"I'm Dorothy from the Land of Oz," says Dottie Neil, who grew up in Potwin, Kansas, population 350, during the Depression. "For 30 years now I've lived here, in the Emerald Empire." After high school, Neil studied journalism at Kansas State College in Manhattan and went to work for the weekly Manhattan Tribune-News. "I did the local social news and obituaries," she says. She got married and had five kids, then moved to Anaheim, California, to find a school for the oldest, Danny, who was mentally disabled. "I belonged to the League of Women Voters," she says. "My kids grew up at the kitchen table, stuffing envelopes for the latest cause." Her husband Bill suffered a stroke at age 47 and died two years later, in 1971. In 1978, when all the kids had finished school, she followed her son Rick to Eugene. She worked 10 years for a rain-gutter company, went back to college at age 65, and was hired at 70 by The Pond, an ISP. Since 2004, she has returned to journalism as copy editor and columnist for the Creswell Chronicle. "Injustice rattles my timbers," she says. "I've always been for the little guy, the homeless, people who don't have insurance." Find an archive of her columns at thecreswellchronicle.com.