06-14-2024  11:50 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

‘Feeling Our Age’: Oregon Artist Explores Aging Through Portraiture

64 women were painted and asked to reflect on lives well lived.

Off-Duty Guard Charged With Killing Seattle-Area Teen After Mistaking Toy for Gun, Authorities Say

Prosecutors charged 51-year-old Aaron Brown Myers on Monday in connection with the death of Hazrat Ali Rohani. Myers was also charged with assault after authorities say he held another teen at gunpoint. His attorney says Myers sincerely believed he was stopping a violent crime.

James Beard Finalists Include an East African Restaurant in Detroit and Seattle Pho Shops

The James Beards Awards are the culinary world's equivalent of the Oscars. For restaurants, even being named a finalist can bring wide recognition and boost business.

Ranked-Choice Voting Expert Grace Ramsey on What Portland Voters Can Expect in November

Ramsey has worked in several other states and cities to educate voters on new system of voting. 

NEWS BRIEFS

Montavilla Pool to Reopen in July After Mandatory Maintenance

The pool will open later this summer due to an upgrade to the pool’s plumbing that required a more complex solution to achieve...

Coalition of 43 AGs Reach $700 Million Nationwide Settlement With Johnson and Johnson Over Deceptive Marketing; Oregon to Receive $15 Million

Today, Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum and 42 other attorneys general announced they have reached a 0 million nationwide...

Juneteenth 2024 Events in Portland and Seattle

View events celebrating Juneteenth in the Portland and Seattle area ...

Kobi Flowers Crowned 2024 Rose Festival Queen

Flowers has been active in her school community as member of the leadership team at Self Enhancement, Inc., Varsity Cheer...

Summer Events are Shining Through at Multnomah County Library

Start your June by honoring Juneteenth, celebrating Pride and playing the Summer Reading game. ...

Washington's Makah Tribe could once again harpoon whales as US waives conservation law

SEATTLE (AP) — The United States granted the Makah Indian Tribe in Washington state a long-sought waiver Thursday that helps clear the way for its first sanctioned whale hunts since 1999 and sets the stage for renewed clashes with animal rights activists. The Makah, a tribe of 1,500...

Washington state's Makah tribe is granted a waiver that helps clear the way for it to resume traditional whale hunts

SEATTLE (AP) — Washington state's Makah tribe is granted a waiver that helps clear the way for it to resume traditional whale hunts....

Josh Sargent out for Colombia friendly, could miss Copa America

McLEAN, Va. (AP) — United States forward Josh Sargent could miss Saturday's friendly against Colombia and could be dropped from the Copa America roster. A 24-year-old from O'Fallon, Missouri, Sargent scored 16 goals in 26 league games with Norwich in England's second-tier League...

Duke tops Missouri 4-3 in 9 innings to win first super regional, qualify for first WCWS

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — D'Auna Jennings led off the top of the ninth inning with a home run to end a scoreless pitching duel between Cassidy Curd and Missouri's Laurin Krings and 10th-seeded Duke held on for a wild 4-3 victory over the seventh-seeded Tigers on Sunday in the finale of the...

OPINION

Supreme Court Says 'Yes” to Consumer Protection, "No" to Payday Lenders 7-2 Decision Upholds CFPB’s Funding

A recent 7-2 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court gave consumers a long-sought victory that ended more than a decade of challenges over the constitutionality of the agency created to be the nation’s financial cop on the beat. ...

The Skanner News May 2024 Primary Endorsements

Read The Skanner News endorsements and vote today. Candidates for mayor and city council will appear on the November general election ballot. ...

Nation’s Growing Racial and Gender Wealth Gaps Need Policy Reform

Never-married Black women have 8 cents in wealth for every dollar held by while males. ...

New White House Plan Could Reduce or Eliminate Accumulated Interest for 30 Million Student Loan Borrowers

Multiple recent announcements from the Biden administration offer new hope for the 43.2 million borrowers hoping to get relief from the onerous burden of a collective

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

San Francisco park where a grandmother was fatally beaten will now have her name

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The San Francisco park where a grandmother was beaten and then later died from her injuries will now bear her name. Family and friends will gather Saturday for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially usher in the newly named Yik Oi Huang Peace and Friendship...

Top US bishop worries Catholic border services for migrants might be imperiled by government action

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Government officials would be infringing on religious freedom if they were to restrict the Catholic Church’s work serving migrants along the U.S.-Mexico border, says a top U.S. bishop. Archbishop Timothy Broglio, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic...

Alex Jones’ personal assets will be sold to help pay Sandy Hook debt as judge decides Infowars’ fate

HOUSTON (AP) — A federal judge on Friday ordered the liquidation of conspiracy theorist Alex Jones ′ personal assets but was still deciding on his company’s separate bankruptcy case, leaving the future of his Infowars media platform uncertain as he owes jumi.5 billion for his false claims that...

