I'm sorry we couldn't respond in the forum to this issue. Millions have been dumped into our economy for Southern Oregon, but it was mostly gobbled up by large highway contractors. The only way to revive our local economy is to look back at what built it, and that was timber.

I'm sorry we couldn't respond in the forum to this issue. Millions have been dumped into our economy for Southern Oregon, but it was mostly gobbled up by large highway contractors. The only way to revive our local economy is to look back at what built it, and that was timber.

We are building homes, but at a sane rate, there are not too many industries or businesses that are growing, and we've seen that tourism isn't going to cut it. I was fortunate enough to get a temporary job after being off for seven months, but we'll see what happens when this tour of duty is over. — Mike Merusi, Gold Hill

The overuse of the Oregon Trail Card angers me. In the qualifications for citizenship, it states that you must be able to read, write, and speak simple English.

I was in line at the grocery store, and spoke to the man in front of me. He just smiled and shook his head. A young boy stepped in and said, "My dad doesn't speak English." When the man paid for his things, he used the Oregon Trail Card. I'm ashamed of what I did, but in a fit of anger I took the card and said, "You can't use this, you're not a citizen." I turned it in to the police, I called DHS, asked why that man could have the card, and was told, "It wasn't his, it was the son's."

Children are responsible for feeding the family? The rep said, "I don't like it either, but there's nothing we can do about it." Yesterday, at the store, I saw a young man playing a video game on his BlackBerry while his mother paid for her groceries with the Oregon Trail Card.

Am I wrong, or is the system? Can we fix this, or is the lady from DHS right? — Bill Purcell, Medford

We saw an awe-inspiring sight Tuesday night, the space shuttle and the space station streaking across the background of stars. It immediately brought to mind what an awesome achievement it has been, brought about by the cooperation of men and women of various nations and backgrounds and ethnicities.

I wondered then what it was that prevented folks in the U.S. from achieving some similar cooperation in allowing this nation to recover from a crippling situation brought on by greed and avarice. Instead, we have a political party so angry about being out of power that it will do anything to block any successes by the present administration.

I'm afraid that some of it is racially motivated, but a lot is brought on by the pundits who make a living by stirring anger and hatred. Unfortunately, too many sheep are willing to follow. I'm also afraid that a failed vice-presidential candidate with a large following has also learned that this is the way to untold wealth.

Makes you wonder how the "Greatest Generation" handed off to the "Greediest Generation" in such a short span of time. — Guy Parker, Prospect

Has anyone wondered what will happen when China demands to be paid back the money we owe them? How long will they be content to just add the interest to the almost $1 trillion we owe them already?

Let's suppose they demand Alaska in exchange for the money owed them and we end up giving it to them. Would that end our financial problem? No, they have all the factories that left here years ago that build all the things we use daily. We have only prolonged the dilemma and eventually they would demand either maybe California or Hawaii.

Lately, we have been running a $26 billion import-export deficit monthly, which adds up to a debt of $312 billion a year. If there ever was a time that we prayed for our nation, it is now! — Gordon DeVos, Medford

I have been a boarder at Eden Farms for over two years. This is the facility that houses over 30 rescued horses cared for by volunteers of the Equamore Foundation. I have observed Linda Davis and the volunteer staff cheerfully and tirelessly care for these horses which is an overwhelming financial responsibility.

Please come and visit Eden Farms and the Equamore horses at 4723 Highway 66 in Ashland. Come and meet Red Cloud, Maarie and the other horses. Any donations are accepted, including hay and time. Learn more about the individual horses at www.equamore.org. Volunteering is a rewarding experience and benefits the volunteer as much as those cared for by the service. "The horse — if God made anything more beautiful, he kept it for himself." — Lisa A. Frost, Ashland

I, like many business owners, have been forced to purchase private health insurance for myself and my family. Over the past five years, we have spent $15,000-plus annually in premiums, and as a participant in the "free market" system, I have watched as my rates skyrocketed 60 percent in five years, all while being denied services and having less coverage.

Businesses are being buried by the cost of insurance and are facing the painful decision of reducing or eliminating coverage, and now must carefully consider hiring employees because of the cost to insure them.

The system is broken folks. America spends more on health care than any other country, and still 50 million people have no insurance, not to mention millions more who are underinsured or folks like me, who pay obscene premiums for the "privilege" of having it.

Health care should be an essential service, like the military, police, education, fire, highways, etc. We would never consider having these run by corporations, why would we want the most vital aspect of lives be left in the hands of those who are beholden to investors? — Tim Larive, Ashland

It is with mixed emotions that I read of Richard Moeschl's retirement from the Tribune.

Of course, I am very happy for his sake that he will be getting a much-deserved break and an opportunity to pursue his own passions, but I also feel a strong sense of loss. Richard has been such an incredible advocate for the arts here in the Rogue Valley. He not only wrote about the arts but he truly loved and supported the artistic community — not only the Cabaret and the other local theaters, but all of the arts. I can't tell you what that support has meant for myself and for the thousands of other area artists.

To say that he will be missed is a huge understatement, not just by the artistic community but also the Tribune readers. Richard, bottomless thanks for being such a staunch friend to us all. — Jim Giancarlo, artistic director, Oregon Cabaret Theatre

I, too, am saddened by the departure of arts/entertainment editor Richard Moeschl.

Richard and I became friends right after we moved here from Las Vegas; we were a children's musical theater company just starting out, and in search of some exposure, and Richard, in his wonderful willingness to be open to all things "art" and "kids," was very gracious to me, and was a major force in promoting to the area what is now "Children's Musical Theater of Oregon."

Richard and I hit it off immediately — his wonderful wit and humor, peppered with ever-constant references to singer Johnny Mathis, makes me laugh and smile every time I am in his presence. Without Richard's assistance and belief in us, I don't know where CMTO would be today.

Richard is a giant in the arts for the Rogue Valley, and it has been my distinct pleasure to know him, both personally and professionally. He's a wonderfully kind man, and as much as the Rogue Valley will miss his view and promotion of "everything art," it will be matched by a new and exciting chapter in his and his lovely wife, Joanne's, lives.

Bon voyage, Richard. You're the best! — John Taylor, artistic director, Teen Musical Theater of Oregon/Children's Musical Theater of Oregon Craterian Performances