It's Saturday, May 11, and Union Station will host a "trains matter" celebration from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Model trains, music, clowns and some surprises are part of the fun, and visitors can see Oregon's new Taigo trains and the restored SP&S 700.

Amtrak ridership in Oregon has risen steadily, and Portland ranks No. 16 among American cities in ridership, according to a Brookings Institution study.

Helping bees

The Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon are part of a pilot program for faith-based pollinator protection. Thirteen faith organizations from Portland are adding or expanding pollinator habitat on their properties this spring. To launch the program, the Portland Metro Interfaith Garden Celebration will take play from 4 to 5 p.m. Saturday, May 11, at the Muslim Community Center's Seeds of Understanding Garden on North Vancouver Avenue south of Killingsworth. For info: and

Portland's Beatle

Catherine Feeny of Portland was the top choice of judges among more than 200 entries in the John Lennon Songwriting Contest. With the contest theme "Peace," her song "Unity" earned her an invitation to perform live at the 2013 Abbey Road on the River festival in Louisville, Ky., on May 25 and May 26. For info on the festival:

Simon transplant

Critically acclaimed composer Mark Simon is awaiting a lifesaving liver transplant, and fellow musicians are rallying to help with the overwhelming costs. The 53-year-old Simon was added to the transplant waiting list at the University of Washington Medical Center in 2010; the average liver transplant costs $550,000. Simon has elicited the help of the National Foundation for Transplants, and a fundraising event will be held at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 22, at Tony Starlight's Supper Club and Lounge, 3728 N.E. Sandy Blvd. Suggested donation is $15; RSVP at 503-517-8584 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Rucker winner

Chef Gabriel Rucker, owner and chef at Le Pigeon and Little Bird restaurants in Portland, has been named Best Chef Northwest at the annual James Beard Foundation Awards. He also received the Rising Star Chef award in 2011, among his other distinctions. He'll release his first cookbook, "Le Pigeon: Cooking at the Dirty Bird," in September.

Cannes interns

Taylor Finch and Sofia Alicastro, Lewis & Clark College students, are among a select group of interns who will be working at the Cannes International Film Festival this month. They arrive in Cannes, France, this weekend before the event, scheduled to work as business interns in the American Pavilion and gaining access to industry professionals, film screenings and events. They achieved the internships through help from Bryan Sebok, an L&C assistant professor of rhetoric and media studies and a filmmaker.

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