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Zoe Bear Project 02 (copy)

Zoe Watterson, the Zoe Bear Project's namesake, watches the proceedings at Wednesday's bear-stuffing party. 

• 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 Corvallis organizers and volunteers behind the Zoe Bear Project, which aims to deliver candy-filled teddy bears to young cystic fibrosis patients at Doernbecher Children's Hospital in Portland.

Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disease that can cause severe lung problems; it also can block the release of digestive enzymes, resulting in malnutrition and poor growth. For that reason, people with the disease often need a lot of extra calories to stay healthy. 

When Oregon State University student Zoe Watterson of Corvallis was receiving treatment for cystic fibrosis at Doernbecher, her co-workers at Home Life got the idea to give her a stuffed animal filled with high-calorie treats to boost her energy. Watterson was delighted. And then one of those Home Life co-workers, Melinda McMurry, got the idea to deliver similar bears to young patients with the disease.

So on Wednesday, about 15 supporters gathered for a bear-stuffing party at a Corvallis housing complex. The goal, McMurry said, is to have 150 or so bears ready for delivery to patients at Doernbecher in a month or two. Her hope is that the project, in addition to raising the spirits of patients, will raise awareness about cystic fibrosis as well.

For more information about the project, visit its website at To arrange a donation of candy or unused teddy bears, contact McMurry at 541-466-3290. It's a fun project and a terrific cause. 

• ROSES to Brownsville's Winnie Barron, the founder of the the Makindu Children's Center in Kenya. For 19 years now, the center has worked with thousands of underprivileged African children, providing high-protein meals, education, income-generating projects, and treatment for HIV and AIDS.

The Children's Center recently was in the national spotlight: The organization was named the winner of the 2017 World of Children Humanitarian Award. (World of Children is an international philanthropic organization founded by business leaders Harry Leibowitz and his wife, Kay Isaacson-Leibowitz.)

The award was well-deserved. And the grant money that came with the award and the contacts Barron made during the festivities in New York City will be invaluable to the Children's Center.

It can be easy to despair about the power of one person to make a difference in the world. But Barron shows us that it can be done — and you don't necessarily have to travel to Africa to do it. There are opportunities close to home as well. But the first step is being open to those opportunities when they present themselves.

• ROSES to you, Thanksgiving holiday traveler, if you're planning to be prepared for the unexpected during next week's road trip. Travel in late November can offer some surprising weather conditions, and smart drivers will be ready to deal with those.

One thing is for sure if you're driving next week: You won't be alone. 

The AAA reported this week that it expects 50.9 million Americans to travel more than 50 miles away from home during the holiday. That includes an estimated 647,000 Oregon residents, and most of us (556,600 or so) will be driving. It's expected to be the busiest Thanksgiving for travel since 2005. The busiest travel day is expected to be Wednesday; no surprise there. 

• RASPBERRIES to a bit of related news: AAA also reported that the average price of a gallon of gasoline will be 40 cents higher than last year. It's the most expensive gas price during the Thanksgiving holiday since 2014.

• RASPBERRIES to the latest internet scam making the rounds, as reported by the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office. Here's how it works: You receive a Facebook "friend" request, and because you're a friendly person, you accept it. It's followed immediately by a Messenger request which suggests that, now that you're friends and all, you should send along some nude photos of yourself.

Unless you're disgraced former New York politician Anthony Weiner, you probably can see the potential problems in this request. But say you do send along the photos. The next notice you get from your "friend" is a ransom demand: Pay up, or your nude photos will be posted all over the internet.

This seems like a relatively easy scam to avoid: Be cautious when accepting Facebook friend requests from people you don't know. And save your nude photos for your memoir. (mm)


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