Thumbs up to crab, cops; down to a missed deadline
Cheers — to the news that Oregon's commercial Dungeness crab season will open Jan. 4 after delays because of high levels of a potentially dangerous toxin. Crab lovers look forward to the season every year, and many plan holiday meals around the tasty crustacean. That was not to be after tests detected levels of domoic acid, a toxin produced by algae blooms that are more prevalent when ocean temperatures are warmer.
Subsequent tests found the acid was below the threshold for concern, and recreational crabbing is now open. Less adventurous crab lovers can wait a couple of weeks for the commercial harvest to begin.
Jeers — to Congress' failure to implement the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement before the pact expires Jan. 1. There was hope that the necessary legislation could be inserted in the budget measure that passed Friday before members headed home for Christmas, but that didn't happen.
The agreement remains controversial in the Klamath Basin and in northern California, but it also remains the best bet for sharing water among ranchers, farmers and Indian tribes. It's unclear what the next step will be, but if the deal can't be salvaged, the future could bring a repeat of the water protests by farmers in 2001 and the subsequent death of thousands of salmon.
Cheers — to the Ashland Police Department's Shop with a Cop program that pairs officers with children whose families can't afford Christmas gifts. This year, the program's sixth in a row, saw 18 Police Department staffers volunteer to help selected children spend gift cards donated by the Rotary Club of Ashland Lithia Springs and Walmart.
Cheers — to the donation of art supplies to all kindergarten students at Medford's Roosevelt Elementary School thanks to the daughter of a woman who started painting in her 80s and wanted to leave a legacy of encouraging children to explore artistic expression. Ann Kelly, who died in October at 92, always had a passion for art but her immigrant family wasn't able to afford art supplies when she was a child. Now a new generation of children will get to try what she waited a lifetime for. Kelly's daughter has plans to continue promoting art for children, perhaps by starting a foundation.