Japan

Zombies, Racism, and Craigslist on EDN: The News Week in Review

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www.tippyandfriends.com

Eugene was a hot topic on the Internet this last week. Not the city, though, sorry. Everyone has been reading about Mr. Eugene, first name Rudy, a 31-year-old man from Miami who took “bath salts. Ingredients in bath salts — usually concentrated with a substantial dose of methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV) — can cause hallucinations, psychosis and dangerous behavior — and apparently transform someone into a zombie!. As the drug first surged in use, authorities described its effects as a high similar to LSD-induced trips that could sometimes include amphetamine-like palpitations and paranoia. [1] After consuming this substance, Mr. Eugene was discovered chomping on another man’s face and neck before he was shot and killed by police. But fear not, “the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) officially announced on Thursday that zombies don’t exist.” [2]

Zombies might not exist, but racists do, as Lane County was reminded last week when four people chased and threatened a 15-year-old Springfield teenager due to his skin color. The victim told police an older yellow pick-up passed by slowly with four occupants…The victim tells police the truck circled the block and passed again, this time the occupants were yelling racial slurs, and threatening to hurt him. He told police that he tried to walk away, but, was chased into a gravel parking lot where the driver tried to run him over. [3] Springfield promptly condemned the incident. In conjunction with the Community Alliance of Lane County, the city held a rally against racism. Marilee Woodrow, a Springfield City Councilor, said

“the city is absolutely behind the rally. We are all appalled at what happened. This rally, we all support it. This is something important to gather the community together for good. I hope it sends the message that Springfield will not stand for racism.” [4]

Speaking of raising a finger: A Lane County woman says she stumbled upon what appears to be a human finger inside a glass bottle while on a beach trip near Reedsport. Tracie Bindrim says while looking for treasures along a secluded beach outside Reedsport she found …a finger. [5]

Fingers were not the only things discovered on the beach this week. A Japanese dock floated across the Pacific Ocean after last year’s tsunami. State parks employees and scientists scrambled to identify and contain any invasive species that may have hitched a ride on the structure. And now they have to figure out what to do with the 66-foot-long, 8-foot-tall behemoth. [6] Apparently Japan doesn’t want it back.

We do want Edward J. King, Jr., back, though. Edward King Jr. — co-founder of King Estate Winery, avionics pioneer and a lifelong entrepreneur — died Sunday at home at the age of 90. [7] King was considered an icon of the Oregon wine industry. [8]

What we don’t want, on the other hand, is the highly contagious bacterial infection known as pertussis, or whooping cough. Over the course of 2012, the disease has reached near-epidemic status in Washington state and has since passed into Oregon. According to Oregon Immunization Program spokesperson Susan Wickstrom, the state of Oregon reached a yearly total of 248 cases in May, compared to 102 cases at the same time last year. As of May 21, 2012, Lane County has seen five cases of whooping cough. Already this year in Oregon, Wickstrom says, there have been 10 infants — three months old or younger — hospitalized as a result of whooping cough.[9]

Whooping cough is no fun, but online games are. The local gaming industry, therefore, was ecstatic to find out that, Zynga, the world’s largest social game company, has acquired Eugene game developer Buzz Monkey and plans to expand the 50-employee Eugene studio. [10]

Buzz Monkey wasn’t the only thing in Oregon to get a new boss. On Monday the Trail Blazers hired Neil Olshey to be their new general manager. Just a few days ago, it was reported that Olshey had reached an agreement to remain GM of the Los Angeles Clippers. But after contract negotiations with the Clippers broke down, Portland was able to hire Olshey. [11]

In other news, Eugene Daily News is finally being treated like a real newspaper. Meaning, people talking trash about EDN on Craigslist. That’s right, this last week EDN — at long last — received the attention of trolls, aka internet forum intellectuals. Apparently EDN is “another rag out there” that is “all pro-Occupy slanted opinionated crap journalism.” that engages in “guerrilla marketing schemes” to advance our “radical Nazi” agenda. [12] [13]  Who knew.

The Beautiful Moon – April 15th.

