Cheers and Jeers

Thumbs up to everlasting love, coping with smoke; down to Red Lion deal process

Cheers: To Delbert and Viola Bertin of Medford, who have shown that a lot of love and a little perseverance can lead to a long lifetime of happiness together. The Bertins, featured in Monday's Mail Tribune, marked their 78th anniversary on Aug. 4.

Married as teenagers after attending school together in Phoenix, the couple have lived in the Rogue Valley their entire lives and spent most of the past eight decades together.

Delbert, a year older than Viola, gave a clue about the key to their relationship: "I'm the senior, so I'm the boss," he said, "when she's not here."

So add humor to love and perseverance and you get the recipe for long-lasting success. A belated happy anniversary from us to the Bertins.

Jeers: To the secrecy surrounding the purchase and resale of the Red Lion Inn property in Medford. While we think the end result will be a good thing for downtown and the city, no one can be happy about the lack of transparency.

DHD, a company formed by Lithia Motors executives, agreed to purchase the Red Lion and offered to sell about 40 percent of the property to the Medford Urban Renewal Agency for $1.6 million. The remainder was sold for $2 million to an Ashland couple who plan to spend an additional $1.5 million in upgrading the hotel. After the deal was done, it was revealed that DHD paid $2.8 million, meaning they turned a tidy $800,000 profit by being the middleman.

This should have been an open process, to avoid the good-old-boy accusations that are now making the rounds.

Cheers: To the Grants Pass City Council for stepping up and doing what the rural residents of Josephine County won't do — make the necessary investment to keep their community safe.

The council agreed last month to spend more than $1 million to purchase jail space from the county in order to house prisoners arrested in the city. The move was made necessary by the May defeat of a countywide levy — the second such defeat — that would have paid for Sheriff's Office operations, including the jail.

Since that defeat, Josephine County has found itself the focus of negative attention from across the country, as lawbreakers have been granted virtually free rein. The citizens of Grants Pass, who heavily favored passage of the levy, have been forced to suffer the consequences of the selfish and self-righteous in the county, who say no government is good government in their eyes (even as they drive the highways and use multiple other public services).

The council had to give up funding for several worthwhile projects to come up with the money for the jail space. But they made the right decision, seeing past their personal desires to do what's best for their city.

Cheers: To everyone who has coped with the smoke of the past weeks' wildfires. Our hearts go out to the families of the two firefighters who have been killed in Oregon and we cheer for those who remain on the fire lines in oppressive heat and smoke, protecting us and the forests of Southern Oregon.

Cheers also for those who have worked through the lesser difficulties brought on by the fires. Outdoor activities have been cancelled or rescheduled, Britt Festivals moved one of its concerts into a high school gym and people across Southern Oregon found their own ways to cope.

It hasn't been pleasant, but this, too, shall pass and we will once again be able to look across the valley without the smoky gauze obscuring our view. And we'll all take a deep breath.

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