Blog Page 3

Another door opens

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2019-20 Editor-in-Chief David Galbreath (Jason Petorak // The Torch)

As a reporter, a full-time worker and full-time student I had to push myself this year to handle more responsibilities than I have ever had before. I spent my first 24 years of life essentially coasting. I was never one to blaze my own path or pioneer innovative ideas. I always took the backseat in my own life.

Finding the initiative has been the greatest challenge for me; staying motivated and headstrong are my personal goals for this upcoming year. I know I can do better and I will do better, or at least that’s what I tell myself.

Joining this team of journalists and artists was the beginning of my career. Not only do I enjoy what I do now, but I think I can be damn good at it. For the first time in life I can see a future for myself.  

When I joined The Torch in September 2018, I wasn’t sure if it would be the right fit for me. I’ve been calling myself a journalism student, but in reality, Lane Community College doesn’t offer a degree in journalism, only transfer options. After a few weeks as a reporter at The Torch, I was doing more than assimilating information. I could feel myself changing for the better.

At the start of my time working for the newspaper I had my goals set on being a sports reporter. I grew up in a family that always came together for the big sporting events and I played a number of sports for city youth teams that cultivated a love for competition. I came to realize I love to compete. As long as I try and put myself through the process I can feel accomplished.

Maybe it is basic of me to put this much value in sports, but they inspire me to try harder. One quote from Vince Lombardi, one of the all-time football greats has always stuck with me.

“Gentleman, we are going to relentlessly chase perfection, knowing full well we will not catch it because nothing is perfect. But we are going to relentlessly chase it, because in the process we will catch excellence. I am not remotely interested in just being good.” I know I won’t be perfect at this position. I’m hardly a perfect reporter, but I can promise I will give my best effort as editor.

I’m a novice, a rough-around-the-edges journalist and have an overwhelming amount to learn. I’m not scared. There will be highs and lows with this job, but I am surrounded by great people that offer better guidance than I can ask for.

When I applied to this position, my advisors made me break down my journalistic philosophy. At first, I was stumped. I mean, this is just a community college, right? Why would the editor of a dying print media paper for a local community college really need to answer a serious question like that?

Well, this is a serious position and–after reviewing all the stories we covered this past year–Marek did a great job at keeping administration and student government in check. That’s the power of a position like this. I see this as an opportunity to learn the system and highlight flaws for a better-informed student body.

I want to find the objective truth. I know there are arguments to be made that the objective truth doesn’t exist, but I will chase it relentlessly. In that process, I hope to attain the most accurate information possible.

At the end of the day, I want to inform you, the reader.

There are always different issues to cover and I’ll do my best to cover them all. I want to listen, learn and grow in this job. My goal will always be to educate readers on the processes and programs they have paid into as students.

I plan to keep the administration in check. Money is tight in all of our pockets. as well as the school’s budget, I’ll make sure the people in charge of handling and transferring funds are doing so with integrity.  

Not without a purpose, not without a fight

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2018-19 Editor-in-Chief Marek Belka. (Jason Petorak // The Torch)

TTacked up on the wall of my newsroom office is a printed copy of the first edition of The Liberator, the anti-slavery newspaper written and published by the famed abolitionist and my personal hero William Lloyd Garrison.  In his so-called “Inaugural Editorial,” Garrison wrote:

“I am aware that many object to the severity of my language; but is there not cause for severity? I will be as harsh as truth, and as uncompromising as justice. On this subject, I do not wish to think, or speak, or write, with moderation. No! no! Tell a man whose house is on fire, to give a moderate alarm; tell him to moderately rescue his wife from the hands of the ravisher; tell the mother to gradually extricate her babe from the fire into which it has fallen–but urge me not to use moderation in a cause like the present. I am in earnest; I will not equivocate; I will not excuse; I will not retreat a single inch–and I will be heard.”

It’s easy to look back now, as diligent students of history, and recognize the righteousness of The Liberator’s editorial crusade. After all, Garrison and his compatriots were on the right side of history; their cause triumphed over the forces of oppression and evil. The North won the war, the slaves were freed, and the Union was preserved forever. But, in its time, The Liberator was not a well-regarded newspaper.

