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News Briefs

People in their late teens and early 20s don’t have the best track record when it comes to voting. That’s why around election time, voter registration volunteers show up on college campuses, encouraging students to fill out their registration cards. The registration deadline has passed, but now it’s up to students to follow through and vote. 

Just days before Hurricane Sandy smacked into the East Coast, turning New York City streets into waterways, a tsunami advisory was issued for the West Coast from Alaska into California, as well as Hawaii, as a result of an 7.7 earthquake off the coast of British Columbia. These water disasters, or near disasters — the tsunami was in the end rather small — call to mind the 2011 Japanese quake and tsunami and the subsequent nuclear plant dangers that arose.

Eugene police are once again coordinating the collection of warm clothing, boots and other various winter weather items to be distributed to community service agencies that help the homeless community stay warm this winter. 

Officer Randy Ellis has spearheaded the collection for the past several years and last year West University Neighborhood residents Don and Anne Dezarn pledged to match up to $2,500 of funds collected after seeing the success of previous years and the impact on this vulnerable population.

Capstone’s student housing project not yet under construction at 13th and Olive has hit a legal snag, losing an Oct. 11 Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA) ruling to neighborhood advocate Paul Conte on the city’s vacation (termination of public right to use the street) of West 12th Avenue between Olive and Willamette. 

Oregon is facing the prospect of coal trains rumbling through the state bringing coal, and coal dust and increased diesel fumes, thanks to several proposals for coal export terminals along the coast and Columbia River. Gov. John Kitzhaber and Sen. Jeff Merkley have requested an extensive federal environmental review of the effects of exporting coal to Asia, having it burned there and blowing back to the Northwest. Local governments have attempted to weigh in on the coal issue as well. 

With the next City Council decision on the downtown exclusion zone — which allows banning people from the downtown core prior to conviction of a crime — a year away, civil liberties activists already seeking the data they need to fight the zone. But on Oct. 17, Eugene Police Department records manager Joan Quaempts denied the Civil Liberties Defense Center (CLDC) request for a public records fee waiver for documents related to past exclusions, quoting a $2,284 fee for the records. EW was a party in the request.

A free dental clinic for extractions only is coming up Friday, Oct. 26, for people who are uninsured, low income, have a tooth that needs to be removed, and have not had recent dental care. Patients need to have a phone number where they can be reached to confirm appointments.

The event is being organized by the Occupy Eugene Medical Clinic in cooperation with St. Vincent de Paul. Dentists can work on only one quadrant at a time so only one upper or lower jaw, left or right side, can be treated at this clinic. A limit of 20 people can be treated.

Congressman Peter DeFazio’s campaign is calling a $1 million lawsuit filed by Tea Party challenger Art Robinson in Josephine County “meritless.” The Robinson campaign also sent out an email to supporters that insinuates that Lane County engaged in voter fraud in the 2010 election, which Robinson lost to DeFazio. 

Robinson’s campaign did not respond to a request to confirm its allegations. It also did not send a copy of the suit to DeFazio’s campaign before issuing its press release.

Catholic nun, death penalty foe and restorative justice advocate Sister Helen Prejean has returned to Oregon for the fifth time. While in Oregon she visited the Oregon State Penitentiary in Salem to teach a creative writing workshop through the Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program, which brings college and incarcerated students together in university courses held in correctional facilities, and visited the Coffee Creek Correctional Facility for women in Wilsonville. Sister Helen Prejean will speak on “Envisioning a Compassionate America” on Oct. 25 at the UO.

The state of Oregon is known for many things, and near the top of its list is the bike riding culture and the reliance by much of the population on local, organic foods. Two women are about to set out on a long journey to combine the two, hoping to spread the importance of both across the country through what they call the Food Cycles Bicycle Tour. 

Is there a mistake on your ballot? Aaron Baker, who is running against incumbent Democrat Paul Holvey for Oregon House District 8, says there is. Baker, a Republican railroad engineer perhaps best known for the Tea Party-esque videos he posts at his “No Sugar Coated News” website, has accused fellow challenger Lucian Blansett of election fraud and says his name should be removed from the ballot. Lane County says it’s too late — ballots have already been printed in order to be mailed Oct. 19.

Congressman Peter DeFazio’s GOP challenger, Art Robinson, is back at it this election with some help from a few deep-pocketed, out-of-state friends. A spread of just under 11 percent kept DeFazio in Oregon’s Fourth Congressional District in the 2010 election. Now the man behind Citizens United is putting money into the effort to beat the populist Democratic congressman.

