R.L. Stollar is an investigative writer at the Eugene Daily News. He has a B.A. in Western philosophy and literature from Gutenberg College in Oregon and a M.A. in Eastern religions from St. Johnâ€™s College in New Mexico. Follow him on WordPress (rlstollar.wordpress.com/), Twitter, (@RLStollar), or Facebook (facebook.com/rlstollarjournalist).
Big Bang Theories and Candy Dreams: The News Week in Review
By R.L. Stollar, EDN
Another Fourth of July has come and gone, and with it went millions of dollars spent on fireworks. We Americans are all about those rocketsâ€™ red glare. And we put our money where our mouth is. â€œFourth of July celebrations can cost anywhere from about $10,000 for a standard small town fireworks display to several million dollars for multi-day patriotic extravaganzas that sometimes even require corporate sponsors.â€ 
Eugene, of course, is no stranger to fireworks, and this last week we had all sorts of places to enjoy them: Alton Baker Park, Dexter Lake, or any parking lot or cul-de-sac where children or children-at-heart can be found.
This country began with a spirited protest against the British, and we continue to celebrate our independence each year with a spirited protest against the governmentâ€™s restrictions on our enjoyment of personal and artistic explosives.
But just as George Washington and company could not win every battle of that war, so, too, are fireworks shows doomed to have the occasional failure. Nothing was more evident of that fact than San Diegoâ€™s ill-fated show. San Diego achieved new levels of fame with â€œa 30-second video of the infamous San Diego fireworks fiasco at Big Bay Boom, when a malfunction at an elaborately choreographed 17-minute show set off all the fireworks at the same time.â€ 
While many had theories about that big bang gone awry, an Oregon resident had his own big bang: â€œA Tualatin manâ€™s right thumb was blown off Sunday when the fuse on fireworks burned faster than he expected and it went off in his hand.â€ 
His thumb was eventually re-attached.
While the Tualatin man got his thumb back, Oregon voters got something back, too: ballot measures they had rejected years ago. â€œIn the last three decades voters have decided against legalizing marijuana, building a new casino near Portland and banning gillnet fishing on the Columbia River. Variations on those ideas are among at least a half-dozen that appear to be on track to qualify for the ballot in November.â€ 
Whether voters actually got a sense of deja vu, though, is up for debate, considering that the canvassers for some of the petitions were not upfront about what their petitions did. â€œâ€˜They purposefully change their pitches to deceive voters into signing something untrue,â€™Â [a former canvasser] says. Â â€™They all got praise for bringing in ample signatures. I got no training, was told to lie, refused to lie, and got in trouble because I couldnâ€™t get any signatures when I told people the truth. Thatâ€™s why I quit. Iâ€™m not going to get paid to lie to people just to allow rich businessmen to con Oregon voters into building casinos.â€ 
Speaking of building things: How about that downtown student apartment complex? â€œCapstone Collegiate Communities has begun work on half of its student apartment complex in downtown Eugene, but the fate of the remaining portion of the high-profile 475-unit project is up in the air [as] Capstone has been unable to strike a deal with Master for the rest of the proposed construction site, on the west side of Olive Street.â€ 
What is not up in the air anymore, though, is the Emeraldsâ€™ failure this last week. â€œDespite a ninth-inning rally that brought what had been a silenced PK Park crowd to its feet, the (11-10, 5-3 at home)Â Eugene Emeralds fell short Friday night, dropping their series finale against the Everett AquaSox (16-6, 7-4 away), 4-2.â€ 
The Emeralds may have dropped the ball, but Full City Coffee Roasters picked up the ball and ran with it, speaking now in terms of charity. â€œAll day on Monday, July 9th, 2012, Full City Coffee Roasters is giving back to CASA, or Court Appointed Special Advocates, by donating its gross revenue from the business day to the non-profit. The move should raise about 5 to 6 thousand dollars.â€ 
Full City did not drive away with the only prize for charity this week, though.Â David Evans, with the help of his father and a limousine, â€œis setting in motion a plan that aims to help people avoid the woes he endured after he got behind the wheel and crashed his car while drunkâ€¦Heâ€™s about to begin volunteering as a designated driver/chauffeur for inebriated strangers who need a ride home after a night on the town. The rides are free. And theyâ€™ll be given in a limo, specifically a 1992 Lincoln Town Car that the Evanses bought a few months agoâ€¦The father-son duo is calling their venture Drunks Against DUIs.â€ 
Speaking of new business ideas, â€œaÂ Medford man has come up with an unusual idea for a business. Richard Nuckols would like to make cannabis-infused candy and other treats for medical marijuana patients. But the Mail Tribune says Medford city officials arenâ€™t going along with the idea.â€ 
Marijuana candy may sound like a crazy idea. But then again, San Diego set off millions of dollars of fireworks at the exact same time. This is America. Stuff happens.