The Oregon Book Report - Book News from Oregon


Tragedy and shame on the first day of the Christmas

November 28, 2008 --

A young New York Wal-Mart employee was stampeded to death by Friday Christmas shoppers today.  Before his death, the employee tried to control the crowd that would eventually overwhelm him.  He would try to reach for help but was walked upon by a crowd of over 200 people forcing their way into the store.

This is an absolute shame on those shoppers and a truly horrible sign to rear its head on the first day of the Christmas Season.   What was worth buying that would make someone walk over someone else?   The problem is that too many people lose their decency when they are in a crowd, yet that is when individual courage is needed the most.

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The “mite” of Thanks…Giving

November 27, 2008 --

Submitted by Kay Helbling

Last Sunday, we joined the line of families carrying our boxes of groceries for the needy to the St. Vincent de Paul truck. I was struck by the many families who themselves I know have lost jobs, have family illnesses, or have very little of their own, but yet, there they were, among those lined to give to others.


Reading through the Oregon papers this week, it was apparent that our desire to help others through these tough times is not limited to our little community…it’s happening all over the state. Linn-Benton counties reported the boxes received have already surpassed last years numbers by over 10%!


All this selfless giving by not only folks who can afford it, but especially by those who are going through hard times themselves reminds me of the Biblical story of the Widow’s mite. And, the words in Philip Bliss’ tune “The Widow’s Gift” that says, “I am poor, but I love my Lord.  I will give the rest to Him. I know that He will bless me, though my prospects look so dim.”


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A Thanksgiving Poem

November 25, 2008 --

A Road Well Traveled

Church bells were pealing off chime after chime as I wove my way back to George Rogers Park along the pedestrian walkway on Old River Road.  It was the last Sunday in October.

The path was abustle with walkers and joggers,
runners and cyclists . . .
Moms with babes in arms and strollers,
Dads with tykes on trikes
and training bikes . . .
Race walkers, dog walkers,
two talkers . . .
A mom and a dad jogging twins on three wheels.
Leaves falling, leaves crunching
Under foot and paw . . .
Traces of fall felt in the shade
but the warmth of the sun lingering still . . .

These were a few of the sights and the sounds . . . the images seen as I ran in an hour well spent on a road well traveled.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Yours in fitness,

Olivia C. Rossi, RN, MSN
Certified Clinical Specialist, ACSM
Certified Personal Trainer, ACSM

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My Big Fat CHEAP Wedding

November 21, 2008 --

By Gienie Assink, Springfield Oregon

When planning a wedding, one should take into consideration the total cost and budget for all of those traditional, yet, “interesting” expenses.  At least that would be the smart thing to do.  Weddings have a sense of tradition about them. 

A traditional wedding includes the bride’s white dress, a cake, flowers, and even professional photos.  Of course, incorporating tradition can be pricey, and most would agree, the dress, cake, and flowers, etcetera, are big ticket items.

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Puffballs and Angel Wings

November 20, 2008 --

Submitted by Kay Helbling


There were two reasons I moved to Oregon, the ocean and the mountains, the beauty for which I have appreciated for the past thirty years.


Having had neither in the Midwest where I grew up, I plunged into hiking, sand castle building and all the other activities that Oregonians can so easily take for granted. It was while hiking the many Mt. Hood trails in the fall and early winter months of the year that I was introduced to the Oregon mushroom. No, I don’t mean the kind that do crazy things to your head, I mean the kind that you can eat. I was amazed at the variety of colors and shapes I found on and off the trail.


Wanting to learn more, I picked up Mushrooms of North America by Orson Miller, Jr. and found names and descriptions and full colored photos. I learned there are many groups of mushrooms each having their own distinctive characteristics, some quite ugly and yet tasty. Others can be brilliantly beautiful yet dangerous to eat. Species within those groups may look similar but range from choice edible to downright poisonous. So, I was at an impasse. Do I simply enjoy their beauty and the joy of the hunt, or do I find a way to safely experience the taste of these delicacies.

