PHS band: Erica Epperley (copy)

Erica Epperley directs the Philomath High School band during Wednesday evening's performance at Oregon State University. The band defended its state title in this year's competition. 

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 Philomath High School band, for successfully defending its Class 4A state title this week at the Oregon School Activities Association band championships. 

The competition, held at The LaSells Stewart Center on the campus of Oregon State University, ended with the Warriors claiming their second straight state title. The competition involves performances on stage, along with a brutal session of sight reading.

It was fun to hear Philomath's musicians talk about the competition in much the same way that athletes talk about their big games: "One of our goals going in, especially in the warmup room talking about it, is to leave everything on the stage and make sure we're expressing ourselves and I think we did that," said senior trombone player Jeremy Alston. 

The win was especially notable because the band has a new leader, first-year Performing Arts Director Erica Epperly. Epperly stepped in this year to replace Dan Johnson, who moved into an administrative position. Those were big shoes to fill, but the results suggest that Epperly — and her young musicians — are doing just fine.

• ROSES to students at Corvallis High School and Crescent Valley High School, who raised $150,946 for various organizations in this year's fundraising competitions. 

These events (the Mr. and Ms. Spartan competition at Corvallis High and the Raider Royalty competition at Crescent Valley) have been longstanding traditions at Corvallis high schools, and they require sustained effort from participating students: It's like adding a part-time job to their already demanding schedules.

This year's beneficiaries of that hard work included the Mario Pastega House, the Samaritan Pastega Regional Cancer Center, the Chintimini Wildlife Center, the Corvallis School District food pantry, Jackson Street Youth Services, the Old Mill Center, the neonatal care unit at Sacred Heart Medical Center and the Corvallis High School Yearbook Angels, who make sure low-income students can get yearbooks.

• RASPBERRIES to a noxious new robocall scam, one that often starts with one of the worst imaginable sounds — your phone ringing in the middle of the night. When that happens, you're expecting bad news, and this "One Ring" or "Wangiri" scam qualifies.

These spam robocalls target specific area codes in bursts, often calling many times in the middle of the night. These calls likely are trying to prompt you to call the number back, and often that results in getting socked with per-minute charges similar to a 900 number. Reports suggest that the these calls are using the "222" country code of the west African nation of Mauritania, but robocallers can disguise their phone numbers to make them appear as if they're coming from anywhere. The advice from Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum is this: If you don't recognize the number, don't call it back.

If you think you've become the victim of a One Ring scam, contact the Oregon Department of Justice online at www.oregonconsumer.gov or call 1-877-877-9392.

• RASPBERRIES to a weekend of possible danger. If it seems like only about a month ago we were complaining about buckets of rain, well, that's because we were. But this week, the mid-valley was slapped with a red flag warning for fire danger — the sort of warning that we usually don't see until July or August. (Forecasters issue these red flag warnings when they expect weather conditions such as high temperatures or gusty winds to contribute to extreme fire behavior.) 

The red flag warning was expected to expire Friday night, and the weekend is expected to be a little cooler, but sunny. If you're heading into the woods this weekend (and we can see how you might be tempted), be careful that you don't do anything that could spark a fire.  

Be careful as well if you head to a body of water this weekend (and, again, we can see how you'd be tempted). Rivers and streams are running cold and fast and can carry away the unwary in a blink. Life jackets are advised.

So is sunscreen. (mm)

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