Karen Richards


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


Winter heating
5:00 am
Sun November 2, 2014

Energy Assistance Applications Open Monday

Households needing help on their winter heating bills can apply for assistance beginning Monday. Federal funding has been released to the states for the low income energy assistance program, or LIHEAP.

Mary Ellen Bennett is the LIHEAP Coordinator for Lane County. She expects about 8,000 households will receive assistance this year, which is on par with last year. Bennett says several factors determine how much help is given:

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Track & Field
5:00 am
Tue October 28, 2014

Eugene Hosts Evaluation Commission For World Track Event

IAAF General Secretary Essar Gabriel, Track Town USA President Vin Lananna, IAAF VP Sebastian Coe, and USATF CEO Max Siegel make opening statements.
Credit Karen Richards

Eugene is in contention to host the largest sporting event in the world in 2019. International track and field evaluators visited Sunday and Monday. Next month, they'll choose the location of the 2019 World Championships.

The Evaluation Commission for the International Association of Athletics Federations has been to Barcelona, Spain. They travel to Doha, Qatar later this week. Eugene is the third contender for the competition. British politician and former Olympic middle distance athlete, Sebastian Coe, is the IAAF's Vice President:

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November 2014 Election
12:43 pm
Fri October 24, 2014

Three Candidates Compete For Florence Mayor

Florence Mayor Nola Xavier.
Credit www.ci.florence.or.us

After the November election, the city of Florence may have a new mayor and turnover in three of the four city council seats.

Nola Xavier has been mayor of Florence two years. Before that, she was a city councilor for eight years. She wants to serve another term in order to complete several ongoing projects:

Xavier: "We're in the process of hiring a new city manager. We need a new police chief. We've been working with an interim in both of those positions for quite some time."

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Eugene Airport
1:42 pm
Mon October 20, 2014

Eugene Airport Begins Major Expansion

Eugene Airport Director Tim Doll. Renderings of the new construction are displayed behind him.
Credit Karen Richards

The Eugene Airport is expanding. Construction starts this week but officials say it won’t impact customers.

The renovation is expected to be completed in early 2017. Airport Director Tim Doll says passenger numbers are up nearly 20 percent over four years. He hopes the changes will relieve some congestion inside the terminal:

Doll: “The security checkpoint is a choke point for traffic right now. You can come in here at peak times and see the line going clear down past our rental car agencies down to our baggage claim area.”

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1:54 pm
Fri October 17, 2014

Senator Wyden And Treasurer Wheeler Take Input On Retirement Savings

Barbara Perrin talks to Senator Wyden and Treasurer Wheeler.
Credit Karen Richards

Oregon Senator Ron Wyden and State Treasurer Ted Wheeler held a roundtable in Eugene today to discuss retirement savings issues.

At the meeting on LCC's downtown campus, Senator Wyden and Treasurer Wheeler heard from a couple dozen students, retirees, and professionals. They were looking for ideas to help shape an Oregon plan for retirement security.

Wyden said the days of working for the same company for decades, and retiring with a healthy pension, have gone the way of black and white TV:

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November 2014 Election
1:15 pm
Mon October 13, 2014

Oregon Voters Must Register By Tuesday

Oregon's November election features a governor's race and a couple of hotly-debated measures. In order to cast a ballot, voters must register by Tuesday.

Lane County Clerk Cheryl Betschart says there are several ways to register to vote by Tuesday:

Betschart: "You can go online at Oregonvotes.gov. That is available for those that have a driver's license, an Oregon i.d. card, or a permit.  And that can be done from the convenience of your home at a computer and that can happen all the way up to 11:59 p.m."

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2:22 pm
Fri October 10, 2014

Sneaker Waves Possible On Oregon Coast This Weekend

Credit www.noaa.gov

This Columbus Day weekend, those heading to the Oregon Coast should be extra cautious. There is a potential for deadly sneaker waves in the next few days.

Sneaker waves are sudden, unexpected waves that reach farther up the beach than normal. Mark Spilde is a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. He says conditions exist for sporadic waves up to 18 feet high:

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Coast Guard
2:43 pm
Mon October 6, 2014

Newport Scheduled To Lose Its Rescue Helicopter

Newport's MH-65 Dolphin helicopter.
Credit www.newslincolncounty.com

The Port of Newport plans to expand, yet an important safety service is scheduled to be eliminated. Newport's Coast Guard air facility, including its rescue helicopter station, is slated to close at the end of November.

Once the Newport facility closes, the closest rescue helicopters will be in North Bend, 60 minutes away by air. Captain Todd Trimpert is Commander at the North Bend station. He says the government is under pressure to allocate their resources more effectively:

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Eugene City Hall
11:17 am
Fri October 3, 2014

Eugene's City Hall To Be Dismantled, Not Demolished

Exterior of Eugene's City Hall.
Credit greatbuildings.com

There will be no wrecking ball at Eugene’s City Hall. The structure is being disassembled. This week, western red cedar slats and some heavy paving stones are being removed.

The pavers that made up the concrete plaza outside the Council Chamber are being transported to BRING Recycling. Each paver weighs over 100 pounds and more than 2,000 of them have already been moved. BRING’s Executive Director, Julie Daniel, says they’re prepared to store the blocks, plus whatever other cabinets, fixtures and fittings they can take from the building.

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Salmon fishing
3:51 pm
Tue September 30, 2014

Wild Coho Season Ending On Umpqua River

Credit oregonriverguides.com

A remarkable rebound for salmon in Oregon has led to a bountiful fishing season. It's also meant fishing quotas are being met early, resulting in the closure of one river.

Wild coho season on the Umpqua River will end October first, when biologists predict the quota of 2,000 fish will be met. Jessica Sall is with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife:

Sall: "We do want to remind anglers that the river is still open for hatchery coho, or those fish that have their adipose fin clipped."

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