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Duck beneath the verdant archway of a home off River Road, then traipse along the side of the house and spill out into the backyard where fruit trees, a water feature, a massive swath of vegetables and a chicken coop create a sort of urban Eden.

 Jan Spencer’s house is a little unusual. It does not have your typical well-manicured lawn, Spencer says, but it’s his vision of the future, if others adapt to the permaculture lifestyle.

Mosaic Fair Trade Collection is a new store at 28 E. Broadway, selling handmade homewares, accessories and jewelry from around the world “made by fair trade workers who get living wages and safe working conditions,” says owner Susan Costa. One line she carries is by Portland company Tropical Salvage offering furniture from Indonesia handmade from salvaged deforestation wood. Costa says her passion for international development started when she did a college study abroad program to Nepal for nine months. Phone number is (206) 427-4780.

Fred Taylor finished Washington High School and left his native Portland in 1946 to major in journalism at the University of Oregon. He worked in the news bureau and wrote for the Oregon Daily Emerald, rising to be co-sports editor.

But the dean of the journalism school told him that he would never make it in the field of journalism. He should get out of it.

Fred ignored him. That harsh advice to a college kid may have been just what G. Frederick Taylor needed to drive him into becoming what many colleagues have called “the best newsman in America” in his time.

Gregory Ahlijian says he doesn’t consider himself an author despite the two books he wrote and published himself, including his latest, An Elephant Would Be Wonderful.  

Ahlijian says he stumbled into the author role during his ongoing volunteer work in sixth and seventh grade classrooms at Jasper Mountain Center, a nonprofit in Springfield and Jasper that treats children with emotional and behavioral issues.

Get ready for Festival of Eugene 2.0 — this year’s celebration of all things Eugene, with music, poetry, food, vendors, a pet parade and more, is bigger and better than ever before, says Krysta Albert, the event’s producer. 

Granted, Festival of Eugene is only in its second year, but Albert says she and her planning committee had a whole year this time to work out the details.

The proposed Jordan Cove liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in Coos Bay would produce 2.1 million metric tons of CO2 a year, according to its federal environmental analysis. And the project isn’t just an LNG terminal. It’s a gas liquefaction, storage and shipping facility with a 400-megawatt natural-gas-fired plant powering four super chillers. It will all be fed by a 36-inch-wide 232-mile natural gas pipeline extending halfway across Oregon. 

Oregon Department of Transportation is currently spraying roadsides. Call Tony Kilmer at ODOT District 5 at 744-8080 or call 1-888-996-8080 for herbicide application information. Hwy. 99 and Beltline were recently sprayed.

• You can “Bee Jazzy” and support Beyond Toxic’s efforts to save Oregon’s bees on Aug. 20 from 5:30 to 8:30 pm for $30 at Silvan Ridge Winery, 27012 Briggs Hill Road in Eugene. There will be wine tasting, live music with the Zac Wolfe Jazz Band and a silent auction. 

Shawala Point at Riverfront Commemorative Park in Corvallis has a new play structure, one that memorializes the life of a young boy and honors the traditions of local indigenous people. 

The 50 or so people who came to the Aug. 4 dedication joined Nigel Rose Weber’s parents to watch as a Grand Ronde canoe family paddled up to Shawala Point on the hot August afternoon. Grand Ronde tribal members later drummed and sang. Native American activist and writer Winona LaDuke participated in the dedication, as did singer-songwriter Amy Ray. 

Eugene plays host to endless wine tastings and brew fests — now it’s time for distilleries to take the spotlight. The Hard Times Distillery Expo, featuring 17 Oregon distillers, takes place Saturday, Aug. 15, at the Hult Center. 

Oregon native bees now have a special day of their own. Gov. Kate Brown, at the urging of local nonprofit Beyond Toxics, has declared Aug. 15, 2015, as Oregon Native Bees Conservation Awareness Day. 

