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Anywhere from 2.5 to 4 gallons of water per minute flow from a standard showerhead, says local inventor Erol Chandler. That’s a lot of water circling down the drain.

This past November, Chandler, who makes   artisan lamps locally and is a former science teacher, began engineering his most recent invention: the Shower Commander. 

Oregon educators say that K-12 school funding is in crisis mode. From dwindling high school graduation rates to booming elementary school class sizes, Oregon kids have endured years of underfunding.

Metamorphose is back, baby. The third annual upcycled fashion and art show hosted by St. Vincent de Paul April 23 is slated to become an Earth Day weekend favorite. 

Two new and relatively unknown candidates, Sonya Carlson and Gary Malone, will be on the May primary ballot for James Manning’s Eugene Water and Electric Board seat. Manning’s term is up, but he is not seeking re-election. Instead, he is running against Julie Fahey in the Democratic primary to fill the open position in House District 14, left by Val Hoyle who is running for secretary of state.

Would you believe there are beavers, otters, herons and a variety of other species living along Amazon Creek in Eugene? 

It’s true, thanks to a growing number of local businesses that are becoming certified by the Long Tom Watershed Council’s (LTWC) Trout Friendly Landscapes program. The goal of the program is to make habitat and water quality improvements in private lands that will, in turn, support native aquatic life in Amazon Creek and the Willamette River. 

On April 12, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) publicly released its proposed plan to increase timber harvest and environmental protections in Western Oregon forests. The plan claims to strike a balance between timber interests and protecting wildlife, but local environmental groups have called BLM’s new plan and “balanced approach” into question. 

Oregon Department of Transportation is spraying roadsides. Call 503-986-3010 to talk with a vegetation management coordinator or call 1-888-996-8080 for recent herbicide application information. Hwys. I-5, 99 and 126 were recently sprayed.

M Three Timber Company, 767-3785, plans to hire Western Helicopter Services, 503-538-9469, to aerially spray 36 acres and 30.1 acres near Muslin Creek West of Lynx Hollow with 2,4-D, clopyralid, hexazinone, sulfometuron methyl, atrazine and/or Induce. See ODF notification 2016-781-01311, call Brian Peterson at 541-935-2283 with questions.

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) assessed a civil penalty of $6,600 against Maryland-based W.R. Grace & Co. – Conn. on April 6 for illegally transporting thousands of pounds of hazardous waste from a Portland warehouse to a Grace manufacturing facility in Albany in May of last year.

• April marks the passing of two longtime Lane County residents who made the world a better place. Jan Wroncy of Forestland Dwellers fought chemical sprays for years in the courts and through her research and advocacy. Wroncy and her partner Gary Hale, through their group Forestland Dwellers, have compiled and provided EW with a schedule of planned pesticide sprays for more than 10 years. Hale tells us Wroncy passed away Saturday afternoon, April 16, “after a long struggle to recover from multiple strokes.

• Warren Weisman of Eugene-based renewable energy start-up Hestia Home Biogas tells us the home biogas digester manufacturer has been invited to audition for the hit TV show ABC’s Shark Tank. Hestia’s biodigester tanks, which convert compost into “clean-burning renewable energy,” are manufactured in Vancouver, Washington, and metal work is fabricated in Eugene by Chandler Metal Works.

 With a degree in marketing from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, Deron Fort returned to his hometown of West Chester, Pennsylvania, for a sales job at a titanium manufacturing plant. “It was not inspiring work,” he says. “We wore badges to measure radiation from the electron beam furnaces.” Fort quit two years later to study for a master’s in education at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, then taught middle school for two years. 

One man alone can be pretty dumb sometimes, but for real bona fide stupidity, there ain’t nothin’ can beat teamwork. — Edward Abbey

I confess I may have too much time on my hands as a geezer/retiree. These days, instead of plowing through unemployment cases as I did in my last 12 years with the state appeals board, I’ve gone back to enjoying some of my favorite desert rat ecologists. 

“Keep the Earth clean. It isn’t Uranus. (No offense to Uranus.)” That’s one of our favorite Earth Day slogans reminding us to tread lightly and kindly on this (thus far) singular planet we call home. 

Locally, Sol Seed, Whole Earth Nature School and Pedal Power Music are reminding you to do the same with their Earth Day Celebration, a fundraiser for the school, 7 pm Friday, April 22, at Hi-Fi Music Hall; $12 adv., $15 door. 

Something interesting happens at the end of Flatbush Zombies’ latest release, 3001: A Laced Odyssey. Halfway through the album’s closing track “Your Favorite Rap Song,” the music drifts away and in comes an extended series of voicemail-like recordings. Most are stoned treatises to the greatness of the Brooklyn hip-hop trio. “If this is the Flatbush Zombies, I just wanna say ya’ll fucking rock,” one voice says, holding in a bong rip. 

Multi-culti is all the rage in music, food and the rest of today’s global culture. But mixing Latin American and European ingredients still felt pretty novel back in 1954, when Venezuelan composer Antonio Estévez wrote his colorful Cantata Criolla, which Eugene Concert Choir and Eugene Symphony will perform April 30 at the Hult Center’s Silva Hall.

Eugene old-timey country-blues act Breakers Yard releases its new album Tried & Untrue April 28 at Sam Bond’s. The self-produced record draws from traditions of pre-WWII jazz, country and blues. 

Sharply written and deeply empathic, Steve Yockey’s Blackberry Winter trains a bright light on Vivienne, whose mother has lived with Alzheimer’s disease for a few years and is now in the throes of transitioning from assisted living (Vivienne refers to it as “the Residence Inn”) to a more confining, yet safer, nursing home.

VOTE ON CITY HALL

We now have a proposed new city hall planned for the next 100 years. It looks like a breadbox surrounded by windows — and is earthquake proof.

The estimated price is about $25 million.
We need to think “outside the box.” We need an advisory vote on the November ballot to authorize spending $10 million to purchase the current EWEB building. This vote would indirectly approve the selling of the EWEB building by the commissioners for $10 million. 

If we could time travel, rock-‘n’-roll fans might want to dial their wayback machines to Memphis’ Sun Records, Dec. 4, 1956, when legends Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash created an unforgettable musical session.

When I first began to write about Oregon wine 20-some years ago (in millennia of wine, hardly a flash), there were only a couple hands-full of labels to track. Now we have more than 400, increasing almost daily. And the wines are often very good. This poses many challenges, not only for wine writers but particularly for the wineries themselves — their owners, their staff, retailers, et al.

Although critically lauded as a talented and versatile actor, Don Cheadle has been flitting on the periphery of mainstream movies for the past two decades. Most casual moviegoers don’t recognize his name, though they may recognize Cheadle’s face from Iron Man 2, Showtime’s House of Lies or Steven Soderbergh’s Traffic, one of several films (including the 1998 political satire Bulworth) for which he deserved but never received an Oscar nod (he was nominated for his role in Hotel Rwanda).

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

Can coasters that test for date rape drugs help solve the University of Oregon’s sexual assault problem? Or are they a drop in the bucket of a larger institutional issue? 

The Courtside and Skybox apartments teamed up with local medical supply company Med-Tech Resource to provide current and potential residents with coasters that test for the date rape drugs ketamine and gamma-Hydroxybutyrate (GHB).