08-17-2022  10:28 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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Basic Guaranteed Income Program to Launch for Black Portlanders

Brown Hope’s Black Resilience Fund argues the impact of direct cash payments. 

Oregon Justice Fires Panel Due to Lack of Public Defenders

Criminal defendants in Oregon who have gone without legal representation due to a shortage of public defenders filed a lawsuit in May that alleges the state is violating their constitutional right to legal counsel and a speedy trial.

River Chief Imprisoned for Fishing Fights for Sacred Rights

Wilbur Slockish Jr. has been shot at, had rocks hurled at him. He hid underground for months, and then spent 20 months serving time in federal prisons across the country — all of that for fishing in the Columbia River.

Starbucks Asks Labor Board to Halt Union Votes Temporarily

A store in Overland Park, Kansas is one of 314 U.S. Starbucks locations where workers have petitioned the NLRB to hold union elections since late last year. More than 220 of those stores have voted to unionize.


Measure on Portland Government to Appear as-Is on Ballot

Politicians, business leaders and civic activists have called for reshaping Portland’s form of government, which they say...

The Regional Arts & Culture Council Rolls Out New Grant Program

The Arts3C grant program is designed to be fully responsive to what artists and art makers in the community need funding to support ...

OHA Introduces New Monkeypox (hMPXV) Website

As of Aug. 10, 95 people have tested positive for monkeypox in Oregon ...

Wyden, Colleagues Renew Request for FDA to Address Concerns about Dangerous Pulse Oximeter Inaccuracies Affecting Communities of Color

“There are decades of research showing inaccurate results when pulse oximeters are used to monitor people of color” ...

Inslee Issues Directive Outlining Monkeypox Virus Response

As of Friday, Washington state had confirmed 265 monkeypox cases. ...

Wind energy boom and golden eagles collide in the US West

CODY, Wyo. (AP) — The rush to build wind farms to combat climate change is colliding with preservation of one of the U.S. West’s most spectacular predators — the golden eagle — as the species teeters on the edge of decline. Ground zero in the conflict is Wyoming, a stronghold...

Anti-psychotic drugs ordered for man charged with murder

RICHLAND, Wash. (AP) — The man accused of fatally shooting a man inside Richland’s Fred Meyer store was ordered to take mental health medications. Superior Court Judge Joe Burrowes ruled Tuesday that Eastern State Hospital can require Aaron Kelly, 40, to take the anti-psychotic...

Mizzou full of optimism with new QB, defensive coordinator

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Missouri coach Eli Drinkwitz is on his third defensive coordinator in three years at Missouri, and the Tigers are about to start their fifth different quarterback in the season opener in the last five years. Sounds like a program that should be on shaky ground. ...

Hoosiers looking for a turnaround after dismal 2021 season

Indiana linebacker Cam Jones and quarterback Jack Tuttle took matters into their own hands this offseason. They called their teammates together to discuss the goals and aspirations of the program, the need to always play with an edge and to break down precisely why things went wrong...


No One Ever Told You About Black August?

Black America lives in a series of deserts. Many of us live in food deserts, financial deserts, employment deserts, and most of us live in information deserts. ...

Betsy Johnson Fails to Condemn Confederate Flags at Her Rally

The majority of Oregonians, including our rural communities, value inclusion and unity, not racism and bigotry. ...

Monkeypox, Covid, and Your Vote

We must start a voter registration drive right here where we live. This effort must become as important to us as putting food on the table and a roof over our heads. ...

Speaking of Reparations

To many Americans, “reparations” is a dirty word when applied to Black folks. ...


Wisconsin school board votes in favor of pride flag ban

WALES, Wis. (AP) — A Wisconsin school board voted in favor of a policy that prohibits teachers and staff from displaying gay pride flags and other items that district officials consider political in nature. The Kettle Moraine School Board voted unanimously Tuesday to keep a code of...

