Cheers and jeers

Cheers — to the team of volunteers that turned out on a recent morning to eradicate graffiti on a path that runs between White City Elementary School and Cascade Community Pool. Organized by Jacksonville resident Craig Ward, Eagle Point School District truancy officer Phil Ortega and the Jackson County Sheriff's Department, the effort involved student volunteers as well as residents and two juveniles convicted of graffiti vandalism. When a community comes together like this, it makes a powerful statement.

Jeers — to the California company preying on local families by convincing them their household water is poisonous and luring them into expensive contracts for water-filtration systems they don't need. But a cheer to Help Now!, the local nonprofit agency going to bat for the victims.

Cheers — to the two Southern Oregon University geology students who are writing a new chapter in the fascinating history of Crater Lake. Nick Brettner and Levi McKay's research challenges the long-held theory that the Phantom Ship formation was created by magma pushing up through a crack in the earth. The pair's conclusion that the formation predates the eruption of Mount Mazama is not original, but their research is the most detailed to date, and earned praise from the respected volcanologist who first put the theory forward. The students' work is a credit to SOU, and adds to the body of knowledge about Oregon's only national park.

Jeers — to the University of Oregon for its proposal to change the "Made in Oregon" neon sign that has been part of the Portland skyline for decades. The university, a tenant in the White Stag Block in Old Town, has the legal right to change the sign to read "University of Oregon," but, of course, what is legal is not automatically the right thing to do. The university's proposal has angered many in Portland, and the mayor and a city commissioner are pushing a plan for the city to buy the sign so it can remain unchanged. It's understood that universities need to market themselves, but this comes off as simply arrogant.

Cheers — to the anonymous donor who is replacing the squeaky seats in the Southern Oregon University Music Recital Hall. The gift of $240,000 will enhance the enjoyment of performances for years to come, and solves an annoying problem that the university could not have afforded to address on its own. The gift will keep on giving, as the seats were donated to Camelot Theater in Talent and a Weed theater company. Let's hope Camelot can find a way to silence the seats before putting them to use.

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