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August 14, 2015 02:14 PM

It's 1892 and Abigail Rook is looking for a job in New Fiddleham, New England. No sooner has she gotten off the ship she took from Europe than she meets the peculiar detective R.F. Jackaby. He uses Sherlockian deduction mixed with some Harry Potteresque crytozoological beings to determine Abigail has recently been in Eastern Europe. Not that long after their chance encounter, the intrepid Abigail enters into his employ and meets the supernatural residents of his home.

Billed as Doctor Who meet Sherlock Holmes, the young adult novel Jackaby (Algonquin Young Readers, 2014) and its sequel Beastly Boneswill appeal to the YA readers who are Harry Potter and mystery lovers, and judging from videos like the one below, as well as a plethora of YouTube reviews (which are apparently a thing) the novels have gotten a loyal following.

Local readers will notice that there is a certain Lane County flair to the books, despite their New England setting. Ritter lives in Springfield, and one of the characters a homeless woman with a hint of supernatural powers, Hatun, bears a strong resemblance to Hatoon Victoria Adkins, an unhoused woman who made her home near the University of Oregon bookstore, where a shrine to her remains. Adkins was hit by a care and died in 2005 and was mourned by the many who knew her around campus.

Ritter writes of Hatun:

Jackaby hesitated, and when he spoke, his answer had a soft earnestness to it. “Hatun sees a different world than you or I, a far more frightening one, full of far more terrible dangers, and still she chooses to be the hero whom that world needs. She has saved this town and its people from countless monsters countless times. That the battles are usually in her head does not lessen the bravery of it. The hardest battles always are.”

Kirkus gives Beastly Bones a starred review:

[A] fast-paced sequel to Jackaby…As bones go missing—and then small livestock—methodical investigation and scientific experimentation yield to madcap chases, slapstick humor, and romance. Ritter's blends—fantasy and mystery, action and tension, oddball detective and able sidekick—employ but exceed their stock elements. With one case closed but two unsolved, the well-matched, well-written duo will undoubtedly return to fight a more fearsome foe. A witty and weird adventure equal parts Sherlock and Three Stooges.

The Corvalis-Benton County Public Library hosts Will Ritter 6 pm Aug. 18. 645 NW Monroe Avenue, Corvallis.

August 13, 2015 12:39 PM

It doees smell like smoke today in Lane County. Earlier this week it was thanks to fires in southern Oregon, but as of yesterday a fire off Territorial Hwy., near Lorane is making our local air quality not-so-fresh.

Want track the air with something more scientific than your nose? Go to Lane Regional Air Protection Agency (aka LRAPA)'s website here. As you can see, for today we are just creeping into "unhealthy for sensitive groups" as of 11 am. 

If you want to keep up-to-date with fires in Oregon, the federal Inciweb page is your to-the-minute go-to source.

August 13, 2015 01:55 PM

The dust hasn't settled from UO settling for $800,00  the Title IX lawsuit filed by the young woman who alleges three UO Ducks basketball players raped her, but notices of more lawsuits have appeared. 

This  is just in from The Oregonian's higher education reporter, Richard Read:

A University of Oregon therapist who counseled a woman allegedly gang-raped by three Ducks basketball players has filed a claim with a former colleague accusing the school of unlawful employment practices and violating their First Amendment rights.

In the tort-claim notice sent to the university Tuesday, senior staff therapist Jennifer Morlok and former UO Counseling Center staff member Karen Stokes accuse the school of discriminating and retaliating against them and wrongfully terminating Stokes.

The story goes on to say that in the notice of a forthcoming lawsuit, likely to be filed in federal court, Morlok and Stokes are accusing the UO Counseling Center managers of "undermining their work, ignoring them to the detriment of patients and violating Stokes' disability rights." And the claim alleges retialiation.

Read says that Morlock has appealed the "Oregon State Bar decision that dismissed her earlier complaints against UO lawyers Douglas Park and Samantha Hill, who requested and received the patient's confidential file."

You can read the whole story here.

In case you missed it here's EW's associate editor (aka me) Camilla Mortensen on OPB's Think Out Loud talking about the settlement last wee. 

August 12, 2015 04:45 PM

Rodeo is a sore point with many animal lovers, and for myself, I can't watch calf roping. But those who love to watch bull riding — one of the few animal sports where the non-human animal tends to win, a lot — will tell you that the bulls are well-cared for atheletes. 

This press releasse about Mick E Mouse just … well … let me just cut to the chase on why this is a "press release of the day."

