Somebody (or bodies) destroyed Roundup Ready sugar beets in southern Oregon. No communiqué yet that EW knows of has claimed responsibility.
The news came out when the FBI put out a press release (and on a side note, since when is pro-pesticide group Oregonians for Food and Shelter a "community group"? Check out its board of directors). From worries about the health effects of genetical modification (GM) and pesticide use, to fears over superweeds, famers, foodies and other folks have a host of concerns over GM crops like wheat, alfalfa and sugar beets.
FBI Asks for Help in Identifying Suspects in Genetically Engineered Crop Destruction
Community Group Offers up to $10,000
Reward FBI Portland
June 20, 2013 Beth Anne Steele
Over the course of two nights in early June, an unknown person or group of people did significant damage to two plots of land used to grow genetically engineered sugar beets in Jackson County, Oregon. The plots are on private farmland leased and managed by Syngenta.
Sometime during the night of June 8, 2013, the person/people destroyed about 1,000 sugar beet plants on one property. During the night of June 11, 2013, the person/people destroyed about 5,500 plants on another property. The financial losses are significant, but the actual estimates will not be released at this time due to the needs of the investigation. The FBI considers this crime to be economic sabotage and a violation of federal law involving damage to commercial agricultural enterprises.
The group Oregonians for Food and Shelter (http://ofsonline.org) is offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to the identification, arrest, and conviction of the person and people involved. OFS will evaluate any reward claims and will make the final decision on dispersal of funds.
Anyone with information is asked to call the FBI at (541) 773-2942 during normal business hours or the FBI in Portland at (503) 224-4181 24 hours a day. Tips may also be e-mailed into Portland@ic.fbi.gov.
The statement from Oregon Department of Agriculture Director Katy Coba was interestingly put, in that she acknowledges that biotech such as GMO seeds (in the wake of the recent GMO wheat issue) is problematic for many: “To my knowledge, this is the first time someone has deliberately taken the cowardly step of uprooting high value plants growing in our state. Regardless of how one feels about biotechnology, there is no justification for committing these crimes and it is not the kind of behavior we expect to see in Oregon agriculture."
Joseph Calbreath, now formerly of KMTR, speaks out on the recent sale of the TV station to Fisher Communications, calling the layoffs a "blood bath." Fisher, which will be owned by another company later this year, will own or be affiliated with three of the area's four TV stations — KVAL, FOX and now KMTR. Fox is locally owned but has a "news share" with KVAL. Any thoughts on how that might affect local news coverage?
KEZI is the lone station that won't be in some way affiliated with Sinclair Broadcast Group of Maryland if the Federal Communictions Commission approves the sale of Fisher this fall. Prominent anchors Matt Templeman and Renee McCullough were among the layoffs, the R-G reports. And Calbreath, who has signed no agreements not to speak about the sale because he was already set to retire, weighed in on the loss of 50 employees on his Facebook page.
By Joseph Calbreath
Hi Everyone, Some of you probably have been reading about what has been going on at my former employer KMTR. Little did I know a couple of months ago when I picked the date of my retirement that it would coincided with the transfer of ownership that would result in 31 of my friends loosing their jobs in a blood bath type fashion. Obviously I will not be going back to do any filling in as was planned before the purge. Since I was never an employee of Fisher Broadcasting and am no longer interested in working in the TV News business, I can speak freely. If you have read the stories in the newspaper you read that no-one is able to comment on what just happened to them. It is a normal ploy by companies to hold severance packages and threat of negative reviews to future employers to keep people being fired to keep quiet. Many who has been let go from a big company for no reason based on their work has seen this.
Anyway I have some thoughts about what is happening that I thought I would share. First off, when I started in this business this sale would be illegal. No company could own two broadcast TV stations in the same market. In fact it was very restrictive to own any combination of news organizations including print, radio, TV or cable. The lobbyist in Washington have done a good job of changing the laws over the last 30 years and now almost anything goes. The FCC is a joke in my opinion. They go berserk if you slip and say a four letter word by accident or have a wardrobe malfunction, but could care less if big communications companies eliminate any competition in their attempt to dominate the information we receive. As of today, Fisher controls three of the four news programs broadcasted in our market. Later this year an even bigger company Sinclare will own them. Sinclare (spelling?)owner are very similar to the owners of FOX news in my opinion, which is not very fair and balanced no matter what they say . The only other voice we will have is KEZI the ABC affiliate. They also are the last locally own TV station in our area, but for how long?
