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Cheers and jeers

Cheers — to the anonymous donor who contributed a $33,000 grant to help keep the Ashland Arts Center operating. It is one of the few nonprofit community art centers in the nation, providing studio space for 170 artists as well as classes and art sales space. Keeping the arts alive is tough at any time, but especially when the economy is hurting. The infusion of cash gives the center some much-needed breathing room.

Jeers — to sticky-fingered library patrons who apparently can't keep from tearing out magazine pages rather than spending a few cents to make photocopies. Ashland Library officials say the culprits appear to be knitters in search of new patterns, but recipes and crossword puzzles also have been pilfered.

It's a sad day when public libraries, which exist to provide books and periodicals at public expense, have to guard against theft from the very people they exist to serve. It's also a bit alarming that knitters appear to be the worst offenders.

Cheers — to Blackstone Audio, nominated for two Grammy awards for audio productions of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival's "Hamlet" and for "Zorro," starring Val Kilmer. The Ashland-based company specializing in audio books is one of the leading audio production companies in the country. The Grammy Award ceremony is Feb. 12.

Jeers — to former House Speaker and Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, who says that as president, he would simply ignore court rulings he disagreed with. Gingrich further says Congress should summon federal judges before it to explain what he characterized as radical rulings. Asked on a Sunday talk show what Congress should do if justices refused, he said U.S. marshals should be dispatched to compel them to appear.

Gingrich, who taught at a regional college in Georgia, likes to present himself as a history scholar. Apparently, he was asleep when his own professors covered the separation of powers.

Cheers — to Sharon Anderson, selected as Talent's first Citizen of the Year for her volunteer work on behalf of the community. Anderson has been instrumental in running the Friday evening summer market, a community garden, tree planting and recycling efforts. Anderson, who moved to Talent in 2000, says she appreciates the community's size — small enough that she feels an individual's efforts can make a difference. The selection committee clearly thinks Anderson does.