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The extended freeze is making Eugene area rhododendrons, azaleas and other plants looking sad and shriveled. Will they survive?

 “The cold weather causes the water in the leaves to evaporate, and with the ground frozen, no water enters the plant and/or leaves,” says Ross Penhallegon of the OSU Lane County Extension. “The leaves then start to wilt and droop. The longer the cold (below 25 degrees) weather, the more damage or water loss to the leaves.”

Mark Frohnmayer is tired of feeling like he has to vote for the “lesser of two evils” in the Oregon elections process, and he’s out to change our primary process to a more open process called “approval voting.”  

The upper level Lane County Public Service Building is going through a $750,000 remodel; this includes the area around where the county commissioners work, though not, according to County Spokesperson Anne Marie Levis, their actual offices. Work began last week and is expected to wrap up on Jan. 25, according to a Sept. 30 email from Capital Projects Manager Brian Craner to Commissioner Pete Sorenson.

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is accepting comments through 5 pm on Monday, Dec. 16, concerning a Clean Water Act discharge permit application for industrial stormwater discharges from Metal Products Company in Springfield. Visit goo.gl/ScwdH to see the company’s stormwater plan, and goo.gl/iMDQb to comment. Metal Products Company’s permit application was prompted by a notice of intent to sue letter sent by Oregon Clean Water Action Project on behalf of Willamette Riverkeeper.

• Eugene’s mayor says Whoville is here to stay through the holidays — or, at least, the city has no plans to disperse the homeless camps before the City Council reconvenes Jan. 13. But the council’s refusal to officially approve four emergency rest stops before its monthlong vacation irked protesters, who say they’ve been harassed by police at the sites and want the council’s protection through the break.

The campaign to raise state and federal minimum wages is going strong, and now Oregon State Treasurer Ted Wheeler is calling for more transparency in corporate executive pay packages. Wheeler is the custodian of state funds and says the gap between the highest and lowest paid employees in a company is an indicator of that company’s long-term profitability. Such information can affect state investments in Oregon stocks, and Wheeler believes the public also has a right to know.

• The Lane County Chapter of the ACLU will present a free program on “Human Rights and Mental Health Care: Managing the Intersection” from 5:30 to 7 pm Thursday, Dec. 12, at the Eugene Public Library. Speakers will include clinical social worker Ron Unger. Contact lanechapter@aclu-or.org for more information.

In Afghanistan

• 2,290 U.S. troops killed (2,290 last week)

• 19,514 U.S. troops wounded in action (19,496)

• 1,452 U.S. contractors killed (1,452)

• 16,179 civilians killed (updates NA)

• $679.8 billion cost of war ($678.3 billion)

• $281.1 million cost to Eugene taxpayers ($280.4 million)

 

In Iraq

• 4,423 U.S. troops killed, 31,941 wounded

• 1,604 U.S. contractors killed (1,604)

• 126,977 to 1.2 million civilians killed* (126,796)

Sen. Ron Wyden released his long-awaited company bill to Rep. Peter DeFazio’s O&C Trust, Conservation and Jobs Act on Nov. 26, shortly before the Thanksgiving holiday. Environmental organizations such as Oregon Wild and Cascadia Wildlands immediately greeted the bill, which calls for “ecological forestry” on the controversial public lands, with disappointment and criticism.

Duck confit, duck charcuterie, duck-fat ice cream … sometimes you have to break a few duck eggs and eat a few fowl in order to protect ducks and their habitat. On Dec. 11, local restaurant Party Downtown is teaming up with conservation group McKenzie River Trust (MRT) for an evening of duck feasting and river saving, along with celebrity hunter, gardener and cook Hank Shaw. Shaw is on tour promoting his new book, Duck, Duck, Goose: The Ultimate Guide to Cooking Waterfowl, Both Farmed and Wild.

“The media creates a lot of body dissatisfaction, specifically in teen girls,” says Elizabeth Daniels, co-author of a new study, which finds that ethnic identification may help Latina adolescents find better satisfaction in their bodies.

Psychologists at Oregon State University-Cascades and Gallaudet University evaluated more than 100 Latinas, ages 13-18, having them react to images found in advertisements, magazines, television shows and movies. The subject matter consisted of unrealistic images of white women in sexualized roles, according to Daniels.

