakes for Democrats as a crowded field of candidates vies to advance to November in a historically blue state

Congressional Black Caucus PAC Endorses Loretta Smith in Oregon’s 6th District

If elected, Loretta will be the state’s first Black member of Congress.

NEWS BRIEFS

WA Childhood Immunization Rates Decline During Pandemic

Immunization rates have decreased by 13% in 2021 when compared to pre-pandemic level ...

Attorney General Rosenblum Warns Against Price Gouging of Baby Formula

This declaration will allow the Oregon Attorney General to take action against any business, or online vendor, who upsells the price...

WA High Court: Drivers Can Get DUIs for Driving While High

A decision that upholds the state’s decade-old law regulating marijuana use behind the wheel of a car. ...

Community Basketball Game and Discussion Events Work to Reduce Gun Violence

Basketball game features Black youth and police officers playing together ...

Oregon Community Foundation Reinvests Nearly Half a Million to Help Further Positive Impact of Black Student Success Initiative

Dozens of culturally led organizations foster and lift up Black youth, to promote educational equality and Black Student Success...

2 pleasure boats catch fire on Columbian River

VANCOUVER, Wash. (AP) — Two pleasure boats caught fire on the Columbia River between Vancouver and Caterpillar Island Sunday afternoon. One boat sank, according to the Vancouver Fire Department. The alarm was sounded at 2:39 p.m., the Columbian reported. Vancouver...

Student scuba diver dies during class at JBLM

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. (AP) — A scuba diver was found dead after he didn’t resurface during a class in American Lake on Joint Base Lewis-McChord. The student diver, a veteran, was participating in a class for civilians, according to the Pierce County Sheriff’s...

OPINION

Can Federal Lynching Law Help Heal America?

Despite decades of senseless delays, this new law pushes America to finally acknowledge that racism often correlates to a level of violence and terror woven into the very fabric of this country. ...

The Skanner News Endorsements: May Primary 2022

Primary election day is May 17, 2022. Read The Skanner's endorsements for this important election. ...

Men’s Voices Urgently Needed to Defend Reproductive Rights

For decades, men in increasing numbers have followed women’s lead in challenging gender-based violence and promoting gender equality, so why are we stuck when it comes to abortion? ...

Burying Black Cemeteries: Off the Record

It is a tragedy when we lose a loved one. That tragedy is compounded when are unable to visit their final resting place to honor and remember them. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Buffalo shooter's prior threat, hospital stay under scrutiny

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — The white gunman accused of committing a racist massacre at a Buffalo supermarket made threatening comments that brought police to his high school last spring, but he was never charged with a crime and had no further contact with law enforcement after his release from a...

EXPLAINER: White 'replacement theory' fuels racist attacks

NEW YORK (AP) — A racist ideology seeping from the internet's fringes into the mainstream is being investigated as a motivating factor in the supermarket shooting that killed 10 people in Buffalo, New York. Most of the victims were Black. Ideas from the “great replacement theory"...

Travis Scott, Morgan Wallen hit Billboard Music Awards stage

Travis Scott and Morgan Wallen made controversial returns on the Billboard Music Awards stage on Sunday, while Mary J. Blige was honored for her musical excellence. Wallen performed in his first major awards show after he was caught on camera more than a year ago using a racial slur....

ENTERTAINMENT

Actor Fred Ward, of 'Tremors,' 'The Right Stuff' fame, dies

NEW YORK (AP) — Fred Ward, a veteran actor who brought a gruff tenderness to tough-guy roles in such films as “The Right Stuff,” “The Player” and “Tremors,” has died. He was 79. Ward died Sunday, his publicist Ron Hofmann said Friday. No cause or place of death was...

Jesse Williams addresses leak of Broadway nude scene

NEW YORK (AP) — Jesse Williams vowed not to be discouraged after leaked video and images of his onstage nude scene in the Broadway play “Take Me Out” were posted online. “I’m not down about it. Our job is to go out there every night, no matter what,” Williams told The...

Back to normal? Cannes Film Festival prepares to party

After the 2020 Cannes Film Festival was canceled by the pandemic and the 2021 edition was scaled back — even kisses were forbade on the red carpet — the lavish French Riviera cinema soiree is set to return with a festival that promises to be something like normal. Or at least...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Convicted killer turned tech whiz confronts his sordid past

REHOVOT, Israel (AP) — When he was 20 years old, Harel Hershtik planned and executed a murder, shooting his...

