The performing arts are an integral piece of what makes the Rogue Valley a special place. We have scenery, outdoor recreation at our doorstep and the benefits of small town life. We also have culture, thanks to organizations like the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the Craterian Ginger Rogers Theater, the Britt Festivals and numerous small theater companies.

The performing arts are an integral piece of what makes the Rogue Valley a special place. We have scenery, outdoor recreation at our doorstep and the benefits of small town life. We also have culture, thanks to organizations like the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the Craterian Ginger Rogers Theater, the Britt Festivals and numerous small theater companies.

But not everyone has access to performances, including many performers themselves. Not only do ticket prices keep some from enjoying the performance options, but the cost of putting on shows is a huge impediment to many would-be actors, dancers and musicians.

A local group, spearheaded in part by Medford Councilman Ben Truwe, is trying to do something about that by creating a space for community theater in Medford. In simple terms, it's a diverse group of performers and aficionados looking for a place to call home.

Performances in general and theater in particular are expensive propositions. You need suitable and comfortable space for performers and audience. You need equipment, you need promotions, you need staff and, of course, you need performers.

Venues like OSF in Ashland and the Craterian in Medford do admirable work in presenting high quality theater. They also are good community citizens and work with local groups to help them in many ways. But it's not realistic for them or for other professional theater groups to make space available below cost on a regular basis.

So community performing arts groups and others in the community must step up to create their own home. We're happy to see them taking the first steps toward that end and particularly happy to see a Medford City Council member taking the lead.

Community theater is a staple in many locales, but has gotten little traction locally, probably because of the proliferation of professional theater groups. But there clearly is a place for community theater and other homegrown performing arts and we hope that one day in the not-too-distant future we'll be able to give them rave reviews for a job well done.

What can you do with your dog if you are moving to a new apartment where no pets are allowed? If Ashland developer Lloyd Haines gets his way there will be a number to call for help. Haines is hoping to establish a 55-acre domestic animal sanctuary in the Applegate.

If the county approves, the sanctuary will be the only operation of its kind in Oregon. Haines plans to do more than simply house and adopt out needy house pets or even larger animals like llamas that can no longer be cared for. Rescued animals will be used to comfort the elderly and help troubled youths reconnect with their feelings. The land will be farmed and use buildings with an environmentally friendly design.

Across the country, thousands of cats and dogs are euthanized daily. Some animals are sick or too aggressive for adoption. But most simply ran out of time for placement. The sanctuary Haines envisions will give at least some of those animals locally a home where, if not adopted, they can live out their lives.

Haines wants to make a difference to the planet while providing a service to his community. If you would like to help by volunteering time or donating money, contact him at lloydmhaines@yahoo.com or call 482-9300.