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The leafy green is good for salads, good for stir-fry and, as the Eugene Avant Gardeners believe, good for building community.  

Kale is a rising star in the food world, and to celebrate this cool weather crop the Avant Gardeners are organizing the first annual Kale Fest Dec. 5-7, devoted to promoting local food, gardening and kale. 

“It’s using food to create community,” says Plaedo Wellman, co-organizer of Kale Fest and a member of the Avant Gardeners, a sustainable gardening group. 

A month after its Eugene debut, the car-sharing company car2go is still operating its 50 smart cars smoothly in the Eugene-Springfield area, unlike Uber, the ride-sharing service, which was fined $2,000 by the city of Eugene Nov. 17. The difference lies in their respective business models and how they reach out to new cities. 

• Black Friday, Nov. 28, will bring a protest outside Walmart on West 11th Ave. beginning around noon.  Organizers say the Walton family that owns the mega-chain is the richest family in the country, yet they pay the majority of their employees less than $25,000 a year and manipulate employee hours so many don’t qualify for benefits. Sponsored by Raging Grannies, UFCW, ESSN and others. For more information, email essn@efn.org or call 736-9041.

On the evening of Nov. 17, a group gathered at Lane Independent Living Alliance (LILA) in downtown Eugene for a panel of six people, who identify as trans*, sharing stories and answering questions, which included everything from dating to experiences with Eugene’s healthcare system. Trans* is a term that refers to trans and gender non-conforming people. It encompasses all identities within the gender spectrum.

Ryan, who sleeps in a tent at the new Whoville homeless protest camp north of the U.S. Courthouse, says that he and his fellow campers are “managing” through the recent freezing nights. “It was cold last night,” Ryan says, declining to give his last name for fear of repercussions. “It was really cold last night. We could always use more blankets.” 

Christopher John Bartels (doing business as Bartels Packing) has been cited for violations once again by Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.

For years rural residents along Highway 36 near Triangle Lake in Oregon’s Coast Range have been asking, even demanding, that someone look into the chemicals drifting from airplanes and onto their farms, and into their homes and drinking water. They’ve complained of the health effects on themselves and their children. They’ve had their own urine tested for the herbicides atrazine and 2,4-D. 

Running for elected office can be a rollercoaster of ups and downs, but local green alley advocate Jeff Luers had a ride that was shorter and more abrupt than most. In the end, despite more than 6,000 write-in votes in the race, the votes for Upper Willamette Conservation Soil and Water District (SWCD) will not be tallied for reasons that Luers say “certainly contradict our understanding of democracy in this country.”

Tsunami Books on south Willamette was given notice earlier this fall that the building was going on the market and the longtime independent book store and performance venue would likely need to find a new home (see Biz Beat, 9/25). But we heard from store owner Scott Landfield that the building is now in the process of being sold to someone who supports the store staying put for at least a couple of years.

Ramón Ramírez , founding member and current president of farmworker’s rights organization PCUN, will speak on “Equitable Food Initiative: Why it is a Game Changer in the Agriculture Business,” at 5:30 pm Thursday, Nov. 20, in Knight Law Room 175 at the UO; and “Forming Coalitions and Grassroots Organizing,” at 6 pm on Friday Nov. 21, in the Global Scholars Hall Great Room 123. Gabino Palomares will perform after Friday’s presentation. Both presentations are free and open to the public.

In Afghanistan

• 2,351 U.S. troops killed (2,349 last month)

• 20,040 U.S. troops wounded in action (20,023)

• 1,559 U.S. contractors killed (1,530)

• 16,179 civilians killed (updates NA)

• $763.1 billion cost of war ($747.9 billion)

• $300.6 million cost to Eugene taxpayers ($294.6 million)

 

Against ISIS

• $1.2 billion cost of military action ($909.8 million)

• $478,795 cost to Eugene taxpayers ($358,352)

 

In Iraq

The fate of the Elliott State Forest, a sprawling, 93,000-acre forest northeast of Coos Bay and home to some of the oldest trees on the coast, is the topic of a Nov. 17 public forum hosted by Cascadia Wildlands. About half of the Elliott has already been logged, and for the remaining half, Cascadia Wildlands believes in preserving the land instead of privatizing and selling it. 

The Oregon State Land Board will discuss the Elliott’s future next month.

