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July 12, 2013 02:23 PM

Bee advocates and anti-pesticide activists have long known said that pesticides, and specifically neonicontinoids are implicated in bee deaths and die-offs. The Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides announced today that Rep. Earl Blumenauer has revealed a new bill — the Save America's Pollinators Act of 2013 — that would "suspend registration for certain neonicotinoid pesticides and perform a new evaluation of their impacts on pollinators" (see the full press release below). 

Neonics, which are widely available in places such as Jerry's Home Improvement and Bi-Mart, are linked to the deaths of thousands of bees in Portland, which led to the Oregon Department of Agriculture insituting a temporary halt to the use of  products containing dinotefuran, a neonicontinoid that was sprayed on flowering trees. 

Local bee advocates are planning a "Nix the Neonics" event on July 20 at Wayne Morse Free Speech Plaza with songs, theater and a scavenger hunt. More details in next week's EW.

 

Eugene, OR - Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) revealed a new bill today that directs the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to suspend registration for certain neonicotinoid pesticides and perform a new evaluation of their impacts on pollinators. Neonicotinoids, a particular class of pesticide, have been widely linked to declining bee populations and were recently determined to have been the cause of dramatic and ongoing bee kills in both Wilsonville and Hillsboro, Oregon.

Blumenauer's bill, the Save America's Pollinators Act of 2013, is co-sponsored by Representative John Conyers (D-MI). It specifically targets systemic pesticides registered for use in seed applications, soil applications, or foliar spray on plants that are attractive to bees. If passed, EPA would have 180 days to restrict these uses. They would also be required to work with the U.S. Department of the Interior to report on the current status of bee populations in the United States, and to monitor more closely the changes in population levels.

"It's encouraging to see lawmakers responding seriously to this issue and proposing real solutions," said Josh Vincent of the Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides, an organization supporting the bill. "These pesticides have drawn a lot of scrutiny from beekeepers, scientists, and environmentalists because of their increasingly evident impact on bees. We agree that EPA needs to take a closer look at the effects these chemicals are having, and that they need to do it sooner rather than later."

Supporters of the bill, including other advocacy groups like the Xerces Society and the Center for Food Safety, are now organizing to grow momentum in the House of Representatives. 

July 11, 2013 05:20 PM

We've long been sad that the Ems left their longtime digs at Civic Stadium to play at the fancy new UO PK Park. PK is snazzy, but Civic Stadium is a classic. But now the Ems are pitching on and honoring Friends of Civic Stadium with a "Civic Stadium Night." Friends of Civic has been fighting to keep the wooden ballpark standing and not paved over and turned into a big box store. For more on the effort go to www.SaveCivicStadium.org and support the cause.

CONTACT: Alex Stimson

DIRECT: (661) 713-2497

E-MAIL: alex@emeraldsbaseball.com

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Eugene, OR – The Eugene Emeralds, the San Diego Padres Short-Season Single-A affiliate, are rolling back the clock and honoring the stadium they called home for 40 years with “Civic Stadium Night” on Saturday, July 13th in an effort to honor and save Eugene’s cherished and beloved Civic Stadium, the original home of Emeralds baseball.

Saturday’s July 13th game against the visiting Everett AquaSox, the Seattle Mariners Short-Season Single-A affiliate, will feature special promotions, tributes, and memorabilia to honor the Ems former home, starting with deals at the box office.

Fans are invited to bring their old ticket stubs from Civic Stadium to the box office at PK Park, and in return the Emeralds will be offering $5 tickets to Saturday’s game, with a maximum of 4 tickets per stub.

The stroll down memory lane starts once fans enter the PK Park gates, as the night will feature a special video tribute to Civic Stadium, old memorabilia and Ems regalia, and a special visit from former Civic Stadium PA announcer Wink Guthrie, who will be back up in the press box to split duties with the Ems’ current PA announcer, Ted Welker.

Most of all, the Emeralds are proud to invite Friends of Civic Stadium, a local group dedicated to the preservation and modernization of Civic Stadium as a sports and recreation venue for years to come.

Built in 1938 for high school football and baseball, it became the home of the Eugene Emeralds in 1969 and quickly engrained itself in the history of the franchise. For 40 years, the Ems spent summer afternoons and evenings calling Civic Stadium home before relocating in 2009 to their current home, PK Park.

If you’d like to learn more about Civic Stadium Night or purchase tickets to this special evening, visit www.EmeraldsBaseball.com or call (541) 342-5367. The Eugene Emeralds box office is located at 2760 Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, next to PK Park and Autzen Stadium.