The state of Georgia offered a $5,000 bounty–roughly $146,000 in today’s currency–for Garrison’s capture. Imagine that: a U.S. state putting a bounty on a journalist’s head! His newspaper was regularly criticized by other media outlets for his support and encouragement of direct action against slave owners and their institutions. If Garrison and company were alive today, they would likely be banned from Twitter for their glorification of John Brown’s famous, but ultimately futile, raid on Harpers Ferry.

And still, he never quit. He published The Liberator every week for 34 years, writing fiery columns in every edition until the Civil War ended and slavery was finally abolished.

William Lloyd Garrison was a radical–and The Liberator was not an objective newspaper–but the times Garrison lived in did not call for centrism or objectivity.

Our times do not call for objectivity. They do not call for moderation, nor do they call for dubious interpretations of the truth. Now is not the time to be timid or fearful, despite our obvious inclination to feel that way.

Today, there is cause for severity; if there was ever a time to be a radical, now is that time.

I hate to be the one to tell you this, loyal reader, but no one is going to make the changes you want to see–until you demand it. No one is going to mete out the justice that you so desperately seek–until you demand it. The people you ostensibly choose to represent you–from your student representatives and Board of Education members all the way up to your president–will not work in your interest unless you make them work in your interest.

If you want change–and I know you all hunger for real, positive change–you and you alone have to fight for it.

I hope that you heard this truth during my time as editor of this scrappy little newspaper. When I accepted this job last year, I vowed to bring transparency and accountability to this campus through diligent, thoughtful reporting on the stories that really matter to you, our readers. But more than that, I wanted to capture the realities of life at a community college in the 21st century, the triumphs as well as the struggles. Though we weren’t always perfect–and I really am sorry that The Torch couldn’t be everything to everyone–I believe that we fulfilled that mission during my editorship.

This edition, my staff and me’s final attempt to leave a lasting impression on this campus, is centered around that idea of change: how it happens, how we respond to it and how it affects us all–both good and bad.

As you flip through these pages, I hope you grasp just how quickly things are changing: on campus, in our state, in our country and throughout the world. I also hope it makes you think about how you yourself have changed over the last year, for better or for worse.

I can still hardly grasp how much I’ve changed during my time at Lane Community College. Before I arrived here two long years ago, I was lost, hopeless and struggling to find my purpose in a world going mad. Now, after surrounding myself with some of the most brilliant, hopeful and genuinely kind people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting, I have set myself up to become the person I always knew I could and should become.

I am critical of this college because I love this college. This institution, as misguided as its administrators may sometimes be, is the setting of the most incredible, transformative years of my life. No matter where the future takes me, I will always remember LCC as the place that gave me a chance when no one else would.

If there is one thing I hope you take away from The Torch during my tenure as editor, it’s that things are not normal. It is not normal that a registered sex offender won a board seat with 97 percent of the vote. It is not normal that white nationalists roam among us with near-impunity, cloaking their hatred with tepid “free speech” arguments and bitter online irony. It is not normal that any one of us could be the next victim of mass shooting for no reason other than being in the wrong place at the wrong time. It is not normal that our classmates live in fear of being kidnapped by masked men bearing guns and badges.

None of this is normal, and it’s up to us to make sure it never becomes normal.

Now, after one hell of a year, it’s time for me to say goodbye to The Torch and to this college. I wish I could tell you that I know exactly what my future holds, but a five-year plan has never exactly been my style. What I can tell you is this: I am in earnest, I will not equivocate, I will not excuse, and I will not retreat one single inch.

And I will be heard.

Thank you for reading. Thank you for listening. Thank you for fighting. I’ll see you soon.

This editorial appears in Volume 54, Edition 14 under the title “As one door closes…”

Dress, dance and displays of diversity

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Students from Lane Community College's International Program perform on stage during International Night on May 10. (Ben Nguyen // The Torch)

International Night allows the international students at Lane Community College the opportunity to showcase their country for everyone who visits the exhibition for the earlier part of the event at the Mary Spilde Downtown campus which is followed by a showcase in the form of a talent show.

