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Attend the meeting

It is unfortunate that the DEQ, which begins its Web site with the statement that DEQ is responsible for protecting and enhancing Oregon's water and air quality, is trying to sell us a plan which will lower air quality and increase respiratory problems in the Rogue Valley.

Kudos to the Mail Tribune for keeping the community informed. Everyone should attend the meeting on Tuesday evening. ' Gary Pellett, Central Point

FDA should enforce rules

I was prepared to write today about the subject so ably handled by Lee Morris in the letter titled Voodoo pharmacology.

The only point I think Lee Morris missed is that if the FDA were to spend this much time and energy enforcing their own rules against the large pharmaceutical companies, the more than 100,000 people who die annually from prescription drugs (properly administered and prescribed) might still be alive. The source for this is the Journal of the American Medical Association, July 1998.

I am not a statistician, but it looks to me like I have about a thousand times better chance of dying from something my doctor gives me than properly used ephedra in small doses. ' Ed Cooper, Eagle Point

Support sixth-grade program

Please, please, please support the sixth-grade pilot program at McLoughlin and Hedrick. They are wonderful educational settings that give children the opportunity to mature, become responsible, meet children from other schools and, very importantly, relieve the huge numbers in the sixth grades at the elementary level.

— My husband and I were concerned about mixing sixth-graders with the seventh and eighth. After sharing with other parents, attending orientations, we were very impressed at the McLoughlin setting, caring and professional staff, class structure and growth opportunities.

Middle school is not for everyone. The children who chose to remain at their elementary schools needed to for a number of reasons. Those who do go to the pilot need the challenge, have become bored, or need the extra responsibility and desire the more concentrated and expanded classes.

I work at Oak Grove. I have never worked in such a wonderful environment. The teachers and children teach me every day. My daughter is still here and thriving. My son is thriving at McLoughlin.

We look forward to the less traumatic transition into seventh grade next year. We hope he can become a leader, and help the incoming seventh-graders be comfortable. Support! ' Marjorie Murch, Medford

Disgusted by Lowry

Recently, Rich Lowry gave high praise to the marvelous film, The Return of the King. While I share Lowry's appreciation for the metaphysical underpinnings of Tolkien's masterpiece, I was disgusted when Lowry hijacked Tolkien's heroic imagery in a cheap attempt to try to ennoble Bush's unprovoked war on Iraq.

If Tolkien were alive today, I suspect he might say to Mr. Bush: I knew King Aragorn; he led my armies in battle; and you, sir, are no King Aragorn.

In truth, our King George is merely a pretender to the throne. He spent much of his military service AWOL. On Sept. 11, he toured the country from 30,000 feet, safely aboard Air Force One. And while his war in Iraq has indeed achieved some of its objectives, regrettably those worldly goals included: keeping Congress in Republican hands, securing tax cuts for the wealthy and opening up vast oil reserves to U.S. corporate control.

If Tolkien was alluding to any historical war, his reference was probably to the Allies' battle against Hitler. It is worth noting that President Bush's grandfather, Prescott, made a fortune managing companies which helped supply the Third Reich with financing, oil, gas, coal, steel, chemicals and munitions. ' John C. McColgan, Talent

Debt is distressing

The headlines in the Jan. 6 paper showed that federal spending has grown to &

36;2.3 trillion. We also read where Americans are drowning in a mountain of debt. This works out to &

36;18,700 per household.

A few weeks ago on the business page we read that the trade deficit had hit a new high of &

36;41.8 billion for the month of October and there was projected to be a &

36;490 billion budget deficit for the year.

This is very distressing! How in the world do we expect to ever pay this enormous debt? It seems as though the government just shrugs it off and prints more money, which causes more inflation.

What about our young people? Where are they going to find the money to get started with prices of everything going so high?

Young people go to war, taking chances with their lives, while we here at home are going on living the good life as though we had good sense, not realizing that just around the corner we will have to pay the piper for our lack of responsibility. Lord, have mercy on us! ' Gordon DeVos, Medford