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“If you teach ethnic studies to students, teach them about their culture, get them involved, they start caring more about their education and are able to succeed,” says Johanis Tadeo, organizer of Springfield/Eugene’s City Wide MEChA and community organizer at Community Alliance of Lane County. 

Tadeo organizes for the local chapter of Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán, a nation-wide student-run organization. MEChA focuses on education and history, specifically Chicano history — a curriculum that isn’t taught in most classrooms.

“I was contacted by a student a year ago, around this time, they were talking about how they were facing a lot of racism and discrimination,” Tadeo says. Meeting the Latino students at Thurston High School was life changing. The students had no support at all and didn’t know what their identities were, he says. 

Kelly Kenoyer

 et al.

This past September, Brenda went to pick up her 5-year-old son from kindergarten at McCormick grade school. “The principal said he was at the office and to come get him,” she says. Brenda followed the principal to an office containing her son, locked in and crying. "She felt like he was going to hurt her and she said she didn’t know what to do,” Brenda says. 

Her son ended up suspended within a week of joining the kindergarten class and was removed to a one-on-one program at Fox Hollow Elementary School. He was the only Hispanic student in the class at McCormick. 

Local marijuana retailers have been waiting close to a year for the city of Eugene to adopt an ordinance requiring a 1,000-foot buffer between dispensaries. 

Eugene remains the only major municipality in the state that has yet to adopt a buffer, and while City Council is deliberating the issue, corporate-owned dispensaries with out-of-state money are flooding into the market, and local businesses say they are being displaced.

Oregon’s U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden entered a crowded Lane Community College gymnasium Feb. 19 with the statement that “no topic is off limits.” He was met with loud applause and cheering from the packed town hall meeting. 

An estimated 1,500 people showed up at LCC on Sunday afternoon. Since the inauguration, thousands of people in the Eugene community have shown up to protests, marches and activism workshops to denounce recent actions taken by President Donald Trump.

Candidates in the race for the Eugene’s 4J School District board — a four-year-long commitment — are not happy about the Feb. 7 appointment of Betsy DeVos as the nation’s secretary of education.

Add to this the recent protests of Latino families lobbying the 4J school board to do more against the harassment of immigrants, and the May 16 board election has some weighty issues to address. 

Surely that’s not new news, but what is new is the approach our schools are taking to not just pump up grad rates, but also to help kids give a damn about their education. 

Perhaps the reason our high school grad rates have lagged behind some neighboring counties (not to mention they pale in comparison to the national average) is because we’ve failed to put the students first. Programs like Career and Technical Education (CTE) are working their butts off to change that.

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) recently fined the city of Cottage Grove $4,500 for Clean Water Act violations committed in the city’s operation of its wastewater treatment plant, which is located along the Coast Fork Willamette River on North Douglas Avenue. Specifically, the city discharged high temperature effluent to the river on multiple occasions in June; applied “recycled water” that was high in bacteria to land on multiple occasions in July; and was late in submitting annual reports to DEQ for 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015.

• A campaign already is coming together to take on County Commissioner Faye Stewart in the May 2018 election. James Barber, who lives in Walterville, handed out cards at the Feb. 17 City Club of Eugene meeting that say he’s a candidate for the East Lane county commission position with the slogan “Voice for the People.” Lots of energy there. Stewart is long entrenched in the conservative-leaning Lane County Commission, so this should be interesting.

What a great and glorious world we live in, when deliciously guilty pleasures from the ’80s are rehashed for the stage: Johnny and Baby are back, and now they’re singing and dancing? Yes, please! 

The Theater League presents Dirty Dancing 7:30 pm Tuesday through Thursday, Feb. 28-March 2, at the Hult.

What do kids typically experience the first day of school? Nerves. Will I make friends? Will my teacher like me? Where is the bathroom? These are the typical concerns that you’d imagine.

EW runs “Activist Alert” in our pages and online as often as space allows and events demand. Wondering what you can do to battle the evils and insecurities of a Trump administration? Activist Alert is a list of the actions people around Lane County are undertaking to make the world a better place. Send events to editor@eugeneweekly.com with Activist Alert in the subject line.

In the flurry of disturbing and provocative executive orders coming out of the new presidential administration, it is understandable that some of us may have lost sight of the greatest fear that many of us had at the prospect of a Trump presidency: that a thin-skinned ill-informed man would be in control of our devastating arsenal of nuclear weapons.

