Rabid Bats and the Bieber Fever: The News Week in Review


Everyone loves a good bat. Especially if that bat is a man named Christian Bale in Christopher Nolan’s Batman series. But there is another bat that people love less—the bat that the Benton County Health Department warned people about this last week. “The Benton County Health Department wants you to be aware that a bat there tested positive for rabies. Health workers say make sure your pets are vaccinated against the disease and don’t handle bats with bare hands.” [1]

You know, because most of us cannot wait to handle rabid creatures with bare hands.

But while you should not handle rabies-infected animals with your bare hands, you can handle food with them. “The Oregon Health Authority has backed off a proposed rule that would have forbidden restaurant employees from handling food with their bare hands. Oregon Public Broadcasting reports the agency will instead convene a work group on standards to prevent food-borne illness.” [2]

On the subject of illness: An Oregon woman no longer has Bieber fever. She now has Bieber hearing impairment. “An Oregon woman has filed a $9.2 million lawsuit against pop star Justin Bieber, alleging she suffered permanent hearing loss at his Portland concert two years ago. Stacey Wilson Betts of Wilsonville filed the suit Thursday in U.S. District Court. It states that Betts suffered the injury when Bieber climbed into a heart-shaped gondola and was pulled over the crowd. Bieber enticed the fans into a ‘frenzy of screams,’ and the sound exceeded safe decibel levels.” [3]

Screaming frenzies also led to a situation in Portland, though this time the screamers were younger. “TriMet says a bus driver who twice refused service to women with crying children has retired rather than be fired. Claudeen Hendren ordered a woman and her four children off her bus in Forest Grove last month after a fare dispute led to tears. A police officer who tried to calm the situation said Hendren told him she did [not] want people who were crying on her bus.” [4]

In the same way that Hendren did not want crying children on her bus, Homeland Security did not want Occupy Eugene on their federal property anymore. “Officers from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security showed up this evening at the Occupy Eugene outpost at the Federal Building at East Seventh Avenue and Pearl Street. Putting a perimeter around the area with yellow tape marked ‘Police Line — Do Not Cross,’ officers ordered protestors to leave the space. When one protestor refused to vacate the premises, Homeland Security officers prepared to make an arrest.” [5]

Homeland Security did not make the only arrest this week, though. The Eugene Police Department also jumped in, making “an arrest in the 4J computer crime case…a 16-year-old male from North Eugene was arrested for this security breach. The police served a search warrant and charged the teenager with one count of Computer Crime. Investigators are still looking into the case after collecting evidence from his home.” [6]

That arrest will surely come as a relief to many parents in the 4J district. Another relief this week came to Dexter Lake residents: “Lane County health officials say they have finished testing 11 water wells [at Dexter] and the results show that the water in them is safe. Employees of the Dexter Sanitary District and some former board members have said they were worried about leaking sewer lines’ proximity to residents’ wells, particularly in light of heavy storms this spring that sent large amounts of water into the sewer system.” [7]

We all know, of course, that a sewage system overflow is not good for tourism. But did you know that the Simpsons, on the other hand, are? “A life-size replica of the entire Simpsons cartoon family has been on display in front of Sweety’s Frozen Yogurt for the past several weeks.  The shop’s owner Jack Koehler says the installation has brought in so much business, he wants to create a ‘Simpsonville’ in downtown Springfield…By embracing the Simpsons’ fame, Koehler says Springfield could bring in a lot more tourism dollars.” [8]

Fame, most agree, is generally good. Unless that fame comes from blowing yourself up by smoking a cigarette. “A Eugene woman suffered serious burns to her face Friday after smoking near a medical oxygen system in her home, a Eugene Fire Department report said…Medical oxygen used to aid breathing is nearly pure oxygen, which is highly flammable, said Deputy Fire Marshal Amy Linder of the Eugene Fire Department.” [9]

While that explosion was not anticipated, an explosion all of us in Eugene anticipate each year is the upcoming Duck football season. And “despite a relatively easy start to the season, the Ducks face tests against USC, California, and Washington that should truly define [what] the program is. While USC is the top program Oregon will face this year, Cal and Washington must not be overlooked by the Ducks nor their fans, for you can be rest assured that both those teams will be gunning for Oregon.” [10]

Just don’t gun too hard, other teams. We have rabid bats. And bubonic cats. [11]

Just saying.

R.L. Stollar writes the Local Nation segment at EDN. He has a B.A. in Western philosophy and literature from Gutenberg College in Oregon and a M.A. in Eastern religions from St. John’s College in New Mexico. Follow him on WordPress (rlstollar.wordpress.com/), Twitter, (@RLStollar), or Facebook (facebook.com/rlstollarjournalist).

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