As the countdown comes to end the basketball season, I want Medford to know a bit more of the Lady Panthers of South Medford High School.

As the countdown comes to end the basketball season, I want Medford to know a bit more of the Lady Panthers of South Medford High School.

You have heard of the basketball achievements that reached the top in their championship in the state in 2012 and their fight to the finish this year, but there is so much more to know.

The girls have worked hard to learn well and achieve high grades in school. They have traveled across the nation spreading fine play, superior sportsmanship and goodwill for Medford.

They find time to show the younger kids how to do well in whatever they are trying to do. They do great projects for Medford and still find the time to be kind to old folks like us.

Lady Panthers and Coach Tom Cole, we salute you. We are proud of you. — Dorothy Schoder, Medford

The April 2 Chicago Tribune editorial urging approval for the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline reminded me of earlier times when people could claim to believe that nature is an endless frontier.

"Before and after" photos of tar sands mines in Alberta tell the story of thousands of acres of lush, green forestland turned into treeless, animal-less acres of wasteland.

It might seem that if Canada is going to ruin its land and water, we may as well get badly needed jobs building the pipeline. People might agree to do things in hard economic times that they suspect of being wrong-headed.

We live in a closed biological system. What happens in one place affects another. What we really can't afford is to take environmental risks for Big Oil's profits.

Most people in the U.S. want money and muscle put into halting global warming. We have the brilliant minds and enviable entrepreneurial skills to create jobs in renewable technologies. The work began a long time ago and could move forward fast with the subsidies that oil companies have gotten.

None of the benefits claimed in the Chicago Tribune piece would make the pipeline worth the price. There are better investments. — Vicki Simpson, Ashland

My wife and I are retired teachers. Reading all the recent articles about "fixing" PERS we are wondering, when did we become the wrongdoers? At what point did we get sole ownership of the problem?

When my wife and her fellow teachers agreed to lower salaries in order to keep class sizes smaller, why were they so foolish for expecting to be taken care of after they retired? When we accepted lower salaries in exchange for deferred compensation in the form of retirement benefits, we really did think that we were dealing with honest folks. Were we wrong? Was it really so absurd to expect contracts to be honored?

We can agree that the Oregon economy is in trouble. But if sacrifices need to be made, it is clearly not fair or proper to single out one group to bear the burden.

Oregon's public servants did not cause the problems on Wall Street that are the root of this problem. We met the terms of our contracts. We acted in good faith. We deserve equal treatment in return. — Robert Keim, Talent

When my husband and I moved to Ashland three years from Phoenix, Ariz., we knew our new home offered much to keep us active, both intellectually and physically. You cannot imagine our surprise to discover not only a world-class theater, but an equally outstanding film festival.

Waiting in line (even in the rain), we heard nothing but outstanding comments regarding the quality of the films, the organization of the festival itself and the interesting and provocative conversations elicited from the superbly well-done films. Even the filmmakers with whom we spoke raved about the gracious reception they received not only from Ashland Independent Film Festival staff, but the community as well.

Hearty congratulations to the staff and board of AIFF. Kudos to you all, much-deserved, much-earned and much-appreciated. — Helen Rosen and John Holloway, Ashland