06-21-2018  5:19 am      •     
The Skanner Report
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NEWS BRIEFS

AG Rosenblum Seeks Info from Oregonians

Oregon Attorney General seeks information on children separated from families at border ...

Community Forum: How Does Law Enforcement Interact With Vulnerable Populations?

Forum will focus on public safety and examine mental health and addiction issues ...

King County Council Recognizes Juneteenth

The Metropolitan King County Council recognizes a true 'freedom day' in the United States ...

Unite Oregon Hosts ‘Mourn Pray Love, and Take Action’ June 20

Community is invited to gather at Terry Schrunk Plaza at 6 p.m. on World Refugee Day ...

MRG Foundation Announces Spring 2018 Grantees

Recipients include Oregon DACA Coalition, Kúkátónón Children’s African Dance Troupe, Komemma Cultural Protection Association ...

Ex-basketball coach sentenced to 60 days for sex abuse

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A former Beaverton basketball coach has been sentenced to 60 days in jail and five years of probation for sexually abusing a teenage girl he met through work.KOIN-TV reported Wednesday 34-year-old Laurence Metz was convicted of two counts of sex abuse.Metz was a coach...

Legal pot will roll out differently in Canada than in US

Mail-order weed? You betcha!With marijuana legalization across Canada on the horizon, the industry is shaping up to look different from the way it does in nine U.S. states that have legalized adult recreational use of the drug. Age limits, government involvement in distribution and sales, and...

APNewsBreak: Schools mum on ties to doc in sex abuse inquiry

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A now-dead doctor accused of sexual misconduct by former student athletes at Ohio State University said he acted as a team physician at other universities, most of which won't say if they are reviewing those connections or whether any concerns were raised about him.Ohio...

Trudeau: Canada to legalize marijuana on Oct. 17

TORONTO (AP) — Marijuana will be legal nationwide in Canada starting Oct. 17 in a move that should take market share away from organized crime and protect the country's youth, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Wednesday.The Senate gave final passage to the bill to legalize cannabis on...

OPINION

How Washington’s 'School Achievement Index' Became School Spending Index

New assessment categorizes schools not by quality of education, but level of funding officials believe they should receive ...

Black Mamas Are Dying. We Can Stop It.

Congresswoman Robin Kelly plans to improve access to culturally-competent care with the MOMMA Act ...

Hey, Elected Officials: No More Chicken Dinners...We Need Policy

Jeffrey Boney says many elected officials who visit the Black community only during the election season get a pass for doing nothing ...

Juneteenth: Freedom's Promise Still Denied

Juneteenth is a celebration of the de facto end of slavery, but the proliferation of incarceration keeps liberation unfulfilled ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Young immigrants detained in Virginia center allege abuse

WASHINGTON (AP) — Immigrant children as young as 14 housed at a juvenile detention center in Virginia say they were beaten while handcuffed and locked up for long periods in solitary confinement, left nude and shivering in concrete cells.The abuse claims against the Shenandoah Valley...

AP Explains: US has split up families throughout its history

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Some critics of the forced separation of Latino children from their migrant parents say the practice is unprecedented. But it's not the first time the U.S. government has split up families, detained children or allowed others to do so .Throughout American history,...

The Latest: Messi gets a chance to save face against Croatia

MOSCOW (AP) — The Latest on Wednesday at the World Cup (all times local):12:16 a.m.Lionel Messi is going to have a hard time keeping up with Cristiano Ronaldo at this year's World Cup.Ronaldo has all of Portugal's goals, a tournament-leading four so far, and has been getting in digs at Messi...

ENTERTAINMENT

Dig it: Archaeologists scour Woodstock '69 concert field

BETHEL, N.Y. (AP) — Archaeologists scouring the grassy hillside famously trampled during the 1969 Woodstock music festival carefully sifted through the dirt from a time of peace, love, protest and good vibes.Perhaps they would find an old peace symbol? Or a strand of hippie beads? Or Jimi...

Behind the making of Jack-Jack, the summer's breakout star

NEW YORK (AP) — The breakout star of the summer moviegoing season isn't a dinosaur, an Avenger or anyone aboard the Millennium Falcon. It's a giggling pipsqueak in diapers."The Incredibles 2," which last weekend set a new box-office record for animated films with 2.7 million in ticket...

Ariana Grande, Pete Davidson are engaged

LOS ANGELES (AP) — It's true, Pete Davidson says: He and Ariana Grande are engaged.The "Saturday Night Live" cast member confirmed their rumored engagement to Jimmy Fallon on NBC's "Tonight Show."Fallon put Davidson on the spot Wednesday, telling him he didn't have to get engaged to the pop...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

New Zealand leader welcomes newborn girl 'to our village'

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern gave birth to a daughter Thursday...