During the first presidential debate Oct. 3, when Mitt Romney professed to “love Big Bird” yet said he would “stop the subsidy to PBS,” he triggered an immediate internet outcry, one that prompted former Eugenean and political activist Sam Chapman to start a fundraising campaign for the Sesame Street character. Chapman’s campaign swiftly made national headlines with mentions in papers such as USA Today.

In celebration of final local approval of West Eugene EmX, a party to celebrate and thank everyone who has worked to support EmX is being planned for 5:30 to 7 pm Tuesday, Oct. 23, at the Broadway Commerce Center, 44 W. Broadway. Mayor Kitty Piercy, LTD Board Chair Greg Evans and other local leaders are expected to attend. RSVP to rsvp@emxyes.org

Gov. John Kitzhaber has entered the federal forests and county funding fray by proposing a forest panel made up of environmentalists, county officials and timber interests. The panel, which is based on the proposed DeFazio-Walden-Schrader forest legislation, is tasked with coming up with a plan for using federal Bureau of Land Management O&C forests to fund payments to cash-strapped Oregon counties.

You’ve probably never seen a streaked horned lark — a little bird with feather tufts on its head that call to mind the horns of a teeny-tiny buffalo — because they are only about 6 to 8 inches long and there are only about 1,600 of them left in the world. But some of the few little yellowish and brown birds that remain live in the Willamette Valley and they have a liking for airports. The streaked horned lark and a fellow prairie species, the Taylor’s checkerspot butterfly, have been proposed by the U.S.

The UO is honoring the life and work of music professor and former dean of the School of Music and Dance Anne Dhu McLucas, who died Sept. 8. Plans are proceeding on the second of a two-part symposium on “Oral Traditions, Old and New” Oct. 19 and 20. 

The October portion of the symposium will be dedicated to McLucas, with musicians and scholars from across the U.S. and abroad presenting their work in her memory. The theme of the symposium was chosen to honor her 2010 monograph, the “The Musical Ear: Oral Tradition in the USA.”

Despite the controversy surrounding coal trains running through Eugene and Lane County, the Board of Lane County Commissioners had scheduled a vote in support of coal trains and the Coos Bay Bulk Terminal for Oct. 3 with no public input. After outcry against the resolution arose, Commission Chair Sid Leiken suggested the vote be moved to Oct. 17. The commission will take public comments at that time, and also at its Oct. 16 vote in Florence.

Oregon’s vivid landscapes will hit the big screen at the Living River Film Festival, a three-day event presented by the McKenzie River Trust. The festival, which begins Oct. 12 and includes 11 films with guest appearances by the filmmakers, provides the public with an opportunity to connect to MRT’s conservation goals. 

“We purchase land in order to protect critical fish and wildlife habitat,” says Liz Lawrence, operations manager for MRT. “Basically, we’re in the conservation real estate business.”

A free dental clinic for extractions only is coming up Saturday, Oct. 26, for people who are uninsured, low income, have a tooth that needs to be removed, and have not had recent dental care. Patients need to have a phone number where they can be reached to confirm appointments.

The event is being organized by the Occupy Eugene Medical Clinic in cooperation with St. Vincent de Paul. Dentists can work on only one quadrant at a time so only one upper or lower jaw, left or right side, can be treated at this clinic. A limit of 20 people can be treated.

At a City Council meeting Monday Oct. 8, the downtown exclusion zone, which allows people charged with certain crimes to be excluded from downtown Eugene prior to conviction, transformed into a different beast — one that activists and the homeless hope will turn on itself.

Toxic tar sands oil has not been in the news lately in the Northwest, but a blockade against the controversial Keystone XL pipeline that would carry the crude from Canada to the Gulf Coast of the U.S. has drawn Eugene-based activists down to Texas to oppose the pipeline’s construction. Ben Jones, a member of the Cascadia Forest Defenders who is in east Texas with the Tar Sands Blockade, calls the Keystone XL is one of the largest and most destructive infrastructure projects in the world.

Well water that students were drinking at Triangle Lake Charter School, located outside of Eugene, contained the pesticide imazapyr, according to a sample sent to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for testing in April 2011. Now a study by the USDA in the spring of 2012 of 22 Oregon rural schools using wells shows that one other Eugene-area school and two Corvallis-area schools had pesticides in their water. The Triangle Lake school was also tested and had imazapyr in the water again.

The Cascade mountains of the Willamette National Forest are a popular summer tour for people from all over the state and beyond, well known for great hiking and biking trails in particular — but along Hwy 126, the small town of Blue River is getting less traffic stopping in than it should, says a man who’s trying to change that.