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Four years after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Halliburton is paying $1.1 billion to residents, local governments and businesses affected by the disaster. 

 Oregon DEQ recently sent Oregon Resources Corporation (ORS) a pre-enforcement notice for serious violations of environmental law discovered via a DEQ compliance inspection of the stormwater collection and treatment system for ORS’s chromite mining operation outside of Coos Bay. Violations include millions of gallons of unreported discharges, and false statements to DEQ associated with these discharges. 

About $24 million in federal funding for the West Eugene EmX project passed the Metropolitan Policy Committee unanimously last week, according to Rob Zako, executive director of Better Eugene-Springfield Transit (BEST). “We are looking forward to work proceeding efficiently with minimal impacts, and to seeing the new EmX line open in just over two years,” he says. BEST has been holding “listening sessions” with the community over recent months and plans to release a report next month. An online survey is at best-oregon.org. 

Eugene PeaceWorks/Eugene Media Action will host a reception with refreshments from 6 to 8 pm Thursday, Sept. 11, upstairs in the Growers Market, 454 Willamette, celebrating its new office space and an FCC-approved, low-power FM radio station. The group is working to “get progressive voices on the air focusing on environmental sustainability, economic justice and music made in the Northwest.” Call Craig at 505-2564. 

Do you know the three reasons Eugene City Hall should not be torn down?

This November, Oregonians have the chance to make their state the first to require genetically modified organisms (GMOs) to be labeled as such. In the wake of failed GMO-labeling ballot initiatives in Washington and California, representatives of Oregon’s “Yes on 92” campaign have invited biologist Michael Hansen to drum up support for the measure.

In 2003 the Lane County Commission voted to move to a “last resort” program in using herbicides on county roadsides. The plan to put a moratorium on pesticide use was in response to concerns for human health as well as concerns for Willamette River steelhead and Chinook salmon. On Sept. 9, with impetus from Commissioner Jay Bozievich and with the encouragement of pro-pesticide group Oregonians for Food and Shelter, the county’s Integrated Vegetation Management Program “last resort” policy will be up for discussion. 

Lane County Commissioners are meeting at 9 am Tuesday, Sept. 9, to consider the use of herbicides along county roads. Chemical agriculture lobbying groups want the county to use toxic sprays. Sign up at Harris Hall at 8:45 am to voice your concerns.

• Giustina Land & Timber, 345-2301, plans to hire Western Helicopter Services, Inc., 503-538-9469, to aerially spray 43 acres near Crow Creek with aminopyralid, glyphosate, imazapyr, metsulfuron methyl and/or sulfometuron methyl. See ODF notification 2014-781-00875, call Brian Peterson at 935-2283 with questions.

Oregon DEQ has settled Christopher John Bartels’ appeal of the civil penalty assessed against him by DEQ in July of 2013 for illegally discharging wastewater from his meat processing and packing facility to ditches flowing to Fern Ridge wetlands on two occasions in 2011 (EW 6/27/13, goo.gl/Xb41PD), by reducing the $15,600 penalty originally assessed to $10,200. DEQ’s settlement with Bartels also includes an additional $7,600 penalty for illegal discharges of blood waste to Fern Ridge Reservoir in February of this year (EW 5/8, goo.gl/BhX5vP).

Park goers might have noticed an oily sheen hugging the banks of Delta Ponds these past few weeks, oozing only a few wing flaps away from the hunting green herons and basking Western pond turtles that frequent the wetlands across from Valley River Center. Don’t worry, says Jonathan Wilson, a stormwater regulatory compliance coordinator for the city of Eugene — it’s just a natural form of shiny bacteria.

We hear that nearly 90 percent of the 1,300 beds at the Capstone housing project called 13th & Olive are leased and new leases are expected to be signed through September. The construction work that remains will be completed by move-in around Sept. 23.

• A town hall meeting on “Elder Abuse Prevention” will be from 6:30 to 7:30 pm Thursday, Sept. 4, at the Viking Sal Senior Center, 245 W. 5th Ave. in Junction City. Reps. Val Hoyle and Vic Gilliam and attorney Sylvia Sycamore will be on the panel. 

With the new school year kicking off Sept. 3, Eugene School Board 4J wants to reformat its current curriculum adoption process. After three years of using College Preparatory Mathematics (CPM) in the district, the board has not yet actually voted on the official adoption or rejection of the controversial middle school and high school CPM curriculum. Part of this revamp includes reconvening the Instructional Policy Council, which according to board members has not met for years and once played a role in choosing district curriculum. 

