• ROSE (roz) n. One of the most beautiful of all flowers, a symbol of fragrance and loveliness. Often given as a sign of appreciation.

• RASPBERRY (raz’ber’e) n. A sharp, scornful comment, criticism or rebuke; a derisive, splatting noise, often called the Bronx cheer.

We hereby deliver:

• ROSES to Monday's eclipse. We admit it: We were growing a little weary of the hype — and, yes, we plead guilty to publishing many stories and special sections about the event in the weeks leading up to it and contributing to that hype. But, goodness, when it finally arrived, those two minutes of totality were worth the wait.

Of course, perfect weather throughout the mid-valley helped as well. In this regard, we were lucky: Did you notice how skies Monday afternoon started to fill with smoke from the area's wildfires? Thankfully, skies stayed clear throughout Monday morning, and thousands of people got to witness the eclipse in its full glory. 

• RASPBERRIES to scams. We have a seemingly endless supply of raspberries to hand out to con artists, and that's because we have a seemingly endless supply of scams to report on in the mid-valley.

We got word this week of a slightly different scam at play now in the region: In this one, you receive checks from "companies" that you've never heard of and are invited to take them to the bank. 

A little later, you get a letter saying that the company sent you more money than was intended; could you send back the difference? If you do that, because you have a generous heart, you're out that money because the original check is bogus.

We heard about this because two of these "checks" went to Linn County Sheriff Bruce Riley. Riley's trained eye immediately saw through this scam. If you're the recipient of these checks, you should give them the same skeptical examination and then deposit them — in the trash.

 While we're thinking of Linn County, ROSES to the Northwest Art & Air Festival, which opens today for a three-day run in Albany's Timber-Linn Park. With its combination of art, music and (of course) hot-air balloons, the event makes for good end-of-summer fun. 

• RASPBERRIES to the inevitable spike in gasoline prices that accompanied the run-up to Monday's eclipse: The AAA reports that gas prices increased by an average of 10 cents a gallon last week. In central Oregon, the increase was even higher, clocking in at about 21 cents a gallon. It's probably just a coincidence that central Oregon was considered among the nation's best spots to view the eclipse. The AAA says that the higher prices are expected to last through Labor Day, but you probably could have guessed that. 

• RASPBERRIES to a suspected arson fire that put a dent in the next book sale sponsored by the Friends of the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library.

The organization had about 1,000 books in a storage unit on Southwest Wake Robin Drive when a fire broke out last Friday at ProLine Construction and Remodel; the offices for the business are in the same building as the storage unit.

The cause of the fire is suspicious, and authorities are investigating to see if the blaze was the work of an arsonist.

Officials with the Friends of the Library estimated that about 1,000 books suffered smoke damage from the blaze, and that's a big loss. The group's members had plans to put those books on sale at its next book sale, scheduled for Sept. 22-24 during the Corvallis Fall Festival. The estimate is that the damaged books could have raised a total of $3,000 to $5,000.

That's a big deal, because the group makes the bulk of its money from these book sales. And that money goes to pay for reading events and programs at the main library and its branches.

The book sale will still go on, with books that weren't damaged, so make plans to attend. Or you can just donate directly to the group at this address: Friends of the Library, 645 NW Monroe Ave., Corvallis 97330. (mm) 

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