03-29-2023  12:27 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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Signs of Love on Rucker Ave: Blushing Rocks, Scrambled Eggs, A Coffee Date

Messages on display on Totem Family Diner and Pacific Stone Co. retro signs in Everett, Wash. reveal “secret crushes.”

Idaho Hospital to Stop Baby Deliveries, Partly Over Politics

A rural hospital in northern Idaho will stop delivering babies or providing other obstetrical care, citing a shifting legal climate in which recently enacted state laws could subject physicians to prosecution for providing abortions, among other reasons

Water Contamination in Oregon Could Prompt EPA to Step In

It's been three decades since state agencies first noted high levels of nitrate contamination in the groundwater in Morrow and Umatilla counties and residents have long complained that the pollution is negatively impacting their health.

North Portland Library to Undergo Renovations and Expansion

As one of the library building projects funded by the 2020 Multnomah County voter-approved bond, North Portland Library will close to the public on April 5, 2023, to begin construction processes for its renovation and expansion.


County Distributes $5 Million in Grants to Community-Based Organizations

Awards will help 13 community-based organizations fund capital improvements to better serve historically marginalized...

Call for Submissions: Play Scripts, Web Series, Film Shorts, Features & Documentaries

Deadline for submissions to the 2023 Pacific Northwest Multi-Cultural Readers Series & Film Festival extended to April 8 ...

Motorcycle Lane Filtering Law Passes Oregon Senate

SB 422 will allow motorcyclists to avoid dangers of stop-and-go traffic under certain conditions ...

MET Rental Assistance Now Available

The Muslim Educational Trust is extending its Rental Assistance Program to families in need living in Multnomah or Washington...

Two for One Tickets for Seven Guitars on Thursday, March 23

Taylore Mahogany Scott's performance in Seven Guitars brings to life Vera Dotson, a woman whose story arose in August Wilson's...

2 high school students killed in Portland triple homicide

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Two of the three victims in a fatal shooting Saturday in Portland, Oregon, were high school students, school officials said Tuesday. The victims were identified as Franklin High School junior Eskender Tamra, and Roosevelt High School senior Isaac Daudi. The...

Judge: BNSF intentionally violated Swinomish tribe agreement

SEATTLE (AP) — A federal judge ruled Monday that BNSF Railway intentionally violated the terms of an easement agreement with the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community in Washington state by running 100-car trains carrying crude oil over the reservation. The ruling in the civil case...

MLB The Show breaks barrier with Negro League players

LOS ANGELES (AP) — MLB The Show has broken a video game barrier: For the first time, the franchise will insert some of the greatest Negro League players — from Satchel Paige to Jackie Robinson — into the 2023 edition of the game as playable characters. Video gamers are now able...

Jacksonville's Armstrong: HR surge 'out-of-body experience'

Jacksonville’s Kris Armstrong could always hit for power, but never like this. Armstrong slugged six home runs over eight at-bats against Central Arkansas this past weekend, and he's gone deep eight times in 15 trips to the plate since Thursday. “It's kind of an...


Oregon Should Reject Racist Roots, Restore Voting Rights For People in Prisons

Blocking people with felony convictions from voting started in the Jim Crow era as an intentional strategy to keep Black people from voting ...

Celebrating 196 Years of The Black Press

It was on March 17, 1827, at a meeting of “Freed Negroes” in New York City, that Samuel Cornish, a Presbyterian minister, and John Russwurn, the first Negro college graduate in the United States, established the negro newspaper. ...

DEQ Announces Suspension of Oregon’s Clean Vehicle Rebate Program

The state’s popular incentive for drivers to switch to electric vehicles is scheduled to pause in May ...

FHA Makes Housing More Affordable for 850,000 Borrowers

Savings tied to median market home prices ...


Residents of historically Black town sue to stop land sale

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — One of the first historically Black towns in the U.S. is suing the local school board to stop the sale of land that is tied up with Florida's legacy of racial segregation decades ago and the state's fast-paced growth nowadays. An association dedicated to the...

