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101018-adh-nws-Wheel Chair Ramp-JM

Robotics mentor and ramp builder Larry Sheeley watches as Keely Kohlleppel, 16, backs down his portable wheelchair ramp following a round of competition Oct. 6 at Wilsonville High School.

• 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 still working on perfecting your election-themed letter to the editor. As we noted last week, we love getting your letters and are working to print as many of them as we can.

But we urge you to hurry. We currently have an extensive backlog of letters, and so, even as we work to clear out as much space as possible for them, we're forced to impose a deadline for the print edition. 

Here's our best current estimate: We should be able to print letters that we receive by the end of the day on  Friday, Oct. 19 — a week from today. (That date might change, depending on the flow of letters — but we're not seeing any signs that the flow is starting to slow.) After that deadline passes, we'll run as many letters as possible in the print edition, but we can't guarantee publication. 

(All letters, of course, appear online, unless they feature libel or too much profanity.)

One more word to the wise, and then we'll let you get back to polishing that letter: We ask letter writers to limit themselves to 250 words, but that doesn't mean you need to use all of those words. And who knows? A shorter letter might be able to squeeze onto an opinion page a day or two earlier than a longer one.

• ROSES to everyone who's involved in the mid-valley's various robotics teams, for finding new ways to combine cooperation and competition.

These robotic competitions, of course, put a premium on innovative thinking as students work to program robots so that they can conquer a new set of challenges every year.

But, despite the competitive nature, they also have emphasized the importance of working in cooperation with other teams. An incident from last week, recounted in a recent news story about SWARM, Albany's combined high school robotics team, is a terrific illustration.

Here's a summary of the story: The Albany team this year is trying out a new member on its drive team — the people who actually drive the team's robot in competitions.

The new member, Keely Kohlleppel, uses a wheelchair.  During preparation for an off-season competition held this past weekend, Kohlleppel found that she couldn't see the playing field from her vantage point. 

So the Albany team talked to organizers of the competition. Did anyone have any ideas?

Larry Sheeley did. Sheeley is a mentor for a robotics team in Wilsonville. His son, Lance, has physical disabilities and used to be a member of the Wilsonville team. Sheeley ended up spending four hours building a ramp for Kohlleppel's use.

You read that right: Someone connected with a competing team went out of his way to help out someone on another team.

It turns out this kind of cooperative effort is part of the culture among these robotics teams. They call it "coopertition," and while we're not crazy about that newly coined word, we're gratified by the spirit it embodies.

• ROSES to news about the kickoff time for next Saturday's homecoming football game between Oregon State and California: The game will begin at 1 p.m. If you believe, as we do, that God intended college football games to be played on Saturday afternoons, this is a refreshing change from recent years, in which the Beavers (and other teams) have been forced to play night games that often aren't over until the clock is closing in on midnight.

We've been complaining about these night games for years, and we're not the only ones: Coaches, fans and law enforcement officers weary of policing folks who have been drinking all day at tailgate parties also have had harsh things to say about these late games.

Sad to say, however, these night games are with us to stay — or at least for as long as college football telecasts enrich TV networks. Those networks have a lot to say about when games begin.

So it could be that next year's homecoming game returns to a 7 p.m. kickoff (or even later). In the meantime, enjoy next Saturday's game — and, since we have a week to get ready, that should give us enough time to organize a homecoming parade for Saturday morning. Who's with us? Anybody? Hello? Anybody? (mm)

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Managing Editor