02-07-2023  12:06 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Arrest Made in Stolen Yacht Rescue, 'Goonies' Fish Incident

Oregon police called it a series of “really odd” events along the Pacific Northwest coast spanning 48 hours that concluded Friday night with the arrest of a Canadian man.

Portland Cop Fired for Leaking False Allegations Against City Commissioner Reinstated

Mayor Ted Wheeler fired Brian Hunzeker after he leaked a false complaint saying city Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty had been involved in a hit-and-run crash.

Hundreds of Portland City Workers on Strike for Better Pay

Workers represented by the union Laborers’ Local 483 have been without a contract since June. Negotiations over a new four-year deal broke down in December

Washington State Gov. Inslee Tests Positive for COVID-19

He plans to continue working. Trudi Inslee, the first spouse, has tested negative.

NEWS BRIEFS

Allen Temple C.M.E. Church Announces Annual Unsung Heroes & Heroines Award Luncheon

The purpose of the award is to acknowledge and honor individuals and/or organizations who are unsung heroes/heroines who make a...

Bonamici Invites Portland Community College President to 2023 State of the Union

PCC recently received 0K to advance semiconductor, advanced manufacturing training ...

Market Features Work of Local Black-Owned Businesses for Black History Month

MESO Makers Market in Portland to feature the work of 40 local, Black-owned small businesses to celebrate Black History Month in...

The Seattle Public Library's Homework Help Program Expands to Eight Locations and Increases Hours

Homework Help, The Seattle Public Library’s free after school tutoring service, will add two locations and increase hours in...

County Seeks Community Needs Survey Responses From Residents

Clark County Community Services is asking residents who are low-income to complete a survey to help determine what resources and...

1 missing, 2 rescued from crab boat off Washington coast

RAYMOND, Wash. (AP) — A crew member remains missing and two others were rescued from crab boat that sank near Willapa Bay in southwest Washington on Sunday evening, according to the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard on Twitter posted a video and said a helicopter crew from Astoria,...

Proposed bill would pay incarcerated workers minimum wage

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — A Washington state lawmaker who has spent time in prison wants the state to pay incarcerated workers minimum wage for doing their jobs. State Rep. Tarra Simmons, D-Bremerton, is sponsoring House Bill 1024, called the “Real Labor, Real Wages Act,” to raise...

Jones scores 18, Southern Illinois tops Missouri State 73-53

CARBONDALE, Ill. (AP) — Lance Jones' 18 points helped Southern Illinois defeat Missouri State 73-53 on Sunday. Jones also added four steals for the Salukis (18-7, 10-4 Missouri Valley Conference). Troy D'Amico shot 5 of 6 from the field and 4 for 4 from the line to add 15 points....

DeVries and Drake earn 85-82 2OT win over Valparaiso

VALPARAISO, Ind. (AP) — Tucker DeVries scored a career-high 32 points and grabbed 11 rebounds and Drake beat Valparaiso 85-82 in double overtime on Saturday night. Roman Penn scored 16 points and added 12 rebounds and six assists for the Bulldogs (19-6, 10-4 Missouri Valley...

OPINION

Updates That May Affect Your Tax Season

The IRS released a statement that taxpayers should brace themselves for small tax refunds due to no economic impact payments ...

Unaffordable Rental Costs Now Plague 44 Million People in Every State Economic Inequality Places Most Risk of Eviction on Blacks and the Poor

For the first time in more than two decades of research, every state now has renters who are nearing a financial breaking point in housing affordability. ...

The Beating and Murder of Mr. Tyre Nichols, A Black Man

Time to Abolish the Criminal Injustice System ...

It's Time to Irrigate the Fallow Ground of Minority Media Ownership

In 2023, one aspect of civil rights and racial justice that barely remains addressed is racial inclusion in media ownership. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Arkansas Gov. Sanders to offer State of the Union rebuttal

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, once a White House press secretary for President Donald Trump, is set to return to the national stage when she delivers the GOP response to President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address. Sanders, 40, is giving the...

State of the Union? Congress doesn't fully reflect diversity

WASHINGTON (AP) — When lawmakers gather for President Joe Biden's State of the Union address, the Republican side of the aisle will look slightly different than it did a few years ago. Rather than row after row of white men in suits, the House Republican majority increasingly has...

Missouri governor denies clemency for man facing execution

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Missouri Gov. Mike Parson said Monday he will not grant clemency and halt the execution of Raheem Taylor, who faces lethal injection for the deaths of his girlfriend and her three children. Taylor, 58, is scheduled to be put to death Tuesday evening at the state...

ENTERTAINMENT

List of Grammy winners in top categories

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Winners Sunday in the top categories at the 65th Grammy Awards: — Album of the year: “Harry’s House,” Harry Styles — Record of the year: “About Damn Time,” Lizzo — Song of the year (songwriter’s award): “Just Like...

Viola Davis' Grammy win for audiobook makes her an EGOT

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Viola Davis has achieved EGOT status. The actor won a Grammy Award Sunday for best audio book, narration, and storytelling recording for her memoir “Finding Me.” “I just EGOT!” she shouted from the stage as she accepted the trophy, using the...

Grammys 2023 live updates: Latest news from red carpet, show

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Follow along for real-time, on-the-carpet and behind-the-scenes updates on the 2023 Grammy Awards from The Associated Press. Live updates — any times Pacific — are brought to you by AP journalists at the show in Los Angeles and around the country. ___ ...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

The Grammys ended in controversy, again. Here’s what to know

NEW YORK (AP) — A night in music brimming with shocking upsets, historic wins, tributes for artists like the...

