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

What do you dream? This year, in our second annual “I Dream of Eugene” issue, we asked for your dreams for education, for music and for rivers in our city and Lane County. And from rivers made of chocolate to downtown streets full of percussion instruments, Eugeneans (and some folks from Springfield and Corvallis too) gave us their dreams, from the funny to the poetic to the political and wonky. Hold fast to your dreams, Eugene, and thank you for sharing them.

Oregon’s salmon might be moving toward Alaska at a rate of about 30 kilometers (19 miles) a decade, according to a study in the January 2015 issue of Progress in Oceanography. “Marine life is being affected by changes in ocean conditions resulting from changes in climate and chemistry triggered by combustion of fossil fuels,” the study says.

This news comes as Oregon continues to debate the oil trains, coal export and liquified natural gas (LNG) pipeline and export facilities that are jockeying for position throughout the state.

According to our web hits and downloads, the most-read story in EW this year was a story about the other paper in town … The Register-Guard. More precisely, it was our story “Reporter Fired for Checking Email?” about the termination of popular reporter Serena Markstrom Nugent while she was out on pregnancy disability leave. 

That article not only was the most read on our website — it also generated a lot of national attention, with mentions on the journo news site Romenesko and a tweet by NPR’s media correspondent David Folkenflik. 

M Three Timber Company, 767-3785, plans pre-harvest hack and squirt, spraying Polaris AC on 31 acres near an unknown fish-bearing stream off of Lynx Hollow Road. See ODF notification 2014-781-08761 or call Brian Peterson at 935-2283 with questions.

Ketchup (from the 17th-century Chinese kôe-chiap or kê-chiap): the Rs in Congress will be playing it for the next two years, and BO in Washington will be rampant. 

Oregon’s minimum wage goes up 15 cents an hour to $9.25 in January, thanks to a ballot measure in 2002 that tied the minimum wage to inflation. But of course an extra $26 a month in pay won’t bring Oregon’s estimated 72,000 working-poor households out of poverty. Seven out of 10 poverty-level families have at least one parent who is employed, often full-time at minimum wage or above. The Oregon Legislature in 2015 is expected to try to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour and Republican die-hards will object, saying thousands of jobs will be lost.

We understand why private investors are motivated to build student-housing complexes. College enrollment is predicted to grow and the projects pencil out as profitable even if they are not filled to capacity, particularly if tax breaks are involved. Once built and operating, they can be sold to other big-time investors to cover costs and pocket a few million bucks. But what we don’t understand is why they are designed to accommodate only single students for the life of the building, say 40 to 50 years.

Friends of Trees will be planting native trees and shrubs from 8:45 am to 1 pm Saturday, Jan. 3, near Beltline in the grassy field northwest of Elysium Avenue and Providence Street. Email jenniferk@friendsoftrees.org or call 632-3683 for more information. No preregistration required and gloves and tools will be provided. Weather is expected to be chilly and clear that day.

A seafood stew, cioppino or bouillabaisse can be an expensive and labor-intensive undertaking to put together, but with my recipe I present a different version of this extraordinary holiday entrée. 

 I wanted to make this easily accessible to a new cook but also offer an affordable dish (just under $30) and wrap it up in about an hour. I’m calling it Goldfish Stew.

Originally out of Austin, Texas, the now The Dalles-based musician Ben Ballinger says if he had to pick another artist’s song to introduce himself it would be Frank Sinatra’s “My Way.” The song’s words and melancholy tone, alongside a fierce determination, resonate with him, he says.

Don’t hate Alexander Cardinale because he has it dialed in. The songwriter, who also sometimes goes by Xander, is coming off a tour with Melissa Etheridge. Cardinale says the exposure afforded him by touring with an established artist like Etheridge was intoxicating. “It’s a performers dream to get to take over a huge stage and have use of full expression,” Cardinale tells EW.

Coty Hogue grew up in a small Montana town of about 850 people with a music-loving family, but the notion of making a living performing for an audience wasn’t part of that experience. 

MANAGING THE HOMELESS

There are more than 2,000 homeless persons living in Lane County, and I’m one of them.