Ploughshares Fund, a global security foundation, recently released a report, “10 Big Nuclear Ideas for the Next President,” with contributions from a broad range of experts on nuclear policy. In a synopsis of that report, Ploughshares lists five policy areas where we could try to steer the Trump administration to improve our nuclear policy:

It’s almost impossible to overstate how devastating the 1980s recession was for Oregon. 

The early 1980s had the largest percentage of job loss since World War II. For Oregon, this truly was the "Great Recession,” hitting the state harder than the more recent recession of 2008, and it would change Oregon forever. 

This recession would result in making economic development a permanent part of the Oregon political landscape, changing the state and fueling economic growth, for good and for bad, in ways that were almost unimaginable prior to that crisis. 

I first heard of Seattle band Tacocat (read it backwards!) from friends up north. They said seeing the pop-punk group live was like sighting a mythical animal: a unicorn, or a cat actually made from tacos. 

Popular Eugene hip hop-soul-reggae act Sol Seed is prepped to release its new studio record Spark. Vocalist, keyboardist and didgeridoo player Sky Guasco says the self-produced album is full of his band’s trademark, feel-good Rasta grooves, funk flourishes and elements of world music.

Imagine a single concert that featured the public premieres of these classical masterpieces: Beethoven’s mighty Fifth (da da da DAH) and Sixth symphonies, fourth Piano Concerto and Choral Fantasy.

No wonder the other work on that famous program of premieres was overshadowed. On Saturday, Feb. 25, at the Hult Center, you can hear that relative Beethoven rarity, his underrated Mass in C, when Eugene Concert Choir sings it along with one of the 20th century’s most popular choral masterworks: Leonard Bernstein’s joyous Chichester Psalms

Sarah Ruhl’s Melancholy Play, opening Friday night, Feb. 24, at Oregon Contemporary Theatre, posits an idea that seems utterly un-American: What if it’s OK not to be happy? What if we don’t need to smile all the time, despite our ingrained right to the pursuit of happiness?

Identity is a bitch. By the time we’re grown up enough to ask ourselves who we are and what the hell we’re doing with this thing called life, we realize our so-called self is an infinitely convoluted and mysterious patchwork — a mashup of past indignities, adopted attitudes and a certain incommunicable something howling deep inside for meaning and contact.

POISONING THE WELL

Weyerhauser is planning to aerially spray a witches’ brew of toxic herbicides in an area that is uncomfortably close to the main intake for drinking water for Eugene and its associated canal. 

I am a straight married man. My wife and I have a 4-year-old and a 3-month-old. We’ve just started having intercourse again. For Valentine’s Day, we spent the night in a B&B while grandma watched the kids. We had edibles, drank sparkling wine, and then fucked. It was amazing. After we came and while we were still stoned and drunk, my wife mentioned she was open to inviting others into our sex life. I asked about getting a professional sex worker. She said no. But maybe if we were in a bar (we’re never in bars) and met someone (a unicorn), she might be into it. Anal came up.

Marc Chagall lived for nearly a hundred years. He left Russia for Paris and then, due to the rise of the Nazi party and anti-Jewish sentiment, left Paris for the United States.  

James Baldwin is one of my all-time heroes. His writing, not to mention the mere fact of his life and times, inspires in me a devastating sense of humility, a leveling of intellectual pride that I always experience when confronted by a solitary artist speaking truth at every cost to himself.

Nothing I write could add to or elaborate or enhance Baldwin’s work in the least. He’s that good. Awe is my only response to the furious, righteous brilliance of his words and vision.

Threats to the environment, immigration raids, attacks on Planned Parenthood. The Muslim ban, attacks on people of color and LGBTQ. Businesses in Eugene targeted with Nazi graffiti. Locally and across the nation, the Trump administration’s first 100 days have been marked with anger and dissent. 

General Lee is no bigger than a burrito.

The couple-week-old pit mix — named for the flame red Dodge Charger in the ’80s TV series The Dukes of Hazzard — peeks out from behind the zipper of Annamay Bertholf’s jacket.

Bertholf’s friend, who prefers to remain nameless, just sold his iPod to scrape together enough cash to pay for the pit bull pup’s parvovirus shot this morning. Lee yawns himself awake and passes back out.