Colin Meloy

In April, the Decemberists’ lead singer announced news of his latest project, Wildwood, a trio of children’s books illustrated by his wife, Carson Ellis. The “classic tale of adventure, magic, and danger, set in an alternate version of modern-day Portland,” triggered a six-publisher bidding war won by giant HarperCollins.

Eric Gouaux, PhD

When it comes to exclusive clubs, this doctor is in: Gouaux, an OHSU researcher who studies molecular-level communications between nerve cells, was elected this spring to the National Academy of Sciences, an honor that’s been bestowed on the likes of Albert Einstein and Thomas Edison.

James Robert Parker & Michael Wayne Smith

These two Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office inmates helped save the life of a deputy who collapsed while overseeing their work crew in April. Assisted by a 911 dispatcher, the inmates gave the deputy CPR until paramedics arrived. Extra dessert for you two. And no cleanup duties.

Paulann Petersen

Named Oregon’s sixth poet laureate in April, Petersen is known as a teacher of teachers and a believer that anyone can be a poet. Perhaps the final line of her poem “Appetite” can serve as our dinner party’s grace: “Never say you can’t take this world into your mouth.”

Eric Bechard

Just when Tonya Harding had faded from memory, Thistle chef Bechard renewed Oregon’s rogue tradition. Angry that the winner of a May pork cook-off used an Iowa (not an Oregon) pig, Bechard brawled with the event’s founder, drawing the police’s pepper spray and Taser—and national headlines. Guess we’ll serve chicken tonight.