Cheers — to progress toward finally finishing the urban renewal project that will wrap an office and retail building around the Evergreen parking structure that has stood as a monument to best-laid plans for seven years. For a variety of reasons, previous plans for the site fell through, but now a deal has been struck to bring Pacific Retirement Services, Rogue Disposal and Recycling and Procare Software downtown.
Cheers — to the news that Medford authorities will aggressively enforce the city's fireworks ban this summer. Don't get us wrong — we like Independence Day pyrotechnics as much as anyone. But it makes no sense to have a strict ordinance but not enforce it. That just encourages more people to ignore the rule, which increases the risk of fire every July.
Jeers — to the Boy Scouts of America for failing to live up the organization's own Boy Scout Law, which calls on its youthful members to be brave, among other admirable attributes. Instead, the national organization's Executive Board displayed cowardice, first announcing it might allow local Scout organizations to admit gays if they chose and then putting off the decision until May at the earliest.
As a private organization, the Boy Scouts of America has the right to exclude gays. All this week's vote was intended to do was give local Scout chapters the freedom to choose for themselves.
Cheers — to the mountain snowpack, which measures slightly above normal for this time of year and portends a good year for irrigators in the region. The snow depth at four measurement sites in the Siskiyou Mountain Ranger District averaged 97 percent of normal last week, while the water content of the snowpack averaged 109 percent of normal. Last year's figures were roughly half that.
Cheers — to Ashland High School graduate and Air Force Capt. Andrew Ackles, who is part of a team of six airmen who is about to climb Mount Everest. Starting in 2005, the team set out to reach the summit of the tallest peak on each of the seven continents; Everest is the last.
The team, all volunteers climbing at their own expense, is raising money to benefit the families of special operations troops who have lost their lives.