The Vice President in charge of the program, Paul Jarrell, discussed community, the theme of that day’s spring conference on campus. He said, for students who do not have the opportunity to travel, this serves as an invaluable window to the different things around the world brought here by international students.

Kana Takeuchi and Vinh “Jimmy” Tran were the masters of ceremonies for the evening, introducing themselves and a short introduction about international night at LCC. It has been running for four years in a row.

They left the stage and the event kicked off with a fashion show as a couple of young women from Japan, Kana Endo came out in a Saori and Sena Doi came out in a Yukata. They were followed by a couple, Victor and Kelly Nguyen from Vietnam, came out wearing Ao Dai’s. The young woman, Jane Low, followed in a very demure style, wearing a Baku Kurung, from Malaysia. The two young women from Thailand, Pha Portongkums and Sara Suksoi, flirted with the crowd in their Chud Thai. A young man from India, Shijo “John” Yahannan, carried himself in a dignified manner in his Kurtha and Mundu.

He was followed by a couple from South Korea, who were by far the most cheered for by the crowd wearing the traditional clothing from South Korea. Followed by a young lady from Korea, who came out with a broad smile. A young man from Togo, Felix Adjana, drew a big cheer from the crowd in his Betekeli, as did the young man from Burkina Faso, Aime Nacoulma who also wore a Betekeli.

The young man from Hong Kong, Wai Yin “Jacky” Yuen posed in some power stances in his Tong Joong, getting a big reaction from the young women in the crowd before concluding the fashion show.

The emcees introduced performers Jack, Ginny and Queen performing an acapella song from Vietnam. The stage went dark as the three young people set up. When the lights went back on, Jack started playing the guitar while Ginny and Queen began to sing in their native language. The duo harmonized in time to the guitar, all three bouncing off of each others’ energy.

Next the emcees kept the ambiance light with jokes then introducing Saki who performed the Hula to the opening theme to Lilo and Stitch, “He Mele No Lilo.” She glided gracefully onto the stage, eliciting loud cheers from the crowd. Her strong stage presence was palpable throughout the room as she effortlessly performed the number.

Sara, from Cape Verde, was then invited to go up on stage next to perform acapella. The room went totally silent for her soulful song. The crowd listened intently as she poured her heart out, who responded with resounding applause as she bowed and left the stage.

Jack got on stage once more to entrance the crowd with his guitar. The cheer died down to silence as Cherry began a very sentimental performance. Tran’s sense of humor transferred over to his performance as he continued his light hearted manner, joking with gestures and getting the crowd to laugh. But it didn’t last long, as both performers continued their emotional performance.

Their performance was followed by eight Japanese students who stormed the stage, breaking into their performance. The crowd plauditted as two of the students took up jump ropes and began a well-choreographed and stunning performance. The other six students broke up into two groups, coming from opposite sides they jumped the ropes criss-crossing each other, their performance was mesmerizing.

Next on stage were two young women, one began to sing in Vietnamese, the other followed in English. Somewhere in the middle of their heartwarming performance, they switched and sang in the other language.

Later, an ensemble of nine Korean students got up on the stage with tremendous energy, the three male students step off the stage, leaving the six women to perform an equally energetic number.

The stage went dark and when the lights came back, the three students rejoined the front of the group, one of the members dressed to impersonate Psy and the crowd absolutely lost it.

Noelyn got up on stage to perform a Ugandan dance number. As the music and her movements climaxed, so did the cheers of the crowd, clapping in time with the beat of the Zumba song. While the song playing was very fast, the performer’s movements managed to stay slow, rhythmic and very methodical.

The show ended with a bang, as four students set off confetti cannons with all the performers dancing together on stage. All the performers took a bow, coordinator Mary Millard went on stage to thank everyone who was responsible for putting on the event and to thank those who were in attendance.

Legislators refer freeze on reefer

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Illustration by Lucien Guidotti-Lawrence // The Torch

ROregon has too much cannabis. One-million pounds too much of it to be exact. Or to put that hard-to-picture figure into perspective, enough of it has been produced just in the last two years that, if stopped immediately, the supply can last the state for another six years at current consumption rates.

Anyone living in, or visiting, the state can see this issue firsthand.  There are innumerable dispensaries—often with at least a couple on a single street—throughout its metropolitan areas such as Portland, Salem, and even Eugene-Springfield.

