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May 15, 2012 12:08 PM

Naming a Portland beer after a Hindu goddess was apparently not appreciated by some Hindu members in India’s Parliament this week who summoned the U.S. ambassador after hearing about the special brew.

 

“Kali-Ma” beer was scheduled to be launched today (May 15) by Portland-based Burnside Brewing Company, but was then canceled after the Hindu protest. The company has apologized and will rename the beer and change its label. The brew is imperial wheat ale flavored with Indian spices and Scotch-Bonnet peppers.

 

Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, who spearheaded the protest, called identifying of the beer with Goddess Kali “inappropriate,” but has thanked and commended the company for showing responsibility, respect and maturity by taking quick action and for having an understanding for the hurt feelings of Hindu community. It was a step in the right direction, he said, according to Burnside’s Facebook page.

May 14, 2012 02:50 PM

Too late to mail in your ballot but it's easy enough to drop it off at one of the white ballot boxes around town and on campus up until 8 pm Tuesday. And we hear some Democrats are getting together Tusday evening at Roaring Rapids Pizza, 4006 Franklin Blvd. to watch the election results as they come in. Springfield mayoral candidate Denise Bean has reportedly organized the event. See http://roaringrapidspizza.com/

More election watch gatherings will be at the Vet's Club on Willamette and at Rob Handy's election headquarters at 354 W. 6th Ave. in Eugene. Call 344-1161.

May 13, 2012 01:39 PM

On April 2012 Copenhagen Phil (Sjællands Symfoniorkester) surprised the passengers in the Copenhagen Metro by playing Griegs Peer Gynt. The flash mob was created in collaboration with Radio Klassisk http://radioklassisk.dk/. All music was performed and recorded in the metro.

Here's to hoping the Eugene Symphony will flash mob the EmX.

May 10, 2012 03:24 PM

Lane County would like you to know that budget cuts means they will be releasing people from the Lane County Jail. (See the press release below). Budget cuts also mean that services to help kids, familes, the homeless, homeless pets and rural law enforcement to name a few things will also be cut.

DATE/TIME OF RELEASE:            May 10, 2012 3:00 PM

NATURE OF STORY:                       Capacity Based Releases

During the week of April 30 to May 7, 2012, a look at only sentenced offenders revealed that 13 offenders were released from the Lane County Adult Correctional Facility prior to serving their full sentences.  These 13 offenders were sentenced to a total of 344 days in jail and served an actual total of 56 days due to lack of jail capacity. 

 When the Lane County Jail gets full, which is more often than not, difficult decisions must be made about who to release from custody.  These decisions are made by a validated program called the Risk Assessment Tool that assigns a numerical value to each offender, both sentenced and those awaiting trial.  This score takes a plethora of data into account including the defendant/ offender’s current charges, past convictions, and rate of failure to appear in court.  The result is a Capacity Based Release, a CBR, or in plain terms, an inmate walking out the door before they appear in court or their sentence is up.

At the end of June, due to budgetary cutbacks, the Sheriff’s Office is scheduled to close 131 of their 351 jail beds, and 131 defendants and offenders will walk out the doors of the jail and into our communities.   They will have been “CBRd.”  Take away the 85 jail beds that the county has contracted out to other agencies and that leaves only 120 beds available for local offenders in a county that should have a jail with around 1200 beds.

While the jail has a history of opening and closing beds as money ebbs and flows, this will be the least amount of jail beds we have had to operate with for more than a decade, when we had approximately 29,000 fewer residents in Lane County. Back in 2008 when the jail closed 84 beds due to lack of funding, the average number of CBRs per day rocketed up to 12.5 per day. In 2009, when the beds were able to be reopened, that number fell back to an average of 8.8 CBRs per day.  In July of 2011, those 84 beds were once again closed, leaving the jail capacity where it is right now, at 351 beds.  But the jail can only fill 93% of those beds with inmates due to a Federal Consent Decree to prevent overcrowding, leaving the jail with only 326 beds for inmates. 

Capacity Based Release History:

FY 09/08         4579 CBRs     (Jail closed 84 beds)    FY 09/10         3216 CBRs     (84 beds reopened)

FY 10/11         2595 CBRs                                         FY 11/12**     3293 CBRs     (84 beds closed again)

**Numbers as of March 31, 2012 for FY 11/12.

At this rate, the projected total number of CBRs for FY 11/12 will be over 4,400.  With the closure of 131 beds in June, the number of CBRs is expected to increase drastically. 

On a side note, I can't help but to note that the county provides an acronym for "capacity based release," which is CBR. But it does not provide an acronym for Risk Assessment Tool. 

 In plain terms, "difficult decisions" about who to release early from jail. are being made by a computer program named RAT. 

May 7, 2012 09:51 AM

How do you show the world the impact of climate change? Check out the remarkable photos on the Project 350 associated website at http://www.climatedots.org/

May 7, 2012 06:21 PM

 

Million 1 Productions has put together an informative video on Republican challenger to Peter DeFazio Art Robinson, and son (aka the "Democratic" challenger) Matthew Robinson called "Art Robinson: Lunatic running for Congress in Oregon 2012."
 
