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Ashland historian Larry Mullaly will discuss the 125th anniversary of the golden spike, when the north-south railroad was completed at Ashland. The talk, titled "The Story of Ashland's Golden Spike," will be at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 14, in the Gresham Room at the Ashland library, 410 Siskiyou Blvd.

He also will address the much less familiar story of transportation capitalist Ben Holladay, who built the tracks from Portland to Roseburg in 1870-72, planned to bypass the Rogue Valley, then went bankrupt before he could do it.

Holladay, already the owner of large shipping interests and the coast-to-coast Overland Stage, in 1866 acquired the rights to build the line, which would connect with the transcontinental Union Pacific in California. He planned to avoid the torturous Siskiyou Pass by going through Sams Valley, then jumping the Cascades by Lake of the Woods and shooting down the Klamath Basin, says Mullaly, adding, "If he'd done it, there would have been no Medford."

The free talk is based in part on documents Mullaly uncovered in the National Archives.

The Medford Police Department's Citizen's Academy will be offered from 7 to 10 p.m. on Wednesdays from Jan. 2 to March 13, at the Medford City Council Chambers, 411 W. Eighth St., Medford.

The 11-week, 33-hour course is presented by members of the Medford Police Department. Among the topics covered will be criminal investigation and prosecution of cases, patrol and traffic operations, recruitment and training of police personnel, use of force, SWAT tactics, the canine program, drug enforcement and gang suppression issues.

People who are 18 or older can obtain an application from the Training Unit or the Records Department at the Medford Police Department. Applicants will be screened. Class size is limited to 30.

For information, contact Officer Tamara Camp at 541-774-2216 or tamara.camp@cityofmedford.org

Walmart and The Salvation Army are holding a "Fill the Truck" Toy and Coat Drive at the Medford and Eagle Point Walmart stores from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 8, along with more than 2,500 other Walmart stores across the country.

The public is invited to donate new toys and coats to needy children whose families are registered for The Salvation Army Christmas Assistance Program. When shoppers arrive at Walmart they will receive a list of suggested gifts to help "fill the truck" at the store.

Gifts will be distributed to local children in need on Dec. 19 and 20. The event is expected to provide gifts to more than 1,000 children.

For information, call 541-773-6965.

The Jacksonville City Council has canceled its final December meeting and will shift two meetings in January because of a holiday conflict.

The council normally meets on the first and third Tuesday of each month at 6 p.m. in the Old City Hall, 205 W. Main St.

A Dec. 18 meeting will not be held, and the January meetings have been moved to Jan. 8 and Jan. 22. The normal meeting dates will resume in February.

For information, call City Hall at 541 899-1231.

Jackson County Commissioner Don Skundrick will hold a town hall meeting in Phoenix at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 10, at the Phoenix library, 510 W. First St. The meeting was reschedule from one canceled in October.

The meeting is open to the public.

For information, contact Skundrick at 541-774-6116 or skundrdw@jacksoncounty.org.