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I’ve been to hundreds of movies over the years, but I’ve never experienced anything remotely like the solemnity that settled over the audience at the end of Clint Eastwood’s latest film, American Sniper. Absolute quiet. Not a person rose to leave.

What is today’s best use for the 10.2 prime acres of land including the historic stadium in the center of Eugene?

And how do we pay for it?

Our community has grappled with those civic questions for decades, going back as far as the mid-1930s depth of the Great Depression, when citizens of Eugene voted for a bond measure to buy the property and build a grandstand.

More than 80 years later, the 2015 Eugene City Council soon will respond to citizen proposals for today’s best use.  EW writers Camilla Mortensen and Amy Schneider interview Bev Smith, executive director of Kidsports, and Dave Galas, managing director of Lane United Football Club (soccer), two leaders of today’s citizen efforts. 

The impacts of aerial herbicide spraying in Lane County and across Oregon have come into sharper focus in recent years. In 2011, testing the urine of 41 Triangle Lake residents revealed traces of atrazine and 2,4-D, chemicals often included in the soups of toxic chemicals sprayed from helicopters over the state’s timberlands. In order to prevent incidents like this in the future, local environmental organization Beyond Toxics is spearheading a legislative bill to limit and inform on aerial sprays.

The second annual Harney Coyote Classic is scheduled to kick off Jan. 16, and animal rights groups and conservation organizations are fighting to stop the coyote-killing contest that takes place in Eastern Oregon near Burns. “It’s horrific, blatantly slaughtering wildlife for no reason,” says Brooks Fahy of Predator Defense. “You don’t eat coyotes.”

• Transition Management, Inc., 521-5897, plans to ground spray and hack and squirt clopyralid, glyphosate, hexazinone, imazapyr, sulfometuron methyl and/or MSO Concentrate on 46 acres near Preacher Creek. See ODF notification 2015-781-00427, call Brian Peterson at 935-2283 with questions. 

Potatoes and tomatoes on the same plant? Perhaps Stephen Colbert on The Colbert Report said it best by including this wacky concept in his segment: “That’s The Craziest F#?king Thing I’ve Ever Heard.”

The plant, named “Ketchup ‘N’ Fries,” can be traced to Log House Plants in Cottage Grove, a wholesale nursery that promotes grafted plants as a natural means to increase productivity and make gardening more accessible to all. 

Seattle is on a progressive kick. In 2013, then-Seattle mayor Mike McGinn sought to block Whole Foods from building in West Seattle, not because he opposed new development but because Whole Foods is notoriously anti-union. And under current mayor Ed Murray, the Seattle City Council voted to raise the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour.

• It was a great season for the 13-2 Ducks, but you could feel the wheels on the wagon starting to come off even a few days before the Jan. 12 national title game against Ohio State. A drug-related suspension of the team’s second-leading receiver was followed by ESPN analysts warning that, despite a high-powered offense, the Ducks are a scheme-driven squad capable of being exposed as a one-trick pony. And exposed they were.

The Ducks might have lost some feathers in Dallas this week, but we hear local pizza and other take-out businesses had one of their busiest sales times ever in the hours leading up to the national championship game. One pizza maker we talked to said he was swamped starting at 10 am Monday filling orders for home game-watching parties. As it turns out, comfort food was badly needed, particularly in the second half of the game.

Sen. Floyd Prozanski will speak to the Cottage Grove Blackberry Pie Society at 7 pm Thursday, Jan. 15, at Hard Knocks Brewing, 1024 E. Main St. in Cottage Grove. 

Rep. Tina Kotek, speaker of the House in the Oregon Legislature, will speak at City Club of Eugene at noon Friday, Jan. 16, at the Downtown Athletic Club, 999 Willamette St. Her topic will be “An Opportunity Agenda for Oregonians,” including support for education, higher pay, equal pay and affordable housing. $5 for non-members. See cityclubofeugene.org.

