triangle lake

Building A Better Robot – Meet The Lakerbots

////

“Lakerbots” prepare their robotic design for competition.

When their regular day of classes is over, a small group of Triangle Lake Charter School students head for the shop building to work on an extracurricular team project – designing a robot that can compete in a predetermined challenge. They call themselves “Lakerbots” and they’ll have the chance to prove their teamwork and robotic engineering skills on Feb. 18, when they take their robot to Wilsonville for Round 1 of the 2014 FIRST Robotics Aerial Assist Competition.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Clockwise from bottom left: Hunter Davis, Joseph Drexler, Lily Beck, Makena Pennel, Noah Alley, Angel Ferrell, Scott Sinclair, Austin Carlson and Gordon Santana. Not pictured is Jesse Newman, the team’s lead programmer, who was at home with the flu. | Photo Rob Lafferty

With support from the NASA Robotics Alliance project, the FIRST Robotics challenge is an international program designed to build self-confidence, knowledge and life skills while motivating young people to pursue opportunities in science and technology.

The challenge this year consists of two teams of three robots each trying to outscore the other team by directing a large inflatable ball into goals set at ground level and at six feet above the arena. A blend of soccer and basketball skills are required for the robot to score points during each 2.5-minute game. Points are also given for passing the ball and assisting another robot to score.

The students have done all the design and assembly on the prototype and will finish it on their own. They all are earning extracurricular credit for their work on the project.

Sophomores Lily Beck and Noah Alley are the only team members with experience in robotics competition. Beck was at Thurston High last year when their team competed in a smaller league, and Alley has been to the OSU Leho Camp, where they built smaller versions of the larger robots in the FIRST competition.

“I come from a mechanical family,” said Alley, who has taken a lead role in the fabrication of the robot. “My dad is a mechanic, so I’ve always been taking stuff apart and putting it back together.”

| photo by Rob Lafferty
Once the electronics are all function correctly, the students will connect the arms that will control the ball. The Lakerbot will need to be able to steer the ball into a goal as well as pass it through the air towards another robot. | photo by Rob Lafferty

“We also need to market our team in order to be part of an alliance, and live up to FIRST motto of ‘gracious professionalism’,” said Beck.

“That part of the competition is bigger than you might think. I learned that you need to be nice to everyone whether you win or get your butt kicked.”

Senior Scott Sinclair was described by his colleagues as being the brains of the team.

“I enjoy engineering, and I’m thinking about working as a civil engineer in the future,” he said. “Part of our challenge is deciding which of the different ways to score points is best for us to design towards.”

The team works collaboratively and makes decisions by consensus, a process that has gone smoothly according to sophomore Angel Ferrell.

“We don’t have too many opposing views on what we should do. We do bump heads sometimes, but we always work it out.”

The youngest team members are middle-schoolers Hunter Davis and Joseph Drexler.

“I wanted to learn how to design things,” said Drexler when asked why he got involved in the project. “Plus, I had nothing else to do right now.”

“I just liked the idea of making and building robots,” Davis said.

| photo by Rob Lafferty
The size and weight of the official ball is an important element that Beck, Pennel, Ferrell and Sinclair needed to factor into their design. | photo by Rob Lafferty

The Lakerbots may place their pride on the line when their robot enters the arena, but they’ll also have a chance to earn college scholarships offered by Oregon State University, Pacific University, Portland State University, the Oregon Institute of Technology and the University of Portland.

Last week they received some experienced help from the Triangle Lake community, as local residents Spencer Hollinger brought his experience with software and Fred Burkert lent his expertise in fabrication. They joined Industrial Arts teacher Darrell Rothauge and the school’s IT consultant Sam Robinson to try and solve a communication problem between the electronic devices that control the robot’s movement.

Once the robot is complete, Rothauge plans to have the team demonstrate it at halftime of a Laker basketball game, where all students and the community will get a first look at their newest school athlete. Team member Makena Pennel is posting progress reports and photos online in a Lakerbot blog she created at lakerbot.weebly.com.

