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News Briefs

It’s difficult to read about Haiti without feeling heartbroken. The Caribbean country caught the world’s attention nearly three years ago when an earthquake killed thousands and left over a million Haitians homeless.

Haiti has suffered greatly from deforestation, with 98 percent of its original tree cover destroyed. Rife with mudslides, floods and soil erosion, the country is an environmental disaster in need of a hero. That’s where Chavannes Jean-Baptiste comes in.

It’s been a particularly bad academic year thus far in terms of sexual violence on and around campus. In the past month, three sexual assaults were reported to the UO Police Department alone, and sexual assault prevention advocates say that’s consistent with the “red zone,” the first six weeks of fall term when a high rate of sexual violence is reported. On Nov.

“We know beyond a shadow of a doubt humans have affected the composition of the atmosphere and almost beyond a shadow of a doubt that global warming is related to that,” says Philip Mote, director of the Oregon Climate Change Research Institute (OCCRI). In this election season, climate change didn’t come up until after the presidential debates, but superstorm Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath meant the topic hit the headlines before the election was over.

Every four years around presidential election time, the Electoral College gets attention for a few weeks, then fades into the fog of obscurity for four more years. But who are Oregon’s seven electors, how did they become electors and what do they do?

President Obama’s victory this week does not automatically make him president for four years, but it kicks off a long and formal process that leads up to his inauguration at noon Jan. 20, 2013. Seven electors will (ideally) represent us and cast their votes for Obama and Biden in Salem Dec. 17.

More changes may be afoot for the local animal welfare services scene. After city and county funding cuts led to the jettisoning of the Lane County Animal Services (LCAS) program in favor of Greenhill Humane Society running the shelter and splitting up the welfare officers by city and county in July of this year, questions abound as to whether or not the LCAS Advisory Committee may be next on the chopping block. 

While many Eugeneans have already settled on voting for Democrats or Republicans in the Nov. 6 election, other parties are on the ballot, and third parties are actively registering new voters. According to the Oregon Blue Book, about 26 percent of Oregon voters were registered with third parties or are unaffiliated with a party.

As evidenced by the infamous anti-Islam video that attracted a whirlwind of attention after it was alleged to have been linked to the Benghazi embassy riots in September, religion continues to remain a touchy subject these days. For Saba Mahmood, a professor of anthropology at UC-Berkeley, it’s a topic that she hopes to understand more clearly through her studies of religious issues in Egypt.

People in their late teens and early 20s don’t have the best track record when it comes to voting. That’s why around election time, voter registration volunteers show up on college campuses, encouraging students to fill out their registration cards. The registration deadline has passed, but now it’s up to students to follow through and vote. 

Just days before Hurricane Sandy smacked into the East Coast, turning New York City streets into waterways, a tsunami advisory was issued for the West Coast from Alaska into California, as well as Hawaii, as a result of an 7.7 earthquake off the coast of British Columbia. These water disasters, or near disasters — the tsunami was in the end rather small — call to mind the 2011 Japanese quake and tsunami and the subsequent nuclear plant dangers that arose.

Eugene police are once again coordinating the collection of warm clothing, boots and other various winter weather items to be distributed to community service agencies that help the homeless community stay warm this winter. 

Officer Randy Ellis has spearheaded the collection for the past several years and last year West University Neighborhood residents Don and Anne Dezarn pledged to match up to $2,500 of funds collected after seeing the success of previous years and the impact on this vulnerable population.

Capstone’s student housing project not yet under construction at 13th and Olive has hit a legal snag, losing an Oct. 11 Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA) ruling to neighborhood advocate Paul Conte on the city’s vacation (termination of public right to use the street) of West 12th Avenue between Olive and Willamette. 

Oregon is facing the prospect of coal trains rumbling through the state bringing coal, and coal dust and increased diesel fumes, thanks to several proposals for coal export terminals along the coast and Columbia River. Gov. John Kitzhaber and Sen. Jeff Merkley have requested an extensive federal environmental review of the effects of exporting coal to Asia, having it burned there and blowing back to the Northwest. Local governments have attempted to weigh in on the coal issue as well. 

With the next City Council decision on the downtown exclusion zone — which allows banning people from the downtown core prior to conviction of a crime — a year away, civil liberties activists already seeking the data they need to fight the zone. But on Oct. 17, Eugene Police Department records manager Joan Quaempts denied the Civil Liberties Defense Center (CLDC) request for a public records fee waiver for documents related to past exclusions, quoting a $2,284 fee for the records. EW was a party in the request.

