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• Civil libertarian Raymond Brown, a recently retired educator with the Bethel School District, will be celebrating Independence Day in period costume, reciting the Declaration of Independence by heart at 1, 3 and 5 pm July 4 at the top of Skinner Butte. He will also be flying 25 full-sized flags atop the butte.

In Afghanistan

• 2,241 U.S. troops killed (2,238 last week)

• 18,851 U.S. troops wounded in action (18,795)

• 1,353 U.S. contractors killed (1,353)

• 16,179 civilians killed (updates NA)

• $638.9 billion cost of war ($637.4 billion)

• $191.7 million cost to Eugene taxpayers ($191.2 million)


In Iraq

Medical marijuana patients too sick or inexperienced to grow their own cannabis might have new options. House Bill 3460 passed 31-27 in the Oregon House June 24, and the Senate was gearing up to vote as EW went to press June 26.

Hang onto your cash, bus riders. While the bus routes to the Oregon Country Fair have always been free, this year the entire LTD system will cost nothing for the duration of Fair, which runs July 12-14.

“It’s the first time that anybody’s bought out the entire system,” says LTD spokesperson Andy Vobora. The Fair, which has long emphasized sustainability and public transit, paid $32,370 to sponsor all of LTD’s routes during the three-day event.

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) assessed a penalty of $15,600 against Christopher John Bartels on June 20 for illegally discharging wastewater from his meat processing and packing facility to ditches flowing to wetlands on two occasions in 2011. The facility is located on Central Road, south of Perkins Peninsula Park. According to DEQ, Bartels has made significant improvements to his wastewater treatment and disposal system since the 2011 violations.

Though the Oregon Legislature is still tied up in session, Oregon dogs will no longer be tied up on short leashes or for long periods of time, thanks to an anti-dog-tethering bill. That’s just one of several animal-oriented bills that came up this session. Animal advocates are cheering the ones that have passed (and cheering some that died) and expect some more good news for the beasties to come through before the session ends.

Children can enjoy free lunches through the Summer Food Service Program, a federally funded nutrition program open to all kids ages 1-18. In addition to lunch, some sites also offer breakfast and snacks to accompany a day of activities.

Successes in Native American forestry, despite huge financial challenges, are proving a model for future stewardship, according to the Indian Forestry Management Assessment Team (IFMAT).

“The tribes have been here for thousands of years,” says George Smith, executive director of Oregon’s Coquille Tribe. “They have a direct connection to the land and the long-term consequences of its management.”

What’s a “benefit company?” The Oregon Senate has approved a new designation for businesses to register as corporations committed to sustainability. Companies will need to meet certain social and environmental performance guidelines. HB 2296A has passed both houses of the Legislature and is expected to be signed by Gov. Kitzhaber, but the rules and regulations are still to be worked out. 

Health Care for All Oregon’s Eugene chapter will host the statewide annual meeting of its coalition from 10 am to 3 pm Friday, June 28, at First United Methodist Church, 1376 Olive St. The gathering of HCAO’s 80 member organizations, along with delegates from labor unions, health care providers and other groups, is open to the public. The Eugene chapter will later meet from 7 to 9 pm Tuesday, July 2, at EWEB, 500 E.

The White Castle pilot project is an unusual kind of logging proposal and it’s led to an unusual forest defender vs. forest scientist dynamic. When forestry professor Norm Johnson of OSU, who created the project along with Jerry Franklin of the University of Washington, found out that the Cascadia Forest Defenders (CFD) had taken to the trees last week to stop the proposed logging, he decided he would head out to the site near Roseburg and talk to the protesters.

Gold mining and all its negative environmental effects have made their way to the waterways of Lane County. River guide Frank Armendariz was out walking his dog early in May in an open section of Armitage Park when he says he saw a Jeep parked inside a portion of the park still locked behind gates and a man digging away at the riverbank. Gold mining in southern Oregon has led not just to the degradation of rivers but also to shootings and legal battles, but, until now, it has not been much of an issue on the McKenzie River. 

In objection to the planned West 11th EmX extension, perennial bus-rapid-transit-opponents Our Money Our Transit (OMOT) filed a lawsuit against the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) June 11, calling for the project to be halted pending further review. The suit claims that the Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) that the FTA issued after reviewing the expected effects of the LTD project’s impact was improper, but LTD says that it thinks the FONSI will hold up in court, and there’s not much chance that the EmX extension will be delayed.

