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Signs in Corvallis 1 (copy)

Melissa Bird stands in the front yard of her Corvallis home at Northwest Circle Boulevard and Garryanna Street with several of the encouraging signs she regularly displays.

• 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 ABC House, which last week held a groundbreaking for its new location in downtown Albany. It's a big step forward for the organization, which for more than two decades has helped children and families in crisis in both Benton and Linn counties. And the new location, just south of the Linn County Courthouse, should give the organization greater visibility.

ABC House already has raised $3.7 million of a $5 million capital campaign. The community portion of the fundraising campaign is scheduled to kick off in May. If you're interested in learning more about this extremely worthy effort, call Jennifer Gilmore-Robinson, the organization's executive director, at 541-926-2203. 

Plans are for ABC House to move into its renovated new facility in November. That will be a red-letter day for the entire mid-valley.

• ROSES to Corvallis resident Melissa Bird, for an unexpected (and always welcome) message of encouragement.

If you read Tuesday's Story Next Door in the Gazette-Times, you're familiar with Bird, who has posted a series of encouraging signs in her yard along Circle Boulevard. The signs bear messages such as "Don't Give Up" or "You Matter" or Bird's favorite, "Your Mistakes Do Not Define You."

Because these are cynical times in which we live, we thought at first that the signs were meant in some deeply ironic way — or that they were tied into some commercial scheme. But no: They're completely sincere and on the level, and that's part of their charm.

The signs are created by a woman named Amy Wolff. Bird met Wolff at a conference in Portland last year and loved the positive messages on the signs. She brought some home to Corvallis and put them in her yard, an act of some courage in these trying times.

But the reaction to these hopeful signs has been overwhelmingly favorable, and that gives us hope as well. Our thanks go out to Bird (and to Wolff) for providing rays of hope for helping us get through a gray time.

• ROSES to members of the Rotary Club of Greater Corvallis and the Corvallis Rotary Club, who will be fanning out on Friday to celebrate the 114th birthday of Dr. Seuss. And what better way to mark that birthday than by reading to nearly 1,700 elementary students in Corvallis schools?

It's the 16th anniversary of "Read Across Corvallis Day," an annual project of the two Rotary clubs. Readers, suitably attired in red-and-white stovepipe hats such as the one favored by The Cat in the Hat, will include Corvallis Mayor Biff Traber and former Mayor Julie Manning. They'll be reading from Dr. Seuss classics, and handing out Seuss-themed pencils and Rotary bookmarks.

It's a terrific event, and if helps to instill the love of reading in even one additional student, well, mission accomplished.  

• RASPBERRIES to the Washington state Legislature, for its passage of a bill to exempt itself from the state's Public Records Law. Lawmakers in Olympia last week hastily approved the bill, without hearings or floor debate.

Washington legislators long have argued that they're exempt from the Public Records Law, but a judge disagreed with that argument in a January lawsuit. The Legislature responded by putting this bill, which would be retroactive, on the fast track.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee late Thursday vetoed the bill.  It may be a moot point: The bill passed both Washington chambers by what would appear to be veto-proof margins. But Inslee's veto at least will force legislators to explain again to their constituents why much of their work should be shielded from the public.

And here's a little reminder to our Oregon lawmakers, who are in the process of wrapping up their short session in Salem: Don't you dare try anything like this at home.

• RASPBERRIES to the pending return of daylight saving time, which will cause all of us to lose an hour of sleep next weekend, March 10-11. We'll bellyache more about this next Friday, but we wanted you to have a heads-up now, so that you have time to start grabbing some extra sleep to make up for the hour you're about to lose. (mm) 


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