The Team Logo: The kids are quite proud of their graphic design
The Team Logo: The kids are quite proud of their graphic design

January 15 – Morning Headlines

//

Morning Headlines

Eugene City Council
“The general fund is being squeezed by two factors: ever-increasing employee costs, including pension contributions, and slower-than-projected growth in property tax revenues.”  The City Council proposes a “membership” type fee for residents and businesses in Eugene, plus a mirrored increase in stormwater fees.

[Headline-Sponsor]

  • Kitzhaber: Pension, prison cuts tough but needed
    Gov. John Kitzhaber says he recognizes he’s asking state lawmakers to make politically risky decisions on public pensions and prisons, but he says tough choices are needed to boost school…
  • Eugene council advances fee plan
    Eugene voters in May could determine the fate of a proposed new fee to help pay for city services. The City Council on Monday night voted 6-2 to hold a public hearing next month on a fee that is not to exceed $10 a month, or $120 a year, per …
  • Teens accused of shooting deputy’s car, others with pellet gun
    Two teens face accusations they shot a pellet gun at passing cars Saturday night – including the first sheriff’s patrol car to arrive on scene.
  • Lakers win another rout
    Kiana Brown scored 27 points, 18 in the first half, and had nine steals to lead Triangle Lake to a 75-23 victory over the host Sailors. Abi Wynn added 17 points and five steals for Triangle Lake (14-2, 8-0 Mountain West), which had 21
  • Arbogast joins OSU soccer
    South Eugene High forward Matt Arbogast is one of three players to join the Oregon State men’s soccer program for winter trimester, the school announced. Seven seniors left last year’s team, and Arbogast, a 5-foot-11 forward who was a first
  • Oregon football rated most ‘valuable’ team in the Pac-12 at $264.6 million
    Ryan Brewer, an assistant professor of finance at Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus, found the inherent value of over 100 FBS teams.

Keep Current: – EDN Headline News, Sports and Weather

Tim Chuey Weather:

[Weather-Sponsor]

[gn_note color=#eee][Accuweather][/gn_note]

Look for fog and freezing fog again this morning, then lots of clouds this afternoon with possible sun breaks. Watch out for slippery roadways.

Cold high pressure (shaded “Arch” shape) has positioned itself off the the Pacific Northwest coast. That ridge aloft along with high pressure (Blue “H”) at the surface will keep storm systems away from the Pacific Northwest for the next 7 days. Watch out for slippery roadways late night and early AM due to fog freezing on the surface of the road.

[gn_spoiler title=”ADVISORIES” open=”0″ style=”2″]A FREEZE WARNING IS IN EFFECT FROM 1 AM UNTIL 9 AM TODAY FOR THE SOUTH CENTRAL OREGON COAST. A FROST ADVISORY IS IN EFFECT FROM 1 AM UNTIL 9 AM TODAY FOR THE SOUTH CENTRAL AND SOUTH OREGON COAST. AN AIR STAGNATION ADVISORY IS IN EFFECT UNTIL 1 PM THURSDAY FOR CENTRAL DOUGLAS COUNTY, EASTERN CURRY COUNTY, JOSEPHINE COUNTY, THE EASTERN DOUGLAS COUNTY FOOTHILLS, JACKSON COUNTY, AND UNTIL 4 AM SUNDAY FOR THE KLAMATH BASIN, NORTHERN AND EASTERN KLAMATH COUNTY, WESTERN, CENTRAL, AND EASTERN LAKE COUNTY.[/gn_spoiler]

High: 43
Low: 28
Forecast: Patchy fog and freezing fog this AM, cloudy this afternoon, patchy fog and freezing fog tonight and Wednesday AM, partly cloudy in the afternoon and evening, cloudy with patchy fog and freezing fog Wednesday night and Thursday AM, partly cloudy in the afternoon and evening, then cloudy with patchy fog and freezing fog late Thursday night  highs 36-43 lows 28-32. Cloudy with patchy fog and freezing fog Friday AM, partly cloudy in the afternoon and evening, mostly cloudy with with areas of fog and freezing fog late at night and Saturday AM, then partly cloudy Saturday afternoon through Monday (Martin Luther King, Jr. Day) highs 50-52 lows near 33. (seasonal averages high 47 low 34)

Because weather forecasting is a combination of science, intuition, and timing there can be no absolute guarantees that individual forecasts will be 100% accurate. Nature is in a constant state of flux and sudden unexpected weather events can happen.

