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Lauren Gunderson’s 2011 play Silent Sky is about succeeding and failing, seeking and discovering, journeying and arriving. That is to say, it’s the story of a life — the life of astronomer Henrietta Leavitt. Silent Sky, directed by Elizabeth Helman, is playing now at Oregon Contemporary Theatre.

Working at Harvard at the turn of the 20th century, Leavitt made significant discoveries leading to the development of the Hubble Telescope. 

Are you incapable of concision? Your answers are too long! You blather on, often rehashing the problem (unnecessary!) before giving four words (at most!) of (rarely!) useful advice. I’ve heard you say you have to edit letters down for space. Try this instead: Edit yourself! I want more of the letters—more from the people asking questions—and less of YOU.

Keep It Short, Savage, Expressed Sincerely

Feedback is always appreciated, KISSES.

 

If this were a movie, it might be a complicated and acrimonious courtroom drama called A Tale of Two Theaters, in which a pair of once-united independent movie houses splits over irreconcilable differences, becoming two separate cinemas run by different ownership.

A recent case in Lane County Circuit Court reveals a rift in the business relationship between the majority and minority owners of the Bijou Art Cinemas, and though the lawsuit was dismissed, the theaters now will become two distinct entities: the original Bijou Art Cinemas near the University District on 13th Avenue, and the recently renamed Broadway Metro, previously the Bijou Metro, which opened downtown three years ago.

While the Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar Festival is only in its third year in Eugene, it’s part of a 34-year-old tradition that “began in 1982 as a tribute to one of Hawaii’s iconic and most celebrated slack key musicians, Gabby ‘Pops’ Pahinui, considered the ‘Modern Day Godfather’ of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar.” The one-day fest kicks off 7:30 pm Friday, March 4, in the Hult Center’s Soreng Theater. For newbies, slack-key guitar is a fingerstyle type of guitar music that became popular in Hawaii in the 1960s.

Sniffing out what you shouldn’t miss in the arts this week

Listen up, Oregon — your schools are underfunded by $2 billion.

Just ask Sabrina Gordon, a reading teacher at Awbrey Park Elementary School in Eugene.

She started teaching in Eugene School District 4J in 1999, but prior to that she was a student in 4J schools. Gordon experienced 4J at its peak in the ’80s, before the devastating passage of Measure 5 in 1990, which capped property taxes for school funding and shifted budgetary responsibility from local government to the state. 

Sniffing out what you shouldn’t miss in the arts this week

While technology continues to inch its way further into our everyday lives, a group of students at Junction City High School (JCHS) are embracing that trend by building robots. Yes, robots — not the kind that will take over the world, although they might attack your interest. 

Stacey Johnson, a science teacher at JCHS, meets with students twice a week after school in a building near the school’s soccer fields. Johnson, who had no experience with robotics prior to this endeavor, says students in robotics programs often do better in college because of the experience they get in the club. 

It’s soup day on a Friday at Eugene Waldorf School (EWS). In the corner of the multi-age kindergarten classroom, a group of students sits at a table helping their teacher make soup from the vegetables brought from home. The room is fully set up for preparation for the meal. There are pots and pans stacked on a shelf, and cutting utensils for the children to use for the vegetables.

“It is an education of doing, and that is not only rich with opportunity to learn social skills, but it’s also the way to have them most engaged,” says Valerie Perrott, the public relations and enrollment coordinator at the school.

In the late 1980s, a third-grade student went with his mom to a parent-teacher conference and saw his score: There was the line that represented the average, and then he saw the dot, way below that, which represented him.

That student is now history teacher Jesse Hagopian, who works at Seattle’s Garfield High School and serves as the advisor of the school’s black student union. 

The annual Public Interest Environmental Law Conference (PIELC) comes to the University of Oregon March 3-6. For the first time in its 43-year history, PIELC has organized a film festival to preview the conference at the Bijou Art Cinemas Feb. 25. Films will also play as part of the conference itself.

“Almost all the films have a panel accompaniment with people involved in the films,” says PIELC co-director, Emily Hajarizadeh. “We chose to incorporate film this year because every year we receive massive amounts of submissions for films, and we haven’t had a space to show them.”

The night of Monday, Feb. 22, was a moment many have been waiting for since October, when the city considered the private purchase of Kesey Square in a closed executive session: For the first time, the Eugene City Council publicly discussed Kesey Square, aka Broadway Plaza.

