The Oregonian has announced it's changing its delivery schedule for its print additions, laying off employees — among the layoffs are environment reporters Scott Learn and Eric Mortenson, (no relation to me,) Willamette Week reports). WW also reports that The O has decided NOT to call its online version TheDigitalO after all. Nope that's not a joke, nor is the fact that editors are now apparently being called "managing producers."
The O is owned by Advance, which has been roundly criticized for its attempt to go to a three-day-a-week print schedule in New Orleans.
Former Oregonian reporter and current Oregon Emerald publisher (who moved that college daily to an online focus and a reduced print schedule) Ryan Frank raised $3,500 for a bar tab for The O's staff at Higgins, a bar across the street from the paper, Romenesko reports. Donations can be made at oregonianfund.com. After tonight Franks says the money will go to supporting families of those laid off.
Willamette Week is updating the layoffs on its blog.
Let's all support our local papers (and yes, that means the R-G, too) and make sure this doesn't happen in Eugene. We need good, local news coverage!
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."
Prolific EW music writer Will Kennedy passes along this gem of "What Phish sounds like to people who don't like Phish."
You ate my fractal.
One of several videos from a recent City Club program on affordable housing.
Paul Cienfuegos was in Eugene this week and will speak at the Florence Public Library this evening (June 14) from 5:30 to 8:30 pm.
It appears talks between District 4J and the Eugene Education Association (EEA) ended early this morning with little progress after nine hours. No further talks are scheduled.
“The District continued to propose unacceptable changes to leadership language and barely moved on key financial issues,” says a statement from the EEA at 2:15 am today (June 11). “The District proposed 10 furlough days (a 5 percent pay cut), one of which would have been paid for out of insurance reserves. The District also offered no cost-of-living increase and half steps for members who are step-eligible.”
The EEA has recently offered a 0.8 percent COLA and full step increases, along with a $25 per member per month insurance contribution, also to be paid out of reserves.
“The District seems unwilling to look hard at its own spending priorities such as $350,000 to remodel the Ed Center auditorium, the continuation of costly conferences, and expensive consultants.”
Teachers have complained about the hiring of Massachusetts consultant Jon Saphier who was reportedly paid $290,000 last year and about $215,000 this year. The mandatory “Welcome Back Breakfast” at the Hilton at the beginning of this school year cost a reported $25,000 and some teachers have complained that it had no value. On Saphier’s website it says, “In recent years he has led large-scale district improvement projects forging working alliances between superintendents, union leaders, and school boards.”
Adding to the strife is resistance by teachers to a common high school schedule to be imposed next fall by Superintendent Shelly Berman and the 4J School Board.
In case you missed it June 8.
From Doug Perry, the assistant fire marshall today:
"With the approaching Independence Day holiday, fire and city of Eugene officials are considering restrictions on the use of fireworks. These restrictions may include a ban on fireworks use in the South Hills and Spencer, Skinner and Willagillespie Buttes as well as limiting the dates fireworks may be discharged in the remainder of the city. A decision on these possible restrictions will be made by June 24.
"Fireworks that fly, explode, travel more than one foot into the air or more than six feet on the ground are already AGAINST THE LAW in Oregon. Illegal fireworks cause countless injuries and thousands of dollars in property loss each year. "
The fire marshall's office can be reached at 682-5887.