Blog Page 2

Powering up for playoffs


Men’s soccer team gets ready for the playoffs

The men’s soccer team is heading to the playoffs.

With five wins, two losses, and six ties, they are in second place in the Southern Regional standings. To win the championship, the Titans must beat four other teams.

With no losses on away games and only ties on away from home games, Lane increases its rank higher in the Southern Region standing. 

Chemeketa Community College is the only team in the South that has clinched a Region Championship. South West Oregon is in third place, only one game behind Lane.

With a four-game win streak at the end of September and the start of October, Lane shows that the other teams should be worried about them in the playoffs.

The game that made Lane lose the number one standing in the Conference was their game against the Clark Community College Penguins on Oct. 23.

The Oct. 23 game started off with a straight-goal made by Clark’s Kleon Keang just seconds into the eleventh minute. The next goal Clark’s team made was just eleven minutes from the end of the game. 

Only a few moments later, Lane’s Issac Reyna scored with an assist by David Nazario.

With the game ending at 90 minutes, the final score was 1-2.

The Lane Titans stand strong for the first of four playoff games ahead of them.

The Titans will first have to play against Whatcom or Everett for the Regional Playoffs.

Next in the Quarter Finals, the Titans would go against Columbia Basin. Semifinals would see Lane going against Tacoma.

Lastly, the Championship game would see Lane play Chemeketa or Peninsula.

With the four games that are within the 2019 Northwest Athletic Conference Men’s Soccer Championship, the regional playoffs start on Nov. 6 and end with the championship game on Sunday, Nov.17 at the Starfire Stadium in Tukwila, WA at 2:45 p.m.

The All-Star games will also be hosted on Nov. 16, at the Starfire Stadium. That will show off the Women’s North-East vs South-West at 12:00 p.m and the Men’s North-East vs South-West at 2 p.m

The NWAC is excited for the turnout at the games this year having four event sponsors such as Cafe Siena, MVP physical therapy,, and The Watershed FC.

Titan volleyball vies for playoff spot


Titans climb to second in conference

Lane’s Women have been tearing up the volleyball court in conference play this year. Holding onto a three-game win streak and a 7-1 conference record, they are second place in NWAAC South standings. 

September marked the beginning of conference play for the Titans. With two away and two home games, Head Coach Jim Moore lead his team to a 4-0 start in the first month. 

The fifth regional game of the season, against the Rogue Ospreys, proved to be their greatest test. The Titans fell to the Ospreys, snapping their four-game win streak, in an away game 3 sets to 1.

Rogue has yet to be defeated in conference play, securing their first place spot in the south. Lane has been close behind them in second place. The Titans will have a chance at redemption Nov. 1 in a rematch against Rogue, this time with home-court advantage. 

The Volleyball team now has eight games left in their season, all of which are conference play. 

Lane hosted Mt. Hood Oct. 12 at Titan court.

The Titans entered the court to Welcome to the Jungle by Guns N’ Roses as the fans cheered. The first set started off with a quick three scored for Lane.

Mt. Hood didn’t make it easy for Lane, tying the set 7-7, then 9-9, until the Lane women finally pulled ahead 21-18 in part by increasing communication on the court. 

As the lead slowly dwindled, Coach Moore wasn’t afraid to show some passion in correcting mistakes. 

The Saint Bernards battled back late in the first set and made a powerful comeback to win the set 26-24. With corrections between sets the Titans looked like a different team for the rest of the match. 

Lane didn’t back down and came out in the second set with an early 11-2 lead. A deflated Mt. Hood team couldn’t dig themselves out and lost the set 25-20.

Set three saw the most errors Lane committed throughout the match, but still won the set 25-22. Correcting their play, the fourth set was nearly flawless for the Titans only committing two errors on 28 total attempts. 

The Mt. Hood Saint Bernards are in fifth place in the South region, with a 3-6 conference record after falling to Lane. 

Lane is competing only in conference play for the rest of the season. With eight games left in the season, Lane will get a chance to rematch Rogue, on Nov. 1 at Titan Court. 

Vaping ban


Governor Brown signs order to ban flavored vaping products for six months

Oregon Governor Kate Brown, on Oct. 4, issued an executive order putting a 180-day ban on flavored vaping products. 

The Centers for Disease Control released a report stating there have been over 1,000 probable vape-related lung injuries nationwide. In addition, 26 deaths have been confirmed in 21 states two of which were in Oregon. 