ENTERTAINMENT

Meet Will Butler, the singer-songwriter who makes Broadway's 'Stereophonic' rock

NEW YORK (AP) — The assignment was daunting: Write a song for an onstage moment of transcendence. Make it kind of funny and exciting and for a five-piece band. Write it so it justifies an audience sitting in their seats for two hours before they hear it. And, oh, it must plausibly be a rock hit...

Roger Daltrey talks new tour, thoughts on Broadway’s ‘Tommy’ and future of The Who

NEW YORK (AP) — As Roger Daltrey hits the road on a short solo tour this June, he’s unsure if fans will ever see another tour from The Who. “I don’t see it. I don’t know whether The Who’ll ever will go out again,” he told The Associated Press over Zoom. The...

Book Review: Yume Kitasei explores space in a heist-driven action adventure novel

Grad student Maya Hoshimoto is having a hard time settling down on Earth after a thrilling career as an art thief, stealing looted objects and returning them to their people. So when her best friend Auncle — an octopus-like being from another solar system — offers one last job, of course she...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Putin offers truce if Ukraine exits Russian-claimed areas and drops NATO bid. Kyiv rejects it

Russian President Vladimir Putin promised Friday to “immediately” order a cease-fire in Ukraine and start...

G7 leaders tackle migration, artificial intelligence on the second day of their summit in Italy

BARI, Italy (AP) — Leaders of the Group of Seven leading industrialized nations turned their attention to...

Bird flu is highly lethal to some animals, but not to others. Scientists want to know why

NEW YORK (AP) — In the last two years, bird flu has been blamed for the deaths of millions of wild and domestic...

What happened this week in the UK election campaign, from manifesto launches to robots and Haribos

LONDON (AP) — The U.K.'s general election campaign has now passed the halfway mark, and finally the main...

An Italian activist elected to European Parliament has been freed in Hungary, will return home soon

ROME (AP) — An Italian anti-fascist activist was released from house arrest in Hungary on Friday after being...

Moschino literally shreds the fashion rules on first day of Milan Fashion Week

MILAN (AP) — Milan Fashion Week reserved for mostly menswear previews opened Friday with two co-ed collections,...

Jennifer Liberto CNN Money

WASHINGTON (CNNMoney) -- Budget cuts at the Internal Revenue Service are causing long lines for the poor and elderly seeking free tax preparation advice, lengthier hold times for IRS help line calls and delays in tax refunds for identify theft victims.

With a hiring freeze preventing the IRS from replacing workers who retire or leave for other jobs, existing staffers say they're feeling the pressure of lack of manpower, according to the National Treasury Employees Union, which represents federal employees at the tax collection agency.

The IRS has lost 10,000 employees to attrition in just the past two years, or over 9% of its total workforce.

"We are doing as best we can with a staff of 14 that used to be a staff of 32," said one IRS employee about working conditions in a survey conducted by the union.

In an effort to prevent additional budget cuts from wreaking havoc during the height of the tax filing season, the IRS pushed back employee furloughs until the summer, after the April 15 deadline for filing tax returns.

Forced cuts have already begun to take root at dozens of other federal agencies, triggered on March 1 by $85 billion in automatic government spending cuts. Tens of thousands of defense workers have lost jobs and federal public defenders have already started to take unpaid time off at home.

The IRS has been trimming costs in preparation for the forced budget cuts, just like other agencies. That's meant that staff levels have dwindled at the 389 Taxpayer Assistance Centers nationwide. Typically, these centers offer tax and retirement counseling for the elderly and help the poor prepare their returns for free.

The National Taxpayer Advocate estimated that these centers will serve about 5.4 million people by this year's tax filing deadline, down from 6.4 million in 2011, according to a report.

IRS workers told the union that taxpayers are lining up outside the centers "beginning in the pre-dawn hours" before the assistance centers open, according to the union survey.

Budget cuts and lack of staff have increased wait times for those seeking IRS help by phone to 18 minutes on average this tax season. That's up from 13 minutes in 2011, according to the National Taxpayer Advocate's report.

The likelihood that a caller would get a live IRS employee on the phone for tax questions also fell, according to the report. This year only 63% of taxpayers who call the IRS are expected to successfully get help, down from 70% of callers in 2011. More taxpayers just hang up in frustration, the report found.

Identity theft victims are among the worst hit -- having to wait six months to a year if they're seeking tax refunds, the union said.

The situation could only get worse. Currently, IRS employees are facing between five and seven days of unpaid time off, with the first furlough possibly kicking in around Memorial Day, May 27.

The agency has also been cutting costs for travel, training, facilities and supplies, according to a February memo from IRS acting Commissioner Steven Miller.

The survey was produced from an analysis of thousands of written responses by IRS employees who wrote essays explaining how budget cuts were affecting taxpayer services, said union spokeswoman Dina Long.

A request for comment from Treasury Department was not returned.

 

The Skanner Foundation's 38th Annual MLK Breakfast