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Pineapples don't grow on trees

In a front page article on Oregon floods Wednesday morning it was stated that the rains called the Pineapple Express come from the Hawaiian Islands, home to lush pineapple groves.

Apples grow on apple trees, but pineapples don't grow on groves of pine trees! Instead, they grow close to the ground in fields. Aloha. ' Janet Nelson, Ashland

Salvage logging and thugs

Pat Clason is partly correct ' thugs should not dictate forest policy. Misguided ecoterrorists and misguided governments make the same mistake: An informed majority should be the only dictator.

In the case of the Biscuit Fire Recovery Plan, the Forest Service's real problem is that it is clearly out of touch with the majority. The public overwhelmingly favors roadless area protection. For example, in a recent Oregon poll, 67 percent agreed that we should protect all remaining roadless areas.

Yet the Forest Service plans to sacrifice over 50,000 acres of spectacular, globally important roadless lands. Salvage logging these areas does not make sense, ecologically or economically. We can protect communities from wildfires without losing potential wilderness areas (as described in Alternative 4, the conservation strategy).

Please let the Forest Service know what the real owners of our national forests want before the Jan. 20 deadline for comments on the DEIS (Scott Conroy, P.O. Box 377, Happy Camp, CA 96039). The timber industry should not dictate forest policy either. ' Hans Stroo, Ashland

Voodoo pharmacology

'Scuse me if I'm skeptical, but isn't it just the latest application of voodoo pharmacology to blame Steve Bechler's death on ephedra when everything we've heard so far suggests that he habitually let himself get overweight and out of shape in the off-season, had some medical history suggesting heart problems and probably used more than the recommended and safe amount of ephedra in absolutely the wrong circumstances (heat, humidity, heavy exertion)?

It is always so sad when children die before their parents; it's just not supposed to happen that way. I know from the personal experience of losing a son just a couple of years ago.

But that doesn't justify banning a substance that for thousands of years, used judiciously, has provided benefit to mankind. Warning labels, yes. Regulation, yes. Banning, absolutely not.

There must be hundreds of legal substances that will kill when used in excess or in the wrong setting. Banning something like ephedra puts us on the slippery slope to banning anything and everything that is even remotely dangerous.

This is both terminally silly and another bad example of making a nanny of the government in order to make life risk-free ' an absurd proposition to start with. ' Lee Morris, Medford

Compassion but not awareness

Ms. Marona shows compassion but lacks awareness of geography and history. The fence that Israel is building is to keep terrorists out, not wall Palestinians into a ghetto.

Israel is a tiny country that itself would be bounded by the fence and the Mediterranean Sea. The Palestine state to which Israel has agreed would be unbounded.

Don't we mourn the Israeli innocents who have been killed by youngsters, themselves victims of the power-driven hate of the Palestine leadership?

Do we not feel empathy with the Palestinian laborers who must stop at checkpoints to get to their jobs in Israel? Yes. Much as we are inconvenienced by the two-hour lines at airports here at home, but willingly, to be protected.

The citizens of the proposed Palestine would have thousands of miles on all sides, in addition to Israel, for lives, homes and jobs, if only their fellow Arab countries would let them in ' or at least underwrite construction of decent housing where they are now, and thus put an end to the refugee camps, caused in the first place by the Palestinian leadership's refusal to accept a two-state solution seven times from 1947 to 2000. ' Michelle Montgomery, Gold Hill

Family says thanks

We just wanted to add a clarification to the Jan. 2 article about the first baby of 2004. We went home from Ashland Community Hospital because Sue's labor had stalled after walking the floors for three hours on Dec. 31. We agreed it would be best to return home and wait for labor to progress, and neither we nor the hospital staff knew it was snowing when we left. They were tremendously friendly and supportive, and they had our best interests at heart.

We also wanted to thank everyone for their support and best wishes, and especially Dr. Jani Rollins for a wonderful delivery. ' Dave, Sue, Jake, and baby Ben Reynolds, Jacksonville