05-28-2023  12:19 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Former Senator Margaret Carter Receives Honorary Doctorate of Public Service

Margaret Carter was the commencement speaker for Willamette University's Salem undergraduate commencement ceremony

Ex-Seattle Man Gets 8 Years for Stealing $1M in Pandemic Benefits

Bryan Sparks, 42, was indicted for the fraud scheme in November 2021 and pleaded guilty to wire fraud and aggravated identity theft in January. He was also ordered on Tuesday to pay more than jumi million in restitution.

Boycotting Oregon GOP Senators Vow to Stay Away Until Last Day of Session

The walkout, which began on May 3 ostensibly because bill summaries weren't written at an eighth grade level as required by a long-forgotten law, has derailed progress on hundreds of bills

NEWS BRIEFS

Oregon and Washington Memorial Day Events

Check out a listing of ceremonies and other community Memorial Day events in Oregon and Washington. A full list of all US events,...

Communities Invited to Interstate Bridge Replacement Neighborhood Forums in Vancouver and Portland

May 31 and June 6 forums allow community members to learn about the program’s environmental review process ...

Bonamici, Salinas Introduce Bill to Prevent Senior Hunger

Senior Hunger Prevention Act will address challenges older adults, grandparent and kinship caregivers, and adults with disabilities...

This is Our Lane - Too: Joint Statement on the Maternal Health Crisis from the Association of Black Cardiologists, American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association

Urgent action is needed to combat the maternal health crisis in America and cardiologists have a vital role to play. ...

New Skateboarding Area Planned for Southeast Portland’s Creston Park

Area has largest number of overall youth and of people of color out of locations studied ...

Oregon, awash in treatment funds after decriminalizing drugs, now must follow the money

Funding for drug treatment centers in Oregon, financed by the state's pioneering drug decriminalization policy, stood at over a quarter-billion dollars Friday as officials called for closer monitoring of where the money goes. That need for oversight was demonstrated Wednesday when...

Judge says fire retardant drops are polluting streams but allows use to continue

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — The U.S. government can keep using chemical retardant dropped from aircraft to fight wildfires, despite finding that the practice pollutes streams in western states in violation of federal law, a judge ruled Friday. Halting the use of the red slurry material...

Foster, Ware homer, Auburn eliminates Mizzou 10-4 in SEC

HOOVER, Ala. (AP) — Cole Foster hit a three-run homer, Bryson Ware added a two-run shot and fifth-seeded Auburn wrapped up the first day of the SEC Tournament with a 10-4 win over ninth-seeded Missouri on Tuesday night. Auburn (34-9), which has won nine-straight, moved into the...

Small Missouri college adds football programs to boost enrollment

FULTON, Mo. (AP) — A small college in central Missouri has announced it will add football and women's flag football programs as part of its plan to grow enrollment. William Woods University will add about 140 students between the two new sports, athletic director Steve Wilson said...

OPINION

Significant Workforce Investments Needed to Stem Public Defense Crisis

We have a responsibility to ensure our state government is protecting the constitutional rights of all Oregonians, including people accused of a crime ...

Over 80 Groups Tell Federal Regulators Key Bank Broke $16.5 Billion Promise

Cross-country redlining aided wealthy white communities while excluding Black areas ...

Public Health 101: Guns

America: where all attempts to curb access to guns are shot down. Should we raise a glass to that? ...

Op-Ed: Ballot Measure Creates New Barriers to Success for Black-owned Businesses

Measure 26-238, a proposed local capital gains tax, is unfair and a burden on Black business owners in an already-challenging economic environment. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

5 things to know about Memorial Day including its controversies

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — Memorial Day is supposed to be about mourning the nation’s fallen service members, but it’s come to anchor the unofficial start of summer and a long weekend of discounts on anything from mattresses to lawn mowers. Auto club AAA said in a travel forecast that...

