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Honor the Peace Corps

During the Fourth of July parade in Ashland, I will be marching with the Returned Peace Corps Volunteers rather than riding in a car amongst the dignitaries.

During these very troubled times, it is important to remember that America is greater than either the might of its military or the prowess of its diplomats. It is a nation glued together by the radical concepts of equality of all citizens and the right of the individual to determine the course of his or her own individual life.

Since its inception under President John F. Kennedy, the Peace Corps has represented the best of America to the world. Volunteers do not live in guarded, gated communities with other expatriates. They do not receive hefty tax-free salaries. They are not given vehicles or translators. Instead, they live among the people with whom they serve.

Upon their return, most continue to serve their communities, as teachers, health care workers and workers in social services. I urge all former volunteers in our valley to join me in Ashland to honor the Peace Corps and the vision of America that it represents. ' Dave Gilmour, M.D., Central Point, Jackson County commissioner, Peace Corps volunteer, Samoa 1975-'77

Don't log old growth

I wonder if and when this country will ever become a real democracy. The Medford BLM received 144 comments concerning the Kelsey Whiskey timber sale. Only four of these were advocating for the sale, and those were from logging organizations.

Minimal math skills are needed to see that the majority of active citizens want this old-growth, public forest to remain intact. I went to the forest rescue station and was awestruck at this rare sight of a healthy forest. What a contrast to the lands surrounding this designated roadless area, all marred by old clearcuts, boring (more flammable) tree plantations, and previously logged forests thick with small (more flammable) trees and brush.

— Isn't that enough? There are other more conscious and sustainable livelihoods to be made in the forest, so why are our public bureaucracies trading all of our old-growth forests for destruction and the temporary economic benefit of so few? I doubt future generations will thank us when the only old growth they will ever see will be in photographs.

The Medford BLM dictatorship must stop auctioning off our national heritage and natural wealth and let the Forest Rescue Station keep up the good work of education and advocacy! ' Holly Christiansen, Ashland

Be clear on terms

Jonah Goldberg's commentary in the June 16 Mail Tribune talked about why the Geneva Convention does not apply in some cases. It truly has a place, and in others it does not apply.

In countries at war, it truly does apply (such as our attack on Iraq). We expressed this through our government when our soldiers like Jessica Lynch were captured.

When an individual or individuals commit a crime or crimes, they should be treated as criminals and they do not come under the rules of war. If we had called crimes by their proper name and gone after the criminals (as the Europeans did when a train was bombed), we would not have some of the lack of understanding about proper behavior. We need to be clear on our use of terms such as war and crimes. ' Richard Blake, Rogue River

AuCoin on Reagan

I wonder what AuCoin's take on President Reagan would have been if Reagan had been an ultra-liberal Democrat like himself?

Or maybe it's just sour grapes because he never got to enjoy the fruits of being a highly respected and much loved president. ' Chuck Gates, Medford

Cannot support Bush

As a life-long Oregonian, Republican and former Marine, I cannot support President Bush for these reasons:

We are now viewed as the bully, not the leader of the free world.

The Iraq war is not worth one American or Iraqi life.

War and tax cuts have put my grandchildren in debt.

Bush campaigned as a uniter. We have never been more divided.

Once, war profiteering was illegal. Now it's business as usual.

The No Child Left Behind Act leaves more and more children behind.

Health care is expensive, inefficient and not universal.

The middle class is disappearing.

After 9/11 that world was with us, the country united. Approaching the third anniversary, much of the world fears us and our country is divided.

This is not the country I was proud to serve, but it could be. We must have new, enlightened leadership. ' John M. Daggett, Brookings

Greenpeace informs

Greenpeace has come to Southern Oregon to help protect the remaining ancient forests here. I visited the forest rescue station and was inspired. The Greenpeace staff was knowledgeable, respectful and friendly. I am now better informed about the seriousness of the threat to our ecosystem by massive logging in wilderness areas. While hiking through the Kelsey Whiskey proposed logging sale, I saw gigantic old-growth trees marked for cutting.

I know many individuals and organizations that have been working persistently for decades through the planning processes and the legislative and court systems to reduce the impact of commercial logging on public lands. I know Forest Service employees who have also tried to protect sensitive ecosystems. Yet, timber corporations continue to have their way with our precious resources. Perhaps it's now time for nonviolent civil disobedience, when all else has failed.

We often hear timber industry executives argue that our forests should be cut because they are a renewable resource. If this is true, why don't they restrict themselves to logging in areas that have already been logged, instead of invading the few remaining pristine forests? ' Kayla Starr, Cave Junction

Stem cell distortion

I don't know if the Bush administration is wrong about stem cells. What I know is that the issue is being distorted by those who want to make Bush look bad.

Research on Alzheimer's is not stymied by limiting stem cell sources. Stem cells may or may not prove useful for this disease.

There are many sources of stem cells other than human embryos, which may or may not be as useful. There are already numerous cell lines derived from human embryos available for research.

Private research sources can do what they want, and not ask the federal government to pay. There are several neglected nutritional questions about Alzheimer's that show immediate promise for prevention or treatment, without waiting years for lesser possibilities for stem cells. Any scientist who wants to do something about Alzheimer's has unrestrained opportunity.