For more information about the effort to save and preserve Civic Stadium, visit www.SaveCivicStadium.org

July 6, 2013 11:38 AM

Oil trains are coming through Oregon and the Northwest, as we recently reported. Columbia Riverkeeper has expressed concerns about what could go wrong if a train carrying thousands of gallons of oil derailed.

Today the Wall Street Journal and other news sources report that portions of a train of 73-oil-filled cars derailed in Lac-Megantic in Quebec Canada.

There was an explosion, 1,000 people were evacuated and there are others still missing. The crude oil was heading for Maine.

The Associated Press says a large swathe of the town was destroyed. The AP also reports oil has spilled into a nearby river.

July 3, 2013 01:26 PM

We've been writing about Dr. Eben Alexander and his Proof of Heaven book. A new story in Esquire questions the doctor's credibility.


 

July 2, 2013 09:46 AM

Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who has been on the run from American authorities for whistleblowing "evidence of a global surveillance regime conducted by US and UK intelligence agencies" is the source of much speculation on where he will head to next as he sits in "limbo inside the international airport transit lounge at Sheremetyevo airport in Moscow, where he has been ensconced out of public view for nine days."

The B0livian embassy reported that President Evo Morales traveled to Russia to "participate in the Forum of Gas Exporting Countries," and Bolivia is on the list of countries where Wikileaks has applied for asylum for Snowden. The New York Times reports that "President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela, visiting Russia, said that while he had not yet received an application from Mr. Snowden and would not use his plane to ferry Mr. Snowden home with him, he held out the possibility that Venezuela might ultimately agree to shelter Mr. Snowden." 

Morales has said he would consider sheltering Snowden and that" Bolivia was there to shield the denounced" leaving open the possibility that Snowden could travel to Bolivia on Morales' plane.

July 1, 2013 12:16 PM

The Oregon House of Representatives today passed the largest-ever budget for the state’s public schools.  The budget is a $1 billion increase over the last biennium, and will allow many school districts across the state to re-hire teachers and stabilize programs after years of cuts, according to a press release from the Office of the House of Representatives.

“The last half decade has seen over 7,000 teacher layoffs and seemingly endless cuts to school days,” says House Speaker Tina Kotek.  “With this budget we’re offering school districts certainty and stability; we’re positioning Oregon schools to turn the corner so we can begin reinvesting in the most critical element of our future prosperity.”

The $6.75 billion budget directly allocates $6.55 billion for the state’s public schools, coupled with $200 million in school district savings to the Public Employee Retirement System enacted in SB 822, which passed earlier this session. 

Rep. Peter Buckley is quoted saying, “When we crafted the state budget, we prioritized schools with a $6.75 billion investment. I’ve been pleased to learn what that means for many school districts across the state, including those I represent, who are adding teachers and programs.  After years of cuts, it’s time to start rebuilding. We still have more to do, but today marks a turning point in Oregon’s recovery.”

The budget passed 53-5 with two excused and now goes to the governor’s desk for his signature. 

June 27, 2013 02:53 PM

This is Rep. Phil Barnhart's report sent to weekly newspapers this week:

With the end of the legislative  session fast approaching, we are still working to accomplish what Oregonians sent us here to do. 

Oregon voters have spoken loud and clear about their priorities.  They want us to close tax breaks for the rich and to make our tax code fairer for the middle class.  I hear this routinely at coffee meetings from constituents in all parts of my district.   Democrats hold a slight majority in both chambers, but Oregon’s Constitution requires a supermajority to pass revenue raising bills.  That leaves lot of questions unanswered.

Can we rein in tax breaks to strengthen education funding?  We still have an opportunity to take action to strengthen budgets for schools.  To date, Republicans have blocked any revenue for schools from moving forward.   

Will we be able to provide health care and long term services for senior citizens?  By renewing existing assessments that support hospitals and nursing homes, HB 2216 would bring in $2 billion(much of it coming from the federal government) to cover services for senior citizens and hospital patients, and protect and create thousands of jobs in the healthcare industry.  But despite receiving broad bipartisan support from the state House, Senate Republicans are holding up that bill in the name of partisan political games.

Can we give schools the stability and certainty they need?  Senate Bill 5519 would begin to turn the corner and stop the recent disinvestment in education by allocating $6.55 billion to school districts in addition to $200 million in PERS savings we created with the passage of SB 822  That is $1 billion more than the budget passed in 2011,. But Senate Republicans are blocking that bill too.

All of these questions are still up in the air because Senate Republicans are using the equivalent of the filibuster to obstruct important bills from passing.  We could help schools reduce class sizes, support our medical sector, and make our tax code fairer for the middle class.  But Senate Republicans have chosen partisanship over solving our state’s problems.  I will continue to work for honest solutions, and to make Oregon a better place to live.

