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Math gets a bad rap, says Gina Graham, owner of Eugene tutoring service Math Is Magic! “We have in our nation a predisposition to think math is yucky,” she says. “I think that’s a problem.”

The nation’s relationship with math grew even more complex with the onset of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). When the state of Oregon adopted CCSS in 2010, parents and students in Eugene School District 4J and other districts saw an internal shake-up as districts shifted from older, more direct methods of teaching to newer techniques in math instruction that fulfill learning requirements outlined by the Common Core. 

Until last year, Eugene School District 4J did not have a policy in place to specifically protect transgender and gender non-conforming students. 

When 4J school psychologist Brianna Stiller was developing 4J’s gender policy, which the 4J School Board passed in the spring of 2015, district lawyers told her that since 4J already had anti-harassment policies in place, it didn’t need a gender policy.

“I told them, ‘You’re missing the point,’” Stiller says.

On Dec. 15, the Lane County Board of Commissioners quietly voted on an ordinance that made an already ambiguous policy about who has the right to be on county property even more problematic.

Under Chapter 6 of the Lane County Code, “a duly authorized officer,” who could be a board member, the county administrator or “any person delegated the authority to control county property” by those people — and the delegation of authority does need not be in writing — can trespass someone from county property. 

[Update: This story has been edited Jan. 22 to include a response from the city of Eugene]

Slow down. That’s the message citizens of Eugene are emailing to City Manager Jon Ruiz, Mayor Kitty Piercy and the Eugene City Council about Kesey Square and its potential development into an apartment building by a local group, which could happen as soon as this spring.

Jan. 15 was the deadline for submission of RFEIs (requests for expression of interest) for Kesey Square.

KLCC public radio in Eugene is no longer running Alternative Radio, a weekly program that has run for 30 years. The hour-long program slot at 7 pm Tuesday has been filled by Reveal, investigative reports from the Center for Public Integrity, Public Radio Exchange and partner public radio stations around the country. KLCC is now a partner station with opportunities to give Eugene-area stories national exposure. Reveal is free for KLCC, as was Alternative Radio.

Seneca Jones Timber Company LLC, 689-1011, plans to spray roadsides near Siuslaw River Road, Crow Creek, Douglas Creek, Sheffler Road, Doane and Crow Roads, Simonsen Road, Farman Creek and Camas Swale Creek near Weiss Road. See ODF notifications 2016-781-00876, 00877, 00879, 00880, 00881 and 2016-781-00882, call Brian Peterson or Robin Biesecker at 998-2283 with questions. 

• OSPIRG Foundation’s new report, “Oregon’s Multi-Million Dollar Democracy,” will be released at 10 am Thursday, Jan. 21, at the Wayne Morse Free Speech Plaza downtown. The report highlights the disparity between large and small donors in Oregon’s 2014 elections and recommends steps to level the playing field. Speakers will include Linda Lynch, president of Lane County League of Women Voters, and Amy Laws of OSPIRG.

In Afghanistan

• 2,349 U.S. troops killed (2,349 last month)

• 20,071 U.S. troops wounded in action (20,071)

• 1,629 U.S. contractors killed (1,616)

• 16,179 civilians killed (updates NA)

• $725.3 billion cost of war ($722.1 billion)

• $290.1 million cost to Eugene taxpayers ($288.8 million)

 

Against ISIS

• $7.9 billion cost of military action ($7.4 billion last month)

• $3.1 million cost to Eugene taxpayers ($2.9 million)

I had to see this thing, this occupation, in person. Another 1970s Sagebrush Rebellion being staged at Oregon’s bird sanctuary, this sacred site? Really? Our oldest American refuge, so precious it was designated as such before America even had a National Park Service? Why? Who are these guys? Why Malheur of all places? WTF?

I called my former colleague, Senate Republican leader Ted Ferrioli, who represents Harney County, to get his take. And I called Cliff Bentz, the current state rep from Ontario.

Bring up the topic of Kesey Square and the importance of downtown open public space with city of Eugene officials and you can expect the conversation to be steered to the Park Blocks. 

Kesey Square has problems, city employees say, including issues of design, the preponderance of “travelers” dominating the space, the simple fact that it’s flat and that people just don’t want to be there. 

The projected cost of Eugene’s new City Hall has now risen after city councilors requested that city staff look into boosting the new four-story structure’s ability to withstand a severe earthquake. 

“We asked the city manager to investigate looking into that standard. He said, ‘Yeah, but it’ll cost more,’” said Councilor Alan Zelenka in an interview with EW. The conversation on altering City Hall’s structure took place at the last City Council meeting in December, he says.  

