Cheers and jeers

Cheers — to newly promoted Rear Adm. Paula Brown, former Ashland public works director and career Navy officer. Brown is the second woman in the Civil Engineer Corps to attain that rank. She's also the first female deputy commander of the First Naval Construction Division in Little Creek, Va.

Brown and her husband, Pat Flannery, have a vineyard in Ashland, and she plans to return to the town she calls home in three to five years.

Cheers — to developer Chris Galpin, who sold nearly 12 acres of land to the city of Jacksonville at a substantial discount so the historic Jacksonville Cemetery can expand.

Galpin agreed to sell the property for his original cost of $100,000, although the land was appraised at $2.85 million in 2009. The acquisition will allow the city to add an existing hiking trail to its trail system, and preserves a wildlife corridor running through the property.

Galpin said he wanted to see the historic cemetery preserved, adding that the scenic property "would be a shame to develop."

Jeers — to the unknown persons who thought it would be fun to steal political yard signs again this year. The problem crops up every election year, and it's just as annoying as ever.

Police say it's difficult if not impossible to identify the culprits. They may be "just some random kids," as one campaign worker theorized, or they may be adults under the mistaken impression that stealing a sign will have some effect on voters. Either way, it's juvenile.

Cheers — with tongue in cheek — to Jack Abramoff, the disgraced former lobbyist convicted of conspiracy, fraud and tax evasion in 2006. It seems the high-rolling Abramoff, who once charged clients $750 an hour, has found honest work at last — in a pizzeria in Baltimore.

Cheers — to Cowhorn Winery in the Applegate Valley, which is shipping empty wine bottles to a new company in Sonoma, Calif., where they will be delabeled, sterilized and sold back to wineries.

The company, Wine Bottle Renew, is banking on the appeal of price — it's cheaper for wineries to buy recycled bottles — to build its business.

Wine bottles left for curbside pickup by local disposal companies are recycled, but not as wine bottles. The glass is crushed and used in aggregate for roads, parking lots and culverts at Dry Creek Landfill. That's better than taking up space in the landfill itself, but reusing the bottles for their original purpose is even better.

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