At the end of a session things can move very fast.  By the time you read this we may have resolved some of these problems, or not … stay tuned.

During the legislative sessions Rep. Phil Barnhart can be found at the Oregon State Capitol,  Salem, (503)986-1411, or email rep.philbarnhart@state.or.us

June 27, 2013 05:22 PM

This just in from the Oregon Department of Ag: ODA is temporarily restricting the use of 18 pesticides containing dinotefuran while it investigates the death of thousands of bees near Portland this month. Dinotefuran is a neonicontinoid, a class of pesticides that have been linked to honeybee die-offs.

Here's a list of consumer products that contain neonicontinoids via Beyond Toxics. For more on honeybees and neonics and local efforts to save the bees go to Beyond Toxics's website.

In the wake of large bee kills, ODA takes steps in an abundance of caution

ODA restricts use of certain dinotefuran pesticides

June 27, 2013... The Oregon Department of Agriculture is restricting the use of 18 pesticide products containing the active ingredient dinotefuran while it continues the investigation of a large kill of bumblebees in Wilsonville and Hillsboro this month. By adopting a temporary rule, ODA is taking action, in an abundance of caution, to avoid the potential of similar large bee kills this summer due to specific pesticide applications.

“I have directed the agency to take this step in an effort to minimize any potential for additional incidents involving bee deaths connected to pesticide products with this active ingredient until such time as our investigation is completed and we have more information,” says ODA Director Katy Coba. “Conclusions from the investigation will help us and our partners evaluate whether additional steps need to be considered.”

The ODA restriction focuses on ornamental, turf, and agricultural pesticide products that are used by both professional applicators and homeowners. Products with the active ingredient dinotefuran registered in Oregon for other uses, such as flea and tick control on pets or home ant and roach control, are not affected by the restriction. ODA’s concern is focused on those uses that may impact pollinators.

By statute, ODA has legal authority to establish limitations and procedures deemed necessary and proper for the protection of bees and other pollinating insects. The temporary rule, which goes into effect immediately, will be enforced for 180 days, by which time ODA is expected to complete its pesticide use investigations of the Wilsonville and Hillsboro incidents. Those investigations will determine if the pesticide applications were in violation of state and federal pesticide regulations, and will assist ODA in addressing any potential future actions.

ODA’s Pesticide Program has established a website with more information on the dinotefuran restriction, including a list of specific products affected as well as instructions for those who may have purchased these products. Go to <http://oregon.gov/ODA/PEST/Pages/Pollinator.aspx>.

June 27, 2013 03:42 PM

"Alternative spirtuality was taught to kindergarteners in Oregon."

F-bomb is bleeped, sort of.

June 26, 2013 04:24 PM

As we wrote about in last week's EW, forest scientist Norm Johnson, upon finding out that the Cascadia Forest Defenders were protesting the White Castle Project, came and talked about the loggin with the tree sitters. Here is CFD's video.

 

June 26, 2013 12:15 PM

I'm not that into kids, but I'd hang out with this cute little girl on America's Got Talent.

She's singing her own song "Zombi Skin," and she has also written the words to "Lullabye Crash."  Her facial expression when Howard Stern says "I can't wait to hear your sweet music" is priceless. Parenting done right.

June 25, 2013 09:57 AM

Oregon State University has just announced that it is establishing an open-source policy "requiring faculty members to make their scholarly articles available for free through the digital repository ScholarsArchive@OSU."

This will allow the public more access to all the rsearch coming out of OSU, or as the school puts it, “Now a farmer in Oregon can look up a paper written by someone in the College of Agricultural Sciences. And someone starting up a science-focused company can look at work done in the College of Science.”

OSU says that it is "the first university, public or private, in the Pacific Northwest to adopt a university-wide open access policy, and one of the first land grant universities in the nation to do so."

Will the UO follow suit?

According to the press release, OSU has been working on the open source issue for  a while, but calls for open access to research nationally increased after the January suicide of internet activist Aaron Swarz, who was facing "thirteen charges including wire fraud and computer fraud after he downloaded 4.8 million scientific and literary papers from the subscription service JSTOR via MIT's open campus network and MIT's JSTOR subscription."

 

 

By: Theresa Hogue, 541-737-0786; theresa.hogue@oregonstate.edu   

Source: Michael Boock, 541-737-9155; Michael.boock@oregonstate.edu

This release is available at: http://bit.ly/11EXJMG

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University has officially adopted an open access policy requiring faculty members to make their scholarly articles available for free through the digital repository ScholarsArchive@OSU.

