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A new dimension

Here's a new dimension to the Wal-Mart issue: Everything the store sells comes in a blister pack to foil shoplifters. All these plastic blisters' prime ingredient is air. This air must then be given a proper landfill burial, never to be seen again until the archaeological teams of millennia hence try to reconstruct the bygone history of the Rogue River cultures from the exhumed toiletries middens of the era (the golden age of AA cells, perhaps?)

Couldn't we find more productive issues to write letters to editors about? The matter has probably been decided anyway. Whether SuperWally is plotzed in Central Point or not isn't coming up for a referendumbvote; let's argue about where Governor Bush is going to get us into war next. ' Chuck Hancock, Eagle Point

Why so many conservatives?

I'm mystified that so many people in the valley vote conservative/Republican. What do you want? Public school prayer? Anyone taking an algebra test exercises that right; most of us don't want one particular creed to dominate, like Catholic over Baptist.

Freedom of religion is a constitutional right and guarantees freedom from religion! Besides, conservatives hate public education anyway so the point is moot if you voucher public education. Vouchers? Consider the Church of Satan ' a church recognized by our armed forces that would be supported by vouchers.

Outlaw abortion? Abortion's big business! Conservative refusal to compromise is why the Northeast and West Coast are solidly Democrat. It's a loser among women. Gun control? Most Americans want firearms, most city folk have a justifiable fear of criminals buying high-capacity automatics.

— What's left? Honest government, health care, balanced budgets, veteran's benefits, infrastructure, the economy? Your conservative Republican administration/Congress ignores these issues! All they do is fund the bogus Iraq War! Do you really think we're on track? Do you believe pro wrestling is real? ' Mark. A. Forrette, Medford

Still waiting

On Friday, Sept. 19, you wrote movingly about Oregon's race to the bottom in the areas of high school effectiveness and family and child health. As to the health-care issue, a solid proposal has been made to correct the problem. That is the AFL-CIO's plan to provide health care for the 80,000 Oregon children without it by means of a 2 percent surcharge on payroll taxes.

Back in July you denounced that proposal, and said that the problem should be addressed in the coming years. My letter to you then challenged the Mail Tribune to propose an alternate to the AFL-CIO plan, if you didn't like theirs.

Well, we're waiting. Either this is a problem, or it's not. I suggest to you that to those moms and dads of kids who need checkups, immunizations, and the other treatments that go with childhood, this is a problem needing solution today. They are the ones, today, who hold the feverish little ones in their arms, hoping for something better.

So, Mail Tribune, what'll it be? Back the AFL-CIO plan? Propose an alternative? Or just write emotional words and hope that you won't be inconvenienced by the plight of these desperate families? ' Bruce Barnes, Ashland

Give us the facts

Kevin Mannix, the Oregon Republican Party and others supporting the petition to rescind the temporary income tax increase need to tell the Oregon voters the effects of the revenue loss.

How many teachers, school days, and educational programs will be lost? How many medically indigent will be deprived of essential health care? How many felons will be let out of prison to roam the streets of Oregon towns and cities?

Then the Oregon voter can decide whether they want to live, work and raise a family in such an Oregon. ' Frank R. Hieber, Medford

Clinton lied under oath

Isn't it hilarious that the people who are screaming the loudest about Dubya lying about WMDs are the same bunch who stonewalled for Slick Willie, who not only lied, but did so under oath? ' Gene Rushing, Medford

Food Bank says thanks

On behalf of the Ashland Emergency Food Bank, I want to thank all those who made Supermarket Saturday on Sept. 20 so successful. In particular, I want to thank the church youth groups and their leaders, Cub Scout Pack 117, the community volunteers and the AEFB board members, who worked together to ensure that the food bank can continue to serve the communities of Ashland and Talent. We couldn't have done this without each of you!

Thanks also to the local markets in Ashland and Talent who donated food and offered space for volunteers to work, and to the businesses who donated printed materials and advertising space. Your willingness to give back to the community is greatly appreciated.

Last, but not least, thank you to all who donated food and money. Your generous gifts will allow the Ashland Emergency Food Bank to continue to see that no one goes hungry. ' Nicki Stroo, Ashland Emergency Food Bank

Cut frills

Which services would the whining anti-tax proponents like to see cut first? Since the Legislature has shown that it can't/won't cut spending then the only other way out of our budget morass is to cut frills.

Schools? (especially Eagle Point since they have so much they can increase the pay their administrators take along with the teachers who wanted to strike for more); senior services? (since seniors cry the loudest over any tax increase); health and other services to the poor? (they pay little or no taxes and have complained the loudest about anyone else getting a tax break because it decreases what the 'rich' owe them). Let's not forget the poor PERS recipients that can't get along on 80-l10 percent of their salary in addition to their Social Security. We all read how the 'poor' teacher had to work until she was 62! That was cruel and unusual punishment for a public employee!

We all dislike additional taxes but no one seems to want to give up the perks/services they believe they are owed and deserve. ' P. Moran, Medford

Just wondering

Does anyone else wonder how Costco can price their gas at least 20 cents cheaper than all the other gas stations in town? And please don't say it is because they are a membership store, that hasn't had anything to do with their prices over the last year!

