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Runners don't hurt Steens

The environmentalist groups opposing the Steens Running Camp have become so blinded by their cause that their recent actions hurt, rather than help, protective efforts. The proposed restrictions on Steens Mountain Running Camp stem from a ignorance of the camp's function, teachings and background.

Steens is full of a unique, awesome beauty that needs to be protected. However, denying The Big Day and Cross Canyon events would be under the mistaken assumption that they endanger this preservation.

Comparing the damage done by skinny, wilderness-loving, teenage distance runners to that of grazing cattle is a bit far-fetched. We do not stamp through the wilderness. We do not disrupt the wildlife. We do not harm any aspect of the Steens environment during our two half-day excursions through the wilderness area.

All camp members fully abide to strict teachings of proper stewardship and respect for the land. Nothing is left, nothing is taken, and nothing is altered.

These events not only leave Steens as it beautifully stood, but allow those who experience it to become more environmentally concerned than before. By encountering the full glory of such supernatural beauty, campers become dedicated to preserving that magnificence.

I am requesting the continuation of these rituals because they instill an everlasting sense of the mountain's importance upon young adults. Unless I am mistaken, the purpose of preserving such wonders is so that these types of experiences can continue. Why protect Steens if those who respect and cherish the mountain cannot witness it? ' Leah Sawyer, Medford

Wake up, America

Goldwater, Dole and McCain, I miss you. Unfortunately for Americans, corporations couldn't control you. Control?

Newsweek, May 13, interview of Barbara Bush and her disdain for Mother's Day, It's a rip-off, really explained a lot. Bill Clinton's Mom and Barbara Bush have certain things in common. All black and white, with no gray area; you go figure.

Let's toss the question of how many Bush family members owned Enron stock and when they sold it. But you new-age Republicans are gonna play hell to spin, Bush didn't know of a possible plane hijacking by Osama bin Laden before 9-11. More than a month before the World Trade Center, FBI agents were warning Bush. Did anyone make it easy to kill 3,000 Americans? Is Bush arrogant?

I remember Bush with that bullhorn and his arm around that firefighter at the WTC. Think about what he knew before that photo op.

Vietnam again? Wake up, America! ' Gary Stafford, White City

Let the voters judge

Recently the county commissioners during their yearly budget hearings decided to raise Sheriff Bob Kennedy's wages during the next budget. This was appropriate, partially because of the position and responsibility involved, but Sheriff Kennedy is also an elected official of Jackson County.

With the next sheriff (also an elected official), the county commissioners want to reduce the next sheriff's wages down to — cent an hour more than what Sheriff Kennedy's present highest-paid captain makes since state law says the sheriff must be paid more and one cent covers this. Reason: Sheriff Kennedy's replacement won't have the experience and knowledge Sheriff Kennedy now has.

Really? Now this thinking on the part of the commissioners makes me wonder, what will the wages of a new commissioner and or commissioners (not incumbents) be reduced to if elected ' after all, they won't have the knowledge and experience of the present commissioners.

The county should be reasonable and start the next sheriff at the proper pay level regardless of who it is and move on to other matters. Let the voters of Jackson County be the judges. ' Kent Szpak, Medford

Support international court

In the midst of the most extensive manhunt in history, the Bush administration has pulled out of the International Criminal Court. The ICC, which will prosecute war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity, could be a potent weapon in the War on Terrorism. Even without the U.S. participation, it's a major step toward ensuring that humanity's most egregious criminals will be brought to justice.

In his State of the Union address, President Bush said that America will lead by defending liberty and justice because they are right and true and unchanging for all people everywhere. But by unsigning the treaty which brought the ICC into existence, the President has signaled that his commitment to universal justice is wavering. For a successful and just War on Terrorism, the U.S. must support the International Criminal Court. ' Dave Markwell, Medford