As the State Turns

By Johnny Beaver

stateturnssymbolThou Shall Not Grants Pass?
In a move championed by sanity, education, and undoubtedly LeVar Burton, the Grants Pass School Board voted to approve The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, a book by author Sherman Alexie, for use in English classes this upcoming school year. With lone dissenting board member Gary Richardson mumbling something about there being thousands of other books that don’t raise concerns, it was a nearly unanimous move.

Critics of the book, which follows a 14-year-old Native American boy, have cited references to profanity and sexual self-gratification (also known as flogging the dolphin), and apparently haven’t realized that these two things are major facets of just about any 14-year-old boy’s life.

Board members in support of its addition to the curriculum state that while it is a brutal tale, it is a fair depiction of life on a reservation. Another member even went on to say that the book was relatively tame—much more so than what’s on TV every night.

The Beautiful Oregon Coast
Recently I paid a visit to Smelt Sands near Yachats. It was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen, and I was tempted to take a dip even despite the inevitability that I’d have been dashed upon the rocks like a sexy, sexy ragdoll until my innards became outtards and I was devoured by various sea life. As glamorous as that sounds, I’m glad I decided to stay dry. Why? Because, as it turns out, Oregon beaches are now ranked 18th out of 30 states for water quality. And before you conspiracy theorists spark up your pilot lights: it has nothing to do with Fukushima.

What it does have to do with, however, are viruses, bacteria, parasites, and pollutants, most often coming from drainage systems, overflows of sewage, spills, etc. The data comes from a new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) measurement tool known as the Beach Action Value. Designed to be a “conservative, precautionary tool,” it sure as hell sounds like an emergency poop detector to me.

All is not lost, though. This is mostly just a test and can’t be considered comprehensive, as 80 Oregon beaches either weren’t tested or only had a few samples taken. Only time will tell if it’ll become safer to jump into dangerous coastal waters and be dashed upon the rocks.

Speaking of Critters…
Looks like there’s a new reason to steer clear of mosquiters (sorry, my accent is still affected by the previous section): the Chikungunya virus. It’s very jungley sounding, so of course it’s terrible lethal. Well, it’s really painful, but not that lethal. And now we’ve got it moving around in Lane County, thanks to a dude that just *had* to visit the Caribbean.

Traveling via mosquito bite, the illness tends to appear about three to seven days after contact according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Although there are no known treatments or vaccinations, you can kick the symptoms in the fruit ‘n’ veggies with simple bed rest, hydration, and pain relievers like children’s Tylenol (or adult Tylenol, if you’re too cool for that).

In the Caribbean there have been 184,000 suspected cases with 21 deaths. Despite this ratio typically being associated with hysteria in people that can’t count very well, Oregonians should still keep an eye out as local… oh, wait, the type of mosquitoes that transmit the virus aren’t even in Oregon. I actually can’t figure out why we’re talking about this.

Douchebaggery Alive and Well in Prineville
In Prineville some jerk stole a Ford Model A while its 79-year-old mechanic that was doing some work on it was eating lunch. Built in 1930, the car was originally owned by the Waetjen family, who has since passed it down.

This awesome piece of history doubled as a family heirloom, and douchebag Erik Blake Halpin sped around a corner (at likely what, 20 mph?) and wound up in the river, totaling the car. Apparently he was drunk. It’s like damnit, dude.