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Cheers and jeers

Cheers — to Rogue Valley high school athletes who are putting Southern Oregon on the map this season in multiple sports. Bear with us; it's a long list:

The North and South Medford boys basketball teams both play tonight in the Rose Garden as the state 6A basketball tournament gets under way. The South Medford girls team plays its first state tournament game Thursday afternoon in the Rose Garden.

Meanwhile, the Phoenix High School boys team played its first-round game last night in the 4A tournament in Corvallis.

The St. Mary's School girls team also advanced to the Class 3A state tournament in Coos Bay, where they finished in sixth place.

South Medford's hockey team, seeded fourth in the Southern Oregon league playoffs, plowed through all opponents to take the championship and will represent the region along with Klamath Falls in the four-team state tournament Saturday and Sunday in Beaverton. Finally, the Ashland boys and girls ski teams and the Crater girls ski team qualified for the state ski racing championships, along with too many individual skiers to list here.

Bravo to all — you make us proud.

Cheers — speaking of skiing — to signs that the city of Ashland is moving closer to doing what it should have done a long time ago: turning over the permit for the Mount Ashland ski area to the Mt. Ashland Assocation. The city has held the permit on behalf of the association since the wider Southern Oregon community purchased the ski area. Ski area officials say the long-delayed expansion of the ski area will have an easier time attracting donors if the ski area holds the permit.

Jeers — to an e-mailed press release from Oregon Senate Republicans touting unanimous passage of a bill that lowers the tax burden of small and family-owned businesses by reconnecting parts of Oregon's tax code to federal rules governing deductions for purchasing new equipment. Don't get us wrong: that's a good thing, as is a provision allowing families to deduct up to $4,000 of college tuition.

So, for that matter, is the other provision touted in the e-mail: allowing families to keep children on their health insurance plans until age 26. But wait — that is already law, thanks to the federal health care reform legislation Republicans like to deride as "Obamacare."

Apparently it's fine to take credit for parts of the Democrats' health care reform as long as they're popular.

Cheers — to Southern Oregon University students who plan to take part in the Alternative Spring Break program, helping impoverished people in Tacoma, Wash.; Oakland, Calif.; and the Dominican Republic. It's a far cry from partying on a beach somewhere — although we'll bet those headed for the Caribbean will manage to get in some time in the sun along with the work.