While all the cases were associated with a history of e-cigarette or vape use, Brown’s decision was primarily made to prevent underage youth from vaping. Though laws prevent minors under the age of 21 from purchasing any of these vape products, Brown calls out “flavored nicotine vaping products and advertisements for those products” as the main contributor to the rise of youth vaping. “For example, among 11th graders in Oregon, use of e-cigarette products increased from 13 percent to 23 percent from 2017 to 2019,” according to the CDC. 

Currently, the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration are not entirely sure what causes these lung-related illnesses. The CDC has stated that the only commonality in the 1,299 cases nationwide is that the patients reported they had, or currently used e-cigarettes or other vaping products. 

The executive order does not just target nicotine products but also cannabis vaping cartridges. In particular, THC cartridges obtained on the black market are linked to the outbreak, therefore it is not recommended to use nicotine or THC vaping products until more research has been done to identify the source of the problem. 

What is currently unknown is the substance causing the ailments. Moreso, there is a possibility that multiple causes are to blame. In order to find the responsible substance, the CDC is currently investigating the sources of these products.

It is recommended to see a physician if experiencing any of these symptoms linked to these products: cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, fatigue, fever, or weight loss.

Some patients reported their symptoms as developing over a few days while others said it progressively grew worse over a couple of weeks. 

A part of Brown’s executive order is to immediately ban chemicals and associated products when they are discovered to be the cause. She has also ordered that there be a warning label expressing the associated dangers to be placed on all vaping products along with an ingredient disclosure.

Another part of the order is to have the Oregon Liquor Control Commission and the Oregon Health Authority start a statewide vaping prevention campaign. Its focus will be to discourage consumers, especially the youth, from vaping products. 

Local vendors add to the menu


Follett takes over Titan store.

Fall term heralded a number of changes at Lane Community College. The first-year students may not have noticed, but the returning students found many welcomed adjustments made over the summer. However, as some students were excited to see a more lively cafeteria, others experienced some growing pains. 

Over a tumultuous couple of years, the food services have yet to see a profit. Last year, more than two-thirds of the food court sat empty.

The Torch wrote a three-part series last year covering the cuts made to food services, the Titan Store, and the bookstore. 

On April 11, 2019, The LCC Board of Education voted to outsource the food court to locally owned businesses. 

“Last year was a struggle, but at the end when the air cleared we now have locally sourced vendors serving food,” Hamilton said.

The first among the new additions is Bartolotti’s Pizza Bistro. The pizza oven went unused for the majority of the 2018-2019 school year, but according to Bartolotti’s employee Jennifer Perez, the first day showed promise.

“[It was] a tremendous success,” Perez said. Currently, Bartolotti’s is operating on a partial menu but hopes to change that soon. “We hope to eventually expand our menu,” Perez said. 

The pizzeria that started out as a food truck in South Eugene has now grown into a thriving local business with a storefront in downtown Springfield. 

Among the other new food vendors are Doug’s Place and Taco Intrusion. Also locally owned, Doug’s Place offers hamburgers, chicken strips, and teriyaki combos, with vegan and vegetarian options. 

Taco Incursion is a locally wandering food truck. They offer Mexican style dishes like burritos and tacos. 

Apart from the additions to the dining area in the Center Building, LCC now has student lounges in the space connecting Buildings 1 and 18. The space was upgraded after being underutilized for years. Fitted with charging kiosks so students can make sure to always have a full battery on their devices the rooms are designed for a social environment. 

However, not every change made during the summer went smoothly. In June 2019, the front runner to take over the Titan Store was Barnes & Noble College. 

The deal was all but settled when Follett made a deal President Hamilton couldn’t refuse.

“That was the criteria,” Hamilton explained. “[They] hire students, OER [Open Educational Resources] is always first, and keep grab-and-go food.”

The transition was nearly seamless and went unnoticed by many students. However, Follett had not submitted an application to be able to accept EBT before the start of the school year. 

EBT cards are for those who receive financial assistance from the federal government. According to the Federal Reserve, one in five people in Lane County use EBT cards.  

“We are trying, believe me,” said Titan Store Manager David Frederick. 

Last year EBT cards were accepted at the Titan Store. When the store switched to Follett, the EBT service was terminated and Follett had to reapply for EBT services, this left many students searching for other options for food.

The application was submitted during the second week of the fall term. The Titan Store is expecting an estimate of three weeks for the processing to be complete. 

If students are in need of food there are more options. 

The Rainy Day Food Pantry in the basement of the Center Building is moving to the first floor. Because of this, hours are limited to Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. until the new location on the first floor of the Center Building is open. 

