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Much of Eugene is proud of Opportunity Village, the self-governing community of formerly homeless people living in tiny homes. But these people are only one aspect of the tiny house movement, a nationwide trend of people eschewing big abodes for simpler living with a smaller carbon footprint.

Planning is one of the most important elements of gardening. It is also one of the easiest steps to overlook, especially for the beginner. Knowing a few months ahead of time when you’re going to need to plant and harvest your vegetables can save you serious heartache in the long run. Having your seeds, starts and preservation methods prepped and ready will ensure you the longest growing seasons, the most fruitful crops and the longest lasting life from your produce.

Four hours after the factory shut down, the worker who had crawled into the depths of the conveyer belt finally finds the plastic bag that caused all the commotion. Carefully removing the bag, the worker wriggles free. “It’s dangerous work,” says Lane County Waste Reduction Specialist Sarah Grimm. “It’s time consuming and the whole time the whole sort quality is compromised.”

Do you eat almonds? I do — lots of them. But for how long? California almonds are just part of the 70 percent of our food supply that depends on honeybees for pollination. But colony collapse disorder (CCD) has made life tough for bees and for beekeepers, who have struggled in recent years to supply the hives needed to pollinate crops.

Although people consider the downed trees from the recent ice storm to be an unfortunate and unsightly look around Eugene, Anna and Noah Wemple of Cougar Mountain Farm know of a sustainable use for the remnants. With the help of Jude Hobbs, permaculture expert, teacher and co-founder of Cascadia Permaculture Institute, the Wemples will host a Shiitake Mushroom Log Inoculation Workshop 10 am to 4 pm Saturday, March 15, at Cougar Mountain Farm, 33737 Witcher Gateway in Cottage Grove.

Anyone can grow fresh food year-round, even apartment dwellers. It just takes a bit of know-how and planning. Amy Doherty, a master gardener and graduate of the UO Landscape Architecture program, specializes in adaptive urban gardens. “There’s a lot you can do with container gardening on a sunny balcony or in a window,” Doherty says. “The only limit is how much space you have and how much light you can get.”

Dallas Buyers Club, American Hustle, Philomen, Captain Phillips, 12 Years a Slave, Nebraska, The Wolf of Wall Street, Her, Gravity

Our picks and who we think should win.

Alex Notman

 et al.

As a nod to our age of narcissism, EW is celebrating this year’s Oscars by seeing what they have to do with us. In true Hollywood fashion, we used the most fitting methodology — Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, ahem, Separation (although you will find Kevin Bacon in the chart) — to trace each Best Picture nominee back to Oregon. We left Portland and Portlanders out of the mix because that would be, well, too easy. We learned a lot: Oregon was like catnip for Jack Nicholson in the ’70s; Robert Towne directed not one but two track flicks (Personal Best, Without Limits) in Eugene; and Donald Sutherland, who has starred in not one but two films shot in Eugene (Animal House, Without Limits), has shared the screen with pretty much every actor ever. 

Bijou Art Cinemas

1. Philomena

2. Blue Jasmine

3. Nebraska

4. Enough Said

5. Chasing Ice

6. Inside Llewyn Davis

7. 20 Feet From Stardom

8. Quartet

9. Much Ado About Nothing

10. Amour

 

Director James Ivory (Howards End, The Remains of the Day) grew up in Klamath Falls and graduated from the UO. Ivory is half of film company Merchant Ivory Productions, whose movies have received six Oscars.

Director and screenplay writer Brad Bird, who graduated from Corvallis High School, nabbed Best Animated Feature Academy Awards for his films The Incredibles and Ratatouille.

Gallons of ink will flow through Springfield this weekend, Feb. 21-23, as some of the finest tattoo artists from across the country and around the world etch beauty into flesh at the inaugural Evergreen Tattoo Expo at Willamalane Center.

Conceived by co-founders Riley Smith and Joshua Carlton as a celebration of the art of tattooing — by and for the artists — Evergreen will gather together more than 200 professionals from 30 states and four countries for three days of workshops, music, performances, hobnobbing and, yes, tattooing, to which the public is invited.

Horny sasquatches are in the Whit. 

No, I’m not talking about bearded, flannel-clad college guys scoping the scene at Sam Bond’s. There are two horny sasquatches — Leonard and Dale — who have been captured and caged in a “non-descript warehouse in the industrial section of Eugene” for “scientific research.”  

In fact, a tribe of bigfoots have been living in the Cascade Range for thousands of years, stomping around Lost Lake, smoking ganja and engaging in campfire orgies with hikers who have wandered a tad too deep into the woods. These are not your Harry and the Henderson kinds of cryptids. These are the sasquatches of Cum for Bigfoot (books 1-16).

It’s a common experience. You’re walking down the street, pleasantly enjoying the scenery, when you look down and almost step on the horror of all horrors: a used condom lying on the sidewalk. 

We all know that condoms are readily available and people use them all the time (even if we don’t want to see the rubbery aftermath at our feet). The problem is that they’re not using them enough or with any kind of consistency.

