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The United States, it turns out, is not the best at everything.

“Only 12 percent of U.S. private sector workers have access to paid family leave through their employer,” according to the U.S. Department of Labor, making the U.S. an outlier among developed nations.

“Are my children safe?” 

It’s a thought that crosses the mind of Eugene School District 4J parent Constance Van Flandern when she drops her kids off at school. 

“Nobody wants to talk about children dying,” Van Flandern notes, but with a massive earthquake predicted to hit Oregon, she says the time has come to have a community conversation about the earthquake resilience of Eugene’s schools.

• Ward 1 Eugene City Council candidate Emily Semple’s campaign has GOTV (get out the vote) activities planned for the next two weeks. Learn more about Semple’s grassroots movement and how to help her maintain the progressive seat that has been held by George Brown. Contact Campaign Manager Kristen Brandt at 541-515-2102 or emilysemple.com for locations and further information.

Each year, tuition and fees have increased at the University of Oregon.

Meanwhile, student loan debt has reached $1 trillion nationally, “becoming the second-largest consumer obligation after mortgages,” according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Cherríe Moraga, a Chicana playwright, feminist activist, poet and essayist, will deliver a lecture at the University of Oregon Oct. 13 about the working class, both past and present.

The problem isn’t Donald Trump, the problem is Trumpism,” Reza Aslan tells EW.

Known for his book Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, as well as for his long, patient interview with a Fox News reporter who could not understand how a Muslim could write a book about Jesus, Aslan comes to the University of Oregon Oct. 18 to present “An Evening with Reza Aslan: Religion, Identity and the Future of America.”

With EWEB talking about selling off its riverfront headquarters and City Hall in flux, many wonder why Eugene City Council continues to steer the conversation away from EWEB.

Things started to go sideways again for the tangled City Hall project this summer when construction bids came in $10 million higher than expected, sending the city back to the drawing board to determine where best to put its new building and what exactly it should look like. More complications arose as the city tried wangling some portion of the 8th and Oak “butterfly lot” from the county.

Weyerhaeuser Company, 746-2511, plans to aerially apply urea fertilizer to 684.1 acres south of Vida and the McKenzie River near West Fork Deer Creek and tributaries and to East Fork Deer Creek tributaries. See ODF notification 2016-771-11891, call Brian Dally at 541-726-3588 with questions.

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) fined Dorena Hydro $11,400 Sept. 26 for various Clean Water Act violations associated with reduced dissolved oxygen levels in the Row River caused by the operation of Dorena Dam Hydroelectric Project. The violations occurred in April, when the Row River is designated as an active salmon and steelhead spawning area.

• The David Minor Theater celebrates its 8th anniversary with a special viewing event “Beer and Beyond” 6:45 pm and 9:15 pm Saturday, Oct 22. The theater says, “An evening of celebrations including discounted movie tickets and a special back-to-back screening of the new Star Trek Beyond epic are planned.” Tickets are $4. For more info, go to davidminortheater.com.

• How do we keep public spaces like the Park Blocks and Kesey Square active, vital places where everyone wants to be any day of the year? The city of Eugene has started a Places for People project, in partnership with Project for Public Spaces, and will be asking the community for input at upcoming events and workshops in October. Events include: “Transforming Public Spaces: Talk and Open House with Fred Kent,” 7:30 pm Thursday, Oct. 13, at the LCC Downtown Campus. At 10 am Saturday, Oct. 15, at the Atrium Lobby, 99 W.

Standing on the sidewalk, you look up in the sky and see a curious crosshatching of straight white streaks. These are airplane contrails — clouds formed when water vapor condenses and freezes around small particles that exist in aircraft exhaust, according to NASA.

A measure advocating for ranked choice voting in Benton County may just breathe new life into the Democratic process for the county’s elections.

Measure 2-100 moves to bring ranked choice voting, also known as instant-runoff voting, to local elections for the positions of sheriff and county commissioner.

It never ends.

Eugene Public Works maintenance worker Matt Chaney shows me his smartphone. The small screen displays a special email account where he gets notes from concerned Eugeneans who report new outcroppings of graffiti with the Lane Council of Governments online reporting center.

Many of those participating in a Stop Hate! rally in Springfield Sept. 29 were greeted by a loudspeaker blaring from the roof of the home of well-known racist and anti-Semite Jimmy Marr. Marr was blasting a speech proclaiming the wonders of hate. He was arrested for disorderly conduct in the second degree. 

Oxbow Timber 1, 541-679-3322, plans to hire RRC Forestry Roseburg Resources, 541-679-3311, to aerially apply urea fertilizer to 2,655.2 acres south of Veneta and west of Lorane in Lane and Douglas counties near the North Sister, South Sister, Panther, Wolf, Jeff, Pheasant, Shaw, Sweden, Fish and Beaver creeks and the Smith River. See ODF notification 2016-781-11215, call Dan Menk at 541-935-2283 with questions.

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) fined Shola Adeniji (doing business as Shola’s Quality Plus Cleaners, located on Bailey Hill Road in Eugene) $525 on Sept. 19 for failing to submit an annual report for 2015 to DEQ.

Heritage Distilling Co. (HDC) is celebrating the grand opening of its brand new Eugene facility 5 pm Friday, Oct. 7, at 110 Madison Street with a ribbon cutting, pipes and drums, blessing of the stills and samples of HDC’s products. 

• Mia Moran, the international bestselling author of Plan Simple Meals gives a talk 6:30 pm Thursday, Oct. 13, at the Eugene Waldorf School, 1350 McLean Blvd. The school says, “Moran will help simplify and demystify what ‘good food’ means today. She will share some gems of how to create the space to make good food and even the time to eat it. She will share several tools working with a regular rhythm to make mealtimes manageable at home — tools that work with middle school aged children too.” $10 suggested donation.

Across most of the country, Oct. 10 is Columbus Day — celebrating Christopher Columbus’ “discovery” of America. But in Eugene and some other cities, including Seattle and Berkeley, we now celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day. 

A few weeks ago, Bicycling magazine released a list of the 50 best bike cities in the U.S. — Eugene placed 18th. In its write up extolling Eugene’s biking street cred, the magazine praised Eugene’s plan to add a new transportation program called “bike share” in 2017.

On Friday, Sept. 23, dozens of gun-rights advocates rallied at the Oregon State Capitol, bringing with them not just an arsenal of guns but also an effigy of Gov. Kate Brown that was hung and burned on the steps of the Capitol. 

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) sent Pacific Sea Food Co. Inc. (doing business as Pacific Shrimp, Inc.) a pre-enforcement notice on Sept. 6 for violating its Clean Water Act permit by discharging pollution to Yaquina Bay in Newport in excess of permit limits in June. DEQ fined Pacific Sea Food $17,800 in October 2015 for similar violations at multiple facilities in Newport; however, it appears that DEQ entered into a settlement with Pacific Sea Food that allowed Pacific Sea Food to pay just $3,560 of that fine.   

•  A fundraiser for Emily Semple, candidate for Ward 1 Eugene City Councilor, is at Tsunami Books, 2585 Willamette Street. The event will be from 5:30 to 8:30 pm Thursday, Sept. 29. “There will be good talk and good music,” organizers say.