Cheers and jeers

Cheers — to the World of Wine Festival, which this year expands into Jacksonville to showcase Southern Oregon's burgeoning wine industry. The annual event, which kicked off Wednesday, features at least 64 wineries. Jacksonville is an ideal location for this event, situated as it is at the gateway to the Applegate Valley wine-growing region. The Bigham Knoll campus, home to the historic Jacksonville School building, is the platform for an expanded festival this year, including an opening cocktail reception, two clinics taught by an instructor from the Southern Oregon Wine Institute at Umpqua Community College and a gala dinner, plus the tasting and competition, which will be attended by 750 people. The event gets bigger and better every year, and can only boost an already successful local industry.

Cheers — to the fire crews who made short work of the Tin Pan Peak fire last week. Probably touched off by a passing vehicle in multiple spots along Interstate 5 near Rogue River, the fire grew rapidly Thursday afternoon, consuming more than 500 acres before firefighters got a handle on it.

Handle it they did, and the blaze was declared 100 percent contained by Friday evening. The fire threatened 40 homes, but consumed only three outbuildings. Structural task forces from Klamath and Lane counties responded to help protect homes.

Jeers — to the criticism leveled at President Obama for having the audacity to actually take a vacation. The president and his family are relaxing on Martha's Vineyard, a well-earned respite from the daily stress of Washington, D.C.

Carping about presidential recreation is a perennial favorite in American politics, and Obama is carrying on the tradition by ignoring the barbs. President George W, Bush came in for his share of criticism for the time he spent on his Texas ranch.

The president of the United States never really takes a vacation, of course, as most of us would define the term. The "nuclear football" containing launch codes for the country's missile defenses goes with him everywhere, and he receives a daily national security briefing every morning, including Christmas Day. He is literally on the job 24/7.

As conservative commentator David Frum, former special assistant to President Bush, put it recently, "There's only one president at a time, occupying the toughest job in the world. If they like to clear brush, let them clear brush. If they like to bike on the beach, then go ahead. Leave them be.

"A tense, edgy, unhappy and overtired president is good for nobody."

Cheers — to the Medford City Council for doing the right thing and not appealing a state ruling against a communications tower for police and fire agencies that was built too close to neighbors' homes on east Medford's Capital Hill. The neighbors' chief objection was that the city never informed them of the peoject, although legally it didn't have to because public safety projects are exempt from rules that apply to private construction. Bravo to city leaders for taking the high road after what Couincilman Jim Kuntz described as "a boo-boo."

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