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Keeping it orderly

Every time I read the restaurant inspections, I'm amazed that they're all alphabetical. And they are from all over the county. It seems to me that it would be much more efficient/cost effective/air pollution reducing if the restaurants inspected were in the same general vicinity. So, I'm asking ... how come?

— Margaret B., by email

Well, as usual, Margaret, you can blame the messenger. It's not that the county inspects them alphabetically, it's just that the list the county's Environmental Health Division puts together is ordered alphabetically, and we here at the Muddy Tributary are all about being orderly, so we run them alphabetically.

While we haven't followed the restaurant inspectors on their appointed rounds, we're pretty sure they aren't driving from restaurant to restaurant based on their place in the alphabet.

You see a partial alphabetical list just about every Sunday in the Mail Tribune, which comes from a longer list provided by the county. In November, for example, the Health Department inspected 108 restaurants, and we ran 26 of those scores in the paper on Sunday, Dec. 29. We don't parcel them out to keep you in suspense, Margaret, but to avoid running a huge list that would require more space than we have available.

While we're on the topic of restaurant inspections, we might as well do our annual dispelling of the myth that we don't run the names of restaurants that fail. We do run them, but there just aren't very many that fail. Honest.

If you want to see a more complete list of recent restaurant inspection scores, check it out online at www.mailtribune.com/dining.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.