Cheers and jeers

Thumbs down to the MT editorial board, up to park block, homes for veterans

Jeers — loud and clear — to us, for getting Tuesday's editorial completely wrong. The city is, in fact, planning to remove Hawthorne Pool, and it is the top priority for using $1 million in urban renewal money set aside for park improvements. It was left off the list of priorities because the decision had already been made to proceed with removing the defunct pool.

The removal project should go to bid soon, and Parks and Recreation Director Brian Sjothun tells us the pool should be gone by the end of June. The cost is still undetermined because it might involve complete removal or just filling in the old pool.

Meanwhile, the other top priorities are all good uses for the available money and should go a long way toward rehabilitating a park that has seen better days.

We apologize for jumping to conclusions. We don't get our facts wrong very often, but when we mess up, we don't mess around.

Cheers — to plans for the second park block in The Commons, which is transforming downtown Medford. The second block, planned to open next November, will feature a large grassy area with a stage at one end and space for 1,000 people to enjoy concerts and other public events. The park block also will include a large fir tree that will serve as the city's Christmas tree, replacing the cut trees that have graced Vogel Plaza over the years. The park block will be a much better setting for the tree lighting ceremony and will allow large gatherings without the traffic disruption that now accompanies such events.

Cheers — to the Habitat for Heroes program that builds houses for low-income military veterans and their families. The new venture by Habitat for Humanity allows veterans who need assistance to work on building their home, then sells it to them with a no-interest loan. The first such home in Oregon was recently completed and presented to former Marine and National Guardsman Tom Gury and his family on Saturday. We can't think of a better way to honor struggling veterans than by helping them put a roof over their families' heads.

Cheers — to Ashlander Len Eisenberg, who created a website to promote the teaching of evolution and gives volunteer presentations on the topic to students in science classes. Because some religious conservatives object to the teaching of evolution, many science teachers shy away from the topic or cover it only lightly. Eisenberg's website, www.evogeneao.com, offers resources for teachers along with T-shirts and posters featuring pictures of animals and their relationships to humans in the interconnected web of life on Earth. (Correction: The correct address for Eisenberg's website has been added to this story.)


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