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January 8, 2014 05:09 PM

January 8, 2014 01:54 PM

It's true. SNL realized it's 2014 (but really, insert any year here) and there are funny people who are not white males — even though four of the five original new hires for the 2013-2014 season are white men (the fifth is a white woman). After much backlash, and one hilarious episode hosted by Kerry Washington, SNL has hired comedian Sasheer Zamata. And she's hilarious:

Zamata is the first black woman on SNL since Maya Rudolph left in 2007. I almost wanted to boycott SNL this winter after SNL cast member Kenan Thompson told TV Guide in reference to the lack of black women in the cast: "It's just a tough part of the business. Like in auditions, they never find ones that are ready." Oh sweet, sweet patronization.

But, especially with the addition of Zamata, SNL's female cast members are stealing the season and I will keep tuning in. For more on Zamata, Salon.com does a nice roundup of her standup and skits here.

January 6, 2014 12:50 PM

Friends of Mildred Kanipe Memorial Park (FMKMP) is in Douglas County are fighting to save the park from clear-cut logging proposed by the Douglas County Commission. A decision is expected Wednesday, Jan. 8. “The county thinks they need to cut 20 acres of big trees in order to build a campground,” says Debra Gray of FMKMP. “Our community has already raised $23,000 to show them we can build it without clear cutting the big trees that make it the special place it is. But we need help convincing them.”

 Below is the information the group provided:


We need your help to protect the 1,100 acre Mildred Kanipe Memorial Park near Oakland, Oregon. On Jan. 8, the Douglas County Parks Advisory Board will make a recommendation to the Douglas County Commissioners to clearcut 20 acres of a native 100- to 150-year-old conifer forest in the Park. The sale could happen next month, so our actions are urgent.

 While much of Kanipe Park is an oak savannah/woodland forest, there are 221 acres of native conifer forests identified as merchantable in a 2008 timber inventory taken by the current Douglas County Parks director. 

The commissioners need to hear from you that clearcutting in any park, but especially Kanipe, is inappropriate.Come to the Commissioner's meeting, 9 am Wednesday, Jan. 8, Room 216, Douglas County Courthouse, 1036 SE Douglas, Roseburg, and/or e-mail Commissioner Robertson (tina@co.douglas.or.us) with your thoughts. It's crucial that the commissioners know that a majority of the public is opposed to clearcutting any part of Kanipe Park! 

 There have been previous proposals to log Kanipe, but they were stopped by public opinion and by the terms of the Trust Mildred Kanipe set up to provide for this gift to the people of Douglas County. Her will stipulated: “No timber shall be cut or harvested except as may be necessary.” While Mildred did occasionally cut down trees when it made ecological sense to do so (something we don’t object to), clear cutting was not a management tool used or condoned by Mildred. In a book interview Mildred said, about cutting timber, “I wasn’t going to cut those trees, those fir trees. I was always crazy about trees.” 

The park has been a draw for hikers, equestrians, students of plant and animal science, and nature lovers. But in August 2012 the county succeeded in dissolving the Trust, and now is free to convert all the conifer forests into plantations. The uniqueness of Kanipe will be lost; the attraction of visiting it will be greatly lessened and Mildred’s wishes will be swept aside. 

The county says this clearcut is needed to finance a new campground, which will go a long way toward sustaining Kanipe Park financially. However, a clearcut is not necessary to do this. Concerned citizens have come up with another plan.It involves public contributions, in-kind donations, and grants. Since October 2013, more than $23,000 in pledges and cash has been donated from people throughout the state, with significant additional in-kind donations.

There are doable solutions to keeping Mildred Kanipe Park a beautiful park, with a campground and without a clearcut. The county parks department has chosen not to consider using a state grant created specifically to help build campgrounds or a State Park mechanism created specifically to help financially strapped county parks. With your help, we can convince the County Commissioners to do the right thing. Come to the meeting January 8 or e-mail Doug Robertson, the county commissioner that oversees park management. 

Key issues include:

• The county doesn’t need to log the park. People are fundraising to pay for the campground. This is a remarkable public effort that the commissioners should welcome. Once the money is raised for the campground, the Commissioners should not clearcut, especially without adopting a long-term management plan for the Park.

• Mildred Kanipe Park is the only county park required to be self-supporting. The parks director believes timber money should support the park, so he has chosen not to use other revenue opportunities, like donation boxes, parking fees, the Opportunity Grant, General Fund money, or options to move Kanipe Park into the Oregon State Parks system. The county should not be so quick to clearcut without pursuing all reasonable alternatives.

