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• ODOT is currently spraying roadsides. Call Tony Kilmer at ODOT District 5 at 744-8080 or call (888) 996-8080 for herbicide application information. Hwy. 99 near Creswell was recently sprayed. Hwy. 101 will soon be sprayed with Aquamix and Milestone for Scotch broom and gorse.

• ODOT sprays chemicals including Rodeo, Accord and Honcho Plus containing glyphosate, Milestone VM Plus containing aminopyralid and triclopyr, Esplanade 200 SC containing indazifam, Payload containing flumioxazin, Escort/Escort XP containing metsulfuron methyl and Dyne-Amic adjuvant. 

Fixing large class sizes in Eugene School District 4J can be like “moving around deck chairs on the Titanic,” 4J School Board Chair Anne Marie Levis said at a Feb. 25 meeting.

Parents, teachers and staff from across the district filled the library at Edison Elementary School last Thursday to discuss class sizes in the 30s at the elementary school level. No clear answers came out of the meeting, although school officials suggested that parents write letters to 4J’s Budget Committee and to the Oregon Legislature. 

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) issued a civil penalty of $6,451 to Rexius Forest By-Products, Inc. on Feb. 17 for Clean Water Act violations at its Bailey Hill Road facility. Specifically, DEQ penalized Rexius for negligently failing to monitor for arsenic in its stormwater discharges. Rexius can appeal the penalty, pay it or offset it by implementing a “supplemental environmental project.” Examples of such projects include stream restoration and replacement of pavement with rain gardens to improve water quality.

It may come as a surprise to some landlords, renters and even attorneys in Oregon that pet fees have not been permitted by Oregon statutes for the past five or six years. But confusion about the law remains, most likely because Oregon Revised Statutes 90.302 does not actually declare that pet fees are prohibited; rather, the list of “Fees allowed for certain landlord expenses” no longer includes non-refundable pet fees.

The third annual Wordcrafters Conference returns to Eugene this week.

Wordcrafters aims to provide “writers and readers opportunities to strengthen their craft, deepen their connection with literature and share their knowledge with each other and with future generations.” 

The insurance industry won what could be a temporary victory in the short session of the Oregon Legislature when a bill to increase the 29-year-old cap on damages on wrongful death lawsuits died quietly without a Senate vote. Two Lane county senators, Lee Beyer and Chris Edwards, said they would not support the change even though their caucus and governor did support it. The bill had passed the House easily. The present cap on non-economic damages in wrongful death cases is $500,000, passed in 1987 and never adjusted for cost-of-living increases.

• Lane County has a new Spanish language radio station, reportedly the first ever on the local FM dial. KEQB, La Que Buena, began broadcasting Feb. 17 on 97.7 FM. The station is owned by McKenzie River Broadcasting and will serve the “almost 30,000 Latinos in Lane County and more in the surrounding counties,” says Program Director Steve King. McKenzie River Broadcasting also operates KMGE-FM (Mix 94.5), KKNU-FM (New Country 93.3) and KEUG-FM (105.5 Bob FM).

Who’s Who and What’s What in Dance This Month

• The 34th annual Public Interest Environmental Law Conference on the UO campus begins Thursday, March 3, and runs through Sunday with numerous local experts on panels and participating in discussions. For example, Beyond Toxics is involved in a panel on “Fighting Aerial Pesticide Sprays and Water Quality Violations on State and Private Lands” at 9 am Saturday, March 5, in LAW 184. Find a schedule at pielc.org. Last-minute changes in the schedule can be found listed in the lobby of the UO Law School. Free.

In the beginning, “downtown renewal” in Eugene was really about greasing the skids for the controversial Valley River shopping center. The development community embraced this “tool,” and a chorus of the optimistic and the self-interested promised an attractive, renewed downtown and a gigantic mall.   

Just when you thought our Oregon Legislature couldn’t get any more dysfunctional than it was — it did. Senate Republicans took a page from the old Democrat playbook and refused to meet last Wednesday, denying the Senate a quorum. The immediate feedback even from Republicans was that their minority leader Ted Ferrioli’s latest move to obstruct the process backfired from a public relations standpoint, making his caucus look clownish and incompetent. Worse than our Republican U.S. Congress even — a sad comparison.

Jared Pellerin grew up in New Orleans but was displaced in high school when Hurricane Katrina hit. Forced to abandon all of his possessions and take with him only his resilience and the influence of New Orleans’ music culture, Pellerin relocated with his family to Jackson, Mississippi. 

