Ted Taylor's blog
UO students, staff and community members will be picketing in front of the Erb Memorial Union post office at noon Wednesday, Dec. 1, to protest the planned closure of the branch on Dec. 31, according to an email today from Robert D’Andrea.
“The Associated Students of the University of Oregon, along with classified staff in SEIU Local 503, believe the United States Postal Service branch is the most affordable and accessible service for mail delivery and must remain on the university campus,” he says.
D’Andrea quotes UO student body President Amelie Rousseau saying, "Students rely on our post office to provide affordable, accessible mail service on campus. A publicly owned post office is vital to this public university, and students are uniting with staff and faculty to save it."
Rousseau will be in at the protest, along with Jim Kubli, president of American Postal Workers Union Local 679. Kubli says postal workers are better equipped to handle specialized services such as international mail, which is used frequently by international students who comprise 10 percent of the student body.
"Certainly the postal service has more knowledgeable people handling mail," Kubli says in the press release, referring to recent talk of replacing the post office with a private mail service. "A lot of international students mail through there and mail internationally," he says.
Students and classified staff are collecting post card petitions to send to the Postal Regulatory Commission in Washington, D.C., which can overturn the decision to close the branch. Students have set a goal of collecting 2,000 post cards by the end of next week.
In case you haven't heard, Willie Nelson's Teapot Party has a Facebook page with more than 23,000 fans. Willie wants American pot smokers to get organized under his Teapot Party and work to "tax it, regulate it and legalize it."
Check it out at http://www.facebook.com/TeapotParty?v=wall
Below-freezing nights this week have residents cranking up the heat, and local groups are activating services for those among us who have no heat or even shelter from the potentially deadly weather.
The Eagan Warming Center website at http://eganwarmingcenter.com shows which sites are open this week and also lists times and locations for volunteer training and orientation. Trainings were held earlier this week and will resume Dec. 2, 9 and 11.
The Egan Warming Center is described as “a coalition of community member representing providers, religious congregations, nonprofits and social activist communities and local governments who have come together to ensure that homeless people in Lane County have a place to sleep indoors when temperatures drop to 28 degrees or below.” The sites are prepared to open between Nov. 15 and March 31. They open at 7 pm and close at 8 am.
Eight host sites around the valley are available when needed. In Eugene the sites are at First Christian Church at 12th and Oak, Grace Community Church at 989 Country Club Road, Hosea Youth Services (youth site) at 834 Monroe, Temple Beth Israel at 1175 E. 29th Ave., Valley Covenant Church at 18th and Bailey Hill, and Dayspring Ministries at 1580 River Road. Springfield sites are at Ebbert United Methodist Church at 532 C St., and First Nazarene Church at 1761 E St.
Donations of winter clothing, tarps, tents and toiletries can be dropped off at St. Vincent dePaul stores (label them “Egan”), and food donations can be taken to FOOD for Lane County, 770 Bailey Hill Road.
Lane County’s Homeless Action Coalition (HAC) now has a Facebook page at http://wkly.ws/x8 with commentary, notices about HAC meetings and links to stories.
The Nation magazine this week reports that U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio is "investigating" the prospect of impeaching Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts for his role in manipulating deliberations in the Citizens United case that eliminated limits on campaign financing by corporations.
DeFazio has seen his opponent for Congress, Art Robinson, getting huge donations from Wall Street hedge fund managers. DeFazio has been battling Wall Street corporate greed and shady practices for years.
See ?story at http://wkly.ws/vd
Kevin Ahern of Corvallis sent us this poem he wrote about the return of winter weather in our valley. Some nice photos go with the YouTube version (see below).
Let It Rain
Oh the Oregon weather’s dowdy
‘Cause the sky is mostly cloudy
You can’t stop it if you complain
So let it rain, let it rain, let it rain
It doesn’t show signs of slowing
And it’s rarely right for snowing
Though it’s driving some folks insane,
Let it rain, let it rain, let it rain
When it finally turns out dry
We’ll be putting away our rain gear
It will probably be July
But I’ll surely miss the rain dear
‘Cuz the sound of the falling rain
Pitter pattering down the drain
Makes music inside my brain
So let it rain, let it rain, let it rain
A press release from Eugene School District 4J has confirmed that more than 100 full-time and part-time employees across the district received notice Oct. 12 of potential layoffs (see previous blog post). Union leaders were given notice Oct. 11. If the teachers and other workers are terminated, it would happen Dec. 17, according to Kerry Delf, communications coordinator for the district.
“The reason for the possible layoffs is uncertainty about the interpretation of contract language,” reads the district statement today. “4J and its employee unions disagree over whether the district must restore school/work days this year. Any restoration of days will need to be offset by staff reductions.”
The district says restoring five days would cost $2.25 million “and lead to the reduction of approximately 63 full-time teaching and classified staff positions.”
The district has requested arbitration, says Delf.
Teachers and specialists in Eugene School District 4J have reportedly received notice of potential layoffs. As many as 100 positions could be cut in late December, according to an unconfirmed rumor.
The Eugene Education Association (EEA) emailed a response to its members Tuesday evening (Oct. 12) saying, “The District’s unilateral action distributing layoff letters to teachers and specialists in the midst of supposed collaborative discussions is appalling. EEA was not given timely notice, and in fact was expecting a response to a communication sent to Superintendent George Russell on this very topic. EEA leadership expressed our shock and dismay about this action in a meeting this afternoon with the Superintendent and other District Administrators.”
The email from EEA President Dayna Mitchell goes on to say, “A few weeks ago, a compromise position was delivered by EEA regarding the restoration of days, and we fully expected that the District would meet us ‘halfway’ — which is the language used by the District at a prior meeting. This type of negotiation strategy is completely unacceptable and makes a mockery of long-standing goals of working collaboratively to problem solve together to reach fair and equitable agreements.”
Stay tuned for updates.
Last year's 16-song compilation CD of our Next Big Thing contest will be played in its entirety by Karen Proden on her "Thursday Free For All" program on KRVM, 91.1 FM.
The show runs from 5 to 7 pm. Give it some ear time.
Meanwhile, we're counting votes for this year's Next Big Thing contest and sending the top 40-getting songs off to our judges. Winners will be announced at our Oct. 29 Best of Eugene Awards Show.