In fact, in April 2019, Business Insider published an article written by Abby Tang, Jennifer Lee and Nisha Stickles that put the smoking-hot problem into perspective. It’s gotten so bad that “one tub of marijuana costs $20,000 in New York but costs only $7,000 in Oregon,” they explained.

What can be done to solve this surplus? Some, such as The Craft Cannabis Alliance, believe that the answer is to open up Oregon’s borders and allow for interstate, or international, cannabis trade. Unfortunately, while exporting to another country may sound like a viable solution, the plant’s current federal classification as a Schedule 1 drug make this unlikely to happen.

So, while exporting to Canada—which is having major shortages—sounds like a good idea, it is not an option.

Instead, the Oregon Senate voted 18-10 on April 29 in favor of what they believe to be the solution to this growing problem: a temporary freeze on cannabis production.

The bill is two-fold: one, it will keep the production levels static over the next two years; and two, new license applications will not be offered while currently licensed producers will be able to renew theirs.

According to High Times, the monthly cannabis magazine, Oregon’s problem has to do with its ideal climate for producing these large quantities of high-quality cannabis.

This is because, as Emma Chasen, writing for the Green Entrepreneur in April 2019 explained that the 2017 collapse of Oregon’s cannabis market was “due to the low barrier to entry for licensure,” meaning that as so many businesses entered the market, the surplus got greater and greater to its current point. The state’s population simply cannot consume all that is produced.

As a result, prices have suffered. In Eugene, Oregon, an ounce of cannabis flower costs as little as $30, but the average for high-quality flower is just over $210. This is drastically lower than other states, though, according to aggregate website, Price of Weed. There, the state of New York’s ounces cost an average of about $340. Even California, long recognized as a major cannabis producer, has higher prices, while not by much. There, the average cost for an ounce of high-quality flower costs a consumer around $250.

If this problem isn’t solved, it may affect the state negatively. Arguably the most damaging way the oversupply can do so is crashing prices. They, at some point, may get so low that producers could export their product to other states illegally, as the High Times article suggested. This will not only severely damage the legal cannabis market in Oregon, but it will fuel an already present black market. The federal government has warned that if this were to become a problem, they would have no choice but to crackdown on the industry.

Bat-men return

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Freshman catcher Matt Dallas pops a fly ball during the first fame of a doubleheader against Southwest Oregon. Dallas, one of the Titans' top recruits this season, was a crucial piece of the team's late season offensive burst. (Trent Toyama // The Torch)

The streaky Titans slugged their way into the Northwest Athletic Conference playoffs with a dominant offensive showing in May. After winning five consecutive games and seven of their last 10, Lane hopes to carry their momentum into a postseason packed with talented competition.

The Titans’ hot-and-cold play this year can be blamed, in part, on just plain bad luck. The team faced one of the toughest schedules in the NWAC–including multiple series against fourth-ranked Linn-Benton and seventh-ranked Mt. Hood–and coped with lingering injuries in the pitching staff.

They were also at the mercy of Oregon’s manic spring weather; the Titans couldn’t play a home game until a month into the season because of rain, snow and icy conditions. But, as the sun returned, so did Lane’s good fortune–and their offense.

Right-hander Donovan Baldocchi slings a baseball at a Southwestern Oregon batter. The Titans crushed the Lakers in eight innings, winning on run-rule with a walkoff home run. (Trent Toyama // The Torch)

After splitting a home and away series against the Clark Penguins, the Titans traveled down the coast to Coos Bay, where they crushed last-place Southwestern Oregon in a doubleheader by a combined score of 16-2. The rotation struck out a total 17 batters, while the top of the batting order smacked doubles and triples off the outfield fence. The next day in Eugene, the Titans ended their season in style, hanging up another 22 runs in a doubleheader against the Lakers.

Outfielder Skyler Vail rounds third base after hitting a grand slam in the bottom of the second inning. Vail, a sophomore from Apple Valley, CA, moved to Eugene to further pursue a baseball career at Lane. (Trent Toyama // The Torch)

After locking up the third seed in the NWAC South, the Titans have just under two weeks to prepare for the playoffs where they’ll likely face stiff competition. The NWAC Championships will be held in Longview, Washington from May 23-27.

