They said it couldn’t be done.

For years, Madras city government has said that it couldn’t find the money to pave those west Madras streets. Congrats to current city management, council and staff for making it a priority to, well, get it done.

The paving helps the look and feel of the entire community, but obviously, and more specifically, greatly improves those targeted areas transitioning from dusty dirt to clean asphalt. The southwest section of town has been figuratively screaming for pavement for years. What a great improvement.

There shouldn’t be a named or numbered street within the city limits that isn’t paved, really. Hopefully it will continue to be a focus of the city to work toward that end.

The rain may have slowed this week’s paving progress, but it’s looking good, city of Madras.

Between dancers, parents, family and friends, a thousand or more Jefferson County residents — a pretty good chunk of the central county population — will be heading to Prineville Friday and Saturday for the Dance Arts Unlimited year-ending recitals. That’s a ton (many tons) of people leaving town for entertainment, much to the delight of the Prineville gas stations and restaurants.

Since the late 1980s, when the dance studio was established in Madras, the year-ending show has taken place in Redmond or Prineville, as there hasn’t been a venue in Madras suitable. Next year will likely be the last year such a caravan will be necessary. The year after that, June 2015, the show can take place at the new Madras performing arts center.

That will be welcomed: no more driving to Prineville for the Wednesday dress rehearsal, then back to Prineville for the Friday show, and again for the Saturday show. All that will take place here in Madras — and the after-parties will take place in local restaurants. That will be a big chunk of money saved through reduced travel, and cash spent here — all good.

This weekend — the first actual weekend of summer — truly kicks off the summer season. And things don’t slow down until the MAC Dash in September.

Native Americans from throughout North America will be in Warm Springs this weekend for the annual Pi-Ume-Sha Treaty Days celebration. It’s the biggest, most festive weekend of the year in Warm Springs. One of the many amazing aspects of Pi-Ume-Sha (which means “to celebrate”) is that it honors the signing of the 1855 treaty which created the reservation. The Warm Springs Reservation is older than the state of Oregon (1859).

The reservation was established during the Wild West era, and that history comes alive on the Pi-Ume-Sha grounds. There are plenty of nonNatives, too, so don’t be shy. Come experience it.

This weekend also brings the rockhound pow wow, followed by the big Fourth of July in Madras, the Independence Day celebration on July 6 in Crooked River Ranch, the county fair in late July, then the Community in the Park event, Culver Crawdad Festival, plus the Airshow of the Cascades — all before August wraps up. And that’s only some of the fun.

Not that I particularly care about celebrity chef Paula Deen, or cooking shows, or any of that created celebrity-dom that has our American culture by the throat. But I am taken aback how she’s been crucified by admitting she has used the “N” word in the past. Now, if it was a word or attitude she continued to use in her modern day, then yes, feel free to classify her as a racist piece of work.

But, apparently, that isn’t the case, according to nearly everyone who’s gone on record that I’m aware of — except the one former manager (for five years) of a Deen restaurant who’s taking Deen to court, claiming racism led to her dismissal.

If we tossed every big-named, “important” person or celebrity in our country out of their jobs for ever muttering that disgusting word, well ... there’d be a lot of jobs opening.

And Deen grew up in the ’60s in the South. I grew up in the ’70s in the West, and I heard it, mostly from other kids, a ton. Ignorantly, now embarrassingly, I said it myself before I knew better at, thankfully, an early age.

It’s certainly the right of the Food Network and other sponsors to jettison Deen, but shouldn’t they at least wait for the trial? Everyone is for decency, but this screams of over-the-top P.C.-ites. It’s 2013. Allow honesty. Recognize where we were, and where we are. Forgive and move on.

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