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March 21, 2014
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Editorial: Roses & thorns


Giant shoes to fill

We know 88 years of life is considered a good run. We know that everybody will die someday.

Still, it’s hard to accept that one of Roseburg’s busiest and long-serving volunteers has done her last good deed.

Helen Lesh was felled by an apparent heart attack Tuesday. Her end was fitting, in a way. Her heart had to be the largest in the county and therefore the most overworked.

The page you are reading lacks enough space to number her contributions. We’re sure to leave something out, but here’s a short list of the projects and agencies that benefited from her attention: Dr. Stewart’s American Legion baseball, American Red Cross, the Friendly Kitchen, Altrusa International, Roseburg Business & Professional Women and the March of Dimes. Even the National Bowling Hall of Fame and Museum in Arlington, Va., owes her thanks for fundraising.

She had an even greater talent for motivating others to offer up their time and talents as well. The former Roseburg First Citizen probably had a few audience members shaking in their boots when, upon accepting her award, she told the crowd, “I’ll be calling you for something.”

There are dozens of people across town today who no doubt wish they could still get that call from a remarkable woman.

Thank you, Helen Lesh. You will be greatly missed.


Season of success

The Sutherlin Bulldogs girls basketball team played a tremendous season of hoops. They extended their undefeated season right through the state Class 4A championship to bring home the first-place trophy.

It was the second state championship in school history for the Douglas County team, yet it came just six years after their first. They advanced to the state tournament in each of the last three years. They took home third place in 2013 and played for the state championship in 2012, but came away with the second-place trophy.

That sounds like a school that’s built a solid, winning program. The good news is only one senior graduates so they’ve got a great nucleus returning.

Among them are junior Miranda Mendenhall, named to the all-tournament first team; junior Olivia Guillford, a second-team all-tournament selection and Player of the Game; and sophomore Kayce Mock, selected for the all-tournament second team.

The final score at Gil Coliseum in Corvallis was 52-40 against La Salle Prep, making it look like an easy win, but the Bulldogs didn’t put the game away until the fourth quarter.

Congratulations to Sutherlin for a memorable and successful season.


HADCO flubs up

The dispute between the Housing Authority of Douglas County and a woman who lived in a subsidized apartment in Reedsport was a real mess.

The issue was whether HADCO could reasonably accommodate the woman’s request to keep a dog trained to detect when her diabetic daughter’s blood sugar levels were dangerously low.

HADCO said no and evicted them.

The eviction proved costly. The state announced this week HADCO will have to pay the woman nearly $100,000. HADCO also must pay the state $67,000 in civil fines and attorney fees.

Before being evicted, the woman and daughter had lived at the Forest Village Apartments for two years with a service dog.

The girl’s need for a disability-related service dog wasn’t an issue until HADCO brought in a new onsite manager and maintenance man. Within weeks, it was an issue.

A primary grievance against the woman appears to have been that the dog defecated on the maintenance man’s lawn.

The investigation by the civil rights division of the Bureau of Labor and Industries revealed HADCO’s ham-handed way of cleaning up that problem.

The maintenance man took it upon himself to research whether the girl needed a service dog.

Remarkably, the maintenance man’s skepticism was apparently more persuasive than a doctor’s note attesting to the girl’s need for a service dog.

Wrote the state investigator: “It is difficult to understand why a maintenance employee would have any reason to believe himself qualified to ‘research’ the appropriateness of a reasonable accommodation request.”

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The News-Review Updated Mar 21, 2014 10:16AM Published Mar 21, 2014 12:42PM Copyright 2014 The News-Review. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.