Cheers and jeers

Thumbs up to Cinderella Ducks and smart girls, down to federal take-back

Cheers — to the University of Oregon men's basketball team, which went deeper into the NCAA tournament than anyone expected. The Ducks' Cinderella run lasted until the Sweet 16 round, where they fell to top-seeded Louisville, 77-69. Even in defeat, Oregon made a statement, finishing within 10 points of the Cardinals — the second team to do that in 13 games — and committed just 12 turnovers, the fewest against Louisville since March 5. The Cardinals had 13.

Cheers — to Baylee LaVoie and Scott Henselman for teaming up to display artworks by Living Opportunities clients in the windows of vacant downtown buildings. LaVoie, business and donor relations director for the nonprofit agency, came up with the idea of using vacant storefronts to showcase the work of her agency's disabled clients. She contacted Henselman, owner of Henselman Realty, which manages several downtown properties, and he loved the idea. The artwork is for sale, and interested buyers can contact LaVoie at 541-772-1503.

Jeers — to the U.S. Forest Service, which last week demanded that rural timber counties repay $17.9 million in financial assistance that was sent out in January to satisfy automatic cuts required by the "sequester" budget deal struck in Congress. Members of Congress from affected states angrily protested, arguing that the money had been appropriated in 2012, although it was not disbursed until this year.

Automatic spending cuts are one thing. Demanding that money already disbursed be returned, however, is making an already blunt cost-cutting instrument even more damaging.

Cheers — to four Ashland Middle School girls who will compete in the state Battle of the Books competition next week at Chemeketa Community College in Salem. To win the regional title, Bella Manray, Uma McGuire, Sarah Aaronson and Alex Wentrick read 16 books and memorized details they had to produce when questioned during the timed competition.

Cheers — to the Mid Devon District Council in southwest England, which reversed its earlier decision and vowed to keep apostrophes on street signs. The council had considered doing away with the punctuation mark to avoid "potential confusion," and standardize what had already begun to happen as apostrophes disappeared from some signs.

After vocal criticism from across the nation and media attention around the world, the local officials struck a blow for proper English. We'll bet they'll be glad they didn't go with their original plan. We're rather tickled ourselves.


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