Naming names: Catching up on summer

Now that we’re sliding into fall, it’s worth looking back on our summer – the hottest in several years. And I’m not talking about the temperature. 

Our communities have been crackling with news, The Chronicle launched a nonprofit foundation to help preserve credible hyper-local coverage, new businesses are popping up, and familiar charities continue to inspire.

Catching up on this, that, and the other … 

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• Getting out and about the past two months has left me with lots of steps on my Fitbit and a wallet full of business cards. Jeanne Marr – owner of the HealthMart Pharmacy stores in Eugene and Creswell – invited me to join the Ladies, Lunch & Learn gathering Sept. 8 at The Paddock. A great group of women who included (first names only) Corrine, Helen, Brett, Jessica, Katrina, Carol, and Karen. I was able to share a little bit about my background and why hyper-local news and The Chronicle bring value to our communities. One of the coolest parts of the day was when several guests held up their phones showing me their newly minted subscriptions. Thank you, ladies. … 

•  I had written about Garrett Davidson and the Youth Transition Program in the Aug. 31 column, and the mock interview sessions we had for students at the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce. A quick update is that a handwritten thank-you card signed by all 22 of the young people who participated arrived in the mail recently. So meaningful … 

• There was a large gathering for the grand opening for Spark at Booth-Kelly – a safe space for youth to learn and grow through hands-on experiences. I spoke with Heidi Larwick, the executive director,  and saw Kevin Riley (a BNI colleague) and Paul Schwartzberg of KRVM there. The impressive turnout was a testament to the efforts of John Garbett of the Springfield Chamber. 

• We distributed extra copies of our Fall Sports Preview to each of the five schools we cover – Springfield High, Thurston, Creswell, Cottage Grove, and Pleasant Hill. Noell at the PHHS front desk was especially kind. The SHS folks were thrilled that football coach Frank Geske was on the cover of the football section and their athletic director, Audrea Shelley, was featured in a front-page profile by our reporter Pierre Weil. …

• Had my first in-person meeting with Brian Richardson, public information office for Springfield schools. He started the conversation with a “dad joke,” and quickly apologized. (But I think he makes a lot of them.) More seriously, we talked about ways The Chronicle can enhance its education coverage and build a stronger relationship with Team Springfield – the City, Willamalane, Springfield Public Schools, and SUB. …

• This past Thursday I joined Tim Gleason in a panel discussion regarding the value of local news. Tim is the former dean of the UO School of Journalism and was the faculty liaison to the NCAA. Whitney Hoshaw, Williamalane’s Marketing and Communications program manager and member of the Springfield City Club, arranged the session, which had robust questions from the audience at the Springfield Chamber offices and from those watching online. You can watch it here: https://bit.ly/46KW9Nu … The following day was filled with more opportunities to explain the importance of hyper-local news. I was invited by Joel to speak with the Springfield/Twin Rivers Rotary Club, and met several new people who had not even heard of The Chronicle yet. Our outreach is an important part of our business, and the feedback reinforced the work we need to do. “Don’t hide your light under a bushel,” someone said. I met Joel Bartlett, Greg O’Hanlon, Bill Haynes, Ralph Parshall, and Rae LaMarche who leads the Springfield Rotary Club. The meeting took place at the Eugene Mission. … Late Friday afternoon I joined Chris Pietsch of the Register-Guard, Regina Lawrence of the UO School of Journalism, and Gerry O’Brien of the Bend Bulletin on Michael Dunne’s “Oregon On the Record” show on KLCC radio. Michael invited us to discuss the importance of local news coverage. You can listen to it here: https://bit.ly/499YIKL … I heard from Miles Larson, Stephanie Phillips, and Crystalyn Black from the Urban League of Portland. They are interested in hosting a public forum in Eugene on community journalism and wanted to discuss issues related to that topic.

• We spoke with Georgia Haskell of the Cottage Grove Chamber this week regarding its annual Visitor & Newcomers’ Guide, scheduled for January 2024. It’s been our pleasure to collaborate with Georgia and her team over the years on this critical publication that spotlights local businesses, entertainment, recreation, and more. 