From old-growth forests to dynamic desert landscapes, Oregon’s legacy of diverse ecosystems lives on through its protected wilderness areas. That’s exactly what Oregonians will celebrate Sept. 3 for the 50-year anniversary of the Wilderness Act, which protects around 2.5 million acres across 48 sites in Oregon and 110 million acres total nationwide. While observances will be happening all over the U.S., the weeklong celebration in Eugene will be classic Oregon fare: talks, hikes and beer.

Alex Paige, a trans woman from Portland, describes the gender dysphoria she experienced as “a supreme unhappiness with the way my body looked, the way it felt, the way other people interacted with me.” Thanks to an Aug. 14 vote by the Health Evidence Review Commission (HERC), treatments for gender dysphoria will be covered under the Oregon Health Plan (OHP) beginning January 2015. 

Oregon DEQ has settled Christopher John Bartels’ appeal of the civil penalty assessed against him by DEQ in July of 2013 for illegally discharging wastewater from his meat processing and packing facility to ditches flowing to Fern Ridge wetlands on two occasions in 2011 (EW 6/27/13, goo.gl/Xb41PD), by reducing the $15,600 penalty originally assessed to $10,200. DEQ’s settlement with Bartels also includes an additional $7,600 penalty for illegal discharges of blood waste to Fern Ridge Reservoir in February of this year (EW 5/8, goo.gl/BhX5vP).

Medical marijuana dispensaries in Oregon are rallying to support the measure on the November ballot that would legalize, regulate and tax marijuana use by adults in the state. Lane County dispensaries are sending representatives north to a kick-off event for the group Dispensaries for Measure 91 at 5:30 pm Thursday, Aug. 28, at Opal 28, 510 NE 28th Ave. in Portland. See voteyeson91.com to get involved. Why are dispensaries supporting “competition” from legalized pot?

Beyond Toxics is planning a “Bee Jazzy” benefit to save bees from 6 to 8 pm Thursday, Aug. 28, at Silvan Ridge Winery, 27012 Briggs Hill Road, 15 miles southwest of Eugene. Music by Zac Wolfe Band. Tickets are $30. Call 465-8860 or email events@beyondtoxics.org.

The data is in: Kids benefit academically when they attend kindergarten all day instead of half the day. An Oregon bill mandating that the state must pay for full-day kindergarten goes into effect in the 2015-2016 school year, and while the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) says it will fund the transition, some worry the funds won’t cover the full cost of implementation when districts switch from half-day to full-day. 

Weyerhaeuser is a name long associated with timber, but back in 2010 the company became a REIT — real estate investment trust. Local land-preservation advocates from LandWatch Lane County say that Weyerhaeuser is one of the many landowners in the region moving property lines around on forestland to allow more houses to be built on what’s called an “impacted forest zone” on the edges of towns in Oregon.

• Coast Range Conifers, 335-1472, plans to hire Western Helicopter Services, Inc., (503) 538-9469, to aerially spray Escort, Oust, Oust Extra and/or Surfactant L-11 or LI-700 on 60 acres near Swartz Creek, using a helicopter landing pad on BLM land. See ODF notification 2014-781-00754, call Robin L. Biesecker at 935-2283 with questions. 

In Springfield on Tuesday, Aug. 12, a dog named Kiki was shot in the head by a Springfield police officer responding to what police say was a vicious dog call. Such shootings have happened all over the country — in July, a police officer in Idaho shot a Labrador through the glass window of a van it was sitting in. The window was partially open and the officer thought it was lunging at him. 

Join the Eugene SLUG Queens as they slime around downtown Eugene visiting local businesses. The SLUG Crawl departs Kesey Square at 4 pm, but you can stop by participating businesses any time on Aug. 23 and use the secret code “SLUG Queen” to enjoy a special discount. Participating businesses include: Townshend’s Tea, MECCA, Harlequin Beads, Heritage Drygoods, Party Downtown, Out on a Limb Gallery and more. 

• A free gathering to commemorate the 94th anniversary of women’s suffrage will be at 3 pm Saturday, Aug. 23, at the Eugene Public Library. Kirk Taylor and Livvie Taylor-Young will present a scripted Power Point documentary complete with original music and photographs dating as far back as the 1800s.