Life In LC

This last week, we learned that — despite the Arab Spring — "the fall of dictatorships does not guarantee the creation of free societies."

Bees, Bombs, and Bodies: The News Week in Review

in Columns/Firehose/Rotator

You learn something new everyday. That is part of being human. Humanity has a knack for discovering new things, whether they are exciting, bizarre, disgusting, or revolutionary. This last week, for example, we learned that — despite the Arab Spring — “the fall of dictatorships does not guarantee the creation of free societies.” [1]

This last week, we learned that — despite the Arab Spring — “the fall of dictatorships does not guarantee the creation of free societies.”

We discovered that an anti-Islam video posted on the internet can lead to protests that cause “a number of deaths — including those of the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three others killed in an attack Tuesday in Benghazi, Libya.” [2] And we found out that those protests can cause other protests, “showing support for America and sympathy for [the killed ambassador].” [3]

Clearly, then, not every discovery is met with enthusiasm. Like when you discover a body frozen in ice. “The Pierce County medical examiner’s office says the second of two bodies recently recovered from a Mount Rainier glacier is that of a 54-year-old Springfield man who was one of four people who vanished in January storms…Melting snow exposed the bodies. The medical examiner says all three died of hypothermia.” [4]

Melting snow wasn’t the only revealing liquid this week. Spilt honey south of Eugene revealed a deadly bee disease. “A deadly honey bee disease is looming over honey beekeepers south of Eugene near Loraine Highway. A mysterious white bucket of spilled honey was found a couple weeks ago near the corner of Loraine Highway and McBride Road…That mysterious bucket of honey tested positive for American Foulbrood – deadly honeybee disease. ‘This is an absolute worst case scenario,’ said Morris Ostrofsky, a retired beekeeper in Eugene.” [5]

Speaking of absolute worse case scenarios: some have been arguing that marijuana creates such scenarios for football players. “Tyrann Mathieu, Cliff Harris, Michael Dyer, Jeremiah Masoli, Greg Reid. What do all these familiar names have in common? At one point they were all college football superstars on some of the nation’s premier teams. But sadly, the similarity that has come to define them is that they have all been kicked off their respective teams for, among other things, marijuana use…What’s worse — it is happening all the time.” [6]

A deadly honey bee disease is looming over honey beekeepers south of Eugene near Loraine Highway.

If you live in Eugene, though, marijuana use isn’t the only thing that happens all the time. Car thefts happen all the time, too. Especially if you have an older car. “The National Insurance Crime Bureau has released a list of the top 10 most stolen vehicles in Oregon – and not one of the cars was built before 2002. A 1992 Honda Accord tops the list with older model Toyotas and Ford pickups trailing behind. The report found older vehicles are popular with car thieves because of longevity, value of the parts and they are easier to steal.” [7]

So older cars are easier to steal, at least in Eugene. But what’s proving hard to steal (or use, depending on your perspective) is an extra lane to expand LTD’s EMX line. This has been especially difficult, according to the Eugene Weekly, because “some vocal local opponents disagree and have done everything from littering West 11th with signs to taking out anti-EmX ads on LTD buses.” But the pro-expansion group is fighting back, asking “whether that funding [for the anti-EmX ad campaign] was coming from the conservative anti-tax activists Illinois-based Taxpayers United for America or conservative initiative sponsor Bill Sizemore’s Oregon Taxpayers United.” [8]

It is questionable whether putting up signs on one’s own private property to exercise freedom of speech equals “littering.” But there is no doubt that throwing one’s cigarette butt on the ground fits the description. To discourage people from doing that very thing at public parks, “the Lane County Department of Health and Human Services is playing with the possibility of making parks and campgrounds tobacco free. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, Lane County has a higher rate of tobacco use than the State of Oregon as a whole. By banning tobacco from parks and campgrounds they hope to encourage more people to kick the habbit, as well as cut some clean up costs.” [9]

1992 Honda Accords are the most stolen vehicles in Oregon.

While we’re on the subject of “clean up costs”: some say spraying pesticides all over human beings has those sorts of costs. “In the Spring of 2011, 34 residents from around the Triangle Lake area tested positive to having — among other chemicals —  2,4D in their urine. 2,4D, another weed control pesticide, has been debated as a hazard towards humans…The Oregon Health Authority and the state’s Pesticide Analytical Response Center began investigations as to how Triangle Lake residents were exposed to the pesticide…The Oregon Health Department is continuing its investigations. It is requesting residents who have possession of environmental data such as air, water and soil analyses, to make contact with the OHA.” [10]

Pesticides were not alone in being investigated this week. Also under investigation is the City of Eugene’s downtown “exclusion zone.” “In its first meeting outside the now-closed City Hall, the City Council on Monday discussed the controversial ordinance, which allows authorities to ban people accused — but not convicted — of certain crimes from the downtown core for 90 days…Unless the council renews it, the ordinance will expire on Nov. 30. The council will hold a public hearing on the issue next Monday, and is scheduled to vote on the matter on Oct. 8.” [11]

Banning people from downtown, of course, can create some uproar. But what about banning people from parachuting into an airport? “After six years of bickering about whether skydivers should be able to land at Creswell’s municipal airport, Eugene Skydivers has filed a lawsuit claiming the city’s no-parachuting rules have cost the company about $735,000. In the suit, the skydiving company accuses the city of Creswell of violating a lease agreement when city officials outlawed parachute landing at Hobby Field in 2006. The ban went into effect after private pilots complained about nearly being hit by skydiving planes while flying near the airport.” [12]

The Lane County Department of Health and Human Services is playing with the possibility of making parks and campgrounds tobacco free.

It must have been a hard day in the workplace when Eugene Skydivers first learned about the parachuting ban. But then again, their work involves diving through the sky. Perhaps a harder workplace situation is the one faced daily by those with body modifications. “With certain extreme modifications (including double stretched nostrils at an eight gauge and a facial tattoo), it is very difficult for Surja to find work in the United States. Originally an art student, Surja had to start school over again. But in order to make her way through school, she must work…Most of her jobs have been non-accepting of even her more discrete modifications, asking her to either remove them or cover them up.” [13]

But on the bright side, everyone probably had a better week that whoever discovered that dead person in the glacier. Who even knew that dead people could be found in glaciers?

Like I said — you learn something new everyday.

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