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News Briefs

When Steven Michael Todd crouched down to speak to a friend this fall, he didn’t intend to commit a crime, and he certainly wasn’t trying to attract the cops’ attention. But that action, next to a wall by Lazar’s Bazar, led to Todd being served with an order excluding him from downtown for 90 days.

On Valentine’s Day Lane County Hearings Official Gary Darnielle ruled that Greg Demers and the McDougal Bros.’ Lost Creek Rock Products can go ahead and mine Parvin Butte, despite possible negative effects on the rural community that surrounds the butte.

It’s not every day that a majority of Eugene’s City Council, Stephen Colbert, Oregon Country Fair and Occupy Eugene have a cause in common. But the far-reaching, unpopular Supreme Court decision on Citizens United has given those concerned about the future of democracy a reason to come together.

Last week the council voted 6-1 to call for a resolution supporting an amendment to the Constitution that would clarify that corporations aren’t people. This week democracy activists are holding People United: More than a March, at 11 am Feb. 25 at the Free Speech Plaza.

Eugene’s Gay/Straight Alliance student leaders will be special guests at a meeting that will discuss equal rights for the gay, lesbian and transgender community in Oregon — and the students are excited about the chance to gain insight from statewide activists.

While the fight rages on against the massive Keystone XL pipeline that would bring tar sands oil from Canada through the U.S. to processing facilities, small groups in the Northwest and the Rockies celebrate a victory in their fight against the machinery that feeds the controversial tar sands.

Hooking up is a pretty basic human need. For some the only criterion for “getting primal” is a warm body and a heartbeat. For others it gets a little bit stickier.  

Anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowski said that the primal human needs are food, sex and shelter. But for some, food choices have an effect on their love lives, and we don’t mean that whole garlic breath makes for bad kissing problem.

Every year producers and distributors of biofuel cross their fingers and wonder whether an extension of a federal subsidy of biofuels will pass, and this year they drew the short straw. 

The Federal Excise Tax Credit (FET) on biofuels expired in January. The FET was created in the late 1990s to incentivize the use of biofuels — it provided a wholesale level subsidy on biofuels. Without this funding, the biofuel industry, including the biofuel industry in Oregon, is scrambling to maintain stable prices for its products. 

As Lane County crosses its fingers in hope that Congress will renew federal county funding before massive budget cuts hit county services from the jail to animal control, sparks flew at the Feb. 8 commissioner meeting over proposals to make both real and “symbolic” budget cuts.

Back in 2008 Beyond Toxics (then Oregon Toxics Alliance) did research on the dangers of using toxic pesticides on school grounds. The organization tracked issues such as how many schools had to be evacuated and how many kids were sent home sick from toxic exposures. As a result in 2009 the Oregon Legislature passed a bill that ensures Oregon private and public schools K-12 as well as community colleges must first look to nonchemical means of controlling pests. This new policy starts in July, but schools and government agencies are getting ready for the transition now. 

The shores of Triangle Lake are surrounded by clearcuts that have been sprayed with toxic pesticides. On Saturday, Feb. 11, almost 100 people came out to the rural community to speak out against this chemical trespass, according to pesticide rally participant Day Owen of the Pitchfork Rebellion.

Nothing says love like a good protest. Conveniently enough the most recent State Land Board (SLB) meeting took place on Valentine’s Day and more than 60 protesters showed up in Salem with cards and cakes to let the SLB know that the Cascadia Forest Defenders and other conservationists want state forests to be better mananged. 

West Eugene EmX might have a bigger effect on your sex toy habit than on most West 11th businesses.

As LTD’s West Eugene EmX Extension continues its early planning stages, real estate analyst Richard Duncan presented to City Council this week an overview of effects the bus rapid transit project would likely have on properties on the route, along with suggestions of how to minimize effects on properties and avoid code issues.

Chemical trespass is what the rural residents of Triangle Lake say they experience when a timber company sprays toxic pesticides that drift onto their properties, often affecting the health of those living there, their gardens and drinking water.

There will be two rallies against chemical trespass on Feb. 11. In Lane County, the rally will start at noon on the shores of Triangle Lake on Highway 36. The other rally starts at 10 am in another heavily sprayed and clearcut area, Lake Selmac, along Highway 199 near Selma in Josephine County.

During the wee hours of the morning on Feb. 10, members of Cascadia Forest Defenders used dead Christmas trees to block the driveway of the governor’s mansion in Salem. 

Occupy Eugene is tired of all the talk about the state of America’s health care system and is taking action by treating those in need of medical care for free and connecting them with other community services.

On Sunday, Feb. 5, at the corner of 7th and Pearl, OE organizers set up a medical tent outside the old Federal Building with doctors and nurses available for basic medical treatment, and the group has a long-term plan to continue on every Sunday.

Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) doesn’t spread to dogs or humans, yet Sheriff, a stout, short-haired orange tabby with the disease, is waiting at West Coast Dog and Cat Rescue (WCDC) for a home, most likely because people fear he is contagious. This Valentine’s Day weekend WCDC hopes that will change.

• Western Lane County: Little Lake Logging, Jeffrey Newman (927-3339 and 927-3384) plans to spray Garlon 4 Ultra and Tordon in sections 17 and 18 of Township 16S Range 07W and Section 13 of Township 16S Range 08W in the Coast Range on Little Lake Stream near Triangle Lake. Notices 2011-781-00468C and 2011-781-00469C.

Oregon’s diminishing coffers have put many social services at risk, and Employment Related Day Care (ERDC) is no exception. Money has been set aside for the program, but advocates fear it will get lost in the budget fray.

ERDC subsidizes the day care costs of low-income families using a formula that accounts for income and child care costs in a family’s zip code. The income ceiling for a family of four is $40,800 a year.

Many plants rely on honeybees to pollinate them and facilitate reproduction, but colony collapse disorder (CCD), which is killing about one-third of bee colonies per year nationally, is making it much harder for bees to get their buzz on. 

Predator advocates are wary of the latest anti-wolf and anti-cougar bills that have been introduced to the current abbreviated session of the Oregon Legislature and call the bills a waste of time and money.

Sally Mackler of Predator Defense says, “This is a session that’s supposed to be focused on the budget and on the economic crisis we are facing. If we had all the time we had spent on the cougar bill we could have fixed the economy by now.”

 

Several years ago, entrepreneur Ginger Johnson said to herself, “Self, it’s time to find out what beer is about.” Now, after delving into the intricacies of the beer industry, Johnson owns and operates Women Enjoying Beer, a business that works to help breweries market to the female craft beer enthusiast. Women Enjoying Beer is based in Ashland, but Johnson is excited to appear in Eugene this week for Brew Fest, KLCC’s annual beer-tasting benefit.

 

Images of flooded homes and fields filled the news during the mid-January floods this year. Lane County has been soliciting information from homeowners on how much damage the high waters cost them in order to apply for federal disaster relief funds. So LandWatch Lane County wants to know why the county would consider allowing even more houses in areas prone to flooding. 

 

Conservation groups have been eyeing Congressman Peter DeFazio’s forest trust plan with skepticism. Or rather, they have been eyeing the proposed plan. Part of their distrust of the trust plan is that it doesn’t actually officially exist on paper yet.

 

A ruling related to last week’s verdict that EPD Sgt. Bill Solesbee used excessive force to arrest Josh Schlossberg in 2009 added to Oregon’s existing case law, which recognizes the public’s right to tape police officers and others — in some cases with notification of the videotaped person and in some cases without it. U.S. District Magistrate Judge Thomas Coffin ruled that Solesbee also violated Schlossberg’s rights by searching his camera without a warrant.