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Letters to the editor

Complete Elk Creek

Bill Kettler's article about December precipitation mentioned how much more damage was done by the '64 flood than by the '97 event. He failed to mention that Lost Creek Dam was completed and filled in '78. Who knows how much more damage the '97 flood might have caused without that dam in place?

We need to complete Elk Creek Dam. ' Guy Parker, Prospect

Challenge to Plunk

I challenge Steve Plunk to spend 10 days, the number of school days cut in area schools last year, volunteering in the agencies where he believes that Failure will have little impact other than gnashing of teeth coupled with doomsday predictions... I suggest 10 days without pay in the classroom, at Jackson County Mental Health, in Senior Services and hospital emergency rooms to see the pain caused by the previous budget cuts before he votes. ' Pat Acklin, Ashland

Drivers were understanding

I enjoyed Bill Kettler's Sunday column on the bad weather whiners. Too bad those people couldn't hear some of the 911 calls I took from people who really had trouble; stuck near the border all night, watching snow bury their cars, trying to stay warm and trying not to panic. More amazing was how understanding most of them were to the struggle to free them. ' Jeff Palmer, telecommunications specialist, Southern Oregon Regional Communications

The kids can wait

I find it amazing how fast legislation can be introduced and implemented when the public is faced with a possibly economy crippling epidemic such as mad cow disease. At the same time I find it appalling at how fast the legislation can take place when there is a threat such as this to the economy, but how, seemingly impossible, it is to enact legislation when another disease detrimental to our society is imminent and ignorance faces us in the lack of funding of American children's education. It's as if the powers that be, namely Oregon taxpayers and legislators are saying, Save the cows. The kids can wait. ' Jon Buckley, Ashland

Stop eating beef

There is a lot the USDA doesn't want the public to know about the mad cow case. I will point out one issue, that the cow was a 'downed' animal. What this means is the animal was so sick, diseased and crippled it could not even walk to slaughter, but had to be dragged.

— The USDA has been well aware for years that downed animals are at high risk of having the disease. Several organizations have been working to ban the slaughter of downed animals in the United States, see for details. The USDA has ignored these appeals and continued to allow diseased meat in the market.

An even more maddening aspect to the outbreak is our society's approach to stopping it. I have heard much coverage of ways to stop the spread of disease, from improving the mechanics of ripping the spinal cord out of the animal before it is smashed in a grinder to stronger enforcement of the 1997 U.S. ban on feeding cows to other cows, a still common practice despite the ban.

In all of the talk I have heard no mention of ceasing to eat the cows, a foolproof way of stopping the disease. ' Amy Miller Bunk, Ashland

In God we trust

The 9th Circuit recently held the phrase under God (added in 1954) in our Pledge of Allegiance violated the First Amendment.

Let's review, historically, our nation's public expressions of our trust in God:

1. In 1776, the Declaration of Independence acknowledged we were endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights; our nation's founding document further stressed our firm reliance upon the protection of Divine Providence.

2. Congress mandated the phrase In God we Trust be included on 2-cent coins in 1864, on all coins in 1908 and on all paper money in 1955.

3. Finally, in 1956, Congress established the phrase In God We Trust as our national motto!

Our 1983 Supreme Court's decision (Marsh v. Chambers) upheld daily prayer in the Nebraska Legislature, although (a) the only clergymen selected in 16 years was a Presbyterian minister whon was (b) paid at public expense and (c) the prayers were in the Judeo/ Christian tradition. It concluded: to invoke Divine Providence is not an establishment of religion or a step towards establishment but, rather, a tolerable acknowledgment of beliefs widely held among the people of this country and a part of the fabric of our society. ' Les Kell, Medford