Keep Current on the Weather: timchueyweather4u.com

Benefit For Autism

When the weather forecast is bad and the news is bad, there is always music. In this case it’s an album of exceptional local Eugene talent whose proceeds benefit the Kindtree Autism Rocks charity. Support Autism, the arts, and a bright spot in your day.

[bandcamp album=2124098872 bgcol=FFFFFF linkcol=4285BB size=venti]

December 18 – Morning Headlines

//

Morning Headlines

[Headline-Sponsor]

This is the Seventh Day before Christmas.  Did you find snow on the ground this morning?
This is the Seventh Day before Christmas. Did you find snow on the ground this morning?
  • Charter school agrees  to close
    HomeSource Family Charter School has agreed to shut down at the end of the school year in a deal reached last week with the Bethel School District. HomeSource, which has operated since 2010 under a charter agreement with Bethel, ran into trouble both f
  • School threat not found credible

    Eugene police on Monday acted swiftly to track down two teenagers who were rumored to have been plotting to bring guns to Churchill High School later this week. After learning that the boys had not attended school on Monday morning, officers went to th


  • No one hurt in Cottage Grove house fire
    Firefighters kept the flames from spreading to any other homes after arriving at the scene of home fully involved in fire early Monday morning.
  • Woman jailed after SUV crash downtown
    A driver’s SUV hit a tree and came to rest on its side downtown early Monday morning, the Eugene Police department said
  • Suspect in carjacking back in state for trial
    A man who allegedly carjacked another driver in Cheshire and later escaped from police during a chase has been returned to Lane County from California to stand trial. Nicholas James Corleto, 26, formerly of Springfield, is charged with two counts each
  • Brown’s 45 points lead another Laker league rout
    Kiana Brown poured in 45 points to go with 14 rebounds and seven steals for Triangle Lake in its road rout of Crow, 80-37, in Mountain West girls basketball on Monday evening. Brown led the Lakers (7-1, 3-0 Mountain West) by shooting 18-of…

Keep Current: – EDN Headline News, Sports and Weather

Tim Chuey Weather:

[Weather-Sponsor]

[gn_note color=#eee][Accuweather][/gn_note]

Today we will see more rain with snow levels dropping down to the valley floor. With the cold temperatures the biggest problem is icy roads.

An upper level trough of low pressure is moving down from the Gulf of Alaska bringing cold air with it.  A frontal system will approach the Pacific Coast Thursday (position shown is Friday) increasing rain and snow chances again. For skiers Mt. Ashland and Hoodoo are open and Willamette Pass plans to open their season Wednesday.

[gn_spoiler title=”ADVISORIES” open=”0″ style=”1″]A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IS IN EFFECT UNTIL 4 PM TODAY FOR THE COAST RANGE OF NORTHWEST OREGON AND THE CENTRAL COAST RANGE OF NORTHWEST OREGON, THE NORTH CASCADE FOOTHILLS, AND THE CASCADE FOOTHILLS OF LANE COUNTY, AND THE NORTH OREGON CASCADES AND THE CASCADES OF LANE COUNTY. A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IS IN EFFECT UNTIL 11 AM TODAY FOR THE NORTH WILLAMETTE VALLEY, THE CENTRAL WILLAMETTE VALLEY, THE SOUTH WILLAMETTE VALLEY, THE WESTERN COLUMBIA RIVER GORGE.  A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IS IN EFFECT UNTIL 4 PM TODAY ABOVE 1,000 FT. FOR THE SOUTH CENTRAL AND SOUTH OREGON COAST, CENTRAL DOUGLAS COUNTY, EASTERN CURRY COUNTY, JOSEPHINE COUNTY, THE DOUGLAS COUNTY FOOTHILLS, AND JACKSON COUNTY. A HIGH WIND WATCH IS IN EFFECT FROM WEDNESDAY MORNING THROUGH WEDNESDAY EVENING FOR THE SOUTH CENTRAL AND SOUTH OREGON COAST.[/gn_spoiler]

