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"Guest Viewpoint"

Sheldon High School is a world away from the streets of Ferguson, Cleveland, Baltimore or Tulsa. But when soccer players from South Eugene High School took a knee during the national anthem last week, they demanded attention and invited controversy into their community.

As the first notes of the anthem played for the boys’ game, one athlete on the South varsity team took a knee. He was joined by one teammate and then another, until six other South players knelt alongside him. The anthem ended, the whistle blew, and the game was played. The boys left the pitch, each with his own reasons for choosing to kneel or stand.

My biggest fears from a presidential election gone horribly wrong are coming to pass. 

For me, the major issue for a president has always been appointments to run the federal agencies. Our current president is doing what I expected him to do, appointing people who will gut the agencies everyone relies on to protect their health, safety, and the environment. It’s been one horrible appointment and executive order after another. Clean air and water regulations go out the window to provide profits to polluters.

Kindergarten: It’s German for “children’s garden.”

Kindergarten is traditionally based on playing, singing, story-time, creative activities and social interaction. Not in the “corporate model” education era, however. Now, during their first three weeks of school, Oregon’s 40,000 kindergarten kids are given standardized assessments in math, literacy and interpersonal skills.

How on earth did we get from the “children’s garden” to the Oregon Kindergarten Assessment (OKA)? House Bill 4165 (2012) established early learning standards for children age 3 to 5. It empowered Oregon’s Early Learning Council that “supports practice-based evidence and data-driven decision-making and accountability for realistic, measurable outcomes for children...”

Beginning Sunday, Sept. 17, PBS will present a 10-episode, 18-hour documentary, The Vietnam War, by noted filmmakers Ken Burns and Lynn Novick.

Coming 50 years after a pivotal year of escalation of both the war and the anti-war movement, the filmmakers say they hope the documentary will serve as a catalyst for long overdue reconciliation and healing of the deep divisions that war created among Americans.

I like to float rivers. That’s a huge understatement. There is almost nothing that I would rather be doing than floating on a river. 

“It’s all about attention. We all want to be heard.” That was my friend Tuuli Lehtisalo’s response to how to best serve students. It’s still resonating within me a month after visiting with this dedicated teacher in Finland.

Oregonians are fond of saying, “If you don’t like the Oregon weather, wait five minutes,” describing the inconsistencies of the climate in the Pacific Northwest. This mirrors the political climate for trans/gender diverse people in 2017. 

Many of the relatives, friends and colleagues gathered at Tom Giesen’s memorial on a sunny April afternoon at McKenzie River Eco-Lodge had been joggers, cyclists and hikers on the treks Tom led for decades. The adventures they described clearly tested their fortitude and often their patience but ultimately gained their admiration and respect for a man who pushed himself even harder than he did them. Lean as an alley cat, he never seemed to sit still long enough for fat to catch up with him — or complacency either.

Why write a column about economic development? Lots of people just yawn when they hear the term. But, as they say, write about what you know, and I do know economic development. I did it for a living. And, besides, I actually find it interesting.

I know firsthand that running for political office costs money. As a candidate for House District 14 in West Eugene and Junction City, I made a lot of fundraising calls. I didn’t (and still don’t) mind raising money and I think I’m not too bad at it. Every candidate needs resources to explain to voters about why they’re running to serve and what ideas they have for fixing the biggest problems facing your community. 

Readers of Lucy Vinis’s June 22 viewpoint may have thought the mayor was voicing support for the citizens’ initiative petition, filed in May, that would amend the Eugene City Charter to establish an Office of an Independent elected city auditor. But the mayor’s intent, in sync with city officials, is to undermine the citizens’ effort with their own self-serving version of an audit function.

Accountability and transparency are essential to democracy. As Eugene’s mayor, I invite you to explore with me the potential benefits of a performance auditor to improve the effectiveness of city government and build the community’s trust in our public process.

Here’s the deal: If you care about your community, you cannot afford to ignore economic development. 

Economic development is not a benign program implemented by well meaning people to create jobs. It is one of the prime game changers that determine the future of a community. We ignore it at our peril.  

Testing season is upon us — again. During April, May and June, students take weeks of Smarter Balanced Math and Language Arts tests. This is in addition to a year’s worth of other tests such as OAKS Science, EasyCBM, DIBELS (Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills), STAMP (STAndards-based Measurement of Proficiency), EDL2 (Evaluación del desarrollo de la lectura), etc.

Many of us recognize the value of bicycling. It’s fun (especially under the sun), it’s good for the health of the cyclist and it’s good for the health of the planet that we’re all a part of.

We appreciate the organizations that promote cycling and all the awesome bike shops that sell and maintain the bikes we ride. Some of us are even aware of local businesses that design and build cycles, such as Co-Motion, Bike Friday and Human Powered Machines. But when thinking of cycling, how many of us think of it as something beyond a way to get from point A to point B?

The first time I ever smoked pot was two weeks out of high school at a rock festival in the Atchafalaya Basin about an hour north of New Orleans. June 21, 1971. The sun was just above the western horizon on a 105-degree day. A surfer dude convinced me to give it a try.

When a trope or metaphor gets popularly misappropriated due to cultural transference, problems ensue. 

Two examples often used in mainstream Western culture are “low man on the totem pole” and the “pawn in the game.” Neither of these artifacts originally comes from Western civilization — that civilization in which cultural historical amnesia is a given norm and assimilation is a goal, thereby dooming those who buy into the concept to repeating preventable mistakes, like déjà vu all over again. 

May has traditionally been National Historic Preservation Month, a time for communities to celebrate the successes of local efforts and to recall the losses. Last year was a milestone: fifty years since the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966! 

On a rainy night in January, the National Association of Realtors published an article that should have alarmed every hopeful homeowner, empty-nester, and business entrepreneur in Eugene.

Seattle — where the median home value recently tipped past $620,000 — was named the most-constrained, least accessible housing market in the country.

But who was second?

Eugene.

My name is Caroline Lundquist; students call me Dr. L. I teach ethics and critical thinking at Lane Community College. But I may not teach them next year. Philosophy at Lane is on the chopping block. 

The Eugene 4J School District is preparing to issue a bond measure to fund building construction. Voters in either the November 2018 or May 2019 election would determine passage of the bond.

While the list of projects isn’t finalized, if the bond is approved, funds may be used to replace North Eugene High School and Edison Elementary School and to build additions on McCornack and Gilham elementary schools, among others. As a community, we are looking at investing tens or hundreds of millions of dollars in replacing and upgrading school buildings. We should take this opportunity to make sure our investments last.

Eugene Police Chief Pete Kerns recently announced he will retire in the next month or so. His departure affords our community a critical opportunity to ensure that the leadership of our local law enforcement maintains and instills the values we believe are essential to a just and fair city. 

It is certainly true that Betsy DeVos, Donald Trump’s new U.S. Secretary of Education, poses a distinct threat to the institution of public education. She is intent on advancing the privatization, corporatization, standardization, theocratization and profit-taking that have been part of the decades-long assault on public education. Who in America is going to step up to defend the pillar of our democracy, our precious system of public education?

I have exactly 1,476 trophies, and I adore every single one of them. 

I have participation awards from every sports team I’ve been on since kindergarten, eighth-place trophies for speech and debate tournaments, and my well-loved third-place medal for a watermelon-eating competition from third grade.