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Letters, Feb. 27

Sicuros left a legacy

In a little over a year we have learned of the passing of a couple instrumental in the development of (then) Southern Oregon State College: its president, Natale Sicuro, and his wife Linda Lou Sicuro. Their efforts helped to change the physical character of the campus, enrich programs and strengthen relationships between the college and local communities and beyond.

During the economic recession of the early 1980s and resultant cutbacks in the college’s state-funded budgets, Dr. Sicuro directed attention to other public and private fundraising. Integral to this was his focusing the goals and energizing the work of the college foundation. With her gracious demeanor, Linda was a partner in this endeavor as the president and she hosted meetings and socials in their home and elsewhere.

The outcome of building relationships with prospective donors, community organizations and other public entities was raising significant funding that served to broaden opportunities for both students and the community. Principal examples include saving and renovating the historic Swedenburg House; replacing dilapidated bleachers with a modern multi-use stadium; constructing the Schneider Museum of Art; encouraging donations to endow lectureships; and most importantly, stimulating increased giving for scholarships.

During his presidency, 1979-1986, Dr. Sicuro’s vision showed in the initial development of the north campus along East Main Street in Ashland. When the Oregon National Guard considered relocating from Ashland and its historic armory, he offered a long-term land lease to the Guard to enable it to retain an Ashland presence. Further, when told that the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service was selecting a site for a one-of-a-kind national forensics laboratory, he enthusiastically supported its being located on the Ashland campus. Lastly, to promote science literacy, he endorsed the building of a museum on the north campus that we know today as the ScienceWorks Hands-On Museum.

The Sicuros left a legacy that has been expanded on by their successors, ensuring that this special liberal arts university will serve students and the public for years to come.

Ronald Bolstad, SOU vice president for administration and finance, 1983-2005


Making lemonade

Words have power to influence our decisions. With the bills in the Oregon Legislature under review, that word is suicide. What if it was replaced with comfort care?

Stay with me here. It makes a great deal of sense to me that when “God,” or whomever you feel is the guiding force of life, gives you lemons (a heart attack) that it becomes legal to make lemonade from it (find our joy in life).

It should not, however, be dictated by man’s laws how sweet you make the beverage. Should it be made with organic, Meyer lemons, artificial sweeter, cane sugar or no sugar at all? Choices on how you end your life should be the same. We are born, pay taxes and die. It should be up to each of us to decide when, where, how, party or just family, a walk in the woods or on the golf course!

Take out the six-months-to-death eligibility along with terminal diseases. It should also include degenerative conditions for which there are no treatments and there is no prospect of recovery. Death will not come for several more years. What kind of life is that?

Dianne York

Eagle Point

Let them eat cake

The grandees of Southern Oregon local government have spoken, and there is no room at the inn for the poor and downtrodden in our area (Tidings, Feb. 21). Whether it’s the supervisors at Ashland’s Parks and Recreation Department or the unidentified Jackson County zoning board personnel, homeless persons looking for a way out of the downward spiral of sleeping rough are to have no escape.

Ashland’s faith community has lived its beliefs for more than seven years in supporting fellow citizens of humble means. It may just be that the local government representatives and bureaucrats rely on the faith of their citizenry to offload the obligations that in previous eras were allocated to governing bodies.

APRC commissioners and supervisors apparently believe that unhoused citizens are of lesser humanity than the paying citizens of our municipality. Can it possibly be true that square-dancing classes are more important than bringing in the humble from the cold? I’m going to guess the paying customers are more pleasant to look at and interact with. They might even smell better. Do the acts of our local governing representatives allow us to deny this is their motivation?

As stated in the Tidings on Oct. 24 and 31, 2018, the Ashland Parks and Recreation Commission (APRC) doesn’t have space at The Grove even though the initial federal funding for this building allowed assisting local populations in need. Add to this the recent news that nameless bureaucrats at the Jackson County zoning authority are denying use of a vacant church on Main Street for ongoing support for local citizens with nowhere to sleep.

Regrettably, the bureaucrats in faraway Jackson County offices think it more fitting to have county sheriff’s detectives chasing pot growers than having deputies working with at-risk populations on the fringe of society. The two adjacent articles in Thursday’s Tidings show that the Jackson County sheriff might go where the money is, rather than the human need. Will sheriff’s detectives be riding around in Crown Vics while homeless and vulnerable women are attacked while sleeping rough? Maybe the sheriff’s acts and decisions will increase property values at the expense of our collective humanity.

As the Marie Antionettes and courtly grandees of our day call for the punishment of peasants in the parking lots of Pioneer and Main in downtown Ashland, I can hear the conservative commissioners of Jackson County and the parks commissioners of Ashland say, “Let them eat cake.”

James Jarrard


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