The Reagan family believes what most of us have been falsely taught by the media; that Alzheimer's victims suffer from lack of stem cell research. Not true.

Numerous media sources are eager to use any issue to oppose Bush. This does not come from knowledge, but from the heart. ' Ira Edwards, Medford

Let them protest

The Greenpeace people have the right to protest the Kelsey Whiskey sale. The timber industry will not stop logging old growth until it is all gone. The Kelsey Whiskey is all old-growth timber; some of the trees are over 500 years old and in a roadless area. The problem is the Wilderness Act of 1964 states that any roadless area of 5,000 acres or more can be set aside as a wilderness.

The timber industry has worked hard since 1964 to make sure that all of the 5,000-plus-acre roadless areas have a road in them. Just look at a pre-1964 forest map, then a new one to see all the new roads.

Maybe the answer is to put all forest land without old growth (150-year-old trees or older ) on an 80-year cycle of cutting so the timber industry has a steady supply of wood, and leave the old growth alone. After an area is cut take out the roads or turn them into trails. If we do this we would have more wilderness and a steady supply of timber. 'Paul Todak, Phoenix

Credit where credit is due

First off, I am not bashing President Reagan. I am a Democrat that voted for him. He said he would stop waste in big government. It never happened. He saved money by turning the mentally ill out on the streets, but we had to build new prisons.

President Reagan had very little to do with bringing down the Berlin Wall. Communism started to die when soldiers in Korea stopped the Chinese at the 38th parallel and Stalin made the comment to Mao and the North Korean president (We cannot take on the whole world) ' remember 19 nations fought alongside the United States.

After Korea, I worked alongside thousands of young men, building the Nike, Titan and Minuteman missile systems in North and South Dakota. We outspent Russia and they went broke. Communism deteriorated rapidly and the Berlin Wall would have come down with or without President Reagan.

President Reagan was a good man and a great actor. I believe he belongs on his own mountain alongside of John Wayne. I also propose a &

36;15 bill with his picture on it. ' Allen Forrette, Medford

Support Greenpeace

I am writing in support of Greenpeace, their educational efforts and their civil disobedience on behalf of Oregon's old-growth forests.

The Forest Service gave Greenpeace 48 hours to vacate their forest rescue station camp because they illegally blocked a timber sale road.

I thank Greenpeace for being here and drawing more attention to the BLM's continued emphasis on logging old-growth and mature forests. I am not opposed to logging, but there is only 5 percent of this country's old-growth forests remaining! These forests provide irreplaceable services ' clean water, endangered species habitat and unique scenic and recreational opportunities.

Many of the BLM's timber sales will clearcut trees 8 feet wide and 500 years old! These projects will irreparably harm the remain old-growth forests.

We can have logging, create jobs, a good economy and save the remaining old-growth. I urge everyone to support Greenpeace's right to peaceful protest and to support our local environmental groups. That Greenpeace is here is indicative of the urgency of the situation.

Speak up, speak out, work together, save the old-growth! ' Jan Rice and Lake Connolly, Medford

Sprinklers stop fires

If the Kells' log home had had a sprinkler system, they could have put out their own fire.

My son has a log home and it was required by the building code to have a sprinkler system.

An ounce of prevention ' as the saying goes. ' E. Mironack, Jacksonville

Greenway segment dangerous

I am writing to warn all cyclists about the numerous and dangerous tree roots on the Greenway between Talent Avenue and Suncrest. Three serious accidents have already occurred in the last three weeks and I was one of the cyclists. I was very lucky compared to the others ' with my helmet cracked in two places and bruised shoulder and hip. The others were not so lucky. One is in ICU and the other has a broken collar bone.

I am urging the city of Talent to clearly mark these safety hazards, remove them, or close that section of the Greenway until it is safe for bicyclists. In the meantime, all bicyclists should avoid that section of the Greenway. I understand there are portions of the Greenway in Medford that also have dangerous tree roots. ' Cheryl French, Ashland

The truth will be known

The headline reads, Report clears childhood vaccines of link to autism. The full story on this tragedy has yet to be written, but the truth will eventually be known.

Too many parents of injured children, prominent scientists and independent researchers recognize a cover up in progress. Cover up is indeed the operative word.

The recent Institute of Medicine (IOM) report will be repudiated with such profoundness and certainty that the ultimate disgrace of the IOM and its members is all but assured. The IOM's reputation as an objective body to illuminate complex scientific questions will be further sullied, most recently having to reverse itself over its earlier dismissals of Agent Orange's ability to produce cancer in children. Additional fallout will bring appropriate scrutiny and serious question of all the earlier IOM reports regarding vaccinations and their associations to diabetes, chronic auto-immune and other diseases.

When government and industry collude, the lines that separate them are illusory and the government policy paves the way for industry abuse and profit. With the religion of vaccinations, medical dogma becomes vaccination mandates.

If a vaccine was ever invented that would restore honesty and integrity, the medical and scientific community is in desperate need of multiple doses. ' Michael Framson, Medford