After a brief but vociferous debate, the Eugene City Council voted 5-3 June 17 to grant Core Campus, a Chicago-based developer, approximately $4.5 million in tax exemptions over 10 years for a planned 12-story student apartment building. In response, neighborhood advocate Paul Conte announced that he would file a ballot initiative petition to abolish any Multiple-Unit Property Tax Exemptions (MUPTEs) granted after April 2013.

Delta Sand & Gravel and Babb Construction are the target of a class action lawsuit by four former employees on behalf of themselves and other current and former employees, according to attorney Alan Leiman of the Eugene law firm Leiman & Johnson, LLC. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Eugene, alleges violations of overtime provisions and other Oregon labor laws. The complaint seeks damages in excess of $3.5 million.

• Basic Rights Oregon will combine eating and equality in its annual Bites for Rights fundraiser. On Thursday, June 20, eat at Cornbread Café, The Divine Cupcake, Poppi’s Anatolia, Sweet Life Patisserie and Whirled Pies Pizzeria in Eugene or Interzone, Les Caves Bier & Kitchen or Squirrel’s Tavern in Corvallis to show your support.

• Walk, bike or ride the bus Thursday, June 20, for Dump the Pump Day. Who knows, you might just get addicted.

One bunny had a broken jaw and was missing its tail. Three more wound up at the home of a Cottage Grove employee after a co-worker said her kids couldn’t keep them. Heather Crippen of Red Barn Rabbit Rescue says that those were a few of the results of a previous “animal scramble” at the Cottage Grove Rodeo.

If the Oregon Department of Revenue (DOR) wins its appeal before the Oregon Supreme Court, Lane County could get $7.2 million from communications giant Comcast in taxes. If the state loses, then Lane County Tax Assessor Mike Cowles says at least the county won’t owe any money, thanks to a bill that was passed in the 2011 Legislature after the Comcast dispute began in 2009. Ten Oregon counties are affected by the dispute: Lane, Multnomah, Benton, Clackamas, Columbia, Linn, Marion, Polk, Washington and Yamhill.

Love your “I love My Ducks” T-shirt? John Henzie of Triangle Graphics is worried that with the UO’s new request for proposals (RFP) for apparel licenses asking for a half million dollars as a “minimum annual guarantee,” small, local businesses like his won’t be able to compete and make spur-of-the moment T-shirts anymore. The RFP does not affect Nike.

A week before the school year ended, students at Edison Elementary held a protest after being cut off from bento boxes. For most of the year, Ume Grill’s Helen Nahoopii had been delivering the single-portion lunches packed in boxes to kids at Roosevelt Middle School and Edison Elementary after their parents ordered the boxes online. She says the district ordered her to stop because providing the food violates the district’s contract with food service giant Sodexo. 

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) assessed another fine against local residents for pollution from a leaking septic system last week, this time on Tioga Drive in Cottage Grove. DEQ assessed a civil penalty of $11,857 against David and Laura Pendergrass after Lane County discovered the leaking septic in January, and the Pendergrasses failed to respond to three separate letters from DEQ and the county. The discharge appears to be continuing, and DEQ’s order requires it to be eliminated immediately.

After an opening win against the Bend Timbers at home, the EMFC Azul head onto the road for a collection of games head coach Jürgen Ruckaberle isn’t taking lightly. The team faced Bend on Tuesday, June 11. Azul won 2-1, and a few changes were in store. Italian midfielder Eleonora Petralia made her debut in return from injury, as did UO’s Achijah Berry. 

Eugene lawyers Bill Gary and Sharon Rudnick, along with UO General Counsel Randy Geller, have had a complaint filed against them with the Oregon State Bar by UO economics professor Bill Harbaugh, according to a June 10 blog post by Nigel Jaquiss of Willamette Week.

• Activist and author Paul Cienfuegos will be leading a workshop from 6 to 9 pm Thursday, June 13, at LCC’s main campus Building 17, Room 308. Focus will be on the Food Bill of Rights ordinance in both Benton and Lane counties. Suggested donation of $10 to $20. Go to CommunityRightsLaneCounty.org for more information. Cienfuegos will also be conducting a similar workshop in Florence from 5:30 to 8:30 pm Friday, June 14, at the Florence Public Library. Email shenderson88@hotmail.com.