Cheers and jeers

Cheers — to Mercy Flights, Jackson County's nonprofit air ambulance service, for its stellar safety record despite conducting 200 emergency helicopter missions annually.

A story in Wednesday's Mail Tribune highlighted the contrast between Mercy Flights and many for-profit air ambulance companies whose safety record was detailed in an Associated Press story the same day. In the fiercely competitive industry, the story reported, crashes are mounting. In 2008 alone, 23 crew members and five patients died. By contrast, Mercy Flights has not had a crew fatality in two decades.

Cheers — to the Talent Urban Renewal Agency and Camelot Theatre, who reached an agreement last week that could bring a brand-new theater building to Talent, adjacent to the existing theater. Under the terms of the deal, TURA will buy the theater and the land it sits on, lease it back to Camelot until 2011, then lease to the theater company the property next door, where Camelot will build a new theater.

The city of Talent will get to put a road through the existing theater site as called for in its master plan, and Camelot will get to remain in the heart of town, where it will continue to present high-quality community theater.

Jeers — to a North Bend man who somehow thought it would be a good idea to burglarize ... a police station.

Robert Lloyd Finder was walking near the North Bend police station when he noticed most of the patrol cars were gone. Police — who had left a portion of the building unoccupied to respond to a call — say Finder found his way in and made off with a radio, two stun guns and a police car, which he abandoned inside a railroad tunnel.

Finder will probably get plenty of mileage out of telling the tale to fellow prisoners at the Coos County Jail, where he found himself in short order after the caper last week.

Cheers — to deal struck between operators of Nunan Estates, a historic home that has become a popular wedding venue, and the city of Jacksonville. Neighbors had complained about noise levels from live music, asking the city to limit the frequency and volume of amplified music events. City staff recommended a maximum of 14 events and a decibel limit of 80; some neighbors wanted six events and 40 decibels. The Planning Commission split the difference: 10 events and 68 decibels. That sounds reasonable to us: Britt's limit is 95.

Cheers — to a bit of good news, for a change, out of the recession that continues to plague the economy: junk mail is on the decline.

Yes, the volume of those annoying ads and catalogues was down 16 percent in the nine months ending in June over the same period a year earlier. That's the steepest annual drop in decades.

The bad news is, the volume probably will pick up again when the economy recovers. We'll be happy to put up with it again, as will most Americans, but we'll enjoy the lull while it lasts.

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