Cheers and jeers

Cheers — to the community of Gold Hill, were hundreds of residents turned out to search for a 7-year-old autistic girl who was missing from her aunt's home. Cheers as well for the modern technology that helped get the word out: The Jackson County Sheriff's Department used "A Child is Missing," the national automated alert system, to place calls to neighbors about the child's disappearance. Undersheriff Rod Countryman found the girl unharmed outside of town after search dogs picked up her scent.

Cheers — to 40 Southern Oregon University staff members, ranging from janitors to SOU President Mary Cullinan, who volunteered to take salary cuts to help the university shore up its finances and prepare for more budget shocks in the future. The cuts are not large, but when many people agree to contribute small amounts, it adds up. The gesture also sets an example for others and serves as a reminder that we're all in this together.

Jeers — to the Consumer Product Safety Commission for its overzealous suggestion that libraries pull children's books published before 1986 because the ink used to print them may contain unsafe levels of lead.

The warning came despite the Centers for Disease Control's position that the only way a child could be harmed by a vintage copy of "The Cat in The Hat" would be by mouthing the pages. Even then, a CDC spokesman said, "on a scale of one to 10, this is like a 0.5 level of concern."

This "threat" deserves about as much consideration as the recent order pulling small motorcycles off the market because of lead, although there have been no reports of children chewing on their bikes.

All of this comes in response to last year's scare when high levels of lead were found in toys imported from China — a far more real risk, as small children routinely put brightly painted toys in their mouths. Overreaction, thy name is government.

Cheers — to the news that federal stimulus dollars will put more than 150 people to work in Southern Oregon forests in the coming months. While the jobs are temporary, they achieve two important goals at once — putting people to work and reducing the danger of wildfire. The contracts for cutting and removing small trees and brush have a ripple effect as well, because the companies performing the work have purchased new vehicles and equipment from local businesses to allow them to fulfill their contracts.

Share This Story