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Cheers and jeers

Cheers — to retired physician Peter Clark, who turned a remarkable recovery from Alzheimer's symptoms into a determination to give to others. After helping with a food drive and providing free maintenance and repair in a low-income mobile home park, he was asked to repair a couple of kids' bicycles. That turned into a full-time pursuit, and he vowed to repair and build 1,000 two-wheelers. Four years later, he has surpassed that milestone and is still at it. Here's to more years and more bikes.

Jeers — to the harsh reaction of authorities in Greece and then Ireland to suspicions about the origins of two blond-haired, blue-eyed children being raised by Roma parents. The obvious assumption on the part of many that the children couldn't be Roma — a typically dark-skinned, dark-haired ethnic group known as Gypsies — turned out to be wrong. The girl taken from a Roma couple in Greece was not, in fact, their child, but DNA tests confirmed she is the daughter of a Roma couple living in Bulgaria who said they willingly allowed the Greek couple to adopt her because they could not care for her. The girl taken from a couple in Ireland by police acting on a tip was returned to their care when tests confirmed she is their daughter.

Authorities have a legitimate interest in protecting the welfare of children, but should be careful not to fuel the fires of racial stereotypes.

Cheers — to a new program at Providence Medford Medical Center that collects donated breast milk for premature, ill or hungry babies. The area's first "Milk Drop" allows nursing mothers who produce more milk than their own babies need to donate the excess, which is frozen for use by medically fragile infants who benefit from the best nutrition available to newborns.

Cheers — to the efforts of Ron Walch, investigative specialist for the Jackson County Sheriff's Office to nominate a deputy killed in the line of duty in 1917 for inclusion on the Oregon Fallen Officers Memorial in Salem. Deputy Sheriff Charles H. Basye was killed by an escaping jail inmate who beat him with a clothing iron while breaking out of the county jail in Jacksonville. Basye is already listed on the National Law Enforcement Memorial in Washington, D.C., and his name will be added to its proper place on the Oregon memorial in a ceremoney next spring.