To sum up: After a trip to Texas A&M and to a vet specialist diagnosed him with lypmphona, top bucking bull Mick E Mouse had to be put down (and that is sad). As Marlene Henry, the owner of the champion bull, puts it: "I don’t care if he was No. 1 in the PBR books, but he was to me. He can go to the rainbow bridges and be fat and sassy."

There is just something about bulls and rainbow bridges that makes me laugh a little.

 

PBR mourns loss of World Champion Bull contender Mick E Mouse 

PUEBLO, Colo. – PBR stock contractor Marlene Henry informed the PBR [Professional Bull Riders, not the beer] this afternoon [Aug. 11] that Mick E Mouse was put down today because of unforeseen medical complications.

Mick E Mouse suffered a slight fracture in his lower back during the event in Billings, Montana, earlier this year when he slipped as Nathan Schaper attempted to ride him during the 15/15 Bucking Battle. He was treated at Texas A&M for the injury and returned to his home – stock contractor Kevin Loudamy’s ranch in Brownsboro, Texas – to recover during the summer.

Henry expected Mick E Mouse to return to the Built Ford Tough Series (BFTS) last weekend in Biloxi, Mississippi, but irregularities in his behavior in July led Henry and Loudamy to seek an additional opinion about his condition from renowned veterinarian Dr. Gary Warner. During the examination, Dr. Warner discovered that the athlete had developed a lesion on his back.

“We suspect that Mick E had a lymphoma lesion within his lumbar spine that caused an inability to properly be able to use his rear limbs.” Dr. Warner explained. “We tried to treat him, but he wasn’t responding so it was time to make that decision. It was a great loss for the sport. I really loved that old bull.”

It was not an easy decision for Henry, but she wanted to ensure that her prized bovine athlete would not be suffering anymore.

“Mick E is no longer in pain,” Henry said. “I will say it has not been all bad. It has been the greatest ride ever. I don’t care if he was No. 1 in the PBR books, but he was to me. He can go to the rainbow bridges and be fat and sassy.”

2015 was the 7-year-old bovine athlete’s fourth season on the BFTS where he remained unridden in 34 outs. He gathered 40 outs over his entire career without a single bull rider conquering him, leading him to the possibility of reaching or even surpassing a PBR record set by Bushwacker back in 2013 of 42 consecutive BFTS buckoffs.

The 2015 PBR World Champion Bull contender managed to buck off riders such as 2013 PBR World Champion J.B. Mauney, 2014 PBR Rookie of the Year J.W. Harris, 2008 PBR World Champion Guilherme Marchi and current No. 3 rider in the PBR world standings Matt Triplett. He also posted the top bull score of the 2015 BFTS season with 47 points out of 50 in Anaheim, California, against Harris.

According to probullstats.com, Mick E Mouse has acquired an average bull score of 44.76 points. The rider who was closest to hitting the 8-second mark atop this unridden bovine was Harris during the 2014 BFTS event in Thackerville, Oklahoma, but Mick E Mouse successfully tossed him in 7.47 seconds.

“Mick E Mouse was an extraordinary animal athlete with an incredible story behind his rise to fame.” said PBR CEO Sean Gleason. “He was one of those special bulls with the raw talent and a never quit attitude that made him virtually impossible to ride. It is with a heavy heart that we say goodbye to a remarkable bucking bull and the entire PBR organization is grieving with Ms. Henry and Mr. Loudamy as they have to deal with the loss.”

August 11, 2015 07:33 PM

Before Fred Taylor became one of the owners of Eugene Weekly, he was the managing editor and later the executive editor of the Wall Street Journal.

Earlier, as a reporter, he wrote many of the long, front-page features that made the WSJ famous, and his thoughts on writing news stories and the use of photography are quoted again and again in books and articles.

Over the years EW staff has reaped the benefits of his influence on this scrappy paper and its mission to make the world a better place. This week we mourn his  passing Aug. 10 at his home in North Bend.

 

August 10, 2015 02:29 PM

The shooting of a veteran with PTSD, Brian Babb, by the Eugene Police Department comes before the review board today. Check out the detailed story in the R-G on the issue.

Babb's family continues to speak out about the shooting. Here is the press release from the Babb family:

The family of Captain Brian Babb will be hosting a press conference/rally Wednesday August 12 in the Wayne Morse Free-Speech Plaza at noon. In calling for this rally Brian’s sister Stephanie Babb states, “police brutality in this country has become an epidemic.”

In a show of solidarity around the issue of mental health and police responses, Eric Richardson, President of the Lane County branch of the NAACP will be joining the rally. A statement will be read by a family member from Brian's counselor Becky Higgins. The family will be addressing recent media coverage and the tragic events that they say have brought the injustice of police brutality into focus.

