• Since you’re reading this Slant column, you’ve probably paid attention to climate change, the problems with plastics, pollution, invasive species, urban sprawl and more. So like us, you weren’t surprised but were still deeply saddened by the news of the UN report showing more than 1 million animal and plant species are now threatened with extinction, many within decades, more than ever before in human history. That’s within our lifetimes. Scientists point out the windshield effect — 30 years ago, you’d have bugs smashed all over your car’s windshield when you went for drive at dusk and now they just aren’t there. We wouldn’t mind a few more dead bugs. 

Meanwhile in the Oregon Legislature, Republicans walked out on the planned vote on the Student Success Act May 7. Some allegedly left the state to avoid being rounded up by the state police — allowed under Oregon’s Constitution if the Democrats chose to enforce attendance. Meanwhile, teachers locally and across the state walked out on May 8 to protest Oregon’s chronic disinvestment in education. Speaking of education, the Legislature and constitutions, props to state Rep. Marty Wilde for dropping that old phrase, “The Constitution is not a suicide pact,” during the vaccine bill debate May 7. 

• It’s past time to fight back against the fierce attacks on public education in this country. That’s why the ACE — A Champion in Education — awards in Eugene District 4J are so important. On May 2, about 400 friends, family and community leaders gathered at North Eugene High School to honor the following 2019 winners: teacher champion, Kyle Kordon, science and math teacher, Kelly Middle School; classified champion, Hayward Alexander, special ed assistant, Fox Hollow Program; administration champion, Cheryl Linder, director of student services department; volunteer champion, Nancy Fischer, Spring Creek Elementary School; lifetime achievement award, Cheryle Konold, school secretary McCornack Elementary School. Public education needs more money. The people who make it happen also need more appreciation. Awardees received a $250 grant for a school or program of their choosing from Eugene Education Foundation.

• We’re proud of our senior Sen. Ron Wyden for his call to Attorney General William Barr to resign. Not that Barr will do that good deed, but it’s important for powerful senators to tell the American public what should happen. Is there a Republican out there with the courage to make the same suggestion?

What we’re reading: If you’re looking for a little novel to transport you out of this space, try News of the World by Paulette Jiles. A finalist for the National Book Award, published in 2016 by HarperCollins and now in paperback, this novel has two remarkable central characters. One is a grizzled old man who travels to Texas towns where he reads news of the world for a dime a listener, and the other is a lost 10-year-girl who enriches his life. It’s a good read.

• Don’t forget to keep up with us online — while we still focus on the paper we print for you on Thursday, our recent online extras have included breaking LNG news, a University of Oregon salary discrimination case and coverage of the flag-waving rally that shut down Harlow Road on Saturday, May 5. See a story this issue as well.