For TRiO and STEM students, vouchers are available at the TRiO offices and Center for Accessible Resources. Other departments on campus offer healthy snacks for students, such as Student Success, CAR, and Health Professions according to the dean of student success Lida Herburger.

The college faculty recognizes the importance of EBT for students. “I’m proud of the way faculty came together,” said Jane Reeder the director of the TRiO Stem program. Reeder noted that the staff is doing all they can to make sure students in need won’t go hungry. 

“Everyone across the college is pitching in,” Reeder said. Faculty at LCC are trying their best to support students in need until the application for EBT is fully processed.

President pitches four pillars


Margaret Hamilton outlines plans for the upcoming year

Coming into the 2019 fall term Lane Community College’s president Margaret Hamilton is ambitiously pursuing her goals for the 2019-2020 school year. Her goals are for planning the future longevity of LCC. She has broken down this plan into four points she calls “lifts.”


One primary lift in the plan is to reevaluate the deferred maintenance that is proving to be costly to the college. 


“Concrete is chipping, the roof isn’t going to last, and Building 17 is almost uninhabitable to me. We really don’t have a grand entrance-way. I could go on and on to the tune of let’s just say 100 million dollars in deferred maintenance. That’s just stuff to be fixed,” Hamilton said. 


Hamilton has made it clear that her plan is not to cover up blemishes around the school or simply “paint” over the walls, but to fix what is broken. “I could cosmetically cover it up and fix it, or I can actually go behind the wall and fix the mold,” Hamilton added. “We have to stop just painting.”


For the past two years, Hamilton and the administration have been refining a long term plan to renovate LCC’s main campus. She is asking for a bond from the county to fund this project and will have a master plan to pitch to the voters. Hamilton explained, “You’ve got to have a vision of what the campus should look like for the next 20-30 years.”


Currently, the bond she is putting on the ballot will equate to a sum of 120 million dollars. This number may change after the Board of Education votes on her proposal. “The number one lift for this college is going out for a bond, asking the voters to help us reduce the deferred maintenance [and] moving toward the long term facility master plan,” Hamilton said. 


The bond will be voted on in either May or November depending on the vote for the proposal.


Number two on her list of “lifts” is governance.


The governance system is over a decade old, and it’s aging like any system, because it hadn’t been paid any attention to,” Hamilton said. She added that during the 2018-2019 school year, the administration had focused on what the rules and bylaws are and then finding the weaknesses in them.  


The first thing that needs to improve in governance is representation. “Any governance, it matters doesn’t it, who sits at the table and who you are representing,”  Hamilton said.


Providing more support is another step Hamilton is taking to improving LCC’s governance. She created a classified support position that is in charge of taking notes and communicating with the leadership council. “It’s far more than just being a note-taker,” Hamilton continued, “I want to take it to the next step. Don’t just go to this council but go to all the council.”


In years past, multiple councils would be tackling the same projects. With the new position, Hamilton plans to eliminate redundancies and overlap between school councils. Currently, Hamilton will appoint someone who is being underutilized to fill the new classified support position. 


Another “lift” in her plan is to streamline accreditation. “I want an accountable vice president,” Hamilton said. “We have to focus laser focus on accreditation.”  


Adding executives in the school’s various departments, it is hoped, will allow Hamilton’s administration to hold people accountable for miscommunication and inefficiency. 


The final “lift” of her four-”lift” plan is to see that these goals are met by 2021. “We’re [forming] a 2021 duel strategic plan,” Hamilton explained. “We’re going to go out for a bond and we’re renewing, revisiting, refreshing our governance system.” 


Hamilton has her work cut out for her starting with getting support for the $120 million bond from voters. Second, she plans to address the governance of the school’s bylaws and make adjustments where she sees fit. The third lift is to find accountability for departments to reduce the amount of confusion and frustration among the faculty. Lastly, this is all to be done within Hamilton’s proposed time frame and by 2021 the strategic plan should be complete.

Murder suspects apprehended


Update on Alex Gradin’s death

Last May, the Torch was remorseful having to write an obituary for fellow student Alex Oyombe Gradin. 

Gradin’s life was lost in a shooting in the parking lot behind Taylor’s Bar and Grill near the University of Oregon. The assailants fled the scene. 

After months of investigation, Eugene police arrested the two people believed to be responsible. The police have since reported that Gradin’s death was the result of gang violence. Gradin had no prior relations with the couple arrested. 

“This is most troubling because Alex had zero affiliation with any gang,” said Detective Jed Mcguire of Eugene’s police department.