It’s a tough time to be a Chinook salmon, but members of the McKenzie Flyfishers and the Steamboaters are trying to make things easier for the threatened fish. Concerned by what they say are poor management practices in hatcheries that allow wild fish to breed with hatchery fish, changing their genetic integrity and making them less fit for survival, the Western Environmental Law Center (WELC) filed a lawsuit Dec. 2 against the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) and the U.S.

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is accepting comments through 5 pm on Thursday, Dec. 5, concerning the proposed purchase and reuse of the former Elmira Store & Gas Station. According to DEQ, “Petroleum contamination from gasoline and diesel storage has been observed on the property since at least 1998.” Aside from the removal of underground storage tank systems and fuel dispensers in 1999 and some excavation, little cleanup has been completed. Green Energy Alternatives Research proposes to purchase and redevelop the site as a nonprofit community center.

Attempts to move megaloads of Canadian tar sands extraction equipment are being met with strong resistance in Eastern Oregon. On Dec. 1, two opponents of the loads locked themselves to the transport vehicles, while still more of the more than 50 protesters from anti-climate change groups 350.org and Rising Tide as well as Oregon tribes “held down a ceremonial line” in front of the truck, according to Kayla Godowa Tufti, a Eugene resident and Warm Springs tribe member who participated in the action. On Dec.

City Club of Eugene is getting a new venue starting with its Jan. 10 meeting. We wrote about a City Club survey of its members in this column back on Sept. 19, and one of the preliminary top three favorites for a meeting place was the Downtown Athletic Club. Looks like the DAC beat out the Hilton and LCC Downtown Campus in the final selection, offering a “wider set of food options and price points, as well as a lower guarantee for the club,” according to the club’s website.

• Local citizens concerned about the global climate crisis will gather at 12:30 pm Thursday, Dec. 5, at the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce, 1401 Willamette St., to give the Chamber a Golden Ostrich trophy, in recognition of the Chamber’s support for the U.S. Chamber of  Commerce and its blockade of progress on addressing the climate crisis. Call 484-9167 for more information.

Turkey may be November’s big flavor, but the slow food movement hopes Eugeneans find another flavor to relish: the Lower Salmon River squash. On Terra Madre Day Dec. 10, Slow Food Eugene and Open Oak Farm will celebrate the Northwest cultivar and learn about the Ark of Taste, a global project dedicated to saving some of the thousands of heritage foods that globalization and monoculture crops are endangering. The 6:30 pm potluck will be held at the Eugene Garden Club, 1645 High St.

The city of Eugene and LTD are competing for ConnectOregon V transportation grants that would create a bike share program and construct three bicycle-pedestrian bridges in West Eugene over Amazon Creek. ConnectOregon is a lottery bond-funded initiative that supports air, rail, marine, transit and bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure. 

Fall is in full swing, which means there are piles of leaves accumulating all around the city — in yards, on sidewalks and, unfortunately, in piles that congest bike lanes. Bicyclists are at risk when traveling over slippery piles or swerving into lanes of vehicular travel to avoid the piles. Property owners are liable for any damage resulting from improper leaf placement.

Sites of former meth labs are known for their toxicity, but the risk doesn’t end with labs. The Oregon Health Authority says that homes once occupied by heavy meth users can be contaminated, too, and must be cleaned carefully.

Big Oil is looming. The Keystone XL pipeline project, a massive 1,179 mile crude-oil pipeline that would run through the middle of the U.S., is currently on the forefront of the environmental radar as the country waits to hear whether the U.S. State Department will recommend its approval by the president. On Nov.

This long Thanksgiving weekend, those of us who are capable of leaving the house (or actually have a house) might look at alternatives to the retail mania that grips our nation. If you feel compelled to shop, Holiday Market with all its delights will be open at the Fairgrounds and it’s a marvelous place to hang out even if you’re broke. Fifth Street Public Market is hosting “Small Business Saturday” for the third year in a row Nov. 30. All the shops there are locally owned and operated, as are hundreds of small businesses around town.

• The next Eugene Musicians Collective event will be from 5 to 8 pm Saturday, Nov. 30, at the Vets Club downstairs, featuring Dreamdog and The Dennis Smith Project. No cover, all ages, sliding scale. The event is a benefit for Casey Wright and Womenspace. See womenspace.org or find Eugene Musicians Collective on Facebook.