Did you also know if you have a Costco membership and buy a cash card, you can give it to your kids to fill up without them having to have the Costco card? I am glad someone is being a bit more responsible with gas prices. ' C. Gomes, Central Point

Not good for Central Point

For those of you who think Wal-Mart is a good idea for Central Point, think about this: Are you willing to subsidize Wal-Mart, because that is what will happen? Do you think that Wal-Mart is going to pay the entire cost of the reworking and changes that will be needed to make the Pine Street interchange safe? Of course not. It will be your tax dollars at work to subsidize the construction, which will mean higher taxes.

Would you want a big-box store within two to three blocks of your &

36;195,000 home if when you purchased it you were told that it was going to be a small community shopping center? After investing the time, effort and money you are slated to get a giant regional store that the property is not even zoned for. I think Wal-Mart or any other store of that magnitude should be held in C-5 zoning where they belong, not in a C-4 lot. A super Wal-Mart would be fine, but in the proper location, like where it is now ' away from houses and with other big-box retailers next to the airport where noise isn't a concern. ' Ken Swenson, Central Point

Israel's right and duty

Regarding the Sept. 28 AP story about Israeli/Palestinian peace hopes: The phrase lands seized in the 1967 war falsely implies Israel illegally took Palestinian land. Actually, Jordan illegally invaded the West Bank in 1948 and annexed it in 1952. U.N. mandate, the West Bank was supposed to become part of a new Arab state in 1948.

Jordan attacked Israel first in 1967 and lost the West Bank. Israel has been trying to negotiate end of conflict agreements with the Arab world since 1948.

Road Map, first sentence: the Palestinians immediately undertake an unconditional cessation of violence. Mahmoud Abbas specifically declined to try to dismantle Hamas et al. Although not part of the Road Map, Israel released many Palestinian prisoners as a gesture of good will. Two of those released bombed a bus and cafe, killing and injuring dozens.

Palestinian hardship? Sure. But what would we do if the leaders of Mexico and/or Canada exhorted and funded their citizens to kill Americans ' with the goal to eradicate the United States? That's what Arafat represents to Israel.

Israel is in a far more precarious position than the United States. A security fence and targeted assassinations are Israel's right and duty. ' Gerry Mandell, Ashland

Condom ads a disgrace

Jack Walker and other community leaders, as well as Jackson County health officials, are a disgrace!

These TV ads they are promoting urge teens to use condoms, their reason being to promote responsible sexuality. All the sex education in the schools pushed by Planned Parenthood through the years has made the teen sex problem worse. Now they want to compound these problems of STDs and abortion. Condoms do not prevent these diseases or pregnancies. The only true (and healthy) responsible sexuality is no sex before marriage ' doesn't take a genius to figure that out.

What kind of parent would give their child a note reading We care for you. Protect yourself. Love, Mom and Dad (condoms included).

Any parent who condones these ads may one day realize the fallacy of it all. These TV ads will promote only immoral behavior. ' Camille Pagnini, Jacksonville

Help still needed

Whoa Nellie! A recent Tribune headline read that &

36;1.6 million had been given to Food & Friends, the senior meals program, by the Fred Meyer Foundation.

Although that's the kind of thing I dream about, it was actually referring to the &

36;1,642.21 we had been so generously awarded by the foundation. We are very thankful for this amount, but it's somewhat less than the headline ' &

36;1,598,357.79 to be exact.

We appreciate all contributions to our program, because every penny received benefits seniors directly. Most of our donations are small, but add up to substantial help for Food & Friends. Unfortunately, we have received several calls congratulating us on this large award from people who did not read the entire article. For every one of those, there must be many who got the same idea from the article but did not call.

When the community reads a headline of this magnitude, it's easy to imagine that most people would assume the meals program no longer needs financial help. Nothing could be further from the truth. Food & Friends must keep raising funds to meet the rapidly growing need for our service. We hope we can count on the community to continue to help. ' Evelyn Kinsella, Food & Friends program manager

Eliminate the middleman

A local McDonald's is offering to help Medford school children rebuild a playground. It sounds great but there is a requirement: You have to supersize your meal.

Having requirements, such as supersizing a meal (or buying any product), simply exploits the needs of the community to increase profits.

If you really want to help local children, animal groups, or other causes, eliminate the middleman. Donate directly to the cause.

Show local businesses that they shouldn't profit by exploiting the needs of Southern Oregonians. If they really wanted to improve the community, there wouldn't be a catch. ' Matt Conens, Medford

Eliminate the queen

Let's say you have a hornet's nest in your neighborhood and, as a long-term strategy, you want to get rid of the queen hornet while allowing most worker hornets to survive.

You can do it in two ways.

Method one: Working cooperatively with all your neighbors, you could isolate the nest, carefully build a box around it, and then ' working deliberately together ' use protective gloves and selective cutting instruments to go in, push the worker hornets aside, find the queen, and eliminate it.

Method two:. Acting alone, despite warnings from your neighbors, you could grab a big stick, smash it into the nest, knock it down, and stomp on it. You assume the worker hornets won't sting and the queen won't get away. Then, when they do sting, you plead with your neighbors to come to your rescue.

the way, where is Queen Saddam? ' Bruce Borgerson, Ashland