04-14-2024  7:29 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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Grants Pass Anti-Camping Laws Head to Supreme Court

Grants Pass in southern Oregon has become the unlikely face of the nation’s homelessness crisis as its case over anti-camping laws goes to the U.S. Supreme Court scheduled for April 22. The case has broad implications for cities, including whether they can fine or jail people for camping in public. Since 2020, court orders have barred Grants Pass from enforcing its anti-camping laws. Now, the city is asking the justices to review lower court rulings it says has prevented it from addressing the city's homelessness crisis. Rights groups say people shouldn’t be punished for lacking housing.

Four Ballot Measures for Portland Voters to Consider

Proposals from the city, PPS, Metro and Urban Flood Safety & Water Quality District.

Washington Gun Store Sold Hundreds of High-Capacity Ammunition Magazines in 90 Minutes Without Ban

KGW-TV reports Wally Wentz, owner of Gator’s Custom Guns in Kelso, described Monday as “magazine day” at his store. Wentz is behind the court challenge to Washington’s high-capacity magazine ban, with the help of the Silent Majority Foundation in eastern Washington.

Five Running to Represent Northeast Portland at County Level Include Former Mayor, Social Worker, Hotelier (Part 2)

Five candidates are vying for the spot previously held by Susheela Jayapal, who resigned from office in November to focus on running for Oregon's 3rd Congressional District. Jesse Beason is currently serving as interim commissioner in Jayapal’s place. (Part 2)


Americans Willing to Pay More to Eliminate the Racial Wealth Gap, Creating a New Opportunity for Black Business Owners

National research released today provides encouraging news that most Americans are willing to pay a premium price for products and...

Vibrant Communities Commissioner Dan Ryan Directs Development Funding to Complete Next Phase of Gateway Green Project

Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) is beginning a new phase of accessibility and park improvements to Gateway Green, the...

Application Opens for Preschool for All 2024-25 School Year

Multnomah County children who will be 3 or 4 years old on or before September 1, 2024 are eligible to apply now for free preschool...

PCC and LAIKA Partner to Foster Diversity in Animation

LAIKA is contributing ,000 to support student scholarships and a new animation and graphics degree. ...

Mt. Hood Community College Hosts Spring Career Fair Featuring Top Portland Employers

The event will be held April 24 at Mt. Hood Community College. ...

Can homeless people be fined for sleeping outside? A rural Oregon city asks the US Supreme Court

GRANTS PASS, Oregon (AP) — A pickleball game in this leafy Oregon community was suddenly interrupted one rainy weekend morning by the arrival of an ambulance. Paramedics rushed through the park toward a tent, one of dozens illegally erected by the town's hundreds of homeless people, then play...

Authorities say 4 people are dead after a train collided with a pickup in rural Idaho

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Four people are dead after the vehicle they were traveling in was struck by a train in rural Idaho Saturday, authorities said. Idaho State Police said the pickup was carrying a 38-year-old man, 36-year-old woman and two children, who were all from Nampa. The...

Caleb Williams among 13 confirmed prospects for opening night of the NFL draft

NEW YORK (AP) — Southern California quarterback Caleb Williams, the popular pick to be the No. 1 selection overall, will be among 13 prospects attending the first round of the NFL draft in Detroit on April 25. The NFL announced the 13 prospects confirmed as of Thursday night, and...

Georgia ends game on 12-0 run to beat Missouri 64-59 in first round of SEC tourney

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Blue Cain had 19 points, Justin Hill scored 17 off the bench and 11th-seeded Georgia finished the game on a 12-0 run to beat No. 14 seed Missouri 64-59 on Wednesday night in the first round of the Southeastern Conference Tournament. Cain hit 6 of 12 shots,...


Gallup Finds Black Generational Divide on Affirmative Action

Each spring, many aspiring students and their families begin receiving college acceptance letters and offers of financial aid packages. This year’s college decisions will add yet another consideration: the effects of a 2023 Supreme Court, 6-3 ruling that...

OP-ED: Embracing Black Men’s Voices: Rebuilding Trust and Unity in the Democratic Party

The decision of many Black men to disengage from the Democratic Party is rooted in a complex interplay of historical disenchantment, unmet promises, and a sense of disillusionment with the political establishment. ...

COMMENTARY: Is a Cultural Shift on the Horizon?

As with all traditions in all cultures, it is up to the elders to pass down the rituals, food, language, and customs that identify a group. So, if your auntie, uncle, mom, and so on didn’t teach you how to play Spades, well, that’s a recipe lost. But...

A Full Court Press to Get the Lead Out

With a “goal of identifying and remediating lead hazards in at least 2,800 Lancaster County homes,” LG Health is setting an example for the private sector. And the Biden-Harris administration’s focus on environmental justice and access to clean and safe...


