Life In LC

The NASA probe Curiosity doesn’t just have a Twitter account, it also has a Facebook account.

Smoking with Babies, Landing on Mars: The News Week in Review

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The NASA probe Curiosity doesn’t just have a Twitter account, it also has a Facebook account.

Humans are curious creatures. We have an insatiable desire to explore the furthest reaches of our universe. We saw this fact last week, as the NASA Curiosity landed on Mars. “Eight months ago NASA launched the mini-cooper sized probe on a mission to land on, and explore Mars.” Of course, humans are also addicted to social media, so it is fitting that, “Curiosity doesn’t just have a twitter account, it also has a facebook account.” [1]

While the average resident of Eugene might not be able to explore Mars in this lifetime, there are still plenty of areas that are worth exploring. “The Tam McArthur Rim trail is brutal but extremely rewarding. The 5.5 mile trail (round trip) gets its name from a mountainous wall, or rim, that forms a picturesque backdrop for 3 Creeks Lake.” [2]

Some areas, though, are best left unexplored — like strip clubs, for example. While you might argue they have their time and place, they are also arguably not the best place for politicians to be spotted. This explains why “the Oregon House Republican leader who abruptly stepped down last month says he did so in part because of concerns that the public would find out that he and a handful of other GOP lawmakers had visited a topless bar.” [3]

An Oregon House Republican leader abruptly stepped down last month in part because of concerns that the public would find out that he and a handful of other GOP lawmakers had visited a topless bar.

Being a political leader and going to a strip club can be considered less than intelligent. Also considered less than intelligent is smoking while pregnant. “Lane County health managers say that 16% of women who are pregnant in Lane County smoke, and about one in four of that group do so during their first trimester. That’s about six percent higher than other areas around the state of Oregon and significantly higher than all the national averages despite the obvious health complications.” [4]

What is intelligent, on the other hand, is taking care of those less fortunate than one’s self. Demonstrating that even one company can make a difference, “The folks at Delacata want to help a family by supplying school supplies for a child’s upcoming school year.” Delacata calls their act of charity a “Schoolyard Makeover.” [5]

A lucky school-goer will not be the only one getting a makeover. The Eugene Police Department is about to finish their makeover today. “After two weeks of a methodical move, the Eugene Police Department is nearing the end of its transition from City Hall in the downtown to its new $17.4 million home north of the Willamette River, on Country Club Road. The police department has been in City Hall since the structure opened in 1964.” [6]

No more going fast and furious on Country Club Road, people.

16% of women who are pregnant in Lane County smoke. That’s about six percent higher than other areas around the state of Oregon.

Speaking of going fast and furious: drunk people often do that. But drunk people might not have a place to stay the night any more. “The Buckley Center’s sobering station in Eugene will run out of money at the end of September and will be forced to close its doors unless new funding emerges, program director Tom McKee said Monday. If the station were to close, thousands of drunk or high people would be left to sober up on their own in public places, arrested by local police, or rushed to the nearest hospital emergency room, according to Willamette Family Inc., which operates the sobering station.” [7]

Sobering up is good. Sobering up to the facts is even better. Students got a great big dose of sober this week when “the Higher One company, which contracts with Lane Community College to disburse student aid,…agreed to pay $11 million in restitution to students. The company also will pay a $110,000 civil penalty to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.to settle charges of ‘deceptive and unfair practices’ for charging about 60,000 students multiple fees for a single overdraft, for holding accounts open for months while fees piled up and for grabbing the accumulated fees at the start of each new term as fresh disbursements of student aid roll into the student accounts, according to the FDIC.” [8]

Higher One was not the only one to get caught with its hand in the cookie jar. “A longtime Eugene school secretary was sentenced Friday to 22 months in prison for embezzling $18,000 in school funds during her 17 months at Edgewood Elementary School. Cynthia Jo Oberfoell, also the school’s office manager, pleaded guilty in June to five counts of first-degree theft in the case…Oberfoell’s fraudulent purchases ranged from a $3,700 sewing machine to an ‘Alice in Wonderland’ sugar bowl.'” [9]

Most likely Cynthia Jo Oberfoell did not think buying a sugar bowl would be her demise. But sometimes it is the small things in life that make the biggest difference — like releasing invasive species. “Science teachers who want their students to get up close and personal with the natural world may be unwittingly unleashing invasive species into the environment once class is over. A recent survey conducted by Oregon State University researchers found that many science teachers who buy organisms from biological suppliers to use in the classroom release the critters rather than kill them when the science lesson is done. About a quarter of teachers reported releasing live organisms, and 8 percent of those organisms were known to be invasive.” [10]

But on the other hand, in a week filled with space-probes tweeting, pregnant women smoking, and politicians hitting up strip clubs, it might not be clear anymore which species are actually the invasive ones…

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