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Cheers and jeers

Cheers — to three Rogue Community College students for building a solar energy system to power the school's electronics lab on their way to earning associate degrees in electronics technology. In the process, graduates Perla Andrade, Alex Smith and Eric Ruiz demonstrated the value of community college education in today's economy.

Often derided as inferior to four-year institutions, community colleges provide some of the best education available for the ever-stretching dollar, and train students in skills they need to compete in a tight job market.

Jeers — to the notion that even dead fish have feelings. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, a group dedicated to protecting non-human species from abuse and neglect, is in an uproar over the salmon-tossing tradition of fishmongers at Seattle's Pike Place Market.

For decades, fish sellers have delighted tourists and locals alike by throwing fish through the air to be wrapped for sale. They also travel to put on fish-tossing exhibitions around the world. PETA plans to protest at a national veterinarians' conference in Seattle next month, which has booked the fishmongers to present a flying fish exhibition. The group argues that commercial fishing is cruel, subjecting fish to painful decompression, death by clubbing or being gutted alive. They say tossing fish carcasses is disrespectful.

We'll leave the question of whether live fish feel pain to those more schooled in marine biology. As for the fishmongers' wares, we side with market manager Jeremy Ridgway: "I mean, these fish are dead."

Cheers — to Buck the one-eyed wandering dog, who arranged to have himself "found" by following around a couple visiting Lake Selmac. Cheers as well to the legions of Rogue River residents and others who took time to search for him. Buck belongs to Oregon National Guard soldier Tim Langley, who is training in Georgia before being deployed to Iraq.

Jeers — to a PR campaign that appears to be getting just a bit out of hand.

Oregon Attorney General John Kroger has maintained a high profile since taking office in January. During the campaign, Kroger vowed to raise the profile of the office and be an activist as attorney general. He's certainly done that, and deserves credit for it, including the cheer we gave him in April for aggressively publicizing scams seeking to bilk unsuspecting Oregonians out of their hard-earned cash.

But the relentless stream of press releases from the AG's office too frequently includes announcements bearing Kroger's name that have little or nothing to do with his own work. The headline on one recent missive trumpeted, "Morrow County District Attorney Elizabeth A. Ballard and Attorney General John Kroger announce aggravated murder indictment".

It seems a Morrow County woman faces murder charges in the death of her infant son. We also learn that an assistant attorney general on Kroger's staff is helping with the case at the request of District Attorney Ballard.

He's just doing his job, of course. So, apparently, is Kroger's communications director.