Cedar, one of 12 cats taken in from Phoenix, Oregon by the Heartland Humane Society, sits on a counter at the society Wednesday. 

Anibal Ortiz, Mid-Valley Media

• 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 the staff at the Heartland Humane Society in Corvallis for going beyond the county's borders to help rescue a dozen cats, part of a group of 70 felines abandoned in and outside a house in southern Oregon.

The cats were discovered in a rental property in Phoenix, Oregon after a renter of the house had been evicted. The cats previously had belonged to an elderly couple who had lived there before the renter and who had moved into a retirement home.

Dan Meyer, a nuisance wildlife trapper who lives in Medford, was summoned to assess the situation. He found cats locked inside the house and others roaming outside. Meyer, who confessed to not liking cats all that much, nevertheless rose to the occasion: He started calling groups that he thought might take the animals. Donations of food and cat litter started pouring in. The local news picked up the story, and that's when Brittany Gardner, the director of operations at Heartland, heard about the case.

Heartland had capacity after a summer that had been full of adoptions (that's good news, too), and so volunteered to lead a group to Phoenix to collect the dozen cats. The cats are being examined at Heartland, and two of them already are up for adoption. 

• ROSES to new Oregon State University football coach Jonathan Smith and his family. Smith, of course, is no stranger to Beavers football: He was the starting quarterback for arguably the most successful team in OSU history, the 2000 squad that finished 11-1 overall, including a 41-9 rout of Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl. "It is great to be home," Smith said to kick off an introductory press conference Thursday, and the sense here is that Beaver Nation is thrilled to welcome Smith back into the fold.

Which is not at all to underestimate the magnitude of the task facing Smith: This year's OSU team went 1-11. There's plenty of work to do, and even though Smith boasts an impressive coaching resume, this rebuilding project is going to take some time. But it's good to be able to welcome Smith home. 

• ROSES to the return of a Corvallis tradition: The 24th annual Nativity Festival returns this weekend to The Church of Latter-day Saints, 4141 NW Harrison Blvd. The event features more than 500 nativity sets from around the globe, and it's always a treat to see all the different ways in which people worldwide have interpreted the story. (We are, of course, partial to the one made from rolled-up newspapers; what more evidence could anyone need about the utility of your daily rag?)

Like many similar events, this one seems effortless when you attend, but actually requires a small army of volunteers. Our thanks go out to all of them — and to the hundreds of folks who have donated nativity sets to the festival for the weekend.

If you're attending the festival, you'll be in the neighborhood of the Pastega Christmas Lights Display at the Benton County Fairgrounds. May we suggest you cap off your evening by driving through the lights display? (Bring a can of food to donate.) If that combination — the Nativity Festival and the Pastega lights — doesn't put you in the holiday spirit, well, desperate measures are called for: You may need a couple of viewings of "It's a Wonderful Life," stat.

• ROSES to this week's sign of the apocalypse: The Corvallis Planning Commission decided at a Wednesday meeting to reject a measure that would require neighborhood meetings before developers can file certain land-use applications with the city. You read that right: A governmental body in Corvallis turned down the opportunity to require more meetings. Next thing you know, governments will be refunding tax money to taxpayers: "Turns out we don't need this after all. You can have it back. Don't spend it all in one place."

• RASPBERRIES to an unfortunate government acronym: Minutes from various Corvallis City Council meetings refer to the city's local option levy by its initials, "LOL." Anyone who has spent a couple of minutes on the internet in the last 10 years will recognize that acronym as standing for something else. Let's hope voters don't laugh out loud next November as they consider the ballot measure to renew the levy. (mm)



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