People should care about the welfare of bees, says Beyond Toxics Executive Director Lisa Arkin. Without bees, crops would have to be pollinated by hand, she says.

After working on The Beer Bible for nearly two years, author and beer writer Jeff Alworth says he gained a newfound appreciation for all kinds of beers, not just his old favorites.

“I had definite preferences before I started the book, but by the time I finished, it felt like they were my children, and I loved them equally,” he says, laughing. 

Alworth is visiting Eugene on Aug. 15 to promote The Beer Bible, a dizzyingly comprehensive guide to all things beer. 

Eleven youths from Oregon have joined with 10 other kids from across the country and with future generations of children to file a lawsuit that attorney Julia Olson says will challenge the U.S. government and ask the federal court system to make a decision as important as Brown v. Board of Education (racial equality) or Obergefell v. Hodges (marriage equality).

The next general meeting of the Eugene/Springfield NAACP is 11 am, Aug. 15, at 101 W. 10th, 2nd floor, room 209. Get involved and find out how you can help move the conversation forward. Special guest: Our Oregon and the Better Oregon Coalition.

In Afghanistan

• 2,355 U.S. troops killed (2,355 last month)

• 20,071 U.S. troops wounded in action (20,071)

• 1,599 U.S. contractors killed (1,599)

• 16,179 civilians killed (updates NA)

• $709.4 billion cost of war ($707.3 billion)

• $283.8 million cost to Eugene taxpayers ($282.9 million)

 

Against ISIS

• $5.4 billion cost of military action ($5.1 billion)

• $2.2 million cost to Eugene taxpayers ($2 million)

Oregon Department of Transportation is currently spraying roadsides. Call Tony Kilmer at ODOT District 5 at 744-8080 for herbicide application information.

M Three Timber Co., 767-3785, plans to hire Western Helicopter Services, Inc., 503-538-9469, to spray 74.4 acres, 1 unit north of Cottage Grove-Lorane Rd and 1 unit near Muslin Creek with Chopper Gen2, Accord Concentrate, Oust Extra, Induce and/or Compadre. See ODF notification 2015-781-11328, call Brian Peterson at 935-2283 with questions.

A herd of five starving horses on the outskirts of Grants Pass in rural Josephine County, Oregon were saved when a couple women passing by saw the animals, with their ribs and spines protruding, took pictures and posted them to social media on July 26.

As a child, Gustavo Balderas attended school in the tiny rural town of Nyssa in Eastern Oregon. Balderas’ parents did not speak English, but his kindergarten teacher reached out to them, he says, in an act of kindness that he has always remembered. “She connected to my mom and dad and made them feel welcome,” he says. “She really stands out to me as impacting my decision to go into education.”

The state Legislature on June 6 passed a bill creating a dedicated LGBT coordinator in the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA). The bill puts the state in alignment with national Veterans Health Administration (VHA) directives that have, in the past two years, sought to be inclusive and supportive of LGBT identities.

This summer marks the 20th anniversary of the fight to protect Warner Creek from a salvage-logging project that the Forest Service sought to institute after an arsonist lit up 9,000 acres in the Willamette National Forest. The forest was torched in 1991, and the arson was followed by several years of activism to keep the spotted owl habitat from being logged.

Hedin Brugh, one of three protesters charged with trespassing during a Safe Legally Entitled Emergency Places to Sleep (SLEEPS) protest at the Wayne Morse Free Speech Plaza in 2013, had his charge dismissed by the city of Eugene on July 24. 

The private Italian spying firm Hacking Team was itself recently hacked and some of its internal documents, invoices, emails and customer lists were made public — the information can be found on WikiLeaks. According to Wired not only has the FBI used Hacking Team’s wares, “many of the other governments who bought the same software are repressive regimes, such as Sudan and Bahrain.” 

Trash continues to pile up along the Willamette River this summer, mostly from homeless campers but also from local residents recreating on the river and careless anglers. Action is being taken, but it appears to be mostly by volunteers, and more help is needed.