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A multitude of misinformed ideas about gender and bathrooms has permeated the national discussion as of late, but here in Eugene, the University of Oregon is addressing homophobia and transphobia in public education through UOTeachOUT, its annual series of events on sexual orientation and gender identity. 

Susan Primak retired from the University of Oregon in 2013 and was also a master gardener in Eugene. She and her husband Paul decided to move to Bend in 2014. “We always set our sights on Bend, but we were waiting for that magic moment,” she says. 

Primak was ready to spend her free time outdoors and says the high desert climate has allowed her to bird watch, hike, kayak, fish and, most recently, she joined the Deschutes Land Trust — where she trained to complete bird surveys. 

Have something to say about education? In the next few months, Eugeneans have a multitude of opportunities to voice their thoughts in a series of public forums, some specifically for Eugene School District 4J and some on a statewide level.

Is the South Willamette Special Area Zone, the controversial plan to change the zoning of the buildings around Willamette Street from 23nd to 32rd avenues, “an unlawful bait-and-switch money-making scam”?

On April 21, the day of Prince’s death, his music could be heard spilling out of bars all over downtown Eugene. A source tells us that dancers at the Silver Dollar Club were dancing to the Purple One, and Voodoo Doughnut made a “Raspberry Beret” memorial doughnut for 99 cents. At (sub)Urban Projections, the multimedia art festival put on by the city at the Hult Center, a Prince shrine was one of the post popular attractions. 

On April 21, the day of Prince’s death, his music could be heard spilling out of bars all over downtown Eugene. A source tells us that dancers at the Silver Dollar Club were dancing to the Purple One, and Voodoo Doughnut made a “Raspberry Beret” memorial doughnut for 99 cents. At (sub)Urban Projections, the multimedia art festival put on by the city at the Hult Center, a Prince shrine was one of the most popular attractions. 

As the U.S. nears the end of the 2016 primary election season, it is more important than ever to understand the role of superdelegates in choosing presidential candidates. 

Most Democratic delegates are pledged to a particular candidate based on the outcomes of their state’s primary election or caucuses, but superdelegates are free to support any candidate for the presidential nomination at the party’s national convention. 

Oregon educators say that K-12 school funding is in crisis mode. From dwindling high school graduation rates to booming elementary school class sizes, Oregon kids have endured years of underfunding.

Two new and relatively unknown candidates, Sonya Carlson and Gary Malone, will be on the May primary ballot for James Manning’s Eugene Water and Electric Board seat. Manning’s term is up, but he is not seeking re-election. Instead, he is running against Julie Fahey in the Democratic primary to fill the open position in House District 14, left by Val Hoyle who is running for secretary of state.

Can coasters that test for date rape drugs help solve the University of Oregon’s sexual assault problem? Or are they a drop in the bucket of a larger institutional issue? 

The Courtside and Skybox apartments teamed up with local medical supply company Med-Tech Resource to provide current and potential residents with coasters that test for the date rape drugs ketamine and gamma-Hydroxybutyrate (GHB).

On Sunday, April 10, dozens of people came to Kesey Square in downtown Eugene to memorialize a vibrant former member of the Eugene community with Cascadian flags, pine cones and other symbols of his years in activism, civic engagement, advocating for diversity and more.

There are many reasons to read Eugene author Melissa Hart’s new young adult fiction book, Avenging the Owl, but the multiple references to Eugene life and Oregon culture are chief among them for local readers.

Tsunami Books will host a book launch for Hart on April 17, with readings from the winners of her middle-school nature essay contest.

A weekly produce box from a local farm can cost a family of four $550 — for a 20-week supply of healthy food, it’s a real bargain. But it’s not something every family can afford.

On April 14, First United Methodist Church hosts That’s My Farmer, an annual fundraiser to support low-income families by providing access to local and organic food through Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs. Donations will go towards That’s My Farmer’s low-income fund, which subsidizes what families cannot afford to pay for a season of food shares.

This issue begins a new era in Eugene Weekly newsroom management as I turn over the editor’s desk to my able colleague Camilla Mortensen. It should be a smooth transition. Camilla has been on staff since March 2007 and knows the community and region well. She has been invaluable as reporter, news editor and associate editor while writing award-winning investigative stories that have made EW one of the leading environmental voices in the Northwest. She has unique qualifications — a Ph.D. in comparative literature and folklore, an inquiring mind, strength of character, organizational chops, a sharp sense of humor — qualities that will help carry this paper on to the next level.

