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Note from the Editor

Note from the Editor header image
Thoughts from editor Andy Duncan.

"A penny saved is a penny earned." I heard that old saying a lot growing up. But I don't think I understood exactly what it meant.

Each time my siblings and I got a penny we'd race around the corner from my grandmother's house to a little grocery store and buy Tootsie Rolls, caramels or other treasures. If we cornered five pennies we could get a Coke, a candy bar or an entire box of Ludens cherry-flavored cough drops. With 25, we were off to wonderland, the Saturday movies.

I tell you this as a prelude to confession: I snatch stray pennies off the ground. I've done it all my life.

The last few years there have been more and more. At first I thought I was getting luckier. Then it sunk in that people were flicking them away like cigarette butts, or at least not bothering to pick them up when they dropped them in places like parking lots or around the ticket counters outside movie theaters.

Although it's probably logical, that's one kind of change I have a problem with: Americans deciding one of our coins is no longer worth their time. Then again, I know change-the non-monetary kind-is natural and necessary in many parts of life. That brings me, somewhat circuitously, to the articles in this issue. There are several examples of Oregonians wrestling with, or planning for, change.

In A River Runs Through It, writer and photographer Lynn Ketchum examines a study of the Willamette River Basin, where 70 percent of Oregon residents live. A citizen panel is developing several options for growth and development in the basin over the next 50 years.

Good Earth looks at research projects around the state where scientists and farmers are collaborating, trying to make agriculture more sustainable. Forces driving this include economic, environmental and social changes.

In A Matter of Taste, Theresa Novak examines the work of OSU's Sensory Science Lab, where researchers and voluntary tasters are helping farmers and the food industry develop products to satisfy American consumers and changing export markets.

Ron Lovell's article on the coastal branch of the Agricultural Experiment Station, Pearls of Wisdom, explains how researchers at Newport and Astoria are coping with changes involving marine resources.

Finally, in In the Friar's Footsteps Brenna Weller introduces us to a development in genetics, the first cloning-at OSU-of an important gene discovered more than a century ago by Gregor Mendel. The work promises to renew interest in how the gene could be used in agriculture and other areas.

Now if someone can just find a way to do something about the penny popularity problem.