Hurricane Sandy

Admission deadlines for UO pushed back due to Hurricane Sandy

When the largest Atlantic hurricane on record made landfall on the East Coast on Oct. 29, 24 states were hit with floods, power outages, food shortages and extensive property damage. Hurricane Sandy totaled about $50 billion in damages and 113 fatalities in the United States.

While current living conditions of those on the East Coast were severely altered and damaged, the futures of young adults residing in those areas were threatened as well.

A Nov. 1 early notification deadline set by the University of Oregon’s Office of Admissions proved to be a difficult deadline for those affected by Sandy to meet. To accommodate, the UO pushed back their deadline a full week, according to Kelly Talbert, senior assistant director of recruitment for the UO’s Office of Admissions.

“We received some communication from prospective students to let us know that they weren’t going to be able to complete application online due to power outages, or that they couldn’t submit certain documents because their school was closed and could not get signatures from a school counselor,” Talbert said.

Talbert said because of complaints there was a general consensus among the Office of Admissions to push back the deadline in order to accommodate prospective students in this situation.

“Everyone understood that changing the deadline was the right thing to do. Even though we are on the other side of the country and don’t see as many applicants as the East Coast schools do, we still felt there were enough cases that we needed to change the deadline,” Talbert said.

Talbert noted that the last time an application deadline was modified due to a natural disaster was in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast.

The UO’s Robert D. Clark Honors College has also changed their admissions deadline to accommodate the delays prospective students may be experiencing due to Hurricane Sandy. The College’s early notification application deadline has been moved to Thursday, November 8, 2012, according to their website.

Where Did The Week Go…

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If they gave out irony awards, the winner would undoubtedly go to the production set of an upcoming film.

Darren Aronofsky’s Noah, based on the biblical story, is filming in Oyster Bay, New York. The location was chosen specifically because hurricanes almost never hit the Northeast, and certainly not at this time of year… normally.

Aronofsky built his ark to the measurements outlined in the bible in terms of the height and width. Measuring 450 feet long and 75 feet tall and 45 feet wide, the structure is outdoors and may have been severely damaged by Hurricane Sandy.

According to Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto, the storm has set a “new record” for fallen trees and as a result, no one from the Noah production has been able to get to the ark to see what remains.

Russell Crowe as Noah.

In Noah, which is set to hit theaters on March 29, 2014, Russell Crowe plays the hero, who is tasked by God to build an ark to save a male and female animal of every species before a torrential downpour washes away the rest of life on the planet.

It remains to be seen weather (see what I did there) Noah’s ark will be seaworthy once the crew has a chance to see it, but in the mean time, consider this event a sign that authenticity should only have to go so far.

Emma Watson, who co-stars in the film, summed up the event perfectly.

“I take it that the irony of a massive storm holding up the production of Noah is not lost @DarrenAronofsky @russellcrow @MattyLibatique,” Watson tweeted Sunday night before the storm.

Netflix Instant Pick: Get the Gringo

Get the Gringo is a film that was released straight-to-disc earlier this year. Normally an action movie that avoided theaters has two things in common: It stars Wesley Snipes, Val Kilmer, Steven Seagal or Steve Austin and it’s probably terrible. Fortunately for Gringo, it surprisingly avoids both.

Starring Mel Gibson, Gringo begins with Driver (Gibson) being apprehended by the Mexican authorities following a botched robbery. But unlike every other American who’s ever lived, Driver prefers to be sent to a Mexican prison rather than an American one because it keeps him one step closer to a bigger stash of cash hidden south of the border.

Sent to a prison that apparently doesn’t believe in bathing, Driver must use his gifted grifter skills to survive fellow inmates, corrupt policemen and guards, and an outside force aware of his secret stolen loot. Being the only “white guy” there, Driver befriends a 10-year-old boy who helps him not only navigate through the prison, but also plan an escape.

An oldschool action movie.

Mel Gibson has had a rough few years to say the least. Once an A-list actor and director, Gibson has seen his star fall considerably following a number of incidents involving the police and ex-wives. Personally, I could care less about actor’s personal lives as long as they can continue to churn out entertaining movies (see Tom Cruise).