Enjoy!
May 4, 2012 10:04 AM

Photographs by Rob Sydor. click any image to see a slide show. Eugene Fashion Week - April 28th - Avant Garde by Rob Sydor

Eugene Fashion Week - April 28th - Avant Garde by Rob Sydor

Eugene Fashion Week - April 28th - Avant Garde by Rob Sydor

Eugene Fashion Week - April 28th - Avant Garde by Rob Sydor

Eugene Fashion Week - April 28th - Avant Garde by Rob Sydor

Eugene Fashion Week - April 28th - Avant Garde by Rob Sydor

Eugene Fashion Week - April 28th - Avant Garde by Rob Sydor

Eugene Fashion Week - April 28th - Avant Garde by Rob Sydor

Eugene Fashion Week - April 28th - Avant Garde by Rob Sydor

Eugene Fashion Week - April 28th - Avant Garde by Rob Sydor

Eugene Fashion Week - April 28th - Avant Garde by Rob Sydor

Eugene Fashion Week - April 28th - Avant Garde by Rob Sydor

Eugene Fashion Week - April 28th - Avant Garde by Rob Sydor

Eugene Fashion Week - April 28th - Avant Garde by Rob Sydor

May 4, 2012 01:34 PM

Was the last-minute meeting Lane County held to vote on releasing allegations against Commissioner Rob Handy  on the morning of May 3 an open meeting? Handy has said the allegations themselves were timed not only to hurt him in the election, but also to detract from the recent revelation that his opponent Pat Farr was convicted of drunk driving. 

Though the handwritten note that stemmed the allegations was received by John Brown months ago on Feb. 21, he and attorney Alan Thayer waited until shortly before the May 15 election to release the information, Handy says. According to the R-G Thayer and Farr are good friends. The decision itself to release the information happened at rapid speed —  perhaps scheduled too quickly for anyone who didn't know to check email early that morning to attend?

The email received by the press giving notice of the "emergency meeting" was time-stamped 7:42 am May 3. The meeting was held at 9 am and consisted of the conservative majority of the board — Commissioners Sid Leikin, Jay Bozievich and Faye Stewart and County Administrator Liane Richardson. The vote was 3-0 to release the information. Neither Handy nor fellow progressive commissioner Pete Sorenson was there.

By 9:45 am, Richardson had already composed and sent out this email to county staff: 

May 3, 2012 05:07 PM

At a press conference today Commissioner Rob Handy addressed allegations that he says are timed to cause maximum damage to his re-election campaign. This is not the first time the liberal minority of the county commission has been targeted. See today's cover story on the Politics of Personal Destruction as well as last year's Shifty Politics.

The Board of Lane County Commissioners had an emergency meeting at 9 am this morning to discuss a public records request on the issue. 

The press release starts off: 

May 3, 2012

An emergency meeting of the Lane County Commission was held this morning, beginning at 9 am,  for the purpose of responding to a request for a public records release.  The request comes following the filing of a letter by Eugene Attorney Alan Thayer on behalf of Eugene resident and property [and] business owner, John H. Brown. 

Central to the request are allegations contained in the letter.  It is addressed to Lane County Commissioner Rob Handy and copied to the District Attorney, Secretary of State and the Oregon Government Ethics Commission. Commissioner Handy is alleged to have solicited contributions from certain individuals to help him pay off the money he agreed to reimburse the County for the Dumdi v. Handy case. 

The letter was received late yesterday, Wednesday, May 2.  Lane County officials will work with state officials that are now involved in the case.

It then goes on to note that, " Those attending this mornings emergency session included County Administrator Liane Richardson, Commission Chair Sid Leiken, County Commissioner Faye Stewar[t] and County Commissioner Jay Bozievich." 

The commissioners in attendance were the conservative board majority, which often votes in opposition to Handy and liberal commissioner Pete Sorenson. Richardson, who was also present, made harassment allegations against Handy that were deemed unfounded. She based her claims on that Handy and Sorenson had voted against her being hired as "permanent" county administrator and accused him of having negative body language towards her.

Notification of the meeting was sent out at 7:42 am this morning. Handy said at the press conference today that he did not get the email in time to attend the emergency meeting. The board usually meets on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, not Thursday.

Handy said in his remarks today: 

This complaint of Mr. Brown’s is coming forward in this manner and at this time was coldly and cynically planned to make sure that when the truth comes out, the election will be over.  The attorney representing him is known for these kinds of tactics as well.  If he was truly concerned about my behavior in this matter, he would have filed a complaint months and months ago after my request of him for a donation.

Handy then explained the donation issue:

Speaking directly to this issue of Mr. Brown’s filings: I found out earlier this year that a constituent who thought the fact that I had to repay Lane County any money related to the Dumdi lawsuit was unfair and had gone down to Lane County and paid some money against this debt. 

 I was surprised to learn that this was an option – that people who felt the lawsuit settlement was unfair could help out in this way.  I contacted the Finance Department at Lane County to confirm that this was true.

