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Aaron J. Fillo, a doctoral candidate in mechanical engineering at OSU, stars in the video series "Lib Lab," which encourages children to explore science concepts.

Anibal Ortiz, Gazette-Times

• 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 state Sen. Sara Gelser, who was honored this week by Time magazine for being among the women across the nation who spoke up about being the targets of sexual harassment. Time named all of these women — "The Silence Breakers" — as its Persons of the Year.

Ever since sexual harassment charges were leveled against movie executive Harvey Weinstein, it seems as if a dam has broken, with new allegations against different men surfacing daily. 

Gelser helped to take those conversations from the world of entertainment into statehouses across the nation, when she went public with a longstanding complaint against a Senate colleague, Jeff Kruse from Roseburg. (Gelser filed two informal complaints against Kruse before filing a formal one on Nov. 15.) She says that Kruse touched her inappropriately multiple times from 2011 to 2017. Kruse has denied the allegations; an investigation into the charges is expected to continue into next year and could result in his expulsion from the Senate.

In the wake of Gelser's speaking out, other women in political circles across the nation have come forward to talk about the harassment they've suffered. Gelser said she's gratified that she's helped push the conversation forward, but notes that it's just a first step: "The change has to come from the attitude in which nobody thinks that they have a right to put their hand on you in the first place."

• RASPBERRIES, as always, to scammers. It's the holidays, the most wonderful time of the year for con artists to try to steal a few bucks from their victims, and the entries in our Police Log show that they're frequently successful.

In the short space we have available today, we cannot review all the scams that appear to be at work in the mid-valley. But we can tell you that this appears to be a particularly busy period for scam artists, so you need to be on your guard.

A couple of tips might help: Trust your instincts. If an offer doesn't seem right, it probably isn't. If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. And if the person on the other end of the telephone suggests you pay him with cash cards (or, even odder, iTunes cards), just hang up.

The next call you make after that should be to your local law enforcement agency.

• ROSES to everyone in the mid-valley who's engaged in putting on some kind of holiday show. Whether it's a holiday music concert with a middle school band or a performance of "The Nutcracker" (two of those hit local stages this weekend), these are terrific ways to get a dose of the holiday spirit. And our thanks to all the musicians, dancers and other performers who have worked hard to share that spirit.

• ROSES to the return of Mike Riley to the Oregon State University football team. News broke this week that Riley has accepted a position as assistant head coach, working with new head coach Jonathan Smith.

Riley, of course, was the head coach at OSU for many seasons before leaving Corvallis to lead the football program at the University of Nebraska. That didn't work out the way anybody hoped, and Riley was fired there at the end of this season.

Even though at least some Beavers football fans had wearied of Riley's head coaching tenure at OSU, there's never been any doubt that he's a quality human being — and he will be a valuable asset to Smith, who's tackling his first head coaching job. 

• ROSES to Aaron J. Fillo, the creator and driving force behind "Lib Lab," a video series produced in partnership with the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library. A story in Thursday's Gazette-Times took readers to the Oregon Coast Aquarium, where Fillo and his collaborators were working to shoot the next installment in the series.

The idea behind "Lib Lab" is to explain scientific principles in visually clever ways that will grab the imagination of youngsters (and older folks as well). In a country where our level of scientific literacy is not as high as it should be, this is important work indeed. (mm) 


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