• Janice answered our call for volunteers by stopping in the newsroom and chatting about her previous newspaper experience; it led to her covering an event at Pegasus Playhouse. … Annetta Forrer from the Creswell Chamber popped into the newsroom last week, my first chance to meet her in person. Jenn Clemo volunteered her time to meet with me at Blue Valley Bistro in Creswell to discuss newspaper grants. Susan Kenady-Blachnik, who runs the Creswell Food Pantry, introduced us. Jenn is truly a subject-matter expert, having written and taught curriculum around grant writing. She generously shared insights from her 20+ years in the nonprofit industry, and sent me several organizing documents. 

• Speaking of nonprofits, it was my pleasure to meet Jennifer MacLean and Ally Harris of NAMI. They are located about a five-minute walk from our offices. We’re looking forward to being part of the walk in 2024. … The Chronicle Foundation – dedicated to covering education the nonprofits community at large – continues to receive support. People who support hyper-local, locally owned community journalism can do so by dropping off a tax-deductible donation at our office at 655 A St., Suite E, Springfield, calling us at 541-515-6233, or going to our website at chronicle1909.com and clicking on the donate button. 

• Drive-through lines at the new Wendy’s at Mohawk and Q Street might be shortening a tad. The first month or so it was hard to get to the Dari Mart that shares a parking lot as fast-food lines were circling the block. Reminds me of when Krispy Kreme came to Orem, UT, when we lived there. Of course, that kind of mania for “hot and now” glazed donuts was fully justified. 

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Here are more people our reporting team has been interacting with … 

Amanda Lurey, news reporter

The triple combo of The BLOCK Party, the “Labor Builds Community” mural’s ribbon cutting, and Hispana Herencia in early September allowed me to meet and reconnect with so many incredible people in the Springfield community as I walked through downtown.

I was drawn to Alcea, Aften, and Lily from Oracle Studios because, although I’m not looking for a new tattoo artist right now, I absolutely love talking about tattoos and seeing other people’s art. I also connected with piercer Tania over at Heart and Hopeless Tattoo.

John convinced me to sign up for a raffle, which I won! I’ve never won a raffle before, so even though I couldn’t accept the gift, I’m still pretty happy about that.

I met Alexa from Rival Skate Shop as I was admiring the ramps she and her partner Ryan had set up for The BLOCK Party. For such an exhausting evening, she was still ever so bubbly and friendly.

As the streets were finally clearing, Matt made me laugh as I tried to help him find his friends, and as the animal lover that I am, of course my whole week was made by meeting Joshua and his 7-month-old ram Caleb.

At the end of last month, as I’m sure you’ve read, I attended the 20th anniversary event for the PeaceHealth Cottage Grove Community Medical Center. What you won’t read in that article is that my car broke down on my way home, and that I still don’t have her back in my driveway. As I was anxiously stuck in the center lane of Franklin Boulevard waiting for a tow, I chuckled and looked to my right. I had forgotten that Sherri insisted I get some cake from the party and that, after getting to know Jim for a while after the event, his wife Mary had given me some flowers. Weirder things have happened in Eugene, but I wouldn’t be shocked if there’s a photo of me eating cake with my hazards on floating around some Facebook groups.

I also have to give shout outs to Shelley and Curtis for taking me on a walk through the streets of Creswell and to Keith for showing some of The Chronicle’s staff around Short Mountain Landfill.

Pierre Weil, sports reporter

The month of September marked the beginning of my second year on the high school sports beat. So far on the season I’ve had the pleasure of chatting with many familiar and new faces.

I talked with two superintendents, Jody at North Douglas and Jim at Pleasant Hill, for the final installment of our athletic director profile series on Pleasant Hill’s Kyle. Also saw Kyle and PHHS boys basketball coach Darwin at multiple Billies events already and chatted about all things prep sports.

Joining The Chronicle team is our newest intern Seth, who will be doing some sports reporting for us. At a soccer game last week, Seth and I met Brandi, Creswell’s boys soccer coach.



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