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The last warning

The turkey vultures returned on Feb. 27 and the purple martins returned on March 3. That signals that our rain season is mostly kaput.

In 15 years, they've never returned this early. Even the hummingbirds are back!

The Rogue Valley is an irrigated desert. We have a population that is growing fast, and we have a major water shortage facing us if we don't act now.

When Lost Creek Lake doesn't have enough water to keep the Rogue River cool, the salmon smolt are attacked by a parasite that often wipes out the whole fishery.

The foundation for Elk Creek Dam is in place. If we complete the dam, we assure a second body of water for our future generations of people, birds and fish. If we don't, we're fools.

This early spring is the last warning we're going to get, folks. If Elk Creek Dam is completed, everybody and every finned thing wins, including some bald eagles, ospreys and waterfowl.

— Now let's all get together and do something really smart for a change, shall we? ' Carl F. Worden, Eagle Point

Send us students

In response to Bill Gates' commentary March 6:

Really, Bill? Tracking and racial prejudice are the reasons students are failing?

Certainly parents should be held accountable for some things, like student (and parent) drug use, lack of discipline, poor role models at home, or not even being home? I don't care what color she is or what language is spoken at home, if parents don't have high expectations for and enforcement of their children's behavior, morals and academic achievement, how does the teacher get the unmotivated 14-year-olds who read at fourth-grade level ready for college?

If you send us students who consider it a solemn duty to do their best in school (like in China), we'll give you inspired, enthusiastic graduates ready to step into higher education at their greatest intellectual level. And after you do that, if you still think the schools need to change, we'll be ready for that discussion. ' H. Johnson, Ashland