We know the Roseburg High School marching band is out there beating the bushes for support, because one of us got hit up for a donation recently outside Fred Meyer. The amount was more than the donor was expecting to cough up. Still, it yielded a discount card good for a variety of deals, including $5 off the next oil change at a Roseburg business, which is how it is likely to be used.
But that’s not the point. The reason this came up is because the RHS is getting too big for its britches, in a manner of speaking.
Band membership has gone from 46 students in 2008 to 140 this year. There are so many young musicians involved that there are barely enough uniforms and instruments to go around. RHS has the second-largest band in the state, in fact. Not bad for Oregon’s 22nd-largest city.
The fact that so many students are flocking to an outstanding extracurricular program is a good problem to have. But still a problem. The group is seeking support from the community so it can accommodate the swell. It would be a shame to have to turn away a clarinetist or glockenspieler or cymbal crasher for lack of said instruments or because there’s nothing for the kid to wear in performances.
And speaking of performances, you can catch the RHS band at Indians football games and special occasions such as the Nov. 11 Veterans Day parade and Dec. 12 Winter Concert. Turn out whenever you can to show support for a worthy activity that helps keep teens fit, in step and in tune.
Swim at your own risk
The South Umpqua River is not healthy. The cool, clear waters that beckon us in the summertime could be damaging to our health.
The Oregon Health Authority has determined that the South Umpqua is so prone to blue-green algae blooms that the agency is no longer issuing warnings when the bacteria is spotted. Instead, it’s posted 60 permanent advisory signs along the waterway.
The South Umpqua is the only river in Oregon with a permanent advisory.
Health officials say the shallow pools in the bedrock are fertile breeding grounds for the blue-green algae that can produce toxins. The toxins can cause illness and sometimes death in humans and animals.
River enthusiasts need to be vigilant. They can’t rely on state advisories to let them know when entering the water is dangerous. They need to realize that swimming in the South Umpqua in the summer will always carry a risk, for themselves and their dogs.
Soak it up
Not long ago, 2013 was a contender to be Roseburg’s driest year on record. Late September rains washed away that idea. Single-day rain totals set records for Sept. 20, 21 and 29. The September total of 3.84 inches also set a record.
The downpours spoiled some late summer and early fall outdoor activities. The rain also pelted soft-skinned crops, such as tomatoes and grapes.
But on the whole, the rain was welcome. Rivers were replenished, and pastures turned green. Maybe the new grass will help ranchers recoup some of the money they spent on feed last spring when fields turned brown early.
Summer burned itself out and made a quick exit. July was the hottest ever recorded in Roseburg. The temperature never reached 100 degrees, but it got to 99 degrees as late as Sept. 10. A few weeks of gently warm autumn days would still be nice. We support sunshine — in moderation