News Briefs: Groups Seek Funding for Haiti | Nutria Kills Necessary? | Pet Adoption at Gateway | Anarchist Information | More Events for Haiti | Activist Alert | War Dead | Lane Area Herbicide Spray Schedule
Slant: Short opinion pieces and rumor-chasing notes
Sister Helen Prejean to speak at the UO
The rich fight taxes for schools, government
Exit, Stage Right
Pacifica Forum protest grows chaotic
Happening People: Deborah Sadowsky
GROUPS SEEK FUNDING FOR HAITI RELIEF
Eugeneans can do their part to help victims of the recent earthquake in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, at a fundraiser at Pizza Research Institute on Saturday, Jan. 23. Eugene’s Haitian Sustainable Development Foundation (HSDF) has been working to help Haitian communities since founder and president Michael Schapiro returned from his Peace Corps work in Haiti in 2001.
Schapiro says in one way the recent earthquake is “almost like weird blessing in disguise” in that the disaster “is finally getting Haiti the help that it has needed.”
Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, and critics of U.S. foreign policy have questioned why the government has spent billions on “nation building” in the Middle East but not on a country less than 700 miles from Florida. Haiti’s 7.0 earthquake is currently estimated to have killed 70,000 people, and many thousands more are missing. By contrast a 7.1 quake in California in 1989 killed 63 people. One factor in the disparity in deaths, experts say, is Haiti’s poverty and weak infrastructure.
Schapiro says the local based HSDF as a sustainable development organization has been working with Haitian community groups on projects like education, libraries, biodiesel and permaculture. Now the group is working with their contacts in Haiti to provide on the ground relief to areas of Haiti that have not received help from larger NGOs. After the quake HSDF will work on infrastructure, rebuilding and technical assistance and training in Haitian communities.
One of the group’s board members, Amber Munger is in Haiti right now, and keeping them appraised of developments. “We’re gathering and sharing information and coordinating with on the ground response teams,” Schapiro says. “A lot of things change every minute,” he says. The group is working to provide water, food, medical supplies and fuel, he says.
One of HSDF’s volunteers, Alicia Swaringen, is focusing her efforts on Saturday’s fundraiser to distract her from worrying about Sthainder, the 4-year-old boy she has been in the process of adopting from Haiti through Eugene-based Holt International.
She says the paperwork is almost complete, and she had planned to bring her adopted son home to Eugene in May. She needs one signature, a passport and a visa, but she says now she doesn’t know if the Haitian officials working on the paperwork are still alive or if the buildings are still standing, though Holt International has copies of all the paperwork.
Swaringen says she knows that Sthainder is safe. Holt’s Fontana Village, where the 21 children in the process of being adopted are housed, 30 miles outside Port-au-Prince, is relatively unscathed, though according to a press release from Holt at least three staff members were killed.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told CNN she was “personally directing that we do everything we can to try to find and identify those children who are already adoptable … and to try to expedite all the paperwork.” Swaringen says Holt’s adoption process is extremely thorough, “Any family that is adopting through Holt has jumped through all the hoops before the Haitian government even sees the application.”
“I think the kids should be expedited,” she says, “and free up the beds for other children.”
She says she was inspired to adopt from Haiti after meeting and talking to Schapiro about the country.
Schapiro and other members of the HSDF will be at the fundraiser on Jan. 23 to answer questions. He hopes that board member Kathy McCallister will come down from Seattle with her husband Bidex Desruisseau, who was in Haiti and survived the quake in a building where everyone else was killed. McCallister is hoping to bring her husband home from Haiti as soon as possible, but Schapiro says communication with the island is still sporadic.
For those who have been worried about various scams that have arisen around the recent Haitian disaster, Schapiro says he and others will be available to answer questions about where the money is going. He says he hopes this will also lead to ongoing fundraising for sustainable projects in Haiti.
