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Ah, October: Corn mazes, jack-o-lanterns, kids in costumes and … undead ballet! 

• Ward 1 Eugene City Council candidate Emily Semple’s campaign has GOTV (get out the vote) activities planned for the next two weeks. Learn more about Semple’s grassroots movement and how to help her maintain the progressive seat that has been held by George Brown. Contact Campaign Manager Kristen Brandt at 541-515-2102 or emilysemple.com for locations and further information.

In the last week of September, we passed right by 400 ppm (parts per million) of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, a major milestone on our way to climate disruption. It’s alarming given all that’s at stake, but we have available to us now all the solutions that we need to dramatically reduce emissions and secure a livable future for us, our children and our grandchildren. 

As we approach Election Day, we are being faced with historic decisions. The results of the presidential race will have consequences beyond the next four years. Here in Oregon, voters will have a chance to influence the future of generations of children, the elderly and people with health needs. Measure 97, which would tax the largest corporations doing more than $25 million in business in Oregon, could reverse the trend of the last 25 years of disinvestment in schools, seniors and health care programs in our state.

As Benton County prepares to vote on whether to adopt ranked-choice voting for county elections, Oregonians are presented an opportunity to explore different voting systems. Ranked-choice voting has the most political traction right now, but it's only one of several alternatives.

Significant rain in early October is a boon to gardeners who value the fall gardening season. This goes in spades for those of us who don’t irrigate heavily in summer. Some years we can be well into winter before the soil is fully workable, and that’s frustrating because we count on a long rainy season to get new plants established. 

Pop-punk played a big role in a majority of millennials’ childhoods. From moshing at the Vans Warped Tour to staying dedicated to the fact that being “scene” or “emo” (or whatever else you want to call it) as a teenager was not a phase — bands like Blink-182, Fall Out Boy or New Found Glory probably filled some space in your life.

Many of us played in bands as teenagers. Far fewer collaborated with The Dead Milkmen, got noticed by Dr. Demento or opened for Tommy Stinson of The Replacements. 

The alt-country duo HoneyHoney may seem like a basic pair of guitar-wieldin’ country youngins, but after a decade of jamming together, the two have cultivated a dark dynamic that keeps you hooked on their gritty yet graceful sound. 

Music writers constantly pester bands with the very question many musicians struggle to answer: “Tell me, in words, what your band sounds like.” 

Nevertheless, King Mike, bassist with New Jersey trio Screaming Females, has one of the best responses to this inquiry this music writer has heard: “Doo doo doo doo bum bum bum bum,” Mike writes via email. 

In the midst of an election, despicable disenfranchisement reigns supreme. It is tempting to give up altogether, pack our bags and move to an island so remote that silence becomes the new governing body. For many Americans, casting a vote on Nov. 8 will feel pointless, like screaming into a fucking vacuum. 

Thankfully, legendary punk-rock powerhouse Bad Religion is coming to town, and wants to remind you that your voice matters.

Back in my CD-slinging days (remember CDs?) a new release would arrive pre-stickered “For fans of,” a bald-faced marketing ploy to hitch a new artist to the sound or musician du jour. 

I can imagine California songwriter Margaret Glaspy’s latest release, Emotions And Math, arriving affixed with: “For fans of Norah Jones” or “As heard on NPR.” Perhaps you know Glaspy from her recent Tiny Desk Concert. 

The brilliant banter between Beatrice and Benedict in Shakespeare’s comedy Much Ado About Nothing, one of theater’s most entertaining duets, seems ideal for a musical setting. Sure enough, French Romantic composer Hector Berlioz, who created the trailblazing Fantastic Symphony and other colorful orchestral works, wrote one (including the libretto, which adds some characters and subplots and jettisons others) in 1862. 

MENTAL HEALTH PROGRESS

Waiting to pay for my groceries at the market this evening, this guy, stinking of booze, says to my 9-year-old daughter, “Sweetheart, can you put the divider thing there for me?” First, why is some leering grown man calling my child “sweetheart”? He then thumps two huge bottles of vodka down on the belt. I move closer to my daughter; he then reaches his hand over me and wraps his hand around her arm, saying, “Now, you be nice to your Mommy, sweetie.” I pluck his hand off. “Do not touch my child,” I say.

Denial

In a dark corner of Cordley Hall on the edge of Oregon State University campus, an unsorted knot of dead ants floats preserved in a clear solution. For all anyone knows, the thumb-sized vial could hold an undiscovered species or a clue to some future entomological breakthrough.

As curator of OSU’s arthropod collection, Chris Marshall is in charge of almost three million dead bugs, as well as some spiders and mollusks.

Unless you solely rely on your dusty elementary school education to shape your worldview, or you live beneath a social-media rock, you ought to have a broadened understanding of colonization (just in time for Thanksgiving, y’all). European colonizers came, they saw and then stole the land we now recognize as the United States from its indigenous people. 

The University of Oregon has opened its gates to the world, and as you read this, freshmen with guitars and amps are swapping numbers, meeting up and starting their musical journeys. It’s hard to say what the music scene around campus will look like by graduation, but right now, there are still plenty of students and recent graduates kicking around the scene. Here are a few bands not to miss when they inevitably play around the campus area this year. 

Each year, tuition and fees have increased at the University of Oregon.

Meanwhile, student loan debt has reached $1 trillion nationally, “becoming the second-largest consumer obligation after mortgages,” according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Cherríe Moraga, a Chicana playwright, feminist activist, poet and essayist, will deliver a lecture at the University of Oregon Oct. 13 about the working class, both past and present.

Once upon a time in the way back when, the role of higher education was not to prepare you for the treadmill by clipping you into a human coupon but, rather, to help you seek your better self through a spirit of open inquiry into the civilization in which fate had somehow plunked you. Sure, it’s an ideal, and that’s the point. College is supposed to be formative, not formulaic — revelatory, not rote. It’s supposed to make you a better person instead of a better cog.

The University of Oregon hosts a number of traditional campus critters — crows, squirrels and freshmen, to name a few. 

But hidden away in neuroscientist Terry Takahashi’s lab is a parliament of 10 barn owls that helps Takahashi and his team of researchers understand the complexity of hearing in both birds and mammals. The owls have even led the scientist’s team to discoveries that could improve the lives of human beings.

The problem isn’t Donald Trump, the problem is Trumpism,” Reza Aslan tells EW.

Known for his book Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, as well as for his long, patient interview with a Fox News reporter who could not understand how a Muslim could write a book about Jesus, Aslan comes to the University of Oregon Oct. 18 to present “An Evening with Reza Aslan: Religion, Identity and the Future of America.”