Business wise, it probably makes good sense to eliminate people who are familiar and popular as quick as possible. Matt and Renee are liked and respected in this area and are familiar identifiable faces everywhere they go. How many years have the anchors on the other channels been here? How recognizable are they in the community? Most of our other anchors have been on the air longer than the other stations as well. Getting rid of these popular familiar faces will reduce the competition Also bringing in new people that nobody knows is much cheeper. After all these companies only care about their bottom lines. This move will help reduce the salaries at all the stations. It's the same thing that busting a union up does at other companies. Unions usually bring everyones salary up even those who aren't in the union.
Anyway get ready to see a lot of new faces two weeks from last Monday when everyone but the morning crew are gone. Since this page is in my name and has nothing to do with my former employer, I will start changing the information I share here. I now for the first time in 30 year can have an opinion about things. I plan on sharing more information about myself and what I am up to. I still would like to be a resource for people who have questions about things that I know about. I have been asked it I would still be putting out a weather forecast. I plan on still looking at the weather each day but have no plans on publishing what I think. If anyone has any opinions about this please let me know. Thank you all for letting me vent a bit. It defiantly has ease my frustration of what my friends are going through. I never watched local news because I got everything I needed to know about what was going on in our community at work each day. I still won't watch local news but will continue to read the newspaper and get my news one day later than before.
Update: Mark Metzger of Fox says that:
KLSR and KEVU are owned by Patricia Smullin who is a long-time resident of Medford, Oregon. Her company was established in 1932 and is the longest, continuous independent broadcast group in the west and one of two oldest in the country. Her father was a Broadcast Pioneer that founded the very first VHF TV station in Oregon and first radio station in Grants Pass. Patricia has owned our stations for 20+ years. She is very involved with the University of Oregon and is a graduate of Oregon State. We are not owned by an out-of-state broadcasting company. Many of us have been at FOX over 20 years. I do not think you can get much more local than being at a company who brought TV to our state. We are 100% "Oregon" and proud of it!
EW has asked Metzger to clarify the news coverage arrangement between Fox and KVAL.
We formed a "News Share" partnership with KVAL back in late 1991. Except for a short hiatus, it has been in existence ever since. We partnered with them in order to have our "own" news, as well as offer the community a local news at an earlier time, 10PM. It was cost prohibitive for us to get into the news business back then, so we commissioned KVAL to do it for us. I believe we were one of the first markets in the country to do this, now they are quite commonplace. Over time, we both realized it was a win-win situation for the community, for KVAL and for us, so we decided to continue the arrangement versus doing a news on our own.
The KMTR-KVAL merger does shed new light on this arrangement and we will continue to have discussions with KVAL on how this will all pan out. Obviously, we are now in a unique transition and I will research on how other markets are handling this. TV stations in the same market are buying TV stations in the same market all over the country right now. Some of the public might think it is unique to just us here in Eugene, but it is not. We will see more and more of this over the next couple years. It is pretty much the same thing Radio went through about 15 years ago.
A genetically engineered (GE) variety of glyphosate-resistant wheat linked to Monsanto was found growing in an Oregon wheat field. The U.S. Department of Agrigculture announced today that it launched a "formal investigation after being notified by an Oregon State University scientist that initial tests of wheat samples from an Oregon farm indicated the possible presence of GE glyphosate-resistant wheat plants."
The USDA says that "there are no GE wheat varieties approved for sale or in commercial production in the United States or elsewhere at this time."
