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Government agencies like to release bad news on Fridays and sneak bad rules in over the Christmas holidays, the wisdom goes, because there’s less of a chance that anyone will notice on the weekend or on a week off. County Administrator Liane Richardson appears to have made significant changes about access to the Wayne Morse Free Speech Plaza in Lane County’s Administrative Procedures Manual (APM) at the beginning of the Christmas holidays. 

The Eugene Disc Golf Club (EDGC) and local disc golfers and fans are gathering at 7:45 am Saturday, Feb. 2, at Dexter State Park east of Eugene for the second annual Ice Bowl. 

Animal lovers and supporters of humane treatment alike will gather in Salem on Feb. 12 for Humane Lobby Day, where they can learn about five new bills, among others, that will affect the welfare of animals. 

“It’s a great opportunity for people who care about animals to let their voices be heard,” says Scott Beckstead, Oregon senior director with The Humane Society of the United States. “Although we’re a state with a proud tradition of promoting animal welfare, we have these antiquated laws.”

Neighborhood associations: not full of criminals. That was the finding of a city of Eugene investigation into whether three neighborhood associations tried to extort money from a local developer.

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) sent Robert Saltsgaver, Jr. a warning letter on Dec. 17 for significant violations of Oregon environmental law stemming from illegal disposal of an estimated 4,800 to 6,600 waste tires and construction and demolition debris at 31841 Cedar Creek Road, Cottage Grove.  The letter notes that such illegal disposal can lead to contamination of soil, surface water, and groundwater, and requests corrective actions.

Biz Beat has been running nearly every week for more than a year now. It’s a humble effort to give some attention to small businesses, nonprofits and the people behind them who are vitally important to our community but don’t always get media attention. Our thanks to the many people who have sent us suggestions. Keep ’em coming.

• A meeting with the LaurelRidge PUD planning consultant is planned for 6 pm Thursday, Jan. 31, at the Comfort Suites Hotel at the I-5 Glenwood interchange. This meeting is to view the current development plans for the 126 acres southwest of Laurel Hill Valley adjacent to 30th Avenue near Spring Boulevard.

In Afghanistan

• 2,168 U.S. troops killed* (2,167)

• 18,215 U.S. troops wounded in action (18,201)

• 1,316 U.S. contractors killed (1,316)

• 12,793 civilians killed (12,793)

• $607.1 billion cost of war ($605 billion)

• $179.3 million cost to Eugene taxpayers ($178.6 million)

 

In Iraq

Does the Constitution have a curfew? Local activists say free speech doesn’t stop at 11 pm, but Lane County has designated the Wayne Morse Free Speech Plaza as closed to free speech and other activities after hours. In Bethlehem there was no room at the inn for the mother of Jesus, and in Eugene there’s no room for free speech at the Free Speech Plaza. 

Eugene City Council is scheduled to vote Jan. 28 on new penalties for unruly partiers, but some Eugeneans say those fines aren’t so fine. The proposed social host ordinance would lower the number of attendees required to deem a party “unruly” and make landlords liable for police response costs after the fourth offense.

A door-to-door census collects U.S. demographic info, but if you don’t have a door you don’t count. On Jan. 30 there will be a street count, which means every homeless person found on the streets as well as in shelters will be accounted for. Unsheltered people will be asked to fill out a form detailing where they are staying and how long they have been homeless, while also providing other information about their current state. 

Marc Kardell didn’t look like a fight-the-power kind of guy at his “name-clearing hearing” in the Lane County commissioners’ offices on Jan. 18; he looked like the proper, grey-haired attorney and public servant he is, or rather, since being fired by Lane County last May, was. 

Fiscal cliff, debt ceiling, recession. The words out of Washington are gloomy and confusing, but Jared Bernstein, who has been chief economist and economic adviser to Vice President Joe Biden, executive director of the White House Task Force on the Middle Class and a member of President Obama’s economic team, says when he comes to give a talk in Eugene on Jan. 28, he comes “with a message of hope for the future” and that he is also here to listen and help clarify the economic news out of the nation’s capital. 

