I read "Raising a stink" with great interest as I live in Mountain View Estates near Mountain View Paving. Notwithstanding the labyrinth of regulations and codes which often smother common sense, it's simply inappropriate for a polluting, smelly and noisy operation like it to be located near residences and next to Bear Creek where endangered salmon spawn.

I read "Raising a stink" with great interest as I live in Mountain View Estates near Mountain View Paving. Notwithstanding the labyrinth of regulations and codes which often smother common sense, it's simply inappropriate for a polluting, smelly and noisy operation like it to be located near residences and next to Bear Creek where endangered salmon spawn.

If "its existing operation does not comply with county regulations," why is it permitted to operate while the county decides whether to grant nonconforming-use permits allowing its nonconformity to be "legal"? If I get caught driving without a license, I'm not be permitted to drive while authorities decide whether to grant me one.

Twelve years of putting up with this operation is long enough! — Richard Keleshian, Talent

Something is wrong with this picture.

Some people are against dredging for gold in some of our rivers and streams, claiming we are endangering the fish in our streams by sucking up small holes in the riverbed, which by the way will fill in again with the spring runoff. We are not damaging fish eggs as they are running off the sluice and back into the river. A rattlesnake was sucked up — not on purpose — it got too close but it came out, floated down the sluice and swam off. Not hurt? Me neither!

We are also helping to remove mercury and lead from the river. We are not poisoning our waters! Plus, the state makes money from our permits!

Now we are reading that the state of Oregon may dump 20,000 pounds of dead fish into tributary streams which will run into the rivers. You, your children and pets are going to eat the fish and swim with a chance of salmonella poisoning. Plus, all the fish and their eggs will be exposed. Oh, I forgot all the other creatures drinking from the river! Were they going to tell us where and when? — Joan Walsh, Phoenix

In a recent letter, an "educator" misguidedly asserted that "our forefathers intentionally created separation of church and state" (a phrase that's not in our Constitution) "so that religion could never be used to oppress citizens." Obviously the allusion is to the First Amendment, which actually upholds religion and keeps the government from "prohibiting the free exercise thereof."

As for evolution, Darwin himself conceded that "my speculations run quite beyond the bounds of true science," and postulated that for his theory to be true, "innumerable transitional forms" would be discovered. None have been. And the ones produced by the "scientific community," e.g. Piltdown Man, Peking Man and Java Man, have been frauds. In contrast, about 2,000 (so far) of the 2,500 prophesies in the Bible have been fulfilled with stunning accuracy.

So, why do people cling so vehemently to a theory that has never been scientifically proven (nor could be)? Because the alternative is unthinkable, that there is an intelligent being responsible for creating the universe and mankind, and that we are accountable to him. Therefore their "faith" in the religion of evolution is subjective — it just has to be true.

There are definite credibility issues here that warrant honest examination. — Mark Giuntini, Medford

I attended the Quilter's Musical on a recent evening. It was a wonderful play performed by talented students. If you enjoy quilting or are interested in Oregon Trail history, you will enjoy this play. There is a matinee at 2 p.m. today, March 2. You will be amazed at the performances of these young ladies. — Alma Gates, Jacksonville, American Sewing Guild

America is a republic. Our founders feared a true democracy because it was just as dangerous as a monarchy. A system of checks and balances was set up to help limit corruption of government and the potential of an immoral majority developing within the American people.

Many people today either do not know or do not care that our republic is ultimately ruled by a Constitution.

It does not matter what a majority supports because we are not a democracy. A majority in America only matters when the Constitution is not in play. The Bill of Rights stands as a whole document. America was built on the right to bear arms and on the rights of an individual to bear arms, regardless of what his government or neighbor happens to think.

Ironically, the people who voice their opinion against this right have their freedom of speech protected by our guns. Without guns, all other amendments become null and void, simply because "We the People" will lose our power of enforcement and our ability to stop a tyrannical government.

If you want to live where guns are banned, go live on the south side of Chicago. — Marian Jill McKean, Phoenix

Ms. Kazmin (guest opinion, Feb. 19) well captures the numbing effects of years of "breakthrough" education programs, but she overlooks the effects of the SOW (Same Old Way). While almost every aspect of our economy has experienced massive productivity improvements (output per labor hour) we still see on average 20 to 30 kids and a teacher per classroom.

By questioning how content will be determined and success measured of online courses, Ms. Kazmin reveals a lack of knowledge. Not only can online course content be reviewed in a way similar to present textbooks, online real-time testing provides far greater information to the supervising educator than the SOW.

The education community needs to avoid clinging to the SOW to protect itself. The new digital education age has the potential to educate our kids better and cheaper than ever before. And educators who can thoughtfully embrace this change will experience great productivity growth and thus find their services worth more than ever before. — James Horner, Jacksonville

Some folks write about Sheriff Winters with little research into subjects of marijuana and enforcing gun laws, such as "Sheriffs refuse to enforce laws" in the Jan. 23 letters. People read, hear, interpret what they want.

Oregon sheriffs have clearly stated they would not enforce laws that violate provisions of the Constitution of the United States. Sheriff Winters is one of the best sheriffs in the history of Jackson County. I've known all sheriffs since DeArmond Leigh, and Winters will do everything in his power to enforce legal laws and protect the rights of all.

The firearms issue is another hot topic. The media game is nothing more than sensational, slanted, sorry attempts at journalism.

The major problem started generations ago with lack of family discipline and not controlling their mentally challenged members. I don't condone violence in video games, and the unreality they portray to our children. These games depict murder, horrid violence, graphic images and nothing about consequences, penalties and reality.

Keep your marijuana from behind the wheel of your car. Control your guns. We're in deeper than you think. — W. Van Blarcom, retired law enforcement, Talent