According to Agripulse.com:
Michael Firko, Acting Deputy Administrator of APHIS Biotechnology Regulatory Services, said USDA scientists verified results that the discovered plants were resistant to the commonly used weed killer glyphosate. Firko says USDA is “very serious” about the this investigation, which seeks to uncover “the extent of this and how it happened.” It is also confirmed that the glyphosate-resistant plants are the same variety as a wheat strain, or “event,” field tested by Monsanto. Firko said the company had requested to field test GE wheat from 1998-2005, but no other field tests have occurred since 2005. USDA confirmed that field tests did occur in Oregon, but did not say whether the field in question is the same as or near a former field test site.
According to a factsheet on the issue supplied by the USDA:
An Oregon farmer noticed some volunteers, or plants that had germinated and developed in a place where they were not intentionally planted, in his wheat field, were resistant to glyphosate and sent the samples to the OSU scientist. She received the samples on April 30, 2013, and conducted tests on the samples. Based on her preliminary tests, the samples she received tested positive for the glyphosate trait and the farmer was informed of the testing results.
The USDA dispatched investigators onsite to investigate how this situation occurred and collect additional samples from the farm. The agency says that APHIS made the public announcement about this detection as soon as USDA laboratories had absolute confi rmation regarding the GE wheat.
The horse tripping controversy continues as more information arises about the arrest of an activist at the Big Loop Rodeo. And according to an email blast from PETA, Tuesday May 22, is the Oregon House Judiciary Committee's work session on Senate Bill 835.
Over the weekend the group SHARK (SHowing Animals Respect and Kindness) reported a volunteer, Adam Fahnestock was arrested for videoing at the event. Steve Hindi of SHARK also tangled with the law over videoing the controversial horse tripping event (see the video at bottom).
This is the footage filmed by Fahnestock at the 2013 rodeo, before he was arrested.
And this letter by a woman who attended the rodeo was sent to several legislators:
Hello, I wanted to let you know that I went to the Jordan Valley Big Loop Rodeo this last weekend, and I would like to tell you what I saw there. As I testified previously I grew up in Eastern Oregon and have gone to rodeos since I was a small child. I am embarrassed to admit I’m from Eastern Oregon after going to Jordan Valley.
1. There were signs prohibiting taking videos, however the announcer said that just applied to “people from Western Oregon, animal rights activists, and the media.” The announcer stated that didn’t apply to the “good folks who want to film their relatives or friends.” There were lots of cameras visible. He also stated that if the people from Western Oregon, animal rights activists, or the media were observed taking video they would be arrested and escorted off the property. They violently arrested a man about 10’ from where I was sitting, took him down in the seats, and took him to the Malheur County Jail where he was booked for Disorderly Conduct and Resisting Arrest. They ejected three other people that I saw, one man who stated he was just taking pictures, not video. I understand that it is private property, and that they have the right to make the rules, but I feel the rules should apply to everyone.
2. They mentioned the bill and that they had made trips to testify. The announcer stated that the bill “looks like it’s going to pass, but that it would not affect their rodeo” at all.
3. The announcer stated that people from Western Oregon should just stay in their cities and leave them alone.
4. The horses used in the” Big Loop” event are thin enough that you can count their ribs, and seem young.
5. Because I was so uncomfortable being there, I did not stay for the entire rodeo. During the first round of the “Big Loop” event, they managed to rope two horses by the neck, one fairly close to the throatlatch, did not rope any horses by the feet, so in the first section all the competitors got “no time”. However, one horse crashed violently into the wall, and they continued trying to rope it after it got up. I did not see them check the horse out by a veterinarian.
6. The horses that were in the “Big Loop” event were completely terrified.
I wanted to share my experience with you. I have never left a rodeo before it was over before. I was uncomfortable there and felt threatened by their general attitude. The crowd cheered when people were arrested and ejected.
Thank you for considering this statement. I urge you to pass this bill and protect those that have no voice in this event, the horses.
Steve Hindi of SHARK, which videoed the events last year, leading to the current legislative actions says of the video below that is was "a bogus police stop on Sunday, the last day of the rodeo, after I was ejected for having a camera at the rodeo." He adds, "Of course, lots of people had cameras, and virtually everyone had phones capable of video. The traffics stop appears to be illegitimate, as we can find no law allowing a traffic stop for not providing ID on private property — the stated reason for the stop."
