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Slant 8-22-2013

The biggest, wildest weekend of the year is about to hit with the Eugene Celebration starting at 5 pm Friday, the big parade Saturday morning, all the activities and music downtown and more. Our Next Big Thing music contest finalists will perform for the judges at 1 pm Saturday at the Eugene Weekly/KRVM Broadway Stage. The Eugene Women’s Half Marathon will be Sunday, along with the ever-popular Pet Parade. Competing for our attention will be the premier Kaleidoscope Music Festival rocking the Emerald Meadows for three days starting Friday, now offering half-price tickets. Let’s do it all! We can sleep when we’re old! (If you are already old, it will be 66 degrees and mostly sunny at the coast this weekend, and we hear mosquitoes are now almost tolerable at mountain lakes.)

• Is the Eugene Celebration too spendy for low-income folks? We hear that a lot with three-day wristbands at $18 ($16 in advance) and Sunday-only costing $8. The money goes to pay the musicians, construct the stages and fencing, security and police overtime, cleanup, insurance and all the other costs associated with a major community event. All things considered, it’s a bargain — cheaper than most concert tickets and about the price of a movie and popcorn. And for those who can’t afford even the Sunday ticket, there’s a lot of fun stuff going on outside the pay gates, such as the Pet Parade and Mayor’s Art Show. Saturday Market will be free as usual. And volunteering gets you in free.

• We’re sorry to hear that former county commissioner Rob Handy is at RiverBend hospital recovering from an Aug. 16 fall through the roof of his two-story barn. With broken ribs and a serious head injury, Handy was in the ICU, but according to his Caring Bridge site he has now been moved to a regular room. Friends have already patched the hole in the barn roof, but if you want to offer help or wish him well, go to caringbridge.org/visit/robhandy.

• We’re still waiting for Lane County to release the investigation into fired county administrator Liane Richardson, but we’re not holding our breath — the county’s still not that great on releasing public information. The county did tell us a little about how Richardson will be replaced. We’re told that the County Commission has asked human resources to give them a recommended process and timeline with a plan to discuss the hire after Labor Day. Spokesperson Anne Marie Levis says she believes the hire will be an open one, as opposed to a search from within (the way Richardson was hired), but nothing is firm. We want this hire to be as open and public as possible. Hopefully the conservative majority learned its lesson after appointing Richardson to the “permanent” position without a search, a decision that ended up costly for taxpayers and a blow to county government credibility.

• The intransigence of Republicans in Congress on the federal budget led to sequestration, aka mandatory across-the-board cuts of 10 percent, but we haven’t heard much about how our federal courts have been affected by the cuts. We get a glimpse in a four-page letter sent to Congress Aug. 13, signed by Oregon District Court Chief Judge Ann Aiken and 86 other presiding judges. See our news briefs this week. We often hear this session of Congress described as “do-nothing” or the “least productive in history,” but it has accomplished something: damaged our nation’s economy, education system, social safety net and infrastructure, including our judicial system. Gerrymandering, voter suppression and excessive money have loaded Congress with politicians who have no sense of government’s role in building and maintaining a civilized, just and prosperous society.