As salmon populations continue to decline on the West Coast, policy makers and government officials argue over ways to prevent extinction. But according to Caleen Sisk, spiritual leader and tribal chief of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe in Northern California, the salmon can’t wait much longer. 

Friends of Michael David Rister, who was better known downtown as Sweet Pea, want to know who the assailants were that they say attacked him. Sweet Pea, a homeless street artist, was often seen outside the Circle K and Pita Pit in Eugene. Friends are working on a memorial celebration for him, and they also say they want justice for him in his death. 

• A community discussion on “Gun Violence: Let’s Talk Solutions” will be at 6:30 pm Thursday, Jan. 24, at the First Christian Church, 1166 Oak St. in Eugene. Panelists include Sen. Floyd Prozanski, Mayor Kitty Piercy and Craig Opperman, CEO of Looking Glass Youth & Family Services. Sponsored by the Democratic Party of Lane County, MotherPAC and CALC. Free, but donations accepted. Call 486-0960 for more information. 

In Afghanistan

• 2,167 U.S. troops killed* (2,166)

• 18,201 U.S. troops wounded in action (18,188)

• 1,316 U.S. contractors killed (1,316)

• 12,793 civilians killed (12,793)

• $605 billion cost of war ($603.2 billion)

• $178.6 million cost to Eugene taxpayers ($178.1 million)

 

In Iraq

The ninth annual All Comer’s Meet hosted by the Disciples of Dirt mountain bike club will begin at 9:45 am Sunday, Jan. 20, at Whypass near Lorane. This is the DOD’s largest annual event and has steadily grown each year. 

“Attendance last year, verified by signed wavers, was 149 people but estimates were closer to 165, even with snow on the ground that day,” says Shawn Litson, spokesperson for DOD. This is a free event and open to all. 

Eugene might want to update its slogan: “A Great City for the Arts and Outdoors — and Beer.” Claim 52 Brewing, a west Eugene craft brewery that began first and third Friday dock sales in November, is adding a European-style flavor (among others) to the local offerings.

Accustomed to seeing a UO cop, thinking “rent-a-cop” and continuing your misbehavior? Better take a second glance in that rearview. The newly christened University of Oregon Police Department (UOPD) could hand you a ticket or lock you up off campus if UO decides — internally — to change its public safety policies.

The BP oil disaster that sent an estimated 4.9 million gallons of oil spilling into the Gulf of Mexico for three months after an April 2010 oil rig explosion is neither gone nor forgotten. BP is still paying settlements on the long-term effects of the Macondo well’s spill on the fragile ecosystem as well as paying millions in criminal fines. And the legal cases continue: On Jan.

Numerous events in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day Monday,
Jan. 21, have been scheduled around the valley. 

In Eugene, an annual march will begin at 11 am at Autzen Stadium followed by an event at 12:15 pm at The Shedd Institute featuring actor and activist Danny Glover and recording artists Lela Parra, Sayba, Ray J and Jeremy Rosado of American Idol fame. Free tickets will be given out at the parade.

Monitoring of the Amazon Creek Basin by the city of Eugene under the city’s Clean Water Act permit for urban stormwater discharges during 2011-2012 shows a decreasing trend for about 77 percent of indicators, though water quality standards for various pollutants are still exceeded in the basin. For copper, 30 percent of samples exceeded the relevant water quality standard by up to seven times.

Community Alliance of Lane County has announced the departure of Kori Rodley as executive director. Rodley is taking a new position in marketing with Mountain Rose Herbs in Eugene. She has served as CALC director since March 2010 and will continue with fundraising and donor cultivation, according to a CALC statement Jan. 12. CALC started in 1966 as Clergy and Laity Concerned but changed its name when it’s mission expanded beyond opposition to the Vietnam War.