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Letters, July 23

‘Fannie’ presents timely message

“Ballots or Bullets,” sang the actress, her character fearing voter-suppression could get violent. That’s just one theme that seemed like an echo brought back to life for current times. We were touched and impressed — we a group from the League of Women Voters, who attended the OSF opening production of “Fannie: Music and Life of Fannie Lou Hamer” (staring a remarkable gift from Chicago, E. Faye Butler).

I sweated in my seat that was just starting to cool for the night. Yet, without pause, this dynamic singer displayed stamina and the strong-willed determination of the real-life civil-rights activist she portrayed. Don’t miss it.

Butler’s one-woman show, delivered nonstop for more than 80 minutes, struck directly to the heart of those of us who persistently attempt to work in Fannie’s shadow. I’m not certain how Butler managed it; our group barely had time to breathe as she transitioned to each voting-rights episode. No doubt, our breathing was made worse resisting tears over injustices that Fannie faced, along with sad losses, frustration and courage. Predictably, the League of Women Voters has supported voting rights for decades, and the timely sign that floated over Butler’s performance of Fannie captured it all — “To Hope is To Vote.”

Barbara Klein, LWV Rogue Valley action chair


Density increases fire danger

Why do city officials ignore increasing housing density’s contribution to higher fire risk in our local communities and instead recommend removing specific plants and bark?

My house is 4 feet from a wooden fence between my property and the one next door. A house fire next door or in the abandoned orchard down the street on county property, which has not been irrigated in many years, are more immediate fire dangers to my community than my regularly watered landscape.

Consider the Almeda fire and the Bootleg fire. Many houses and businesses with minimal vegetation or bark were lost in the Almeda fire, which occurred in dense trailer parks and housing communities. The Bootleg fire will burn until the fall rains extinguish it.

Fewer homes and businesses will be lost due to the lack of density in such open spaces. Both are tragedies and much should be done to protect people’s homes and businesses, but some measures being considered by the Ashland Wild Lands Commission and other groups are costly, will increase our carbon footprint by removing vegetation that helps to combat global warming and will likely make no difference in a situation with high winds, dry soil and low humidity.

Kathy Fennell