Karen Richards

Reporter

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

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Karen Richards

This year, for the first time, all Oregon schools have the funding to offer full-day kindergarten. In Eugene's 4J district, teachers and parents have embraced the change.

oregonstate.edu

September is National Preparedness Month and a series of emergency response events has been taking place across the state. Tomorrow (Tuesday) congressman Peter DeFazio will host an earthquake early warning roundtable at the U of O.

As the ranking member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Congressman DeFazio introduced a federal bill to fund an earthquake early warning system for the west coast. The roundtable is an official committee hearing. Scott Ashford, Dean of Engineering at OSU, studies the effects to utilities and services in an emergency:

www.eugene-or.gov

Eugene residents love their parks. Yet a lack of funding has caused maintenance cuts and kept new parks from opening. Yesterday (Wednesday) the City Council approved having a public hearing on a proposal to collect a fee for parks operations.

The Council voted 5 to 3 to look at changing a city ordinance, allowing it to increase an existing stormwater fee. Public Works Spokesman Eric Jones says the small addition to the monthly utility bill would be an efficient solution:

Karen Richards

Officials broke ground on a new affordable housing complex in north Eugene today (Monday). Phase two of Bascom Village will be sure to fill up quickly.

Near County Farm Road and Coburg Road, earth movers clear the ground for the second half of the Bascom Village community, which will have 48 units.

Karen Richards

Elected officials and Chamber of Commerce leaders gathered in Eugene today (Thursday) to recognize a company that's hired 250 people in just four months. FirstSource Solution plans to more than double that number in its next phase.

The Mumbai-based company signed a 10-year lease on the Chad Drive property. FirstSource provides online chat support for a large telecommunications company. Chris Autrey is the Site Director. He says even though the Eugene area has several other customer support centers, his company hasn't had difficulty finding workers:

Karen Richards

As Eugene 4J schools prepare for students, several Roosevelt Middle School staff had a preview of the place they'll be working a year from now.

About two dozen teachers and staff donned hard hats to walk next door and tour the project, which began about four months ago. The new school is coming together quickly. Maintenance Coordinator Randy Williams is on the design committee:

Karen Richards

Dr. Gustavo Balderas, Eugene 4J's new superintendent, addressed teachers, staff and administrators from the district this [Thursday] morning. Most were meeting him for the first time.

The response to the new Superintendent was overwhelmingly positive. His speech received a standing ovation, unusual for a back to school presentation. Doug Doerfert directs the band at South Eugene High School:

Doerfert: "I felt it was very inspirational, just to see a different background from another superintendent."

http://www.fs.usda.gov/willamette/

Bow hunting season opened in Oregon over the weekend. Local land managers are welcoming visitors to the forests, but they have several cautions.

Recent rains and cooler temperatures have brought a taste of fall.

But Jude McHugh of the Willamette National Forest says the moisture hasn’t penetrated the tree canopy, and fire danger remains high:

http://www.co.benton.or.us

People in and around Sweet Home will soon have a new health care center, due to a $1.1 million dollar federal grant.

The two-year grant comes from Affordable Care Act funds, and will be used to expand an existing clinic. Sherlyn Dahl is Director of Community Health Centers for Benton and Linn Counties. She says it’s important for residents of rural areas to be able to easily find high-quality wrap-around services:

Northwest wildfires have had widespread effects on travel and air quality. Another unfortunate consequence is a critically low blood supply.

Several compounding factors have squeezed the blood supply. Mobile donation drivers can’t get to some rural sites, and university and high school drives aren’t yet running. There are other reasons, too, says Cynthia Vignos of the Lane Blood Center:

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