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Letters, Dec. 17

Remembering Aidan

I am an AHS graduate of 2020. I knew Aidan for a short amount of time during our sophomore year. I wasn’t his closest friend, but he is someone who I have kept a fond memory of.

I was a TA for the counseling office at Ashland High School. On Aidan’s first day of school I was assigned to show him around the campus so he had an understanding of where his classes were.

I showed a lot of students around campus on their first days but I had never had someone like Aidan. The other kids were shy and didn’t talk much, but Aidan was so chatty and I could tell right away that he had a very bubbly personality. He was so enjoyable to be around and I remember there was nothing silent or awkward about giving him that tour. We kept conversation the whole time, he was cracking jokes and making me laugh, instantly I knew that I wanted to be his friend.

After school I introduced him to some of my friends, and he became friends with them. Aidan was such a likable person he had no problem making friends. For a few months I would hang out at the place he was staying with his friend Jerel. Every single time we were there Aidan would make us feel so welcome, and always made sure we were having a good time.

I am so happy that I got to be a part of his life. He was such a caring, amazing, funny, intelligent young man and he has a special place in my heart.

Mackenzie Witnauer

Ashland

Unhoused people

I’ve lived in Ashland over 25 years. There were unhoused people here 25 years ago, but they were off most residents’ radar. The steady increase in unhoused residents over the years from declining wages, no access to medical care, housing shortages, climate-related disasters, inadequate mental health support, etc., has left us with increased problems.

Most of the situations above require state or federal efforts.

There needs to be a county wide CAHOOTS program that is not run by the police. But there’s a lot Ashland can do on its own.

First, stop harassing people while they are trying to sleep on public property. Many of them are trauma victims and this only increases their trauma. It also violates a federal court decision unless there are areas they can move to.

There need to be multiple locations where people can go; PTSD and panic disorder sufferers may need to be by themselves. There need to be places people living in vehicles can go.

A location for single women with children is needed. An emergency severe weather shelter needs to actually exist. A number of homeless residents advise that pushing everyone into a single large area will create conditions that will force many of them to go back to the hedgerows.

The city has locations where these needs can be facilitated. It will be important to make a number of services available at these locations.

John Hawksley

Ashland

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