Let’s start this edition of Your Weekend Reader (I’m still waiting for the lawsuit from the Weekly Reader folks to roll in, but in the meantime, I like that title) the same way that we started last week: with a story about Oregon wildfires.
The Atlantic’s October issue has an immersive and deeply reported story by Jeffrey E. Stern about how residents of Molalla united last summer against overwhelming odds to save their town in the face of two huge blazes, the Beachie Creek Fire and the Riverside Fire. Brew yourself another cup of coffee for this one — it’s long, but I guarantee you’ll get to the end. I was happy to read this story, not just because it’s terrific journalism, but also because it allowed me to say the name “Molalla” aloud several times; I love the way it rolls off the tongue.
Speaking of wildfires, here’s a New York Times story about a Colorado woman who believes that herds of grazing goats can play a role in munching away the vegetation that fuels increasingly intense blazes. To be fair, they ARE hungry. I tried to work in a goat yoga joke in this spot and couldn’t think of a way to do it; feel free to give it your best shot in the comments below.
Switching our attention to another story of the summer, the one about the continuing politicization of school boards: Here’s a story from Betsy Hammond of The Oregonian/OregonLive, one of the best education reporters in the state: The Oregon School Boards Association has seen the need to send an open letter to school boards throughout the state reminding them of their duty to follow the laws, regardless of whether they agree with them. The letter was prompted by the number of school board members throughout Oregon who have said they will defy lawful orders such as mask mandates and racial inclusion. There’s a Corvallis connection to the story: Corvallis School Board Chair Sami Al-Abdrabbuh was one of the authors of the letter, along with Jim Green, the association’s director, and Maureen Wolf, its president. Al-Abdrabbuh is head of the association’s members of color caucus.
You can bet that one of the school boards the association’s leaders had in mind when they penned the letter was the Greater Albany Public Schools board. That board continued to make news this past week, and not in a good way, with stories outlining yet another resignation from the district: Kerri Tatum, the district’s director of secondary education and director of innovation and learning technology. Lissy Acker of The Oregonian/OregonLive had the story. One of the Democrat-Herald’s new reporters, Joanna Mann, also had the story, but The Oregonian’s story offers greater detail and context.
If you’re confused about the recent raft of news about COVID vaccinations, that’s understandable. Here’s a solid wrapup of the week’s developments from The Atlantic.
Perhaps the most interesting Oregon business news of the past week revolved around Dutch Bros, the Grants Pass-based chain of drive-through coffee shops, and its initial public offering of stock on Wednesday. The IPO went very well, as Mike Rogaway of The Oregonian/OregonLive reported, raising some $550 million — it’s the first Oregon IPO to raise more than $100 million since 2004. And the company’s stock price more than doubled from Wednesday to Thursday, closing at $48 a share. In terms of market valuation, Dutch Bros (and remember, you pronounce it “Dutch Bros,” not Dutch Brothers) now is worth more than Columbia Sportswear. Rogaway does a good job of exploring some of the risks involved in this deal — the company is betting on an aggressive expansion of its current 480 locations. The story is an exclusive to OregonLive subscribers, but that’ll set you back just $9.99 a month.
Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean that they’re not profiling you by the sound of your voice: Here’s a relatively frightening essay from The New York Times about how call centers increasingly are using technology to analyze your voice and syntax to offer clues about your emotions and personality, often in real time. The essay is by Joseph Turow, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania.
Finally, if you’re looking this weekend for a diverting way to spend a couple of hours, the reviews for Clint Eastwood’s new movie, “Cry Macho,” generally are solid; here’s what A.O. Scott of the Times had to say about it. If I’m counting correctly, this is the 39th film Eastwood has directed. He also stars. Have I mentioned that Eastwood now is 91? No?