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August 9, 2013
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Editorial: Roses & thorns

ROSE

A war to remember

For a “Forgotten War,” the numbers are staggering.

About 36,000 U.S. soldiers were killed in the Korean War. Another 103,000 were injured. About 8,000 are still officially listed as missing in action.

Technically, the war hasn’t ended. An armistice stopped the fighting and created a thin demilitarized zone between North and South Koreas, but there is no peace treaty.

The 60th anniversary of the armistice passed July 27. We’re guessing it was hardly noticed by most Americans.

The News-Review was lucky enough to interview three Korean War veterans: Burt Ellis and Owen Dykema of Roseburg and Bill Anderson of Green. In staff writer Carisa Cegavske’s Aug. 4 story, Anderson said fighting the war was the most important thing he did.

The war had and still has tremendous significance. The U.S. led more than two dozen countries in stopping the spread of communism on the Korean Peninsula.

Today, North Korea is impoverished and isolated. It may have the worst government in the world.

Meanwhile, 49 million South Koreans live in a wealthy pro-American democracy. They live longer and enjoy freedom. It’s an unforgettable legacy of the Korean War.

THORN

Dry days doom ranchers

A report on the plight of local ranchers reminds us how tough it can be to navigate an industry that relies on Mother Nature. Eight months ago, we were cheering the news that 2011 had seen Oregon’s farm income nearly double over 2010. Douglas County ranchers were seeing nice increases from 2009 to 2011 with beef cattle, hay and forage and small woodlands. Stats for 2012 hadn’t yet been figured.

Now, with more than half of 2013 over, our ranchers are once again struggling. The lack of rain meant the precious grasses — treasured for fattening steers before shipping them off to market — dried up. The hay supply was also down because of low rainfall.

Ranchers had choices, but none were palatable economically. They could sell lighter weight steers but that means less profit. They could send them to feedlots to beef them up in their final days, but that equates to lesser-quality meat and again, lower profits.

The cycle is familiar to ranchers and farmers, who tend to choose the profession for the lifestyle, not the income. They will hope for more rain next year and a return to a better balance statement.

ROSE

Lending a paw

What sounds like a fairy tale is not only true, but spotlights some true-blue champions for a little girl in Green.

Kierra Grace Thompson is only 8, but she’s experienced thousands of seizures that started before she was a year old. A rare condition puts her through various kinds. Some cause her to pause and look vacant, while grand mal episodes threaten her life. With a little warning, her mother can activate a surgically implanted device in an effort to stop the worst effects. But the trick is knowing when that’s necessary.

The Thompsons discovered that a trained canine from Little Angels Service Dogs could sense when Kierra Grace was about to have a seizure and alert Katie Thompson to use the device. But the little angel, understandably, comes with a big price tag. That’s where Musicians for Mobility sounded a note of hope.

And not just a note, but a full-blown concert. Nine bands got together on July 28 at Pyrenees Vineyard to raise money for a dog for Kierra Grace. The groups raised the $10,000 and more needed to supply the dog. A 7-month-old female yellow Labrador retriever is undergoing training even now in Santee, Calif., and will be making her way to Green in about six months.

Donors, musicians, organizers and volunteers can all take a bow-wow for a job so well done.


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The News-Review Updated Aug 9, 2013 10:12AM Published Aug 9, 2013 09:32AM Copyright 2013 The News-Review. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.