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Mercedes Russell may have gone from Springfield to Tennessee, but she will have some of her hometown’s support system with her as she starts her collegiate career at one of the biggest powerhouses in women’s basketball. Bill Wagner, her former head coach at Springfield High, will be in attendance when the Lady Volunteers take on the North Carolina Tar Heels in Chapel Hill, N.C., on Nov. 11 in a battle of top-10 teams. And he couldn’t be more excited to see her in action on the big stage. 

Just over three years ago, Elliot Glaser-Flynn enrolled at Network Charter School and joined Youth for the Education and Prevention of Sexual Assault (YEPSA), a group whose mission is to end gender violence through education and action. Now, at 18, he’s the project manager of the first ever Youth Empowerment Symposium, which will take place Sunday and Monday, Nov. 10-11, at the Hilton downtown. The event will include 12 workshops, meals, a keynote presentation by Cree Gordon and a concert Sunday evening at WOW Hall.

 Eugeneans are still pondering the boom in student housing and wondering when it will end. In light of the overbuilding (see our cover story Oct. 10) we predict several big projects on the drawing board will be shelved before groundbreaking. College enrollment has peaked, so the big out-of-state investors have been counting on drawing tenants from existing apartments and houses all over town. That’s happening to a degree, but Eugene is not a typical college town.

• ODOT is holding a series of open houses about intercity passenger rail service between the Eugene-Springfield area and Portland-Vancouver, Wash., and providing input on the evaluation results. The next meeting will be from 5 to 7 pm Thursday, Nov. 7, at the Linn-Benton Community College Calapooia Center, 6500 Pacific Blvd. SW in Albany. See OregonPassengerRail.org or contact Jill Pearson, (503) 986-3313 or info@oregonpassengerrail.org.

The mood was slightly tense at the North Eugene High School gym last week as parents, teachers, children and college students prepared to meet Nancy Golden, Oregon’s new chief education officer for the Oregon Education Investment Board and former superintendent of the Springfield School District.

Yet another non-partisan contender is in the running for the East Lane County Commissioner position currently held by Faye Stewart. Jack Schoolcraft will also be facing Jose Ortal, Joann Ernst and Kevin Matthews in the May 2014 primary.

The battle over Oregon’s federal O&C forestlands isn’t  just taking place in the backrooms and hallways of Washington, D.C., it’s playing out on the internet, in emails and on video. A new video about the O&C lands out of Rep. Peter DeFazio’s office has made it through the House Franking Commission, which has to approve “unsolicited mailings of 500 or more pieces of the same matter” before taxpayer money is used to send it. 

• ODOT is now doing fall roadside spraying in Lane County. Details for Highway 36 are listed below, Highways 99, 126 and others have been sprayed recently. You may reach District 5 offices at (541) 744-8080 or call their automated information line at (888) 996-8080 for more information.

Highway 36 was sprayed by ODOT on Oct. 15 and 17 except for an 8-mile stretch adopted by Members of Beyond Toxics where weeds were cut and pulled by hand on Oct. 17. 

Oregon’s vote on marriage equality is approaching T-minus one year and counting, and Oregon United for Marriage (OUM) is thriving. Eugeneans will mark the countdown with several house parties in the area and 100 throughout the state. The statewide campaign has hired a new director, and a Students United for Marriage chapter has been active in Eugene since late September. Statewide, petitioners have gathered 104,908 of 116,284 signatures required to make the November 2014 ballot. 

Bee advocates and pesticide foes have been slowly gaining traction in their fight against neonicotinoids, a class of insecticides that many believe is contributing to the dramatic declines in honeybee populations. Groups such as Eugene-based Oregon Sustainable Beekeepers (OSB) and Beyond Toxics have been fighting to have local businesses remove neonics from their shelves and, while they haven’t fully succeeded, they have persuaded some local businesses to distribute information about the toxics.

Pelada Football Academy, a youth soccer academy founded as a nonprofit in February, aims to give more kids the opportunity to play and learn while seeking to complement and not compete with other soccer clubs by bringing in kids and their families who find recreational soccer too recreational or competitive soccer too competitive. These kids, in addition to clinics and scrimmages, will have a chance to play more than just soccer.

Residential property sales are up significantly in Lane County, comparing last September with this September, according to a Regional Multiple Listing Service report passed along to us by Prudential broker Sally Nunn. The median residential sales price is up 15 percent, the number of new listings is up 15 percent and the number of closed sales is up 16.8 percent. Neighborhoods leading in average price change are Mohawk Valley, Springfield, McKenzie Valley, River Road, Coburg/I-5 and southwest Eugene.

