Cheers and jeers

Thumbs up to Amber Alert, long marriage; down to evacuation scam

Cheers — to the successful use of the Amber Alert system to help track down a fugitive who had kidnapped a teenage acquaintance in California and taken her to Idaho. California authorities for the first time sent text message alerts to cellphones statewide, as well as in Oregon, Idaho and Washington. Horseback riders in Idaho who happened upon the man and his captive and later saw a television report about the Amber Alert called police, leading to her rescue.

Jeers — to the callous actions of unknown persons who called residents in the Myrtle Creek area and falsely told them to prepare to evacuate because of danger from forest fires. Police officials said it was apparently a scam, and stressed that officers would go door to door in person in a real evacuation.

Cheers — to Delbert and Viola Bertin, who celebrated 78 years of marriage Aug. 4. The Medford couple say there is no special secret to the length of their union. "You've just got to stick with it," Viola says. Congratulations to them both.

Cheers — to a hearings officer's decision to dismiss a complaint against the expansion of the Mt. Ashland Ski Area's parking lot. The hearings officer ruled that Eric Navickas, a former Ashland City Council member and longtime opponent of ski area expansion plans, lacked legal standing to to challenge the project.

Navickas, who now lives in Prospect, said he was "denied access to justice." All he was denied was the opportunity to use the courts to obstruct a reasonable project that will benefit the ski area and its patrons.

Cheers — to a back-to-school shopping spree for low-income children sponsored nationwide by Target and the Salvation Army. Nationally, 12,000 children participated. In Medford, 30 kids got help picking out clothes from local police officers and firefighters.

Cheers — to new program offering horseback riding therapy to Rogue Valley women recovering from breast cancer. "Riding Beyond" is intended to help cancer survivors heal and recover from the effects of chemotherapy, radiation and surgery — if it gets off the ground. Volunteers, grant writers and donors are needed; call Trish Broersma, 541-482-6210.

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