The fundraiser, Ayiti! Benefit for Haiti, starts at 5:30 pm Saturday, and will have a silent auction, music by Samba Ja and an information table. PRI is donating the space and a percentage of the proceeds from food sales. The event is free from 5:30-9:30 pm. At 9:30 when the music starts, tickets are $10 - $1000, sliding scale. For more information, go to www.sustainablehaiti.org or call (541) 915-5541. See more Haiti events and websites below. — Camilla Mortensen
NUTRIA KILLS NECESSARY?
EWEB’s eradication program for nutria is still raising hackles among Eugeneans concerned not only about the affect of the lethal trapping on the water-living rodents, but upon the possible damage to native species as well as people and pets.
According to Lyllian Breitenstein who first drew attention to the lethal traps at Walterville pond, “There is no way to ensure that the only thing that is caught in these traps are nutria.”
|Photo: Lyllian Breitenstein|
She says not only are the traps “inhumane and cruel,” but she is troubled by the fact that they are indiscriminate in what they catch and she is “concerned about people, especially kids, as well as pets and wildlife including otter, fox, bobcat, deer, coot, geese and other wildlife who frequent the pond.”
Joe Harwood, external communications coordinator for EWEB, says the nutria eradication, which has been through archery as well as lethal and live trapping, is necessary because the utility was ordered by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to repair damage done by the rodents and prevent future damage after an inspection noted burrowing tunnels in the banks of the power canals.
Rodent burrows were blamed for the 2008 failure of an irrigation canal in Fernley, Nev., which flooded 600 homes. Harwood says water enters into the burrows and tunnels and weakens the earthen walls. There has been speculation that nutria burrows contributed to the weakening of the levees that failed around New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.
Harwood says, “I can’t emphasize enough how much we struggled with this idea.” He says rather than close off the popular dogwalking spot along Walterville Pond and the Leaburg canal, EWEB chose to let it remain open for public use, and “post the heck” out of the area with signs warning of the lethal traps and asking that dogs be kept on leash.
The traps are in the Leaburg canal, behind blackberry vines and brambles. Breaks in the thorny vines are posted with signs and red tape. Breitenstein says, “Maybe adults can read the signs, but children and other animals can’t.” She adds, “The signs are only in English. The traps are lethal. You would think they should be in Spanish as well.”
The non-brushy side of Leaburg canal, across from the traps, is not lined with traps or signed, and Breitenstein says many people play fetch with their dogs in that area. Harwood says owners would have to let their dogs swim through fast moving water in cold January weather to get to the side with the traps.
Harwood says the nutria, an invasive species from South America originally brought to the Pacific Northwest for their fur, can reproduce three to four times a year, with four or five babies in a litter. He says though river otters will prey on them, the rodents lack many predators to control their populations, and they harm native plant life.
He says there are probably a dozen of the lethal traps set along the waterline of the Leaburg Canal near the pond, and the traps will be moved at the end of January. Methods to protect the area from burrowing such as lining the banks with an impermeable material have been suggested. “They may cause damage but are still living beings,” Breitenstein says. “It looks like a nutria war zone out there.”
The traps are conibear traps, set under the waterline. The traps are capable of crushing a dog’s head or killing it, and have been known to kill or maim dogs in Oregon and other states. For how to release a dog from a conibear trap, go to http://wkly.ws/6f — Camilla Mortensen
PET ADOPTION AT GATEWAY
A new pet adoption center will have a grand opening from 11 am to 5 pm Saturday, Jan. 23, at the Gateway Mall. Save the Pets is a local volunteer-run nonprofit group that will have its Adoption Center open seven days a week. It is located between Ashley Furniture and the mall’s Center Court. This is the same organization that holds weekend adoption events at Petsmart.
