Cheers and jeers for the summer doldrums

It’s the time of year when people head for the beach — especially when it’s smoky — and official business slows down, such that there are fewer meaty topics to write about in this space. Accordingly, it’s a good time to bring back our occasional feature giving thumbs-up to good things happening around the area along with a thumbs-down to something we find annoying.

Cheers — to OR-7, Southern Oregon’s most famous — and fecund — gray wolf, on the arrival of three more pups, bringing his known progeny to 16. Not only that, but one of his male pups in 2016 journeyed to California, found a mate and had three pups of his own, making OR-7 and his mate grandparents.

Cheers — to the resurrection of the Butte Creek Mill in Eagle Point, which is being rebuilt after burning down in 2015. Workers using a crane hoisted 42-foot hand-hewn beams into place, using the same mortise and tenon building technique used when the mill was constructed in 1872. The project, made possible through community support, is still in need of donations to complete the reconstruction.

Jeers — to the news that Google apps on smartphones keep track of users’ locations even if they have adjusted their settings to turn the feature off. An Associated Press study found that Google continued to store users’ locations even after they turned Location History off, despite the company’s assurances to the contrary. Yes, we know that using a smartphone is not the best way to protect one’s personal privacy, but it would be nice if vendors were honest about it.

Cheers — to Stewart Meadows Golf Course for installing five monarch butterfly way stations on the course to provide food, shelter and water to the migrating insects. The way stations include native milkweed, which nurtures the butterfly’s caterpillar stage, and nectar plants, which the mature butterflies feed on. The monarchs travel up to 40 miles a day along the West Coast on their way to and from overwintering grounds in Mexico. Bravo to Stewart Meadows for becoming the first golf course in the state and perhaps the entire Northwest to incorporate monarch way stations.

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