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Mitsuki Dazai

As a given name Mitsuki means “Beautiful Moon”, as a word it means three months, as an artist it means we only have her for one night.

Master Japanese koto player Mitsuki Dazai is presenting a Memorial and Concert for Japan Relief on Friday April 15, 7:30-9:00 pm at Tsunami Books, 2585 Willamette St. in Eugene. The event will feature traditional and contemporary koto music and poignant stories from the Japanese press.

Admission is by donation at the door; 100% of the proceeds will go to the Mercy Corps Oregon Japan Relief Fund, to help the survivors of the March 11 Tohoku-Pacific Ocean earthquake and tsunami. The magnitude 9 earthquake was Japan’s worst disaster since World War II.

Many of us have heard Mitsuki Dazai on OPB, or may have heard her work with composer Michael Hoppe in the short film “Nous Deux Encore“.  The film was an award winner at both the Portland Film Festival in 2009, and the Monte Carlo Film Festival where it won Best Score and Best Original Music awards.   After graduating from the  Sawai Institute, Mitsuki was certified as a koto instructor and brought her unique skills and art to Oregon.

Plan on attending April 15, support the Japan relief effort, and bask a little in the light of the beautiful moon.

Mercy Corps (www.mercycorps.org) is delivering emergency supplies including shelters,tents, heaters, blankets, instant food and fresh produce to families evacuated from four cities devastated by the tsunami, and also offering special assistance to children.

Radiation Dose Chart

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The nuclear disaster is still going on in Japan, and radiation has been detected around the Pacific rim. The government reassures us, rightly so, that levels are not harmful in any way. I just can’t help thinking that a little more information, and a little more, and a little more, (ad infinitum) will always help. So here’s Randall Munroe’s latest contribution to public health awareness, a “chart of how much ionizing radiation a person can absorb from various sources, compared visually. 1 Sievert will make you sick, many more will kill you, however, even small doses cumulatively increase cancer risk.”

This chart of how much ionizing radiation a person can absorb may help in how you think about the difference between Chernobyl and Fukushima.

March 20 – Weekend Update

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Did you catch our waning gibbous supermoon last night? Me either. Here is the Sunday morning weekend update:

Tim Chuey Weather
Shower chances increase again. It’s time for the Springtime warmer temperatures, but where are they?
Harry & David sued over contract issue involving call centers
An Ohio company contracted by Harry & David to provide call center services has filed a nearly $10 million lawsuit after the financially troubled Medford company abruptly severed their relationship last month
Eugene business challenges community to raise money for Japan
A Eugene paint business, Forrest Paint Company, is stepping up to help Japan, while encouraging and challenging other local business and groups to do the same.
Peace march moves through downtown Eugene on 8th anniversary of Iraq invasion
A loud, visible reminder, and a push for peace in downtown Eugene on Saturday, the 8th anniversary of the beginning of the Iraq War. — wonder if they are planning one for the Libyan war. -ed.
Tillamook Cheese Factory pauses amid E. Coli concerns
The Tillamook Cheese Factory halted production and stopped serving food Friday and Saturday after fecal coliform and E. coli bacteria were found in the local water supply.
Testing finds no health threat along West Coast
Federal and state officials say testing indicates there are no health threats along the West Coast from radioactivity spewing from Japan’s crippled nuclear reactors.
Bank robbery suspect sought for two heists
Eugene police are looking for a man they believe robbed a U.S. Bank branch not just once, but twice this week. Officers responded to a bank robbery at the U.S. Bank at 1400 Highway 99N at 4:36 p.m. Friday
Bill aims to protect custody rights
Lawmakers are considering a bill that would help protect the custody rights of Oregonians who serve in the armed forces.