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Autism, More Questions Than Answers

November 19, 2008 --

By Erika Weisensee

A new study suggesting that autism rates are higher in rainy areas has only increased anxiety for concerned parents. But before you start packing your bags, approach these studies with caution.

The research linking rain and autism was conducted by economics professors at Cornell University, not by autism experts. Rather than taking the word of “junk science,” Genevieve Athens, Executive Director of the Autism Society of Oregon (, says people should refer to the work of experts in the field, like the Autism Research Institute (, an agency devoted to researching autism since 1967.

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Who Needs a Thirty Dollar Toy

November 14, 2008 --

Written by: Gienie Assink, Springfield Oregon

Ignorance is bliss, so we’ve heard, but isn’t that true for a child?  Manufacturers of “educational toys” will try to convince you otherwise, and sell you a specialized toy that is guaranteed to enhance your child’s ability to learn.  Thus, “fixing” what they call the problem so in today’s economy your child will not be left behind.

But most everyone would agree a child’s imagination is truly fascinating: Simply put!  For example, as adults we know the purpose of a spoon is to help us eat and serve food.  It is a utensil created to enhance our ability as humans to function better in society, and that is solely its purpose, right?  On the contrary: a spoon can also be GI Joe’s snow shovel, or perhaps many spoons together can serve as a pirate’s buried treasure. (Imagine my son’s delight when he found the spoon drawer and hit the jackpot!)

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Rebuilding Oregon – one family at a time

November 13, 2008 --

Submitted by Kay Helbling


Lean times are here. Tougher times may be coming, so I decided it was time to seek the sage advice of my elders who actually lived through the days of the Great Depression. Wisdom that can only come from years of experience, their words fed me with insight that went beyond dollars and cents. Their words inspired me with a renewed sense of optimism.


You see, having our world turned upside down could be just what we need to rebuild Oregon and America, but it needs to be done one family at a time. We  need to think differently on just about everything. But, in return, we could find the very foundations upon which the greatness of America was built and can once again return. We can find a society of people who are healthier physically, mentally, socially, emotionally, and spiritually. A society that asks what we can do for ourselves, rather than what can be done for us.


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From Butter Fat to Better Fat . . . The Mediterranean Way.

November 11, 2008 --

By Olivia Rossi, RN, MSN,

The Mediterranean diet is a culinary delight.  It is also a heart’s delight.  As poetic as that sounds, it is grounded in history, research and chemistry.  Let’s take look at each and you’ll see why.

First, the history.  The modern day Mediterranean diet has a history that dates back to the years between 1958 and 1970.  During that time, Ancel Keys, a pioneer in the field of nutritional research, was involved in a study called the Seven Countries Study.  Keys was particularly interested in the traditional diet of people living on the small Greek island of Crete.  They were found to have the lowest level of heart disease in the world.  Their diet consisted of olive oil, fruits, whole grains, fish, very little meat, and red wine with meals, a combination of low saturated fat, high monounsaturated fat, omega-3 fish oil and fiber.  “. . . Key’s novel findings revealed to the world for the first time that risk of cardiovascular disease is strongly related to both the level of saturated fat in the diet and the amount of blood cholesterol.  The concept of the Mediterranean diet was born.” (1)

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Abstinence message from an American Idol

November 10, 2008 --

By Evergreen, Portland

Society struggles with how to deal with teen sexuality and sex education .  Just last month, Willamette University removed some controversial condom posters which were part of a sex education campaign.  After a new outcry the posters were put up again.  Sometimes the best messenger is not a program but a person.   This may be the case with American idol star, Kellie Pickler, whose has a new song dealing with girls’ self-esteem and abstinence.  The song is called Don’t you know your beautiful (see video here).

Here is the best line…

I know you wanna be just like your friends
But he’ll still love you if you don’t give in
If those girls were being honest
’bout when they are where you’re at
I’ll bet they’d tell you they wish
They had their innocence back

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