Written in 2003, Scorched is by Lebanese-Canadian writer Wajdi Mouawad. Opening Thursday, March 3, University of Oregon theater arts instructor Michael Najjar directs the play at University Theatre. 

Scorched is about a pair of twins who attend the reading of their mother’s will,” Najjar explains. “They are charged by their mother to find their father and brother they never knew they had.”

THE CITY HALL VOID

Where, oh where has our City Hall gone? We ask ourselves that question as we pass the barren site daily. It stands there as the largest “kitty litter box” in the world.

The most symbolic project for our city in 50 years has received little or no public input, display or conversation. So what’s the problem? The current version shown is certainly not radical or particularly imaginative. 

Lauren Gunderson’s 2011 play Silent Sky is about succeeding and failing, seeking and discovering, journeying and arriving. That is to say, it’s the story of a life — the life of astronomer Henrietta Leavitt. Silent Sky, directed by Elizabeth Helman, is playing now at Oregon Contemporary Theatre.

Working at Harvard at the turn of the 20th century, Leavitt made significant discoveries leading to the development of the Hubble Telescope. 

Are you incapable of concision? Your answers are too long! You blather on, often rehashing the problem (unnecessary!) before giving four words (at most!) of (rarely!) useful advice. I’ve heard you say you have to edit letters down for space. Try this instead: Edit yourself! I want more of the letters—more from the people asking questions—and less of YOU.

Keep It Short, Savage, Expressed Sincerely

Feedback is always appreciated, KISSES.

 

If this were a movie, it might be a complicated and acrimonious courtroom drama called A Tale of Two Theaters, in which a pair of once-united independent movie houses splits over irreconcilable differences, becoming two separate cinemas run by different ownership.

A recent case in Lane County Circuit Court reveals a rift in the business relationship between the majority and minority owners of the Bijou Art Cinemas, and though the lawsuit was dismissed, the theaters now will become two distinct entities: the original Bijou Art Cinemas near the University District on 13th Avenue, and the recently renamed Broadway Metro, previously the Bijou Metro, which opened downtown three years ago.

While the Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar Festival is only in its third year in Eugene, it’s part of a 34-year-old tradition that “began in 1982 as a tribute to one of Hawaii’s iconic and most celebrated slack key musicians, Gabby ‘Pops’ Pahinui, considered the ‘Modern Day Godfather’ of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar.” The one-day fest kicks off 7:30 pm Friday, March 4, in the Hult Center’s Soreng Theater. For newbies, slack-key guitar is a fingerstyle type of guitar music that became popular in Hawaii in the 1960s.

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

Listen up, Oregon — your schools are underfunded by $2 billion.

Just ask Sabrina Gordon, a reading teacher at Awbrey Park Elementary School in Eugene.

She started teaching in Eugene School District 4J in 1999, but prior to that she was a student in 4J schools. Gordon experienced 4J at its peak in the ’80s, before the devastating passage of Measure 5 in 1990, which capped property taxes for school funding and shifted budgetary responsibility from local government to the state. 

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

While technology continues to inch its way further into our everyday lives, a group of students at Junction City High School (JCHS) are embracing that trend by building robots. Yes, robots — not the kind that will take over the world, although they might attack your interest. 

Stacey Johnson, a science teacher at JCHS, meets with students twice a week after school in a building near the school’s soccer fields. Johnson, who had no experience with robotics prior to this endeavor, says students in robotics programs often do better in college because of the experience they get in the club. 

It’s soup day on a Friday at Eugene Waldorf School (EWS). In the corner of the multi-age kindergarten classroom, a group of students sits at a table helping their teacher make soup from the vegetables brought from home. The room is fully set up for preparation for the meal. There are pots and pans stacked on a shelf, and cutting utensils for the children to use for the vegetables.

“It is an education of doing, and that is not only rich with opportunity to learn social skills, but it’s also the way to have them most engaged,” says Valerie Perrott, the public relations and enrollment coordinator at the school.

In the late 1980s, a third-grade student went with his mom to a parent-teacher conference and saw his score: There was the line that represented the average, and then he saw the dot, way below that, which represented him.

That student is now history teacher Jesse Hagopian, who works at Seattle’s Garfield High School and serves as the advisor of the school’s black student union.