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September 6, 2013
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Editorial: Roses & thorns


Letter perfect

Sesame Street Muppets used to sing about Douglas County’s Ron Fisher. Until Tuesday, the longtime postman, as U.S. Postal Service letter carriers once were called, was one of the people that you meet when you’re walking down the street each day.

But Fisher’s signature song has changed from “The People In Your Neighborhood” to “Happy Trails.” The day after he turned 75, Fisher climbed into his delivery truck for the last time and distributed mail in the Roseburg neighborhood that’s been his territory for the past 26 years. His career with the Postal Service, however, stretches all the way back to 1960.

That’s the same year Chubby Checker first sang “The Twist,” John F. Kennedy was elected president and Etch a Sketch debuted in toy stores.

About halfway through his career with the Postal Service, Fisher moved his family from California to Oregon and started working in Roseburg the day after the Thanksgiving holiday. His last day was the day after Labor Day. His has been a friendly face in residential areas behind Joseph Lane Middle School, where he made 900 deliveries on his route. We join hundreds of customers in forwarding best wishes to his address in retirement land.


Millstone or milestone?

While many Douglas County workers have put in long, packed hours to earn their paychecks and many others have been struggling to find jobs, one government employee has spent the past year filling her work days with visits to Facebook, YouTube and similar pastimes. She’s also bringing home a $65,000 annual salary.

That of course is Jamie Carlson, whose plight has been reported and updated this summer in The News-Review. The short version of the social worker’s story is that the Roseburg Veterans Affairs Medical Center has charged her with an improper relationship with a VA patient. She’s under investigation, forbidden to see patients and under threat of dismissal. Her supervisor, though, refuses to meet with her or give her any alternate tasks. And she refuses to quit, saying that she wants to resume her counseling duties. She’s also filed a discrimination complaint against the VA.

Last Saturday marked the one-year anniversary of her enforced limbo. It was, coincidentally, two days before Labor Day. The VA won’t comment on the case and is apparently in no hurry to make a decision that would put an end to the absurdity.

Perhaps officials will be moved to act by Veterans Day.


Course work

Hundreds of Douglas County residents and visitors put a best foot forward by taking part in Saturday’s inaugural Umpqua River Run.

Organizers estimated there were about 85 people in each of three runs – a 5K, 10K and half marathon. They hoofed it through various Roseburg neighborhoods, setting a good example for those who might need a bit of a nudge to get off the sofa and work on accelerating their heart rates. Traffic proceeded smoothly and supporters turned out to cheer on the runners.

All in all, it was a good start out the gate for an event that many would like to see become an annual occasion. It would be nice for Roseburg to develop a healthy signature celebration on the order of the Prefontaine Memorial Run in Coos Bay or Medford’s Pear Blossom Run. Thanks to all those who planned, joined and applauded something we hope has legs.

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The News-Review Updated Sep 6, 2013 11:04AM Published Sep 13, 2013 12:23PM Copyright 2013 The News-Review. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.