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Although statewide results won’t become public until Sept. 17 for the Smarter Balanced Assessment — a standardized test Oregon students took this spring to determine if schools are teaching in alignment with the Common Core State Standards — preliminary results show that around 11 percent of Eugene School District 4J students did not take the test.

For local anti-testing group Community Alliance for Public Education (CAPE), this statistic is good news. For school officials on the local and state level, the number strikes a more ominous tone. 

350 Eugene, a local climate activist group, will hold its fall gathering from 7 to 8:45 pm Thursday, Sept. 10, at First United Methodist Church, 1376 Olive Street. The group is planning for the Paris 2015 United Nations climate summit Nov. 30 to Dec. 11. A global climate march is being planned in November.

• Oregon Department of Transportation is currently spraying roadsides. Call Tony Kilmer at ODOT District 5 at 744-8080 or call (888) 996-8080 for herbicide application information. Hwy. 36 near Mapleton and Hwy. 99 near Eugene were recently sprayed.

• Sharon Kester, 520-0131, plans to hire Applebee Aviation, 866-311-4354, to aerially spray two units totaling 93 acres near Hawley Creek with Accord XRT II, Arsenal Applicator’s Concentrate, Oust XP and/or Syl-Tac. See ODF notification 2015-781-12122, call Brian Peterson at 935-2283 with questions.

Leasing water rights? Logging? What about bringing back Faerieworlds, the Dirty Dash and other events? Lane County’s park system is massive in scope — it encompasses 4,300 acres from the coast to the Cascades, including everything from marinas and campsites to hiking and horseback riding — and also massive is the draft master plan Lane County Parks produced last month.

For the first time since 1980, Lane County is updating its Parks and Open Space Master Plan, and the county is now taking public comment on the almost 300-page document. 

On Sept. 8, ShelterCare Development Director Lucy Vinis announced her candidacy for mayor of Eugene in the 2016 election, and she said three platforms drive her campaign: education, affordable living and climate change. 

Vinis, who worked with environmental nonprofit EarthShare of Oregon before her time at ShelterCare, said those three issues have emerged “consistently and repeatedly” as she’s talked with members of the community. 

“I want Eugene to be a city in which everyone has an opportunity to thrive,” she said.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) recently entered into separate settlement agreements with Portland-based Cascade Petroleum Transportation, Inc. concerning a March 2012 truck crash near Westfir that resulted in the release of thousands of gallons of gasoline and diesel fuel to a ditch on the west side of Hwy. 58. The ditch flowed to Deception Creek, which in turn flowed to the Middle Fork of the Willamette River. Gasoline and diesel fuel also ended up in groundwater that supplies drinking water to nearby residents.

Last week in this column we wrote about Barbara’s Soaps, a booth at Saturday Market, and we hear from owner Barbara Hascall that her booth has been banned from the market pending mediation. “We went to the board meeting Wednesday (Sept. 3) and thought we had a sympathetic audience,” Hascall says. “I’m still surprised by this.” The market had gotten complaints about excessive odors emanating from the booth with its 50 soaps, shampoos and lotions.

A year and a half after journalist Serena Markstrom was fired by The Register-Guard, she has filed a lawsuit against the newspaper where she had worked for more than a decade.

As school starts up next week, coordinators of the 4J Middle School Mentor Program are looking for volunteers to spend 30 minutes once a week with at-risk students. 

Lucy McWhorter, a mentor to middle school students in Eugene School District 4J, says she was amazed to observe that only 30 minutes a week of mentoring can lead to greater confidence in middle school students.

• Oregon Department of Transportation is currently spraying roadsides. Call Tony Kilmer at ODOT District 5 at 744-8080 or call (888) 996-8080 for herbicide application information. Highways I-5, 99, 105 and 126 near Eugene were recently sprayed.

• Seneca Jones Timber Company, 689-1011, plans to hire Oregon Forest Management Services, 520-5841, to spray four units totaling 293.7 acres near Simonsen Road and Hamm Road with triclopyr, imazapyr, Conquer and/or MSO Concentrate. See ODF notification 2015-781-12022, call Brian Peterson at 935-2283 with questions.

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) issued a penalty in the amount of $1,875 in July to Brad Boyd (doing business as Brad’s Next Day Dry Cleaning at 3660 Meadow View Drive in Eugene) for failing to submit annual hazardous waste and air quality reports for 2013 and 2014 to DEQ. 

