Don't sell out libraries

How sad that we are even considering closing some branches of our libraries! Schools and libraries are the foundation of advanced societies. We have underfunded our schools for years now (35 children to one teacher is absurd), and now this.

Can we understand that those misguided individuals out on the streets might have benefited from better education, in their youth and beyond?

Leaving education to TV and the Internet alone is not the way.

I have a feeling that the retirement community in Jackson County would be willing to volunteer to check in/out and re-shelve books, leaving the big picture to the paid staff. I also think that many individuals can and would pay a reasonable yearly user fee for the wide variety of opportunities their local libraries provide.

I am a bit skeptical of the property-taxation approach these days, so those that feel overtaxed would not be forced to participate. So... add together the revenues from user fees for access, with volunteers and a reasonable Jackson County monetary input, and aren't we close to making it work?

Let's not sell our library buildings to the highest bidder because of the apathy of a few. — Ross Cook, Jacksonville

Choose your fossil fuel

We've known since the 19th century that carbon dioxide in the atmosphere causes it to heat up. Nowadays the primary source of carbon dioxide is burning fossil fuels for transportation and for generating electricity.

Hard-nosed organizations such as the World Bank and the International Panel on Climate Change tell us that if the world is to stay habitable, we have to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and leave most fossil fuel in the ground.

So which ones do we leave? Those that provide the least energy for the energy we use to extract them. Also, those whose extraction causes serious human and environmental health hazards. That means nixing tar sands oil, the Keystone XL pipeline, and fracking for gas.

In addition, it will help to level the economic playing field for renewable carbon-free energy production. One way is to tax the fossil fuels at their source. — Ken Deveney, Ashland

Gas prices puzzling

I'm scratching my head over our valley's gas prices. I left our smoke-filled valley behind and drove north, ultimately ending up in Tillamook. I filled my car in Medford with premium gas at $4.23 a gallon. As I was driving through back roads on Highways 22 and 18 near Hebo and Beaver, the gas prices were $4.08. OK, what gives? Gas 15 cents cheaper in two little towns 90 minutes from anywhere.

My question is, does a monopoly operate in our valley in setting gas prices? I would like to know how many wholesalers exist in the valley that control this. It's odd that I can buy gas cheaper in Hoboken, Ore., than in our valley right off the I-5 corridor. Anybody know? — Gene Wood, Medford

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