SHARK alleges in a press release that the Malheur County Sheriff has "deep ties" to the Big Loop Rodeo:
Fearing that this new footage would cause similar outrage, on Saturday, May 18, Malheur County Sheriff’s officers swept in, arrested Fahnestock and ordered another activist to leave.
On Sunday, May 19, they repeated their misconduct by ordering SHARK President Steve Hindi to leave the rodeo as well.
SHARK has initiated an investigation into the existing connections between the rodeo and the Malheur County Sheriff's Department who the group accuses of violations of free speech, and using intimidation tactics. The following is part of the report. The full report is available upon request.
• The Malheur County Sheriff’s Department also has direct ties to the Big Loop Rodeo through their deputies. In his testimony before the above-mentioned Senate committee, Jordan Valley Mayor Jake Roe stated, “The Sheriff’s posse sells food at the park to raise money…” Jerry Raburn, an official with the Jordan Valley Rodeo Association, told the Senate Committee that “Not only is the rodeo a boost for the businesses here, but also for volunteer groups, service organizations, schools and churches,” including the “Malheur County Sheriff’s Deputies.”
• According to Malheur County Sheriff Sergeant Richard Harriman, who, along with Bob Wroten forced one of SHARK's activists to leave the rodeo, that Wroten himself was not only a Malheur County Deputy, but also held a dual position on the "rodeo board."
• Malheur County Sheriff Brian E. Wolfe defended the Jordan Valley Big Loop Rodeo and horse tripping in a letter sent to the Oregon State Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, which recently held a hearing on a bill to ban “horse tripping.” Wolfe misused his official county stationary and position as Sheriff to made a political statement when he said “I personally oppose any and all legislation, laws, or rules prohibiting Rodeo events including Horse Roping.”
"We now know that the Malheur County Sheriff Officers, the same men who violated the rights of our activists, have deep ties to the rodeo," states SHARK President Steve Hindi. "When they saw the cruelty that was documented on the first day, they abused their power on the second and third day to make sure that no more video would make it to public view. That's outrageous, and the Sheriff's office needs to be held accountable for acting like thugs protecting a good old boys network of animal abuse and cruelty."
According to SHARK (SHowing Animals Respect and Kindness) an activist was "violently arrested" while filming events at the Big Loop Rodeo in Jordan Valley, Ore., on Saturday May 18. Big Loop has come under fire for its horse tripping event in which horses are roped by the neck and legs while galloping, causing them to fall.
The bill has passed out of Senate and testimony was heard in the House Judiciary Committee earlier this month.
The full press release is below, with links to video of last year's horse tripping and a video of a horse breaking its leg in another event.
SHARK (SHowing Animals Respect and Kindness)
PO Box 28 • Geneva, IL 60134 • 630-557-0176
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Sunday May 19, 2013
ACTIVIST VIOLENTLY ARRESTED FOR FILMING AT OREGON RODEO
Jordan Valley, OR – On Saturday May 18th, 2013, SHowing Animals Respect and Kindness (SHARK) volunteer Adam Fahnestock was peacefully sitting monitoring the Big Loop Rodeo when rodeo personnel and a Malheur County Sheriff’s Deputy approached him. After a very brief conversation, the deputy suddenly grabbed Fahnestock and threw him violently to the ground where rodeo personnel then also set upon him. Fahnestock was arrested for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. He is currently being held in Malheur County Jail, Vale, OR on a $1000 bail.
Big Loop Rodeo has been under fire from SHARK recently after documentation of a bucking horse breaking its leg in the arena and numerous horses were filmed crashing to the ground was released after the 2012 rodeo. Filming is permitted at the rodeo and many spectators film the events. It is believed Fahnestock was singled out for attack because Big Loop Rodeo officials are upset over the video of a horse breaking its leg being released, and disturbing footage of the horse-tripping event went viral creating massive public outcry to ban the event.
SHARK president, Steve Hindi said, “This is clearly an abuse of the law and an example of the “good old-boy network" that exists in the rodeo world. We will fight these false and retaliatory charges vigorously and continue to expose animal abuse at rodeos.”