Judge: School district can bar student from wearing Mexican and American flag sash at graduation

DENVER (AP) — A federal judge ruled Friday that a rural Colorado school district can bar a high school student from wearing a Mexican and American flag sash at her graduation this weekend after the student sued the school district. Judge Nina Y. Wang wrote that wearing a sash during...

New Black Lives Matter tax documents show foundation is tightening its belt, has M in assets

NEW YORK (AP) — A national Black Lives Matter nonprofit, whose philanthropic fortunes grew almost overnight during historic racial justice protests three years ago, raised just over million in its last fiscal year, new IRS tax filings show. That’s significantly less than the...

ENTERTAINMENT

CBS is television's most popular network for 15th straight year

NEW YORK (AP) — CBS claimed the distinction of most-watched television network for the 15th straight year, even as those bragging rights don't mean what they used to. The network averaged just under 6 million viewers on a typical moment in prime time for the season that just...

Country singer Tyler Hubbard's growth expands beyond Florida Georgia Line

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Singer-songwriter Tyler Hubbard was fully prepared to hang up his boots so to speak when his duo partner in Florida Georgia Line, Brian Kelley, said he wanted to go solo. The pair had been together more than a decade, and whether you were a fan of their bro...

Movie review: Julia Louis-Dreyfus reteams with Nicole Holofcener in 'You Hurt My Feelings'

If I didn’t like Nicole Holofcener’s latest film, would I tell her? OK, sure, it wouldn’t be so odd for a critic to give an unvarnished opinion. But what about a sibling? Or a spouse? If they didn’t care for Holofcener’s movie, what’s more important: Being honest or making...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Biden, GOP reach tentative deal to raise debt ceiling, avoid calamitous US default

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy reached an “agreement in principle”...

Ed Ames, '50s pop singer with Ames Brothers and '60s TV star in 'Daniel Boone,' dies at 95

Ed Ames, the youngest member of the popular 1950s singing group the Ames Brothers, who later became a successful...

Iran exchanges heavy gunfire with Taliban on Afghan border, escalating tensions over water rights

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The Taliban and Iran exchanged heavy gunfire Saturday on the Islamic...

Serbian border troops to maintain highest state of alert after ethnic clashes inside Kosovo

BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — Serbia on Saturday condemned NATO-led peacekeepers stationed in neighboring Kosovo for...

Florida man at center of fatal human smuggling case pleads not guilty in Minnesota

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A Florida man charged with human smuggling after four migrants were found dead last year...

Man who opened emergency door on South Korea flight told police he felt suffocated

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — A passenger who opened an emergency exit door during a flight in South Korea told...

The Associated Press

Extended unemployment benefits for nearly 2 million Americans begin to run out Wednesday, cutting off a steady stream of income and guaranteeing a dismal holiday season for people already struggling with bills they cannot pay.
Unless Congress changes its mind, benefits that had been extended up to 99 weeks will end this month.
That means Christmas is out of the question for Wayne Pittman, 46, of Lawrenceville, Ga., and his wife and 9-year-old son. The carpenter was working up to 80 hours a week at the beginning of the decade, but saw that gradually drop to 15 hours before it dried up completely. His last $297 check will go to necessities, not presents.
"I have a little boy, and that's kind of hard to explain to him," Pittman said.
Oregon Congressman Earl Blumenauer issued a statement denouncing legislators failure to restore benefits. "I am deeply disappointed that Congress has yet to extend long-term unemployment insurance in time for the holidays," said Blumenauer. "For nearly two million workers, these monthly checks – just a couple hundred dollars to help make ends meet – have been a lifeline as they look for new jobs during this awful recession. I find it especially shameful that we are threatening to leave these families out in the cold at the same time that some members of Congress want us to spend $700 billion we don't have on tax cuts for millionaires who don't need them. Cutting off unemployment benefits won't help us end this recession, it will only make it worse. I call on members of both parties to set aside politics and vote to extend these benefits for unemployed Americans."
The average weekly unemployment benefit in the U.S. is $302.90, though it varies widely depending on how states calculate the payment. Because of supplemental state programs and other factors, it's hard to know for sure who will lose their benefits at any given time. But the Labor Department estimates that, without a Congress-approved extension, about 2 million people will be cut off by Christmas.

