Cheers and jeers from around the news:

• Cheers to the employees in the Sabattus town office. Here’s why:

Because of all the public concern about swine flu, the town had installed glass panels between the employees and people coming into the office. The problem? Glass panels stop sound. Which means that transacting town business, all of a sudden, meant screaming. That didn’t make sense so the panels came down, germs or not.

This is a small thing, but worth recognizing, because it is an occasion where common sense triumphs. While those panels were unlikely to stop a single town employee from contracting swine flu, they would certainly have been a nuisance for everybody involved.

• Cheers to the Beth’s House Committee in West Paris; we hope for their success. The committee is a group of townspeople helping 24-year-old Beth Coffin build a new home. Coffin, who suffers from myriad maladies, is confined to a wheelchair and sleeps in a portable lung every night.

There’s a fundraiser tonight at Celebration Barn in Paris — the show starts at 7:30 p.m. Neighbors helping neighbors is something that never goes out of style. We encourage anyone who can help to consider giving Beth’s House Committee a hand with their noble goal.

• Jeers to the Obama administration for taking steps to gut a federal shield law for journalists. In September, the administration proposed sweeping changes to the bill before the Senate — which has earned House approval — to protect reporters from being compelled to disclose sources of information.

The president’s backtracking on this matter is curious and disappointing. The endorsement of transparency in government is not mutually exclusive from protecting journalists who are working to hold government accountable. In fact, we would argue they would go hand-in-hand.

President Obama should end his attempts to weaken the shield law — which gives the executive branch sweeping authority to decide which cases merit prosecution or not, according to the Associated Press — and put his support behind a strong shield that protects journalists from persecution.

• And finally, cheers and jeers to Babe the Blue Ox in Rumford. We think it looks great — and amazingly lifelike, if a giant powder-blue oxen can be called lifelike — and it’s the perfect accompaniment to the town’s landmark Paul Bunyan statue.

Our only quibble is placement. Why not put Babe and Paul together? They developed their legend together, so letting them stand head-to-hip would have seemed to make sense.

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