Camilla Mortensen is the environmental reporter for the Eugene Weekly.
EWEB has been hunting and trapping nutria which are burrowing into and weakening earthen dams around Walterville Pond and Leaburg and Walterville canals.
Some Eugeneans have concerns about the lethal methods â€” both their affects on the nutria, as well as possible harm to dogs and people that use the area.
New Orleans, like Eugene, has had a long-standing nutria problem. Some even speculate the large water rats â€” the scientific name Myocastor coypus literally means "mouse" (mys) "beaver" (kastor) â€” contributed to the weakening of dams and levees that caused flooding after Hurricane Katrina. Legend says that nutria there were let loose by Tabasco sauce magnate E.A. McIlhenny.
Judging from this video, folks in New Orleans are a little more hard-hearted toward the semi-aquatic rodents than we are here in Eugene. Warning: If you're an animal lover, don't watch.
If you are an animal lover, then do watch this one, also from New Orleans featuring Molly the Nutria.
Lane County Commissioner Pete Sorenson has been calling for a carbon credit plan for Lane County forests to help offset the timber money/county payments issue, and Cascadia Wildlands has also thrown carbon credits out there as a possibility for the Elliott State Forest.
The AP reports that he Jefferson Land Trust sold carbon credits in a forest preserve near Port Townsend for $8,000 to Shorebank Enterprise Cascadia,to help the firm offset its carbon footprint.
The Nevada couple got sent down a remote national forest road by their SUV's GPS device on Christmas day, the AP's story says. John Rhodes and Starry Bush-Rhodes were stuck for three days before they got a weak signal on their cell and got winched out by Klamath Country sheriffs.
You'd think that after the whole James Kim thing where his road map and bad decisions took him, his wife and children down remote Bear Camp Road in southern Oregon (some speculate that since Kim worked for the tech website CNET and thus used GPS but interviews with his wife suggest otherwise), people would be a little wary of romping down remote roads in the winter. After all, just last year an Alabama couple used their GPS to get themselves lost on the same road that led to James Kim's death.
On a side note, it was the same sheriff, Tim Evinger of Klamath County who worked on both the Kim's case and the recent Rhodes case. He must be tired of finding lost people wandering the BLM and national forest lands of Oregon.
Another side note: One of the cover models for our 2008 Survival 101 cover story (pictured above) got lost in the woods on a snowshoe hike with her hiking-experienced partner some time after we ran the story. It can happen to anyone, even experienced hikers and backcountry trekkers. Luckily they stayed calm, stayed in one place and search and rescue got them out. A big mistake people make once lost is to keep hiking or driving, and get more lost.
The moral of the story here is: It's Oregon, it's snowing. Don't leave the main roads. Learn some basic survival skills if you plan to drive through the middle of nowhere. Your cell phone is NOT going to help you in Middle of Nowhere, Northwest.
Well, while I was blogging yesterday, more people were using their GPS devices to get lost! According to an update from the Lane County Sheriff's office this morning:
"DETAILS: Two women, one man, and their dog slid off this remote Forest Service road yesterday afternoon while attempting to drive to Terwilliger Hot Springs. The three, from the Portland metro area followed the route provided by their cell phone GPS program. While the route would have eventually taken them to the hot springs, it does not take into consideration seasonality and road conditions. They also lost GPS navigation when they lost cell service in the area. The three had no maps or survival gear. They were located at 11:00PM and assisted by Lane County search and rescue personnel after receiving a 911 call from the three. They had walked nearly 17 miles. They were mildly hypothermic, tired but in otherwise good condition.
The Sheriffâ€™s Office would like to remind travelers to take basic survival kits, including maps with them and not rely totally on technology for route finding. This is especially important when traveling through national forests where going off the highway may lead to un-maintained road systems with few directional signs."
Yeah, what they said. C'mon people, just because a map says you can go there, or the voice from the GPS in your SUV says to turn there, doesn't mean you shouldn't actually consider weather conditions, road signs warning of danger, and remote conditions!
Since I'm one of those irritating people who just doesn't feel it's a holiday until I've put a Santa hat on the dog... here's a little Christmas dog fun (thanks to Kylie B. the dogcatcher, who calls this an example of what you can do with positive dog training).
I'm guessing they didn't use real glass ornaments â€” those can be dangerous to dogs who chomp down thinking they are a nice safe ball.
Supwitchugirl, aside from causing the powers that be at the UO consternation over unauthorized Duck mascot use, has also spawned a spree of raps in response:
There's Oregon State's now out-of-date, "Pasadena Bound (I smell Roast Duck)."
The Ohio Buckeyes are rapping in response with "There's only one O."
And while it's not a Rose Bowl rap, this one is another Buckeye effort:
And apparently the Ducks were hatching videos even before "I Smell Roses" made the front page of the Register-Guard. (Slow news day. We hope).
And also in the Midwest, the "Coastie Song" out of the University of Wisconsin Madison rather than being part of the football debate, has created a furor over accusations of possible anti-Semitism that made it all the way to the New York Times.
We can only assume that the undergrads will leave college with not only a degree, but at least having learned the basics of how to use digital video. You just never know when that might come in handy.
Word is out that Jeff â€œFreeâ€ Luers has been released from prison, hopefully for good this time. Luers, then 23, was sentenced in 2001 to 22 years and eight months for the politically and environmentally motivated arson of three SUV's at a local Romania car dealership. Luers set the fires to call attention to the roll of SUVs in global warming.