May 3

Lane Titans vs. Clark Penguins

Game 1:

Lane – 8
Clark – 4

Matt Dallas: 6 IP, 4 H, 1 ER,  4 K

Jaxon Woodhouse: 2-4, 3 RBI

Jack Swisher: 2-4, 1 RBI

Game 2:

Lane – 1
Clark – 5

Mitchell Bell: 4 IP, 4 H 0 ER, 3 R, 5 BB

Takanori Shimizu: 1-3, RBI

Skyler Vail: 2-3, 2B

May 4

Game 1

Lane – 10
Clark – 14

Trestyn Dumilieu:L (0-1), 3 IP, 4 ER, 1 K

Jesse Carr: 2 IP, 0 H, 1 ER, 2 K

Skyler Vail: 3-5, 3 RBI

Hayden Curtis: 2-3, 3B, 2 RBI

Game 2

Lane – 6
Clark – 4

Donovan Baldocchi: 5.2 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 4 K

Joe Ball: W (1-0), 0.2 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 1 K

Henry Lovekamp: 2-4, 2 RBI, 2B

Matt Dallas: 2-4, 2 RBI

Skyler Vail: 1-3, RBI

May 10

Game 1

Lane – 12
SWOCC – 0

Matt Dallas: 5 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 6 K

Takanori Shimizu: 2-5, SB, 3B, 4 RBI

Jaxon Woodhouse: 2-4, 2B, 3B, 4 RBI

Game 2

Lane – 4
SWOCC – 2

Charlie Patterson: 5 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 6 K

Matt Dallas: 2-3, 2B

Hayden Curtis: 1-3, RBI, 3B

May 11

Game 1

Lane – 16
SWOCC – 5

Donovan Baldocchi: 3 IP, 3 H, 4 ER, 6 BB, 2 K

Matt Dallas: 4-4, HR, 4 RBI

Skyler Vail: 2-6, 2B, HR, SB, 3 RBI

Hayden Curtis: 3-5, 2 RBI

Game 2

Lane – 6
SWOCC – 4

Riley Howard: 3 IP, 2 H, 3 ER, 4 K

Bullpen (Dumilieu, Howard, Mitzel): 4 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 6 K

Jaxon Woodhouse: 1-3, 2 RBI

Matt Dallas: 2-3, 2B, RBI

Taking the inside Lane

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Freshman Trew Farnworth clears the bar to take third place in the high jump with a 1.54m leap on a blazing May day. Farnworth also placed fourth in the 100-meter hurdles and second in the women's triple jump. (Lana French // The Torch)

On a sweltering May day on their home track, the Lane Titans brought home their seventh consecutive NWAC South regional championship.

Laisha Alvarez pushes past the competition during the women’s 400 meter event. Alazarez finished fifth with a time of 10:06.97 (Jason Petorak // The Torch)

The Titans took first place in 23 events, literally running away with both the women’s and men’s titles. But first, the Titans had to overcome the hottest temperatures of the year. High temperatures reached 85 degrees on May 11; by the end of the meet, thermometers along the sun-baked surface of the track topped 140 degrees.

Spectators crowded in whatever shade they could find while athletes from the seven colleges at the meet gathered and gulped down water under mascot-branded canopies. Clackamas’ Anthony Garcia vomited twice before besting Lane’s Aidan Acord by .03 meters–just over an inch–in the high jump.

Delaney Fields clears the bar during the women’s pole vailt at the NWAC Southern Region Championships on May 11. The Titans took first and third in the pole vault and finished first in overall points. (Jason Petorak // The Torch)

Despite the hot conditions, the Titans dominated the meet. Emily Thomason’s final mark of 3.82 meters in the pole vault set a school record. Shayla Noil took the 100-meter dash by .13 seconds–an eternity in an event measured by hundredths of seconds–and Trent Reavis won the men’s discus trophy by a whopping four meters.

Lane athletes also took the top three spots in the women’s hammer throw and the men’s pole vault. Even when they didn’t win, the Titans still came out ahead: Lane sprinters finished second through sixth in the men’s 200-meter dash, good for a combined 27 points.

