Cheers and jeers

Thumbs up to slow lake speeds, Twitter crime fighting; down to misplaced blame

Cheers — to the Oregon State Marine Board for making the right call on a request to lift the 10-mph speed limit on Applegate Lake. The board unanimously denied the request after the U.S. Forest Service, which manages recreation at the reservoir, opposed the change. Regular users of the lake, including anglers, kayakers, canoeists and swimmers also spoke out in support of the quiet, slow-paced recreation available there.

Cheers — to the social media phenomenon known as Twitter, which police credit for leading them to a stolen travel trailer last week. After investigators posted surveillance photos of the theft on Twitter, they got a steady stream of sightings starting within an hour of the initial post. Officers eventually found the trailer with three people inside at Crater Lake National Park after a park employee spotted it there. Police are now calling social media "the ultimate crime fighter" because they can upload photos and information and have it seen by the public instantly.

Jeers — to House Speaker John Boehner, who blamed the Obama administration for one too many things when he suggested the spill of a coal-processing chemical into the public water supply in West Virginia was the result of lax inspections. In fact, the chemical is exempt from Environmental Protection Agency regulations because it was grandfathered in as a permitted chemical in a 1976 toxic substances law. Authorities weren't even sure how dangerous the substance was or how to clean it up when thousands of gallons spilled from a storage tank into the Elk River near Charleston, W.Va.; last week.

"We have enough regulations on the books," Boehner said. Some 300,000 West Virginians left without water for days might disagree.

Cheers — to Southern Oregon wineries, which brought home dozens of top awards in the 2014 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition held Jan. 7-10 in Sonoma County, Calif. The local wine industry has been hard at work developing its craft, and the effort is paying off with recognition from top judges.

Cheers — to a new career exploration program through the Britt Festivals, made possible by an Oregon Arts Commission grant. Medford high school students will get the opportunity to explore careers with a nonprofit arts organization. The students will get a full year's exposure to the Britt operation, culminating in a musical program produced by the students in 2015. Technical career programs have been common, but this emphasis on the arts as a career path is new, and encouraging to see.

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