Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Snowballs and hot chocolate

The news of the first two and a half weeks of 2010 saw actions, decisions and statements either distinguished or worthy of derision. Many don't merit full editorial exploration, but are presented here with seasonal symbols of opprobrium or praise.

Hot chocolate: For the hardworking snowplow crews of the state, county, cities and private contractors who work through the night during heavy snowstorms like Monday's to clear the roadways that keep businesses humming, schools operating and travelers safe.

Hot chocolate: For the ski patrollers who put their own safety at risk to make Baldy safe for skiers after big snowfalls.

Snowballs: For the city of Ketchum whose refusal to enforce sidewalk-shoveling ordinances on out-of-town or recalcitrant property owners leaves pedestrians to posthole through clogged sidewalks or take their chances walking in traffic, So much for being "pedestrian friendly."

Hot chocolate: For every individual, family and business that has donated to relief efforts for the hundreds of thousands of victims of Haiti's huge earthquake.

Snowballs: For inconsiderate pilots or owners of noisy small jets who disturb the slumber of an entire community when they fail to abide by the noise limitation program at Friedman Memorial Airport in Hailey.

Hot chocolate: For the Environmental Resource Center, Blaine and Camas counties, Sun Valley, Ketchum, Hailey, Bellevue and Fairfield for joining together to apply for a state grant funded by federal stimulus funds that would pay for energy-reduction measures. Cooperation at last.

Snowballs: For people who have not been vaccinated for H1N1 flu even though the flu season's peak is still ahead and plenty of vaccine is available. They could make the spread of H1N1 worse than it should be.

Hot chocolate: For Google and its threat to pull out of China if the Chinese government insists on censoring Web searches by Internet users. Score a corporate blow for freedom.

Snowballs: For JPMorgan Chase and Co. Chair and CEO James Dimon, who became the leader for this year's "too dumb for words" award when he told the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission last week that the bank's blunder was "how we missed that housing prices don't go up forever."

Hot chocolate: For the people who attended last week's public hearing before the Blaine County School Board to support smart short-term and mostly interest-free borrowing to get building projects approved by voters in November under way this year in order to put people to work.

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