Nude 32, Nude 32... Hut, Hut, Hike
There's bad news for Oregon sports this week, and some of it comes from the "What are Those Dang College Football Players Going to do Next?" file. While the Ducks have been steadily embarrassing the state for the better part of the year, the Beavers just got into the action thanks to offensive lineman Tyler Thomas, who Corvallis police say they found drunker than Mel Gibson in a stranger's home... naked. But it gets better! When the cops told Thomas to get on the ground, they say he - still naked - got down into a three-point stance and lunged at them. So, of course, they had to fire a stun gun at the redshirt freshman, who, of course, has a mullet and, of course, has since been kicked off the team. So, even when in a stranger's home, horrifically intoxicated and not wearing a stitch of clothing, a football player will, at the very least, remember how to get down in his stance. Something tells us this is going to be an exciting season. (MB)
The news that hits closest to home this week may be the fire that caused $700,000 in damage to both the structure and contents of Chan's Restaurant. The first calls came in around 2am on Friday, reporting smoke in the area. When fire fighters arrived they found the attic above the kitchen of Chan's burning and filled with smoke. The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but fire officials believe the blaze started in the kitchen.
To many of us in Bend, Chan's is a landmark and frequent dining spot. The location on SE 3rd Street, which has been Chan's home since 1986, could be closed for up to three months before it is in condition to reopen. In the meantime, it looks like we'll have to find somewhere else to get our beef with broccoli fix until Chan's opens its doors again. (AP)
Finally in election news this week, Kitzhaber appears to have narrowed Dudley's lead in the pre-election opinion polls. The latest poll from Rasmussen Reports shows former governor John Kitzhaber nearly deadlocked with his republican rival Chris Dudley, a former NBA center for the TrailBlazers, who has made a strong showing in his first bid for elected office. According to Rasmussen, Kitzhaber shaved two percentage points off Dudley's lead in the last month and the race now appears to be deadlocked with Dudley carrying 45 percent of the pre-election electorate, and Kitzhaber, 44 percent. In related news, Dudley, who has been criticized for ducking debates with Kitzhaber recently agreed to a series of four debates beginning Sept. 25 at the League of Oregon Cities in Eugene. Other televised debates have tentatively been scheduled for Burns and Medford. Closer to home, the race for Bend's house seat currently held by democrat Judy Stiegler is shaping up to be a competitive one with her republican rival, Jason Conger, amassing a significant war chest. An attorney with Miller Nash, Conger has more than doubled Stiegler's fundrasing through the last reporting period, raking in more than $74,000 in cash and in-kind contributions to Stiegler's roughly $37,000. As a result you can expect to see and hear more of Conger on your television and radio as the closely contested race comes down the final stretch. Also, don't be surprised to see Oregon dems pour resources into the race in an attempt to hold onto the seat that they wrested control of in 2008 when Stiegler defeated republican Chuck Burley.
Finally, the Bend city council races appear to be finalized with the filing deadline now in the rearview mirror. As of Tuesday afternoon, with just a few hours remaining before the final deadline, six candidates had filed for three open positions on the council. Incumbents Jodie Barram and Mark Cappel are both seeking re-election with Barram running unopposed and Capell facing a pair of challengers, including Ron Boozel, aka "Rondo" who many folks know of through his association with KPOV. Also, seeking Capell's seat is Mark Moseley, a retired Freightliner executive who recently relocated to Bend. Finally, Chuck Arnold, executive director of the Downtown Bend Business Association will face off with Scott Ramsay in a race to fill the seat vacated by Oran Teater. Ramsay is the co-owner of Sun Mountain Fun Center and the Casarama vintage store on Division St. (EF)
The Millionaire and the Mulligan
The Jeld-Wen Tradition, the PGA golf tournament that brought big-name golfers like Tom Watson and recent winner Fred Funk to the Crosswater Club at the Sunriver Resort, is moving. Right on the heels of the death of Jeld-Wen Inc. founder Dick Wendt, the Jeld-Wen Tradition will be moving from their Sunriver location to Birmingham, Ala., where it will be known as the Region's Tradition. Wendt, who founded the window manufacturer Jeld-Wen Inc., lived in modest accommodations in Klamath Falls even as his wealth grew, driving around in an old Jeep Cherokee and often walking around his own hometown without being recognized.
Wendt, who grew Jeld-Wen from a nearly bankrupt, small-time mill to a $2-billion-a-year company with more than 20,000 employees across the globe, amassed a fortune estimated at $750 million. He and his wife, Nancy, were known for supporting medicine, the arts and Native American culture. He also contributed heavily to conservative causes including a homegrown attempt at "welfare reform." He contributed heavily to Kevin Mannix's run for governor in 2002 and funded tax activist Bill Sizemore's 1998 bid for the same office. He helped to bankroll several of Sizemore's anti-tax measures, but later distanced himself from the controversial tax crusader who has since run into legal trouble. (SR)
More on the Tradition
The timing of Wendt's death and the decision to move the Tradition are purely coincidental, however. Jeld-Wen had earlier announced that it planned to end its sponsorship of the Oregon event. And rumors had been circulating for months that it would be moving out of the state. However, the final announcement capped off a difficult week for Oregon sports that also included news that the Portland Beavers would be leaving the state after the club was unable to secure a new home amid the plans to convert PGE Park to an MLS stadium. While it's not great news for baseball fans, many of whom still hold out hope for a Portland-based MLB franchise, the loss won't hit home for Central Oregonians like the departure of the Tradition, which has raised more than $1.7 million for Oregon charities in its six years and shined a bright spotlight on the area's tourism economy, including two hours of live coverage by NBC's golf team on Saturday and Sunday of the tournament. Anyone who tuned in couldn't miss the heaping praise laid on the area by NBC's commentators including Dan Hicks, who often made it a point to tee up a round on one of the local courses during his stay in town. Like it or not, it's the kind of attention that Cyclocross Nationals and even the CCC just doesn't afford. (EF)