Cheers: To the Mount Ashland Ski Area, for moving forward on a project to expand its parking lot and to improve the slope on the mountain's beginner slope. Anyone who has been to the mountain on one of those good-snow/good-weather days or on a holiday weekend knows all too well the need for more parking. And what's not to like about improving the bunny hill for little kids and beginning skiers and snowboarders.
Jeers: To environmental gadfly Eric Navickas, who continues to marginalize himself and his causes by taking on ridiculous issues. This time, you guessed it, he tried to block the bunny slope work.
Cheers: To the North Medford football team. We're not taking sides in the high school football wars, but it was nice to see the Black Tornado chalk up a 21-17 upset of defending state champion and longtime state powerhouse Sheldon High School of Eugene. The Black Tornado has its own long history of success, with multiple state championships. In the days before the North-South split, the school was less-than-affectionately referred to by its football foes as the University of Medford. It might not be quite at that level yet, but it's good to see the Black Tornado get its mojo back.
Jeers: To Modoc County, Calif., which has joined Siskiyou County in a fruitless bid to secede from California. While Northern California may not be exactly simpatico with SoCal, there is no way the secession will happen. There are references in various stories to Southern Oregon counties possibly signing on to form a state of Jefferson, but there is no indication on this side of the border of any interest in getting involved in that craziness. (And by the way, you Californians/Jeffersonians, if it did happen, Medford would be the capital, so chew on that idea for a minute.)
Cheers: To Southern Oregon University for planning to improve its sports and recreation facilities on the campus. The new 50,000-square-foot building, which has yet to be designed, will replace a facility that's less than 20 percent that size and will give student-athletes and just plain-old students a decent place to work out and play. We are no fans of the exorbitant facilities lavished on athletic teams at some universities (and you know who you are, UO). But while facilities for athletes and students trying to stay fit shouldn't be given preference over other programs, neither should they be relegated to second-class status.
Chjeers: This isn't a cheer or a jeer, so we created a new option, the Chjeer. This goes to state Rep. Peter Buckley, D-Ashland, who rightly told Medford teachers their pay should not be less than surrounding smaller districts. But Buckley has been chairman of the Legislature's money-allocating Ways and Means Committee since 2008, a time during which state funding issues and pension costs have forced districts everywhere into no-win budget situations. We know Buckley would gladly give more money to schools if that money existed, nevertheless, some Medford School District officials must have had a bit of a sour taste in their mouths on hearing his comments.