A rezoning plan for the South Willamette is raising hackles among some residents there, who say it could have serious impacts on the quality of life in the area. On the other hand, city planners say the South Willamette Special Area Zone (SW-SAZ) came about as a part of an Envision Eugene goal to create walkable, liveable areas in key corridors. 

Eliot Treichel came to Eugene searching for a mecca of kayaking that he knew he wouldn’t find back in his home state of Wisconsin. Eugene then became a haven for him as a writer. Twice now, Treichel, an author of two books and an occasional reviewer for Eugene Weekly, has been a recipient of a Career Opportunity Grant from the Oregon Arts Commission and The Ford Family Foundation.

Many people are drawn to the fragrance of handmade soaps and related products, but the aromatic booth at Saturday Market for Barbara’s Soaps has also offended some nostrils. The governing board of the market is expected to make a decision this week (Sept. 2) about new guidelines for scented products. Owner Barbara Hascall retired from teaching at South Eugene High School a few years ago and has grown her business through the market.

• The Metropolitan Policy Committee, a key intergovernmental panel that makes recommendations on local land use and transportation issues, meets from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm Thursday, Sept. 3, at the Eugene Public Library. On the agenda (wkly.ws/229) is “Springfield Main Street Safety Update.” Contact is Paul Thompson, 682-4405.

• Oregon Department of Transportation is currently spraying roadsides. Call Tony Kilmer at ODOT District 5 at 744-8080 or call (888) 996-8080 for herbicide application information. Highways 99, 105, 126 near Eugene and Beltline were recently sprayed.

• Freres Timber, (503) 859-2121, plans to spray roadsides in Sections 9 and 11 of Township 16S Range 7W near tributaries of Lake Creek with Element 4 (ester), Opensight, Mad Dog Plus and/or MSO Concentrate. See ODF notification 2015-781-11607, call Robin Biesecker at 935-2283 with questions.

Duck beneath the verdant archway of a home off River Road, then traipse along the side of the house and spill out into the backyard where fruit trees, a water feature, a massive swath of vegetables and a chicken coop create a sort of urban Eden.

 Jan Spencer’s house is a little unusual. It does not have your typical well-manicured lawn, Spencer says, but it’s his vision of the future, if others adapt to the permaculture lifestyle.

Mosaic Fair Trade Collection is a new store at 28 E. Broadway, selling handmade homewares, accessories and jewelry from around the world “made by fair trade workers who get living wages and safe working conditions,” says owner Susan Costa. One line she carries is by Portland company Tropical Salvage offering furniture from Indonesia handmade from salvaged deforestation wood. Costa says her passion for international development started when she did a college study abroad program to Nepal for nine months. Phone number is (206) 427-4780.

Fred Taylor finished Washington High School and left his native Portland in 1946 to major in journalism at the University of Oregon. He worked in the news bureau and wrote for the Oregon Daily Emerald, rising to be co-sports editor.

But the dean of the journalism school told him that he would never make it in the field of journalism. He should get out of it.

Fred ignored him. That harsh advice to a college kid may have been just what G. Frederick Taylor needed to drive him into becoming what many colleagues have called “the best newsman in America” in his time.

Gregory Ahlijian says he doesn’t consider himself an author despite the two books he wrote and published himself, including his latest, An Elephant Would Be Wonderful.  

Ahlijian says he stumbled into the author role during his ongoing volunteer work in sixth and seventh grade classrooms at Jasper Mountain Center, a nonprofit in Springfield and Jasper that treats children with emotional and behavioral issues.

Get ready for Festival of Eugene 2.0 — this year’s celebration of all things Eugene, with music, poetry, food, vendors, a pet parade and more, is bigger and better than ever before, says Krysta Albert, the event’s producer. 

Granted, Festival of Eugene is only in its second year, but Albert says she and her planning committee had a whole year this time to work out the details.

The proposed Jordan Cove liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in Coos Bay would produce 2.1 million metric tons of CO2 a year, according to its federal environmental analysis. And the project isn’t just an LNG terminal. It’s a gas liquefaction, storage and shipping facility with a 400-megawatt natural-gas-fired plant powering four super chillers. It will all be fed by a 36-inch-wide 232-mile natural gas pipeline extending halfway across Oregon. 

Oregon Department of Transportation is currently spraying roadsides. Call Tony Kilmer at ODOT District 5 at 744-8080 or call 1-888-996-8080 for herbicide application information. Hwy. 99 and Beltline were recently sprayed.