Karen Richards

Reporter

Karen Richards has been a volunteer reporter since the fall of 2012.

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Education
12:12 pm
Mon March 2, 2015

4J Selects Three Superintendent Finalists

The Eugene 4J School Board has chosen three finalists to be the next superintendent. [includes photos]

School board members had a busy weekend, interviewing seven candidates. They selected three finalists, all of whom have ties to Oregon and currently hold superintendent positions. Jennifer Geller is the school board member chairing the search:

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Crime & Law
12:23 pm
Fri February 27, 2015

UO Amends Answer To Sexual Assault Lawsuit

Interim President Scott Coltrane.
Credit uoregon.edu

The University of Oregon filed an amended response yesterday (Thursday) to a student’s lawsuit claiming she was raped by three former basketball players.

In the revised response, the U of O removed language seeking reimbursement of legal costs. Interim president Scott Coltrane says they never intended to ask for fees or damages from the claimant:

Coltrane: “We felt it was important to do this now, because the attention was going toward the misperception that we were suing our student, which was not the truth.”

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Environment
5:00 am
Mon February 23, 2015

Recovering Sea Turtle To Be Transported To San Diego

Solstice, the olive ridley sea turtle, at the Oregon Coast Aquarium.
Credit Corinne Boyer

An olive ridley turtle now in Newport recovering from hypothermia will be moved to San Diego tomorrow (Tuesday).

The turtle was named “Solstice” because she was found on a northwest beach on December 21st. Erin Paxton is with the Oregon Coast Aquarium. She says the endangered animal was scheduled to recuperate there a little longer, but the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has ruled her healthy enough to travel. Paxton says this is good news:

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Coast Guard
11:41 am
Fri February 13, 2015

Newport Rescue Helicopter Lawsuit To Be Reviewed

Credit www.newslincolncounty.com

Congress gave Newport’s Coast Guard air station a one-year reprieve after a threatened December closure. The community still fears they’ll lose their rescue helicopter. This week, opposing parties filed declarations in court.

A Washington D.C. Coast Guard official filed documents in federal court claiming the closure was only a proposal. In response, the Newport Fisherman’s Wives filed a contradicting statement. Ginny Goblirsch with that group says the Coast Guard’s decision had been presented as final:

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Economy
11:22 am
Mon February 9, 2015

Corvallis RAIN Accelerator Graduates Five New Businesses

The state, universities and local governments have invested in startup companies through the Oregon RAIN program. A cohort of five new businesses in Corvallis has just graduated.

The OSU Advantage Accelerator has been around since the summer of 2013. Mark Lieberman is co-director. He says over time, they’ve made the program more formal and rigorous:

Lieberman: “Entrepreneurship is generally a marathon and not a sprint, but the acceleration program is to get them to the starting line and that is truly a sprint.”

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Health
11:21 am
Mon February 2, 2015

Albertina Kerr Caregivers Begin Contract Negotiation

Caregivers at a non-profit that runs group homes around the state began mediation today (Monday). The Lane County union is concerned about job cuts, while administrators say their numbers are sufficient. The employees held a rally this (Monday) morning in Eugene.

Albertina Kerr is based in Portland. It serves youth and adults with developmental disabilities and mental health issues. The Eugene office employs about 65 care givers. With the Raging Grannies singing in the background, union president Linda Peterson says staffing issues are more important than salary:

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Mental Health
2:46 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

New Psychiatric Hospital In Junction City Readies For Patients

Oregon State Hospital's new Junction City campus.
Credit Karen Richards

The new Oregon State Hospital in Junction City hosted public tours today (Thursday). Approved by the State Legislature in 2007, the campus is nearly ready to accept patients.

The state-run psychiatric hospital has the capacity to house 174 people. It will offer treatment to adults who are civilly or criminally committed.

Greg Roberts is Superintendent of the Oregon State Hospital. He says philosophies have changed since he started working in mental health in the 1970s. Then, people often remained in the institutions for life:

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Weather
12:13 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

Oregon Ski Areas Hungry For Snow

Webcam from Willamette Pass on Monday, January 26.
Credit Willamettepass.com

In preparation for heavy snow on the East Coast, airlines have canceled flights and officials have declared states of emergency. At the same time, Oregon ski resorts are facing a winter with little snow.

Willamette Pass resort’s homepage says simply: “Keep praying for snow.” Both it and Hoodoo opened for a handful of days early this season, but have been closed since. Still, there are some bright spots in Oregon:

:Berg: “We’re so lucky to have Mt. Bachelor, Mt. Hood Meadows and Timberline where they have three, four, five feet of snow. It really makes a difference.”

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Springfield
5:18 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

Governor Kitzhaber Announces Help For Swanson Group To Rebuild Mill

Governor Kitzhaber (left) at the Swanson Mill site with Steve Swanson and Mayor Christine Lundberg
Credit Karen Richards

Governor John Kitzhaber visited Springfield today to tour the fire-devastated Swanson Mill and announced state help to rebuild it.

The plywood and veneer mill was destroyed last July in a massive fire, the cause of which is still unknown. The 33-acre site is now largely reduced to level concrete. Mayor Christine Lundberg says the blaze devastated the community:

Lundberg: “We lost not only an employer but we lost employees to the community so we’re enormously excited that Swanson has been able to see that this is the best site for them to rebuild.”

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Social Justice
12:03 pm
Mon January 19, 2015

Eugene Hosts Sunny MLK Day March

Participants in Eugene's MLK Day March.
Credit Karen Richards

Several hundred marchers gathered in Eugene today to honor Martin Luther King Junior.

 Speakers including Lane County NAACP president Eric Richardson and Congressman Peter DeFazio kicked off the event. Dr. King’s words “darkness cannot drive out darkness only light can do that,” had impact on the bright sunny morning. Several participants thought the race and equality issues of the past year brought energy to this year’s holiday. Eva Bertoglio is a student from Newberg:

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