SHARK’S video of horse tripping at the 2012 Big Loop Rodeo inspired Sen. Mark Hass, D-Beaverton to introduce a horse-tripping ban. Senate Bill 835 is currently being considered after a public hearing was held on Monday May 13th, 2013.
Graphic footage of the incident of the horse breaking its leg can be seen here:
Decolonize This! is the 2013 Annual Environmental Justice Conference on Saturday May 18 at the UO. Topics will highlight food justice, decolonization, and free trade vs free, prior and informed consent of indigenous nations concerning fossil fuels. The conference is free and donations are welcomed, organizers say.
Speaker Jewell Praying Wolf James is a master carver of totems or healing poles displayed around the world, more of his work can be seen here.
The event will also feature a performance by Kayla Godowa-Tufti, activist, performer and columnist for EW. Here she is, performing as Tribal Thought:
Efforts to save Waldo Lake may be paying off for clean water enthusiasts and lovers of Oregon's lakes and forests. A bill has passed in both the Senate and House in the Oregon Leglislature that would ban float planes from landing on the lake. Removing polluting motors from the pristine lake has been a conentious issue with efforts by the Forest Service, conservationists and others fought at every step. The bill now gets sent to Gov. John Kitzhaber to sign into law.
Here is the info from the Sierra Club:
Oregon Legislature Protects Waldo Lake
Passes Law Banning Motorboats and Sea Planes on one of the purest lakes in the World
(SALEM, OR) —Voting 37 to 20 during a late morning session on Monday, the Oregon House of Representatives passed SB 602-A, banning the use of motorboats and seaplanes on Waldo Lake in central Oregon. This action follows last month's 18-11 passage of the bill by the Oregon Senate. The legislation was introduced by Senator Floyd Prozanski and Representative Paul Holvey, and will now be sent to Governor Kitzhaber, who is expected to sign the bill into law.
Located near Oakridge, Waldo Lake is Oregon's second deepest lake and rivals Crater Lake and Russia's Lake Baikal as one of the three purest lakes in the world. The lake is so clear that boaters on its surface can look down nearly 150 feet and discern the lake's bottom (giving one the impression of floating in outer space).
"Waldo Lake is a unique Oregon treasure," said Brian Pasko, Director of the Sierra Club's Oregon Chapter. "Today's action by the Oregon legislature will protect Waldo Lake's unique ecology and ensure that it is a place for quiet recreation and solitude to be enjoyed by Oregonians for generations to come."
Passage of SB 602-A reaffirms a 2012 decision of the Oregon Marine Board prohibiting the use of motorized watercraft on Waldo Lake except for boats using electric motors and traveling under 10mph. The decision was made following a lengthy public comment period that engaged over 4000 Oregon citizens in the decision making process, the vast majority of which supported the motorized ban.
Following the Marine Board's decision, the Oregon Aviation Board issued a temporary rule last year allowing sea plane landings on Waldo Lake. The Aviation Board's decision was made contrary to the Marine Board's determination, even though there are many large lakes near Waldo Lake that allow for safe sea plane landings and sea plane recreational opportunities. Passage of SB 602-A resolves the conflicting decisions of these two state agencies.
"Sea planes and motorized boats present a number of environmental risks to Waldo Lake, including an increased potential for the spread of invasive species and pollution of the lake through potential fuel spills, " said Pasko. "However, Waldo Lake is also highly valued by the public as a place for quiet recreation. SB 602-A will protect the public's expectations and support for the current management approach at Waldo Lake."
According to Forest Service surveys, over 75% of visitors agreed that motorized boating negatively impacts their recreational experience at Waldo Lake. Almost 70% of respondents favored only allowing non-motorized boats or electric motors on Waldo Lake, and 86% favored controlling the level of noise from motorized recreation.
Now that the Dalai Lama has come and gone, it's time to change the world. You can start doing it one book at a time, so says Gertie the Bookbus.
