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Thumbs up to cub's return, down to football clash

Cheers — to the news that the bear cub who wandered into Rite Aid in Ashland last week will return to Southern Oregon and be released into the wild, not kept in captivity as officials had announced earlier. Specialists with the Progressive Animal Welfare Society, which operates one of the top bear rehabilitation centers in the country, say they believe the female cub can be returned to the wild after spending the winter at the PAWS center with no human interaction and a diet that mimics what bears eat in their natural habitat. Here's hoping the cub — who has not been named in accordance with PAWS policy — will live a long life far away from pharmacies in the future.

Jeers — to the new practice of scheduling major college football games on Friday night — the time long reserved for high-school contests. College officials traditionally avoided the conflict out of of a desire not to draw fan support away from prep teams. Last Friday, the Oregon Ducks-Cal Bears game conflicted directly with the annual Black and Blue game between North and South Medford.

There is only one reason for the Pac-12 to deviate from the longstanding policy: money. It's bad enough that so many dollars are riding on what is supposed to be a amateur contest between teams of student athletes. The least the league could do would be to respect the traditional high school football night.

Cheers — to the Medford Schools Foundation, which is stepping up its fundraising efforts to fill the gaps left by cuts to public education. Grant requests approved so far this year include microphones, cameras and iPads for North Medford High School's media center, money for advanced music coaches at both high schools and photography equipment for Central Medford High School. In a perfect world, there would be money in the state schools budget for these enhancements and more, but it's gratifying to see local citizens stepping in to meet the need.

Jeers — to the unnamed woman who apparently thinks it's OK to leave her "artwork" on rocks in some of America's most beautiful natural places. The woman posted photos of her paintings on social media as she traveled to national parks across the West, including Crater Lake. National Park Service officials are investigating, and she could face criminal charges. Apparently the woman does not understand that what she sees as artistic expression is actually vandalism that defaces the natural beauty for everyone else who visits.