Bangladesh PM tells UN that Myanmar must take Rohingya back

DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — Bangladesh's leader told a visiting U.N. official on Wednesday that hundreds of thousands of ethnic minority Rohingya refugees living in overcrowded camps in Bangladesh must return home to Myanmar, where they had fled waves of violent persecution. Prime...

'The Butler' author Wil Haygood wins prestigious book award

DAYTON, Ohio (AP) — Writer Wil Haygood, author of multiple nonfiction books chronicling the lives of 20th-century Black Americans including “The Butler,” has won a prestigious book award. The Dayton Literary Peace Prize announced Wednesday that Haygood — himself originally...


Long-hidden synagogue mural gets rehabbed, relocated

BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) — A mural that was painted in a Vermont synagogue more than 100 years ago by a Lithuanian immigrant — and hidden behind a wall for years— has been termed a rare piece of art and has been painstakingly moved and restored. The large colorful...

Film academy apologizes to Littlefeather for 1973 Oscars

NEW YORK (AP) — Nearly 50 years after Sacheen Littlefeather stood on the Academy Awards stage on behalf of Marlon Brando to speak about the depiction of Native Americans in Hollywood films, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences apologized to her for the abuse she endured. ...

Review: Watkins Family Hour captures spirit of variety shows

“Vol. II,” Watkins Family Hour (Family Hour Records) Tom Petty’s pianist plays “Tennessee Waltz,” an Ernest Tubb classic rides a Bo Diddley beat, and a deep cut by the ’60s band the Zombies becomes a Disney-style lullaby. The latest album from Watkins Family...


Missing India soldier's body found on glacier after 38 years

LEH, India (AP) — The remains of an Indian army soldier have been found more than 38 years after he went missing...

Youth mental health is in crisis. Are schools doing enough?

CECILIA, Ky. (AP) — For fourth-grader Leah Rainey, the school day now begins with what her teacher calls an...

CDC director announces organization shake-up aimed at speed

NEW YORK (AP) — The head of the nation's top public health agency on Wednesday announced a shake-up of the...

Kenya's president-elect will 'engage' in any court challenge

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Kenyan president-elect William Ruto says that if there’s a court challenge to the...

China and US spar over climate on Twitter

BEIJING (AP) — The world's two biggest emitters of greenhouse gases are sparring on Twitter over climate policy,...

South Korean leader: Seoul won't seek own nuclear deterrent

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea’s president said Wednesday his government has no plans to pursue its own...

By Pharoh Martin NNPA National Correspondent

WASHINGTON (NNPA) - Four years have passed since the country's most devastating hurricane almost washed away New Orleans and its neighbors. Highlighted by the president's recent visit to the Gulf Coast, the city is slowly recovering. But residents closer to retirement age are having a more difficult time than most getting back on their feet.
Nestled between the big mansions of uptown and the tourist-heavy French Quarter is New Orleans' Hollygrove neighborhood. The historic 17th Ward community is 98 percent African-American and has a heavy 50-plus population. About 7,000 residents lived in Hollygrove before the storm according to the 2000 U.S. Census. It is now about 67 percent repopulated.

Photo courtesy Sean Cruz (2007)