• Converting the old, native conifer forests in the park to young plantations means it must be “managed” on a continual basis. (It is impossible to replant 400 trees per acre and then never log it again). The public would prefer to recreate in real forests, not managed tree-farm. 

 • The proposal includes building an expensive new logging road, mapped to go through the heart of the park, replacing parts of Fern Woods Trail. Large oaks would need to be cut down and the native-surface trail would be graveled. It would be unsightly and lead park visitors right into the clearcut.

• The new road will travel over a stream that feeds Bachelor Creek, a salmon bearing tributary of the Umpqua. Crossing the stream requires building on steep, erodible hillsides, with a new culvert, needing a lifetime of road maintenance. Once the trees are cut and gone (perhaps exported), how will the county fund the logging road maintenance? Will it be added to the annual cost of maintaining the Park? This cost is not in the plan.

• The County plans to aerial spray herbicides on the new clearcut for several years. How will this herbicide impact people using the park, especially people drawn into the clearcut area, via the new road, after it is sprayed? How will it impact the neighbors?

• In a book interview Mildred said: “Most everybody told me, if you’d cut that timber, you would have some grass… But I wasn’t going to cut those trees, those fir trees, I was always crazy about trees…. Nope, I said, I ain’t gonna cut them trees.” Mildred also loved her oak trees. She said: “I’m just like the oak trees… I’m rooted in here so deep there’s just no movin’ me.” 


Email Doug Robertson at tina@co.douglas.or.us

Write a letter to the News Review: vmenard@nrtoday.com

For more information see: http://www.mildredkanipepark.org

To pledge a donation, send an email to: pledges@mildredkanipepark.org.

To see pictures of the proposed new road and unit to be clearcut, see:


January 3, 2014 04:33 PM

January 2, 2014 02:28 PM

December 30, 2013 02:15 PM

December 27, 2013 05:55 PM

If you haven't already seen it making the rounds on Facebook, then check out this collection of news bloopers that makes me grateful EW is a print publication and that I don't have to interview handsy primates.

December 20, 2013 04:50 PM

December 20, 2013 01:13 PM

On Jan. 1, penalties for talking on the phone in your car are going up. And for the first time, there's no smoking if a kid's in the car. From ODOT:


Fine increases for mobile device usage

Senate Bill 9 changes Oregon's traffic offense of operating a motor vehicle while using a mobile communication device from a Class D violation to a Class C. The minimum fine for a class C violation is $142, and the fine for this offense can be as high as $500. The fine's increase is aimed at reducing the number of crashes that involve a driver talking on a handheld phone or texting. In Oregon from 2009 to 2011, nine people died in crashes involving a driver who was reportedly using a cell phone at the time of the crash, and 673 people have been injured.

Using a cell phone while driving falls under the category of "distracted driving," and this type of distraction is an increasingly dangerous behavior across the country. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in the U.S. 3,331 people were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver in 2011, compared to 3,267 in 2010.

The behavior is especially dangerous for younger drivers: 11 percent of all drivers under the age of 20 involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crash.

Any activity that diverts a person's attention away from the primary task of driving is dangerous. A Virginia Tech Transportation Institute study revealed that physically dialing a phone while driving increases the risk of a crash as much as six times. Texting is riskier still, increasing the collision risk by 23 times.

Even though a majority of Oregonians believe texting and hand-held cell phone use while driving is unsafe, some still choose to do so. According to a 2012 phone survey of Oregon drivers, more than 70 percent said they know cell phones are a safety problem and that phoning and texting while driving are illegal. In spite of this, cell phone convictions in Oregon have steadily risen from an initial 40 in 2008 to 22,892 in 2012.

New smoking offense created

Senate Bill 444 created the new offense of smoking in a vehicle while a person younger than 18 years old is in the vehicle. The maximum fine for the first offense is $250, and the maximum fine for repeat offenses is $500.

This new law is considered a "secondary" law: a police officer may cite for this offense only if the officer has already stopped a vehicle for another violation or offense.

December 20, 2013 10:27 AM

Anybody ancient enough to remember this?

December 20, 2013 01:30 PM

December 19, 2013 06:39 PM

From billboards in Oregon airports to Christmas carols, Oregon Wild is going all out with its campaign to save Oregon's public forests. Looks like the Oregon group is giving the Center for Biological Diversity a run for its money in terms of clever media play. Can Oregon Wild beat the Endangered Species condoms? How about something more gender-inclusive like anti-clearcut dental dams or old-growth vibrators? (Don't procreate! Recreate!).

December 19, 2013 04:06 PM

Utah has a unique plan to end homelessness and save taxpayers money by providing free apartments and caseworkers. See