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Given a choice between sweet-smelling roses and tart raspberries, most of us will opt for the flowers. That’s among the reasons we focus on the positive in this space every Saturday.

For one thing, there is too much negativity in the world these days. The political left battles the political right and the majority of Americans are left toiling somewhere in the middle. It’s east vs. west in most corners of the world, sort of a flip of the north-vs.-south theme.

It is far better for just about everyone to spend our time and energy on things that make us feel good about humanity — and one of those things is most certainly the efforts of the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County.

The Foodbank’s latest gambit is challenging the general public to live like a food-stamp recipient, which is to say spending no more than $6.46 a day on your meals. Do it for a month, and we guarantee you’ll see why it’s important to give all the support you can to the Foodbank.

About 10 percent of California residents receive food stamps, and the monthly allotment comes to $6.46 a day, a number that contributes in a big way to the food insecurity situation that haunts even many middle-class families.

The recent government shutdown and the likelihood of another closure if Congress and President Trump can’t compromise, puts millions of food-stamp recipients at further risk — and is a vivid demonstration of why our federal government should not be closed for business, ever.

Take Foodbank’s challenge, and after eating on $6.46 a day for a month, find it in your heart to donate food and/or cash to the cause. There’s a rose in it for you, too.

***

Rocker Neil Young sang decades ago about “nature on the run,” a concept more valid today than it was in the 1970s.

But every now and then, nature scores a victory, and the latest manifestation of that comes with an assist from a San Diego judge who upheld protections for gray wolves, citing the Endangered Species Act.

The ruling came in a lawsuit filed by agriculture industry groups whose members are trying to protect livestock from hungry wolves.

We can understand their position, but we also cannot ignore the irony of killing animals trying to feed on livestock, a great number of which are destined to be killed for food.

Roses to the judge for defending the tenets of the Endangered Species Act — and roses for anyone who can find a compromise solution to this problem.

***

As a general rule, Americans are not especially fond of the Internal Revenue Service, and the situation intensifies about this time every year.

For one thing, tax forms can be especially taxing for the average literate human. Maybe that’s why God invented certified public accountants.

This season may be extra taxing because of the tax overhaul approved by Congress and signed into law by President Trump. Supporters say everything will be so much simpler. Somehow we doubt that.

But we have strayed from the real focus of this essay, which is to award roses to a group of volunteers at United Way, who will be on hand at Allan Hancock College on Saturday, March 30, to provide tax help on your 2018 return.

There are income restrictions, but most residents will likely qualify for the help. Just go to Building S on the Hancock campus at 800 S. College Drive on March 30, but first make a reservation by calling 805-922-0329, ext. 103.

And good luck.

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