Get the Gringo shows that Gibson is still capable of being a movie-star. Perfectly balancing the hard-nose tough guy with a sly sense of humor, Gibson effortlessly carries this entertaining thriller down unexpected paths. Reminiscent of his performance in Payback, Gibson plays a character not entirely likable, but still worth rooting for.

At 56, Gibson is certainly showing his age (You can practically count the rings on his face), but with Get the Gringo, Gibson proves why he’s still worth seeing. Hopefully his next film returns him to the big screen where he belongs.

N.Y. Times Circulation up 40%

The Audit Bureau of Circulation released a report Tuesday showing that The New York Times’ circulation has jumped 40 percent. But don’t think that significant increase is because of print circulation. As expected, the Times has seen its digital side create most of the revenue.

Where the nation’s newspaper circulation was down 0.2 percent to the same period last year, the Times has seen its Monday-Friday circulation increase mainly because of digital subscription packages. The Times now has about 25 percent more digital subscribers during the week than print subscribers. On Sunday however, print subscriptions still exceed digital.

Newspapers aren’t dead yet.

The increase of digital usage and the decrease of print usage is no surprise, but to see overall circulation numbers up for The New York Times is a welcome sight. There always seems to be this notion that people (young in particular) only get their news from things like The Daily Show. To see that the most respected newspaper in America is seeing a rise in circulation in any form shows that people still value good, hard-nosed American journalism.

While late-night talk shows and 3-minute videos on the Internet offer a convenient way of consuming news, it’s still important that we stay informed by reading from the professionals and learning every facet to a story. At the very least it’ll make you feel smarter.

When It Rains, It Pours: The News Week in Review

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Nature has a morbid sense of humor. As Americans have been gridlocked, grumpy, and childish with each other over the last year over politics and the upcoming election, Nature was just bidding its time. It waited until the very last moment to unleash a torrent of destruction all over the East Coast. Hurricane Sandy has ravaged many states and “could cause about $20 billion in property damages and between $10 billion and $30 billion in lost business…If the damages hit $50 billion, it would make Sandy the second-costliest U.S. storm after Katrina in 2005. Katrina’s overall costs were $108 billion.” [1]

The death toll in the U.S. from Superstorm Sandy neared 100 victims on Friday.

Power is out in many places, including Canada. “Power outages in New Jersey and Pennsylvania have ‘shattered records’ with over 3 million without power…Three nuclear reactors were shut down and a fourth facility is on alert because of the storm. Sandy has even left 145,000 Canadians without power.” [2] The death toll is rising: “The death toll in the U.S. from Superstorm Sandy neared 100 victims on Friday.” [3]

It seems that Nature was hoping, amidst all our squabbling, to remind us of the important things in life — our loved ones, the fragility of existence, our sense of humanity, and the importance of rising above daily disagreements and treating one another with respect, compassion, and love. But Nature forgot how ingenious humans can be when it comes to ignoring the important things in life and carrying on with our silliness.

The headlines locally reveal that very silliness. As millions were out of power and starving on the other side of the country, we had our own moments that made us say, “Oops!” Literally, in fact, when someone hit a 12-year-old girl with a car and then drove off: “A 12-year-old girl was hit by a car a week ago while walking in a crosswalk – and the driver’s reaction has many residents concerned. ‘They rolled down the window and said “Oops,” and they drove off,’ Brooklyn Kolessar told KVAL News. ‘The bruising in her ribs did make it more complicated to breathe at night and she would have a lot of pain,’ said Carla Kolessar, Brooklyn’s mother.” [4]

A Eugene man was ordered to pay more than $1.5 million in restitution after pleading guilty to negligently exposing Sweet Home residents to asbestos particles during his 2007 demolition of buildings at an old sawmill site.

