GateHouse, the passing of a M*A*S*H star and feral cat feeding controversy

• Since GateHouse Media took over The Register-Guard on March 1, its longtime editorial page editor Jackman Wilson, who reportedly retired Feb. 28, has gained the new title “editorial page editor emeritus” on the RG masthead. “Emeritus” is a title usually given to honor retired academics and clerics. What’s it mean on Chad Drive?

For clarification we emailed Jack at his old RG email address. “The title means nothing, except that I’ve been around for a while,” he replied. Is it true, as we’ve heard, he’s still working at The RG part-time? “Nope.” Another rumor around town is he may now wind up working nearly full time, Wilson didn’t reply to an email asking if that is true.

• It was clear at the March 2 City Club of Eugene program “Lunch with Mayor Lucy Vinis” that the mayor is truly enjoying her full-time job, which pays about $20,000 a year. She talked about the February goal-setting sessions where she and the City Council emphasized three critical issues: housing, homelessness and public safety. The mayor’s previous professional life dealt with homelessness. “The scale of our needs outweighs the scale of our responses,” she said.

• City Councilor Chris Pryor’s idea of including feral cats in a possible city ban on feeding wildlife has the hackles up on local cat advocates. EW asked Pryor to clarify. “I’m interested in including feral cats in the conversation because they have a nuisance aspect,” he said. “But I am not necessarily committed to pushing a ban on feeding them if an effective alternative to the nuisances can be implemented.”

Pryor says wants to learn more about trap/neuter/release. While he sees cats being fed, he doesn’t see anyone catching and neutering the ones in his neighborhood. “I’ve also not seen any of the letter writers take responsibility for the large amounts of cat poop that appear on porches, planting beds and lawns,” he says.

The councilor says the poop and urine are killing his plants despite his use of deterrents. “If you want to assume the responsibility of feeding the cats, then assume the responsibility to neuter them and manage their impact on others.”

According to Pryor, the language the city is exploring would not ban feeding but would give a warning and citation when the actions of the feeders damage other people’s property. A City Council discussion is tentatively scheduled for noon, April 11. Cat lovers can weigh in via email at

The passing of M*A*S*H star David Ogden Stiers at age 75 at his home in Newport March 3 launched sadness and nostalgia, both for the man and for the TV series, which ran for 11 years. Stiers studied drama at Juilliard and was a lover of classical music, just like his television character Maj. Charles Emerson Winchester III. He was resident conductor of the Newport Symphony Orchestra. Locally, actor and EW cartoonist Dan Pegoda calls Stiers “a very very sweet man. My mom remembers meeting him at 5th Street Market years ago.” Pegoda stays Stiers’ aunt, Muriel Newsam, “was the premiere hair dresser, make-up artist” at Very Little Theatre. “He supported us all here in Eugene.” The VLT says Stiers is an honorary member; the actor got his start there with roles in Golden Fleecing, You Can’t Take It With You and The Pleasure of His Company.

All of us who care about public education in Oregon need to listen up when the Legislature’s Joint Committee for Student Success announces its schedule for travel around the state in the months ahead. This committee will listen to parents, teachers, students, educators and community partners for their ideas on improving graduation rates and other parts of public education in our state. EW constantly advocates for more teacher time per student. We hope that’s the message the legislative roadshow hears.