High-school kids and teachers can breathe easier after winning a reprieve from the curriculum-killing Certificate of Initial Mastery. State schools Superintendent Susan Castillo pulled the plug last week on the reform experiment, which buried students in work for a certificate that never meant much to universities or employers. Kudos to critics Caleb Burns, Rob Kremer and Steve Schopp for their successful eight-year jihad against the much-hated CIM.

It took a while, but the FBI finally nabbed six people accused of an "eco-terrorism" campaign in the Northwest between 1998 and 2001. The roundup of suspects in an arson-and-vandalism spree included two arrests in Oregon.

Genny Nelson got some well-deserved recognition at a City Hall ceremony after being named one of the nation's Ten Most Caring People for 2005. The top 10 award comes from the Caring Institute in Washington, D.C. Rather than making a crack about whether there's also an Apathy Institute, we salute Nelson, who founded Old Town's Sisters of the Road Cafe in 1979.


Paging Nurse Ratched! The Oregon State Hospital in Salem got slapped with a class-action lawsuit last week from the Oregon Advocacy Center alleging inadequate staffing levels and dangerous conditions at the 122-year-old hospital. The suit comes after public shame about injuries to patients and staff failed to change anything.

Whither the Christmas spirit? Evan Christopher Dean aroused suspicion when he wandered into traffic to solicit customers for his "50 percent off" Christmas-tree concession along Southwest 20th Avenue near Jefferson Street. Police found Dean smelling of alcohol and standing next to about 20 coniferous trees, which cops traced back to a Lamb's Market in Southwest Portland. Dean was arrested and charged with first-degree theft.

Will the Trail Blazers score 100 points even once this season? How long will dwindling numbers of fans be forced to watch Viktor Khryapa guard (and if you watched Sunday's game, you know we use that verb loosely) NBA superstars like Houston's Tracy McGrady? Bring on lacrosse.