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Letter from the Editor: All of us, each of us.

Modified: Tuesday, Mar 19th, 2013

Dear Reader,

It is once again mid-March. While this signals the coming of spring and perhaps a bit more sunshine, it also brings the return of “March Madness,” the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. As a recovering college basketball writer, I’ll readily admit this is probably a much bigger deal to me than it is to most people, but there’s a relevance to what it embodies that goes beyond brackets and buckets and winning the championship.

Seven years ago, George Mason University, a team no one knew from a conference no one had ever heard of, made it to the Final Four. The Patriots overcame immense odds and four very good opponents to get to the last weekend of the tournament. They were a true “Cinderella Team.”

But what is most memorable to me about that team and that run was the speech their coach, Jim Larranaga, gave during a practice after the Patriots had beat the University of North Carolina to get to the Sweet Sixteen for the first time in school history.

Then-ESPN columnist Kyle Whelliston described the scene: “'We’ve made it this far,’ Larranaga said. ‘There’s no reason we can’t go even farther. But it’s up to all of us, and it’s up to each of us.’ He gestured with both hands as if measuring with a scale. ‘All of us, each of us. When there is no difference between those two, anything is possible for this team.’”

Two Saturdays ago, I covered the dedication of the Coastal Safety Marker that sits at Smelt Sands State Park in Yachats. When I first learned of the marker, I was unaware of the story of how Jack Harnsongkram and Connor Ausland had tragically perished in 2011 near where the marker sits. I was living in Eugene at the time of the incident and had not read about it then. The way the community banded together after Harnsongkram and Ausland’s deaths and worked to bring something positive out of something as awful as two teenage boys dying was extremely touching. “Everyone that was involved put their own agendas aside to really put this thing forward,” a state park ranger involved with the project told me.

Fortunately, it doesn’t always take tragedy to bring communities together. In the month and a half I’ve been delving into south Lincoln County, I’ve seen this kind of support all over the place. It’s nice to find a place where people look out for each other, try to help each other and constantly work together to make the community a better place. From feeding the hungry to helping our children grow up healthy and so much more, I’ve seen this little stretch of the coast, as economically struggling and isolated as it might be, take care of its own.

It’s a privilege to get to write about this little corner of the world. Thanks to all you do to make it that way. All of you, each of you.



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