Sophomore sprinter Shayla Noil takes the lead during the 4×100 relay. The Titan women finished second in the event and first overall. (Trent Toyama // The Torch)

After bagging another regional championship, the Titans look to continue their track and field dynasty at the NWAC Championship in Mt. Hood from May 21-22. The Titan men have won six consecutive NWAC titles; the women have finished second four years in a row after winning back-to-back titles in 2012 and 2013.

Here’s how the Titans fared on May 11:

Women 100 meter

1 – Shayla Noil (12.28)
4 – Destiny Curley (12.78)
5 – Zarah Wemple (12.94)

Men 100 meter

2 – Nick Rogozinski (10.83)
5 – Briley Pull (11.10)
6 – Andres Lopez (11.19)

Women 100 Hurdles

1 – Tylor Harper 15.60

2 – Isabella Garcia 15.64

4 – Jaiden Lemberger 16.79

7 – Trew Farnworth 17.42

Men 110 Hurdles

2 – Israel Miles 15.00

3 – Raymond Blasquez 15.43

Women 200 Dash

1 – Eryn Ricker 26.18

2 – Destiny Curley 26.34

5 – Zarah Wemple 27.53

Men 200 Dash

2 – Jacob Williams 22.24

3 – Nick Rogozinski 22.38

4 – Nathan Poff 22.61

5 – Josh Peterson 22.62

6 – Andres Lopez 22.94

8 – Briley Pull 23.18

Women 400 Dash

5 – Laisha Alvarez 1:06.97

6 – Annie Taylor 1:07.46

Men 400 Dash

2 – Dimitri Williams 51.34

5 – Jordan Poppe 52.85

Women 400 Hurdles

1 – Isabella Garcia 1:04.33

4 – Tylor Harper 1:17.28

Men 400 Hurdles

1 – Israel Miles 56.01

Women 800

2 – Claire Ebert 2:27.23

5 – Annie Taylor 2:30.90

7 – Daelyn Wilde 2:41.92

8 – Laisha Alvarez 2:41.93

Men 800

1 – Ryle Hollick 1:59.67

2 – Nolan Bylenga 2:01.26

7 – Cody Gilbert 2:03.52

13 – Tayton Lapointe 2:09.43

Women 1500

2 – Alexis Crowl 5:01.45

5 – Melody McGrath 5:10.66

6 – Jordyn Holland 5:15.87

7 – Daelyn Wilde 5:16.84

Men 1500

1 – Anthony Stone 4:00.30

2 – Andy Muha 4:05.57

4 – Grayson Mazziotti 4:10.80

9 – Casey Pugh 4:16.31

13 – Jesse Todd 4:30.73

Women Discus Throw

1 – Paris Newdall 38.30m

2 – Kate Borsz 37.55m

3 – Isabella Hill 37.07m

Men Discus Throw

1 – Trent Reavis 44.76m

3 – Zane Wardell 39.59m

6 – Sawyer Christopher 36.55m

Women Hammer Throw

1 – Kate Borsz 45.91m

2 – Paris Newdall 40.40m

3 – Isabella Hill 39.73m

Men Hammer Throw

4 – Trent Reavis 40.02m

5 – Zane Wardell 39.12m

Men High Jump

2 – Aidan Acord 2.02m

Women High Jump

3 – Trew Farnworth 1.54m

4 – Jaiden Lemberger 1.49m

Jaiden Lemberger lands the long jump at the NWAC South Championships. Lemberger, who also runs in hurdle and sprint events, placed fourth in both the high jump and long jump. (Lane French // The Torch)

Men Javelin Throw

1 – Sawyer Christopher 62.71m

6 – Trent Reavis 49.60m

Women Javelin Throw

3 – Riley Ovall 37.33m

Sophomore Riley Ovall hurls a javeling during the NWAC South Championships. Ovall was the only Titan competing in the event, finishing third with a 37.33 meter throw. (Jason Petorak // The Torch)

Women Long Jump

6 – Jaiden Lemberger 4.61m

Men Long Jump

2 – Jonah Tactay 6.99m

8 – Nathan Poff 6.52m

Women Pole Vault

1 – Emily Thomason 3.82m (school record)