Giustina Land and Timber Company, 345-2301, plans to hire Western Helicopter, 503-538-9469, to aerially spread urea fertilizer pellets on 3 units totaling 454.6 acres near Jones Creek and Hall Road and near Goldson Road off of Hwy. 36. See ODF notification 2016-781-00296; call Robin Biesecker at 998-2283 with questions. 

A slew of events in Lane County will honor Martin Luther King Jr., the week of Jan. 18, including several marches, a talk by a leading black journalist and the release of a report on the Oregon Legislature and racial equity.

On Jan. 18, the MLK holiday, the Lane County chapter of the NAACP will host a march to honor the life of the civil rights leader beginning 9 am outside the north gate of Autzen Stadium, according to the chapter’s president, Eric Richardson. 

They sleep in cells, monitored by guards. Some of them are serving life sentences for their crimes. But when they are working with Curt Tofteland, the founding producing director of Shakespeare Behind Bars, they are actors. On Jan. 19, Tofteland will speak at the University of Oregon about his 20 years of experience guiding prison inmates, in Kentucky and Michigan, to perform the works of Shakespeare. 

If and when the track and field’s international governing body, International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), brings its world championships to Eugene in 2021, it will be the biggest track event Hayward Field has ever seen. 

• What’s the buzz with the Oakleigh Meadow Cohousing (OMC) project? “We’re still moving forward,” says Will Dixon, the local architect for the controversial project off River Road next to the Willamette River bikepath. “We received re-approval of our tentative PUD application back in October,” Dixon says. “No surprise, the opposition has appealed this once again to LUBA. On Nov. 12 we re-applied our final PUD application.

350 Eugene is having a New Year’s gathering from 7 to 9 pm Thursday, Jan. 14, at the First United Methodist Church, 1367 Olive Street. The agenda includes an expert panel on Oregon’s Healthy Climate Bill and updates on climate campaigns. 

An urban promenade, balconies, sloped roofs, trellises, tables and chairs on the street.

Those features were all promised in Capstone Collegiate Communities’ application for a Multi-Unit Property Tax Exemption (MUPTE) submitted to the city of Eugene on Jan. 24, 2012. City Manager Jon Ruiz recommended the application to the City Council, which voted to approve Capstone for the exemption, allowing developers to pay no taxes on the new structure for 10 years — or the equivalent of a $16-million tax break. 

A female dog euthanized in late December at 1st Avenue Shelter is the subject of some online uproar. City of Eugene Animal Services and 1st Avenue Shelter say the pregnant dog had a bite record and repeatedly demonstrated aggressive behavior, while advocacy group No Kill Lane County maintains that the dog could have been rehabilitated. 

Molly Monette, animal welfare supervisor with City of Eugene Animal Services, says a Eugene citizen picked up the stray boxer on Nov. 20. While in that person’s custody, the dog escaped from her enclosure.

A manufacturer is forming a lawsuit against Eugene’s voter-approved Toxics Right-to-Know (TRK) program because he is upset about paying an annual $2,000 fee. Advocates for the program say the community TRK law is a key element in making public health decisions. 

Vanilla ISIS, Y’all Quaeda, YeeHawdists, terrorists, militants, militia — whatever you call them, and whether you fear them or laugh at them, the band of mainly out-of-state, armed and anti-government protesters who have taken over the headquarters of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge on Oregon’s east side have drawn almost nonstop attention since their siege of the remote bird sanctuary began Jan. 3.

We wrote about changes afoot at Wings Seminars in this column Dec. 10 and we’ve since heard from Wings founder Kris King that the company is for sale following a personal tragedy. “My son died a year ago and I realized I work too much. Working 28 days a month is not the smartest thing,” she says. “I have two offers and three more are coming in.” Finding the right new owner may be a challenge, she says. The new owner “needs to be ethically aligned … I’m not just selling a business.

• The political film Merchants of Doubt will be shown at 6 pm Thursday, Jan. 7, at Bijou Art Cinemas on 13th Avenue. The film looks at the secretive group of pundits-for-hire who dispute the science of climate change and toxic chemicals. 

In July of 2014, Eugene became the first city in the country to require carbon neutrality, fossil fuel-use reductions and the development of a carbon budget based on the best available science when it passed a Climate Recovery Ordinance pushed for by the nonprofit Our Children’s Trust and many of Eugene’s youth.

More than a year later, some Eugeneans are starting to wonder if this landmark city law is getting implemented the way it should by city staff, and if it’s moving at the right speed. Matt McRae, a climate and energy analyst with the city of Eugene, says the city is on track to meet its targets.