Fracking is coming to Morocco. Americans might associate the North African country on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea with the black-and-white romance of Casablanca, but Morocco faces some of the same modern environmental issues as we do in the U.S. 

Samira Idllalène is visiting Eugene for 10 days via the Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide to study how to make environmental laws in Morocco more effective and to give a presentation at this weekend’s Public Interest Environmental Law Conference.

Math gets a bad rap, says Gina Graham, owner of Eugene tutoring service Math Is Magic! “We have in our nation a predisposition to think math is yucky,” she says. “I think that’s a problem.”

The nation’s relationship with math grew even more complex with the onset of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). When the state of Oregon adopted CCSS in 2010, parents and students in Eugene School District 4J and other districts saw an internal shake-up as districts shifted from older, more direct methods of teaching to newer techniques in math instruction that fulfill learning requirements outlined by the Common Core. 

I had to see this thing, this occupation, in person. Another 1970s Sagebrush Rebellion being staged at Oregon’s bird sanctuary, this sacred site? Really? Our oldest American refuge, so precious it was designated as such before America even had a National Park Service? Why? Who are these guys? Why Malheur of all places? WTF?

I called my former colleague, Senate Republican leader Ted Ferrioli, who represents Harney County, to get his take. And I called Cliff Bentz, the current state rep from Ontario.

Bring up the topic of Kesey Square and the importance of downtown open public space with city of Eugene officials and you can expect the conversation to be steered to the Park Blocks. 

Kesey Square has problems, city employees say, including issues of design, the preponderance of “travelers” dominating the space, the simple fact that it’s flat and that people just don’t want to be there. 

An urban promenade, balconies, sloped roofs, trellises, tables and chairs on the street.

Those features were all promised in Capstone Collegiate Communities’ application for a Multi-Unit Property Tax Exemption (MUPTE) submitted to the city of Eugene on Jan. 24, 2012. City Manager Jon Ruiz recommended the application to the City Council, which voted to approve Capstone for the exemption, allowing developers to pay no taxes on the new structure for 10 years — or the equivalent of a $16-million tax break. 

In July of 2014, Eugene became the first city in the country to require carbon neutrality, fossil fuel-use reductions and the development of a carbon budget based on the best available science when it passed a Climate Recovery Ordinance pushed for by the nonprofit Our Children’s Trust and many of Eugene’s youth.

More than a year later, some Eugeneans are starting to wonder if this landmark city law is getting implemented the way it should by city staff, and if it’s moving at the right speed. Matt McRae, a climate and energy analyst with the city of Eugene, says the city is on track to meet its targets.

Some of us donate tangibly. We give food, clothing, warm socks. The evidence of this has been in the EW front office the last couple weeks as community members have dropped off donations of jackets, sweaters, blankets and more for the White Bird Clinic. We’ve already taken several truckloads of donations over to the clinic.

Some of us donate time. Nonprofits such as FOOD for Lane County (foodforlanecounty.org) or Occupy Medical are propelled by hundreds and often thousands of hours logged by volunteers. 

And some of us at the end of the year donate our hard-earned cash. Not only do the groups around Lane County desperately need the money to keep fighting their good fights, donating also gives you a tax write-off. Win-win. Every year we provide a list of organizations we’ve noticed doing good work in the community — or around the world — for you to give to. Feel free to suggest more!

It’s almost Christmas, and Anthony Palmer is in his living room dressed as Spider-Man. 

Palmer says he usually dresses as Batman, but tonight he was told that the family he’s visiting is a “Marvel family” (Batman is DC Comics). Palmer and his mother, Renee Borello, call their act “Batman and Alfred” because she drives and he delivers the gifts in costume.

This is the third year the mother-son duo have picked five families having a tough time and delivered Christmas gifts with Palmer in superhero garb.

As the debate about Kesey Square’s future heats up, voices in favor of keeping the space public downtown are coming to the forefront, from a business on the square to community meetings sprouting up. The outcry was prompted by a proposal City Manager Jon Ruiz passed on to the Eugene City Council this fall from private developers who want to purchase Kesey Square and build apartments in its place, with retail on the ground floor.

When Ali Emami steps outside his store on Willamette Street, he can look into the neighboring public plaza and see the statue of Ken Kesey. He says he remembers chatting with sculptor Pete Helzer in 2003 when Helzer was working on the bronze artwork officially known as “The Storyteller.”

Kesey is a part of Eugene’s unique culture, Emami says, and that’s something the city should be building on, not tearing down. When Emami was in high school in Iran, he says, he read Kesey’s books. Now, years later, he owns the two properties that border the iconic square that is a landmark to the famed Northwest author.