The policy applies to all future scholarly articles authored or co-authored by faculty members at OSU.

OSU is the first university, public or private, in the Pacific Northwest to adopt a university-wide open access policy, and one of the first land grant universities in the nation to do so. About 58 percent of eligible OSU-produced scholarly articles are already placed in ScholarsArchive@OSU. Faculty members may obtain waivers from the policy at their discretion.

The OSU Faculty Senate unanimously approved the motion to establish the policy at its June 13 meeting. The policy was passed eight years after the faculty senate originally passed a resolution in support of open access. OSU also was one of the first American universities to sign onto the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities, which is an international statement in support of open access.

OSU Provost and Vice President Sabah Randhawa has been a long-time supporter of open access on campus.

"As a land grant and a comprehensive research university with international impact, OSU is committed to disseminate its research and scholarship as widely as possible,” Randhawa said. “The policy enables our faculty to make its creative work more accessible to a wider audience, including other scientists and educators, the public, and policy-makers – and in a more timely manner."

Michael Boock, head of the OSU Center for Digital Scholarship and Services, has been working for several years on issues related to open access at OSU. Along with Shan Sutton, associate university librarian for research and scholarly communication, Rich Carter in the Department of Chemistry, Faculty Senate library committee chair Marit Bovberg and a number of other OSU employees dedicated to open access, Boock has been pushing for the university to broadly embrace open access as a practice that seamlessly merges with the land grant mission.

“As a land grant institution, we feel it’s important to have our work available to the citizens of the state, and the world,” Boock said, “For much of our research at a land-, sea-, space-, and sun grant institution, the people who will ultimately read it and benefit from it are practitioners and decision-makers, or in some cases, school teachers and students.”

Another reason for the push to adopt open access is the escalating cost of maintaining subscriptions to major academic journals. OSU and other colleges and universities are being priced out of purchasing annual subscriptions to important and prestigious journals because of budgetary concerns. That means access to the top work in many fields is hidden behind a paywall, Carter said, which is what originally propelled him to start advocating for open access at OSU.

“We know that open access policies are going to allow the public to have more ready access to research being done at OSU,” Carter said. “Now a farmer in Oregon can look up a paper written by someone in the College of Agricultural Sciences. And someone starting up a science-focused company can look at work done in the College of Science.”

Sutton said there are ongoing, discernible shifts in the world of scholarly journals as more publishers recognize that open access is here to stay. That means that most journals are allowing work to be made available via repositories like ScholarsArchive@OSU, although often that version may be embargoed for months or years after publication in the journal. More faculty members are also requesting an addendum to their publishing contracts with journals, allowing them to make their work available via open access.

But OSU supporters of open access also recognize that publication is essential to tenure. The fact that some noteworthy journals still staunchly refuse to allow open access to their articles is why waivers are in place for OSU faculty members.

“The intention of the policy is we want faculty to continue to publish wherever they want to do so,” Carter said. The policy is not intended to prevent or discourage a faculty member from attempting publication in certain journals, he added, but to consider open access as another facet of being a land grant faculty member.

“This policy wasn’t passed in a vacuum,” Sutton said. “The universities that employ scholars and the granting agencies that fund much of their research are increasingly embracing open access as a common value to ensure research findings across disciplines are more widely accessible to the public and global research community. Academic libraries like OSU Libraries are key contributors to this movement in managing institutional repositories, advocating for publishers to adopt reasonable open access positions, and assisting faculty with issues such as publication agreement addenda.”

"The timing of this policy's passage couldn't be better," said Faye Chadwell, Donald and Delpha Campbell University Librarian at OSU. "OSU's policy has situated us to respond proactively to mandates from funding agencies to make sponsored research available to the public. With this new policy and workflows in place, as well as a robust institutional repository, OSU can be part of a solution like SHARE (a potential network of digital repositories from around the country)."

OSU has a long history of supporting open access to faculty-produced research. OSU library faculty were the first university librarians in the nation to pass an open access policy for their own work, and several OSU colleges, including the College of Earth, Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences and College of Forestry, have open access policies as well. Since 2006, graduate students have been required to deposit a copy of their thesis or dissertation into the university’s open-access repository, ScholarsArchive@OSU.

Webometrics recently ranked the ScholarsArchive@OSU digital repository seventh among U.S. single institution open access repositories. The Webometrics ranking is produced by the Cybermetrics Lab of the Spanish National Research Council located in Madrid and is based on indicators such as the number, visibility and impact of repository holdings.