I was told by the Finance Department that this was true and that people could pay directly to this debt either publicly or anonymously.  I found out the process from Lane County on the details of how to do that so that I could share this information with my supporters.  I knew that there were many folks who felt that this debt was an unfair burden on me as an elected official and would want to help.

After finding out this information from Lane County, I did ask several supporters to assist with this debt.  I believe that some people did go down to Lane County and make a payment of this sort.  I am grateful to whoever did go and make such a payment – this is my first opportunity to express that gratitude.

Once my campaign started, I did ask a few of my supporters for assistance with donating to my campaign or to this debt or one or the other or both.  There was nothing wrong with that then or now.  In fact, I still hope that people will respond to this appeal.  There are many out there who feel that this debt was unfair and who may still want to assist with repayment.

Both the allegations and Handy's press statement are attached below.

May 3, 2012 05:39 PM

 

The EPD is beginning to release information about exclusion requests, starting with an incident we can all agree to boo and hiss at. Not all exclusions are for stabbings — we've been told that just damaging vegetation by playing in the park has been cause for an exclusion request. We thought it would be fun to keep track of their exclusion request press releases, so here's the first:

 

On April 17, at about three in the afternoon downtown officers were dispatched to the methadone clinic at W. 7th and Lincoln where a 24-year-old man had threatened to stab others with a knife.  Officers detained the suspect, and learned what happened from the two victims and witnesses.  According to those involved, the suspect had accompanied his adult domestic partner, a 25-year-old woman, to the methadone clinic where she is a client.  The two became involved in a heated argument and she tried to walk away from him.  Two men who were in town on business approached the woman to protect her.  One of the men shielded her from the suspect who, holding a knife in his hand, threatened to cut them.  Following a verbal exchange the suspect ran from the area.  The suspect was arrested for two counts of Menacing with a knife and one count of Disorderly Conduct.

 

The suspect has an extensive criminal record that includes arrests for misdemeanor and felony property crimes and one charge of domestic violence.

 

The arresting officer requested a 90-day exclusion and a one year exclusion upon conviction for menacing and disorderly conduct.

 

The Suspect:

White

Male

Listed home address

Extensive local record for misdemeanor and felony property crimes.

May 2, 2012 05:24 PM

In a 3-2 vote, with the conservatives in the majority, the Lane County Board of Commissioners decided to drop the appeal of the mining on Parvin Butte. Commissioners Pete Sorenson and Rob Handy voted against dropping the appeal. Sid Leiken, Faye Stewart and Jay Bozievich voted to drop it. Stewart is the commissioner for east Lane County where the butte and the small community of Dexter that surrounds the gravel mine is located.  You can watch the meeting and hear the discussion on the Lane County web page.

May 2, 2012 12:50 PM

But those Blackhawk helicopters people are seeing overhead today are part of a training exercise (OR SO THEY SAY). Here's the press release from the Eugene Police Department: 

 

Multi-Agency Emergency and Disaster Exercise Will Take Place in Eugene Area May 2 and 3. 

This advisory is to let media know in advance of a multi-agency emergency and disaster exercise on May 2 and 3 that might prompt calls from the public. There will be an unusual amount of emergency service vehicles, aircraft and other activity they will see in areas around Eugene, particularly Autzen Stadium, Hayward Field, RiverBend Hospital, Eugene Airport, Howe Field, Alton Baker Park, and the UO Soccer Field. In addition to the general information in this advisory, please refer to the Oregon Military Department’s release, included below.

As part of emergency services and security training for the 2012 Olympic Track and Field Trials to be held in Eugene this June, local emergency responders and other agencies are taking advantage of the opportunity presented by participation in the Oregon National Guard’s Vigilant Guard statewide exercise. The local exercise will be a multi-agency exercise taking place May 2 and 3, that will include aircraft and helicopters near Autzen Stadium and other locations. Commercial flights and general aviation activities at the Eugene Airport will not be impacted by the exercise.

Participating will be Oregon National Guard; State Fire Marshal; local police, fire and emergency medical services; University of Oregon; Eugene Airport; hospitals; city and county agencies; and individuals.  Lessons learned from the exercise will be applicable across a wide variety of mass hazards and casualty scenarios.

Because one of the main goals of the Eugene exercise is to increase security measures prior to the Olympic Track and Field Trials, unfortunately there will not be an opportunities provided for videotaping, beyond what can be seen by the general public.

May 2, 2012 02:08 PM

It was May Day yesterday and Occupy Wall Street affiliated groups were out across the country. Portland had some action last night. Here, Occupy Eugene's May Day rally was preceded by peacekeeping training. 

The Eugene Police Department arrived at the bank protest in riot gear … and then they left.

April 30, 2012 10:33 AM

I realize that in the U.S. the Eurovision Song Context doesn't make headlines unless the Finns show up dressed in monster costumes. But it is underway, with the final decision at the end of the May. It has everything good music, bad music (ABBA and Celine Dion are among previous winners) and political intrigue. 

I'm weirdly fascinated by the entry from Moldava in 2011 and their gnome costumes and the gnome fairy on a unicycle.

 

But I have to tell you, this year it's the Russian entry I have fallen in love with. I want them all to be my grandmother.