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Another budget casualty

I sure hope folks got out to see the fine selection of plants available from McLoughlin Middle School's horticulture classes at the Spring Master Gardener Show or at the school sale the first week in May. If you didn't, then you missed out on seeing first-hand an example of the best the public school system has to offer.

This wonderful elective program has flourished under the guidance of Vern Loy for years now, giving kids a chance to be productive in a hands-on learning environment. Yes, I hope you got out to see what these students have produced because the program has been cut out of the schedule for next year. Yet another casualty of budget cuts that are decimating our public school system.

Thank you, Vern, for your energy and vision in developing this program in the first place and we can only hope that you'll be back someday. ' Marilyn Fishwick, Medford

Don't blame teachers

Eagle Point teachers have suffered incredible losses this year, yet for some twisted reason have been cast as the villains by recent articles in the paper. Eagle Point Junior High burned to the ground in September, robbing them of their classrooms and schedules.

Add to that the loss of numerous teachers and support staff. When Measure 28 failed, the subsequent cut days caused them to lose 15 percent of their pay for the remaining year.

— Now, to add insult to injury, they are being painted as the source of the shortfall as greedy employees who want Cadillac insurance and higher wages. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Twice employees have offered to take substantial cuts in insurance for an extension of their current contract. The district refused.

They need the community's support, not misleading media spin. As these teachers fight for the kids, please remember they're the good guys. ' Karen Cain-Smith, Eagle Point

PERS not gutted

State Rep Dennis Richardson was recently scolded for gutting PERS benefits. In fact, PERS reforms reduced the unfunded liability by &

36;9 billion, and will save over &

36;677 million for our schools and state in the next two years. And, this was done without lowering retirement benefits.

It seems the public sector unions want to keep their windfall PERS over-crediting, regardless of the cost to our schools, police and vital human services. ' Muriel Butler, Central Point

Kindness benefits children

On Friday, May 23, the Rogue Valley Street Rods Club presented Dr. Robert E. Nickel, Clinical Director of the Child Development and Rehabilitation Center (CDRC) with a check for &

36;16,000. This brings the total to &

36;238,000 the club has raised through the kindness of many people, businesses, and the Mail Tribune.

This money comes from our Annual West Coast Charity Benefit Rod and Custom Show in February at the Jackson County Expo. We have already started work on the 2004 show. We have a new name for the same fantastic show: it is the 27th Annual Southern Oregon Rod and Custom Show. Thanks to all of you. ' Troy L. Boyd, President and Show Chairperson Rogue Valley Street Rods

Medford's official speedway

In the Since You Asked column, Tom C. of Eagle Point thinks the speed limit on Shasta Avenue should be reduced from 30 mph to 25 mph. Well, the speed limit sign may be reduced, but don't count on traffic speeds reducing to conform.

Tahitian Avenue has four 25 mph signs, and traffic still speeds (would you believe 40, 50 and better?) all the time. There is no one to control it.

The same day on TV the officers were discussing residential speed. I was left with the impression that it was under control. Evidently they have never been on Tahitian Avenue, the official speedway of Medford. ' Francis M. Nestor, Medford