March 18 – Morning Headlines

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Ah St. Paddy’s day, you’ve left your mark again:

Tim Chuey Weather
Rain and possible thunderstorms today. Remember, in the Willamette Valley particularly, we more often see small hail a gusty winds, but not the thunderstorms.
Law firm closes after investigation
A Eugene law firm that was the target of almost 100 complaints over its debt collection practices has been shut down following an investigation by the Oregon attorney general’s office
Blaze rips through auto recycling warehouse
A fast-moving fire destroyed an industrial building in west Eugene on Thursday afternoon but caused no injuries and was extinguished before spreading to other structures.
Proposed Bill would change property tax laws
The bill would give school districts a taxing mechanism to help raise the extra money they need to pay for rising personnel costs such as wages, health care and pensions, as well as other expenses.
Council OKs step toward new City Hall
Some call it the scaled down, less expensive and, more realistic plan to replace Eugene’s downtown City Hall.
Record number of homeless receive help at 2011 ‘Connect’ event
Nearly 1,600 individuals checked in to the 2011 Project Homeless Connect event on Thursday at the Lane County Fairgrounds, getting access to dozens of free services provided by local community
Experts: Don’t worry about Japan plume headed to West Coast
A network of radiation monitors continues to track a plume of radioactive isotopes headed toward the West Coast from the nuclear disaster in Japan.

March 17 – Morning Headlines

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Here are the morning headlines from our local area:

Tim Chuey Weather
Clouds and more rain for the next 7 days, but some days will not be as wet…again.
$70 million bond measure heads for ballot
The Eugene School Board has voted to place a $70 million facilities bond measure on the May 17 election ballot.
School board names new superintendent
The board selected Sheldon Berman as the next Eugene Schools superintendent.
Lawmakers target child sex trafficking
The Legislature is looking at ways to crack down further on child sex trafficking, such as imposing big fines for people who pay for sex with minors and publicly shaming them if they don’t pay the fine.
Citizens for Jobs and Schools
The newly minted Citizens for Jobs and Schools PAC yesterday kicked off its campaign against the newly proposed Eugene City tax, which is headed for a vote in the May 17 election.
UO holds vigil in honor of Japan
School bus driver files lawsuit over Redneck flag
An Oregon school bus driver fired after he refused to remove a Confederate battle flag from his pickup truck has filed a federal lawsuit to get his job back.
LTD sides with city on EmX
It was a bitter pill for some of them to swallow, but Lane Transit District Board members ultimately voted 6-1 Wednesday to select a controversial rapid-bus route proposed for west Eugene
Civic Stadium decision delayed
The Eugene School Board on Wednesday night agreed to slow its review of three proposals to acquire or lease historic Civic Stadium. The board decided to delay temporarily its deliberations regarding the future of the property, in response to a request from the City Council.

March 16 – Early Evening Update

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Updates early tonight, EDN’s down at HTCC:

Tim Chuey Weather
Reminder: The Vernal Equinox occurs at 4:21 PM Pacific Daylight Time next Sunday March 20th. Rain in the forecast.
Police investigate gunshots, Corvallis house damaged
Police in Corvallis are investigating a series of gunshots that damaged a rooming house.
Oregon House approves legal fix for home brewers
Its official, Oregon lawmakers have unanimously endorsed a bill to allow home brewers and amateur winemakers to share their creations.
Oregon officials say no radiation risk from Japan
Oregon officials say there is no health risk to the state from radiation released by a damaged nuclear plant in Japan.
Oregon turns into a detour for ‘the Horse Logger’
Lee “the Horse Logger” Crafton passed through the in October. He didn’t get far, just down the road a piece to the Pleasant Hill area south of Eugene.
Murder trial continues.
The defense grilled the lead detective of the Stephanie Condon case at the aggravated murder trial of Dale Hill Tuesday morning.

Where’s the Iodide?

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By now even the most cautious among us have either hit the stores looking for iodide, or are thinking about it.  We put up an article a couple of days ago about the rush to buy potassium iodide and later updated it to mention Kelp as an alternative. I’d like to say it was my medical knowledge and journalist instincts that brought about the update, but truth be told, it was my wife that sparked it.

My wife has a strong streak of “err on the side of caution” in her, she had gone to the store looking for iodide, it was gone, but was directed to Kelp supplements by a friend who is big on natural treatments.   There were many brand choices and plenty of each on the shelf, about $6.95 for a good sized bottle. Note: Follow the recommended dosage of any of these products, Iodine/Iodide is toxic in surprisingly small amounts. When she returned home and told me about it, I decided it should be added to the article.

