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Slant 3-13-2014

• We lost Edgar Peara Feb. 22 at the age of 93, but the longtime Eugene peace activist’s words live on. “War is demonic, immature,” he wrote in an EW Viewpoint March 22, 2007. “It is incompatible with morality, high-minded religion and common sense. Peace is an active condition more difficult to achieve than any military objective.” Peara was a highly decorated officer in the Combat Engineer Corps during WWII and spent the rest of his life working for peace and spiritual healing. “War must be abolished,” he wrote. “How willing are we to believe in peace, to work for it and vote for it? Do we have the moral strength to demonstrate for it until the world is emancipated from war?” A celebration of life is planned for 2 pm May 17 at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Eugene. 

 • One thing to love about Eugene is that activism springs eternal. Ten-year-old Keegan Keppner is fighting a brain tumor, and he’s also fighting to support Eugene’s homeless. He set out walking from Whoville last week to deliver a handwritten letter to Gov. John Kitzhaber in Salem on March 11. The Eugene City Council still intends to shut down the Whoville camp but also voted to open another camping spot near the Cuthbert Amphitheatre for the unhoused. Other recent bright spots of activism include Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein’s March 3 participation in a Eugene 350.org Keystone XL pipeline protest at the old Federal Building. On a national scale nearly 400 people, mainly college students chanting “climate justice now,” were arrested in front of the White House on March 2 also protesting the controversial tar sands oil pipeline.

Endorsements are still important in political campaigns. Think Ted Kennedy’s endorsement of Barack Obama. That’s why Dawn Lesley and Kevin Matthews, both Lane County Commission candidates against sitting commissioners, are eager for us to know their latest high profile endorsers. Congressman Peter DeFazio supports Lesley against Jay Bozievich. Pete started his political career as a Lane County commissioner. He knows how it should be done. Working people, enviros, Mayor Kitty Piercy, former commissioner Jerry Rust and the savvy Blackberry Pie Society of Cottage Grove are signing on for Matthews against three-term incumbent Faye Stewart. That includes the Lane County Labor Council, AFL-CIO, Many Rivers Group of the Sierra Club and the Oregon League of Conservation Voters.

• After reading our cover story last week about tiny houses that are mobile, one Eugene historian wryly observed that we had tiny mobile houses around here in the 1960s. They were called “old school buses.”

Great sound filled the third floor of the Downtown Athletic Club March 7 when Emily Pulley sang a bit of Puccini’s The Girl of the Golden West for the City Club of Eugene. Without amplification, the operatic star teased the Eugene Opera performance March 14 and 16 in the Hult Center. She and Mark Beudert, general director of the Eugene Opera, spoke to the club as part of our opera’s brilliant community-wide effort to bring a big audience to this drama of the gold-mining 1850s West.

Public school teachers are underpaid, overworked, underappreciated and sometimes even blamed for systemic problems in our education system. But we think differently. This week we are beginning an occasional series of profiles of exceptional teachers in our “Happening People” features by Paul Neevel. His first profile is on Julia Harvey, an inspired science teacher at South Eugene High School. Do you know of an exceptional teacher, K-12, in Lane County? Send a note explaining why to editor@eugeneweekly.com.