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Cheers and jeers

Cheers — to Frank D'Entremont, who recently retired from leading the Ashland Police Department's volunteer program at the age of 97. D'Entremont, who first became a police officer in 1950 in Los Angeles, joined APD in 1956 after moving to the valley to work for the Jackson County Sheriff's Department. He first retired from APD as assistant chief in 1977. City officials say the volunteer program he ran saved the city nearly $1 million a year.

Cheers — to Southern Oregon University graduate Tye Austin, who will perform in Carnegie Hall just six years after taking up the classical guitar. Austin, 23, won first prize in the American Protegé International Piano and Strings Competition, which includes a solo performance Sunday at the famed New York concert hall. While he's in the Big Apple, Austin will audition at The Juilliard School for one of 11 slots in the master's degree program in guitar.

Austin's mentor Dan Murphy credits his remarkable discipline and drive for his rapid rise to prominence, gaining admission to SOU as a music major six months after taking up the guitar and now heading for Carnegie Hall.

Jeers — to Eric Navickas, who continues to bark up the wrong trees in his personal vendetta against nearly anything the U.S. Forest Service does. Navickas' latest effort was rebuffed when U.S. District Judge Owen Panner rejected his challenge to a forest thinning project in the Ashland Watershed.

Navickas contends the work will increase erosion in the watershed, and that Forest Service plans to avoid riparian areas and scatter slash to reduce erosion will be worse than leaving trees standing Never mind that the work is designed to prevent catastrophic wildfire — which would leave the watershed subject to severe erosion. Navickas and former Ashland resident Jay Lininger plan to appeal.

Cheers — to the city of Medford's plan to offer pay-by-phone parking near Rogue Community College downtown. RCC students and others using one-hour spaces on portions of Central Avenue and Ninth Street will be able to add an hour of time for $1 with a smartphone application called PayByPhone. The city already allows drivers to add time by phone in parking lots, and is testing the on-street option before expanding it to other downtown streets. The program seems a good way to make downtown parking more user-friendly.