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December 20, 2013
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Roses & Thorns: Typhoon Haiyan, Mark Vincent, Mostly Books

Healing hands

Lots of people enjoy taking vacations in tropical spots. Sutherlin’s Rachel Hemphill decided to do the same this fall. Instead of sitting on a beach sipping fruity drinks spiked by tiny umbrellas, however, she stitched up deep wounds and cleaned infected limbs. She also witnessed the unimaginable aftereffects of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.

Hemphill’s vigil lasted from Nov. 23 to Dec. 5. A health service administrator at the Douglas County Jail, she signed up for a medical mission and was called 10 minutes later by the humanitarian service ready to arrange the trip. Her Thanksgiving was spent among people digging out bodies and ministering to the homeless while she and her colleagues set about the grim task of deciding which injuries were the most urgent. She saw children begging for food and talked to Filipinos who were getting medical treatment for the first time in their lives.

And she’s ready to do more of the same.

Thank you, Rachel Hemphill, for your willingness to plunge into unsavory conditions to help those suffering from perils unlike anything we know here.

Silent night

It’s true that days in late December are packed with errands, obligations and to-do lists. And that many people believe the bustle takes away from what should be at the heart of the holidays: serenity and reflection. Nevertheless, most of us are able to take care of business without defiling the holiday spirit. So it’s disappointing to find that the latest Douglas County commissioner candidate lacks faith in our ability to focus.

We’re glad Mark Vincent of Roseburg found time to file his candidacy Wednesday for the seat held by Commissioner Joe Laurance. We were less cheered when he told News-Review reporter Carisa Cegavske that he doesn’t want to talk about his campaign until after the holidays. Unless he changes his mind, voters will have to wait until after New Year’s Day to find out why Vincent believes he’s a good candidate. Nor will they learn the political goals and aspirations of the retired restaurant owner, who has never held public office.

Vincent didn’t mind talking about his sons’ plans for a new spot to open a restaurant in town. He chatted about his silversmithing enterprises. But he declined to talk about policy making. County residents take this time of year seriously, he said.

We believe voters also take elections seriously and aren’t too distracted by Christmas cookie baking to digest an aspiring politician’s agenda. We hope that if elected, Mr. Vincent is prepared to carry out public business year-round, regardless of the season.

Empty shelves

No surprise: We in the news business like words. We like stories, we like books and we like shops that sell them. In particular there’s something satisfying about lingering in a used bookshop, with its smells of well-loved pages. Last but not least, we always like it when a local business flourishes.

So it was particularly sad that Mostly Books, Myrtle Creek’s sole used bookstore, failed to draw enough customers to stay open. Owner Vance Culpepper last week announced the business he operated with his daughter, Linda Marshall, would close its Second Avenue doors after about 2 1/2 years in business.

The venture had been sputtering well before a cash mob visited the store in October, sending in about 30 people pledging to spend at least $10 each.

The store was a result of Culpepper’s tendency to collect and keep books. A pastor for nearly 60 years, he said he will store whatever he can’t sell online.

We sincerely hope that some other South County business is able to launch a successful sequel in the place of Mostly Books.

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The News-Review Updated Dec 20, 2013 04:27PM Published Dec 20, 2013 10:36AM Copyright 2013 The News-Review. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.