The two arrested, a married couple, Regis Derey Kindred, 30, and Kailee Von Foster, 29, have both been charged with Gradin’s murder. 

Kindred and Foster were arrested May 13, just nine days after Gradin’s death, in Portland, on unrelated charges. 

Kindred was put in Multnomah’s holding facility for theft and parole violation. Foster was brought in on prostitution charges and released soon after, but taken into custody during a traffic stop in Portland. 

The people allegedly responsible for Gradin’s death are behind bars, but the investigation is ongoing. Authorities are still looking for a man they believe has information about what happened that night.

This witness the police are looking for goes by “Cain,” and is described as a six-foot three-inch, slender, black man with visible tattoos on his neck and maybe his right hand.   

He is not listed as a suspect.

At the time of this publication, no trial date has been set.  

Only you can prevent apartment fires


Fire Marshals give safety tips to protect students across Eugene/Springfield.

During a crisp and overcast Oct. 9 afternoon, a fire safety demonstration at the newly built 959 Franklin student housing building showed what information students might be missing about fire safety. Eugene Springfield Deputy Fire Marshall Merrill Harrison and American Campus Communities Vice President Michael Polzin spoke at the event. These two, with University of Oregon’s Fire Marshal Josep Pedrola, gave out fire prevention and safety tips directed toward students living in places off-campus. The expertise included fire alarm configuration, fire drill safety measures, and methods for coping with stress during emergencies.


“Nationally, firefighters respond to around 4,100 fire-related to on and off-campus student housing per year,” Harrison reported. “Ninety-four percent of those fatal fires happen off-campus,” he said. Smoking was shown to be the highest cause at 29% for on-campus fatal fires, while alcohol consumption was involved in 76% of all fires on campus or off.


“If you do smoke,” Harrison said, “make sure to put it out all the way, every time.” This prevents otherwise safe locations used for smoking to become dangerous for all individuals in the immediate area.


Another important but underused exercise is exit drills. Practicing which route is the safest to take during a fire can save lives. “In the event of an emergency, when seconds count, second-guessing where you are going or heading costs important time,” Harrison said.


One helpful tip given by Harrison would be to not use extension cords as permanent wiring in homes.


The most important tips Harrison gave was to “look after each other, keep each other safe, and care about each other. And working together will certainly create a fire-safe environment for everybody.”


Speaking second was Josep Pedrola, The University of Oregon’s Fire Marshal. 


“If you are on campus,” he said to new students.  “Please come by and ask questions. Any housing staff you see you can reach out to them with some of your questions.”


Pedrola offered advice specific to kitchen hazards. “The person, first of all, may not be paying attention, this could mean talking on the phone or to somebody else in the household, while not focusing on the food they are making,” he said. “The other problem is one of cleanliness. Grease can accumulate on the stovetop, oven, and sides. This seems to be the other greatest problem with fire in the kitchen.” 


The last person to speak was Micheal Polzin, Vice President of American Campus Communities, who congratulated the marshals for doing such great work across Eugene/Springfield and the University of Oregon. Polzin said “resources, local or national for that matter, are highly important. We are not the experts, especially when it comes to fire safety which is why we team up with individuals who are so we can get our students and residents more informed and educated.”


These tips and exercises can save lives. Knowing when to use this information, according to the event’s experts, is key to fighting fires without significant damage.

Bounce houses, laser tag, dunk tank, oh my


Lighting the fuse for the new year, on Sept. 24, the student government teamed up with the student engagement team to create an exciting first impression on first-year students. 


Students, a week away from being freshmen, filled into the courtyard in front of the Center Building. It was the last stop along the way of their orientation. The air filled with the scent of flame-charred burgers and hot dogs as future students walked into a festival-like atmosphere. 


Massive bounce houses were the backdrop to the laser tag field. Many of the students scattered between the isles of booths representing clubs the school offers. Hanging out in the crowd was Lane’s student government president, Bryant Everett. 


“Simply incredible. It sets the tone for our year: a year of more outreach, support, involvement, and community for the students,” said Everett. At the beginning of her student government campaign, Everett was adamant about bringing a greater sense of community to the school. 

“The biggest thing that I think that we’ll do is do a lot more outreach to all the other organizations and clubs and sort of bind together everyone as a singular college and university,” Everett said last year during her campaign. 

Once it was all said and done more than 700 students attended the event dubbed Titan Palooza. Getting students excited and involved was a primary goal of the event for Everett. 