On Saturday, May 11th from 1-6 pm, Books To The People will hold a Pie and Ice Cream Social and Mother's Day Cookbook Sale at the Westside Christian Church, 1866 Chambers Street (opposite the Bi-Mart parking lot).
Incorporated in 2009, Books To The People is an Oregon nonprofit which sponsors GERTIE THE BOOKBUS, our blue and white repurposed bookmobile which drives around and gives away great books for absolutel free. In addition to the pie and ice cream, our fundraiser will feature music, poetry, tables piled high with cookbooks and wonderful doorprizes. Suggested donation is $10 for individuals and $20 max for families. All proceeds go towards operating expenses (like books and fuel!)
See pics of Gertie at bookstothepeople.org or else look up Books To The People on Facebook. For more information, or to donate books, time, money or pies, call 541-520-9821.
Want to weigh in on the city fee, the Lane County tax levy or the 4J funding issue? Then be sure you are registered to vote here in Lane County, and if you are not registered, get er' done by 4 pm Tuesday, April 30.
Not registered? If you have a valid DMV number from an Oregon driver's license, learners permit or ID card, then you can register here.
Otherwise go fill out this online registration card, print it out and either mail it (postmarked by 4 pm April 30) or drop it off at the Lane County Elections office, or go to the office and fill out a card there. The Lane County Elections office is located at 275 W.10th Avenue, on the corner of 10th and Lincoln in downtown Eugene. Public office hours are 9 am to noon, and 1 pm to 4 pm, Monday through Friday. On Election Day, May 21, 2013 the Lane County Elections Office will be open from 7 am to 8 pm. It's conveniently located about two blocks from the Weekly, so feel free to stop by and pick up a paper or wave at the baby birds (starlings?) nesting and pooping over the employee entrance.
In other news, it's bag ban time. April 3o is also notable in that it's the last day that stores in Eugene can give you a single-use plastic grocery bag with your purchase. That's why everywhere you've shopped in Eugene this past week from the liquor store to the Kiva has been cheerfully offering you (or forcing upon you) the last of their plastic bags. As of May 1 plastic bags (not including produce or bulk food bags) are verboten and it's 5 cents to get a paper bag.
I'm a 34-year-old NBA center. I'm black. And I'm gay. I didn't set out to be the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport. But since I am, I'm happy to start the conversation. I wish I wasn't the kid in the classroom raising his hand and saying, "I'm different." If I had my way, someone else would have already done this. Nobody has, which is why I'm raising my hand.
For the backlash, go toESPNwhere, according to Think Progress "An ESPN sportscaster went on the air on Monday to publicly gay-bash Jason Collins, the NBA player who came out Monday morning in an emotional op-ed, the first active male player of a major American sport to come out. Speaking on ESPN’s Outside The Lines, Chris Broussard said that he would 'not characterize [Collins] as a Christian.'”
Some authors revel in rejection, others hide from fame, but when you get a chance to go see authors, established or up and coming, read their stuff, you get a chance to see the man or woman behind the curtain. Why judge a book by it's cover when you can come check out the writer?
In the next week we have a cornucopia of authorial riches. On Sunday, April 28, Donna Henderson, author of The Eddy Fence (Airlie Press, 2009) and Oregon Book Award finalist Sara Burant, author of Verge (Finishing Line Press, 2012)will be introduced by poet Carter McKenzie. The event benefits Beyond Toxics, which says:
These featured Oregon poets offer works of deep attention to the natural world and to our place in it. Whether in praise of the forces of nature or in elegy from environmental devastation, their poems rise out of protest against indifference to and appropriation of our resources and communities.Through precise and luminous language driven by the willingness to witness both the beauty of the natural world and the damage that threatens it, each poet offers in distinctive ways a new capacity for inhabitance. These are poems rooted in fierce gratitude for what sustains us all.
Then on Tuesday April 30 it's Oregon Writers Night at Sam Bond's when authors Daniel Kine and Eliot Treichel will be reading from Kine's Up Nights and Treichel’s recently released collection of short stories, Close is Fine. The event is all ages from 6-8 p.m. Kine and Treichel follow the reading with a short question-and-answer session.