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Michael Bacio pumps gasoline for a customer while working at the Chevron station on Pacific Boulevard on Thursday, May 26, 2016. Gas prices have increased over the past few weeks, but remain well below last year's levels. 

Godofredo Vasquez, Democrat-Herald

• 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 you, if you're planning to enjoy the Labor Day weekend, but are taking steps to do so safely.

The weekend marks the unofficial end of summer, but it's likely to be unusually hot and dry, conditions that will require some additional care on your part. We'll be sweating all weekend under an excessive heat watch issued by the National Weather Service. So be smart in dealing with the heat.

Also, if you're camping, be sure you don't do anything to extend what already has been a brutal wildfire season.

And, as you drive to and from your destination, be aware that you'll likely be dealing with thick holiday traffic. Be patient. Stay sober. Wear your seat belt. Hands off that smartphone.

We'll see you back here on Tuesday, as the mid-valley settles in for another school year.

Speaking of the start of the school year, ROSES to all those teachers and school administrators who already are working to make sure that this next year is a terrific one for their students. These are tough jobs, and they're not getting any easier, and yet they return to the classroom every year knowing that their work makes a big difference in a lot of lives.

A related note, though: The Corvallis School District held a back-to-school rally for its employees and brought in an inspirational speaker, Manny Scott. Scott, one of the "Freedom Writers" portrayed in the Hillary Swank movie of the same name, has an excellent reputation and loves to inspire teachers. But he also came with an $8,500 price tag. We have another idea: Pick a couple of students who have overcome the odds to become outstanding students, have them tell their stories at the rally, and give them $4,000 scholarships. 

• RASPBERRIES to an increase in prices at the gas pump, just in time for the Labor Day weekend. You might expect that prices would increase because of Harvey, but experts at AAA Oregon/Idaho say that Oregon doesn't depend on the Gulf Coast for its gasoline. (Eventually, though, we have to think that Harvey will have an effect on pump prices nationwide, including here.)

Most recently, though, gas prices in Oregon rose just because the Labor Day weekend was coming up, meaning that lots of people would need gasoline for their holiday trips. 

Harvey did help drive a fairly large boost across the nation, which rose 4 cents to an average of $2.38 per gallon. The average price in Oregon? $2.84 a gallon.

• ROSES to this week's rededication of a Wilsonville landmark with Oregon State University connections. The Grove of the States, a historic arboretum containing trees for each U.S. state and the District of Columbia, was rededicated at a Monday ceremony. The grove is located at the French Prairie rest area southbound on Interstate 5 south of Wilsonville. 

The grove was first planted in 1967. It was restored through a plan developed by Brad Hamel when he was a graduate student at the OSU College of Forestry. Paul Ries of the College of Forestry was a member of the committee working on the project. OSU horticulture students developed a plan for the grove. It's nice to see such a unique roadside attraction get a new lease on life.

• ROSES to the new solar array at the Corvallis Municipal Airport. The city of Corvallis owns the array, which is expected to produce enough energy to power most of the airport's daily needs. The array was dedicated on Monday in a ceremony that featured city, state and Pacific Power officials.

Pacific Power's Blue Sky program, which allows customers to support renewable energy by paying a premium on their bills, funded the bulk of the $278,000 project, with additional funds provided by the Energy Trust of Oregon. Best of all: The array sits on land that used to be a Superfund site. We'd say this is a terrific deal all around. (mm)

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