Founder and president of Save the Pets is Lori Smith, “It has been our dream since we founded Save the Pets to have a permanent location to showcase animals in need of homes,” she says. “We look forward to uniting families with the wonderful animals that have been neglected or rescued in our community.” See can be reached at email@example.com
Gateway Mall General Manager Ron Glover said the new pet center complements the mall, and he praised the “kind, professional personnel” associated with Save the Pets. “Pets need the same important elements in life such as love, care, a kind gentle hand and strength of faith by depending on others.”
The center also plans to educate valley residents about the importance of spaying and neutering, and plans to be a source of information about low-cost programs in the area.
Valerie Brooks is serving as volunteer director of the center and as a board member.
A drawing will be held at 4 pm Saturday for a pair of round-trip airline tickets to Las Vegas. To qualify for the drawing, Save the Pets requests a donation of pet supplies, such as unopened pet food, gently used bedding, scratching posts, crates and toys. More information about supply needs can be found on the “Wish List” section of the website, www.savethepets.net
Radical reading is coming to Eugene. Bad Egg Books, a radical infoshop, is getting ready to open on the corner of 13th and Oak. Despite Eugene’s reputation as an activist and anarchist Mecca, the area hasn’t really had anything approaching an infoshop since Icky’s Teahouse closed in 1997. Organizers are accepting donations from 1 to 4 pm Sunday, Jan. 24.
An infoshop is basically a gathering place for activists and provides reading materials and resources for the community. Volunteer run and usually managed by a collective, in the U.S. they grew out of the peace and justice centers that sprang up during the Vietnam era.
Bad Egg Books will share the building with the Hummingbird Gallery and is located adjacent to the newly opened Cornbread Café, vegan soul food foodcart.
Organizers are asking for donations of bookshelves, a couch or comfy chair, lamps, computer, a moneybox or till, a computer, DVDs and CDs, and most importantly books and zines.
The Bad Egg Books collective says, “Currently our walls and floors are bare, but with the coming together of the community we will have a wonderful radical infoshop/lending library to help get radical ideas and information out to hungry minds.”
If you have a donation or want information about volunteering at the infoshop, email firstname.lastname@example.org or drop by the informal donation party on Sunday at 112 E. 13th. An opening date for the infoshop is still in the works. Please contact the collective in advance if you have a larger item like a couch to donate to ensure there is space for it. — Camilla Mortensen
MORE EVENTS FOR HAITI
Among the many local organizations and businesses raising money for Haiti relief is this weekend’s Good Earth Home, Garden & Living Show at the Fairgrounds starting Friday evening, Jan. 22 and running through Sunday. Show management has committed to matching up to $10,000 in donations to the Oregon-based Medical Teams International.
The nonprofit was founded in 1979 as NW Medical Teams and has served more than 4.5 million people in 53 nations. The group collected and distributed $126 million in supplies last year. They also serve the Pacific Northwest with 11 mobile dental clinics.
The home show is free, but Medical Teams will be collecting cash and check donations in the lobby, and by credit card at its booth in the North Hall, according to Helen Berg, founder of Berg Productions which produces local home and garden shows. For those who cannot attend the home show, donations can be made through www.medicalteams.org
On the national scene, the progressive organization MoveOn has recommended three charitable organizations in particular that are in a position to provide quick help for earthquake victims in Haiti, with the bulk of donations going directly to relief efforts.
“With water and medical supplies in short supply, and the Haitian government paralyzed, international aid efforts in the next few days will be critical to prevent more human suffering,” reads a statement to MoveOn members.
All three are set up for online donations using credit cards. Financial aid is the most efficient way to provide assistance in disasters. Last week, Oregon’s Attorney General John Kroger warned that disasters such as the Haiti earthquake stir action by fraudulent fundraisers and requests from unscrupulous nonprofits that direct most of their donations to their own salaries, advertising and overhead. If in doubt about an organization, find out more about it at Charity Navigator, www.charitynavigator.org
• Sierra Club Many Rivers Group will be hosting its last Tuesday of the month beer social from 6:30 to 8:30 pm Tuesday, Jan. 26 at the Tiki Room downstairs at Eugene City Brewery, 844 Olive St. in Eugene. All Sierra Club members and friends are welcome to meet new officers and discuss ideas about how to “Explore, Enjoy and Protect the Environment.” Contact Sally Nunn at 541-484-6707.
