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May 17, 2013
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Circuit queen

Most of us can find numerous excuses not to exercise regularly. Not Roseburg’s Winifred Fiske. She makes it to the gym at least three times a week and also rides a stationary bike whenever possible.

That’s despite lacking steady transportation, being legally blind and having passed her 94th birthday earlier this year. You can find her Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings in a circuit training class at the YMCA of Douglas County in Roseburg.

Class members hone flexibility, balance and strength through a series of movements and machines. Several have said they’re inspired by Fiske. Being faithful to her workouts is not the only healthy aspect of Fiske’s life, however.

She says she shuns negative people and situations, choosing instead to cultivate a positive outlook and to help others when she can.

We salute this busy woman who defies the “no” in nonagenarian.

That’s showbiz

Plenty of Southern California transplants in Douglas County fondly remember the Hollywood sign on Mount Lee in the Santa Monica Mountains.

They must feel right at home with the 3-foot-tall letters reaching skyward from the hillside behind Winter Creek Lane in Garden Valley.

If so, they can thank Dennis Bellis, a retired Postal Service driver who put up his own version of the Hollywood sign six weeks ago behind his house on the lane. Bellis, 59, admits there’s no particular reason for his salute to Tinsel Town, other than looking for something to do and being a self-described goofy guy.

His ambition for the project is to see the sign on Google Earth. The original Hollywood sign has a long and sometimes dramatic history that includes the suicide of a young actress, Pet Entwhistle, who jumped off the “H” in 1932. Bellis’ production probably won’t earn a page in travel guidebooks, but it illustrates there’s a place in life for the random light touch.

Let’s hope, however, that Bellis doesn’t take the notion to adopt an MGM lion.

Views from vets

The past is no place to live, but it’s important to visit from time to time. A good example played out last week at Roseburg High School, where 30 adults, most of them veterans, met with small groups of sophomores and juniors to tell the younger people what it was like to live through some of the events that show up in history books.

Social studies teacher Gwen Bartlett said a goal of the event is to give students a flesh-and-blood connection with classroom subjects.

Certainly it would be more memorable to meet with than to read about some of the participants: a former Army helicopter crew chief who flew the Mekong Delta in the 1960s, the man who captained a ship that helped evacuate Vietnamese refugees in 1975, a one-time farm girl who became a Rosie the Riveter.

We salute those who showed up to share their stories and thank them for their part in the American story.


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The News-Review Updated May 17, 2013 12:12PM Published May 17, 2013 12:08PM Copyright 2013 The News-Review. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.