LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Sheriff's response outstanding

We would like to commend Sheriff Mike Winters and his exceptional department for their outstanding response to the incident that occurred on Coleman Creek Road. As one of the neighbors involved in this incident, we believe the residents of Jackson County need to realize just how dangerous this situation became.

For months this man has struggled with severe mental illness. We tried desperately to get him the help he needed. Since the start, our sheriff's deputies have respectfully done everything in their power to protect the residents and help resolve the situation. Unfortunately, time and again their hands were tied because of the laws in place.

This event could have potentially become a fatal incident if it weren't for the professionalism of our sheriff's deputies. They saved his life and hopefully he will be able to get help now. Thank you, Sheriff Winters and deputies, for so tactfully handling this incident. We sincerely believe the sheriff's department should be recognized for its outstanding performance.

Next time you see a deputy, say "thank you" for protecting us. These men and women do an extremely dangerous job. — Ron and Jacqui Lallo, Medford


Increase the gas tax

With the state police below what was on the force 30 years ago and many counties having problems funding law enforcement, why not increase the gas tax? How about 1 cent for state police and 1 cent for counties, only to be used for that purpose. — Howard W. Grisso, Medford


Will Walden lead?

It's become apparent that, after shedding the requisite number of crocodile tears, the United States Congress has adopted and will maintain a low profile until the horror of the Newtown massacre recedes from the headlines and collective minds of the populace. Or is their profound silence a confirmation that the National Rifle Association has successfully emasculated each and every one of them?

While the president has repeatedly expressed his determination to challenge a dysfunctional system that allows our most dysfunctional citizens access to weapons created for the battlefield, he cannot personally enact legislation. The creation and amendment of laws lies exclusively within the purview of Congress.

And speaking of Congress, can we expect Greg Walden, our overly longtime representative, now a senior member of the House, to lead the way to a future brighter than that which befell the Newtown first-graders? Despite the furor of Newtown, we have yet to hear anything meaningful from Mr. Walden on this subject. Has he joined the low-profile group? Would it be asking too much to expect a modicum of leadership, not to mention decency, in dealing with this issue?

Party lines should not constitute a barrier to cooperation in ameliorating this problem. — Bob Warren, Medford


Help reduce health costs

Your editorial and reporting on the hospitals and medical costs in Jackson County are puff pieces that may satisfy the source of your advertising revenue, but they do nothing to help Jackson County residents connect the dots on what they can do about overpaying for health care in Jackson County.

You do nothing to explain why Asante has hundreds of millions in reserves while Ashland hospital is broke. You do nothing to shed light on why we pay twice as much as Europeans and Asians per capita for health care. It is time for you to stand up and be counted and help the citizens of Jackson County to reduce health costs in Jackson County by $1 billion.

Our citizens and our economy can no longer afford to overpay for these services. Now is the time to think globally and act locally on our health care costs here. I encourage you to read the Time Magazine article this week on how medical care costs are killing us.

I encourage you to look at local solutions at www.electmarksoderstrom.com. — Mark Soderstrom, Phoenix


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