As a peer of the journalists infamously executed in online videos recently distributed by ISIS, the horror of that footage felt particularly real to Reese Erlich. Erlich, a longtime Middle East correspondent for NPR, recently returned from Syria and will speak in Eugene Nov. 19 and 20 about his on-the-ground account of the ascendance of ISIS (the Islamic State) and the United States’ effort to halt it.

Erlich sees an illogical, destructive “third war” coming to a head in the U.S.’s escalating response to ISIS.

Oregon’s economy isn’t exactly booming, but it is improving, and that could lead to about $300 million in tax rebates to individual taxpayers if revenues exceed 2 percent above official state projections in the 2013-15 biennium. That might sound good to taxpayers, but the potential loss of revenue has some Oregonians very worried.

At first glance, it looks like a landfill — abandoned couches and chairs, food wrappers piled on top of plastic bags, electronics and old clothing. But in actuality, it’s a strip of riverbank along the south side of the Willamette River between Autzen Footbridge and Knickerbocker Bike Bridge, and a recent YouTube video portraying trash along the riparian zone has garnered the attention of homeless activists, environmentalists and Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy.

Congrats to NextStep Recycling founder Lorraine Kerwood McKenzie who was given the Toyota Standing O-Vation, a recognition of extraordinary people in communities around the country, during Oprah Winfrey’s “The Life You Want Weekend” in Seattle Nov. 8. The award was given by Winfrey and Paralympic bronze medalist snowboarder Amy Purdy.

• Eugene author and LCC English instructor Steve McQuiddy will give a reading, discussion and book signing at 7 pm Thursday, Nov. 13, at Tsunami Books, 25th and Willamette. McQuiddy is author of Here On the Edge: World War II, Conscientious Objectors On the Oregon Coast, and Seeds of the Sixties. Free. 

His calm, measured tones discussing coal mine safety or preventable grain silo deaths can make the heart of any news geek with an NPR tote bag go pitter-pat. National Public Radio listeners have heard Howard Berkes’ voice on Morning EditionAll Things Considered and Weekend Edition and will hear that voice in the coming weeks when his latest investigation into mine safety hits the airwaves. 

Former county administrator Liane Inkster (previously Richardson) was fired by Lane County more than a year ago, but questions from her uneasy departure still linger, most recently due to a letter from the Oregon State Bar (OSB) clearing her in a disciplinary investigation. 

Everybody sleeps. But for people who are unhoused, sleeping can be controversial and even illegal, due to city ordinances that ban lying down, sleeping or camping.

Those ordinances might be based on bad philosophy, according to Chad Kautzer, an assistant professor of philosophy at the University of Colorado, who argues that such ordinances outlaw activities that are fundamental to survival.

The city of Eugene recently sent the following Eugene businesses “pre-enforcement notices” for violating the Clean Water Act by failing to conduct required monitoring of industrial stormwater discharges from their facilities: Al’s Sheet Metal, Apex Machinery, Armur Coatings, Bulk Handling Systems (two locations), Mohawk Metal Company, Rolling Frito-Lay Sales, The Truss Company, Tyree Oil and Zip-O-Log Mills (two locations).

A Whiteaker neighborhood building and land at 252 Lawrence St., across the street from Crux Rock Climbing Gym, has been sold to Rick Wright, the CEO of Market of Choice, to become an events center, and we heard from one small business being evicted, Bohemia Café & Apothecary. Co-owner Felicia Parra-Colden tells us the eviction was given with short notice, but she was able to negotiate more time to relocate.

• Supreme Court journalist and author Garrett Epps is back in Eugene this week to speak about his new book, American Justice 2014: Nine Clashing Visions on the Supreme Court. Epps will speak at 4:30 pm Thursday, Nov. 6, at the Knight Law Center Wayne Morse Commons. Epps is a former UO law professor who now teaches at the University of Baltimore School of Law. He covers the Supreme Court for The Atlantic and contributes to The American Prospect. See waynemorsecenter.uo.edu. 

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that former Lane County Commissioner Rob Handy’s complaint against the county and against former administrator Liane Richardson (now Inkster) and Commissioners Sid Leiken, Faye Stewart and Jay Bozievich for undermining “his ability to do his elected job” can be amended and move forward for a decision.