Hitting a kid with a car and then running away from the crime is certainly an “oops” moment. Similarly “oops”-ish is exposing other people to asbestos particles. “A Eugene man was ordered to pay more than $1.5 million in restitution and sentenced to five months of home detention Wednesday after pleading guilty to negligently exposing Sweet Home residents to asbestos particles during his 2007 demolition of buildings at an old sawmill site.” [5]

Of course, if that Eugene man had been sentenced to jail in Lane County, he might have received a “Get Out of Jail Free” card: “Low revenues from the U.S. Marshals Service is forcing the Lane County Sheriff’s Office to make another cut to the jail, reducing the number of beds, once again, for local offenders…The Sheriff’s Office will close another section of the jail by December 1st, 2012 because it’s not getting as much money as it expected from the U.S. Marshals Service.” [6]

It can hard when you do not get as much money as you were hoping for. But that does not mean you should stab people at fast food establishments. And unless you are really into puns, please do not jack people at Jack in the Box: “Authorities are investigating a stabbing that happened near Jack in the Box on 6th Street around 8 p.m. on Friday. According to Eugene Police, the man made his way into the fast food chain after being attacked. Officers on scene said they are not sure of exactly where the stabbing happened, but an investigation is under way. The suspect is still on the loose.” [7]

Speaking of loose: Sometimes you need to loosen up your marriage and rekindle the fire that used to be there. But according to a local therapist, loosening up the marriage might actually involve tightening, like clamps and belts and such: “Stephanie Steele is a licensed marriage and family therapist in Eugene. She said couples are coming to her with a copy of [50 Shades of Grey] in hand. ‘Surprisingly, I have had couples that have actually been reading it together,’ she said. ‘The most beneficial results are when they read it out loud to each other, which I find very interesting.’ Steele has read all three novels. Her biggest criticism of the books: how James generalizes the BDSM subculture…Steele said the real takeaway from ’50 Shades’ is that any relationship needs communication. The two main characters in the book talk a lot about what they’re comfortable with – and what they are not comfortable with.” [8]

Most people, it is safe to say, are not comfortable with aggressive door-to-door sales people. Especially ones that try to force their way into your house. “A fast-talking young woman may be part of a team of crooks employing an ‘un­usually aggressive’ sales pitch to finagle their way into potential victims’ homes, Eugene police Sgt. Lisa Barrong said Thursday. Police in Eugene have received at least a dozen recent complaints about pushy strangers arriving at homes to hawk carpet cleaning products…What’s particularly concerning to police is that in a few instances, the uninvited visitors have barged into local residents’ homes after being greeted at the front door, then commented about items inside a house or questioned people about their daily schedules, Barrong said.” [9]

In general, it is not good when people barge into other people’s homes. Unless the people barging are the police and the homes are homes that have lots of meth. “Narcotics detectives seized 52 pounds of meth and took out a drug cartel moving pounds of meth through Lane and Douglas counties, the Lane County Interagency Narcotics Team said. Law enforcement executed search warrants at addresses in Cottage Grove, Springfield, Eugene and Roseburg on Sunday as part of a multi-month long investigation. Authorities seized approximately 52 pounds of crystal methamphetamine with an estimated street value of $1,000,000.” [10]

Stephanie Steele, a licensed marriage and family therapist in Eugene, says couples are coming to her with a copy of “50 Shades of Grey” in hand.

On the one hand, meth has a street value. On the other hand, votes do not. But since it is an election year, people are willing to do illegal things to get votes, much as addicts are willing to do illegal things for meth. So it came as no surprise this week to hear that, “The Oregon Department of Justice has launched a criminal investigation into possible ballot tampering at the Clackamas County Elections Office. ‘We can confirm we are currently investigating criminal felony violations of Oregon’s elections laws, which allegedly took place in Clackamas County and allegedly involved a temporary county elections employee tampering with cast ballots,’ said Jeff Manning, spokesman for the Department of Justice.” [11]

Speaking of abusing a position of power: “Police arrested a University of Oregon employee on campus Thursday on charges accusing him of sexually abusing at least 3 girls between the ages of 6 and 12…The suspect, a building manager with the UO’s College of Education, has been placed on administrative leave, the University said.” [12]

After a week filled with hurricanes, politics, politicians making hurricanes political, not to mention hit-and-runs and sexual abuse, you might just want to grab a beer and check out. That might not be the noblest solution, but if it is your solution, you are in luck: “A brewery district is beginning to bubble up in Eugene’s Whiteaker neighborhood, and now potential tax breaks, backed by city and county officials, are adding yeast to the mix. The City Council and Lane County commissioners are supporting a proposal to expand the west Eugene enterprise zone, which already includes Ninkasi Brewing Co., to also take in property that Hop Valley Brewing Co. and Oakshire Brewing have secured in the Whiteaker.” [13]

Or you could donate to the Red Cross.