The latest recap of the news you may have missed… we’re assuming by accident.
Steady as She Goes, Benton
This Friday, the new changes will take effect for risk levels throughout Oregon, and Benton County will remain at the high risk level. Let’s all take this as a good thing, because unlike other counties who have moved up and down all willy-nilly. opening and closing and rearranging their communities, Benton County has slowly but surely made real progress. If we keep this up, we will see the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel.
Dr. Lubchenco Goes to Washington
Oregon State University’s Jane Lubchenco has been made Deputy Director for Climate and the Environment for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy which will be part of the cabinet for the first time. Lubchenco, who was featured by The Advocate for her belief that as president Joe Biden would go back to a more scientific path, will lead efforts on climate change and environmental challenges with a focus on health, economic recovery, equity, and sustainability. She will be working with White House National Climate Coordinator Gina McCarthy. We at The Advocate feel in much better hands already.
Class Action Suit for OSU & U of O
Students from Oregon State University and the University of Oregon have filed a class action lawsuit against the universities seeking partial repayment of tuition. The suit claims that the students paid full tuition but were unable to use certain campus facilities and were missing in-person activities and experiences due to the pandemic. The firm representing these students – Hagens Berman – is filing similar suits at dozens of other universities. Managing Partner Steve Berman said, “We believe that when OSU closed its campus, transitioning to online-only classes, it barred tuition payers from the very things they paid for, and in our opinion, they deserve repayment.”
Eugene Airport Looking Good
Spring Break brought hopes of 80% of normal travel to Eugene’s airport. By March 19, approximately 1,900 people passed through TSA checkpoints which was 88% of normal. So, things were better than expected, raising expectations for June when the mass exodus of summer begins. Acting Airport Director Cathryn Stephens sees Eugene Airport coming out of the pandemic stronger than when it went in. Some Advocate staffers were unamused, preferring people just stay put until post-pandemic times.
Next Up – Archie Creek
OSU researchers are really getting around these days. This time down to Douglas County, where they are looking into the wildfire effects on watersheds by studying the Archie Creek Fire through the lens of the Hinkle Creek study. Their goal is to learn how to prepare for and manage wildfires in the future.
Lead Season is Upon Us
As the weather warms, we all get busy with home improvement projects. Many of us will inadvertently disturb hidden lead mostly found in older paints leaving the paint dust right there, waiting for children and toddlers to walk or crawl through it. Lead can cause significant cognitive impairments in children, and it comes with no symptoms – the only way to determine if a child is exposed is through a blood test. Multnomah County created a website which highlights items that might contain lead. If you have questions, check in with the Oregon Health Authority.
Good News for Music Enthusiasts
Mark your calendars! The Eugene Symphony will be releasing three new virtual concerts for all. Premiering April 1, May 6, and June 3, the performances will be available to anyone worldwide for one week, free but with a suggested donation of $15 per household. After the first week, the concerts will be available with password to symphony donors who give at least $120 per year.
Things are Going Back to Normal… Unfortunately
As the U.S. begins to come out of quarantine, the guns seem to be coming out as well. There have been seven mass shootings in seven days, one of which happened in Oregon. Of the 46 people hit by bullets, 20 died. Must be time to start the gun debates again… sigh.
Will the DMV Get Easier?
Due to the COVID backlog, there are a lot of Oregonians needing to go to the Department of Motor Vehicles, but not that many appointments available (and yes, you need an appointment now). So things are going to be changing. A new feature at DMV2U.Oregon.gov will allow people to renew an expired license, ID card, commercial license, restricted moped only license, and permits for instruction on cars, motorcycles, and disability golf carts. You’ll also be able to change your address and organ donation option. It all begins in May.
Oregon Health & Science University News
It took a year, but docs in training at Oregon Health and Sciences University have a union at last. Their contract included an annual salary increase of 2.5%, as well as stipends to help with housing, relocation, and equipment. They also get four weeks vacation. This contract makes OHSU competitive with the other teaching hospitals on the West Coast. Plus, for those of us who need to travel up the state and up the hill to be treated, it’s nice to know the doctors will be better rested and happier, no?
Whatever the Hell They Were, They are No More
Like many people, I have never tried Aplets and Cotlets – the “jellied fruit candy” from central Washington. Unfortunately for those who love the “gelatinous apple and apricot treat studded with walnuts” and no I’m not making these descriptors up, the smaller size of this one company has been eclipsed by large candymakers with deeper pockets. After three generations and 101 years, they are closing their doors.
First Indigenous Person Takes Place as Sec of Interior
Once upon a time, the land we call America was run by many people who we call tribes. Then European people came along and oppressed and suppressed and killed and made a new government. One person in that government was called a Secretary of the Interior, and the (mostly) men who called themselves that continued to treat those “tribes” poorly – one even saying that his goal was to “civilize or exterminate” the people who were here before him. Now, today, as we all sit here, one woman named Deb Haaland, who is a woman of one of those tribes called the Nez Perce, calls herself Secretary of the Interior. Haaland wants to work toward repairing the broken treaties and abuses committed against Indigenous People. And we hope we’ll all live peacefully and reasonably ever after.
From Swag to Weights, Do Women Matter as Much as Men?
While many in sports are excited over the NCAA March Madness basketball tournament, others are dismayed at yet another example of men’s sports being seen as more important than women’s. Like any good party for kids, there were grab bags – although the men’s bag was far better loaded than the women’s. Like any good sporting event, exercise space was reserved – however the men’s space had far more room and equipment than the women’s. The tournament coordinators are scrambling to make things more equitable, but it might be a little too little.
Florida Police Get Spicy with Springbreakers
In an attempt to get the dog-gone kids to break up the party and go to bed already, Florida police chose to shoot Spring Breakers with pepper bullets. Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber, concerned about the number of people heading his way, declared a state of emergency and set a curfew for 8:00 p.m. to little avail after the youths landed all over his fair city to celebrate a break from school and restriction… and, apparently, masks. Over 50 people were arrested and eight guns confiscated on a Friday, leaving the police no option but to disperse crowds on Saturday with bullets made of pepper.
Blood Clot Issue Solved in COVID Vaccine
Amid stories of blood clots and stop usage calls from many European countries, AstraZeneca says they have found the cause of the rare blood clotting issue some people have had related to their COVID-19 vaccine. While the European Medicines Agency said the benefits to the vaccine far outweigh the potential risks, and researchers determined the best ways to combat any clotting problems, German scientists isolated the specific antibodies responsible. AstraZeneca has been able to restart the vaccination process.
Twitter Can’t Keep Trump Down
Former President Donald Trump has his sights set on social media… again. He has decided to create his own platform where he will likely kick the following people off as soon as they join: Facebook founder Mark, Zuckerberg, Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, Former Fox News personality Megyn Kelly, Former President Barack “Love them jokes about Trump” Obama, current President Joe “I got more votes than you” Biden, Really former President Abraham “Black people like me better than you” Lincoln, and John McCain.
By Sally K Lehman