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Cheers and jeers

Cheers — to the NASA engineers and specialists who made possible the successful landing of the Curiosity rover on Mars. The specially designed craft touched down Sunday night to cheers and tears from space scientists at mission control at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Canada Flintridge, Calif.

The complex landing, accomplished through automation, begins a two-year project during which the remote-controlled robot will search the red planet for signs of life.

Cheers — to the remarkable U.S. athletes who have earned medals in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London — and to all those who competed but fell short of victory. The U.S. women's soccer team was the latest to triumph, beating Japan 2-1 Thursday to bring home its third straight gold medal and avenging last year's loss in the World Cup championship. The beach volleyball duo Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings won their third gold as well, beating another U.S. team, which took silver. Sprinter Allyson Felix also took gold in the women's 200 meters, and Ashton Eaton in the men's decathlon.

Add women's gymnastics, the remarkable swimmer Michael Phelps, and on and on: As of Thursday, the U.S. led the world with 90 medals, 39 of them gold — for those who keep track of such things. We're just thrilled to see America so well represented.

Cheers — to Katja Machcinski, of Ashland, whose quick action revived a man who was lifeless at the bottom of the Jackson Wellsprings swimming pool on Saturday. She was swimming laps when her foot brushed something and she saw a man curled up face-down on the bottom of the pool. She hauled him out, another swimmer administered chest compressions and the man revived and was taken to the hospital.

Jeers — we don't often jeer criminals — it seems too easy, somehow — but the case of the would-be car thief in Grants Pass was just too good to pass up. If the saying is true that the smart criminals don't get caught, it's easy enough to see which category applies to Joshua M. Schirle. The 30-year-old was allegedly trying to steal a Ford Bronco from a Grants Pass-area driveway when he found himself looking down the barrel of a gun held by off-duty police officer Lesley Donaghy. The Bronco was hers. So was the marked police cruiser parked next to the Bronco, which should have served as a warning to Schirle but apparently didn't.

Cheers — to Pacific Power, which quickly dispatched lineman Dave Cossette with a bucket truck last week to help rescue a fledgling osprey who had become entangled in nylon twine and fishing line its parents had used to build a nest on a platform atop a power pole near Emigrant Lake. Cheers as well to nearby resident Jim Bronson, who reported the bird's plight, and to birder Harry Fuller and state wildlife biologist Rosemary Stussy, who teamed up to free the youngster and return him to the care of his parents.