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Emily Simmons (copy)

Philomath High School senior Emily Simmons stands next to some of photo boxes filled with essentials and toys for children entering foster care through the non-profit Every Child.

• 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 good news for Oregon State University's efforts to create a new $60 million arts and education complex on its Corvallis campus: The university this week announced that it had received a $2 million gift commitment to help construct a smaller concert hall inside that complex.

The gift means that the university has raised more than $27 million toward its $30 million fundraising goal; the idea is that OSU then would approach the Legislature for a matching $30 million in state bonds.

The gift comes from the family of the late Lynne Detrick of West Linn, a longtime arts advocate. The university hopes to use that money to construct a 400- to 600-seat concert hall to showcase relatively intimate musical performances, such as those put on by OSU's outstanding choral groups.

The arts complex will be an expansion and enhancement of the LaSells Stewart Center. If all goes as planned, the  Lynne Detrick Hall should provide a nice companion space to the 1,200-seat Austin Auditorium, which also is expected to get a facelift as part of the project.

• ROSES to everyone who's planning to get involved in a Martin Luther King Jr. Day event or community service project this weekend. We've heard of various events planned around the mid-valley, including a variety of projects on Saturday involving Oregon State University students. It's a good way to offer something back to the community during a time when we honor and reflect upon King's accomplishments and legacy.

If you'd like a natural area in which to contemplate, consider taking advantage of this offer from the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management: On Monday, those agencies will waive fees at day-use recreation sites in Oregon and Washington.

• RASPBERRIES to the flu, and especially to news that Oregon is on track to suffer through another record season for the ailment. The bad news is that flu season still has two or three months left to run. The good news is that it's still not late to get a flu shot. Although this year's vaccine is not a particularly good match for the flu strains in circulation, it still offers a measure of protection.

• RASPBERRIES, as always, to scam artists. They're out in abundance these days, and judging by recent entries in our Police Log, they're fleecing victims out of hundreds (sometimes thousands) of dollars with distressing frequency.

Here's a scam that's back in fashion throughout the mid-valley: You get a call from an "officer" at a "law enforcement agency" who tells you that, for some reason you can't recall, officers are en route to arrest you. (Your caller ID might even show that the call is coming from the law enforcement agency.)

You can prevent your imminent arrest, but only by purchasing some of those cash cards for the person on other end of the line. And the person on other end of the call is unusually focused on keeping you on the line. 

It's a scam. This is not how real law enforcement agencies work. And, frankly, any transaction that calls for you to pick up a bunch of cash cards for someone you don't know is almost certainly a scam. 

Hang up. Call your real local law enforcement agency to report the scam. And keep your guard up: Unfortunately, science has yet to develop the vaccine to keep you safe from scammers. 

• ROSES to Emily Simmons, a senior at Philomath High School, for her work to provide a little light for foster children in their darkest moments.

For the last couple of years, Simmons has been collecting snacks, toys and toothbrushes for children just entering the foster care system. She places the items in decorative photo boxes, with notes to let the children know they're loved.

These welcome boxes are a project of Every Child Oregon, an organization that seeks community support for foster families and children. Simmons is the county coordinator for the welcome box program. Her aim is to give those foster children something that is theirs at a time when they often have nothing — and, maybe even more important, tender words to help her get through a tough time. 

Simmons deserves a big bouquet for her work, and you can give her a hand: The online version of today's Roses includes a link to the Every Child website showing how you can create a welcome box. (mm)

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Managing Editor