McDonald's to sell its Russian business, try to keep workers

More than three decades after it became the first American fast food restaurant to open in the Soviet Union,...

Uyghur county in China has highest prison rate in the world

BEIJING (AP) — Nearly one in 25 people in a county in the Uyghur heartland of China has been sentenced to prison...

Greek court convicts helicopter pilot of UK wife's killing

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — A Greek helicopter pilot was convicted Monday of killing his British-Greek wife in their...

AP PHOTOS: Lunar eclipse thrills stargazers in the Americas

A total lunar eclipse provided a spectacular celestial show as it unfolded Sunday night into early Monday in the...

Kim blasts pandemic response as North Korean outbreak surges

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un criticized officials over slow medicine deliveries and...

Melanie Hicken CNN Money

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Bankruptcy or not, Detroit's emergency manager, Kevyn Orr, says the city simply can't afford the pensions it has promised tens of thousands of retired and current city workers, many of whom are counting on the checks to make ends meet.

So how much money do Detroit's retirees actually get?

On average Detroit's firefighters, police officers and other city employees receive pension checks that are similar or slightly smaller in size than the national average of $30,000 a year, according to pension experts. But compared with larger cities that have higher living costs, like Chicago and Los Angeles, Detroit's pensions checks often pale in comparison.

"My basic takeaway was that [Detroit's] pension system itself was not overly generous," said Jean-Pierre Aubry, assistant director of State and Local Research at Boston College's Center for Retirement Research.

While workers who reach the city's top posts, like police or fire chief for example, can retire with annual pensions that reach into the six-figures, the vast majority receive much smaller payments, Aubry said.

Retired general city workers, such as librarians or sanitation workers, received average payments of $18,275 a year in 2011, according to the Detroit General Retirement System. But those who put in the most time (or earn higher salaries) can see far healthier payments. A general city employee who retired in 2011 with an average ending salary of $60,000 and 40 years of service could receive around $45,000 a year.

Such benefits are more or less on par with the Detroit-area union auto workers. Retirees of the three big automakers receive average annual benefits of about $18,000 per year, in addition to another roughly $15,000 to $18,000 in Social Security payments, according to the United Automobile Workers, or UAW.

That's a big distinction: While retired Detroit firefighters and police officers receive more generous pension checks than auto workers -- checks averaged almost $30,000 a year in 2011 -- they often don't receive the added bonus of Social Security payments.

A 30-year veteran of the fire department who retired last year with an average ending salary of $60,000 would have qualified to receive around $44,000 a year, according to calculations using the plan's pension formula.

Police officers and firefighters in big cities often take home much more lavish pension checks. For example, with average annual benefits of $55,104, retirees of Chicago's police force took in nearly double Detroit's retirees. Meanwhile, retired Chicago firefighters had average annual payments of more than $60,000.

Chicago has its own budget woes, however. Last week, rating agency Moody's downgraded the city's credit rating, citing the city's ballooning pension obligations.

Even retired police and firefighters in Kansas City, Mo. -- a city with roughly two-thirds the population of Detroit and a similarly affordable cost of living -- take in more, with average annual payments of almost $42,500.

Still, it isn't all bad news for city workers. Since Detroit's firefighters and police offers are able to retire a decade (or more) before they reach the typical retirement age of 65, retirees can receive their benefits for decades. In addition, many retired officers have time to pursue other careers and accumulate additional savings.

In addition to a lifetime of payouts, city workers also receive retiree healthcare, a benefit that is rarely offered by private sector employers.

They can also extend their pension benefits to a spouse after they die by opting for smaller monthly pension checks, said Don Taylor, president of the Retired Detroit Police and Firefighters Association. The amount the payments are reduced by depends on the spouse's age.

Taylor himself receives about $2,500 a month from his 26 years in the Detroit Police Department, about a few hundred less than he would receive if he hadn't opted to include his wife in the plan. Taylor, 64, will also receive a small Social Security check from his 10 years as a travel agent. But other than that, he has no other retirement savings.

Regardless of whether Orr's proposed cuts go through, pension checks for younger employees will be less generous, said Leon LaBrecque, founder of a Michigan-based wealth management firm, who has worked with hundreds of Detroit city retirees.

Current workers have already agreed to pension cuts. For example, in 2011, Detroit police and firefighters agreed to a roughly 15% cut for pension benefits accrued from future years of service.

"There's this myth that everyone in Detroit is getting a fat pension," LaBrecque said. "But that's clearly not true."

 

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