05-16-2022  9:07 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

Police: Buffalo gunman aimed to keep killing if he got away

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — The white gunman accused of a racist rampage at a Buffalo supermarket planned to keep killing if he had escaped the scene, the police commissioner said Monday, as authorities investigated the massacre of Black people a s a potential hate crime or act of domestic terrorism. ...

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 and Chris Isidore CNN Money

Detroit skylineNEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- An investigation into Detroit's two pension funds are likely to show that decades of overpayments drained about $2 billion from city coffers, helping to force the city to declare the nation's largest municipal bankruptcy.

The report, due to be released Thursday, will examine "possible waste, abuse, fraud and corruption" at the two funds. State-appointed Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr called for the city's inspector general and auditor to conduct the investigation in June, roughly a month before Detroit's historic bankruptcy filing.

The excess payments, made to both retirees and active employees, were not an example of that fraud or corruption. Instead, officials who oversaw the funds regularly approved extra payments in addition to the promised pension benefits, based on the belief that the funds could be more generous when their investments generated positive returns.

A report given to the City Council two years ago showed that those overpayments cost the city $1.9 billion in the 21 years from 1987 through 2008. An update to those numbers is expected in Thursday's report.

The report should also lay out how much of a gap there is between the funds' assets and the benefits they've promised. A filing in the city's bankruptcy case says an actuarial firm hired by Orr estimates the underfunding at $3.5 billion. As of June 2011, the two pension funds had combined assets of about $5.8 billion, down roughly 30% over a four-year period, according to their most recent financial reports.

Orr has previously said that the financial shortfall in the two funds -- one for police and firefighters and the other for general city workers -- makes benefit cuts for both current workers and retirees inevitable. Still, he has said he would need to see extraordinary evidence of waste and mismanagement before he would consider proposing a takeover of the $5.8 billion pension funds.

The trustees who control the funds are opposing the city's bankruptcy filing and have countered that the funding situation is far less dire than Orr indicates.

No strangers to controversy, the funds are haunted by past allegations of mismanagement, and were even the subject of a federal fraud investigation.

Overall, seven people have been convicted on charges related to a corruption scheme at the pension funds, while four more are facing criminal indictments, according to an FBI document.

According to FBI and court documents, city and pension fund officials allegedly accepted bribes and kickbacks -- ranging from cash payments to lavish trips, entertainment and private plane flights -- in exchange for steering more than $200 million in pension fund investments. At least $84 million in pension fund losses have been tied to the scheme.

 

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