Karen Richards

Reporter

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

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Holiday travel
4:00 am
Fri August 29, 2014

Weekend Road Travel Expected To Be Heavy

Anyone taking a road trip this holiday weekend should expect the highways to be busy.

Nationally, Labor Day travel is projected to increase this year, to the highest levels since 2008. Marie Dodds is with AAA. She expects more than ten percent of North-westerners to take a long trip this weekend.

Dodds: "It's going to be a very busy travel weekend. By far and away most people are going by car. About 86% of people nationally and about 80% of people here in the Pacific region will be driving to their Labor Day destinations."

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Pet Health
2:30 am
Mon August 25, 2014

Dog Food Trends Follow American Diet Trends

Ryan Garity loads a tray of Not For Dogs Only treats into the refrigerator.
Credit Karen Richards

Salmon and sweet potato or chicken with blueberries. All gluten free and organic, of course. These are not choices on the menu of Eugene’s newest restaurant, but options in the pet food aisle. Pet owners are spending more on specialized food every year.

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Transportation
3:55 pm
Mon August 18, 2014

Oregon's Senators: Oil Trains Need New Regulations

From left: Eugene Springfield Fire Chief Randall Groves, U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley, PHMSA Deputy Administrator Tim Butters.
Credit Karen Richards

Oregon's U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley were both in Eugene on Monday. They led a forum on the Department of Transportation's proposed changes to oil train transport.

Bakken shale oil production in the Dakotas has transformed railroad tank car movement across the west. Volumes have increased four thousand percent since 2008, according to the Association of American Railroads. Senator Ron Wyden says rules regarding safety and preparedness have not kept pace:

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University of Oregon
3:31 pm
Thu August 7, 2014

U Of O Hosts Big Data Forum

Credit U of O News

The big data conversation comes to Eugene this weekend. The U of O is hosting a “Big Opportunities with Big Data” meeting Friday.

According to the International Data Corporation, this year, the world will store over two zettabytes of data, or the equivalent of 36 million years of HD video. If those numbers are hard to comprehend, that’s the point. It’s hard for traditional analytical methods to deal with. Andy Berglund is Dean of U of O’s grad school. He’s been giving a lot of incoming freshmen the same advice:

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Agriculture
3:00 am
Wed July 30, 2014

It's Peak Time For Blueberries In Oregon

Credit oreblueberry.com

It is peak blueberry season in the Willamette Valley. Oregon is on track to break its harvest record for at least the 10th straight year.

Oregon and Michigan are the two top producers of blueberries. Bryan Ostlund is with the Oregon Blueberry Commission. He says since the discovery of the fruit's health benefits about a decade ago, demand has continued to increase, especially internationally:

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World Junior Championships
2:00 am
Mon July 21, 2014

Global Ambassadors Host International Athletes

Adjoa Quansah is working with delegations from Ghana, Liberia, Namibia, and Sierra Leone.
Credit Karen Richards

People around Eugene or the University of Oregon in the next week may hear more foreign language speakers than usual.  There are thousands of athletes and coaches here for the World Junior Track and Field Championships. Helping orient those visitors is a group of U of O student ambassadors. 

("Welcome to Eugene" in Japanese) ("Welcome to Eugene" in Italian)

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Economy
11:58 am
Wed July 16, 2014

Local Start-Ups Begin Acceleration Program

Joe Maruschak is Director of Eugene RAIN.
Credit Karen Richards

In Eugene, eight selected startup companies began a journey toward potential long-term success this week. Thanks to a new public and private collaboration, they'll use the next 12 weeks to create a plan and then implement it.

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Parks and Recreation
3:00 am
Mon July 14, 2014

Federal Funds Allocated For Oregon's Outdoor Areas

Oregon will receive $657,659 from the Land and Water Conservation Fund this year.

The federal Land and Water Conservation Fund has been distributing money to the states for 50 years. Last week, Governor Kitzhaber announced Oregon's 2014 allocation.

Oregon will receive over 650 thousand dollars this year, to be used to acquire land and develop outdoor recreation areas. The amount is on par with funding over the past few years. Chris Havel is with the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. He says the Land and Water Conservation Fund has been remarkably long-lived, supporting thousands of projects over the years.

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Oregon Country Fair
2:20 pm
Sat July 12, 2014

Country Fair Food Booth Staffers Savor Their Jobs

Merrill Smith manages the La Tortilla booth.
Credit Karen Richards

Oregon Country Fair is a place people can escape their everyday lives. One of the larger industries at the fair is food service. Many people leave their normal jobs to work at the fair's various food booths.

Merrill Smith works at La Tortilla, better known as "€œthe chalupa booth." He runs a bakery in Ashland. But most of his employees this weekend are not in food service. Smith says his workers are flight attendants, yoga instructors, tree planters, and parents. He enjoys working here because...

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Track and Field
4:15 am
Mon July 7, 2014

Young Track And Field Athletes Earn Right To Represent Team USA

Cole Walsh won the USA Junior pole vault.
Credit Karen Richards

After Friday night's fireworks, the patriotic weekend continued at Hayward Field. The country's best track and field athletes under 20 competed Saturday and Sunday for a chance to represent the United States at the World Junior Championships.

The U.S. has never hosted a world championship track meet. In two weeks, Eugene will welcome junior athletes from 212 countries. This weekend, several local competitors earned their right to compete for the United States at the event.

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