Cheers and Jeers

Cheers: To the good people of Jackson County, who responded with a wonderful show of generosity when word came out last week that the Salvation Army and Toys for Tots were running low on toys for children's Christmas presents. The response amazed the local coordinator of the Toys for Tots drive, who went from fearing a shortage to having enough toys to help other agencies. He reported that Toys for Tots wound up with its best year ever "and it all came in in one day." The Salvation Army also was struggling to meet its goals until news of its shortfall went out in the local media and donations came pouring in. These were among the many acts of kindness that occur in the holiday seasons; now our challenge is to continue the generosity into the new year.

Jeers: To Ashland City Councilwoman Carol Voisin, who fell back on the old "blame the media game," as the City Council groped for a solution to a troublesome nudity ordinance. She said "local newspapers" should focus more on such issues as homeless children instead of the council's self-inflicted struggles over regulating nudity. Voisin is the same councilwoman who denounced this newspaper in March before a large crowd at Southern Oregon University for allegedly carrying only three or four stories about her 2006 congressional candidacy. The actual number was 12 bylined stories and 35 days in which her name appeared in this paper. Note to the councilwoman: It's not an either/or. We're concerned about both the actions of elected officials and the desperate situations in which children in our communities too often find themselves.

Cheers: To the staffs, students and parents at Jackson and Roosevelt elementary schools, who persevered through a long year and a half with temporary accommodations, while their schools were being rebuilt. The two Medford schools were part of a $189 million bond measure passed by voters to repair and replace the district's aging structures, but they were disrupted more than most when it was determined that the buildings, built in 1911, were unsafe because of deteriorating brick. The two schools' students were dispersed into four other schools while they waited to move back into their own. The move happens the first full week in January, which should make for a very happy New Year for all concerned.

Jeers: To The Associated Press sports editors who named Tiger Woods as the Athlete of the Decade even as Woods finds himself enmeshed in a tawdry sex scandal. Yes, Woods changed the face of golf in many ways, but he also is now a national punchline. Recognition as being the best in the world in any endeavor is a high honor that should go to people who not only excel on the field, but also in life. The sports editors perhaps could be cut some slack because their votes were coming in as the scandal unfolded, but most comments suggested they were aware and voted for him anyway. Tiger Woods dominated his sport for nine years and 11 months, but the news that came out this month bumped him from his lofty perch in the eyes of millions. Perhaps the sports editors should look up from the box scores once in awhile and realize there's more to being a champion than winning a game.

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