She hit the mark according to incoming freshman Skyler Hawley. His first impression of Lane’s campus left him stunned at the enormity. “It’s big,” he said amidst the excitement of the spectacle. 

Titan Palooza exceeded expectations and certainly hyped many students for their first year of college. Everett hopes these students will also be more motivated to get involved. 

“Take up table tennis, start fencing, or learn to fly a drone–you might have a knack for it. If you are interested in something else, you can create it,” Everett said. 

She is challenging students to expand out of their comfort zones. Urging students to break away from the same old boring routine of classes, Everett has some advice for the incoming class. “Get involved. It’s perfectly simple to go directly to class and go home. There have been many who have —and there’s nothing wrong with that —but there is more to college than just your classes.”

Help wanted: manufacturers


Eugene mayor speaks at career expo 

On Tuesday, Oct. 8, a cramped basement room at the LCC campus was visited by Eugene Mayor Lucy Vinis. Surrounding her were not only flashy robotic arms and heavy-duty production equipment but there were also a handful of local manufacturing professionals and recruiters. 

The reason for the gathering was seemingly simple: help convince unsure students that joining the manufacturing, engineering or factory labor market is a choice career move. With the energy, incentives, modern technology, and the mayor eagerly promoting the programs, one would think this was a sure success.

However, it is not as easy as it looks. The ASME — American Society of Mechanical Engineers — and the Society of Manufacturing Engineers programs, which have lived a tenuous 25 years in Eugene, have struggled with recruitment. They’ve already got the market cornered on state-of-the-art technology, equipment, facilities, and even workers rights and benefits — all that’s left is populating these buildings. Their current, greatest challenge: the turnover rate. “Boomers are falling out left and right,” said worried SME board member Glen Bjurling, “and where are all of our replacements?” 

Mayor Vinis delivered a speech in service of these new goals and challenges. Between the shiny, gyrating metal arms and massive, sleek 3-D printers, the mayor spoke in support of the program. 

“We have not served our children well,” she said. “We have had three generations of kids that have not been encouraged or introduced to good factory jobs. These are lucrative, moveable jobs that teach transferable skills, all we need are people to want them.”

It was not always the case that Lane was in such dire straits for eligible workers. In the early 1970s the Lane County area was rife with wood manufacturers. When the era changed from wood products to mainly plastic or metals in the late 1970s, a new face of industry emerged: the “dirty metal polluters,” as one SME board member put it. 

In order to dodge environmental, labor and local laws that prohibited some of the dirty tricks that had become a common, crucial characteristic of early manufacturers, companies just sent their businesses elsewhere. In the span of 30 years, the Lane manufacturing economy had hit a slump. Scant few wanted to work in places that were not clean, moral, sustainable, or safe. 

When the ASME and SME programs were born, they took all this into careful consideration. Factories needed to offer more to the community in which they lived. They needed to meet the demands of the city and the people. 

With strict guidance from the local governments and willingness to meet these demands, local and large manufacturers have since cleaned up their act. They are reportedly more safe and clean than their predecessors; run-off, carbon footprint, visual, air and groundwater as well as landfill pollution have all been addressed and managed since the 70s. 

Regulations such as the Good Citizens Act, State and Federal Right To Know, the EPA and local liability ensure they behave. 

By endorsing and investing in these programs, Mayor Vinis believes the prospective candidates will be incentivized to replace outgoing workers. With more money behind vocational outreach, education, training and internship offers, the slow climb to repopulating the local factories will be hastened. 

“This isn’t just the big manufacturers like Patterson Pacific, JCI or Parker-Hannifin,” said SME board member Glen Bjurling. “Lane county has close to 600 local manufacturers that benefit from this program and give back to the local economy.” 

Lane County hosts 567 manufacturing and production companies who, according to the Bureau of 2019 labor statistics, make up 14.9% of the Eugene-Springfield total non-farm employment. With more laborers working and more factories producing, the local economy could see a long-term, sustainable boost that boasts an enticing return on net assess. 

Mayor Vinis also argued that Eugene has a particular need for unions jobs, lesser out-of-college debt, and economically secure positions. She believes “clean” factories will offer those very securities to the community. With the shine of a little positive light, guided by the opportunities provided from ASME, SME and the many companies present at this gathering, she believes they can accomplish these goals. 

In the small room of Building 12 at LCC, the smell of rust is gone. These are new, clean, and societally-conscious factories. SME and the local government have now joined hands in promoting the benefits of factory jobs. “The social stigma against these kinds of jobs can be broken,she said. “I think promoting vocational incentive will be enough to change our opinions.”