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News Briefs

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) issued a civil penalty of $6,777 to Ninkasi Holding Company on Feb. 9 for Clean Water Act violations at its Whiteaker facilities. Ninkasi’s Clean Water Act permit requires monitoring for various pollutants in its stormwater discharges four times per year, and Ninkasi failed to take any samples at its Blair Boulevard discharge point, and took only three of the required samples at its Polk Street discharge point.

Graduate student Jewell Bohlinger studies human and cultural geography at the University of Oregon, and she’s currently researching prisons — from environmental impacts within prisons to whether prisons can be sustainable with high incarceration rates.

Bohlinger is one of more than 100 UO graduate students who will present their research projects Feb. 26 at the UO’s Ford Alumni Center for the UO Graduate Student Research Forum, organized by the UO Graduate School.

The occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge by anti-government activists was expensive on a number of levels, from law enforcement costs to loss of revenue stemming from the refuge. Also costly could be the Bundy’s and other occupiers’ legal fees and possible restitution, and there are questions about how the ranchers were able to afford to be be away from their jobs and ranches for more than a month from Jan. 2 to Feb. 11, when the last four militants surrendered.

Oregon State University is hosting doctor, author and New Age spiritualist Deepak Chopra in collaboration with the I Am Genie Foundation at the LaSells Stewart Center across from Reser Stadium in Corvallis Feb. 23. 

“I’ll be speaking about the topics from my last two books, which were called Super Genes and Super Brain,” Chopra tells EW from the Chopra Center for Well Being in Carlsbad, California. 

Frustration is growing with the way Lane County Animal Services is handling horse neglect cases, says horse rescuer Darla Clark of Strawberry Mountain Rescue and Rehabilitation Center. 

Although Clark is in Douglas County, she gets frequent calls from concerned Lane County residents about horse neglect situations here, including a case in which horses were wandering on a roadway near a school in Cottage Grove and another situation in Elmira in which a herd of horses were alleged to be starving. Many of the Elmira horses were sold at the Eugene Livestock Auction on Feb. 14.

Kesey Square was originally intended to be a dedicated public space when a building was removed from the site in 1970. According to a Feb. 13 article in the Register-Guard, the deed to the square has surfaced and it says the area, also known as Broadway Plaza, is supposed to stay public permanently. 

The R-G reported that it found a copy of the 1971 deed, committing the city-owned land parcel at Broadway and Willamette to be “forever dedicated to the use of the public.”

A Victorian-style apothecary with steampunk-inspired, post-Industrial flair will soon join the businesses in the Farmers’ Union Marketplace at Fifth Avenue and Olive Street in downtown Eugene.

Mountain Rose Herbs, national purveyor of tea, spices and other herbal offerings, moved to Eugene in 2010, but the company has never before operated a formal storefront.

Hey, hold on just a second before you fire up that weed — it could be toxic as hell.

A shiver ran through Eugene’s marijuana community Feb. 5 when the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) ordered the stop-sale of Guardian, a popular pesticide, after it was discovered the product contained abamectin, an insecticide that is highly toxic to bees and marine life, and which in high doses may lower sperm count in men.

Only a year ago, Kelly Middle School science teacher Dustin Dawson expressed his concern at a school board meeting that Eugene School District 4J wasn’t moving fast enough to adopt new science curriculum. At the time, some of 4J’s schools were using 20-year-old textbooks with outdated information written before Pluto was declassified as a planet and before the human genome was sequenced. Dawson was supplementing his classes with his own material.

Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce President Dave Hauser recently weighed in on the future of Kesey Square in his weekly email Feb. 5, “The Chamber Rundown,” to Chamber members.

On Nov. 17, the Chamber voted to endorse the controversial 2E Broadway proposal — the proposal to buy Kesey Square and put an apartment building on it — when most citizens were still wrapping their heads around the fact that Kesey Square was even up for sale.

• Weyerhaeuser Company, 744-4600, plans to aerial and ground spray 416.8 acres in the greater Lorane area near Tucker, Crow, Kelly, Farman, Redford and Shaw Creeks with 2,4-D, atrazine, clopyralid, glyphosate, hexazinone, sulfometuron methyl, Crosshair, Foam Buster and/or Grounded. See ODF notification 2016-781-01556, call Brian Peterson at 935-2283 with questions. 

