Cheers and jeers

Thumbs up to Special Olympian, local lifesaver; down to perplexed planners

Cheers — to snowboarder Julieanne Taylor, who will compete on the U.S. team at the Special Olympics World Games in South Korea. Taylor qualified for the drawing that selected team members by winning a gold medal in super-G at Oregon's Special Olympics competition at Mount Bachelor last year.

Taylor is one of nine snowboarders on the U.S. team. Opening ceremonies are Jan. 29 in PyeongChang, South Korea, kicking off seven days of competition. PyeongChang will host the XXIII Winter Olympics in 2018.

Taylor has attention deficit disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The conditions don't affect her physical ability to snowboard, but she needs extra explanation from her coaches to grasp new techniques.

Cheers — to downtown Medford, which is well on the way to transforming itself from a sleepy part of town to a thriving, vibrant business district with a bustling nightlife.

Much of the credit goes to the Medford Urban Renewal Agency and The Commons project, as well as the long-awaited completion of the Evergreen complex, sidelined twice over the years when projects fell through. Combined with Jackson County's planned health and social service center where the federal building now stands, the new office complex surrounding the Evergreen parking garage will bring nearly 1,000 workers downtown. That presence will boost retail businesses in the city's core.

Jeers — to the Medford Planning Commission's apparent inability to figure out a way to allow a doggie day care business in the city without a 200-foot setback requirement. The rapid development of downtown office space will bring workers, many of whom will want a place to leave their canine companions during working hours.

The commission grappled with the concept of a canine day care business in commercial space, but couldn't get past the idea that it might be noisy. When other cities, from Portland to Bend, have managed to accommodate this service without onerous regulations, it is baffling that Medford can't do the same.

Cheers — to John Lopes, whose quick action saved the life of a homeless man who collapsed at the Calvary Temple warming center in Central Point last week. Lopes, formerly homeless himself, now volunteers regularly at the center, where he went for shelter in 2009 while living outdoors. The CPR training he had received on union job sites came in handy when a patron of the shelter collapsed last Tuesday.

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