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Cheers to snow, jeers to lawn letters

Cheers — to the long-awaited rain and even snow at Crater Lake, hastening the end of another destructive fire season. Rogue Valley residents endured weeks of smoky air as firefighters battled blazes in every direction. Most recently, especially fast-moving fires in Northern California destroyed hundreds of homes. We're not out of the woods yet, pardon the expression, but the moisture certainly helps.

Jeers — to homeowners associations that insist their members keep their lawns lush and green — just because they can. The Bend Bulletin reported some residents had received letters, and in at least one case a fine, from their homeowners associations. One letter reminded homeowners that the city of Bend had not restricted water use, so there was no excuse for not watering. That kind of pressure in the midst of a drought is irresponsible, and the city should prohibit associations from punishing members for conserving water — as the state of California has done.

Cheers — to the Medford School Board for considering a delay in imposing new fees for use of district facilities by community groups. The district certainly has good reasons for wanting to control costs, but the new fee proposal was announced with little notice, and nonprofit groups in particular complained that they were caught unprepared. Having to pay fees would mean groups such as the YMCA, Boy Scouts and a local basketball association passing on those costs to parents of the children in their programs. The board will take up the matter again later this month; we hope  board members can find a solution that won't place too much of a burden on families and nonprofit groups.

Cheers — to the news that the county will make space available in its new Human Services Building for specialists from Oregon Health & Science University to see local special needs children, meaning those children and their parents won't have to travel to Portland for medical appointments.