Cheers — to the completed Regional Problem Solving plan for Jackson County, approved by state land-use officials Nov. 15. After years of clashing with the state Land Conservation and Development Commission, Rogue Valley leaders have made this the only county in the state to successfully plan for growth over the next 50 years, deciding what land should be added to urban areas and what land should remain rural as the county's population doubles.
The work took more than a decade. One city — Jacksonville — dropped out in a dispute over growth boundaries, but six others stayed in, spending untold hours hammering out agreements that will guide growth — and make the county eligible for more state and federal dollars for transportation and other projects.
Jeers — to the inexorable advance of the Christmas shopping season until it encroached on Thanksgiving Day itself. The traditional "Black Friday" retail extravaganza that once began at the crack of dawn the morning after the feast slowly crept back to midnight. This year, some retailers opened on Thursday evening. To which we say, Bah. Humbug. It seems not even digesting Thanksgiving dinner is sacred anymore.
Cheers — to two members of Oregon's congressional delegation who will have added clout when the new Congress convenes next year. Sen. Ron Wyden will be chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, which has primary responsibility for federal timber policy, among other important issues. Rep. Greg Walden was elected by his peers as chairman of the House Republican Congressional Committee — the fifth-ranking position in the House Republican leadership. The committee works to elect Republicans to the House. The position will give Walden a voice in policy decisions by the House leadership.
Jeers — to whoever was responsible for trashing the Christmas lights hung at Scheffel's Toys in Jacksonville. The perpetrators apparently were upset that the business used energy-saving LED lights, because conventional incandescent lights displayed by other Jacksonville businesses were not touched.
Cheers — to the "Let's Read" book bag program sponsored by Jackson County Library Services and the Friends of the Medford Library. The program shares books with children who take them home and bring them back a few days later, promoting literacy by exposing young children to books and reading. The program also collaborates with child care centers and, recently, with the Family Nurturing Center, which helps children and families recover from trauma caused by abuse and neglect.