• April marks the passing of two longtime Lane County residents who made the world a better place. Jan Wroncy of Forestland Dwellers fought chemical sprays for years in the courts and through her research and advocacy. Wroncy and her partner Gary Hale, through their group Forestland Dwellers, have compiled and provided EW with a schedule of planned pesticide sprays for more than 10 years. Hale tells us Wroncy passed away Saturday afternoon, April 16, “after a long struggle to recover from multiple strokes. She will be missed tremendously by all those who knew and respected her for her brave efforts to reduce the use of pesticides.” A celebration of life will be held on Wroncy’s birthday, June 18.
dahinda Meda, founder of Café Mam organic coffee and grower of amazing Royal Blueberries passed April 11. “He dedicated his life to making positive change and fought the good fight for the planet, his loved ones and all people,” his wife Norma Grier writes on Facebook. “He touched many, many people’s lives and changed them for the better. He will always be loved and will definitely be missed.”
• On Jan. 27, EW submitted a public records request regarding Kesey Square (aka Broadway Plaza) to the city of Eugene for emails sent to and from City Manager Jon Ruiz, Assistant City Manager Sarah Medary, Mayor Kitty Piercy, Eugene City Council and Senior City Planner Nan Laurence during 2015 and 2016. The city denied a fee waiver, stating the request did not “primarily benefit the general public.” After EW coughed up $447.20 on Feb. 25, the city told EW that it would take approximately two or so weeks to fulfill request. Two months later, we’ve got nada, with no ETA from the city. What’s the hold up? As far as public records requests go, this is a tightly confined search of digital files for a fairly short period of time. The public has a right to know.
• It was good to hear all five candidates for the Eugene City Council Ward 1 seat say “don’t sell” Kesey Square at the forum sponsored on April 15 by the City Club of Eugene and the League of Women Voters. Ward 1 includes neighborhoods in downtown and south-Central Eugene, those closest to the public square, which the city was threatening to sell to developers for an apartment building. Josh Skov, Chris Wig, Emily Semple, Chris Anderson and Kelly Boyd all want the square improved, of course. One of them will succeed George Brown and should carry his concern for the preservation of public spaces into those council meetings.
• Sounds like the Republicans are bringing back some of their old war horses to strategize their convention this summer to block Trump or Cruz or Kasich. In spite of his protestations, Paul Ryan is still a favorite of big money. He gave a major foreign policy speech right after his “count me out,” unusual for the speaker of the House. Consider a ticket of Ryan-Rubio. What D combo wins? Clinton and Al Franken? Sanders and Elizabeth Warren? Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren? Maybe this is all nonsense and, after the New York primary, it all boils down to Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump.
• In the external review of frat and sorority life at the University of Oregon that was submitted March 1, this sentence leaped out at us: “There is an identified acknowledgement of peer pressure within sororities to not report sexual violence because of the negative impact on the social capital of the individual sororities within the fraternity environment.” UO grad Laura Hanson could speak to that. She settled a suit against the school last year after its poor response to her sexual assault that led her to be ostracized from her sorority. Hanson has offered to help the school make reforms but was ignored. Meanwhile Oregon State University has apologized to sexual assault survivor Brenda Tracy and partnered with her to improve how it handles those cases. Check out “What It Looks Like When A University Truly Fixes How It Handles Sexual Assault” on the Huffington Post. See our May 28, 2015 story on Hanson, “Dragged Through the Mud,” at goo.gl/E0mdj2.