05-24-2018  6:54 am      •     
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NEWS BRIEFS

Mississippi Avenue Giving Tuesday

On Tuesday, May 22, 10 percent of proceeds from participating Mississippi Ave. businesses will go to SEI ...

Raina Croff to Speak at Architectural Heritage Center

'When the Landmarks are Gone: Older African Americans, Place, and Change in N/NE Portland’ describes SHARP Walking Program ...

Portland Playhouse Presents August Wilson’s ‘Fences’ Through June 10

May 20 performance will include discussion on mental health; June 10 performance will be followed by discussion of fatherhood ...

Peggy Houston-Shivers Presents Benefit Concert for Allen Temple CME

Concert to take place May 20 at Maranatha Church ...

Man gets 13 years for crashing motorhome into patrol cars

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — A Salem man pleaded guilty and was sentenced to more than 13 years in prison for assault against Salem police officers after leading police on a chase through Salem and ramming his motor home into officers in their patrol cars.The Statesman Journal reports 61-year-old Roy...

Woodburn officer gets 150 days in jail for child sex abuse

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — A former Woodburn police officer has been sentenced to 150 days in jail and five years of probation for having sex with an underage girl and soliciting sexual contact from the child online.The Statesman Journal reports that 29-year-old Daniel Kerbs was sentenced Wednesday....

Worker who died in fall at Sound Transit site identified

SEATTLE (AP) — Officials have identified the man who died after falling from a light rail column at a Sound Transit construction site in Bellevue.The Seattle Times reports 63-year-old Walter Burrows was a foreman and a longtime employee at Kiewit, the company building the elevated light rail...

Case of Legionnaires' disease suspected at UW Medical Center

SEATTLE (AP) — A case of Legionnaires' disease has been suspected at the University of Washington Medical Center.KOMO-TV reported Wednesday that this is the third time in as many years that the disease has been suspected at the facility.Officials said the patient "has been diagnosed with a...

OPINION

Racism After Graduation May Just Be What's on the Menu

Dr. Julianne Malveaux says that for our young millennials, racism is inevitable ...

Prime Minister Netanyahu Shows Limits of Israel’s Democracy

Bill Fletcher, Jr. on racial politics in Israel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s uneven treatment of African immigrants ...

Golfing While Black Is Not a Crime

Grandview Golf Club asks five Black women to leave for golfing too slow ...

Discovering the Best of Black America in 2018

Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis discusses the DTU Journalism Fellowship & Scholarship Program ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Bucks' Brown decries 'police intimidation' during arrest

MILWAUKEE (AP) — The Milwaukee police chief has apologized to Sterling Brown and says officers have been disciplined for acting "inappropriately" after the Bucks player was zapped with a stun gun during his arrest for a parking violation in January.Brown, who is African-American, said in a...

George Zimmerman tells court he's [scripts/homepage/home.php].5 million in debt

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) — The ex-neighborhood watch volunteer who killed a black teen in Florida in 2012 says he's [scripts/homepage/home.php].5 million in debt and has no income.George Zimmerman filed paperwork detailing his financial state as he fights a misdemeanor stalking charge.The Orlando Sentinel reports a public...

Senate primary splits Arizona conservatives between 2 icons

SCOTTSDALE, Arizona (AP) — Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio was asking dozens of tea party activists for their backing in Arizona's Republican Senate primary when one audience member said it was a shame disgruntled conservatives couldn't send "both of you" to Washington.The man...

ENTERTAINMENT

In taking on 'Solo,' Ehrenreich faced an unenviable task

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Thandie Newton jokes that there might be something off about Alden Ehrenreich — because how else could he take on the pressure-filled role of Han Solo with so much ease?"Every week, I was expecting a call that Alden had had a nervous breakdown and wouldn't be coming...

Rockwell work at center of controversy gets M at auction

PITTSFIELD, Mass. (AP) — One of the two Norman Rockwell paintings at the center of a Massachusetts museum's contentious decision to sell 40 works of art has been sold at auction for more than million."Blacksmith's Boy — Heel and Toe," also known as "Shaftsbury Blacksmith Shop," was...

Michael Jackson estate slams ABC TV special on his last days

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The estate of Michael Jackson is objecting to an ABC TV special on the end of the King of Pop's life, calling it a crass attempt to exploit Jackson without respect for his legacy or children.The estate said in a statement to The Associated Press on Wednesday that "The Last...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Bucks' Brown decries 'police intimidation' during arrest

MILWAUKEE (AP) — The Milwaukee police chief has apologized to Sterling Brown and says officers have been...