According to Brian’s sister Ronda McGowan, “Veterans are not criminals; they are deserving of our help and support, but are receiving bullets and death at the hands of law enforcement.” Organizers believe that the inclusion of the NAACP speaks to the common thread of police conduct and the systemic problems they have, when it comes to people of color and veterans.

August 4, 2015 01:16 PM

Washington-based Haggen bought 146 Albertons and Vons locations in Arizona, California, Nevada, Washington and Oregon earlier this year — you might have noticed your local Albertsons has changed its name and color scheme. More recently, social media posts and newspaper stories have blasted the company for laying off hundreds of workers, in particular the developmentally disabled.

The Santa Barbara Independent is reporting that a 60-year-old developmentally disabled man named William Morris, who had worked as a courtesy clerk for over three years at Haggen, is suing the chain on behalf of himself and “all California-based developmentally disabled courtesy clerks that Haggen has laid off since the beginning of this year.”

The Independent reports that “Since taking over and rebranding a number of Vons, Pavilions, Albertsons and Safeway stores in Southern California in 2014, Haggen promised job security to existing employees and that “nothing would change” for them, states the complaint. However, Morris’s attorneys argue, the corporation unfairly terminated developmentally disabled courtesy clerks when they “engaged in a pattern and practice of discrimination against developmentally disabled employees by disproportionately terminating them from Haggen employment.”

EWasked Haggen’s Oregon public relations firm if it too was laying off workers, including the developmentally disabled.

Lee Weinstein and Deborah Tomecek Pleva of Weinstein PR responded with a statement (included in full below) that says “we must manage labor to the needs of the business in compliance with the terms and conditions of our collective bargaining agreements” and that there are different business issue in the Pacific Northwest Region versus the Pacific Southwest where the issues with the layoff of developmentally disabled employees have arisen.

The statement continues, “In some stores in the Pacific Northwest, hours have been adjusted to accommodate the natural seasonal summer slowdown. Hours vary from store to store and we will continue to adjust our staffing based on the needs of the business. We look forward to adding hours back as sales return in the upcoming back-to-school and holiday seasons.”

 

With respect to the layoffs in our Pacific Southwest (PSW) Region, and potential impacts in the Eugene area, we must manage labor to the needs of the business in compliance with the terms and conditions of our collective bargaining agreements. We abide by the terms of the agreements. 

In the Pacific Southwest Region, where we have a much different set of business issues than in our home region in the Northwest, it was necessary to eliminate the Clerks Helper positions entirely. Although these business decisions in the PSW region were necessary, we care for all of our former associates there who were impacted.  We have already helped many of these associates there find other jobs through individual support and by reaching out to and working with concerned leaders and organizations in the community. We will continue to do so.

In some stores in the Pacific Northwest, hours have been adjusted to accommodate the natural seasonal summer slowdown. Hours vary from store to store and we will continue to adjust our staffing based on the needs of the business. We look forward to adding hours back as sales return in the upcoming back-to-school and holiday seasons.

Our commitment to local farmers and food producers, as well as community organizations, is something that we're prepared to sustain for the long haul. We're proud of what we do, and we love to explain to new customers who we are: long-time Washington grocers with a passion for great food, as well as a deep commitment to supporting our local farmers, food producers, nonprofits and schools that really matter to our customers. That genuine, personal connection is at the heart of everything we’re doing.

For Earth Day, Haggen donated $6,417 to Crater Lake National Park.

August 4, 2015 10:52 AM

 The student who filed a Title IX lawsuit against the University of Oregon in regard to her allegations of gang rape against three UO basketball players has filed a stipulation dismissing the case against the UO today "persuant to a settlement agreement," according to an email from one of her attorneys, John Clune of Colorado.

Earlier this week Clune announced the student had dropped the suit against basketball coach Dana Altman.

Clune supplied this statement from the student in regard to today's announcement.

 I am so glad to have this case behind me today and to be able to focus on my studies. I am very grateful for the outpouring of support that I have received from students, faculty, and other organizations. The response from the UO community has been remarkable and I know that the increased awareness around these issues on our campus can only serve to help us. I would be remiss to not specifically thank the Dean of Students Office and my therapist from the UCTC [the UO's University Counseling and Testing Center] and other UCTC personnel for their continued assistance throughout this experience. Without those services, it would have been very difficult to stay in school here during these events and for that I am very grateful.

If there is a monetary settlement the amount has not been announced. UO prof. Bill Harbaugh's watchdog blog UO Matters speculates the cases against the UO and Altman are being settled for a "rumoured $1 million."

