Approximately $36 million for 15 new libraries, a bond far from being paid off, then there's not enough money to operate them. Hence, short hours of operation.

Approximately $36 million for 15 new libraries, a bond far from being paid off, then there's not enough money to operate them. Hence, short hours of operation.

How many taxpayers use the libraries? How many have tried to use them and found them closed due to confusing hours of operation?

Commissioner Rachor states that it would only be an additional 27 cents per median priced home, about $51 from each homeowner to raise the $5 million needed to fund the 15 branches. About $333,000 each. Three branches are only open eight hours per week. Medford is only open 24 hours per week.

Ludicrous! What kind of business could survive this ridiculous business plan? Rachor states that it would cost $600,000 and $900,000 to maintain the buildings if they were closed (See solution). Rachor says approximately $5 million is needed. Did you ever see them underestimate a cost?

Solution: Fund Ashland, Central Point, Eagle Point, Medford and Phoenix. Sell or lease the other 10 buildings. Restrict the income from them to paying off the bond, and then let the excess go into the county general fund. — Leroy F. Moore, Eagle Point

A recent column by Leonard Pitts Jr. titled "To black Americans: Wake the hell up" certainly caused a reaction in me.

We forget too quickly or push down the uncomfortable realizations of how we Americans are manipulated into looking the other way. Even if this young man in Florida acted in a suspicious manner and/or posed a physical threat to Mr. Zimmerman, how can we look past the why? How can we look past who's responsible for the why? How can we look past the generations of who is responsible for the why?

What is so incomprehensible is that those of us who are not black Americans don't get it. Differences in color, religious beliefs, ethnicity all contribute to making each one of us richer and more complete. We have become so desensitized to the horrors that continue in this world and in our country.

In the final count, no one really gains from injustice and hate. Each of us has to make an effort to change our prejudicial attitudes. It's just so painful to realize we continue to treat each other with such disrespect, instead of "love thy neighbor." — Katharine Sloan, Medford

I am for keeping Extension and 4-H programs.

My daughter has been a 4-H leader for 42 years starting at Crater, where she became a leader in knitting. As a child she had pigs, then sheep, which she still raises today. She is a schoolteacher in Newberg.

My granddaughter has also been in 4-H and still is a leader. She has been a 4-H ambassador and went to foreign countries such as Poland, where she started a 4-H club of 75 youths. It was a great experience.

The members learn pride in themselves and their projects. They do all of their own projects, chores and record-keeping of financial expenses. There are so many things to do — rocks, photography, sewing and cooking, knitting, painting and raising animals.

If you go to the fair, you will see how proud they are of all of the projects. They are really a nice group of children. You don't have any 4-H children in trouble, as they have to do all their own projects on time. I'm for keeping the Extension and 4-H. — Orpha Thumler, Central Point

I have to respond to the "Analysis, please" letter advocating a cost/benefit analysis on the viability of maintaining our Jackson County library system in the face of tax increases.

Not everything connected with the library system is quantifiable. "Quality of life" issues must also be taken into account when considering the value of libraries.

There is more to the Ashland library (and by extension, to all libraries) than merely hard-copy circulation statistics. The library provides a center and focus for the community. Young people are drawn to the library as an educational magnet. There are so many programs throughout the year for readers and learners of all ages.

Without the library, Ashland will not be as intellectually and culturally attractive as it is at present. Its loss would be felt by so many people (not just direct users) and in so many ways. I would hate to be in a community that is without a library system. Please don't let this happen. A final point — not everyone wants to receive information digitally; some of us still enjoy the tactile feel of a book. — Richard Krieger, Ashland

The changes at the county animal shelter vastly improve the quality of life for animals gaining access to the shelter system. The big hole in the sheltering safety net was not squarely addressed, along with the cause and solution to the problem of homeless animals.

When the shelter is full, those animals turned away and referred to other shelters face the same situation — all shelters are full with huge waiting lists. So in reality there is no resort or alternative available. In the end, the shelter numbers may look better, but what happens to those animals? How many are ultimately left to breed, further compounding the already horrible situation facing homeless animals struggling to survive on the streets?

The source of the problem, and the source of unspeakable suffering, is overpopulation. The solution is neuter and spay. These topics were conspicuously absent in the media coverage of the issue. — S. Mackler, director, Spay Neuter Your Pet