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Letters, Aug. 7

Kudos to New Life

A well-deserved shout out to the New Life Church of the Nazarene in Medford. The congregation generously committed funds to help eradicate medical debt for low-income Oregonians.

New Life Church raised $30,000 and donated the funds to RIP Medical Debt, a nonprofit charity that buys medical debt on behalf of qualifying recipients. RIP Medical Debt matches every $1 donation with $100. Consequently, the two partnering together translated into $3 million applied toward erasing medical debt.

For the Southern Oregon counties of Jackson, Josephine, Douglas and Klamath, 318 individuals with a total medical debt of $639,505 were paid. Some individual Oregon debt of an undisclosed amount was entirely paid.

My wife and I have attended services at New Life Church. I recall a service when Pastor Dale Schaeffer asked the congregation for volunteers to meet on a few Saturdays, bringing garden and hand tools, to go about the community and offer to do yard work and make minor repairs. I was very impressed by this message of faith in action and service to community.

I applaud the New Life Church for demonstrating faith in action in service and generosity to the community. May other congregations follow this example.

Everett Stone

Medford

Capitalizing ‘Earth’

When it comes to writing, this common English word confuses many native speakers who aren’t sure whether to use Earth or earth.

Why is this an issue? Earth can be either a proper noun or a common noun. In English, proper nouns (nouns which signify a particular person, place, or thing) are capitalized.

Following this rule, when Earth is discussed as a specific planet or celestial body, it is capitalized: It takes six to eight months to travel from Earth to Mars. When Earth is a proper noun, the is usually omitted.

When you are talking about the ground or soil as a surface or stratum, then you must lowercase the word: The archaeologists excavated the earth at the site. It is acceptable to leave earth lowercase and use the with earth if you are talking about it as the planet we live on: The earth rotates on its axis.

Keep in mind that idioms follow their own rules. Down to earth, what on earth, and move heaven and earth do not capitalize the planet, and four corners of the earth or salt of the earth take the definite article. Also note, there is a town called Earth, Texas. Since it’s a proper noun, it is always capitalized.

Louise D. Shawkat

Ashland

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