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Cheers and jeers

Cheers — to Sid and Karen DeBoer, whose philanthropic foundation has purchased Camp Low Echo, the longtime Girl Scout camp at Lake of the Woods. The camp will be restored and operated as a nonprofit, available for use by community groups, schools and youth organizations, potentially including Scout groups.

The regional Girl Scout council based in Portland announced two years ago that the camp would be sold, dismaying many in the local community, especially women and girls who have fond memories of attending camp there. Low Echo had operated for 80 years. The DeBoers' purchase ensures that the camp will continue to be a part of the local community.

Jeers — to the school board in Meridian, Idaho, which has voted to remove a novel by Sherman Alexie from its cultural diversity curriculum. The semi-autobiographical book, "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian," describes living on the Spokane Indian Reservation before attending an all-white high school off the reservation. It won several awards, including the National Book Award.

Parents objected to language and themes in the book they said were inappropriate for high school students. According to a report by Oregon Public Broadcasting, the book touches on alcohol use, homosexuality, violence, tragic deaths and poverty.

If parents think their children haven't already encountered any of these issues in their own lives, they are seriously deluded. High school students who have not encountered any have led sheltered lives indeed.

Parents who object to a particular book should have the option of substituting an alternative for their own children, but they should not be able to deny it to all students.

Cheers — to recent efforts to clean up the Bear Creek Greenway in the vicinity of Hawthorne Park. City Council members complimented the work after they toured the area last week.

Volunteers hope to secure funding to continue working north all the way to McAndrews Road, removing nonnative blackberry bushes and eventually planting native vegetation such as dogwoods and willows. The work will help make the Greenway and Hawthorne Park more inviting by removing the brambles that became makeshift camps for transients in recent years.

Cheers — to local square-dance caller Denny Lantz, celebrating a half-century of promoting not just square dancing, but music and other styles of dance, including clogging. Lantz says he never thought of it as a job, but as hobby he enjoyed and never stopped doing. Along the way, he's taught countless people here and around the world.