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April 12, 2013
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Editorial: Roses and thorns

ROSE: Author, author

Douglas County’s own Battle of the Books has entered a new chapter, and it’s an illustrious one.

The program was launched around 1980 by Billy Cook, then a librarian at Glide Elementary School, to promote student literacy. Copies of it circulated throughout the state until the Oregon Library Association merged it into one entity in 2007. That’s when a statewide competition also was created.

Speaking of that, 433 Oregon schools participated in the program this year. That represents between 25,000 and 35,000 students who spend time in teams battling for literary honors, exercising their brains as well as their social skills. The program’s broad appeal no doubt is a big reason that it earned a statewide award this week. The Literary Arts Association on Monday honored Battle of the Books with the Walt Morey Young Readers Literary Legacy. Cheers to Cook and all those involved with Battle of the Books over the years, imprinting youth with worthy activities.

THORN: Don’t take the bait

The Umpqua Fishermen’s Association deserves much credit for the many activities its members take on to promote the fishery in the Umpqua basin.

The members are dedicated, hard-working and passionate. Evidence of their extensive volunteerism and good will can be seen across the county year-round.

Members made a bit of gaffe last week, however, when they crossed lines with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife over the agency’s contribution of 10 steelhead to the Cow Creek Umpqua Tribe. Some anglers were so mad they threatened to quit volunteering for ODFW. We’d hate to see a negative shadow cast on the fishermen’s organization because of a few disgruntled members.

We realize the hatchery-raised steelhead are difficult to come by these days. Most fishermen are catching wild fish that they must return to the river, instead of putting them on their barbecues or in the freezer.

But ODFW, which works to ensure the number of hatchery fish doesn’t overwhelm the native steelhead in our streams, had met its quota and had an excess of fish.

The agency’s decision was based on science and its gift of 10 fish for ceremonial use or the tribe’s food bank was a generous move.

We hope Wednesday’s meeting with ODFW officials have calmed the waters and UFA members won’t be lured into controversy so easily in the future.

ROSE: A story that needs to live

Roseburg middle school students had a precious opportunity last week to listen to two Holocaust survivors. Les and Eva Aigner, a Portland couple, were young children when the Nazis conducted their genocidal campaign against European Jews.

The Holocaust was so horrific that it’s hard to believe. But generations of Americans have known it was true because of firsthand accounts from survivors or GIs who liberated death camps.

The falsehoods and misdirections of Holocaust deniers are no match for earnest eyewitness testimony from the regular folks who experienced the atrocities.

For decades, these stories have often been told in schools.

Those days won’t last many more years. The youngest Holocaust survivors are in their 70s. The youngest GIs are in their 80s.

Opportunities like the one Joseph Lane Middle School students had will be increasingly rare. It will be up to those who heard the stories to pass them on.

Another way to preserve the history is to support the Oregon Holocaust Resource Center. For more information, see the center’s website, ohrconline.org/history/supporttarget="_blank">ohrconline.org/history/support.

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The News-Review Updated Apr 12, 2013 06:43PM Published Apr 12, 2013 01:12PM Copyright 2013 The News-Review. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.