3 – Eryn Ricker J3.50m

4 – Delaney Fields 3.40m

Men Pole Vault

1 – Justin Petz 4.78m

2 – David Sanchez-Perez 4.68m

3 – Nathan Wirth 4.38m

6 – Adrian Garcia 4.08m

Women Shot Put

1 – Paris Newdall 12.48m

5 – Kate Borsz 10.94m

7 – Isabella Hill 10.00m

Men Shot Put

1 – Trent Reavis 13.93m

2 – Zane Wardell 12.87m

Women Triple Jump

2 – Trew Farnworth 10.32m

Men Triple Jump

2 – Jonah Tactay 14.28m

1 – Women 4×100 Meter Relay (48.97)

1 – Men 4×100 Meter Relay (42.66)

2 – Women 4×400 Meter Relay (4:16.44)

1 – Men 4×400 Meter Relay (3:23.36)

‘We must do better’

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Selina Scott // The Torch

Swaths of red shirts swirled in front of the Center Building at Lane Community College, chatter energizing the sunny atmosphere. Laptops lined the edge of a long table; students took their turns typing on them. The LCC student body, the faculty and staff unions and administration came together to raise attention around state funding of community colleges and to send emails to the Oregon Legislature.

LCC students use laptops set up by the Lane Community College Education Association to send letters to legislators in Salem (Marek Belka // The Torch)

This rally was one of many rallies across the state. At K-12 schools, enough teachers walked out on Wednesday that 25 school districts had to close 600 schools. They are frustrated with overcrowded classrooms and a shortage of support staff including nurses, academic and mental health counselors.

The graduation rates of Oregon high schools are among the lowest in the country. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, Oregon ranks 48 in the nation. Most educators, and students alike, would attribute these outcomes to a lack of funding.

“Community college success and retention rates are also below the national average. You have a right to a well-funded quality education–I wonder if there isn’t some sort of cause and effect to that, right?” LCC Vice President of Student Affairs Paul Jarrell said. “If we are going to reverse that we do need our legislature to realize that you are an investment. You are the way out of this and we can do better and we must do better.”

Paul Jarrell, Vice President of Student Affairs, delivers a speech during the May 8 walkout at Lane Community College.

As of May 8,  the state has allocated $590 million to Oregon community colleges. However, according to the Oregon Community College Association, community colleges need $647 million just to maintain current service levels. Moreover, community colleges are requesting an additional $70 million for student services, as well as $70 million for an expansion of career technical education.

National Education Association President Lily Eskelsen Garcia attended rallies in Portland and Salem Wednesday. She said in a note read by Adrienne Mitchell: “Community colleges fulfill a critical role in the education continuum, with social justice at the core of our mission. Community colleges are fundamental to a healthy democracy in the U.S., providing access and a pathway out of poverty for many students.”

ASLCC President Nick Keough speaks to a crowd of students, faculty, staff and administrators during the Oregon-wide walkout on May 8. (Marek Belka // The Torch)

According to a 2014 report from the Oregon Education Investment Board, “the cost to the state is approximately $833,333 per child growing up in poverty. These costs include estimates related to future foregone earnings, incarceration costs, and healthcare costs.”

When those students’ families move out of poverty, the report claims, the return to the state (in terms of tax revenue and decreased social service costs), would be similar, saving approximately $833,333 per child.

Members of the LCCEA and LCCEF hand out red t-shirts to people participating in the May 8 walkout. The “Red for Ed” movement has lobbied politicians in Salem for increased funding for K-12 schools and higher education throughout this year’s legislative session.

Graduates show a return investment to the state in terms of tax revenue and lower social services costs. At the high school level, students that do not graduate cost society, taxpayers “over $292,000 in lower tax revenues, higher cash and in-kind transfer costs, and imposed incarceration costs” relative to a high school graduate that contributes $287,384 over the course of his or her lifetime.

A pupil who finishes a two-year degree or certification program is estimated to contribute $461,661 into the community. Those with a bachelor’s degree can be expected to generate $793,079 in tax revenue for society over the course of their lifetime.

