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Another step

Qwest's proposal to Rogue River customers sounds like a good deal

The recent proposal to Rogue River telephone customers from Qwest should allay fears that extending the toll-free calling area from that town would mean significantly larger monthly bills.

The proposal is the latest in a series of steps that must take place before phone rates can be changed to eliminate long-distance charges for calls between Rogue River and other Southern Oregon towns and cities.

As it stands now, Rogue River residents must pay long-distance charges for calls to Medford, Central Point and even Gold Hill. But a lengthy campaign spearheaded by Rogue River resident Shayne Maxwell set in motion a plan to change the system by establishing an extended area of service.

The precise boundaries of the EAS have yet to be determined by the state Public Utility Commission. But part of the process also includes the affected telephone companies determining what rates they would charge to customers under the new system.

The news from Qwest is good: Rogue River customers would pay just 75 cents more per month, and customers in Medford, Central Point and Gold Hill would see no increase in their bills. What's more, customers would have the choice of keeping the measured service rate they now pay or getting unlimited toll-free service at the higher monthly rate.

Still to be heard from are the other three local telephone companies: Citizens (Grants Pass), Sprint United (White City-Butte Falls), and Verizon (Murphy/Provolt).

Making communication easier between neighboring communities can only help bring residents of our region closer together and benefit business transactions as well. Congratulations to all those who are working to make the extended area of service a reality.

Vision quest

It's not a trip to Mexico to drink tequila and frolic in the sun. This trip is much more than that.

On this trip, members of the Bear Creek Valley Rotary Club and some of their spouses once a year carry several thousand pairs of used eyeglasses to Mexico, bringing better sight to hundreds of people who otherwise have no access to eye doctors or glasses.

Headed by Medford optometrist Kurt Wilkening (who dreamed up the project four years ago), the group of roughly a dozen Rogue Valley residents will spend a week in Colima, Mexico, providing mostly reading glasses from a clinic they have set up.

The Bear Creek Valley Rotary Club supports the project as part of its World Community Service project.

Colima is about midway between Mazatlan and Acapulco, but most of the clients of the clinic are peasant farmers and villagers from the countryside. Those who visit the clinic receive an eye exam and glasses that meet their needs as closely as possible.

Wilkening came up with the idea when he heard a presentation about another service project from Colima. The town is fortunate to have this help from the U.S.

The Rotary Club is to be commended for exporting friendship and goodwill between nations through this and other projects in World Community Service.