Congressional opponents of extending the benefits beyond this month say fiscal responsibility should come first. Republicans in the House and Senate, along with a handful of conservative Democrats, say they're open to extending benefits, but not if it means adding to the $13.8 trillion national debt.
Even if Congress does lengthen benefits, cash assistance is at best a stopgap measure, said Carol Hardison, executive director of Crisis Assistance Ministry in Charlotte, N.C., which has seen 20,000 new clients since the Great Recession started in December 2007.
"We're going to have to have a new conversation with the people who are still suffering, about the potentially drastic changes they're going to have to make to stay out of the homeless shelter," she said.
Forget Christmas presents. What the so-called "99ers" want most of all is what remains elusive in the worst economy in generations: a job.
"I am not searching for a job, I am begging for one," said Felicia Robbins, 30, as she prepared to move out of a homeless shelter in Pensacola, Fla., where she and her five children have been living. She is using the last of her cash reserves, about $500, to move into a small, unfurnished rental home.
Robbins lost her job as a juvenile justice worker in 2009 and her last $235 unemployment check will arrive Dec. 13. Her 10-year-old car isn't running, and she walks each day to the local unemployment office to look for work.

Jeanne Reinman, 61, of Greenville, S.C., still has her house, but even that comes with a downside.
After losing her computer design job a year and a half ago, Reinman scraped by with her savings and a weekly $351 unemployment check. When her nest egg vanished in July, she started using her unemployment to pay off her mortgage and stopped paying her credit card bills. She recently informed a creditor she couldn't make payments on a loan because her benefits were ending.
"I'm more concerned about trying to hang onto my house than paying you," she told the creditor.

Ninety-nine weeks may seem like a long time to find a job. But even as the economy grows, jobs that vanished in the Great Recession have not returned. The private sector added about 159,000 jobs in October — half as many as needed to reduce the unemployment rate of 9.6 percent, which the Federal Reserve expects will hover around 9 percent for all of next year.
"I apply for at least two jobs a day," said Silvia Lewis, of Nashville, Tenn., who's also drained her 401(k) and most of her other savings. "The constant thing that I hear, and a lot of my friends are in the same boat, is that you're overqualified."
JoAnn Sampson of Charlotte hears the same thing. A former cart driver at U.S. Airways, she and her husband are both facing the end of unemployment benefits, and she can't get so much as an entry-level job.
"When you try to apply for retail or fast food, they say 'You're overqualified,' they say 'We don't pay that much money,' they say, 'You don't want this job,'" she said.
Sampson counts her blessings: At least her two children, a teenager and a college student, are too old to expect much from Christmas this year.

Shawn Slonsky's three children aren't expecting much either. The 44-year-old union electrician in northeast Ohio won't be able to afford presents or even a Christmas tree.
His sons and daughter haven't bothered to send him holiday wish lists with the latest gizmos and gadgets.
Things used to be different. Before work dried up, Slonsky earned about $100,000 a year and he and his wife lived in a three-bedroom house where deer meandered through the backyard. For Christmas, he bought his aspiring doctor daughter medical books, a guitar, a unicycle.
Then he and his wife lost their jobs. Their house went into foreclosure and they had to move in with his 73-year-old father.
Now, Slonsky is dreading the holidays as he tries to stretch his last unemployment check to cover child support, gas, groceries and utilities.
"You don't even get in the frame of mind for Christmas when things are bad," he said. "It's hard to be in a jovial mood all the time when you've got this storm cloud hanging over your head."

This report includes contributions from Associated Press writers Meg Kinnard, in Columbia, S.C.; Ray Henry, in Atlanta; Melissa Nelson, in Pensacola, Fla.; Lucas L. Johnson II in Nashville, Tenn.; and Jeannie Nuss in Columbus, Ohio.

PHOTO Rep. Earl Blumenauer