09-29-2022  4:30 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Tiny Oregon Town Hosts 1st Wind-Solar-Battery 'Hybrid' Plant

A renewable energy plant being commissioned in Oregon combines solar power, wind power and massive batteries to store the energy generated there is the first utility-scale plant of its kind in North America.

State Senator Weighs in on Lottery Issues

Sen. James Manning of Eugene voices concerns about the Lottery’s special treatment of two of its managers

Oregon Gubernatorial Candidates Clash Over Guns, Abortion

Three candidates clashed over gun control, abortions and the homeless crisis, just six weeks before election day.

Black United Fund Launches Emerging Entrepreneur Program

Pilot program will support promising small business owner ready to take the next step.

NEWS BRIEFS

Council Approves Dunn’s Proposal to Expand Hate Crime Reporting System

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Expiring Protections: 10-Day Notices of Nonpayment of Rent And "Safe Harbor" Protections

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11 Area Post Offices to Host Hiring Events

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Rep. Janelle Bynum Champions Oregon Business and Sets Sights on Strengthening Key Industries

Rep. Bynum invited leaders and experts to discuss ways the state can champion businesses of all sizes, expand broadband, bolster the...

PPS Renames Headquarters

The central office will be named after Matthew Prophet, Portland Public School's first Black Superintendent from 1982-1992,...

1st civil trial over Portland cops’ use of force begins

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The first civil suit alleging Portland police used excessive violence against a 2020 racial justice demonstrator opened Tuesday before a jury in Multnomah County Circuit Court. Civil rights attorneys are paying close attention because the outcome could answer...

Seattle Children’s emergency room sees unprecedented demand

SEATTLE (AP) — Seattle Children’s Hospital is seeing “unprecedented demand” in its emergency department, resulting in longer wait times and providers seeing some patients in the waiting room, officials said this week. Seattle Children’s Emergency Medicine medical director...

Auburn loses 2nd center, Tate Johnson, to injury

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — Auburn has lost its second center of the season with Tate Johnson slated for surgery on his left elbow. Tigers coach Bryan Harsin said Monday that Johnson is scheduled for surgery on the elbow Thursday and is expected to miss 6-8 weeks but could be out for the...

LSU survives Daniels' injury scare in romp over New Mexico

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The LSU defense held New Mexico to 88 total yards and the Tigers survived an injury scare to starting quarterback Jayden Daniels in a 38-0 victory Saturday night at Tiger Stadium. “Once is an accident, twice is a coincidence, three times is a habit,” LSU...

OPINION

No Room for Black Folk

A recent interview with Dr. Ebony Elizabeth Thomas and an associate professor, reveals the inability of certain white Americans to share the benefits of our society ...

The Cruelty of Exploiting Vulnerable People for Political Advantage

There is always a new low for Trump Republicans. And that is pretty frightening. ...

The Military to American Youth: You Belong to Me

The U.S. military needs more than just money in its annual budget. It needs access to America’s young people as well — their wallets, their bodies, and their minds. ...

Financial Fairness at Risk With Proposed TD Bank-First Horizon Merger

As banks grow larger through mergers and focus on growing online and mobile services, serious concerns emerge on how fair and how accessible banking will be to traditionally underserved Black and Latino communities. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Trial of elderly Rwanda genocide suspect opens at UN court

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — A frail 87-year-old Rwandan accused of encouraging and bankrolling the country's 1994 genocide refused to attend the opening of his trial at a United Nations tribunal Thursday, nearly three decades after the 100-day massacre left 800,000 dead. Félicien...

Biden, Harris to attend Jackson's Supreme Court investiture

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and their spouses will attend the ceremonial investiture for Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, the Supreme Court’s newest member and its first Black female justice, a White House official said. The appearance of...

1st civil trial over Portland cops’ use of force begins

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The first civil suit alleging Portland police used excessive violence against a 2020 racial justice demonstrator opened Tuesday before a jury in Multnomah County Circuit Court. Civil rights attorneys are paying close attention because the outcome could answer...

ENTERTAINMENT

Billy Eichner made a great rom-com. Now its audiences' turn.

NEW YORK (AP) — At the Toronto International Film Festival world premiere of “Bros,” Billy Eichner exhorted the crowd to keep cheering. “Keep it going!” implored Eichner. “I want a longer ovation than ‘The Whale! ’” In the whistle-stop lead-up to the...

Model fearing Myanmar military heads to asylum in Canada

BANGKOK (AP) — A fashion model from Myanmar who feared being arrested by the country's military government if she was forced back home from exile has arrived in Canada, which she says has granted her asylum. Thaw Nandar Aung, also known as Han Lay, left on a flight from Bangkok’s...

Review: Keith Jarrett at his peak on ‘Bordeaux Concert’

“Bordeaux Concert,” Keith Jarrett (ECM Records) When Keith Jarrett gently strikes the final note on the opening piece of “Bordeaux Concert,” 15 seconds pass before concertgoers begin to applaud, taking time to savor what they just heard. New music from our...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Chinese tycoon Richard Liu faces civil trial in alleged rape

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A Chinese billionaire, one of the richest people in the world, is heading to trial in...

