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The first thing a visitor notices about the Saraha Children’s School is the peace and quiet. Nestled in a dappled oak savannah in Eugene’s South Hills, the Tibetan Buddhist K-8 school currently serves just four children with two full-time teachers, although it has the capacity for someday accommodating 30 students. The atmosphere is downright relaxing. 

As a younger child, I attended three elementary schools: Edison Elementary School, Parker Elementary School and Camas Ridge Community School. I always had to get used to making new friends, getting a new routine and getting used to a new school. 

Back in elementary school, I never thought I would be this close to high school. All I was thinking about was when recess was going to be and if I should yell at boys to stop being so annoying. Now I have to think about the next four years of my life until I graduate and possibly go to college. 

While her previous position as Oregon’s secretary of state typically did not put her in the environmental spotlight, Oregon’s new Governor Kate Brown is no stranger to green agendas or protests. In summer of 2012, members of Cascadia Earth First! and Eugene’s own Cascadia Forest Defenders locked themselves together at Brown’s office at the state Capitol to call attention to logging in the Elliott State Forest.

Graduate high school. Think about your future career. Get a profession.  That is Leticia Gonzalez’s advice for her daughters. She is sitting with them at the kitchen table in their Springfield home, and they banter with each other about school, work and family.

“Sometimes I think they get tired of listening to me say ‘Go to college,’” Gonzalez says, who requested to speak with EW via an interpreter because she feels more comfortable with Spanish. “It’s the reality: work and study.” 

Oregon state legislators are worried that their constituents don’t know enough about state government. 

There are three bills proposed in the current 2015 session to improve civics education in Oregon: HB 2977, HB 2955 and SB 484. Each has a different angle, but all stem from the same general feeling: Kids graduating today don’t know enough about the legislative process to understand that they have a stake in the system. 

A representative from a local advocacy group has filed a formal request with the Lane County District Attorney’s Office seeking the release of records from Greenhill Humane Society. 

At issue is whether Greenhill — a private nonprofit that runs its own shelter but also receives public funds from the county to administer the First Avenue Shelter — is subject to Oregon’s public records laws regarding the work it does at First Avenue. 

Greenhill took over the management of FAS from the county in 2012.

It’s school board election season, and board positions are opening up at Lane Community College and Eugene School District 4J. Two candidates, one for LCC and one for 4J, are ready to fill soon-to-be-empty spots, running on platforms of affordability, equity, transparency and more.

The latest brewery to bubble up in the Willamette Valley is getting ready to take off, and you can help make it happen. Old Growth Ales recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $20,000 for equipment, truck upgrades, licensing fees, marketing and other expenses. The end goal: to make locally sourced botanic and medicinal ales commercially available. 

Springfield is in mourning, as are we all, for the pedestrian tragedy on Main Street that killed three children and seriously injured their mother Feb. 22. As we go to press we haven’t heard why the pickup driver hit the family, but regardless, the long and busy Main Street corridor has long been hazardous for walkers, bicyclists, pets and wildlife. Reducing the speed limit on this state highway would be an obvious first step. More pedestrian refuge islands are needed.

“I’m an activist,” says Angelita Chavez in her pico, a traditional handmade slip with red lining that shows when you pull the skirt up to dance the zapateado. “Here, I’m a dancer.”

• A public meeting on the 2015 Eugene Trails Plan will be at 6 pm Thursday, Feb. 26, at the Eugene Public Works Parks and Open Space facility, 1820 Roosevelt Blvd. Email philip.s.richardson@ci.eugene.or.us or call 682-4906 for more information.

Janet Range, who supervises education programs at three immigrant detention centers in Portland, will join a discussion about “The Children Who Came Across the Border” at 7 pm Thursday, Feb. 26, at First United Methodist Church, 13th and Olive. 

The mood was still somber in Salem this past week. John Kitzhaber’s gone, Kate Brown’s sworn in and the political landscape of Oregon settles in after the tsunami. Last Tuesday I took a bottle of Wild Turkey, a copy of my Feb. 12 EW column and my retirement announcement over to the Capitol. I knew I wouldn’t see John so I searched out one of his closest companions over the years, a state trooper from the Dignitary Protection Unit.

Classical music doesn’t have to be boring — usually that’s just the way it’s played

Mike Doherty, bassist for Portland indie-rock outfit Future Historians, says what initially brought the band together was the songwriting of leader and primary songwriter Dave Shur. 

Considering the sterling reputation of J. Cole, it’s incredible that his new tour kicks off here at the McDonald Theatre.

It’s a shame Franco-American jazz singer Cyrille Aimée didn’t come through Eugene a little closer to Valentine’s Day, because her romantic brand of adorable and sugary jazz would be a perfect gift for that special someone. 

Alas, poor George and Martha: As the boozy, bitchy combatants at the center of Edward Albee’s 1962 play Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, these two go at it like rabid animals, incapable of restraint, tearing at each other in an alcohol-fueled barrage of verbal abuse, all set to the tinkling rhythms of ice plinking against a cocktail glass. And the beating goes on.

OCCUPATIONAL DISEASE

I taught and counseled delinquent adolescents for 28 years. Some grew up to be politicians. Most of the others were successfully rehabilitated. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not condemning all politicians; some of them are very decent, dedicated public servants — working to promote the wellbeing of us all. It’s just that the 99 percent give the other 1 percent a bad name. 

I have been reading your column for years, Dan, and now I’m writing you for the first time to ask for a favor. I met this dude online in December and I felt like we had a good connection. He “dumped” me, though, because he was busy and was going through career shit and lived halfway across the country from me. I think a dude telling you he’s too busy for you is bullshit—because boobs—so I encouraged him to tell me the truth. He insisted he wasn’t shining me on: Busyness and career shit and distance were the truth, he said.

Sparkling sunlight pours through the panoramic windows of the courthouse, lighting the faces of an unprecedented gathering of movers and shakers from across the state and nation — all of them women.

With Mount Hood on the horizon, perhaps these women’s faces should be carved into its slopes, a sort of counterpoint to Mount Rushmore.

In 2003, a Lane County Animal Regulation Advisory Task Force Report said that the animal shelter shared by Lane County, Eugene and Springfield was in need of a “thorough overhaul or a complete replacement” and 60 more kennels. Instead, First Avenue Shelter, which is home to the area’s strays and now run by Greenhill Humane Society, has the same 30 kennels it has had since the 1970s and is stretched beyond its capacity, according to longtime shelter volunteer Misha English. 

Oregon might be seen as a green and healthy state, but its laws protecting people, pets and lands from the chemicals drifting from aerial herbicide sprays are weaker than the laws in Idaho, Washington and California. Lisa Arkin of Beyond Toxics hopes a new bill introduced into the Oregon Legislature Feb. 10 could change that. 

For the first two weeks of the legislative session in Salem, Sen. Chris Edwards (D-Eugene) has focused all his attention on passing the clean fuels bill. But he also has several bills to foster a healthier environment for Oregonians in the works.

The next “big” bill Edwards says he’ll be working on is the Children’s Toxics bill (SB 478). He started work on the bill back in 2013, but he says supporters were unable to get it passed because not all Democrats voted for it. He says after several iterations, it is “a better bill now.”

Eugene has bulldozed hundreds of historic homes and commercial buildings over the years, many with architectural as well as historic value, and the destruction continues. But not all have been lost. So what is it like to get an old and significant home or office building designated as a City Historic Landmark (CHL) or other designation in Eugene? The benefits include tax credits and assessment freezes, low-interest loans for rehabilitation and more.