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Thanks to its cool, moist climate, the Willamette Valley is renowned for its wines. But climate isn’t the only atmospheric condition that affects grapes grown for wine — weather, or atmospheric conditions in the shorter term, also changes grapes. 

Lane County Commissioner Jay Bozievich has never quite lived down dressing up in a tricorner hat for a Tea Party tax day rally in 2009. The incident came up again at a recent City Club of Eugene debate between Bozievich and challenger Dawn Lesley for the West Lane Commission seat. 

Bozievich was asked about going as Uncle Sam to the rally. He clarified that in fact the outfit was a colonial soldier’s costume. Lesley, when asked to weigh in, laughed and said not only had she never donned a colonial soldier’s outfit, there was also very little chance she ever would. 

The tiny town of Elkton, Ore., boasts just 200 people but six wineries. Its cooler climate, atypical of the Umpqua Valley, means that wine grapes that won’t grow in most Southern Oregon vineyards flourish in Elkton.

Grape-growing regions are known as American Viticultural Areas, or AVAs. Based on climate and geography, AVAs tell winemakers and connoisseurs a little bit about what to expect from the wine. As of 2013, Elkton is Oregon’s 17th AVA, just an hour southwest of Eugene.

Statewide Offices

U.S. Senator (Democrat) — Jeff Merkley

Merkley has two challengers in the primary, lawyer William Bryk of New York, who has never been to Oregon, and Pavel Goberman of Beaverton, an immigrant and perennial candidate for various elected posts. Merkley is a rising star in the Senate and a strong voice for economic justice and health care reform. In November he will face a Republican challenger, either Jason Conger or Monica Wehby.

 

Oregon Governor (Democrat) — John Kitzhaber

Now that the Great Recession has officially ended, the pie is getting bigger, according to David Cay Johnston, but the bottom 90 percent is getting less pie. Johnston, a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist, has written a trilogy of books on financial inequities and has been teaching a course on “Property and Tax from Ancient Athens to America” at Syracuse University since retiring from The New York Times in 2008. Johnston will be speaking about “How Inequality Affects You” at the City Club of Eugene on May 9.

The East Lane County Commission District wraps around Springfield and parts of Eugene like some misshapen monster hand pinching the cities in its clutches. It’s a vast district, stretching from the Cascades into, strangely enough, the Churchill area of Eugene, and encompassing Oakridge, Marcola, Coburg, Cottage Grove and Creswell.

This beast of a district also encompasses issues from logging and gravel mining to jobs and rural broadband, and it has attracted an array of challengers for incumbent Commissioner Faye Stewart’s seat who all argue that it’s time for a change.

Springfield City Councilor Sheri Moore and Licensed Practical Nurse Charmaine Rehg are challenging the current Lane County Commissioner Sid Leiken for the Springfield district seat. Both Moore and Rehg say the current commissioners are not responsive enough to the public’s concerns.

“I was seeing that the county really does have a lot to do with the lives of the people of Springfield,” Moore says, “and I’m not happy about the way they’re doing the job.”

Eugene City Council reallocated $150,000 to the city’s Emergency and Minor Home Repairs (EMHR) program, which assists low-income homeowners and tenants with emergency and accessibility-related home repairs. The program experienced a higher demand than usual for repair assistance this winter, according to City Grants Manager Michael Wisth, and had exhausted its funding for fiscal year 2014. Funds were taken from the city’s microenterprise development program.

City Manager Jon Ruiz’s recommended city budget for Eugene’s coming fiscal year closes a $2.5 million gap with one-time funding from the city’s reserve fund and reductions to parks maintenance, downtown library hours and recreation services. It also calls for a one-time contribution of $200,000 to the nonprofit group TrackTown USA.

Students, faculty and staff at the University of Oregon have the right to conduct controversial scholarship and teaching or hold contentious public positions, according to the University Senate, a body made up of faculty, students and staff that is a partner in the shared governance of the UO. 

In early April the senate body unanimously passed an Academic Freedom Policy. Professor Michael Dreiling, the president of the UO’s newly formed union, United Academics, says that this policy would help to unlock “the greatest potential” that the UO has to offer.

• Little Lake Logging and Const. Inc., 927-3339, plans to spray Tordon RTU (triclopyr ester) on 30 acres near Little Lake Creek. See ODF notice 2014-781-00486, call Robin L. Biesecker at 935-2283 with questions.