Feds: Uber self-driving SUV saw pedestrian but didn't brake

DETROIT (AP) — Federal investigators say the autonomous Uber SUV that struck and killed an Arizona...

Cyclone Mekunu pounds Yemen island on its path to Oman

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Cyclone Mekunu pounded the Yemeni island of Socotra in the Arabian Sea...

More than 350 observers to monitor Turkish elections

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — An international security body says it is deploying 22 long-term and 350 short-term...

North Korea demolishes nuclear site ahead of Trump summit

PUNGGYE-RI, North Korea (AP) — Just weeks ahead of a planned summit with U.S. President Donald Trump, Kim...

Spanish ruling party fined in major corruption case

MADRID (AP) — The conviction of more than two dozen Spanish businesspeople and officials in a major...

Andrew Welsh-Huggins AP Legal Affairs Writer

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- A decision by Ohio officials to remove all pork products from prison menus in response to a lawsuit by Muslim inmates is not sitting well with the state's pork producers and processors.

Both promise action of their own, including a possible counter lawsuit, to address what they consider an unfair and illogical decision.

"We really think it's not in the best interest, frankly, of the whole prison system," said Dick Isler, executive director of the Ohio Pork Producers Council. "It seems like we're letting a small group make the rules when it really isn't in the best interest of the rest of prisoners."

Pork is inexpensive and nutritious and compares well with other lean meats, he said.

Ironically, the inmates' lawsuit doesn't involve pork at all; it demands that non-pork meats like beef come from animals slaughtered according to Islamic law. But the prisons system responded by simply removing pork as an option altogether.

Assistant prisons director Steven Huffman has spoken with Isler, but the system isn't changing its mind, spokeswoman JoEllen Smith said Wednesday.

She said she couldn't comment on the lawsuit specifically, but said removing pork assures that inmates' religious practices aren't jeopardized by pork coming into contact with other food during preparation.

The prison system first took pork off the menu in 2009 after, in a money-saving attempt, it closed the pig farm and processing facility it operated to provide meat for inmates.

Last year, after lobbying by pork producers, the system added pork rib patties back to the menu twice a month.

The prison system couldn't immediately say Wednesday how much it spent on pork. But Kristin Mullins, who lobbies for Ohio pork processors, said the move last year actually saved Ohio money because pork was less expensive at the time than other meats.

"Let's service the entire prison population and not let one portion dictate what's being served," said Mullins, who also represents processors in Kentucky and Tennessee.

In a federal lawsuit, death row inmate Abdul Awkal complains that the state is restraining his religious freedoms by not providing meals prepared according to Islamic law, known as halal, while at the same time supplying Jewish prisoners with kosher meals.

Awkal, joined by a second inmate not on death row, says the vegetarian and non-pork options aren't good enough. The inmates say food must be prepared in specific fashion, such as ensuring that an animal is butchered by slitting its throat and draining its blood, to conform to Islamic beliefs.

Prison guidelines for Muslim inmates already provided that meals will be "free of all pork and products containing or derived from pork."

As a result, the decision to remove pork from menus won't affect the lawsuit, which will continue, said David Singleton, executive director of the Ohio Justice and Policy Center, which is suing on behalf of the two inmates.

A judge has given lawyers and inmates for the state until next month to finish filing documents bolstering their arguments, ahead of an expected January trial.

Ohio says requiring halal meals could mean new dietary plans for as many as 2,000 inmates, while Awkal's lawyers believe the figure is lower because not all Muslims eat halal meals.

Awkal, 52, is scheduled to die in June for killing his estranged wife, Latife Awkal, and brother-in-law Mahmoud Abdul-Aziz in 1992, in a room in Cuyahoga County Domestic Relations Court. Joining Awkal in the lawsuit is Cornelius Causey, 35, serving 15 years to life for murder and aggravated robbery convictions out of Hamilton County.

In court documents, Ohio has argued that it provides both non-pork and vegetarian meals to Muslims and says the courts have sided with this practice. The state also says that providing halal meals could hurt Ohio financially, given the current budget situation.

It's unclear if any other state prison system has made a similar move. California provides packaged kosher meals to Jewish inmates and halal meals prepared at prisons for Muslim prisoners, as well as including pork on the regular menu.

Muslim inmates in Texas can select regular, meat-free or pork-free meals but are not served halal meals.

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