A free dental clinic for extractions only is coming up Friday, Oct. 26, for people who are uninsured, low income, have a tooth that needs to be removed, and have not had recent dental care. Patients need to have a phone number where they can be reached to confirm appointments.

The event is being organized by the Occupy Eugene Medical Clinic in cooperation with St. Vincent de Paul. Dentists can work on only one quadrant at a time so only one upper or lower jaw, left or right side, can be treated at this clinic. A limit of 20 people can be treated.

Congressman Peter DeFazio’s campaign is calling a $1 million lawsuit filed by Tea Party challenger Art Robinson in Josephine County “meritless.” The Robinson campaign also sent out an email to supporters that insinuates that Lane County engaged in voter fraud in the 2010 election, which Robinson lost to DeFazio. 

Robinson’s campaign did not respond to a request to confirm its allegations. It also did not send a copy of the suit to DeFazio’s campaign before issuing its press release.

Catholic nun, death penalty foe and restorative justice advocate Sister Helen Prejean has returned to Oregon for the fifth time. While in Oregon she visited the Oregon State Penitentiary in Salem to teach a creative writing workshop through the Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program, which brings college and incarcerated students together in university courses held in correctional facilities, and visited the Coffee Creek Correctional Facility for women in Wilsonville. Sister Helen Prejean will speak on “Envisioning a Compassionate America” on Oct. 25 at the UO.

The state of Oregon is known for many things, and near the top of its list is the bike riding culture and the reliance by much of the population on local, organic foods. Two women are about to set out on a long journey to combine the two, hoping to spread the importance of both across the country through what they call the Food Cycles Bicycle Tour. 

Is there a mistake on your ballot? Aaron Baker, who is running against incumbent Democrat Paul Holvey for Oregon House District 8, says there is. Baker, a Republican railroad engineer perhaps best known for the Tea Party-esque videos he posts at his “No Sugar Coated News” website, has accused fellow challenger Lucian Blansett of election fraud and says his name should be removed from the ballot. Lane County says it’s too late — ballots have already been printed in order to be mailed Oct. 19.

Congressman Peter DeFazio’s GOP challenger, Art Robinson, is back at it this election with some help from a few deep-pocketed, out-of-state friends. A spread of just under 11 percent kept DeFazio in Oregon’s Fourth Congressional District in the 2010 election. Now the man behind Citizens United is putting money into the effort to beat the populist Democratic congressman.

During the first presidential debate Oct. 3, when Mitt Romney professed to “love Big Bird” yet said he would “stop the subsidy to PBS,” he triggered an immediate internet outcry, one that prompted former Eugenean and political activist Sam Chapman to start a fundraising campaign for the Sesame Street character. Chapman’s campaign swiftly made national headlines with mentions in papers such as USA Today.

In celebration of final local approval of West Eugene EmX, a party to celebrate and thank everyone who has worked to support EmX is being planned for 5:30 to 7 pm Tuesday, Oct. 23, at the Broadway Commerce Center, 44 W. Broadway. Mayor Kitty Piercy, LTD Board Chair Greg Evans and other local leaders are expected to attend. RSVP to rsvp@emxyes.org

Gov. John Kitzhaber has entered the federal forests and county funding fray by proposing a forest panel made up of environmentalists, county officials and timber interests. The panel, which is based on the proposed DeFazio-Walden-Schrader forest legislation, is tasked with coming up with a plan for using federal Bureau of Land Management O&C forests to fund payments to cash-strapped Oregon counties.

You’ve probably never seen a streaked horned lark — a little bird with feather tufts on its head that call to mind the horns of a teeny-tiny buffalo — because they are only about 6 to 8 inches long and there are only about 1,600 of them left in the world. But some of the few little yellowish and brown birds that remain live in the Willamette Valley and they have a liking for airports. The streaked horned lark and a fellow prairie species, the Taylor’s checkerspot butterfly, have been proposed by the U.S.

The UO is honoring the life and work of music professor and former dean of the School of Music and Dance Anne Dhu McLucas, who died Sept. 8. Plans are proceeding on the second of a two-part symposium on “Oral Traditions, Old and New” Oct. 19 and 20. 

The October portion of the symposium will be dedicated to McLucas, with musicians and scholars from across the U.S. and abroad presenting their work in her memory. The theme of the symposium was chosen to honor her 2010 monograph, the “The Musical Ear: Oral Tradition in the USA.”