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Envy, yes; outrage, no


Maybe Medford needs a booster club to raise money for education's basics

If you're sitting in a classroom of 40-some students, sharing an outdated textbook and taught by a teacher with too much to do, you might be less than thrilled at the news that &

36;700,000 of artificial turf will be laid at Spiegelberg Stadium beginning Monday.

Ditto if you're a music student who no longer has a teacher.

Or a book lover whose librarian has been let go.

Any number of circumstances might, in fact, make you wonder at the justice of a system that allows educational needs to go without while a high school sports field is outfitted with the latest in fake grass that ' hey ' feels real.

Hard as it may be to swallow, though, here is a case that calls for envy, maybe, but not outrage.

The money for the new turf is being raised by a booster group, the Linebacker Club, which in previous years helped build the stadium bleachers and put a good surface on the track surrounding the field.

— In the case of the turf, the club looked elsewhere and saw the benefits of the fake grass, then launched a community effort to pay for the project. Now it appears it will be successful, with potential benefits to the school district such as use by non-school groups that would pay money to rent it.

That the club successfully raised the money doesn't take anything away from the seriousness of the financial problems facing education. It does tell us this much: that money exists in this community, and that it can be collected when people get excited about a need.

The Linebackers aren't due our disgust that they successfully raised the money for the turf. But their accomplishment is food for thought. Maybe the school district should recruit athletic boosters to raise money for its classroom needs as well.

Let public know early on

Hindsight is 20/20 vision, says the chief of Jackson County's Mental Health Division, who is taking flak this week over his decision to put insane criminals in an Ashland care home and not give neighbors a heads-up.

Until neighbors complained, Hank Collins says, he didn't realize the decision would create a stir. The home has housed mentally ill criminals before.

Collins is far from the first public official to learn this lesson: Neighbors always want to know. And government, which intrudes on life in many ways, never should fail to give them the opportunity to be part of the process.

That said, mentally ill people, criminal or not, have to live somewhere ' and putting them in a care home like the one in Ashland is cheaper and probably more humane than caring for them in a hospital. Ashland neighbors should be comforted that the county, since it took over operation of the Ashland home, has invested &

36;15,000 in security improvements. The county plans to take neighbors on a tour of the home today and make a number of officials available to answer questions.

That kind of give-and-take should have been the approach from the beginning.