How would you like to live in the area of Oregon that has the smallest babies born in the entire state? According to Oregon Office of Rural Health and OHSU, if you live along scenic Hwy. 36 from Junction City all the way to Swisshome, your newborn will be the smallest in the state. In fact, this Triangle Lake area far exceeds the state average. The same study states that low birthweight children are significantly more likely to have mental retardation, cerebral palsy, visual and hearing defects, lung disease and learning disabilities.

For every day since Jan. 7 — the day 12 people were murdered at the offices of the French satirical weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo — I could write a book trying to explain the emotional rollercoaster I have been experiencing as a young French journalist. Let me start by paying a tribute to all the victims of the killings that took place in Paris last week. My thoughts go to all who were close to these journalists, cartoonists, employees, police officers, Jews, Muslims, atheists …

Since I work at home a lot of the time I frequently eat lunch there. Lunch usually means salad, and many of the components come from my own garden. For the past three years I’ve been recording, month-by-month, what goes from the garden into my salads. Picking garden greens for lunch on a nearly daily basis, all year round, turns out to be one of the real pleasures of having a vegetable garden, and I probably eat salad more often because of it.

Oliver Wood says you need to see his brother play the bass. “My brother is a world-class upright bass player,” he boasts. Wood, alongside his brother Chris Wood and drummer Jano Rixx, is one-third of hard-touring roots-Americana act, The Wood Brothers.

Of all the music events happening in Eugene this month, perhaps none is more valuable than the University of Oregon’s Music Today Festival. In contrast to most classical music institutions, which over the past century have turned into moldering antiquities, endlessly recycling well-known works by long dead Europeans, the Music Today Festival is devoted to incubating the creative work of Oregon’s next generation of composers.

Even via email, I got the sense musician Shawn Rosenblatt (aka Netherfriends) enjoys a good put-on. Listen to his music and hear a keen pop sensibility, a voracious musical sense of humor and stylistic attention-deficit disorder.

Whitey Morgan is no stranger. He’s played Eugene countless times. But no matter how well we think we know the man, he keeps coming up with new surprises. In late 2014 he released two records side by side, each of which offers its own clear window into Whitey’s soul.

HUMOR AS THE ENEMY

The Charlie Hebdo shooting is another example of lunatics with guns and bombs who think that killing or maiming people will solve the world’s problems. The perpetrators in this case are Islamic fundamentalists in Europe, but we see this same kind of violence all over the world from both state and non-state actors. In the U.S., we’ve had people like Timothy McVeigh and the Tsarnaev brothers or, arguably, George W. Bush when he launched the war in Iraq.

Ah, yes — when God finally arrives in all his glory to destroy the wicked and raise up the true believers in a dazzling city of eternal happiness, how beautiful it all will be! Right? Right?

My fiancée is extremely bothered by me looking at porn. It revolves around insecurities that have gotten so bad that even other girls bother her. (We can hardly go to a beach anymore.) I don’t have any weird relationship with porn—no addiction, no violent stuff, and I look pretty infrequently. She acknowledges that it’s a normal thing but is unable to get past it. She has gone through two counselors on her own, and we have gone through two couples counselors.

Ava DuVernay’s Selma starts off so calmly that, despite what history promises, it’s a shock when the first moment of violence arrives. Four little girls walk down the stairs of a church. You know what this means. But what happens next occurs in a flash, a moment never explained. 

“Gaining weight was the worst possible thing that could happen,” says 17-year-old South Eugene High School senior Sophie Kreitzberg. Returning from a 500-mile walk along Spain’s Camino de Santiago, Kreitzberg had never been so thin. “I got so much attention,” she remembers, noting that she experienced her first romance, was cast in plays and that social interaction was just easier as a thin woman. 

Sniffing out what you shouldn’t miss in the arts this week.

It has always struck me as one of the great injustices of womanhood — the monthly bloodbath from a body part that is normally reserved for sexytime (not a baby corridor just yet, thank you very much). I try to tell myself that it’s some great honor, an ancient rite of femininity that brings me closer to nature and the goddess within us all.