High: 46
Low: 32
Forecast: Mostly cloudy with rain and snow showers today (0.10 in. of rain possible, 2 in. of snow possible mainly in the hills), cloudy with a good (50%) chance of rain and snow showers this evening, rain and snow likely (60%) late tonight (0.10 in. of rain possible), AM rain and snow, rain (AM snow level 1,000 ft.) Wednesday afternoon (0.50 in. of rain possible) and windy (wind: S 15-20 mph increasing to S 20-30 mph in the afternoon, mostly cloudy with rain Wednesday night (1.30 in. of rain possible) and windy (wind: S 15-20 mph increasing to S 20-30 mph in the afternoon), rain, heavy at times at night, and windy (wind: S 20-30 mph), then mostly cloudy with rain Thursday and Thursday night highs 38-46 cooling to near 40 Thursday lows 32-37. Mostly cloudy with rain likely (60%) Friday, showers Friday night, rain Saturday, then mostly cloudy with showers likely (60%) Saturday night through Monday highs near 45 lows near 39. (seasonal averages high 45 low 33)

Because weather forecasting is a combination of science, intuition, and timing there can be no absolute guarantees that individual forecasts will be 100% accurate. Nature is in a constant state of flux and sudden unexpected weather events can happen.

Keep Current on the Weather: timchueyweather4u.com

Benefit For Autism

The Color Of Music is an album of exceptional local Eugene talent whose proceeds benefit the Kindtree Autism Rocks charity. Support Autism, the arts, and a bright spot in your day.

[bandcamp album=2124098872 bgcol=FFFFFF linkcol=4285BB size=venti]

Brown’s 45 points lead another Laker league rout

CROW — Kiana Brown poured in 45 points to go with 14 rebounds and seven steals for Triangle Lake in its road rout of Crow, 80-37, in Mountain West girls basketball on Monday evening. Brown led the Lakers (7-1, 3-0 Mountain West) by shooting 18-of-31 from the field. Abi Wynn …

Triangle Lake Investigation Continues

//

Triangle Lake, named in the 1900’s after its unusual three-sided shape, is located 25 miles west of Junction City on Route 36. A popular place for family recreation, it has become the focus of a drawn-out investigation due to public health concerns. Even more, local residents claim the investigation is being thwarted by timber companies.

A popular place for family recreation, Triangle Lake has become the focus of a drawn-out investigation due to public health concerns.

The Oregon Health Authority reports that, dating back to the 1960’s, citizens who lived around the lake raised concerns about chemicals used in the aerial and manual application of herbicides on the coastal forest land. These concerns stemmed from a spike in the reported number of miscarriages and birth defects. In 1979, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) banned the use of the herbicides 2,4,5-T and silvex. These herbicides were being used to control weeds and underbrush. The dioxin suspected of causing the miscarriages is TCDD, a contaminant of the chemical compound Agent Orange, used throughout the Viet Nam war.

The EPA ban was based in part upon the Triangle Lake area presenting the first tangible proof of the toxicity of the chemical to humans.  At that time, it was estimated that approximately 4 million Oregon residents were at risk from the exposure.

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. This debate has occured to this day despite a link being found in a 1990 study of Nebraska farmers which found that exposure to 2,4D was linked to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

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. In August 2011, public health workers collected urine samples from a number of residents around the lake in order to form a baseline assessment of health prior to the “pre-spray” season of herbicides. This was followed in September 2011 with soil samples, drinking water tests, and vegetable examination.

