Cheers — to Chris Gerritz, whose alertness saved the lives of several football-watching fraternity brothers at Oregon State University last week. Gerritz had returned to his fraternity house to get his car keys when he smelled gas. Venturing into the basement, he discovered steam shooting out from around the boiler room door. He ran back upstairs and warned eight frat brothers to evacuate the building. No sooner had they left than the boiler exploded, blowing a hole in the TV room floor.

Cheers — to Chris Gerritz, whose alertness saved the lives of several football-watching fraternity brothers at Oregon State University last week. Gerritz had returned to his fraternity house to get his car keys when he smelled gas. Venturing into the basement, he discovered steam shooting out from around the boiler room door. He ran back upstairs and warned eight frat brothers to evacuate the building. No sooner had they left than the boiler exploded, blowing a hole in the TV room floor.

Cheers — to South Medford High School's student advisory council, which organized a leaf-raking project in the neighborhood around the school, and to the students who participated, helping neighbors clean up their yards.

Cheers — to Ryan Frost and Gordon Waite, two United Parcel Service employees who apprehended an armed robber after watching him hold up the West Main Street liquor store last Tuesday night. The two had just left the store when they saw a man enter wearing a ski mask and with a bulge under his coat. They watched him hold up the clerk, and accosted him as he left, removing the gun from his pocket and holding him until police arrived.

Ordinarily we wouldn't advise people to try to apprehend an armed criminal, but these two handled the situation and deserve the community's thanks for their willingness to get involved.

Cheers — to Japanese automakers, who are racing each other to produce the best zero-emission vehicle. Toyota and Nissan are pouring money into developing electric vehicles, even as their profits slump along with the rest of the world's economy. Meanwhile, American automakers are busy begging for bailouts in Washington, D.C. Maybe if they had been quicker to push for green vehicles rather than the latest monster SUV, they wouldn't need government help to stay afloat.

Cheers — to Hedrick and McLoughlin middle school students who competed to collect canned food for the Salvation Army to distribute to needy families. The two schools collected nearly 9,000 cans of food. At McLoughlin, where many students come from families who need assistance during the holidays, city of Medford departments held their own food-drive competition and donated what they collected to the school.