• USR Company LLC, Rosboro LLC, 746-8411, and High Mountain Investment Group, 746-8411, plan to hire Dole Land Management Inc. to spray their roadsides throughout Benton County with imazapyr and/or triclopyr. See ODF notices 2014-551-00183, 2014-551-00184 and 2014-551-00185, call Bill Mahr at 929-3266 with questions.

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) assessed a $7,800 penalty against the Metropolitan Wastewater Management Commission (MWMC) last week for causing pollution of waters of the state in February. MWMC operates the Eugene-Springfield wastewater collection and treatment system, including the treatment plant on River Avenue and the “biosolids management facility” on Awbrey Lane. On Feb.

In addition to the historic trolley tracks unearthed every so often on Willamette Street, Eugene is bursting with historically significant elements that are out in the open, like the dry stone retaining wall on the north side of Skinner Butte built during the Great Depression by the Civilian Conservation Corps. 

Lady Jangchup Palmo reacted in a unique way the moment she was diagnosed with cancer. “Her first response was laughter, joy,” says Jigme Rinpoche, her son.

UO athletics and the broader university got another black eye nationwide this week with the story about three Duck basketball players accused of rape. The police report goes into disturbing details, but Damyean Dotson, Dominic Artis and Brandon Austin will not be prosecuted — not enough evidence to convict. We agree with the powerful and angry response from the UO Coalition to End Sexual Violence, citing “institutional betrayal” of survivors and “lack of institutional control” over athletics.

A couple of big plant sales are happening Saturday, May 10, just in time for Mother’s Day giving. The eighth annual Oregon Plant Fair will be from 9 am to 2 pm at the Alton Baker Park shelters, sponsored by Avid Gardeners Eugene District Garden Clubs and a benefit for the Master Gardener Extension Program. The 23rd annual Hardy Plant Sale will be from 9 am to 2 pm indoors at the Fairgrounds, a benefit for the nonprofit Willamette Valley Hardy Plant Group. 

A local mother-daughter team is pushing the limits of ballet by finding inspiration in the most unlikely of places. For The Book of Esther, Ballet Fantastique’s Donna Bontrager and her daughter Hannah Bontrager go way, way back — to approximately 486 BC — for the finale of their 2013-2014 season. What better way to end the company’s “New Legends” series than with a story from one of the oldest existing works of literature: The Old Testament?

• A protest in response to a sexual assault case allegedly involving UO basketball players is being planned at noon Thursday, May 8, on the lawn behind Hendricks Hall on campus. Organized by the UO Coalition to End Sexual Violence, http://wkly.ws/1qv.

• The Eugene Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee will meet from 5:30 to 7:30 pm Thursday, May 8, at the Sloat Conference Room at the Atrium Building, 99 W. 10th Ave.  

As an environmental studies major at the UO I’ve gotten very used to discussing issues of injustice and land degradation through a scholarly/ objective lens; however, I had never drawn these connections back to myself and how they affect me as an Oregonian. Never would I have imagined that a trip out to interview a community affected by pesticide drift — a predominantly middle class, white conservative community in Gold Beach — would connect directly to the working-class Latino-immigrant farmer community I grew up with in the Rogue Valley.

Nothing makes art come alive like seeing it strut down the runway. Sunday, May 4, the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art hosted St. Vincent de Paul’s Metamorphose Upcycling Design Challenge — in a nutshell, Eugene’s own Project Runway.

Once upon a time, orchestra halls were raucous places, bursting with chatty patrons who were eager to applaud — dare I say it — during a movement. Composers, such as Mozart and Brahms, saw an engaged, reactive audience as a sign of respect. Not until the 20th century did “concert etiquette” develop and audiences became staid, passive observers waiting to clap on cue. 

There is an exquisite pain that attends the process of becoming — like a balancing act, emotions teeter in delicate equilibrium, strung out on the wire of what was, what is and what might be. Emergence into one’s self is beautiful, but forever fraught with collapse and nullity. Such is the raw, tense vibrancy that buzzes through the music of Hers, a new Portland band that raises a trembling fist against the lonely wages of independence.

Stage names aren’t new — particularly in hip hop; James Todd Smith is LL Cool J, and Sean Combs is (once again) Puff Daddy. But lately it seems the well of rapper nom de plumes is creatively dry;  I’m looking at you Yung Turd and Mr. Muthaduckin’ eXquire. This brings us to Childish Gambino — a great name by any measure, mixing innocence and menace, like good hip hop should.

Any driverless car Google develops that successfully navigates city streets while avoiding jaywalkers, weaving bicyclists, distracted drivers and loose animals, is qualified to be president.