Lifelong Hollygrove resident Earl Williams came back after he lost his home in the storm. It was completely demolished. Now, he has been rebuilding it from ground up. He is left to do the general contracting himself.
"The Louisiana Road Home program has been a challenge for a lot of people," said Williams about the government's homeowner and small rental property repair program. The Road Home program provides up to $150,000 compensation to Louisiana homeowners affected by Hurricanes Katrina or Rita for the damage to their homes.
"The elderly, in particular, have been having a very difficult time recovering. A number have died right after Katrina, including my mom," the 54-year-old former business owner said. "There was a period of five or six months people when people were just...dying. A lot of it was due to the stress and the trauma of Katrina. It was the not only the stress of losing everything but also having to rebuild everything, losing loved ones, just a lot of psychological scars."
Three years ago, the country's biggest senior lobby, AARP, wanted to focus on a neglected New Orleans neighborhood that had a high 50-plus population and be the
on-ground support for recovery.
"Hollygrove was one of the forgotten neighborhoods in the recovery process," said Jason Tutor, AARP's Hollygrove project manager.
The relationship was born out of a leadership academy to train community leaders in the neighborhood. It grew into a two-year intense project to make communities livable. It was made possible by a $230,000 project from the Harris Foundation.
The project focused on health and care giving, transportation and mobility, public safety resident engagement and economic development.
But there were major issues.
"Crime was a big problem," says AARP Louisana communications director Beth Bryant of some of the issues that older residents face during recovery. "There are still a lot of vacancies, seniors are still caregivers to kids of displaced parents, public transportation is still a problem, inaccessibility to grocery stores and health clinics...there is still a lot of work to be done."
One of the biggest issues that older people are facing is contractor fraud and access to Road Home money, says Bryant.
"The Obama Administration is providing assistance, including loans and grants, through a variety of public, private and non-profit sources to help seniors meet their housing needs," said White House spokesperson Corey Ealons.
Last month, HUD Secretary Donovan announced approval of additional Road Home funds to help people who are struggling to rebuild their homes. This additional grant program could distribute $600 million in leftover program money, giving up to $34,000 in extra grant money to as many as 19,000 low- to moderate-income homeowners. Applicants who depended solely on Road Home grants were predominately low-income and African-American.
"We're sort of past the federal thing," Bryant said. "The federal government's responsibility was disaster response and we all know how that went. Now, it's pretty much in the hands of municipalities. So what we are dealing with is trying to encourage the municipal governments to work with the citizens and the residents of neighborhoods so that they can have a say on how their community recovers. We don't see a lot of that. We don't see a lot of public process in place."
Obama's recovery act was supposed to cut the bureaucratic red tape that has notoriously held up the fund disbursement process. But residents say that it is doing nothing because the federal money goes through the city.
And the local government has its own bureaucracy. The process has been complicated by the myriad of city departments that have come up and have since dissolved.
"The city is doing things to the communities. They are not doing anything with the communities," Tutor said. "We have all of these recovery projects going on that have zero to very little input from the community. The problem is there is no centralized system for a resident, a senior who has issues in their neighborhood to go to."
You can go through the neighborhoods and see the difference between those who had insurance and those who didn't, Bryant said. Those who had insurance got money immediately. Those who didn't have insurance had to wade through the morass of bureaucracy to get access to Road Home funds.
There seems to be some inequity in the priority of rebuilding.
"The tourist part of New Orleans seems to be fine. The city looks great as far as the touristy areas. If you're a tourist you probably wouldn't notice," Bryant said.
But historic African-American community landmarks are being demolished and re-purposed into other types of properties. The group is currently fighting against the city's plans to tear down a senior center.
"Why aren't our senior voices being heard in a city that is so dependent on our heritage and our culture for our tourism reasons and for the whole basis of our economy, which is based on our culture and heritage," Tutor said. "Our African-American culture and heritage is being destroyed in New Orleans and no one is listening or paying attention."
Representatives from the city of New Orleans failed to return our request for comment.
One of the problems the Hollygrove residents is still experiencing is repetitive flooding that happens regardless of hurricanes because of a drainage canal in the back of the neighborhood that the city has not addressed.
The Monticello canal is what separates the affluent Jefferson Parish from the more humble Orleans Parish. Jefferson Parish has eight-foot levees, whereas Orleans Parish has no levee. So when water rises in that canal it floods Hollygrove every time.
A low-income African-American community called Hollygrove is being negatively affected by a levee system that is protecting another more affluent and privileged community that is home to the majority of New Orleans' suburbs.
Tutor quizzes, "Is it coincidence that the wealthiest neighborhood in Louisiana is also on the other side of that levee? Is it coincidence that the wealthiest neighborhood in Louisiana is majority White? Without pulling a race card, I don't know."


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