Congress ignores many women

One of the inspiring entries in the Presidential Inaugural Parade was Native American women veterans marching and dancing with their military rank stitched on the sleeves of their beautiful, traditional costumes. Their pride in service to our country brought tears to my eyes.

Tears also welled up knowing that congressional Republicans have eliminated Native American women from the Violence Against Women Act. Passed in 1994, the Violence Against Women Act has been renewed by each Congress since then. It gives protection for all women against domestic violence. This past Congress did not renew the act, but passed an alternative bill that disregards Native American, lesbian and immigrant women. This alternative bill now sits in the Senate, which wisely is letting it languish.

Yes, Rep. Greg Walden, Jackson County's congressman, voted for the alternative bill. When the original Violence Against Women Act is reintroduced to the current Congress, contact Rep. Walden at his Washington, D.C., office at 202-225-6730 or at his local office in Medford at 541-776-4646.

In the meantime, join an event resisting violence again women: One Billion Rising, from 6 to 10 p.m. Feb. 14, at the Bellview Grange. See more about the event at www.onebillionrising.org and locally at harrism@sou.edu. — Jan Waitt, Ashland

Guns should be locked up

A 15-year-old man in New Mexico recently murdered his family using guns he removed from a closet. An all too familiar story happens again.

The gun used in the mall killings in the Portland area was taken from a friend. Our country would not need more gun control laws if guns were required to be secure from theft or locked in a safe. Gun owners should be held responsible if their guns are not secured and used for a crime.

This would eliminate most gun violence. If someone can afford guns and ammunition, they can damn well afford a gun safe. The first thing most burglars seek when invading a home is guns.

Unless we require gun owners to secure their firearms, new gun laws will not be effective. All of my hunting rifles are locked in a gun safe. This is a practical solution that does not infringe on the Second Amendment. — Dick Dunbar, Medford

Thanks to Greystone

ACCESS would like to say a huge "thank-you" to all of the Greystone Court residents for their incredible holiday gift called the Greystone Court Food Drive and much appreciation for spending long hours on the cold winter nights leading up to Christmas, collecting food and money.

Special thanks to the thousands of generous donors who turned out to celebrate the 13th anniversary of the drive, and to the Kimmel Family Foundation for its cash match that helped realize a total of more than $39,000 and 9,818 pounds of food to help feed local hungry families and individuals. These generous donations will provide more than 200,000 meals, or enough food to feed over 3,000 local families for a whole week!

ACCESS thanks all of the donors and residents who helped make this a wonderful holiday celebration. For those who missed it, mark your calendar, we hope to see you there next year! — Philip Yates, ACCESS Nutrition Programs director, Medford

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