The May election might be a primary, but how a local candidate does in that election — only a couple short months away — can determine the final winner for the position.

In the nonpartisan elections for both the Eugene City Council and the Lane County Board of Commissioners, if a candidate gets more than 50 percent of the votes in the primary, then that person’s name is the only one that shows up on the November ballot. 

On Jan. 30, several members of a group called Save TV Butte held signs at the gates of King Estate Winery reading  “Wines not Mines” and “WTF? King Estate.” 

Eugene city councilors are feeling a little out of the loop when it comes to the construction of the new City Hall and their future offices there. Or lack of offices, as the case may be. Recently more than half the City Council questioned City Manager Jon Ruiz on the latest developments with the public building under construction that they were not aware of.

On Feb. 12 the Eugene tech community plans to address the topic of downtown livability in Eugene with a giant computer programming event called a hackathon. The tech frenzy starts Friday at the Downtown Athletic Club, where Technology Association of Oregon (TAO) will host Hack for a Cause.  

Joshua Purvis, the events coordinator for TAO, explains that local members of the tech community will work in teams to develop and produce ideas and concepts concerning downtown livability in Eugene “with a vision for implementation.”

• M Three Timber Company, 767-3785, plans to aerial and ground spray 66 acres near Muslin Creek with 2,4-D, atrazine, hexazinone, sulfometuron methyl, clopyralid and/or Induce. See ODF notification 2016-781-01311, call Brian Peterson at 953-2283 with questions. 

Marijuana: controlled substance or religious sacrament? 

In December 2015, the Portland branch of the United States Postal Service (USPS) seized a 5-ounce package of marijuana mailed from Eugene by Joy Graves — the leader of the Cottage Grove branch of Oklevueha Native American Church (ONAC) — who says it was intended to help an ailing ONAC member in Ohio.

On the corner of Lawrence Street sits a tiny white building that houses feisty nonprofit Beyond Toxics, which has advocated for environmental and social justice reforms in the state of Oregon since 2001 — you might remember it as Oregon Toxics Alliance. 

On Feb. 5, Beyond Toxics will celebrate its 15th anniversary at Capitello Wine Bar in downtown Eugene, as well as introduce a state ballot petition banning aerial chemical sprays.

The American media has been paying a lot of attention to the clown car that makes up the pool of candidates for the Republican presidential nomination. And on the Democratic side, the media has finally noticed that Bernie Sanders is making inroads into what many thought was a surefire Hillary Clinton ticket.

But lately, Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein says, there’s been a little more oxygen in the room, and the media and American public have realized that Stein and the Greens have something to say.

Nadia Raza’s lawsuit against Lane Community College, filed Jan. 21, alleges that the administration failed to protect the tenured instructor from an aggressive student felon and stalker. 

Raza’s 19-page complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in Eugene by attorney Jennifer Middleton, is not the first attempt to get the LCC administration to adopt immediate measures to better protect its staff from sexual advances and physical threats from students. 

[Update: This article has been edited to include information about a petition to Save Kesey Square.]

Before the Eugene City Council meeting Jan. 25, the chants and drums of the Save Kesey Square rally could be heard from the nearby Harris Hall, growing louder as more than 100 protesters walked from Kesey Square to the Wayne Morse Free Speech Plaza while a council work session was in progress.

Until last year, Eugene School District 4J did not have a policy in place to specifically protect transgender and gender non-conforming students. 

When 4J school psychologist Brianna Stiller was developing 4J’s gender policy, which the 4J School Board passed in the spring of 2015, district lawyers told her that since 4J already had anti-harassment policies in place, it didn’t need a gender policy.

“I told them, ‘You’re missing the point,’” Stiller says.

On Dec. 15, the Lane County Board of Commissioners quietly voted on an ordinance that made an already ambiguous policy about who has the right to be on county property even more problematic.

Under Chapter 6 of the Lane County Code, “a duly authorized officer,” who could be a board member, the county administrator or “any person delegated the authority to control county property” by those people — and the delegation of authority does need not be in writing — can trespass someone from county property.