• A community meeting on helping animals in disasters is planned from 7 to 8:30 pm Thursday, Jan. 28, at the Michael Rogers Room, Lane County Mental Health, 2411 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., in Eugene. For the last six months, Lane County staffers have worked with community members to develop a local plan that can be activated in the event of an emergency, says Karen Gaffney, assistant director of Lane County Health & Human Services. She can be reached at email@example.com
• The deadline for written public comments is Friday, Jan. 29, on proposed changes to harvest plans for northwest and southwest state-managed forests in Oregon. The Oregon Department of Forestry is holding public hearings from 5:30 to 9 pm Jan. 26 in Salem and Jan. 28 in Seaside. The Salem meeting will be at the ODF headquarters, 2600 State St., in the Tillamook Room. The Seaside meeting will be at Seaside City Hall. Comments can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or mailed to 2600 State St., Salem, OR 97310; or faxed to (503) 945-7376. Copies of the plans and their changes are available on the ODF website.
Since the U.S. invasion of Iraq began on March 20, 2003 (last week’s numbers in parentheses):
• 4,377 U.S. troops killed* (4,375)
• 31,620 U.S. troops injured** (31,616)
• 185 U.S. military suicides* (185)
• 1,123 U.S. contractors killed (accurate updates NA)
• 103,653 to 1.2 million civilians killed*** (103,555)
• $701.6 billion cost of war ($701.6 billion)
• $199.5 million cost to Eugene taxpayers ($199.5 million)
• 948 U.S. troops killed* (942)
• 4,786 U.S. troops injured** (4,748)
• $247.8 billion cost of war ($247.0 billion)
• $70.5 million cost to Eugene taxpayers ($70.2 million)
* through Jan. 16, 2010; source: icasualties.org; some figures only updated monthly
** sources: icasualties.org, defenselink.mil
*** highest estimate; source: iraqbodycount.org; based on confirmed media reports; other groups calculate civilian deaths as high as 655,000 (Lancet survey, 2006) to 1.2 million (Opinion Research Business survey, 2008)
LANE AREA HERBICIDE SPRAY SCHEDULE
Weyerhaeuser Timber Company owns about 332,500 acres in Lane County; Roseburg owns 76,500 acres; Giustina owns 58,800 acres; Seneca Jones owns 28,200 acres; Swanson Group owns 17,700; and Pacific West owns 17,100 acres. All acreages can potentially be sprayed with herbicides and other chemicals for several years at a time in the growing cycle of tree farms. See timber company ownership in Lane County on map at http://wkly.ws/4h
Compiled by Jan Wroncy, Forestland Dwellers: 342-8332, www.forestlanddwellers.org
• Do you know where you ballot is? Maybe buried somewhere in a kitchen pile, along with all that confounded election propaganda? This is important, people. Uncover that big white envelope and take five minutes to vote. Deadline to drop off ballots at a county elections box is 8 pm Tuesday, Jan. 26. We strongly endorse “yes” votes on both Ballot Measures 66 & 67.
How do you plow through all the contradictory arguments? One way to evaluate the measures is to see who and what’s behind the campaigns. The pro-66 & 67 side represents long-term economic stability through supporting education, social services and public safety. The anti-66 & 67 side represents maintaining unfair tax advantages for big corporations and wealthy individuals. Back in the 1970s, corporations paid about 18.5 percent of all state income taxes; but that’s dropped over the years to about 6.3 percent, thanks to Republican-dominated legislatures. Businesses once paid 50 percent of all property taxes, and now pay 40 percent, thanks to Measure 50. These new measures shift a little of the burden back.
