>   By Tony Ahern
   With all the hubbub of the Measure 37-fueled recall efforts rumbling through county government, it's easy to forget that are five candidates currently running to fill two-thirds of the commission for the next four years.
   Everyone interested or concerned about our county government ought to attend the county commission candidates forum that the chamber is hosting -- especially if you don't know who you will vote for.
   Too often these forums are simply a collection of supporters and friends/family of the individual candidates, with nary an undecided voter in the audience. The questions too often are plants to make one candidate look good while shining a bright light in the face of another.
   I hope the forum at the Senior Center at 6 p.m. Thursday is different.
   This is an important election. Come to the forum prepared to ask questions, see the candidates up close, and invest some real thought as to who is best to lead our county into the future, a future certainly to be robust but also rife with difficult, supremely important decision.
   A few weeks back this column lamented over the fact that many Madras High athletes chose not to play football, and the team was suffering as it jumped to the 5A level. A nice success story, though, shares the school's halls: MHS volleyball. Winless in their 3A league last year, this year's team -- under new coach Caron Smith -- has already won three matches in the very tough Intermountain Conference, including a victory over Top-10-ranked Bend.
   Way to step up, kids and coaches.
   The Madras Elks Lodge celebrated its 50th anniversary over the weekend. The lodge has been a social hub for half a century, enriching our countywide community. The lodge has also contributed in a myriad of ways, often quietly, to local youth and those in need. Congratulation on the half century, Elks. May many more years follow.
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