In a time when we are all looking for reasons to be grateful, we might take a look at a very special group of young people in our area.

In a time when we are all looking for reasons to be grateful, we might take a look at a very special group of young people in our area.

I am referring to the Youth Symphony of Southern Oregon, also known as YSSO. My husband and I have enjoyed going to its concerts for several years, and we are convinced that these young people, ranging in age from kindergarteners to high school seniors and college students, are exceptional in their discipline and dedication. Their performance of classical music is so good it often brings tears to our eyes as we listen. They work with professional conductors and musicians and bring joy to all who attend their concerts.

The Rogue Valley is fortunate indeed to have such a treasure in our midst. I encourage you to learn more at and then plan to attend an upcoming concert. You will be happy you did! — Mette McDermott, Medford

It is heartening to see that Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley have reintroduced legislation to protect Oregon's wild Rogue River. This amazing river is part of what made this area home for me.

The Rogue is an iconic river with amazing fishing and floating opportunities. I can't imagine what would happen if this was threatened.

As an avid fly fisherman and someone who works in the fly fishing industry, the Wild and Scenic Rogue River is incredibly important to me. It is a destination for people from all over the world because of its abundant salmon and steelhead as well as its boating opportunities and beautiful scenery. We must see that it receives additional protection now and for the future.

I understand the need for a balanced approach to protecting lands, especially in this economy. But in this part of Oregon, the sustainable dollars brought in by the fishing and boating industries are crucial to local businesses and the local economy. I think protecting the Rogue is warranted and needed and I hope that this legislation moves quickly to get that done. Support our senators to see this through! — Charles Gehr, Ashland

Can we please dispense with the comparisons between guns and cars? They are not just bad comparisons but are apples and oranges, and both sides of the debate seem bent on making them.

Cars are registered and licensed for tax purposes to support the transportation infrastructure. Driver's licenses are issued to permit you to drive in public. Drive your car on private property and no license is required.

Guns are not taxed or registered in most states. I don't see government building public shooting ranges that need taxes to support them. (Hunting ammo is taxed to help support wildlife management). Keep your gun at home and no permit is required, but venture into the public carrying a gun and you need a permit.

And to the letter writer in Phoenix, you have always had the right to sue anyone who acts negligently with a gun, but you don't have the right to sue Smith and Wesson. Would you sue Ford for the negligent act of a drunk driver?

Everyone knows what registering gun owners is about. It singles out one group of citizens for different treatment than other citizens. That is contrary to the founding principles of the country. — Steve Wiley, Gold Hill