What to Watch: New political vibes this State of the Union

WASHINGTON (AP) — Look for new faces and fresh political dynamics as President Joe Biden delivers this year's...

Lucky player in Washington wins 7 million Powerball prize

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Someone in Washington state overcame steep odds Monday night to win an estimated 7...

EU Parliament planning for possible Zelenksyy visit in days

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union's legislature was preparing plans Monday to host Volodymyr Zelenskyy should...

India's aircraft carriers key to Indo-Pacific strategy

NEW DELHI (AP) — India is preparing to relaunch its INS Vikramaditya aircraft carrier after a major refit, a...

Hong Kong transgender men win appeal over status change

HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong’s top court ruled Monday that full sex reassignment surgery should not be a...

Elizabeth Cohen Senior Medical Correspondent

(CNN) -- Those who were diagnosed with cancer after working at the World Trade Center site following the September 11, 2001, terror attacks were relieved earlier this week to find out that the federal government would compensate them for their illnesses.

But the news came too late for Jevon Thomas, a worker who died of a rare cancer in April, penniless and distraught. He was 45.

Thomas spent more than a year working on "the pile," breathing in fumes from burning jet fuel and asbestos. For 10 years, federal authorities said it was impossible to make a link between his work and his illness.

"He was so depressed. He didn't want to talk to anybody," says his daughter, Monet Thomas. "If he could have heard this news, it would have made him so happy."

It's not known how many of those who worked at ground zero have died of cancer, according to Dr. Michael Crane, director of the World Trade Center Health Program Clinical Center at New York's Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

While relatives of deceased workers may file claims, the federal program provides no financial or emotional solace for the workers who have died.

"I'm so grateful cancers were included, but when I'm reminded of the people who've died, I get a pain in my heart," Crane says. "It's a real tragedy."

Didn't hesitate to say 'yes'

Thomas was working for a company that installs portable toilets when the planes hit the World Trade Center.

He didn't hesitate to say yes when his boss asked him to set up toilets at ground zero for the emergency workers. He told CNN in an interview two years ago that he worked there without a mask for 10 hours a day, seven days a week, for about 14 months.

Around the time he stopped working at ground zero, he noticed a lump on his hand. It turned out to be a rare cancer called epithelioid sarcoma.

Thomas had several surgeries and rounds of chemotherapy and had to quit his $65,000-a-year job.

His physician, Dr. Iris Udasin at Rutgers University, found him as much charity care as possible, but his family suffered financially as Thomas' wife is disabled and couldn't work to support their two young children.

At the time, workers could apply for money from the federal September 11th Victim Compensation Fund if they suffered respiratory problems -- but not cancer, because a scientific link had not been found between the disease and breathing in the fumes at ground zero.

"Instead of everyone uniting, coming together, and figuring out a way to help you, they're figuring out a way of not helping you to save a dollar," Thomas said in 2010. "And that's what it all boils down to. A dollar."

What hurt Thomas the most, his daughter says, is that after graduating high school with honors, she got accepted to a community college, attended orientation and then had to leave because her family couldn't pay the tuition. More than anything, her father had wanted her to be the first in their family to attend college.

"He didn't care about himself. All he cared about was me and my brother," Monet Thomas says through tears. "He knew we needed help."

Her brother hasn't been able to find work, her mother is too sick to work and Monet, 21, supports the family by working as a hotel clerk in Secaucus, New Jersey.

"I feel like I'm going nowhere," she says.

'Tension between two poles'

When CNN interviewed Thomas two years ago, he said he was "100% sure" his cancer came from his work at ground zero.

"You can't work in an environment with so many different chemicals and carcinogens ... for a year straight, day in and day out, and not come down with something," he said.

But scientists weren't so sure. While someone's cancer might be because of his or her work at ground zero, it might also have been a coincidence -- Thomas might have gotten cancer anyway.

The long lag time makes it particularly difficult to study the link between ground zero and cancer. Cancer doesn't develop quickly after breathing in something toxic, the way asthma might. Instead, leukemia can take five to six years to develop, and solid tumors can take 10 to 20 years.

"People were very concerned that they were going to pull the trigger on the (federal) coverage too soon and they would end up covering people who didn't have a World Trade Center cancer," Crane says.

"They were trying to do this in an absolutely scientific way, according to rigorous principles of epidemiology, which is important to do," Crane adds. "But on the other hand, you have to balance that against the needs of needy and really sick people. There's a tension between those two poles."

In the end, a study of firefighters helped persuade the government to include cancers. In the study, firefighters who worked at ground zero were 19% more likely to develop cancer than firefighters who did not.

'He would never take it back'

Monet Thomas says her father would be "grateful" for the decision to compensate cancer victims who worked at ground zero, even though it took more than a decade.

"He would be crying right now," she said when she heard about the decision.

Even though her father was depressed, destitute and felt alone at the end of his life, she says he never regretted his work on the pile.

"He was proud of what he did," she says. "He was a hero, and he would never take it back."

CNN's Stephanie Smith, William Hudson and Georgiann Caruso contributed to this report.

 

MLK Breakfast 2023

Photos from The Skanner Foundation's 37th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Breakfast.