Many members of the LCC student body face housing and food insecurities — “At the same time the majority of community college faculty in Oregon are part-time with little if any job security, and salaries that sometimes qualify them for government assistance,” Garcia said. Community colleges have been forced to cut programs and crucial student services, such as counselors, or have outsourced services like the Titan Bookstore and Food Services.

Remembering Alex Gradin

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Alex Oyombe Gradin, a student at Lane Community College, was shot and killed in a parking lot behind Taylor’s Bar and Grill in the early hours of May 4, according to the Eugene Police Department. He was 21 years old.

Born in Nairobi, Kenya, Alex spent his first few months in an orphanage before being adopted by the Gradin family.

“We appreciate the outpouring of love and concern we have received in the tragic death of our son, Alex,” his family said in a statement released to the public. “He was an unexpected blessing to our lives when he joined us as a baby in Kenya and grew to be a compassionate, thoughtful young man. He naturally made many friends all over the world, who are grieving right now. We request at this time that you allow us to heal and support each other as a family.”

Alex is remembered by his friends and family for his wide contagious smile and warm, often-goofy sense of humor. He was an enthusiastic athlete, running track and playing football at Tigard High School before graduating in 2016. After a year at Western Oregon University, Alex transferred to LCC and moved to Eugene.

A candlelight vigil was held for Alex on the evening of May 8 on LCC’s main campus, where his teachers, classmates and former teammates from Tigard High gathered to share their fond memories and pay their final respects.

“He once told me in a class that his goal was to become super wealthy,” Beth Landy, one of Alex’s teachers at LCC, said. “We laughed about it at the time, but later I realized that he didn’t want to be rich only for himself. All he wanted was to take care of his family.”

Alex is survived by his mother, father and four siblings. In lieu of flowers and other gifts, the Gradin family asks that well-wishers send donations to New Life Home Trust, the Kenyan orphanage where they first met Alex two decades earlier.

Hate crimes down in Eugene

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According to Eugene’s annual Hate and Bias Report, hate crimes in Eugene have decreased 42% since last year.

The report–a collaboration between the Office of Human Rights and Neighborhood Involvement and the Eugene Police Department–says that 47 hate crimes were reported to EPD in 2018, down from 74 in 2017 and similar to hate crime rates from 2014 to 2016. Vandalism was the most common hate crime in the city last year, followed by assault and intimidation. According to the report, “most criminal vandalism was related to swastika graffiti,” adding in a footnote that “swastika use is on the rise, but among those who understand it the least.”

The report also provides several explanations for the spike in hate crimes in 2017, including “the results of the 2016 election, increased occurrence of people acting on hateful beliefs, current national discourse, increased motivation to report [hate crimes], etc.” EPD also altered its strategy regarding vandalism reporting in 2017, allowing officers to report graffiti when they witnessed it–rather than waiting for a complaint from the public.

But while overall hate crimes are down in Eugene, incidents of physical violence motivated by sexual orientation and gender more than doubled last year, making the LGBTQ community the second-most targeted group in Eugene. The report recommends that “violence against [the] LGBTQ community be monitored closely to determine if the identified increase is due to normal variation or if it signals a developing trend.”

African-Americans and Jews continue to be the primary targets of racially motivated hate and bias crimes in the city. African-Americans represent less than two percent of Eugene’s population, but are harassed and assaulted more than any other racial group, according to the report.  Eugene’s Jewish community was targeted by vandals at least five times in 2018, all of which involved swastikas. Some incidents included other slurs and epithets, which the report labeled “anti-multi-racial group.”

Though Eugene often tops lists of hate crime rates in Oregon and nationwide, it can be attributed to a more vigilant reporting process within the city and the police department. In addition to EPD officers recording instances of hateful graffiti during their patrols, the city has enacted programs–like the HRNI–to encourage people to self-report instances of hate and bias without fear of repercussion or retaliation.

Still, a United States Department of Justice survey found that 54 percent of hate crimes went unreported between 2011-2015. Furthermore, groups most affected by hate and bias crimes in Eugene–the Black and Queer communities–are less likely to report hate crimes to police.

The report does not include incidents of hate or bias committed by EPD officers.

The full report can be found here.