Former SOJC student Brandi Smith saves trucker’s life during Hurricane Harvey

Last month, reporter and former UO School of Journalism and Communication student Brandi Smith gained national attention for her coverage of Hurricane Harvey in Houston. Despite the flooding and loss of power, Smith was on the air, broadcasting stories for local CBS affiliate KHOU.

The devastation of the hurricane was plain to see. Battering winds slammed rain into the wet pavement of the Houston beltway, reminding terrified, fleeing residents and exhausted rescue workers that the rage of Hurricane Harvey had not broken. But the winds and rain were only part of the story that unfolded on Aug. 27. Continue reading “Former SOJC student Brandi Smith saves trucker’s life during Hurricane Harvey”

Race for the Cure

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EUGENE, Ore. – Snow, sleet and temperatures in the lower 30s did not deter almost 1,000 participants and volunteers who joined together for the Susan G. Komen’s Race for the Cure at the Valley River Center in Eugene, Ore., early Sunday morning.

The Race for the Cure is the world’s largest fundraising event for patients and survivors of breast cancer. The Eugene race took place March 5, 7 a.m. to noon, and included a survivor/fighter tribute, 5K fun run, 5K fun walk, and 1-mile family walk. Registration ranged from $10 to $40 and included either a pink survivor shirt or white race shirt.

Sisters Kathy Jewell and Melanie Clark raced along the paved paths of the Willamette River Trail to honor their mother, a 5-year survivor of breast cancer who passed away from a heart attack. The sisters have run in the race since it debuted in Eugene.

“Events like this create awareness, and put it foremost in people’s minds,” Jewell said.

Other people joined teams to fundraise for the Susan G. Komen foundation.

Rhonda Fenrich, a cancer survivor and founder of the fundraising team Rack Pack, said her team formed in 2007 to support a law student whose mother had breast cancer.

“We are the largest fundraising team in Oregon with 31 people,” Fenrich said. “We race for everyone.”

Vendors, offering information and support for racers, and food carts, with coffee and snacks, lined the Valley River Center parking lot.

Andrew Taylor, education and outreach assistant for Greenhill Humane Society, said the organization wanted to show support for the cause.

“We ask for so much support from our community, so we want people to know that we are here for them as well,” Taylor said.

Andrew Asato, executive director for Susan G. Komen in Oregon and Southwest Washington, said 1 in 7 women will be affected by breast cancer in their lifetime.

“We show our support and put resources back into the community to support early detection, survivor and fighter advocacy, and research,” Asato said.

Founded in 1982, The Susan G. Komen Foundation works to support breast cancer patients and survivors with medical and emotional support, invest in research, and provide community education about the disease. Proceeds from the race will be used for screening and mammograms, lodging and travel expenses for those with breast cancer, advocacy and research.

Continue reading “Race for the Cure”

Gold mine museum celebrated its ‘new digs’ Saturday

Published on KMTR:

Sunday, January 29th 2017

By: Mack Veltman

The Bohemia Gold Mining Museum celebrated its new location in Cottage Grove with a community celebration Saturday afternoon. Photo by Samantha Smargiassi.

The grand reopening, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., gave community members an opportunity to see the museum’s new, more expansive home in the old Boots and Sandals Square Dance Barn, 308 S. 10th St., and experience the rich history of their area. The free event included music, a raffle, and food.

Nancy Pepiot, a member of the Bohemia Mine Owners Association, said she hopes the past will not be forgotten.

“This museum means everything,” Pepiot said. “Some people here have no idea of their history.”

Museum collections include mining equipment to mining artifacts and rock samples to photographs and paintings to historical murals.

Museum director Sara Smith said the museum serves as a reminder of Cottage Grove’s roots in mining. She said the museum is dedicated to mine owner and historian Guy Leabo, who operated several area mines and donated many antique mining tools to the museum.

“He was involved in a lot of the historic preservation and keeping the stories alive,” Smith said.

Leabo was a member of the Bohemia Mine Owners Association and knew the history and stories of the mines, which he then passed on to people like Smith.

“It’s a part of our history. Our heritage,” Smith said. “It’s important to preserve that.”

Mine owner Bruce Stewart said gold was discovered in 1863 in the Bohemia Mining District, located 35 miles east of Cottage Grove. He said two men were on the run when one of them killed a deer. While cleaning his knife in a creek, he noticed glitter in the water, which turned out to be gold.

“It was the boost Cottage Grove needed to be top of the line, a center of commerce,” Stewart said. “The mining was pretty big for a long time and got Cottage Grove settled.”

The museum first opened in 2003 and moved locations to accommodate its expansion and popularity.

Starting February 2017, the museum will be open Thursdays through Fridays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Eugene Wedding Showcase offers something for every bride and groom

Published on KMTR:

By: Mack Veltman

Inspirational wedding vignettes at the Oregon Wedding Showcase in Eugene, Ore. The wedding show at the Lane Events Center runs from Jan. 14 to Jan. 15, 2017. Photo by Autumn Carter.

The 15th annual Eugene Wedding Showcase returned to the Lane Events Center this weekend to connect brides and grooms with wedding professionals from across Oregon.

The showcase runs Saturday, Jan. 14, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, Jan. 15, from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Lane Events Center, 796 W. 13th. Admission is $10 at the door or $7 online, and there will be samples, prizes and giveaways.

Over 70 exhibitors are offering wedding ideas, advice and inspiration, ranging from dressmakers and event planners to photographers and wedding cakes to party favors and ceremony locations. A bridal fashion show takes place twice a day at noon and 3 p.m.

Michael and Michelle Jackson, owner of MJ’s Photography, said this is their fourth wedding show.

“We are a husband and wife wedding team,” Michelle Jackson said. “We started our company in 2008 and really got it moving in 2010.”

They specialize in wedding and engagement photography, even using drones to memorialize every aspect of special events.

“Just making sure that their moments are captured, ” she said. “You never know what’s going to be the most important.”

Michelle said the most rewarding part of being at the wedding show is being able to show potential customers photographs that are more beautiful, unique and intimate than people thought they could be.

Another exhibitor, Action Rent-All and Party Time, has been participating in wedding shows for 20 years and is a full-service party rental company.

Owners Kevin and Lora Journey said they love being able to meet engaged couples and share their event ideas.

“We have the most of everything in town, from oddball 8mm projectors to old-school things from the ’70s that people still call about and want to rent,” Kevin Journey said.

Judy Van Valkenberg, owner of Oregon Wedding Showcase, enjoys bringing together wedding professionals and engaged couples.

“We have so many amazing people in one room, meeting and listening to couples and helping them reach their vision,” she said.

Lynette Mason attended the show looking for inspiration for her upcoming spring wedding.

“I didn’t grow up in Eugene, so I don’t know a lot of venues that are here or businesses that can help with my wedding,” she said.

Van Valkenberg said it’s important for people like Mason to attend events like the Oregon Wedding Showcase.

“There are a lot of venues online, but your wedding isn’t online,” she said. “You have to meet people face to face.”

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