Silicon Valley Bank collapse concerns founders of color

In the hours after some of Silicon Valley Bank’s biggest customers started pulling out their money, a WhatsApp group of startup founders who are immigrants of color ballooned to more than 1,000 members. Questions flowed as the bank’s financial status worsened. Some desperately...

India expels Rahul Gandhi, Modi critic, from Parliament

NEW DELHI (AP) — India's top opposition leader and fierce critic of Prime Minister Narendra Modi was expelled from Parliament Friday, a day after a court convicted him of defamation and sentenced him to two years in prison for mocking the surname Modi in an election speech. The...


Taron Egerton slots Tetris story into place in new biopic

The origin story of the iconic computer game “Tetris” is more thrilling than you may think. It involves border crossing, authority dodging, underhand deals, putting your house on the line and — finally — trying to secure the rights for the game from behind the Iron Curtain....

'The Big Door Prize' asks deep questions about happiness

NEW YORK (AP) — Not to be rude, but are you living your best life? Are you sure? Might you be destined to be something else? Do you know what that could be? Those are some of the deep questions residents of the fictional town of Deerfield are dealing with as they confront...

Gwyneth Paltrow accuser calls Utah ski crash 'serious smack'

PARK CITY, Utah (AP) — The man suing Gwyneth Paltrow over a 2016 skiing collision at an upscale Utah resort told a jury Monday that the actor-turned-lifestyle influencer crashed into him from behind and sent him “absolutely flying.” “All I saw was a whole lot of snow. And I...


Harris out to reframe US views on Africa, foster partnership

ACCRA, Ghana (AP) — If U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris has a favorite number on her trip to Africa, it's...

Spain clean energy case shakes confidence in EU investment

MADRID (AP) — Renewable energy investors who lost subsidies promised by Spain are heading to a London court to...

Palestinian teachers' strike grows, reflecting deep crisis

AL-AZZA REFUGEE CAMP, West Bank (AP) — In schools across the world, children are halfway into their second...

Kim wants N. Korea to make more nuclear material for bombs

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has called for his nuclear scientists to increase...

Myanmar junta dissolves Suu Kyi's party, much of opposition

BANGKOK (AP) — Myanmar’s military government took another major step in its ongoing campaign to cripple its...

Israel's Netanyahu may have tough time saving judicial plan

JERUSALEM (AP) — As Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu put his contentious judicial overhaul plan on hold this...

Mitch Weiss the Associated Press

Larry Kissell, a North Carolina Democrat

LAURINBURG, N.C. (AP) -- Democrat Larry Kissell has upset an incumbent Republican congressman in a largely rural, conservative North Carolina district, and withstood a GOP surge that erased a Democratic majority in the U.S. House of Representatives.

His toughest fight, though, may lie ahead because of the new political map drawn by North Carolina's Republican-controlled Legislature. And that new vulnerability raises a larger question: Is Kissell among the last of a dying breed of Southern Democrats?

Two years ago, Democrats lost 16 House seats in 10 Southern states: North Carolina, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia. While Democrats fared well under California's and New York's redistricting plans, the new congressional district maps in the South are more favorable to Republicans.

A former textile worker and high school history teacher, Kissell, 61, promised to soldier on, focusing on economic issues that have devastated some communities in his district. He also noted that opponents have always underestimated him.

"My background is the background of the district. And even though the district lines are changing, they're still the issues that people are most concerned about," he said in an interview.

Kissell now faces new boundaries for his 8th Congressional District that encompasses more traditionally Republican areas and some of the state's fastest growing counties, mostly on the outskirts of Charlotte. Missing are several precincts in predominantly African-American communities in Mecklenburg County.

The region's history is not lost on him.

The South used to be solidly Democratic. After the Civil War, Southern whites in former Confederate states voted en masse for Democrats, who defended racial segregation. That started changing in the mid-1960s, when President Lyndon B. Johnson, a Southern Democrat, pushed hard for the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act a year later.

