Cheers and jeers

Cheers — to Carol Heil, manager of the camping department at Sportsman's Warehouse, whose sharp eyes and quick thinking helped corral a suspect in the theft of two shotguns from the Medford store.

Heil had studied security camera photos of a man who apparently hid inside the store on July 19 until after it closed and then walked out with two Beretta 12-gauge shotguns. Two days later, Heil saw a man walking through the store's tent displays who looked like the burglar. She struck up a conversation, learned he wasn't in the market for camping gear but was interested in fishing, and stalled him by talking about angling while she alerted store security.

Police were summoned and captured the suspect some distance away after he left the store on a bicycle.

Heil deserves the thanks of the police department and her employers — and maybe a nice bonus.

Cheers — to John and Karen Poole, who spend their summers maintaining 9.3 miles of the High Lakes Trail between Lake of the Woods and Fish Lake. The Salem couple, who have a cabin at Lake of the Woods, have been volunteering their services since 2002. Every year they begin work when the snow melts, clearing downed tree branches and other debris and raking the trail down to packed gravel. They also care for nine miles of other trails around Lake of the Woods.

The Pooles were named the 2009 Doug Newman Memorial Award winners for their volunteer work — a well-deserved honor.

Jeers — to State Rep. Sal Esquivel, R-Medford, who has announced he will travel to Arizona to support that state's battle with the federal government over immigration enforcement. We have no quarrel with his stand on the controversial Arizona law — he's entitled to his opinion. But he says he plans to introduce similar legislation in the 2011 session of the Oregon Legislature.

Arizona is a border state plagued by many problems resulting from the stream of illegal immigrants crossing into the U.S. from Mexico. Oregon is not a border state, and is plagued by a severe budget crisis that will demand lawmakers' undivided attention to solve it.

A federal judge already has blocked portions of the Arizona law, setting up a legal battle that could wind up before the U.S. Supreme Court before it is finished. Now is hardly the time for Oregon to join that fight.

Cheers — to the Oregon Legislature's Emergency Board, which did the right thing last week in allocating reserve funds to restore Project Independence and other state assistance programs that are models of efficiency in delivering vital services to elderly, disabled and mentally ill residents. The programs pay for in-home care for 16,000 Oregonians that allows them to remain in their homes instead of institutions such as nursing homes that cost many times more.

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