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Slant 12-24-2014

Our Give Guide has expanded from less than a page in years past to the multiple pages you see this week. Eugene is home to hundreds of nonprofits doing exceptional work locally and around the world, so our list is far from complete. Why are we such a thriving center for nonprofits, much more so than other communities our size? We can credit the university and our public schools, our high number of Peace Corp veterans, our long history of social, artistic and environmental activism — and perhaps most of all, those strong-minded individuals who have gathered here dedicated to creating positive change. It’s not been easy, even in times of relative prosperity. Talk to any of the leaders of these organizations and you will hear of their budget woes and other frustrations in trying to do more. What keeps them going is public support, whether it’s through volunteering or cash donations. It’s the darkest time of the year. Let’s brighten it up with our gifts.  

• We are blown away by the generous hearts of the people of Lane County. Eugene Weekly’s appeal for donations to the Egan Warming Center has yielded several barrels of big warm sweaters, brand new long johns and cuddly down jackets. Thanks for making this winter a little warmer for those in need.

• There are so many things wrong with The Oregonian’s recent editorial, “Why ‘climate change’ will not be on our 2015 editorial agenda.” Its logic is convoluted, it’s hypocritical and it’s flat-out wrong. The O writes that despite the many requests to put climate change on its agenda, “These readers will be disappointed” and admits, “we rarely write about climate change.” The editors argue, “climate change policy is best handled at the federal and international levels,” not at the local and state levels. Then, in a fit of tortured logic, The O proceeds to weigh in on several local climate change issues, from coal export to liquefied natural gas, as an excuse to snark at Gov. John Kitzhaber. Go head, O, make yourself irrelevant. EW will weigh in on climate change.

• Media on the move: Newsweek has announced a round of hires, and in the mix is former R-G reporter Winston Ross. Hopefully the local daily is done bleeding talent because we still miss the likes of Serena Markstrom Nugent, Bob Keefer, Sue Palmer and more in its pages. 

• Speaking of cheese, which contains salt (warning!), we heard a simple explanation from a local M.D. about why excess salt raises blood pressure. She tells us our bodies maintain a salinity level in the blood similar to seawater. If we eat a lot of salt and our blood becomes too salty, our bodies will dilute our blood with water, increasing blood volume. More blood, more blood pressure. Explains why we get thirsty after eating salty foods. The lesson here? If you own a pub, give your patrons lots of free salty snacks, and keep an ambulance company on speed dial.

• The Lane Audubon Annual Christmas Bird Count is coming up Sunday, Dec. 28. You can join the outdoor team or report from your backyard feeders. See laneaudubon.org or call 343-8664. Which reminds us, great egrets are back in the valley and have been seen lately in marshy areas of west Eugene and elsewhere. The tall, elegant white birds with yellow bills and black feet are related to herons, but smaller, and are sometimes called white herons. They don’t seem to mind hanging out with their cousins. Oregon is about as far north as they go in winter, and some spend their summers along central and Eastern Oregon lakes and rivers, stalking fish, frogs, snakes and crawdads. Marvelous birds with a distinctive croak, and always a welcome sight as they brighten up our gray winter landscapes.