Luers with current ecoprisoner Daniel McGowan
Luersâ€™ extreme sentencing for a crime in which no people were harmed dismayed civil rights activists from Eugene to Amnesty International. He was considered a political prisoner and the long sentence called politically motivated. Lauren Regan at Eugeneâ€™s Civil Liberties Defense Center was among the attorneys that took up his defense. In 2007, Luersâ€™ sentence was reduced to 10 years. He was given 10 percent sentence reduction in October under a cost-cutting early release plan, but was told only hours after his release that it was a mistake. He was taken away from family and friends and sent back to the Columbia River Correctional Institution until Dec. 16.
Luers told supporters he plans to go back to school and continue as an activist for environmental and social justice. Welcome home, Free.
I will admit it. I like fake meat. I like ToFurkey. I like veggie dogs. I eat lunch at Lotus Garden with its dubiously named "brown slices" whenever I can. I don't like Quorn (pronounced kworn). There's something about it that makes me nervous.
I bought some Quorn a couple years ago on sale, and ate it. It tasted ok, but I felt vaguely nauseous. I figured it was because I just wasn't down with "mycoprotein" that looked like a McNugget. I want my edible fungi to look like fungi. Somehow the phrase "fermented mycoprotein" just doesn't get my digestive juices flowing. (And let's be clear, there are certain foods I just find weird. I'm also not a polenta fan, but for some reason I think grits are just fine).
But now I know. It's not just me. Quorn has been known to make people sick. The Center for Science in the Public Interest has a lawsuit against Quorn that alleges it makes some people sick with reactions from vomiting and diarrhea to difficulty breathing.
If you want all the gory details on reactions, you can go here but I will warn you that "violent vomiting" is a repeat phrase on the page.
On the positive side, Quorn says their mycoprotein is GMO free and is the #1 selling retail line of meat alternatives in the world (ToFurkey eat your heart out).
And Slate.com debunks the Quorn controversy, pointing out that there are other ingredients in Quorn (like egg) that could cause allergic reactions.
The Journal of Clinical Pathology says that about 1/140,000 are allergic to Fusarium venenatum, the basis for Quorn, so most of you are probably safe.
Now I just need to decide whether to give the stuff another shot. Anyone have a great Quorn recipe you want to share?
They say the most read part of the paper is the "Letters to the Editor" section. Then there are some readers who say that the worst thing about EW is the A-Hole D-bag letters to the editor being used as a forum to promote stupidity.
I kind of miss Oregon Commentator's old practice of pulling out EW letters to the editor and mocking them. They used to mock us too, come to think of it. But since they aren't doing it, I guess I'll just pull out the letter this week that caught my eye, partly since it's a reaction to my story from ALMOST TWO MONTHS AGO, "Fetish Fun." The fetish letters don't seem to be going away, which means for a while longer, Eugeneans will continue to think of me as the smut reporter (I prefer "environment reporter and folklorist," FYI).
Here's the letter:
Fetish: a) an object of abnormal love or passion, source: The New American Webster Dictionary; Third Edition; b) an object of irrational reverence or obsessive devotion; c) an object or bodily part whose real or fantasized presence is psychologically necessary for sexually gratification and that is an object of fixation to the extent that it may interfere with complete sexual expression, source: Merriam Webster Online Dictionary.
Hilterâ€™s â€œobsessive devotionâ€ was to his idea of the fatherland and the destruction of all non-Aryans. Most religions are used for control, the domination of the masses. What about the Catholic priests and nuns who physically and sexually abused children? The above definitions of fetish fits perfectly with those actions.
Donâ€™t rely on the dictionary that therapists use. Itâ€™s widely known that people who take up the profession of psychology do so to find out answers to their own mental abnormalities. Shrinks into kink! I would image the production of â€œsnuffâ€ films would be acceptable to you. Do you find that fictitious Sopranos character Ralph Cifaretto appealing? How bizarre!
EW would be better off if it practiced more muckraking journalism. It would help in increasing your circulation, and you would then be able to hire another full time reporter. It is tough to muckrake with only one full time journalist. Fluff is cheaper to print, I guess. More journalists, not fluff-meisters!
Chris Williamson, Springfield
EDITORâ€™S NOTE: We actually have six full-time writers/editors on staff now, and most of us do investigative journalism, including probing the undercovered local fetish scene.
Discussion of the true meaning of the word "fetish" aside, it's the fluff-meister comment that caught my eye. A couple of discerning readers have pointed out that "fluff-meister" bears the same word root as "fluffer," a term associated with the porn industry, referring to the person tasked with ensuring the star's ummm, you know, starring parts, are at the ready. Supposedly fluffers have become less necessary since the advent of Viagra, but the association lingers.
At any rate, it's unclear from Williamson's letter whether he's up on porn industry speak, but here and now I will have to say neither I nor anyone else currently on the EW staff has ever been a fluffer. And probably not a fluff-meister either, to the best of my knowledge anyway. Muckraker yes. As dirty as muckraking sounds,according to Encyclopedia Britannica it is "detailed, accurate journalistic accounts of the political and economic corruption and social hardships caused by the power of big business in a rapidly industrializing United States."
Williamson totally gets props for using that one correctly in a sentence.