Cheers and jeers

Cheers — to a new park about to be built in east Medford at the corner of McAndrews Road and Chablis Terrace. Oregon Hills Park will incorporate native plants, a water feature and recycled materials to provide play structures and recreation opportunities for nearby residents. Incorporating new parks into areas of residential growth keeps Medford livable.

Jeers — speaking of livability — to the mistaken idea that banishing repeat lawbreakers from downtown Ashland is somehow aimed at punishing all homeless people simply for being homeless. Nonsense. Ashland's tourism-based economy depends on an inviting downtown, and the relatively few individuals who insist on spoiling the atmosphere for everyone should face consequences. The City Council is attempting to address the problem as effectively and fairly as possible, and turning the issue into some kind of civil rights struggle is wrong-headed.

Cheers — to Jackson County commissioners, who are making it easier for wineries and farm stands to hold events on site such as weddings and concerts. The change in county land-use ordinances brings local rules into line with a new law passed during the 2011 session of the Legislature. Not only do the new rules allow up to 25 events per year, they reduce the land-use fees assessed when a new winery opens from $1,665 to $787.

Wineries are a growing part of the Southern Oregon economy, and enticing customers to visit tasting rooms and winery grounds with live music and special events such as weddings is a great way to boost business while adding to the local entertainment scene.

Cheers — to the workers from Rogue Valley Sewer Services who made possible the heartwarming tale of the "flushing bride" recounted in Saturday's Mail Tribune. Michelle Slayton, who married her high school sweetheart after being reunited years later, was distraught when her wedding set dropped from a chain around her neck into the commode. She was sure she would never see it again. But a video inspection team and a cleaning crew from RVS were able to find and retrieve the jewelry.

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