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It’s a dark and dastardly world out there so we’ve been cranking up the sunshine with some upbeat content in December. Our third annual “I Dream of Eugene” issue last week appears to be a big hit, and if you missed it due to the holidays, our office has extra copies. It’s great to see letters arriving in response to the funny, fanciful and thoughtful dreams we published for the Whiteaker, north Eugene, the city and Glenwood. We like dreams more than New Year’s resolutions. Dreams are visionary and visions have power.

• Longtime Quaker activist Peg Morton died Dec. 19 and we were honored to have some one-on-one time with her before she began the dry fast to end her life at the age of 85. In an early January issue, we will be examining her fascinating life, her personal struggles and her controversial death. We will include stories and images from our files and our two interviews, and we invite her family and friends to also contribute memories, photos and letters to the editor.

• Watch oregonlive.com and uomatters.com for updates on the French investigation into possible track scandals, including selection of wee Eugene as the site of the IAAF World Championships in track in 2021. The Oregonian has done a long investigative piece and the UO Foundation’s lawyers have sent Bill Harbaugh (uomatters) a warning letter for his references to the French investigation and the funding mechanisms by the state of Oregon and the Foundation. It’s a big deal.

• Our little Kesey Square has garnered the attention of the Wall Street Journal. National writer and Eugene native (now based in New York) Mary Pilon conducted interviews at the square the evening of Tuesday, Dec. 8, with Zane Kesey and company, as well as Ken Darling, a direct descendant of our city’s founding father Eugene Skinner. Both Kesey and Darling are opposed to putting a building on the square and would like to see it preserved and improved instead.

• It was disturbing to see that the Egan Warming Centers were not activated during the most frigid nights we’ve seen so far this season, and we’ve heard reports of frostbite cases among the homeless on Eugene streets. “We have exhausted our pool of willing and able volunteers and several host sites are not available,” organizers reported.

• The Seneca biomass incinerator is back in the news. EWEB President Steve Mital called the 2010 secret EWEB contract a “mistake” in his comments on the Register-Guard website last week. It seems Seneca locked in a long-term price for its electricity generation and now that energy costs have dropped, EWEB is losing money and you and I, the ratepayers, are subsidizing this wood-fired monstrosity. But the real cost in human health is more difficult to quantify.

• As news of the Islamic State’s attack on Paris began to trickle in on Nov. 13, we reacted with shock and horror — at least 129 killed, several hundred more injured and collateral damage to the thousands of Syrian refugees who are trying to flee the violence in their own country. In a whirlwind of collective stupidity, governors across the U.S. are taking a stand against Syrian refugees coming to their states. Under U.S. law, a governor can’t ban refugees, so many of those state leaders are simply taking a stand for political reasons. Gov.

Robin Jaqua died Nov. 8 at age 94, and women and children in this area and beyond lost a fierce and effective advocate. She was well known for her generosity to the Relief Nursery and many other great programs in the arts, athletics and more, but she was best known to a significant segment of Eugene and Springfield as the leader of Jungian analysts. After 25 years of raising her family of four, she earned her Ph.D. from the UO and then went on to Switzerland to the C.G. Jung Institute.

• The Eugene Public Library levy on the Nov. 3 ballot is getting a surprising amount of attention on both sides. What’s not to love about libraries? Well, a lot of folks who are grumpy about Eugene city government are thinking a “no” vote will send a message to city officials that reforms are necessary. Maybe so, and we talked about this last week, but we think we can have it both ways by supporting the library and demanding changes in city policies and practices. How do we support the library and other essential services in the General Fund?

• We’ve pondered the arguments for and against the Five-Year Library Local Option Levy on the Nov. 3 ballot and we appreciate the informed perspective of former city councilor Bonny Bettman McCornack — see her Viewpoint last week. We also have serious concerns about our city’s financial policies and practices, but all things considered, we are urging a “yes” vote on Ballot Measure 20-235. This is not the time to hold hostage the public library services that we have so heavily invested in over recent decades.

Was the Great Willamette Clean Up Oct. 3 just a short-lived fix in Eugene? Local river advocate John Brown sent a note to Mayor Kitty Piercy Oct.