• Author R. Sheldon Lewis will read from book The Torah of Reconciliation at 6:30 pm Monday, Nov. 4, at Temple Beth Israel, 1175 E. 29th Ave. Free, donations welcome. Sponsored by Jewish Events Willamette-valley (JEW) and Temple Beth Israel.  See JewishEventsWillamette-valley.org.

When her children, aged 8 and 10, expertly dodge questions about their homework during the car ride back from school, Deeja Sol-Moon never hears “mommy.” “Mommia — is what we came up with,” she says, “to make sure their birth mother’s role is respected.” Sol-Moon hosts her daughter and son together on alternate weeks in a cozy Skinner Butte-area home, where her art is plastered on every imaginable surface.

Pets, tails and tales will be the subject of the Dog Tales fundraiser for the 1st Avenue Shelter and Eugene Animal Services on Oct. 24. 

The event was organized by Constance Van Flandern, also known as former SLUG Queen Marie Slugtoinette, in order to raise money and awareness for the 1st Avenue Shelter. 

Dog Tales will feature local personalities who will share stories about their pets. Anyone who buys presale tickets will also be entered into a drawing for a custom pet portrait by Van Flandern. 

Data from area K-12 schools show an achievement gap between Native American students and other populations, but for the first time in nearly 20 years, Oregon has a full-time Indian education specialist working at the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) to improve Native American education around the state. 

The past few years have seen downtown Eugene grow livelier, and it’s about to get brighter, too. A plan is under way to light the streets to make them prettier during the dark winter months. It is expected to be in full effect for the upcoming holiday season. Behind this plan is Downtown Eugene, Inc., a private nonprofit association of business and property owners in the area. 

Regulations from recent legislation, HB 3460, are still being written, but a new medical marijuana facility is already open in Eugene. The law directs the Oregon Health Authority to establish a registration system for medical marijuana facilities. Emerald City Medicinal Delivery Service is accepting excess cannabis from Oregon Medical Marijuana Program (OMMP) licensed growers on consignment and dispensing it at its facility or delivering it to OMMP patients. It also conducts educational outreach for senior care homes. 

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has followed up on the warning letter it sent to Vivian Rooke of Scott Township, Penn., on July 9 (EW 8/1, goo.gl/b9TTLo) concerning Rooke’s failure to have a legal septic system at property owned by Rooke at 81251 Lost Creek Road in Dexter. DEQ’s July warning letter followed three separate Lane County letters over the course of the last year to which the county did not receive any replies.  EQ’s most recent action took the form of a pre-enforcement notice sent to Rooke on Oct.

The UO plans to introduce mandatory, online workplace harassment prevention training for its faculty, staff and GTFs in the next week. The two-part training includes a section by United Educators, the UO’s insurance company for issues of harassment and discrimination cases, and training developed by UO itself. It includes comprehension exercises interspersed in both parts.

The West Eugene Wetlands area is one of the many places around town where the wild abuts the urban, and managing domestic animals overlaps with native species. EWEB’s Roosevelt Operations Center (aka the ROC) was designed amid about 14 acres of restored wetlands, and wild creatures have moved back in, including raptors and skunks. But according to Becky Long, EWEB is not doing a good job with the feral cat population that has also moved into the ROC.

• Seneca Jones Timber Company, 689-1011, plans to hire Oregon Forest Management Services, 520-5941, to hack and squirt 54 acres near Douglas Creek with Polaris AC. See ODF notification 2013-781-00911 for more information.

• ODOT is now doing fall roadside spraying in Lane County. You may reach District 5 offices at (541) 744-8080 or call their automated information line at (888) 996-8080 for more information.

Recently, a group of local performers from G.L.A.M. Night and their friends from out of town were turned away after asking to try on dresses at Epris in the Gateway Mall.

“I’ve never had an issue like this before,” says Reyes Rivera, aka Rhea Della Vera of G.L.A.M. Night. 

G.L.A.M. (Gays, Lesbians and More) is a well-known Eugene dance party with drag queens, DJs, performances and go-go dancers. It was previously held at John Henry’s and more recently at Diablo’s Downtown Lounge.

Just over three weeks ago, Eugene welcomed two international students who will spend the next two years studying at Lane Community College; Yaara Tal, 22, is Israeli and Deema Yusuf, 18, is Palestinian. Both young women are dedicated to the prospect of peace and are graduates of Creativity for Peace, a nonprofit organization whose vision is to prepare young Israeli and Palestinian women to pave the way for peace in their communities and across borders. These two grew up on opposite sides of a conflict that has been ongoing since before the creation of the state of Israel in 1948.