Ironically, the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce is dead-set against these measures, despite the fact that thousands of small businesses and nonprofits in this valley and state will benefit from the funding and jobs saved by Measures 66 & 67. Small business, not big business, is the foundation of our state economy. And Eugene is unique as a center for government and nonprofits. Try to imagine what our local economy would be like without the living wage payrolls of federal agencies, the UO, LCC and other state and local governments. Those tens of thousands of employees pay for housing, buy garden tools and tires, eat at local restaurants, drink local beer, fill psychiatrists’ couches, volunteer, donate to charities and pay taxes. An estimated one-third of our local economy is directly linked to the public and nonprofit sectors.
Maintaining a strong infrastructure of education, public safety, health care and services for seniors and the disabled is vital to our ability to attract and keep beneficial enterprises and nonprofits in our evolving economy. Few people want to live and work in a state suffering from oversized classrooms, high crime rates and a shredded social services safety net. That’s the direction we are going if these measures fail, forcing an estimated $700 million in budget cuts.
The bottom line: What kind of state do you want to live in? Take that ballot, lick it and stick it.
• Martin Luther King Jr. Day once again brought excellent observances in our local communities and at school assemblies. Kudos to all those who see this holiday as a day of action for peace and justice, and not just a day to sleep in or watch reruns of The Biggest Loser. Lots of folks were out canvassing Monday for Measures 66 & 67.
We’re always amazed at how King’s words still resonate. Many of the issues of his turbulent times remain unresolved at their core. This MLK Day saw the first playing of a lost recording of a speech King made in January 1960 at Bethel College in Newton, Kan. A brittle old reel-to-reel recording was recently found and carefully restored.
In his speech, MLK talked about the need to be “maladjusted” to our society. We tend to use maladjusted as a negative term, but King turned it around, saying “I never intend to adjust myself to the evils of segregation and discrimination. I never intend to become adjusted to religious bigotry.”
We can all stand to be maladjusted to today’s bigotry and hate, lack of police accountability, discrimination based on race and gender, our unfair tax system that favors the privileged, inequities within our university, high student-to-teacher ratios in our public schools, secrecy in government, destruction of our environment, obsession with war, lack of access to affordable health care and persecution of those who are poor, homeless or mentally ill. It’s a long list, but not unlike the list the “maladjusted” King carried in his mind and in his heart.
• Something to be proud of in these trying times is our response to the unthinkable catastrophe of Haiti’s earthquake. Despite our economic woes and polarized politics, we still know how to come together as a nation, as a community, as businesses and as individuals when something terrible happens to our fellow human beings. There is hope for the two-legged creatures on this planet after all.
SLANT includes short opinion pieces, observations and rumor-chasing notes compiled by the EW staff. Heard any good rumors lately? Contact Ted Taylor at 484-0519, email@example.com
Growing up on Long Island, N.Y., Deborah Sadowsky couldn’t relate to suburban life. As soon as she finished a degree in English at the University of Buffalo, she headed west to San Francisco. “I took a painting class at the Art Institute,” she says. “It was an ‘aha’ for me. It felt right in a deep way.” She moved to Eugene in 1973, took art classes at LCC, then started an independent-study master’s program in art therapy at the UO. “I got training at a Pratt Institute summer program in New Hampshire and did an internship here,” says Sadowsky, who finished her degree in 1978, then worked as an art therapist in Albany, N.Y., and at a number of psychiatric hospitals in the San Francisco Bay Area before returning to Eugene in 1992. She developed and ran a program for at-risk youth at the Cottage Grove Counseling Clinic, then moved to Options Counseling in Eugene, where she was trained in chronic pain work. For the past decade she’s been a counselor in the Johnson Unit at Sacred Heart Hospital. A member of the Pain Society of Oregon, she received a grant in 2006 to develop an art therapy program for chronic pain. “It’s a way for people to express what they can’t talk about, to explore their experience,” she says. “It’s intense work, but really rewarding.”