APNewsBreak: Schools mum on ties to doc in sex abuse inquiry

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A now-dead doctor accused of sexual misconduct by former student athletes at Ohio...

Israeli PM's wife charged with fraud, breach of trust

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli prosecutors have charged Sara Netanyahu, the prime minister's wife, with a series...

Military vows to recover bodies from sunken Indonesia ferry

TIGARAS, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesia's military chief said Thursday that specialist navy equipment will be...

Voting machines raise worries in Congo ahead of elections

DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — Congo's government is moving forward with plans to use electronic voting machines in...

Japan to scrap evacuation drills for NKorean missile threat

TOKYO (AP) — Japan plans to suspend the civilian evacuation drills it started last year while North Korea...

MIKE HOUSEHOLDER AND JEFF KAROUB, Associated Press

FLINT, Mich. (AP) — Six current or former state employees were charged Friday with misconduct and other crimes in the Flint water crisis, bringing to nine the number of public officials facing prosecution over the lead contamination that alarmed parents across the country.

Attorney General Bill Schuette filed a total of 18 new charges against three employees from the Department of Environmental Quality — Liane Shekter Smith, Adam Rosenthal and Patrick Cook — and three from the Department of Health and Human Services — Nancy Peeler, Corinne Miller and Robert Scott. In addition to the misconduct in office charges, there were willful neglect of duty and various conspiracy counts.

"Each attempted to bury or cover up, downplay or hide info that contradicted their own narrative, their story ... (that) there's nothing wrong with Flint water, it's perfectly safe to use. In essence, these individuals concealed the truth and they were criminally wrong to do so," Schuette said at a news conference in the poor, predominantly black city of nearly 100,000 people 55 miles north of Detroit.

Under the leadership of a state-appointed emergency manager, officials in April 2014 began using the Flint River as Flint's water supply. State officials did not require that the river water be treated for corrosion, and lead from aging pipes and fixtures leached into Flint homes and businesses. The city remained on that water supply for 18 months, despite complaints from residents.

Elevated levels of the toxin were discovered in children. Lead contamination has been linked to learning disabilities and other problems.

Shekter Smith, former head of the state's drinking water office, appeared last month in a Detroit courtroom so her lawyer could assert her constitutional right against self-incrimination amid ongoing investigations. She hadn't yet been charged but was reassigned after the water crisis came to light and her firing was announced in February.

Shekter Smith's attorney, Brian Morley, said Friday that he was surprised she was charged.

"It's disappointing. ... I think we're going to be really hard-pressed to find that she did anything wrong, and certainly nothing criminally wrong," he said.

Neither Cook, Rosenthal nor Peeler immediately responded to phone messages seeking comment. A listed number for Scott couldn't be found and Miller's attorney, Kristen Guinn, declined to discuss the case.

It's the second round of charges stemming from the water crisis. In January, Schuette announced the appointment of a special counsel to help his office investigate whether laws were broken. In April, two state regulators and a city employee were charged with official misconduct, evidence-tampering and other offenses. At the time, the Republican attorney general guaranteed others would also be charged.

Flint utilities administrator Mike Glasgow struck a deal with prosecutors in May, pledging cooperation in exchange for reduced charges as authorities continue investigating lead contamination of the city's drinking water supply. He entered a no contest plea to one count of willful neglect of duty, a misdemeanor, in exchange for dismissal of a felony charge of tampering with evidence.

Two state Department of Environmental Quality officials also were charged with misconduct, conspiracy, tampering with test results and misdemeanor violations of clean-water law and await preliminary examinations.

In June, Schuette filed a lawsuit against two water engineering companies, saying their negligence caused and exacerbated Flint's lead-tainted water crisis and demanding what could total hundreds of millions of dollars in damages.

Schuette and Andy Arena, the lead investigator who once led Detroit's FBI office, say nobody is off-limits from investigation or prosecution.

"You don't start at the top," Arena said. "We're starting to work our way up, and expanding our investigation. ... The scope of the investigation is progressing exactly how it should be."

The public health emergency was preceded by E. coli detections; resident complaints about color, odor and taste; and high levels of a disinfectant byproduct. A General Motors plant had stopped using the water just six months after the 2014 switch because it was rusting engine parts, and experts suspect a deadly Legionnaires' disease outbreak was tied to the water.

Gov. Rick Snyder has apologized for regulatory failures, and the state environmental agency has said it wasn't required to add an anti-corrosion chemical until after a year of testing.

In March, a state task force that investigated the Flint crisis concluded that it was a "case of environmental injustice." The Michigan Civil Rights Commission is holding public hearings on the matter.

Federal experts now say filtered tap water is safe for everyone to drink in Flint, though some doctors still are recommending bottled water for pregnant women and children ages 5 and younger. 

 

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Karoub reported from Detroit. Associated Press writer John O'Connor in Springfield, Illinois, contributed to this report.

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