According to a redacted version of the settlement, with Jane Doe's name protected, the UO will pay the student $800,000, four years of tuition, housing and student fees, and, most importantly for future students, it agrees to "pursue a policy change requiring all transfer applicants to report any disciplinary history at their current or prior schools, and if they report any disciplinary history, require they sign a FERPA release to allow the university to access their disciplinary records."

One of the issues in the case was the fact that one of the basketball players, Bradon Austin, had been accused of sexual assault at his previous college. A sympathetic May 29 CBS sports piece examines his desire to play at another school. 

The UO also issued a statement from incoming President Michael Schill that begins,"In approving this settlement, it is my hope that we focus our attention and considerable expertise on making our campus one on which all students will feel secure in the knowledge that they will be free from sexual violence."  

Earlier this year the UO faced critcism for countersuing the alleged rape survivor, as well as for accessing her counseling records without permission. The UO also accessed without permission the counseling records of another student, Laura Hansonwho filed a lawsuit against the UO alleging it had mishandled her sexual assault case.

 

Full disclosure: One of the attorneys involved in the case is Jennifer Middleton of Johnson, Johnson and Schaller. EW co-owner Art Johnson is one of the Johnsons in that firm.

July 14, 2015 11:10 AM

This just in from Oregon State University: Seaweed that tastes like bacon. 

According to an OSU press release

Oregon State University researchers have patented a new strain of a succulent red marine algae called dulse that grows extraordinarily quickly, is packed full of protein and has an unusual trait when it is cooked.

This seaweed tastes like bacon.

Dulse ( Palmaria sp.) grows in the wild along the Pacific and Atlantic coastlines. It is harvested and usually sold for up to $90 a pound in dried form as a cooking ingredient or nutritional supplement. But researcher Chris Langdon and colleagues at OSU’s have created and patented a new strain of dulse – one he has been growing for the past 15 years.

 The seaweed was originally developed as a "superfood" for abalone shellfish, according to Langdon. "His strain, which looks like translucent red lettuce, is an excellent source of minerals, vitamins and antioxidants – and it contains up to 16 percent protein in dry weight," OSU says.

The press release (which for some reason compares bacon-flavored seaweed to discovering a unicorn) goes on to say that Langdon’s change in perspective about what dulse could be useful for was triggered by a visit by Chuck Toombs, a faculty member in OSU’s College of Business.

Toombs "stopped by Langdon’s office because he was looking for potential projects for his business students. He saw the dulse growing in bubbling containers outside of Langdon’s office and the proverbial light went on. 'Dulse is a super-food, with twice the nutritional value of kale,' Toombs said. 'And OSU had developed this variety that can be farmed, with the potential for a new industry for Oregon.'"

The press release goes on to say it sees the vegan market as a "niche" for dulse and that "Several Portland-area chefs are now testing dulse as a fresh product and many believe it has significant potential in both its raw form and as a food ingredient."

For the full, detailed, press release and a link to an article in Oregon Agricultural Progress, go here.

July 9, 2015 01:15 PM

Are you a rock-stacker? Or are you a rock-stack knocker?

The opinion piece, "Stop the Rock-Stacking" on the High Country News website is getting a lot of opinions. Some people get really worked up on the subject of what I like to call "hippie cairns."

This is not the first time the debate has arisen — Adventure Journal had a 2013 poll on the issues (with most responses falling in the non-knocking category).

(Non-random trail-marking cairn at Round-the-Mountain-Shorthorn Trail Junction, via OregonHikers.org)

HCN author Robyn Martin writes, "Let's end this invasive practice. Fight the urge to stack rocks and make your mark. Consider deconstructing them when you find them, unless they're marking a critical trail junction."

So Lane County, where do you fall on rock-stacking?

For the full anti-stacking piece, click the image below.

July 1, 2015 06:35 PM

This just in from the Eugene Police:

Four Juveniles Charged in Civic Stadium Fire

Today, Eugene Police Arson investigators received a tip in the case, leading to the identification of four male juveniles who were involved in the fire at historic Civic Stadium on Monday, June 29. The incident was not fireworks-related.

The juveniles, all from Eugene,  range in age from 10 to 12, and will be charged in the case. More information about their specific charges will be available tomorrow.

The names of the youths will not be released due to their juvenile status.

Eugene Police Arson detectives worked closely with Oregon State Police, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, Eugene-Springfield Fire Marshal, and Lane County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue, on the investigation and appreciates their assistance.

Civic Stadium is still a crime scene, as the investigation continues.

