Cheers: To Deputy Brendan Dodge of the Jackson County Sheriff's Office, who rescued a woman from her burning home in Medford Saturday night. Dodge saw the fire as he was driving by the house and banged on the front door to try to see if anyone was home. After getting no response, he broke open the door and went inside. There he found 88-year-old Margret Schwartz, who had not been awakened by her three barking dogs. She and the dogs were rescued, thanks to Deputy Dodge.
Cheers: To Eagle Point for its online school. When students opt to take online classes through some far-off company, they not only lose local connections, but also deprive their school districts of desperately needed funding from the state.
Eagle Point administrators say the D9Online program has enrolled more than 100 students and brought back about 30 students who had been attending other online programs. That keeps those students connected to their communities, including with local teachers who work with them — and it provides the district a significant financial boost.
Jeers: To the apparently vague decision and nasty reaction on a land-use hearing involving an asphalt plant on Bear Creek in Talent. The hearings officer's ruling was apparently obscure enough that both sides thought they had prevailed. Clearly, there's some 'splaining left to do.
But opponents of the asphalt plant operations do themselves no favors by launching vitriolic attacks on Kelly Madding, Jackson County's director of Development Services. She didn't make the ruling and she didn't make the laws that led to the ruling. But it is her job to figure out how to implement the ruling. Suggestions that she's in league with the asphalt plant's attorney are far-fetched.
Cheers: To the view of steel girders going up at One West Main, the four-story office complex that will envelope three sides of the Evergreen parking structure in downtown Medford. This is a project that started, stopped, started, stopped and appeared dead as a doornail in the not too distant past.
Now three local businesses, led by Pacific Retirement Services, will move their headquarters there once construction is complete. Adding the companies' employees to the downtown mix will help continue the revitalization of the city's core. And we'll all be glad to no longer look at the bleak exterior of the parking structure.
Jeers: To the GPS misrouting that directed a California couple onto a remote logging road as they were trying to make their way to the coast. The digital directions convinced the Coos Bay-bound couple to leave Interstate 5 at Glendale and took them and their RV onto an impassable road somewhere northwest of there. Fortunately they had food and shelter, so the episode didn't turn into another Kim family tragedy.
Some common sense needs to be engaged in these situations. If you are in an unfamiliar rural area, especially a mountainous area, don't rely solely on your GPS directions.
GPS manufacturers also need to be held accountable and clearly label what they know and what they don't know. That may be an expensive challenge, but likely less so than paying off lawsuits when they lead more people into dangerous situations.