On March 2012, the investigation was suddenly halted during the middle of the peak spraying season around Triangle Lake.  It was later revealed that the investigation team had made numerous errors in critically important investigations, jeopardizing the results.

It was also discovered that a number of Lane County timber companies had decided not use the suspect chemicals during the spraying season. By choosing not to spray, the timber companies decided to “opt out” of the investigation and, possibly, subsequent lawsuits.

Residents were enraged, accusing the forest landowners of sabotaging the test process. In a forum held on April 10, 2012, the Pesticide Analytical Response Center and two federal agencies advised residents that the spring sampling was halted and that a new base line sampling would begin in the final weekend of August 2012.

The Oregon Health Department reports that there have been no further advancement to the investigation. Residents continue to complain of health disorders.

Weyerhaeuser, one of several timber corporations operating in the area, had previously denied that it changed its 2011 Triangle Lake spraying strategy because of the investigation. Telephone inquiries to their Washington Head Office this week to inquire about the future spraying of chemicals at Triangle Lake were not returned.

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.

Groups call for buffer zones in pesticide use

///
Aerial spraying of pesticides, or “crop dusting,” is a practice dating back to 1906.

Several public advocacy groups held a rally today against pesticides at the Wayne Morse Free Speech Plaza during the Saturday Market. Pitchfork Rebellion, an anti-pesticide group from the Triangle Lake area organized “Occupy This! Rally for Pesticide Justice and Jobs!” The event called for banning aerial spraying of pesticides near homes and schools, creating a buffer zone to protect people’s health.

The rally began with a performance by local reggae/jam band Sol Seed, followed by a spoken word protest performance calling for a “pure organic Oregon.”

Then “Day,” a resident of the Triangle Lake area, took to the stage. Day is one of several residents of Triangle Lake who has been documented to have the pesticides 2,4-D and atrazine in his urine. 2,4-D, or 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid, is a major ingredient in Agent Orange, one of the chemicals used by the U.S. military as part of its herbicidal warfare program during the Vietnam War. A professional analysis of four public streams near Day’s and other residents’ homes found these pesticides in all of the streams.

Several environmental groups held a rally today against pesticides at the Wayne Morse Free Speech Plaza during the Saturday Market.

Day said,

“We’re just a bunch of hillbillies from Triangle Lake tired of getting hit by pesticides everyday.”

Studies by numerous organizations, from the EPA to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to public universities, have documented the effects of human consumption of pesticides. Pesticides can cause damage to the human nervous system, reproductive system and other organs, developmental and behavioral abnormalities, disruption of hormone function as well as immune dysfunction.

Day introduced Roy Key, a professional forester of over 40 years. Key said he was there to talk about the dangers of pesticide poisoning in Lane County.

“I’ve been in the forest business for 40 years. I’ve managed forests without herbicides or pesticides. You don’t need those substances to manage the forest.”

Key compared pesticide use to his experience in the Vietnam War.

“It’s just like Agent Orange all over again. But here in Lane County.”

Key called on attendees to tell Oregon governor John Kitzhaber to stop the use of pesticides in the state near homes and schools.

Day, a resident of Triangle Lake, has been documented to have the pesticides 2,4-D and atrazine in his urine. A professional analysis of four public streams near Day’s and other residents’ homes found these and other pesticides in all of the streams.

Oregon already has a buffer zone to protect waterways and salmon species. Streamside protection rules for non-federal forest land in Oregon were adopted in 1994. All private, state and local government forest landowners or operators conducting pesticide operations near streams, lakes or wetlands must comply with these rules. In November 2011, a federal judge upheld buffer zones for pesticide use near streams and rivers. Dow Chemical Company, a leader in specialty chemicals based in Michigan, filed a lawsuit seeking to undo the Oregon rules, saying that they were too restrictive. The restrictions ban the ground spraying of three agricultural insecticides within 500 feet of waterways with salmon. They also ban aerial spraying within 1000 feet of said waterways.

