The recent tragic Sandy Hook school shooting has called attention not only to gun control, but also to how the U.S. deals with young people who are behaviorally or mentally challenged. One controversial method that some Eugene 4J schools are using to deal with students in its behavioral programs is to put them in seclusion rooms.
Congressman Peter DeFazio, whose own hometown of Springfield made national headlines in 1998 with the deadly Thurston High School shootings, says this week that Congress “will need to address a number of critical issues next year and this [mass shootings] should be a top priority.”
A former county attorney has filed an intent to sue Lane County for wrongful termination, retaliation for the exercise of First Amendment rights for speaking out on matters of public concern and for whistleblowing. A tort claim notice letter that was hand-delivered to County Counsel (and District Attorney) Alex Gardner Oct. 29 says that Marc Kardell was fired after he raised concerns about misuse of county funds and the actions of County Administrator Liane Richardson that were causing “a multitude of problems” within the county.
Smile: You’re on camera all over Eugene these days. Do a Google search for “Eugene webcam” and you’ll find cameras filming public spaces from the UO to the Owen Rose Garden. A recent revelation that Lane Transit District (LTD) had looked into not just videoing but also audio recording individual conversations on Eugene-area buses has local defenders of civil liberties concerned.
When the Supreme Court announced Dec. 7 that it would hear challenges to the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and California’s Proposition 8 in the spring, gay rights advocates across the country rejoiced. Savage Love columnist Dan Savage, who just got married in Washington, would probably enjoy seeing his Oregon friends get wed as well. But rulings favorable to marriage equality won’t immediately affect Oregonians; a 2006 amendment to Oregon’s Constitution defines marriage as between one man and one woman.
Anybody want to buy a weekly newspaper? Not this rag, of course, but The Jefferson Review and the Scio News are currently on the block cheap in order to “avoid imminent closure,” according to a notice from the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association. Cash only and the deadline for inquiries is Friday, Dec. 21. Call the owner at 971-3217. Contrary to conventional wisdom, print publications still have a lot of life left in them and not all are shrinking to oblivion.
• Springfield City Club will focus on key community health indicator data collected by health care experts and discuss community health priorities at 11:45 am Thursday, Dec. 20, at Willamalane Center, 250 S. 32nd St.
Everyone should have a place to spend the holiday season, and an initiative from Mayor Kitty Piercy is going to try to make that happen. In an attempt to help the homeless, Piercy has the goal of raising $40,000 to assist 40 families in need. The program, called “A Home for the Holidays,” will strive to give these 40 families housing. St. Vincent de Paul of Lane County has joined forces with Piercy in an effort to accomplish this feat, and Oregon Community Credit Union has already come up with $20,000 toward the goal.
Worse than coal in your Christmas stocking is coal in your water. A recent accident at a coal terminal in Vancouver, B.C., calls attention to the impacts that coal exports have on oceans and waterways around the ports. A large bulk carrier of coal collided with one of the coal trestles at the Westshore Terminals port in Canada on Dec. 7, spilling several tons of coal into the ocean. This is in addition to a coal carrier that ran aground in November, and another that recently docked with a large crack in its hull.
Winter is coming. But Eugene’s Opportunity Village, a housing for the homeless pilot project now slated for a site near North Garfield Street and Roosevelt in the Whiteaker, won’t be up and running for at least four to six months. That’s why Safe Legally Entitled Emergency Places to Sleep (SLEEPS) representatives are urging the City Council to repeal Eugene’s camping ban through the winter and designate specific camping areas.
More than four months after the Occupy Housing and Foreclosure Action Committee (OH-FAC) moved into the foreclosed home on the corner of 12th and Lawrence, it’s being reoccupied by its owner. Occupiers say owner Karen Atkinson, who left the home two years ago, is in a sort of “legal limbo,” but she’s challenging the foreclosure.
Lief O’Neill, a 9-year-old Monroe boy who is severely autistic but also highly communicative, came within hours of dying in late November after being denied a heart transplant in Oregon due to his disability. But doctors at Stanford’s Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital heard of his plight and agreed to do a surgical procedure that will hopefully keep him alive until a suitable heart can be found. He was flown from Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland to Palo Alto and had the surgery Dec. 4.