• We’re all looking for answers after yet another terrible tragic shooting in our country, again in our state. Are Americans so gripped with fear that they turn to guns to protect them from everything? Have we become a mean-spirited people, putting too many people in prison, offering meager social services and diminished public education, shrinking our mental health programs, including school counseling? Do we glorify violence all the way from endless wars, games and entertainment, to amped-up cheap crime coverage in the media? Are the arms merchants selling us out?

It’s party time for the “kayaktivists,” some from Eugene, and “#ShellNo” protesters who delayed Royal Dutch Shell’s push into the Arctic from Seattle last summer, perhaps contributing to Shell’s decision Sept. 28 to indefinitely suspend drilling in that fragile region. Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley also cheered, saying “This is tremendous news, and a credit to the many people who made clear that offshore Arctic drilling in unacceptable.” In July, Merkley introduced the Stop Arctic Ocean Drilling Act of 2015.

• It’s hard to believe that this community, so dependent on education, has to poll, strategize, organize and work like crazy to pass a modest levy for libraries, but it’s happening, and the ballots go out Oct. 16. This levy would cost the typical homeowner $36 a year, and we realize that is more than some homeowners can spare. But it will add 22 hours per week to the Sheldon and Bethel libraries and restore Sunday morning hours to the main library downtown, plus other benefits to kids and education, and the restoration of materials and technology.

Civic Education in Oregon was the topic at the City Club of Eugene Sept. 11, but important as civic education is, the elephant in the room that day was funding for public schools in Oregon. Superintendent Jodi O’Mara of the Mapleton School District spoke of her desire to return the kids to a five-day week; they only go four days this fall. Superintendent Colt Gill of the Bethel District said 60 percent of his kids are in poverty. What additional demand does that put on his schools?

Mayor Kitty Piercy is concerned about the dozens of unkempt “travelers” sprawling on our sidewalks downtown with their dogs, guitars and harmonicas. We prefer to call them low-budget tourists, but regardless, they can be intimidating and offensive to some, and an irritation to storefront business owners who wish they would go away. Most will go away when the rain and cold returns; Eugene will be left with its regular population of 2,000 or so houseless folks.

• Another week, more shootings, more senseless death — and not in some unfamiliar city across the country, but in our in our own neighborhoods. We have heavy hearts over the deaths of John Ramsey Tainton-Platts, 33, and Justin Gardner, 17, who were both shot and killed this past week (Aug. 28 and Aug. 30 respectively) in Eugene.

• We keep wondering when the major media and leadership of this state are going to call for significantly more money for public education. Just ask a good teacher. It’s all about more teacher time per student and that costs money. The leadership to get us there is more than political. It’s business, arts, sports — every aspect of the state.

• Before Fred Taylor became one of the owners of Eugene Weekly, he was the managing editor and later executive editor of the Wall Street Journal. Earlier as a reporter, he wrote many of the long, front-page features that made the WSJ famous, and his thoughts on writing news stories and the use of photography are quoted again and again in books and articles. Over the years EW staff has reaped the benefit of his influence on this scrappy paper and its mission to make the world a better place. This week we mourn his passing Aug.

• Attorneys for the 18-year-old woman who filed a civil suit against the UO and basketball coach Dana Altman in regard to allegations of gang rape by three basketball players announced the cases were dismissed pursuant to a settlement this week. We have some questions: First, how far has the UO really progressed in both preventing sexual assaults on campus and also in dealing with them — we profiled the case of former student Laura Hanson earlier this year, in which the UO spent $30,000 plus attorney costs to settle her suit alleging it mishandled her case.

 • As we go to press this week, we don’t know who Gov. Kate Brown will appoint by Aug. 1 to be Lane County’s first female district attorney. We do know that an election for the tough job will be held in May 2016 and the incumbent, either Patty Perlow or Kamala Shugar, will have a whopping advantage. Hopefully, the unfair political attacks against Perlow for her very subordinate role in the taping of a Catholic confessional decades ago was not a factor in the governor’s choice.

• Looks like Eugene’s urban growth boundary will be expanding onto farmland in order to accommodate future industrial growth, along with some parkland and school land. The majority on the City Council this week gave a nod to the expansion, and it goes now to city and county planning commissions and public hearings. Why do we continue to develop and pave over prime farmland when such lands will become more valuable, even critically so, in the future?