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Cheers and jeers

Cheers — to the St. Mary's School Argonauts, who took first place in the state for project research at the Oregon FIRST Lego Robotics competition in Hillsboro last week. Their project? A smartphone app that warns users of an approaching tsunami — very appropriate in a state poised on the edge of the Cascadia Subduction Zone, where the only question about a mega-quake is not whether, but when.

Jeers — to a state law that requires drivers to signal their exit from a roundabout — even though complying is virtually impossible. In answer to a Since You Asked query in Monday's paper, Medford Police Lt. Mike Budreau cited Oregon Revised Statute 811.400, which says failing to use a turn signal when exiting a roundabout is a Class B violation, carrying a $260 fine.

An alert reader calling himself "Dizzy in east Medford" points out that another statute, ORS 811.355(1)(b), says to be legal, a driver must initiate a signal at least 100 feet before a turn. The roundabout at Highland Avenue and Siskyou Boulevard is only 360 feet in circumference, with four turns leading out. This means, Dizzy says — we'll accept his calculations — that a driver would have to signal before even entering the roundabout to be legal to take the first two possible exits, and start signaling before passing the first exit to lawfully take the third exit. So other drivers would have no idea when a signaling car was going to turn. We respectfully suggest Medford's finest refrain from enforcing this clearly ridiculous statute until it can be corrected.

Cheers — to Amy Drake, the Southern Oregon Historical Society's curator of special projects, who developed models and practices to train volunteers around the state to preserve historical documents, photographs and other artifacts from the ravages of moisture, insects and sunlight. Her three years of work on a pilot project made possible the Oregon Heritage MentorCorps, a force of 33 history guardians trained to help volunteers in smaller historical societies protect what they have and plan for what to do if a disaster strikes.

Despite struggling to stay alive in recent years, the Southern Oregon Historical Society remains a key factor in preserving the rich heritage of the Rogue Valley and its communities.

Cheers — to the Westminster Kennel Club's decision to allow mixed-breed dogs to compete in an agility event in next month's elite annual competition. For the first time since the 1800s, dogs other than purebreds will get a chance to show what they can do, representing Everydog.