Cheers and jeers
Cheers — to local actress Shirley Patton, who is setting yet another example of grace and professionalism under pressure with her portrayal of Daisy Werthan in "Driving Miss Daisy" while coping with the effects of Parkinson's disease. Patton, 76, who acted with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival for 33 years, admits to still suffering stage fright before performing, especially in a role as demanding as Daisy. But her performance is drawing raves, which is not a surprise to anyone familiar with her work.
Cheers — to CVS Caremark, the nation's largest pharmacy chain, which announced this last week it will stop selling tobacco and related products in its 7,600 stores by October — a step it says will cost it $2 billion annually, or about 3 percent of its overall sales. The company said the move was prompted by changes in the pharmacy industry through the Affordable Care Act, parts of which promote wellness programs CVS and other companies plan to offer their customers.
CVS executives said selling tobacco does not promote an image of wellness, and they predicted the move would be a good one for the company in the long run.
The move is a courageous one for CVS, but it sends a powerful message, and we would not be surprised to see other pharmacy companies follow suit.
Jeers — to an initial reaction to the CVS announcement by a Fox News host. On "The Real Story," host Gretchen Carlson asked, "Is it OK legally ... to restrict tobacco availability in a private store like this?"
Well, of course it is, Gretchen. In fact, it would be decidedly un-American to tell a private retailer it had to sell any product.
What CVS did was make a private, free-market decision about its business — something Fox pundits ordinarily champion. To be fair, Fox Business Network's Adam Samson hailed the move as "refreshing" in an opinion piece, calling it "a free-market solution to a long-standing problem" — far preferable to government-mandated warnings and other regulations. Apparently Samson didn't send a copy to Carlson.
Cheers — to the city of Medford's decision to expand U.S.Cellular Community Park, adding three playing fields, a dog park and new parking. The work will be paid for with money from an increase in car rental fees the City Council previously approved. It's a win-win for the community, because car rental fees are paid primarily by visitors, and the new fields will allow more tournament games, which bring visiting teams to town, where they have spent an estimated $25.1 million since the park opened in 2008.