Congratulations to Talent's City Council for approving a resolution to become the second Bee City USA in the country!

Congratulations to Talent's City Council for approving a resolution to become the second Bee City USA in the country!

Will Ashland bee next?

But, did you know that we are killing our bees with flowers? A study just published, commissioned by Friends of the Earth and conducted by independent scientists at the Pesticide Research Institute, confirms that most "bee-friendly" garden plants sold at major retailers in the U.S. are routinely pre-treated with bee-harming pesticides. Neonicotinoids (neonics) made by the multinational chemical companies Bayer and Syngenta are a key factor in recent global bee die-offs. And the half-life of these pesticides is a really long time!

Please read the report to learn more, including which pesticides are bee killers and how to ensure your plants are bee-friendly. See "Gardeners Beware 2014: Bee-Toxic Pesticides Found in 'Bee-Friendly' Plants Sold at Garden Centers in the U.S. and Canada" at

Then, ask about neonics wherever you buy your plants and seeds. We don't have much time left to save our bees.

Want to get find out what is happening locally? Like Pollinator Project Rogue Valley on Facebook. — Kristina Lefever, Ashland

After reading Jim Pagnini's account of D-Day, it really hit home to me. I was born two years after the war ended, but heard countless stories from my Dad's family and my older cousins, but none touched me like Mr. Pagnini's.

All those young men (really still children) running, jumping into certain death. The terror, agony, pain and horror they saw and felt. So many died that day.

Thanking you, Mr. Pagnini, and all those boys who died for my freedom. It must run through your mind every day still. It would have to. God bless your gumption, perseverance and stamina to survive such a day.

I think of the thousands who died that day, too. They were not able to grow old or even make middle age because of that day, but they certainly reached heaven that day.

Thank you again, Mr. Pagnini. — Linda J. Stotts, Rogue River

As a dog lover and owner, the June 30 "Doggone Lucky" story tugged at my heart. However, an important point was overlooked: by Emigrant Lake Park rule, all dogs should be on 6-foot or shorter leashes, and only then within campgrounds and when boarding boats.

If Ellis and Kurtz had followed park rules, their dog might not have ingested the hook; they'd have seen it while overseeing their dog. Terriers are bred to chase small prey, having a terrier off-leash in any park where wildlife are protected is inappropriate.

Dogs entrust us with their protection. I hope poor Ginger's misery teaches a lesson to dog owners and fishers alike. — Susan Roudebush, master trainer, University of Oregon

The amendment to the Constitution proposed by Senator Tom Udall just addresses the excessive money being spent to buy elections, but it's only a Band-Aid. It leaves the decision on stopping this flow of vast supplies of money up to the individual cities, counties, states and federal institutions.

How good is that? What we need is a system similar to most of the more enlightened counties. The government pays for the elections. Problem solved.

The Udall Amendment does not address the real problem: Corporations have all the constitutional rights as people, and they will fight hard to keep these rights, as evidenced, just the other day when a Christian-based corporation was given more rights than the employees by our Supreme Court.

I might look more favorably on corporations being people when they can be put in prison for breaking the law. So far, I know of no corporation going to jail for the crimes they committed.

Move to Amend will not settle for half-measures. We must continue to put Congress' feet to the fire. As we celebrate our Independence Day, say no to any amendment that does not give power to the people. — Dave Hyde, lead organizer, Move to Amend, Jackson County

Well, you make some good points in supporting open primaries, but I must heartily disagree. In several states with open primaries, the tea-baggers are being encouraged to vote for the Democrat they think will be easiest to beat.

While I sympathize with independents and fringe parties, they will end up voting for those on the ballot or wasting their votes on write-ins anyway. Voting for the lesser of two evils is better than not voting at all. — Peter Nemzek, Ashland

I am writing in response to Sen. Alan Bates' positive response to the successes outlined in the Oregon Health Plan's annual report.

As a person who works in an agency whose clients are some of Oregon's most indigent and most vulnerable families, I have witnessed firsthand some of the benefits our clients have been experiencing as a result of the expansion of Medicaid and its increased availability to the families who are in need of care. More of the people we serve are now covered; the individuals we serve are making far less use of emergency rooms for their care; serious medical and dental conditions that went untreated in the past are being addressed; potentially serious or even life-threatening issues are being prevented.

In short, this is a win-win situation for low-income families of our region and, I believe, will help to improve the quality of life for all Oregonians. Once again, Oregon is to be congratulated for implementing a solution to a problem for so many of its citizens that is both cost-effective and compassionate. — William Coyne, Medford

People I meet are constantly talking about the amazing work of Sen. Alan Bates — sport fly-fishers, educators, social service providers, health care providers and on and on.

The Rogue Flyfishers are particularly grateful for his efforts in working to preserve and improve the natural resources and fishing in the state of Oregon and Rogue Valley specifically. Sen. Bates was honored with the Golden Demon Award for his work protecting the Rogue River environment and they summed it up best by calling Sen. Bates "A rare individual."

He is the kind of legislator we need to keep in Salem. — Shirley Wilkes, Medford

I just got back last week from Washington, D.C., where I and more than 600 other volunteers from Citizens' Climate Lobby (CCL) collectively had 499 meetings with our Congressional leaders, discussing a revenue-neutral carbon tax and dividend proposal that would significantly lower carbon emissions worldwide.

This proposal would grow the U.S. economy and allow the free market to drive us toward renewable energy industries. With the growing consensus that climate change exists right now and will only worsen if we do nothing, our talking was about solutions.

The discussions I participated in with Sens. Merkley and Wyden, and Reps. Walden and Schrader, and their staffs, were positive and I came home more hopeful. They were particularly interested in a current report by Regional Economic Modeling, Inc. showing the positive outlook of this plan to our economy and other sectors.

I look forward to continuing the discussion with our leaders and appreciate that I live in a country that such meetings at our nation's Capitol are possible. In a world that is facing its most serious challenge yet, I believe it is my moral responsibility as a citizen to work with others to sustain a livable planet. See — Sherrill Rinehart, Ashland