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SUPPORT FOR NURSES

I’m one of the five Lane County commissioners. The county and the nurses who work at the county have been trying to negotiate a labor agreement for some time. According to media reports, these negotiations have centered around both wages and benefits, and it’s clear that reducing benefit levels to the nurses will affect their total compensation. I do not support reducing the total compensation levels of Lane County nurses

Any of you ladies out there ever stumble upon an idea for a huge work project while you’re busy folding the never-ending pile of laundry and dinner is boiling over? Next time this happens, take a moment to appreciate being a woman in the 21st century by reflecting on the challenges that confronted Gerty Cori. A pioneer in biochemistry and the first woman to win a Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine, Cori had to think and fight for recognition and respect.

John Wayne, Audie Murphy, Tom Berenger, Sylvester Stallone — these were the “war heroes” in the movies I grew up watching. All of them portrayed brazen, fearless, patriotic characters in over-the-top flicks that defined the psyches of many American fighting men in service today, as well as Americans who’ve never seen war but love to watch war movies.

How many times do I get reminded that every year is different from the year before? This year is proving to be a strange one, leap year and politics aside. Momentous times are heralded as we enter the Year of the Water Dragon.

The city of Eugene has yet to participate in the UO’s ultimate “town and gown” collaboration on sustainability, but Springfield has jumped on it with enthusiasm.

 

The UO’s Sustainable City Year Program (SCYP) is getting positive attention from The New York Times and Forbes magazine. Numerous universities around the country, and as far away as China and New Zealand, are interested in replicating what the UO has created, and the program is attracting both students and faculty to UO.

 

Several years ago, entrepreneur Ginger Johnson said to herself, “Self, it’s time to find out what beer is about.” Now, after delving into the intricacies of the beer industry, Johnson owns and operates Women Enjoying Beer, a business that works to help breweries market to the female craft beer enthusiast. Women Enjoying Beer is based in Ashland, but Johnson is excited to appear in Eugene this week for Brew Fest, KLCC’s annual beer-tasting benefit.

 

Images of flooded homes and fields filled the news during the mid-January floods this year. Lane County has been soliciting information from homeowners on how much damage the high waters cost them in order to apply for federal disaster relief funds. So LandWatch Lane County wants to know why the county would consider allowing even more houses in areas prone to flooding. 

 

Conservation groups have been eyeing Congressman Peter DeFazio’s forest trust plan with skepticism. Or rather, they have been eyeing the proposed plan. Part of their distrust of the trust plan is that it doesn’t actually officially exist on paper yet.

 

A ruling related to last week’s verdict that EPD Sgt. Bill Solesbee used excessive force to arrest Josh Schlossberg in 2009 added to Oregon’s existing case law, which recognizes the public’s right to tape police officers and others — in some cases with notification of the videotaped person and in some cases without it. U.S. District Magistrate Judge Thomas Coffin ruled that Solesbee also violated Schlossberg’s rights by searching his camera without a warrant.

 

Kieran Walsh says he’s running for the South Eugene District Lane County Commission position against popular current Commissioner Pete Sorenson “because I just care about my community.”

Behind every great writer hides an asshole. Dostoyevsky was a religious freak with a gambling problem. William Burroughs plinked a slug through his wife’s forehead. Faulkner guzzled a half-gallon of rye every day before noon. Shakespeare only willed his wife the spare bed.

• A public work session on wave energy will be from 5:30 to 9:30 pm Thursday, Feb. 2, in the Eugene City Council Chambers, 777 Pearl St. The meeting will discuss Oregon’s ocean resources and renewable energy development in the territorial sea, which is the area up to 3 nautical miles offshore. Public input is sought on where renewable energy development will occur on Oregon’s Coast. See www.oregonocean.info for more information.

Jerry Smith’s quiet corner of the universe lies down Willamette Street between Cappella Market and Tsunami Books. Like many Eugene hippie-folk, Smith is a private man; he doesn’t reveal much and, until now, has never granted an interview. Even now he tells me he’s been having second thoughts about this.

In Afghanistan

• 1,876 U.S. troops killed* (1,872)

• 15,282 U.S. troops wounded in action (15,262)

• 1,095 U.S. contractors killed (1,095)

• $496.7 billion cost of war ($494.5 billion)

• $146.6 million cost to Eugene taxpayers ($146 million)

In Iraq

Like that one ramshackle, half-collapsed barn you pass on the highway year after year, the music created by veteran Minneapolis band The Jayhawks is timeless — in a fragile, verdigised, sepia-toned, windblown, authentically American melancholia sort of way. Their sweetly bittersweet sound, all honeyed harmonies and landlocked blues and melodic rustic reverie, is like a soundtrack caught gorgeously between a hymn to our better selves and an elegy to how we’ve fallen short.

With R.E.M. having disbanded last year, it would appear that Wilco now stands pretty well unchallenged as the greatest American rock band. Since rising from the ashes of seminal post-punk country/folk/rock pioneers Uncle Tupelo in 1994, this Chicago-based band has released a series of albums that continues, with each successive drop, to challenge, confound, frustrate, mystify and amuse its fans.

There are a lot of reasons I shouldn’t like Breathe Owl Breathe. They sound a bit like Jack Johnson meets Feist in a hookah lounge. They have all the hallmarks of easy-goin’ adult contemporary indie-folk. But there are things going on beneath the surface that set Breathe Owl Breathe apart from the “tailor-made-for-Starbucks” scene. 

Like an international sweat fest of nostalgic pleasure, Dengue Fever is better suited as a warmer-upper than a cold. With a gruff, garage-rock spangle slathered in funk, this L.A.-based band welds ’60s Cambodian pop to a surfboard and floats it out to sea. Founded in 2001 after a trip to Cambodia, Ethan and Zac Holtzman met a Cambodian-native lounge singer named Chhom Nimol, a star in her home country, who could sing and write songs in Khmer.

Mitt and Newt are great names for guys who are applying for a job hunting alligators.

Back in the 1970s, one of the major bands leading the welcomed revival of Celtic music was Planxty, a group that recreated the original energy in what could have been musty old tunes and forms and thereby revitalized Irish music.

In a bout marked by blood-splattering hits, a revolving-door penalty box, five ejections, and an appearance by Miss Oregon USA; our hometown men’s roller derby team lost a testosterone-filled event. The Emerald City Roller Girls kicked off their fifth season Jan. 28 at the Lane Events Center before a crowd of 2,000-plus.