Gene Herrick, AP photographer who covered the Korean War and civil rights, dies at 97

RICH CREEK, Va. (AP) — Gene Herrick, a retired Associated Press photographer who covered the Korean War and is known for his iconic images of Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks and the trial of the killers of Emmett Till in the early years of the Civil Rights Movement, died Friday. He was 97. ...

A Pittsburgh congressional race could test Democrats who have criticized Israel's handling of war

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — An election this month in Pittsburgh and some of its suburbs is emerging as an early test of whether Israel’s war with Hamas poses political threats to progressive Democrats in Congress who have criticized how the conflict has been handled. U.S. Rep. Summer...

AI-generated fashion models could bring more diversity to the industry - or leave it with less

CHICAGO (AP) — London-based model Alexsandrah has a twin, but not in the way you’d expect: Her counterpart is made of pixels instead of flesh and blood. The virtual twin was generated by artificial intelligence and has already appeared as a stand-in for the real-life Alexsandrah...


Book Review: Jen Silverman’s gripping second novel explores the long afterlife of political violence

Earlier this year a former member of the far-left Baader-Meinhof gang who spent decades in hiding was arrested by German police in connection with a string of crimes. It was just another example of the long afterlife of the anti-war movement of the late 1960s, which Jen Silverman explores in a...

What to stream this week: Billy Joel sings, Dora explores and 'Food, Inc. 2' chows down

A Billy Joel concert special celebrating his residency at Madison Square Garden and Ethan Hawke and Pedro Pascal playing cowboys and former lovers in Pedro Almodóvar’s “Strange Way of Life” are some of the new television, movies, music and games headed to a device near you. ...

Movie Review: ‘Food, Inc. 2’ revisits food system, sees reason for frustration and (a little) hope

The makers of the influential 2008 documentary “Food, Inc.” never planned to make a sequel. They figured they’d said it all in their harrowing look at a broken, unsustainable food system — a system led, they argued, by a few multinational corporations whose monopoly squeezes out local...


The shadow war between Iran and Israel has been exposed. What happens next?

BEIRUT (AP) — Iran’s unprecedented attack on Israel early Sunday marked a change in approach for Tehran, which...

World paid little attention to Sudan's war for a year. Now aid groups warn of mass death from hunger

CAIRO (AP) — On a clear night a year ago, a dozen heavily armed fighters broke into Omaima Farouq’s house in...

AI-generated fashion models could bring more diversity to the industry - or leave it with less

CHICAGO (AP) — London-based model Alexsandrah has a twin, but not in the way you’d expect: Her counterpart is...

The Latest | Israel says 99% of drones and missiles launched by Iran were intercepted

Israel on Sunday praised the success of its defenses in the face of an attack by Iran involving hundreds of...

US judge tosses out lawsuits against Libyan commander accused of war crimes

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — A U.S. judge has tossed out a series of civil lawsuits against a Libyan military...

Iran and Israel have a history of enmity. What key recent events led to Iran's assault on Israel?

TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — Iran's dramatic aerial attack on Israel follows years of enmity between the countries...

Roger M. Groves Professor of Law, Florida Coastal School of Law

The NCAA enforcement problem has festered beneath the surface for decades, and it's been allowed to grow into a multi-institutional monster. The issue became front-page news just before the start of this year's college football season when Yahoo Sports broke a story in which a former University of Miami booster claimed he had provided some shocking benefits to current and former members of the school's football team.

I think the problems with enforcement of the NCAA ethics code are too complex for a single simple solution. There are root causes we still don't dig down and deal with. Some societal, some economic, some just plain greed or ignorance.  Nor can all the issues be adequately treated in a single post. But there are some issues that seem obvious to me that no one seems to what to address. I have a few suggestions or considerations. One seeks to inspire players to do the right thing. The other is more drastic, borrowing from criminology and technology. That's for those who still don't get it. But I'll save that for another post. 

First, we need an enhanced way of inspiring the at-risk teenagers to do the right thing. The reason is because the university setting is not supposed to act like the criminal justice system. We must admit that we are asking for voluntary compliance by players to comply with NCAA rules. The problem with getting at-risk star players to conform to NCAA rules doesn't start with college. Grown-ups identify and coddle those with superior athletic ability at or before puberty. Then the adoring community that loves to see their schools win, including some teachers, sends the subtle but consistent message that for these youngsters, the normal rules do not apply. It should not then surprise us that some of these mixed-messaged 10-12 year olds become teenagers who are high risks for rules violations. And then there is often family dysfunction where too often the absent or incarcerated father is replaced by AAU coaches or other sports pimps of sorts.  The player becomes more a commodity than the loved one.

