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Ashland's antics are embarrassing

On both business and personal matters, I tend to travel — a lot around the state. Ashland has become a joke. The recent protests — and their effect of preventing a speech by a governmental official are — good examples.

Protests are fine. Expression of opinion is fine. Dissent — is fine. However, when it reaches the level of obstruction and threatening — conduct, that is too much. Southern Oregon University is so buried in — political correctness that it won't even provide adequate security to — allow "other" people to speak their mind, at least if vocal protesters — disagree. It is about time that there be some balance here. Bush's administration — may not be popular, but does that mean they can be silenced by uncontrolled — protest? SOU needs to provide some real security for these events, not — just platitudes about free speech and the right to dissent. Would the — head of the U.S. Communist Party get the same reception? Probably not. — I never thought being from Ashland would be an embarrassment. I was wrong.

Thomas C. Howser

Actions of few don't speak for all

Most within our community would say that Ashland is a — place where diversity in thinking is encouraged, people with varying viewpoints — are respected, and opinions that differ from the norm can be freely voiced. — The events of last week clearly showed us that this is not always the — case.

The activists who interrupted Mark Rey's presentation — to OSAF and community members were not merely trying to voice their opinions, — but were instead trying to silence the opinions of those who disagree — with them

While not all of us may agree with the views of Mark Rey — or the foresters who attended his speech, there is no justification for — interfering with their right to communicate. Ashlanders should be embarrassed — by the actions that a handful of community members took on Friday. We — need to stand up against this sort of destructive behavior, and send a — clear message that those who choose to be so disruptive do not represent — Ashland as a whole.

Colin T. Beck

SOU Environmental Studies Senior

Thanks to Ashland Schools Foundation

As a teacher in the Ashland School District, I would like — to say a big "thank you" to the Ashland Schools Foundation for the role — it has played for so many years in support of the students of our community. — By offering each teacher the opportunity to apply for grants to support — and fund programs, we are able to not only just dream about enriching — and exciting activities to supplement our curriculum, but we are able — to use ASF funds to turn these dreams into reality. We are able to realize — the extension of our daily lessons and activities, observing them become — richer, more creative, more exciting and more challenging as a result — of these generous grants.

Through the Artist-in-the-Schools program, our children — have the yearly opportunity of a concentrated exposure to several local — artists; not only do they experience a variety of media through demonstrations, — direct instruction, and hands-on exploration in these areas, but they — also experience first-hand the importance of art in our culture and the — modeling of art as not only a wonderful and vital mode of self-expression — but as a career choice as well.

As we have seen large and devastating changes in the state's — funding of our schools, the Foundation has taken on another important — role, offering support for basic programs such as recent funding of our — newly-adopted, district-wide elementary math curriculum, class size reduction — support in the primary grades, funding for Spanish books for the middle — school's language program, and financial support for our high school's — Health Center and science curriculum, just to name a few.

Our community's generous donations have made all of this — possible. Please say "yes" during the Ashland Schools Foundation annual — fundraising so this support of our children can continue. Thank you from — the students and staff of all of our schools!

Julie Romberg

Helman School