Richard Nixon and other Republicans adopted a Southern strategy of appealing to white voters unhappy with Democrats over civil rights legislation. The result has been big GOP gains in the South over the past four decades.

Democrats enjoyed a brief respite in 2008, when Barack Obama carried North Carolina and Virginia in the presidential election. Kissell, piggybacking on Obama's voter registration juggernaut, upset five-term incumbent Republican Rep. Robin Hayes, grandson of textile magnate Charles Cannon.

Capitalizing on voters' discontent with the economy, a new health care law and the president, Republicans rebounded in 2010 and regained control of the House. They also picked up more state legislative majorities in the South and with that, the prerogative to redraw political lines to conform with population changes measured by the census.

Nowhere is that more apparent than in North Carolina, where three Democratic seats could turn Republican in November. That was made possible in 2010, when Republicans gained control of the North Carolina General Assembly for the first time in more than a century.

In addition to Kissell, eight-term Democratic Rep. Mike McIntrye faces more registered Republicans in a newly redrawn district in the eastern part of the state. The westernmost 11th District, where Democrat Heath Shuler decided not to seek re-election, also has been made more Republican.

Despite the changes to Kissell's district, it still is predominantly rural and has some of the highest unemployment rates in North Carolina, due in part to the shuttering of textile plants. Seventy percent of it was his old district.

His challenge is to show his old constituents that he's still in touch with their problems while reaching out to new constituents in more affluent areas.

"I have knowledge of what the people in this district believe, their values, what they want, and we represent that," he said on a recent Saturday while helping other volunteers put vinyl siding on a house being built by Habitat for Humanity in Laurinburg.

"I'm not going out there to face broad waves of new people. The people understand that. They know I'm a friend of this district."

Kissell is a moderate to conservative Democrat who voted against Obama's health care overhaul and his cap-and- trade bill to reduce global warming. He also supported Shuler over former Speaker Nancy Pelosi for Democratic leader after the 2010 elections.

He must first fend off a challenger in the May 8 primary. If he prevails, he will compete against the winner of a five-candidate GOP primary in the 8th District.

One of the Republican candidates, Fred Steen II, a state legislator, says Kissell is vulnerable. "It looks very favorable for the GOP in this district and we have to stay on message," Steen said.

Kissell plays up his local ties and focuses on economic issues. That was his message in Laurinburg, an economically depressed community of about 15,000.

A generation ago, it was a place where people could go from high school to a good-paying textile job. No more. The mills have closed, the jobs shipped to Asia and other places with lower labor costs. Few if any companies have replaced them. In a row of stores on the narrow, two-lane Main Street, many are vacant.

"We lost our jobs because of bad trade deals, and that's something once again that goes back to what people understand about me," Kissell said. "I'm speaking out for American manufacturing."

He talks with pride about his amendment requiring the federal Department of Homeland Security to buy textiles made entirely in America.

Voters in the 8th District are likely to blame Washington for the nation's problems, but many are quick to support Kissell.

"I feel like he's stood up for us," said John Ellis, 54, of Laurinburg, who worked for years at textile plants until they closed. He has three teenagers and tries to work odd jobs. His wife works at a grocery store.

"The Democrats have to stay focused on working people," Ellis said. "If they don't they're going to lose because we're not going to vote. We'll stay home."

Jeff Ryan, a Republican and accountant who lives in Union County, says the GOP is energized. "This district is now solidly Republican. I can tell you I have a lot of friends, and we're getting out the vote," he said.

Nathaniel Morrison said whoever best addresses the economy will carry the district. A counselor with the Veterans Administration in Fayetteville, the 60-year-old father of four said many people are hurting. He recalled recently driving through a community and glimpsing at a shuttered factory building.

"It was closed up. It wasn't very old and it was sad. I said, `Where did all those people go?'"

Answering his own question, he lifted his green baseball cap and pointed to a label inside: Made in China.

"That's where," he said.

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MLK Breakfast 2023

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