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 Edition, All 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.
The deadline for ballots to arrive at Lane County Elections is 8 pm Tuesday, Nov. 4. The last day to mail ballots and assure their arrival is Thursday, Oct. 30. Ballots can also be dropped off 24/7 at any of the white ballot boxes around town or on campus. Here are our endorsements in selected contested races and ballot measures. See last week’s paper or go online to read our full endorsements.
In a season of highly controversial ballot measures and no-compromise, multimillion-dollar “yes” and “no” campaigns, Measure 87 is set to be among the more peaceful decisions Oregonians have to make in November. Facing no organized opposition, the “fact specific and very narrowly drawn” measure would amend the state Constitution to permit state judges to simultaneously serve in either the National Guard or as a paid teacher in public universities.
Eugene videographer Tim Lewis says when he first found out about the controversial mining at Parvin Butte in local newspaper stories, he thought, “That’s a hell of a story” for a film project, “but I have no time to do that kind of stuff.”
On a recent recreational swim near Florence, diver Diana Hollingshead was astonished once she realized what she was seeing underwater: thousands of healthy juvenile sea stars. Due to sea star wasting syndrome, a disease that causes sea stars (aka starfish) to develop lesions, fall apart and die in a matter of days, the discovery of healthy sea stars was an encouraging one.
Scientist Tyrone Hayes reels off the list of effects on amphibians, rats and humans that he and other researchers have linked to the chemical atrazine. They include breast cancer, prostate cancer, decreased sperm counts, impaired fertility, a reduction in masculine features as well as abortion in pregnant rats exposed to the chemical, to name a few.
The approval of another herbicide specifically for use on genetically modified (GM) crops underscores the timeliness of Oregon’s Measure 92 that would mandate labeling foods containing GMOs. On Oct. 15, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) gave final approval of the herbicide Enlist Duo, which is used on Dow Chemical crops genetically modified to resist the chemicals glyphosate and 2,4-D.
• Weyerhaeuser Company, 744-4600, plans to aerially spray 57 acres near Jones Creek in the Coast Range with Accord XRT II, Polaris SP, Rotary 2 SL, Sulfomet Extra, Metcel VMF, Foam Buster, Induce, Insist and/or MSO. See ODF notification 2014-781-00827 or call Robin L. Biesecker at 935-2283 with questions.
As a journalism instructor at the UO, Eugene author Melissa Hart tells her students to write engaging beginnings to their stories. She followed her own recipe with her latest memoir, Wild Within: How Rescuing Owls Inspired a Family, which opens with her husband’s vasectomy.
Such begins a story about a quirky romance, rescued birds of prey and the process of adopting a child. Hart will read from her book at the UO’s Museum of Natural and Cultural History Oct. 28, along with local author Tom Titus.
A recent poll by Oregon Public Broadcasting shows support for the “top-two primary” initiative Measure 90 at 36 percent, opposition at 38 percent and undecided at 26 percent. If you are among the undecided, here’s a story for you.
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality(DEQ) recently sent the following businesses $1,600 “expedited enforcement offers” for violating the Clean Water Act by failing to monitor industrial stormwater discharges from their facilities: Eagle Plywood Specialties (Harrisburg), Georgia-Pacific Wood Products NW (Philomath), Gheen Irrigation Works (Harrisburg), Natron Wood Products (Jasper)and Sundance Lumber Company (Springfield).
InEugene Real Estate is Eugene’s newest real estate brokerage, located at the corner of East Broadway and Oak Street. Eugene native and principal broker Ben Fogelson says he is being “highly particular about selecting agents” for his brokerage. “Being a high-producing agent doesn’t get you in the door,” he says. “We are not, nor will we ever be salespeople.
• We the People-Eugene is planning a free panel discussion on “Earned Sick Leave, Preemption and the Powers of Local Government” at 7 pm Thursday, Oct. 23 , at the UO law school, room 110. Speakers include Paul Diller, Jim Edmundson, Pete Sorenson and Ken Tollenaar. Moderated by Eugene attorney Melissa Wischerath and hosted by the Wayne Morse Center on campus. See wethepeopleeugene.org for more information.
An “ultra mega” coal-fired power plant is proposed for the coastal state of Tamil Nadu in India, on the shores of the Cheyyur Lagoon. The plant would churn out 4,000 megawatts of power and 25 million tons of carbon dioxide per year, according to the Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide (ELAW), which is aiding communities in India in their fight against the plant and 11 other ultra mega coal proposals.
With full-day kindergarten and the new Smarter Balanced standardized tests looming on the horizon, Eugene School District 4J can’t afford to lose any source of funding. That’s why the district is asking voters to renew a five-year local option levy on the Nov. 4 ballot.
The call for all-out war against Islamic extremists is growing louder in the Pentagon, Congress and the White House as the U.S. carries on increasing overt and covert military actions in the Middle East targeting primarily ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
But Rep. Peter DeFazio says, “History has shown that U.S. involvement in sectarian as well as civil wars raging in the Middle East does not benefit our interests. ISIS would not exist today if it were not for the unnecessary U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, which I voted against.”
A 4-year-old girl from Eugene diagnosed with a form of nerve cancer called neuroblastoma is receiving treatment at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland, and she needs help from her community to afford it.
Scarlet Craig, along with her parents Tim and Elena Craig, have already raised $43,782 on the website GoFundMe as we go to press. The cancer, which doctors first discovered on Scarlet’s adrenal glands and has now metastasized to her bones, is the same kind of cancer affecting Leah Still, daughter of Cincinnati Bengals football player Devon Still.
A measure coming up in the November election proposes a state-created endowment fund to help Oregon students pay for college. Coined the Oregon Opportunity Initiative, Measure 86 amends the Oregon Constitution to allow the creation of an Opportunity Fund that would go towards paying for students going to college within the state.
The current state-funded program, Oregon Opportunity Grant, only reaches one out of five students that apply for money, according to Measure 86 founder State Treasurer Ted Wheeler.