The work session, and public forum that followed, illustrated a lingering divide between some of the city councilors and mayor and the requests from citizens to keep the square public. 

• Seneca Jones Timber Company LLC, 689-1011, plans to hire JR Helicopters, (509) 452-3300, to aerially spray 56.9 acres near Douglas Creek with glyphosate, atrazine, 2,4-D, clopyralid, hexazinone and/or Crosshair. See ODF notification 2016-781-02102, call Brian Peterson at 935-2283 with questions.

When NPR education correspondent Claudio Sanchez visits a town to give a lecture or public talk, he likes to take something back home with him — a story.

“I try to report on something local every time I’m invited to one of these things, because I think it’s a great opportunity to get to understand the community better,” he says.

On March 2, Sanchez will speak at the University of Oregon about his experience as an education reporter. His visit is sponsored by KLCC and supported by the Wayne Morse Center for Law and Politics.

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) issued a civil penalty of $6,777 to Ninkasi Holding Company on Feb. 9 for Clean Water Act violations at its Whiteaker facilities. Ninkasi’s Clean Water Act permit requires monitoring for various pollutants in its stormwater discharges four times per year, and Ninkasi failed to take any samples at its Blair Boulevard discharge point, and took only three of the required samples at its Polk Street discharge point.

Graduate student Jewell Bohlinger studies human and cultural geography at the University of Oregon, and she’s currently researching prisons — from environmental impacts within prisons to whether prisons can be sustainable with high incarceration rates.

Bohlinger is one of more than 100 UO graduate students who will present their research projects Feb. 26 at the UO’s Ford Alumni Center for the UO Graduate Student Research Forum, organized by the UO Graduate School.

The occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge by anti-government activists was expensive on a number of levels, from law enforcement costs to loss of revenue stemming from the refuge. Also costly could be the Bundy’s and other occupiers’ legal fees and possible restitution, and there are questions about how the ranchers were able to afford to be be away from their jobs and ranches for more than a month from Jan. 2 to Feb. 11, when the last four militants surrendered.

Lane County Democrats gathered Feb. 18 for their traditional endorsement process for nonpartisan May Primary races. No big surprises (Lucy Vinis for mayor, Tony McCown for county commissioner), but no endorsements for any of the three Dems running to replace George Brown in Eugene City Council Ward 1. DPLC Chair Chris Wig is one of the candidates, and to avoid a conflict of interest, he turned over the meeting to Vice-chair Laura Gillpatrick.

• Tsunami Books reports its “Eat Local/ Shop Local” sandwich board sign in front of the store was stolen the night of Feb. 18, the same night the Domino’s Pizza opened next door at 2568 Willamette. Coincidence? A new sign will be up soon. Domino’s now has three stores in the Eugene area.

• The Coalition to Reduce Elementary Level Class Size is hosting an organizing meeting from 6:30 to 8 pm Thursday, Feb. 25, at Edison Elementary School, 1328 E. 22nd Ave. Oscar Loureiro, director of research and planning at 4J, and Anne Marie Levis, 4J school board member, will join the meeting for a question and answer session. Find the event on Facebook.

I am sorry to hear that the small square at Broadway and Willamette will possibly be replaced by a commercial building. Since this square is, I believe, the only hard-surfaced square in Eugene’s downtown, it would seem a very unfortunate decision. Most cities value and preserve their public places. 

A native of Rockville, Maryland, with a degree in music education from George Mason University, Anya Dobrowolski came to Eugene in 2006 for grad school in landscape architecture. She finished a master’s degree in 2011 and was hired as assistant director of the school’s newly minted one-year graduate certificate program, Oregon Leadership in Sustainability (OLIS). That’s where she met Beth Sweeney, an OLIS student who had worked six years for the EPA in Dallas, Texas, and in her hometown of Seattle.

Last year, Seattle band Chastity Belt released its debut, Time to Go Home, on Hardly Art, a subsidiary of Sub Pop Records used to foster and grow interesting bands that might not otherwise be quite ready for prime time. 

Ani DiFranco doesn’t mince words: Her current tour is called Vote Dammit! The objective is to ignite the political fires of an audience through music and community building. 

“It’s about participation,” DiFranco tells EW. “If we sit out on election day, bad things will happen, but if everyone who could vote would vote we’d have a better country.”