While Oregon has a buffer zone for pesticide use near water, it has not adopted a buffer zone near human activity. The Oregon Department of Forestry says,

“Currently, there are no regulations in Oregon requiring a buffer zone for aerial application of herbicides near specific structures or facilities, including schools.”

There are, nonetheless, safety requirements in how pesticides are used, both in residential and forested situations:

“While pesticide use in a residential setting must abide by pesticide label safety requirements, forestry applications must follow those requirements plus additional regulations spelled out in the Oregon Forest Practices Act.”

Pesticide companies, such as Dow Chemical, argue that their products abide by these safety requirements. Concerning 2,4-D, the substance found in Triangle Lake residents, Dow Chemical has said the following:

“2,4-D is available for use in U.S. crop production today because EPA has determined, after evaluating all human health and safety considerations – including the concerns expressed by activists – that current uses (including currently authorized uses on corn) pose ‘a reasonable certainty of no harm.’ This EPA conclusion was reached only after the Agency had considered all relevant data…This regulatory conclusion is supported by mainstream health and safety experts who have thoroughly evaluated the product.”

The application of pesticides has had a long and controversial history. Dr. Patricia Muir, Professor at Oregon State University’s Department of Botany and Plant Pathology, says that, following World War 2,

Ingrid Edstrom, nurse practitioner at Eugene’s Infrared Breast Thermography LLC, spoke of the link between pesticides and breast cancer. “Oregon has the second highest breast cancer rate per capita in the nation,” she added.

“Chemical pesticides have become the most important consciously-applied form of pest management.”

The Oregon Department of Forestry explains this popularity according to pesticides’ cost-effectiveness:

“Many landowners see herbicides as the most cost-effective means of achieving their reforestation goals following logging or fire, or for converting neglected brush land to forests.”

The first important pesticide was DDT (otherwise known as dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane). Muir says,

“DDT was discovered in 1939 by a Swiss chemist Paul Muller. In its early days, it was hailed as a miracle…It was inexpensive and easy to apply. It was so effective at killing pests and thus boosting crop yields and was so inexpensive to make that its use quickly spread over the globe. In 1948, Muller was awarded the Nobel Prize for its discovery.”

As years went by, however, DDT was labeled both directly and indirectly toxic to many organisms. Most disturbingly, as Muir explains, DDT

“showed up in human breast milk at remarkably high concentrations — so high that the milk couldn’t legally be sold through interstate commerce if it were cow’s milk! [DDT] is the most widespread contaminant in human milk around the world.”

While DDT was banned by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 1972, other pesticides are commonly used in Oregon. The last year in which Oregon has data compiled for pesticide use is 2008. That year it was reported that 280,001 pounds of pesticides (chlorpyrifos, diazinon and malathion) were used in the state.

A rally attendee protests 2,4-D, one of the pesticides found in streams near Triangle Lake.

The groups that rallied today are hoping to change how those hundreds of thousands of pounds of pesticides are administered. They asked all attendees to fill out postcards to Governor Kitzhaber to ask for expanding pesticide buffer zones to include not just fish, but people.

Christina Hubbard, the Project Director of Forest Web, also spoke at the rally. Forest Web is a grassroots conservation organization based in Cottage Grove. Hubbard said,

“Forest Web stands in solidarity with these groups. I’ve personally been working with Day since 2007. A lot of these pople have had major clinical studies done on their urine and it is documented that they have pesticide poisoning.”

Hubbard says this rally’s message is not particularly radical.

“Really what this is about is creating a reasonable buffer zone for aerial spraying. This is common sense, to protect homes and schools.”

For more information about Oregon’s use of pesticides in agriculture, go to the Oregon Department of Agriculture’s website at http://oregon.gov/ODA/PEST/. For more information about Oregon’s use of them in forestry, go to the Oregon Department of Forestry’s website at http://www.oregon.gov/ODF/privateforests/pesticides.shtml. Websites for the groups involved in the rally are: Pitchfork Rebellion, http://pitchforkrebellion.com/; STOP, http://stop-oregon.org/; Forest Web, http://www.forestweb-cg.org/.