A safe, nutritious component of commercial hamburger was called "pink slime." The media went wild and it could no longer be used. Hamburger became more expensive.

A safe, nutritious component of commercial hamburger was called "pink slime." The media went wild and it could no longer be used. Hamburger became more expensive.

Now we have a "fiscal cliff," and the Republican leadership was desperate to avoid it because they know the media blames Republicans when they won't go along with Democrat demands. The Democrats can let it happen because it puts the Republicans under more pressure to compromise.

The "fiscal pothole" — a more apt name — will be fixed after the politicians get what they want from it.

Now, we need a name for the coming situation when we can no longer borrow enough money to pay the interest on the national debt. That will make "fiscal cliff" look like a curbstone. — Ira Edwards, Medford

The Mail Tribune — and all the rest of us — lost an irreplaceable treasure in the passing of Al Reiss, aged 80, from complications of Parkinson's on Dec. 30.

Writers knew Al as one of those fearsome creatures, the Pro Critics, but we loved him fearlessly as the gentlest of literary lions. It's hard to express the full extent of appreciation, of applause, of envy, felt by us who live by stringing together perfectly good words in ordinary ways, for a man like Al who crafted necklaces of ordinary words in perfect ways.

Well, no wonder. There have never been enough people — never will be — who merit that much approval. I've known Al Reiss and his work for half of my life, and sharpened my critical claws on a few colleagues, and with Al as my model, tried to be even-handed in scattering the cheers and jeers. After all that, I was fated to seek at least one criticism of our fallen champion.

And finally found it. Al Reiss didn't live long enough. — Dean Ing, Ashland

Isn't it amazing what a joint community effort can do? The people of Wimer raised a fallen covered bridge. Now they have reopened the closed Evans Valley School. It'll also serve as a community center. They must learn the interest of the people in order to become a successful project. Your suggestions are definitely wanted and are greatly needed.

Suggestion boxes are at the Wimer and the Trading Depot markets and Wimer Way Cafe. You can also mail them to CVCA, P.O. Box 515, Rogue River, OR 97537.

Subjects to cover include genealogy, raising your own meat supply, meat cutting, wool spinning, Wimer days with a pioneer fair, wills and estate planning, and the list goes on.

Please list your name, telephone number, classes, courses, lectures, projects or demonstrations you wish to teach or attend Monday through Thursday afternoons and evenings starting in February. Your immediate reply is needed to determine class size, rooms, number of teachers, the subjects desired and scheduling. — Cecil C. Smith, Rogue River

I am a 65-year-old Vietnam veteran and gun owner for more than 50 years. I support the Second Amendment, but I must speak out about the insanity of the National Rifle Association and its refusal to even have a reasonable conversation about gun control.

In Oregon, any one who wants to operate a motor vehicle has to take periodic tests to show that they can safely operate a motor vehicle. ATVs, motorcycles and boats require separate testing and licensing, but to own or use a gun, no such testing or licensing is required for adults. I recently took an NRA class that is required in order to be issued a concealed weapons permit. I did that not because I "pack" a gun but because I sometimes carry a weapon on long motorcycle trips where I might be camping by myself.

I was astounded to find that in Oregon you do not have to show that you can safely use a firearm or even know how to load it! There was absolutely no requirement to show that anyone could safely shoot a weapon.

Reasonable gun laws are not a threat to the Second Amendment. — Tom Dew, Medford