After posting the update I noticed that the page visits to that story were again spiking (I watch my analytics like a reality TV show).  That’s good news for a startup news site like ours.  The next morning I mentioned it to my wife and she immediately reminded me of a fundamental difference between men and women:  I was liking the traffic, she decided it meant she didn’t have enough bottles of Kelp.  On went the coat and out the door she went.  Nearly two hours later, and about 3 minutes before I was going to reach for the speed dial, she showed up looking upset.  Seems all the available kelp products were also gone and the price had changed overnight.  This obviously wasn’t solely because of our article, but citizen journalism is a powerful force and like it or not,  word of mouth is effective citizen journalism.

On the serious side, its hard to ignore the incredible disaster that is going on in Japan. Here on the west coast we also are very familiar with our weather patterns; we see which way the wind blows.  In spite of assurances few of us will take the bet that what we are being told is 100% accurate going forward regarding our insulation and safety from any fallout from the ongoing nuclear disaster in Japan.   We shouldn’t be so eager to hedge our trust bet that we overpay, hoard, or get scammed during the shortages that stores are currently experiencing.

If you aren’t going to be going out and buying yourself some kelp or iodine and helping our local economy, I’d like to suggest you make a donation to help. I’m doing both.

March 15 – Morning Headlines

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The morning headlines:

Tim Chuey Weather Forecast
More rain and wind, hopefully not as much as over the weekend.
Freddy’s best for Civic site, panel says
The proposal to build a Fred Meyer store on the 10-acre Civic Stadium site through a land lease should be strongly considered by the structure’s cash-strapped property owner, the Eugene School District.
Time capsule contains bit of irony
As others have learned, to beat the drums on the opening of a time capsule is to roll the dice as well.
Its for my glaucoma
Dylan Richard Weiss was arrested by an Oregon State Police trooper on charges that he was driving under the influence of intoxicants — in a car whose trunk contained approximately 5 pounds of marijuana.
Tree falls on Springfield home
Doctors are calling a Springfield man a “walking miracle” after a tree sliced his home in half, pinning him to his sofa.
Brian Lanker, Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer, dies in Oregon at 63
Brian Lanker, who won the Pulitzer Prize for feature photography in 1973, has died at his Eugene home.
Retirement home sues over renovation job
Cascade Manor has sued Chambers Construction and Ankrom Moisan Associated Architects.
Why is there no looting in Japan?
This isn’t local, but it is worth a moment.

Fear Sparks Rush to Buy Iodine Tablets (updated)

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Apparently some locals are fearing for their safety as nuclear reactors in Japan continue to degrade in the wake of the almost 9.0 magnitude earthquake. Fearing radiation may reach the West Coast, local stores have seen a huge spike in their sales of iodine tablets, often used with radiation exposure. Some stores are even selling out, as Capella Market tweeted this morning  “We are getting calls about potassium iodide. We are sold out. Nat. Health dept is checking w/distributors, but not sure when/if available.” they later followed up by tweeting “Just received word that our supplier is unable to overnight-ship potassium iodide to us. We’re hoping for a shipment later in the week.”

Not sure this will put many people’s minds at ease, but hopefully this will. For U.S. residents “there would be no cause for any concern,” Jerrold Bushberg, a medical physicist at UC Davis and a clinical professor of radiology and radiation oncology, told the Los Angeles Times today.

If you are leaning to the better safe than sorry side of the equation, a potential alternative is Kelp:

A type of seaweed, kelp, tends to be high in iodine as well, with from 0.03 – 0.45 dry weight percent. Because of its high concentration of iodine, brown kelp (Laminaria) has been used to treat goiter, an enlargement of the thyroid gland caused by a lack of iodine, since medieval times. — Wikipedia

Kelp can be found in a capsule form, a pill form, or as a powder.

Some homeopathic sites recommend: “Take kelp now, if you don’t already, in case there is any radioactive fallout from Japan. Take at least 1 – 5 capsules of kelp a day. If you are not used to it, start with one and build up.”

– Lindsey Asay for EDN