Karen Richards

Reporter

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

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University of Oregon

The NCAA track and field championships take place this week at Hayward Field. For the first time ever, the men's and women's teams will compete on different days.

The coaches and administrators decided early this year to separate the competitions. Shortly after, ESPN announced plans to expand its TV coverage of the event, including airing Friday's men's championship on ESPN and Saturday's women's championship on ESPN 2. Some athletes are less than enthusiastic.

City of Eugene

The City of Eugene has coordinated a pilot project to bring high-speed fiber optic cable to three buildings downtown. Two were connected last week.

Fiber optic lines already span much of Eugene. The schools, the city, and major medical facilities have it. But a lot of other fiber is “dark.” It hasn’t been taken from its source to people who would use it. The city spent 100-thousand dollars to help light some of the dark cable, hoping to attract and retain businesses downtown. Economic Development Planner Anne Fifield says it’s not just tech companies who can benefit:

Eugene Airport

This fall, Eugene air passengers will have a new nonstop flight option. Horizon Air announced today (Monday) they're adding daily direct flights to San Jose.

San Jose was identified over five years ago as an underserved market. A partnership between the Eugene Airport and several economic development groups secured a half-million dollar grant to help establish the new service. Dave Hauser is President of the Eugene Chamber of Commerce:

preclassic.runnerspace.com

Millions of people around the world will be watching Eugene this weekend. This year’s Prefontaine Classic track and field meet takes place Friday and Saturday at Hayward Field.

Friday night’s free program includes the men’s 5,000 and 10,000 meter races. Local favorite Galen Rupp will run the 5K and Olympic champion Mo Farah is entered in the 10K. Prefontaine spokesman Jeff Oliver says the entire meet will be outstanding:

portland2016.com

Track Town USA is hosting a big party in Portland Wednesday afternoon. Here are some details about the countdown to the 2016 World Indoor Track and Field Championships.

Vin Lananna is used to working with stakeholders in Eugene and Springfield on big track and field events. Speaking from Portland, the TrackTown USA President says there’s been plenty of enthusiasm for track in the Rose City:

Lananna: “The city the mayor, the commissioners here, in this community, the local people, the businesses, have been just fantastic.”

eugene-or.gov

Eugene’s Parks and Open Space Department has been considering a smoking ban for years. They happened to present their idea to the City just as the City Council began debating a downtown smoking ban.

There’s plenty of precedent for these kinds of bans. All Oregon State Parks are smoke free. Craig Carnagey is with Eugene’s Parks Department. He says the ban is a logical step:

Lane County’s deadliest stretch of road will be getting some safety improvements soon, and officials hope for additional long-term changes. Work begins soon on the construction on Highway 126 West near Walton.

There were ten deaths in 12 months last year on Highway 126 between Eugene and the coast. In response, Lane County Commissioner Jay Bozievich organized a task force to study how to prevent more accidents.

Bozievich: “Most of the crashes were lane departures. And it was either due to excessive speed or driver distraction.”

lanecc.edu

The Lane Community College board voted four to two Wednesday night to eliminate the Auto Body and Electronic Technology programs. The controversial decision came just after dozens of people voiced their concerns in a public comment session.

The administration proposed the cuts as part of its plan to offset next year’s projected $4.7 million dollar deficit. LCC staff, former and past students and local business owners said the board had asked the wrong questions and not followed procedures. Jim Salt is President of the LCC Education Association:

Over the next few years, more trucks in Oregon may be running on the waste from yesterday’s burgers. Oregon-based SeQuential Biofuels has upgraded its equipment and added jobs, to prepare for a growing market.

In mid-March, Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed the Clean Fuels Program bill. It requires sellers and manufacturers of transportation fuel to implement the reduced emissions rules legislators developed over the past five years. SeQuential’s Rachel Shaver says they’re expecting increased demand because the new law looks at lifecycle emissions:

Karen Richards

Soccer has been growing in the United States for years, and the number of professional teams is exploding. Fans in Eugene and Springfield are beneficiaries of the expansion. The Lane United Football Club begins its second season Friday.

Lane United is a semi-professional team. Most of the athletes are current top-tier college players. This year, there’s also a group of club players from Spain. Spokesman Chris Burke says the mix makes for a quality game:

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