In sacred Brazil dunes, critics see evangelical encroachment

SALVADOR, Brazil (AP) — The vast blanket of white sand overlooking Salvador is a place to escape rumbling...

Friend or foe? Japan-China ties complicated after 50 years

TOKYO (AP) — Friend or foe? Or both? On the streets of Tokyo and Beijing, the ties between Japan and China...

Trial of elderly Rwanda genocide suspect opens at UN court

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — A frail 87-year-old Rwandan accused of encouraging and bankrolling the country's...

4th leak reported on Nord Stream pipelines in Baltic Sea

STOCKHOLM (AP) — A fourth leak on the Nord Stream pipelines has been reported off southern Sweden, the Swedish...

Ukrainian activist among winners of ‘Alternative Nobel’

STOCKHOLM (AP) — The Right Livelihood Award — known as the “Alternative Nobel” — was awarded Thursday to...

Michael Graczyk the Associated Press

HOUSTON (AP) -- It's a tradition with roots that can be traced far back in history: Before being put to death, a condemned prisoner can choose his last meal.

Not so anymore in Texas.

Officials who oversee the country's busiest death chamber stopped the practice on Thursday after a prominent state senator complained about a hefty request from a man executed for his role in a notorious dragging death. Now, inmates get to eat only what the kitchen serves.

The controversy began after Lawrence Russell Brewer, pictured at left, who was executed on Wednesday for the hate crime slaying of James Byrd Jr. more than a decade ago, asked for two chicken fried steaks, a triple-meat bacon cheeseburger, fried okra, a pound of barbecue, three fajitas, a meat lover's pizza, a pint of ice cream and a slab of peanut butter fudge with crushed peanuts. Prison officials said Brewer didn't eat any of it.

"It is extremely inappropriate to give a person sentenced to death such a privilege," Sen. John Whitmire, chairman of the Senate Criminal Justice Committee, wrote in a letter Thursday to Brad Livingston, the executive director of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

Within hours, Livingston said the senator's concerns were valid and the practice of allowing death row offenders to choose their final meal was history.

"Effective immediately, no such accommodations will be made," Livingston said. "They will receive the same meal served to other offenders on the unit."

That had been the suggestion from Whitmire, who called the traditional request "ridiculous."

"It's long overdue," the Houston Democrat told The Associated Press. "This old boy last night, enough is enough. We're fixing to execute the guy and maybe it makes the system feel good about what they're fixing to do. Kind of hypocritical, you reckon?

"Mr. Byrd didn't get to choose his last meal. The whole deal is so illogical."

Brewer, a white supremacist gang member, was convicted of chaining Byrd, 49, to the back of a pickup truck and dragging him to his death along a bumpy road in a case shocked the nation for its brutality.

It was not immediately clear whether other states have made similar moves. Some limit the final meal cost - Florida's ceiling is $40, according to the Department of Corrections website, with food to be purchased locally. Others, like Texas, which never had a designated dollar limit, mandate meals be prison-made. Some states don't acknowledge final meals, and others will disclose the information only if the inmate agrees, said K. William Hayes, a Florida-based death penalty historian.

Some states require the meal within a specific time period, allow multiple "final" meals, restrict it to one or impose "a vast number of conditions," he said.

Historical references to a condemned person's last meal go as far back as ancient Greece, China and Rome, Hayes said. Some of it is apparently rooted in superstition about meals warding off possible haunting by condemned people once they are put to death.

The Death Penalty Information Center, a Washington-based anti-capital punishment organization that collects execution statistics, said it had no data on final meals.

Since Texas resumed carrying out executions in 1982, the state correction agency's practice has been to fill a condemned inmate's request as long as the items, or food similar to what was requested, were readily available from the prison kitchen supplies.

While extensive, Brewer's request was far from the largest or most bizarre among the 475 Texas inmates put to death.

On Tuesday, prisoner Cleve Foster's request included two fried chickens, French fries and a five-gallon bucket of peaches. He received a reprieve from the U.S. Supreme Court but none of his requested meal. He was on his way back to death row, at a prison about 45 miles east of Huntsville, at the time when his feast would have been served.

Last week, inmate Steven Woods' request included two pounds of bacon, a large four-meat pizza, four fried chicken breasts, two drinks each of Mountain Dew, Pepsi, root beer and sweet tea, two pints of ice cream, five chicken fried steaks, two hamburgers with bacon, fries and a dozen garlic bread sticks with marinara on the side. Two hours later, he was executed.

Years ago, a Texas inmate even requested dirt for his final meal.

Until 2003, the Texas prison system listed final meals of each prisoner as part of its death row website. That stopped at 313 final meals after officials said they received complaints from people who found it offensive.

A former inmate cook who made the last meals for prisoners at the Huntsville Unit, where Texas executions are carried out, wrote a cookbook several years ago after he was released. Among his recipes were Gallows Gravy, Rice Rigor Mortis and Old Sparky's Genuine Convict Chili, a nod to the electric chair that once served as the execution method. The book was called "Meals to Die For."

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