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Neighbors were curious to say the least last year when Clay Gautier and Gail Baker decided to demolish a single-story house on 32nd Street in southeast Eugene and custom-build a net-zero home in its place. A net-zero home produces as much or more energy than it uses, and the homeowners were happy to answer the questions of inquisitive passersby. “Everybody has always been welcome to come take a look and walk around,” Baker says. 

Barely a year after hosting a Sunday neighborhood potluck when the foundation was first laid last August, the now-completed net-zero energy house will be featured in this year’s BRING Home and Garden Tour Sunday, Sept. 14.

The female squash bee rises from her nest at dawn, earlier than any honeybee or bumblebee buzzes awake. She leaves her young in a nest tunneled about a foot beneath the ground to attend to her daily tasks of sipping nectar and gathering pollen grains. She only has eyes for golden pumpkin and butternut squash blossoms flush with nectar reaching from sprawling, hairy plants.

The solitary male squash bee lives on his own; he spends his time wooing female squash bees and filling up on nectar. When the industrious lady bee buzzes up to a sun-yellow blossom unfurling from the cool night before, she hears a tiny buzzing sound — a little male squash bee that passed out in the flower after his last meal.

“Probably some of my fondest olfactory memories are the smell of burning marijuana at the University of Oregon,” says Joshua Marquis, district attorney for Clatsop County. “I smoked dope when I was a freshman, and it didn’t kill me, and it didn’t turn me into a drug addict.” 

ODOT plans to spray Highway 36 as it did in May. A notice was received as follows: “This is to give our two week notification of ODOT shoulder spraying on Highway 36 between MP 0-24 and 32.2-52.5. The herbicide application schedule is tentative and is subject to change due to weather, equipment breakdowns and availability of product.” For daily information call ODOT Herbicide Application Information Line (888) 996-8080. You may also call Tony Kilmer at the Springfield office at 744-8080.

When you live in Eugene, the phrase “track town” is so ubiquitous it borders on cliché. 

But as the latest movie being filmed in Eugene by former UO runner and filmmaker Alexi Pappas, Tracktown hopes to illuminate the allure of the local running obsession. 

On Friday, Aug. 29, Pappas and her team rounded up 150 or so locals and 20 professional runners to be extras for a scene with legendary local runners Andrew Wheating and Nick Symmonds filmed at UO’s Hayward Field. 

Four years after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Halliburton is paying $1.1 billion to residents, local governments and businesses affected by the disaster. 

 Oregon DEQ recently sent Oregon Resources Corporation (ORS) a pre-enforcement notice for serious violations of environmental law discovered via a DEQ compliance inspection of the stormwater collection and treatment system for ORS’s chromite mining operation outside of Coos Bay. Violations include millions of gallons of unreported discharges, and false statements to DEQ associated with these discharges. 

• ArtsHound on Broadway (and Willamette), our box art contest and project, was a smashing success for September’s First Friday ArtWalk. Thank you to the artists, artwalkers, participating businesses and Lane Arts Council for collaborating with EW. FFAW coordinator Jessica Watson, who’s been on more than 60 ArtWalks, says it was one of the best-attended walks she’s seen. 

About $24 million in federal funding for the West Eugene EmX project passed the Metropolitan Policy Committee unanimously last week, according to Rob Zako, executive director of Better Eugene-Springfield Transit (BEST). “We are looking forward to work proceeding efficiently with minimal impacts, and to seeing the new EmX line open in just over two years,” he says. BEST has been holding “listening sessions” with the community over recent months and plans to release a report next month. An online survey is at best-oregon.org. 

While you’ve been getting ahead of that bumper crop of zucchinis, local dance-makers have been busy building new pieces to perform this month.

Eugene is a beautiful, sleepy town, a place where, to quote Garrison Keillor on his recent Prairie Home Companion rebroadcast, “People are more concerned with living well than getting ahead.” The city is many things: eco-activists fed on local organics flourishing alongside a swoosh-tattooed sports empire of sparkle and grandeur, a town whose seeming ’60s Bohemianism is often driven by trustafarii dollars from L.A. and the Bay Area. 

Eugene PeaceWorks/Eugene Media Action will host a reception with refreshments from 6 to 8 pm Thursday, Sept. 11, upstairs in the Growers Market, 454 Willamette, celebrating its new office space and an FCC-approved, low-power FM radio station. The group is working to “get progressive voices on the air focusing on environmental sustainability, economic justice and music made in the Northwest.” Call Craig at 505-2564. 

The airlines now pack their planes so tightly that the only reasons I fly anymore are to watch fights over reclining seats or to get my clothes pressed.

Hats off to gardeners who grow a fall and winter vegetable garden from seed. You have to get started at the height of summer, when watering and harvesting are at their most demanding. Sowing in situ is often impractical, so starts must be raised under shade cloth or in some cool part of the garden not occupied by summers’s heat-loving crops. 

It’s hard to believe that the band that helped to give voice to the fertile musical ground of Laurel Canyon, California, in the late ’60s is still going strong. There must have been something in the water back then. 

Brian McWhorter is by any measure one of Eugene’s most creative artists. Before returning to town to take a faculty position at the University of Oregon, where he earned his bachelor’s degree, the trumpeter/composer/improviser earned acclaim as a member of New York’s Meridian Arts Ensemble, making guest appearances with orchestras and ensembles around the country. 

Featuring members of the popular, now-defunct Portland group Dirty Martini, Swan Sovereign plays taut, guitar-based indie pop, mixing ’60s girl-group harmonies with the sound of ’90s-era rock bands like Throwing Muses, Belly and The Breeders. 

MISTAKEN IMPRESSION

To the Eugene mayor and council: I’m very much in favor of Eugene building a new City Hall, but I don’t believe you have to waste the present building’s combined economic and historical worth in the process to do it.

I also don’t think Eugeneans presently understand or would approve of the total cost commitment of your two-phase, headquarters-hindquarters concept if they did. 

I am a man who tends to ejaculate prematurely. Not all the time—but at least 50 percent of the time, I’m good for two to three minutes and then I REALLY have to be careful. I’ve learned to manage it and work around it (like, stop if I’m too close and eat her out to give me some time to relax, etc.), but it’s still a pain in the ass. I have a theory about this: I am not circumcised. I know that circumcised cocks are more desensitized, as they tend to rub on everything all the time.

Let’s keep the movies about female musicians, shall we? Yes to 20 Feet from Stardom; yes to Begin Again; a hearty punk-rock yowl of approval to We Are the Best! And a quieter, more introspective yes to God Help the Girl, a whimsical, fey, intimate movie about music, friendship and moving forward. 

Sniffing out what you shouldn’t miss in the arts this week.

Do you know the three reasons Eugene City Hall should not be torn down?

September is a subtle month. Its changes creep up without being readily noticed. Daylength shortens most rapidly around the equinoctes. We come to realize that summer is over and fall is practically upon us. It is typically a sunny month, one of the best for hiking in the mountains. Nights can be quite chilly but the absence of mosquitoes makes watching the campfire a treat.

The sixth annual Next Big Thing contest proved once again that small-town Eugene is home to an incredibly talented and prolific music scene — so prolific that the competition has been divided into three categories for the first time: single/duo, band/group and youth (18 and under). 

After a raging competition of 16 finalists, the best band category was conquered by the funk machine that is Soul Vibrator. In the youth section, Bailee Jordyn won by engaging her audience with a stripped-down vocals and guitar arrangement. Acoustic guitar virtuoso Will Brown nabbed the top single/duo spot.

Eugene, meet your town’s rising music stars.