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Letters, April 24

Thanks to AIFF

I am writing to publicly express my gratitude to the staff and many volunteers of the AIFF for their extraordinarily cheerful, helpful, enthusiastic support during the busy, intense and no doubt stressful five days of engagement and activities herding hundreds of people in and out of various venues.

Recovering from a hip fracture, requiring the use of a walker and wheelchair, I was concerned that my situation would be troublesome, but as it turned out, everyone did more than their best to accommodate my special needs, offering smiles and encouragement. With additional help from many friends and compassionate film-goers, I was able to attend every showing all five days, as I have done for many years.

I applaud AIFF with all my heart for their stupendous effort and accomplishments, putting us on the international film festival map. What a remarkable educational, cultural gift to our community.

With deep gratitude,

Dot Fisher-Smith

Ashland

Evacuation plan needed

Ashland Fire & Rescue is doing much good work preparing our community for a wildfire event (as described in the Tidings April 10 article.) However, several months ago there was a much ballyhooed evacuation plan promised to be forthcoming.

Such a plan is essential based on the experience of communities like Paradise, California, where residents attempting to flee had to exit and leave their cars on the roadside because of blockage. There was no mention of the plan in the article.

Instead of a disclosed plan, warning to the community is to be provided via the NIXLE text message alert system. This is a valuable tool. But why must we wait until the last minute to know what our evacuation option(s) will be? In the interests of transparency, these questions need to be answered:

Is there a plan now or will there be one in the near future (before wildfire season begins)?

Will it be disclosed to the public? When?

If it will not be disclosed, why not?

If a plan is not being developed, why not?

Will the authorities be scrambling around at the 11th hour deciding what to advise residents and perhaps resolving intra-agency (CERT, Public Works, Police and Fire departments) disagreements?

The Tidings/Mail Tribune editors have done a commendable job advocating for wildfire preparedness, protection, management, etc. Obtaining answers to the above questions is a logical and necessary extension of these efforts.

Craig McDonald

Ashland

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