The Rhodes Scholarship is one of the most prestigious scholarships that allows awardees the chance to study at Oxford University in England. Only 32 Americans are awarded the scholarship every year, and this time, a fellow Portlander received this award.
JaVaughn T. “JT” Flowers was a student at Lincoln High School. He did not perform well academically and even stayed a fifth year in high school at a boarding school in Connecticut. His efforts payed off, and he went on to study at Yale, founding an organization called A Leg Even to assist low-income Yale students by offering mentoring and tutoring services as well as connections to faculty. During his years at the Ivy League school, he studied in six different countries to examine the various cultures and politics. His thesis investigated Portland’s sanctuary city policy for immigrants undocumented in the United States. His academic excellence also resulted in receiving the Truman scholarship in 2016, which gives gifted students graduate support to help them prepare for government or public service careers.
He currently works for Representative Earl Blumenaur in Portland. “I’m essentially getting paid to learn about all the incredible work going on across all these different silos in Portland,” Flowers said in an interview with The Oregonian.
The competition for the Rhodes Scholarship is intense and involves a difficult, time-consuming application process. Finalists were flown out to Seattle for several events, including standing in front of a seven-judge panel. Rhodes Scholars have their tuition and all expenses covered to study for two or three years at Oxford.
Flowers was floored by the news. “I really don’t know how to attach words to it. I’m really at a loss. I’m so humbled.”
Blumenaur was thrilled by Flowers’ success. In an interview with the Associated Press, he stated, “He’s just an outstanding candidate for the Rhodes. He’s a very quick study, very good wth people, an incisive listener who is able to translate that back to people who contact him and to the staff in our office. We’re excited for him, and we’re excited for what he’s going to do when he’s back.
Flowers plans to earn degrees in Comparative Social Policy and Public Policy in order to give back to his hometown, Portland. “Portland is home for me and will always be home for me. I was born and raised here in the heart of Northeast Portland. I want to set up permanent shop here. I’ll be gone for a couple years, but then I’ll be right back here.”
When Jen Feldman of Portland, Oregon, discovered she needed a kidney transplant and she first reached out to her family and friends, hoping they might qualify as organ donors.
Feldman, though, didn’t give up. She sent a letter to fellow members of her synagogue, Congregation Beth Israel in Portland. Perhaps a kind-hearted acquaintance would consider her need.
Feldman’s faith in the generosity of strangers was rewarded when Jonathan Cohen offered to donate a kidney. “No, I didn’t know much about kidney donation at all,” Cohen told KATU news. But, he felt convicted to help Feldman. “It’s gonna be me,” Cohen thought after contacting Feldman.
Cohen, in fact, turned out to be the only donor qualified to help Feldman.
After a successful transplant, he reflected on the opportunity to sacrifice for another person. “Who doesn’t like being the hero in the movies or whatnot,” he said. “So to be able to be that in real life I thought was a pretty cool opportunity.”
Feldman considers her survival a miracle. “I wake up every morning and think about, and go to bed every night and think about, that someone gave me a living organ to put in my body to save my life.”
The Portland International Airport (PDX) is certainly known for its great features and popularity, having been named the best domestic airport in the United States numerous times. But this won’t stop the airport from continually striving for excellence in pleasing its travelers, resulting in several new features to help passengers and traffic.
PDX plans to build columns at the airport labeled with large, noticeable numbers to help passengers and drivers connect more quickly. This should help the flow of traffic in front of the terminals so people won’t have to wait so long to get in and out of the airport.
The hotel and rental car shuttles will be moved closer to the terminal on Island 1 on the lower level to increase traffic flow. Lyft and Uber have an allotted areas on Island 2 as well. Signs will also be displayed in the terminals to help people find their cars faster in economy parking.
The last edition PDX will implement will include an app to let passengers know when the next parking shuttle will be passing by.
In an interview with Koin6, Kama Simonds, spokesperson for the airport, stated that the general goal is to save time for passengers. “Hopefully travelers get on the right bus at the terminals, saving themselves time.”
The smell of burning timber woke Guy Fieri in his Santa Rosa, California home earlier this month. “The smoke was really bad,” the Food Network chef told local radio station KQED. “We had to evacuate at two in the morning, and we grabbed what we could, taking pictures off the wall as fast as we could. Jumped in the truck, loaded in the dogs, and away we went.”
While Fieri’s home escaped the wildfires unscathed, other Santa Rosa residents were less fortunate. So, Fieri decided to help them in the way he knew best: by preparing and serving delicious meals. The chef and his staff cooked barbecue chicken, coleslaw and bean salad in a mobile wood-fired oven and smoker, which they parked outside of town. Nearly 4,000 evacuees and volunteers lined up to sample Fieri’s cuisine on the first day.
Fieri plans to continue operating his mobile kitchen, so he can keep serving 5,000 meals daily to fellow victims and personnel. A fundraiser in partnership with the Salvation Army is financing his efforts. To donate, click here.
Veteran hiker Nathan Mitchell has walked trails in Peru, Panama, and all over the Pacific Northwest. So, when Mitchell ventured into the Mt. Hood wilderness for a solo hike, his family expected him to return safely. The weather, however, had other plans: wind and rain forced Mitchell to seek shelter and attempt a retreat to his car. Ultimately, he was forced to spend the night on a ridge above the Salmon River drainage.
When Mitchell woke, he couldn’t find the trail. “Mt Hood is a jungle,” the hiker’s father explained. “Once you get in there you can get disoriented because everything looks the same.” For the next five days, Mitchell battled trench foot and fatigue while he waited for help to arrive.
It did arrive, in a big way. Over 100 volunteers joined Mitchell’s friends and family to comb the area around his vehicle. Becky, Mitchell’s sister, described the moment when rescuers finally located her missing brother: “We just ran as fast as we could,” she said. “We slid down the ravine. It really was a beautiful moment.”
In the wake of his ordeal, Mitchell displayed the resilience which carried him through four long, cold nights. “He walked out himself,” Becky explained. “He didn’t want to be carried.” Mitchell’s parents, meanwhile, felt joy and gratitude for the support they received while waiting for news about their son. His mother, Gay, summed up the family’s feelings about the reunion with Mitchell: “It truly is an amazing miracle.”
On May 26th, two people were killed and one man was wounded while protecting two women who were being verbally assaulted by a man on the MAX in Portland. Now, the brave actions of Ricky Best, Taliesin Myrddin Namkai Meche, and Micah Fletcher will be honored by the city of Portland.
Now, several months later, TriMet announced on Thursday plans to create two tributes to the two victims: one permanent memorial and one temporary. The tributes, according to TriMet spokeswoman Robert Altstadt, will also honor the women verbally assaulted.
The first tribute will be a “large commemorative plaque” will be located at the Hollywood Transit Center in downtown Portland and is being designed by John Larsen. It will be 4 feet by 6 feet and made of porcelain enamel on steel. The plaque will include images of the memorial created by friends, families, and strangers after the initial attack.
The temporary work of art will represent the messages that covered the walls of the transit center after the attack, and the artist will include some of the original messages.
The art will be installed in the transit center around May 2018.