Old Mill Center 04

Annie Bittner a teacher/home visitor at the Old Mill Center for Children and Families, works on story time with her relief nursery infants and toddlers class. The center is holding its annual fundraising dinner and auction May 4 at the CH2M Hill Alumni Center.

• 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 Old Mill Center for Children and Families in Corvallis as it celebrates its 40th anniversary. 

As the Gazette-Times' James Day reported in a Sunday story about the organization, founders Bev Larson and Barb Kralj started with an idea that continues to guide the organization today: Serving special-needs children and other kids in the same classroom would pay dividends for both groups.

That first year, 1977, the center served seven families and had one program, a preschool. Now, four decades later, Old Mill serves more than 800 families and 2,000 children each year and offers five programs. Then, as now, the center serves a vital need in the mid-valley — and the "mainstreaming" idea at its core is the norm in classrooms across the nation.

Old Mill will celebrate this anniversary with a free event from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday at Bruce Starker Arts Park, 4485 SW Country Club Drive in Corvallis. For information, call 541-757-8068.

• ROSES to the good work being done by the Greenbelt Land Trust in Corvallis — and in particular for its effort to create a 404-acre site south of Corvallis at Harkens Lake that will be restored as floodplain habitat.

Greenbelt last week announced it had concluded a deal to bring the last bit of farm ground in the area under its management, completing a project that it started in 2011. 

The latest acquisition adds 15 acres and roughly 1,000 feet of Willamette River frontage to the property already protected by Greenbelt under permanent easements.

Altogether, the organization has invested more than $3 million in the area, which it considers an anchor site in a regional push to restore Willamette River floodplain habitat that has been lost to agriculture, urban growth, industrial development and flood-control structures. 

Greenbelt already has launched restoration work in the area, planting trees and shrubs to recreate a riparian forest. And the overarching idea is to benefit threatened or sensitive native fish such as chinook salmon, cutthroat trout and Oregon chub that rely heavily on seasonal flooding as part of their life cycles. Trapping floodwaters at the site for weeks could provide a major benefit for juvenile chinook salmon.

The entire project required patience and an ability to stay focused on the long term, qualities that Greenbelt has mastered over the years. 

• ROSES to 4-H programs in Oregon and across the nation as we celebrate National 4-H Week this first week of October. The program, which traces its origins to efforts like A.B. Graham's Tomato Growing Club in Ohio in 1902, now serves millions of kids throughout the nation, including 46,500 in Oregon.

The organization has broadened its horizons from its rural roots to include programs as diverse as robotics, computer programming and even surfing. But the goal remains the same: to give its members life skills that are useful both in the country and the city.

• RASPBERRIES to collisions between vehicles and deer, events that cost drivers thousands of dollars and (it must be said) usually turn out even worse for the deer involved.

Our email inbox fills up every day with hundreds of inane (and unsolicited) missives, but one from the insurance company State Farm caught our eye this week: The company's 15th annual deer claim study has found that 1 of every 254 drivers in Oregon will collide with a deer. That's still below the national average of 1 in 162. West Virginia ranks as the state in which drivers are most likely to collide with a deer (or a moose or an elk or a caribou), with a 1 in 43 chance; Oregon ranks 37th on that list.

The average insurance claim in the wake of these accidents is $4,179.

The study also found that the chance of colliding with a deer more than doubles during the last three months of the year, mating season. State Farm urged drivers to slow down, especially at dusk and dawn, the times of day when the animals are most active.  

• RASPBERRIES to the death of rocker Tom Petty, who died Monday after suffering a heart attack. He was 66. Another one gone way too young. (mm)

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Got suggestions for Roses or Raspberries? Email them to Mike McInally at mike.mcinally@lee.net