Local author and real estate investor Bill Syrios has written a new book about relationships that might make his four grown sons blush. “This book may contain more about good old Dad than you wanted to know!” he writes in the dedication to Intimate Conversations for Couples: Turning Your Relationship into a Lifelong Love Affair, published by Crossover Press in Eugene and available in print this Valentine’s Day.

Carolina Reid

 et al.

Emily Aguilera, 26, single

What is the best part about being single?

Not having to answer to anybody but yourself.

What is the worst part about being single?

Nobody to split dinner with, half and half. Share portions, get that variety when you go out to eat; you’re stuck to that one dish.

Have you ever been cheated on?

Not to my knowledge.

Have you ever cheated on someone?

People having sex isn’t “news.” Sex is how our species survives, after all. Sex scandals make the headlines when the sex is had in awkward places, with ill-chosen or inappropriate people, including, as it turns out, one’s own self. That’s when sex makes the pages of not just tabloid news but the rarified newsprint (and websites, for endless sharing) of The Oregonian and The Register-Guard

In a flurry of sawdust and activity, the Urban Lumber Company Workshop in Springfield buzzes with the sounds of drilling and sawing. Towering branches, stumps and logs fill the workspace, each waiting its turn to become the next work of art carved into existence by owner Seth San Filippo and his fellow woodworkers, Josh Krute and Christian Jensen. These pieces of lumber, salvaged, reclaimed or sustainably harvested from all over the Eugene-Springfield area, are trees reincarnate. Instead of harvesting fresh timber from wild areas, Urban Lumber seeks out city trees that are dying, pose a threat to surrounding buildings or create some other kind of safety hazard. Rather than scrapping the lumber or sending it to landfills, Urban Lumber steps in and gives the wood another chance, collaborating with local businesses and individuals to create tables, doors, bed frames, countertops and everything else imaginable. 

Some 65 dams came down for various reasons in the U.S. in 2012, according to National Geographic, and Oregon rivers are averaging three or four intentional dam breaches a year. But one troublesome dam, Soda Springs, still remains on the North Umpqua River, despite recommendations for its removal by a federal agency, numerous environmental organizations and even a study funded by the project’s owner, PacifiCorp. The story of why this remote dam remains standing is not widely known, and it boils down to corporate profits versus the environment, with bad timing thrown in.

Few things are as starkly inconvenient to our collective perception of well-being than the ongoing existence of homelessness and mental illness. They baffle our understanding.

And so, when these two uncomfortable facts collide in a very public way — say, in the form of a ragged man screaming at ghosts in Kesey Square — we reach a level of collective dismay that approaches hysteria. Hysteria, which is just fear, drives us to extremes: anger, pity, denial, paralysis.

The burden of the history is something to keep in mind when face to face with Kara Walker’s elegant, complex and challenging silhouettes depicting the horrors of the antebellum South — images that have been described as an “apocalyptic carnival” — that will be on display for the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art’s upcoming exhibit Emancipating the Past: Kara Walker’s Tales of Slavery and Power opening 6 pm Friday, Jan. 24. Emancipating the Past is the first-ever solo exhibit by an African-American artist at the JSMA. 

It’s not unusual to see history or engineering majors in a college program catalog, and English or biology students are pretty easy to come by, but when was the last time you met someone with a degree in comics or hiking? These are just a couple of the unique majors and minors offered at local colleges and universities.

The Comics and Cartoon Studies program at the University of Oregon made national headlines in December 2013 after an anonymous $200,000 donation was bestowed on the program. According to Program Director Benjamin Saunders, the 15-month-old program now has more than 30 students enrolled in the minor program that spans six courses. “The idea of a [comics] minor is appealing because it makes any major that anybody takes more interesting,” he says. “You can be an economics major.”

When Macey France’s second-grade son brought home his math homework, France couldn’t believe that he was already working with fractions. “The sad thing is, my eight-year-old doesn’t know what a fraction is yet,” she says, “and he’s reading it out loud, saying, ‘one and then a line and then a four,’ and I realized, oh my goodness, they’re asking for a quarter of something.”

France, chief operating officer of Parent Led Reform Oregon, is drawing attention to a set of new achievement standards that are coming to Oregon schools, including Lane County, as well as across the nation. Teachers around the state are modifying their classroom strategies to meet these new standards — sudden adjustments that parents are surprised to see. “People have compared it to the Affordable Care Act,” she says. “It hit, and it’s too much, too fast.” 

Technology in the classroom can help students collaborate in real time, learn at their own pace and use innovative tools and techniques. Technology can transform the ability of students with learning disabilities such as autism to communicate.

But whether students in local school districts have access to state-of-the-art technology depends on whether district voters are willing to invest in digitizing the classroom. Eugene’s 4J and Springfield school districts present a contrasting picture of what happens when residents vote for or against filling the funding gap created by shrinking state and federal education budgets.