I just want to express my disappointment at the look of the new Plaza here in Ashland.

I just want to express my disappointment at the look of the new Plaza here in Ashland.

On a walk this morning I stood at the entrance to Lithia Park and gazed back toward the Plaza. What met my eye was a preponderance of gray, gray and more gray. It was difficult to tell where the street pavement ended and the new Plaza pavers began. They are all basically the same color.

In addition, the kiosk that now seems to tower over the entire scene is another shade of gray, just adding to the blahness of it all. I sorely miss the green of the grass that was there, even if it was being trampled to death. I suppose we'll be seeing some green soon, though, as the weeds begin to grow in the thousands of cracks between all those pavers! — Robert Janssen, Ashland

My name is Kristi Oreb. My fiance, Archie Powers, and I lost our home, belongings, vehicles and pets in a fire last September.

We have begun rebuilding our lives. Although we still struggle, things are starting to come together for us. We couldn't have made it without the community's help and support.

Thanks to all who helped donate clothes, food, dishes, blankets, etc. We appreciate everyone's help.

Special thanks to All Seasons Painting, Crown Homes, the Flory family, Linda Schwab, Gold Hill Methodist Church, Merril Store and Don (cleanup), and of course, my mom, Sandi Oreb,and other family members, Fred and Linda Reed, the Red Cross and Sanctuary One for bringing Harley home.

Thanks to all those people in the community. Their contributions are appreciated. — Kristi Oreb and Archie Powers, Central Point

Recently, someone in this space wondered why Obama supporters sometimes think Obama detractors are "racist." So let me spell it out. We consider you racist when you:

Call Obama "boy," or "lazy," as Roger Ailes of Fox News recently did.

Accuse him of being born in Africa.

Demand to see his birth certificate. No white president has ever had this demand placed on him, has he?

Call his certificate "fake" when he releases it.

Applaud some clown who accuses Obama of wanting to establish "death panels," or other vapid nonsense you would never accuse a white man of.

Repeatedly embarrass yourself by accusing Obama of being a "closet Muslim," or refer to his "Muslim buddies."

Have I clarified it for you? — Craig Callaway, Eagle Point

United, or Divided States of America?

Our states fight each other. Propagation lives. Don't be a thief as the government hates competition.

Crime still pays in our country. Commit a crime and get free room and board. Why not? Two hundred billion dollars is spent every year on criminals at the taxpayers' expense.

What is wrong with this equation? Is this justice?

I hope for responses. — Marie English, Medford

How many of us "baby boomers" remember in the old days (before the invention of bucket seats) when we had bench seats in the front of cars and your sweetie could sit next to you real close — you could have one hand on the wheel and one arm around the shoulders of your girl (never the opposite, girls never drove with their boyfriends next to them).

We had a little law in the '50s and '60s called "driving while encumbered." It meant that you didn't have your hands at 2 and 10 on the wheel, and were occupied otherwise. We call these old days B.C. (before cellphones) and yes, we could get a ticket for it. — Anita Brown, Medford