Seven more local facility’s industrial stormwater pollution control plans for are up for public comment this week. These plans are for facilities that have applied for Clean Water Act permit coverage under the new industrial stormwater permit issued by Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), and that took effect July 1. Comments are due by 5 PM on Dec.
Farmers and parents in the Highway 36/Triangle Lake area west of Eugene have been fighting for years to put an end to toxic aerial sprays of pesticides by private timber companies that drift onto nearby homes and gardens. After residents, including children, in the Triangle Lake area tested positive for the chemicals atrazine and 2,4-D in their urine, the Oregon Health Authority and other agencies begin to investigate the drifting pesticide issue.
What if you could peel off Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel fresco from the Vatican, roll it up, send it on a plane and put it on display here in Eugene? That’s on the same scale of what UO Associate Professor James Harper is trying to do, except with some of the most famous tapestries in the world, the Barberini Tapestries, commissioned by Roman 17th-century nobility and contemporaries of the Medicis, the Barberini family.
• West EugeneEmX funding still has more public process to go through and funding of the extension is on the agenda of the Metropolitan Policy Committee from 11 am to 1:30 pm Thursday, Dec. 13, at the Eugene Public Library. The MPC will vote on a recommendation by the Transportation Planning Committee to approve $4.2 million of Oregon Lottery funds and $705,000 of federal funds for the expansion. The deadline for public comment has passed, but audience comment time is provided at the beginning of MPC meetings. See lcog.org for more information.
Twenty-five years have passed since Alito Alessi and his dance partner Karen Nelson pioneered DanceAbility (DA), an internationally-renowned dance method that employs movement to explore artistic expression between people with and without disabilities, and Dec. 7 marks the beginning of their week-long anniversary celebration with a free First Friday ArtWalk event, 6:30 pm at the Broadway Commerce Center including performances by disabled and able-bodied dancers. The goal of DA is to challenge misconceptions and prejudices that people have about themselves and others.
Some of Oregon’s sharpest storytellers will share memories of off-beat holiday mischief and wintry discontent at the annual Planned Parenthood Advocates holiday benefit from 8:30 to 10:30 pm Friday, Dec. 7, at Cozmic, 199 W. 8th Ave. Tickets are $15 at the door or $13 in advance from CozmicPizza.com and at the Cozmic box office.
Long have dogs, cats and chickens been allowed as pets in urban areas, but now Genie Harden is making an effort to give them company here in the form of miniature Nigerian dwarf goats. Harden, who has a farm on Chezem Road in Eugene, is running a goat school on her property this weekend to teach those interested in owning goats how to raise them.
The Lane County Jail has been releasing prisoners due to lack of space — including one who walked down the street and promptly robbed a bank — and public safety has been on the Board of County Commissioners’ agendas lately, but it’s not clear if the county is any closer to a safety solution. Sid Leiken, board chair and part of the commission’s conservative majority, sent a message this week indicating the board may be backing away from a jail tax and instead blaming budget woes on a lack of logging on public lands.
Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is accepting public comments this week on industrial stormwater pollution control plans for more local facilities that have applied for Clean Water Act (CWA) permit coverage under the new industrial stormwater permit. Comments are due by 5 pm on Dec. 13, and the facilities are: All American Fabricating, Emerald Forest Products, Forrest Paint Co., Gheen Irrigation Works, Gibson Steel Fabricating, Hearthside Food Solutions and Valley Landfills, (Benton County).
In February or March 2013, The Bier Stein will move from its location on East 11th Avenue to Midtown, the building at 16th and Willamette that was formerly home to June. Bier Stein owner Chip Hardy says The Bier Stein has purchased the building and has begun remodeling so it can accommodate a single business. Its new location will almost sextuple The Bier Stein from 2,100 sq. ft. to 12,000 sq. ft. The extra space will also provide a room from which Hardy and company will begin packaging and shipping beer from online sales.
• Springfield City Club will host James Whitty, manager of ODOT’s Innovative Partnerships and Alternative Funding, at 11:45 am Thursday, Dec. 6, at Willamalane Center, 250S. 32nd St. Whitty will talk about funding road and highway improvements in the future as vehicles become more fuel efficient and fuels taxes shrink. City Club meets for lunch on the first and third Thursday of each month.