Our sleeping shelters include the Eugene Mission, women and family shelters and Egan Warming Centers when it’s cold. Due to the magnanimous decisions of city and county governments, a few outdoor refugee camps have been approved for tent and car camping. A constantly moving, unauthorized Whoville — rightfully flying an upside-down American flag — is also an alternative place to sleep.

What is your stance on maintenance sex? I’d never thought about the issue until reading Amy Poehler’s new memoir. I didn’t find anything she said controversial, and was surprised when this quote blew up in the feminist blogosphere: “You have to have sex with your husband occasionally, even though you’re exhausted. Sorry.” I’d never realized many people firmly believe one should have sex with their partner only when they are in the mood! Some articles even made it sound like maintenance sex is a form of nonconsensual sex.

I hunkered in my chair, rolling behind the desk, periodically gazing down through grimy windows 17 floors above Eugene’s winter-wet streets. Derelicts and “travelers” huddled in the park, smoking, yakking, looking to score, ducking cops. Through the pebbled glass on the office door, I caught sight of a deformed shadow. The door creaked open.

Tim Burton’s Big Eyes falls firmly into the you-can’t-make-this-stuff-up camp, which seems appropriate for a director best known for making all kinds of wonderful things up.

Alex V. Cipolle

 et al.

I’m a sucker for A Charlie Brown Christmas, and as a kid I managed to tune out the whole birth of Christ thing at the end and just focus on that sad little tree  becoming beautiful once everyone comes together to decorate and nurture it (and nurture Charlie Brown himself). 

The holidays, whether you celebrate Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Christmas, Winter Solstice or don’t celebrate anything at all, bring a focus on giving — sometimes it’s the crass commercialism bemoaned by Charlie Brown, sometimes it’s gifts of love or kindness and, sometimes, it’s because you just realized the year is about to end and it’s time to donate and get a tax write-off.

Whatever your reason for giving, donating or volunteering, Give Guide is our annual offering of local nonprofits worth giving to.

When Pastor Erin A. Martin first arrived at Wesley United Methodist in 2006 to fill a part-time staff role, she says the congregation was aging and in “self-preservation mode.”

“They were more worried about keeping the lights on and filling the pews and not necessarily looking outside of themselves,” Martin says. “What I’ve tried to do in my leadership is to help them understand that they’re not dead yet; God isn’t finished with us yet, and in many ways we’re coming back to life by serving those outside of ourselves.” 

The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) may sound like a sci-fi TV show, but they’re actually the name of Oregon’s new science standards for public schools, passed earlier this year. Is Eugene School District 4J ready for them? Well, not yet. Not even close.

Late in the summer of 2013, Lane County closed a protest camp in the Wayne Morse Free Speech Plaza leading to one of many recent debates on the nature of free speech and whether a government agency can shut it down. 

In a Dec. 15 ruling on a motion to dismiss, Municipal Court Judge Karen Stenard writes that the closure in this instance was not unconstitutional under Oregon law. She writes there were “legitimate health and safety concerns.” Activists disputed those concerns at the time of the closure and in the months afterward.

Local group Predator Defense has devoted a large part of its 25-year existence to putting an end to Wildlife Services, a federal agency that traps and poisons predators. Data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows Wildlife Services killed more than 4 million animals in 2013. Recently Predator Defense’s documentary, Exposed: USDA’s Secret War on Wildlife, which delves into the federal agency Wildlife Services, won high praise from noted primatologist and UN Messenger of Peace Jane Goodall, who writes, “I hope it will be watched by millions.”

“We’ve been pretty busy these last couple days,” says Mindy Beer, who created Pay It Forward Cottage Grove a year ago with her daughter, Jennifer Neil. As Christmas approaches and the weather has turned colder, people have turned to Pay It Forward to give and receive everything from baby formula to refurbished bicycles.

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) sent Lane County a warning letter last month for low pH levels in water pollution discharged from Short Mountain Landfill. Low pH means discharges are acidic, and low pH was observed in both initial and follow-up sampling.