Yet the essence of fatherhood is irreplaceable.  The loving daily presence gives a special standing and entre' to the kid's heart and mind. The father can then penetrate the athletic aura and say, "Oh no. You won't do that!" Magic Johnson has plenty of stories about how his father made sure certain behaviors were put in check despite his tremendous fame in high school. He was blessed with that loving connection and correction as part of daily living. Many blessed with great talent are not so blessed with the simple parental influences that many of us take for granted or have forgotten. 

We should remember too that there are plenty of studies about the disparity –in rules and resources - between the urban public schools in large urban areas and the schools most college students come from. The vast majority of African Americans in public schools are from a dozen urban under-resourced schools with challenges very different from the suburban high per-capita cost per student schools.  All those factors among others bring tremendous adjustment issues once these players go to college. And college itself is the first sniff of almost complete freedom that has snared more than just athletes. 

I am not making excuses for bad behavior, just reasons why it exists. If we don't understand the problem, we are less likely to find a solution. And unless we understand what motivates and inspires the players, we have little chance of knowing what buttons to push to create changed behavior among those likely to commit NCAA infractions through their own choice. The separate and next issue is what to do about it. One part of the solution is for qualitative family circumstances early in life. But the past links us to the present and that tragically will take far longer to fix.

So we need to start with inspiring teenagers to transform a past "rules don't apply to me" mentality to the new and very daunting set of rules found in the near-IRS Code level NCAA rule book. Some of us with little appreciation for this transformational issue act shocked as to why such players don't instantly transform themselves. But for the star teenagers most at-risk, the motivational threat of "I better not go to the bar because of NCAA Rule 1.2 or whatever..." is not working.

I think such a player is more likely influenced by the pro players he already dreams to be like – players that are already in his consciousness and subconscious recesses of his mind. And last I checked it is still the mind that controls the decision of whether to go to the strip club after curfew. 

Several centuries before there was an NCAA or its rules defining players as amateurs there was a respected Chinese philosopher named Lao Tzu that said, "To lead people, walk beside them."  The sports translation in my view is, "To lead players away from NCAA violations, enlist the help of those who have walked in their shoes." 

Currently, coaches bring in idolized pro players for pep talks to inspire their kids just before big games.  That's a good thing. But the occasional occurrence still squanders a bigger opportunity to inspire the wide-eyed teenagers to have behavioral excellence off the field as well. These pro players have already walked in their cleats. They speak a language with the college players I cannot fully comprehend. As Oklahoma's Coach Stoops put it when explaining why and when he knew his starting quarterback Landry Jones became a team leader, "Players don't fool other players."  And the more I research the off-field accomplishments of so many pro players, the more I am convinced that among the 1,696 NFL players each year, many have the discipline, integrity, and charisma to greatly influence behaviors of current college stars that are at risk of future NCAA infractions. We just need to better tap that resource.

If you want proof that pro players are influential in the behaviors of at-risk college players, answer the following question. Why did the teenagers want to dive into the end zone or dance once they got there? It wasn't because they were former gymnasts. They weren't interviewing for Dancing with the Stars. It was because they followed the lead of those they dream of being someday – NFL players.  And let's be honest, many of the at-risk players are already culturally connected with the pro touchdown makers. They are modeling players who look like them, talk like them, culturally connected with them, and came from neighborhoods that cook collards the same way. And a surprising number are cousins. They watched those end zone displays on television. That was messaging of what to do when you get to the end of the rainbow. The pros unwittingly were leading by example.

But I am also convinced many pro players can send the message that it is stupid to waste the precious opportunity of college play. Why not have an all-out blitz of infraction free messaging? It can happen. In some ways, it already has in the NBA. Back when high schoolers could jump directly into the NBA, statistical reports clearly show the teenagers had far fewer scrapes with the law than the NBA players overall. That was in large part because of the mentoring they received from veteran players. And that was without institutionalized and programmatic incentives. This is a bigger problem. More players, making more money for more schools, and more businesses and hangers-on trying to get the money they generate.

If Mark Ingram mentors the player, there is a better chance that the target teenager will say "What would Mark Ingram do?"  There is a better chance he will stay sequestered in his room because he remembered Mark telling him, "I was on the cover of that EA Sports video game you play because I kept my a__ __ in places where I could not get into fights with drunks."

Charles Woodson will probably get the attention of pride-filled college kids. He was only a University of Michigan All-American and winner of both a Heisman Trophy and a Super Bowl. He could tell many from tough backgrounds that he too came from humble beginnings and it was no excuse.  He just had to work harder. Woodson could also tell them strip clubs did not inspire him to succeed on the field, or put $2 million to help fund a new children's hospital for the U of M. There is a book's worth of other infraction-free players who could lead the current infraction risky players.
Roger Groves is a retired judge and sports columnist living in Florida. 

The Skanner Foundation's 38th Annual MLK Breakfast