Photo credit Hillary Johnson

June 23, 2015 01:05 PM

Members of the group Honor the Treaty of 1864 saddled up their horses in Chiloquin, Oregon and have been riding their mounts over the Cascades to the state Capitol in Salem. They plan to arrive in Salem Wednesday, June 24 and rally on the issues of tribal water rights, the Klamath Basin Water Agreements, Senate Bill 133 and a proposed LNG pipeline.

S. 133 in the U.S. Senate is the Klamath Basin Water Recovery and Economic Restoration Act of 2015.

According to Honor the Treaty of 1864: "The group ride stands for the right for the voice of the Klamath, Modoc and Yahooskin people to be heard. While tribal politicians often publicize their agenda it is rare that the tribal people have an opportunity to have their voice heard.”

Tribal member Garin Riddle says in press statement  that “the ride shows the lengths we are willing to endure to exercise our right to be fully heard and understood. We the people are against fracking pipelines, we are against Senate Bill 133, and we are against any negotiations relinquishing our treaty rights."

Members of Honor the Treaty of 1864 have been calling attention to disagreements over the way tribal representatives are negotiating Klamath Basin water agreements.

According to a press release: Quinten Bettles the ride organizer said:

“The riders are carrying with them an Oregon State flag that was obtained by Priscilla Bettles from former Oregon Governor Tom Mcall and given to Marine Cecil J. Bettles when he shipped out to Vietnam. As Cecil was leaving Vietnam he met Marine Ray Fryberg who just arrived in Vietnam. Ray Fryberg brought this flag home and gave the state flag to Marine Quinten J. Bettles whom passed the flag once again. This flag was passed to a 7th Generation Marine named Cecil K. Bettles whom carried the colors throughout his tour in Fallujah, Iraq in 2004. Marine Cecil K. Bettles brought the flag home once again and this is the flag that is being carried to the State Capitol. This Oregon State flag was carried with honor at peril of life and limb by United States Marines who are also Tribal people.

Riders plan to present the flag to Governor Kate Brown and ask her ‘Will you Honor the treaty of 1864’?”

Supporters are welcome to join in Salem or along the route. To offer support or join the rally, contact Eric Cooper 541-591-0975 or Quinten Bettles 541-591-0952.

More information at facebook.com/treatyof1864

Photos courtesy the Bettles family.

June 23, 2015 02:43 PM

The weather might be heading for the triple digits this weekend. Some people will head for the river, others for the coast, and some of us will head to Philomath (just outside Corvallis) for three days of watching riders ask large hooved mammals to prance like equine ballet dancers one day, then run balls-to-the-wall over ditches, logs and oddly shaped immobile obstacles the next. It's time for the 18th annual Inavale Farm Horse Trials.

The event runs over three days, starting Friday, June 26 with dressage. That would be what Stephen Colbert famously (among dressage riders anyway) called "competitive horse prancing." In eventing the goal is to get the lowest score in dressage possible and not accrue any more points. 

(Trying to demonstrate some stretch at the trot during dressage)

After that more subjective portion of the event wraps up, the horse trials moves on to cross-country day on Saturday June 27. This is the most spectator-friendly day (and the hottest in the forecast) with horses galloping at speed over logs, brush, ditches, water and more. Horse watchers can (carefully and out of the way of 1,000 lbs of horses running at 20 mph) wander out on to the course to watch up close.  Horses can get points added if the rider goes too fast or too slow. Twenty points are added if the horse refuses a fence and the score increases with each refusal. There will also be some stadium, aka show jumping that day.

(Big jump over a small cross country fence)

The majority of the show jumping will be on Sunday — as Inavale explains, this is the part of the weekend that involves "exact riding" over obstables that fall down and incur "jumping faults" — four per knockdown or if the horse refuses the fences. Lower levels eventers but some of the competing eventers, as riders in horse trials are called, will also do some cross country on Sunday, so if you come watch on the day the weather is cooler, you can still see some of the faster, bolder action.

The winners finish on the lowest score.

The event is free to watch, roughly 8 am - 5 pm June 26-28 at 31786 Horse Farm Lane, Philomath, Oregon.

June 19, 2015 11:05 AM

Going viral in a political-geek sort of way is a video compilation of Oregon state legislators reading mean emails from constituents. In the vein of Jimmy Kimmel's "Celebrities Read Mean Tweets" your elected representatives read the nasty emails they've been getting. 

Local electeds Val Hoyle and Chris Edwards appear half way through the video and read their correspondence complete with curses, mispellings and typos. Rep. Tobias Read kind of gets the best one — "Your a democrat and a Libt*," But the pure misogyny aimed at Hoyle is not bad either.