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Should we boycott Bushes'

I'm a firm advocate of wishing my Christian friends and family a Merry Christmas. What I can't understand is the good Christians' proposal that everyone boycott Target and Wal-Mart because they instruct their employees to greet customers by wishing them Happy Holidays.

Does this mean everyone should also boycott Laura and George Bush who sent out Christmas cards with the message Happy Holidays and nary a mention of Christmas? What a good idea! ' Jura Sherwood, Phoenix

Closed to discussion

Jeff Hanson's guest opinion cites helicopter logging and wood placement on exposed soil as evidence that the Mount Ashland ski expansion would be environmentally sensitive.

He overlooks the core problem. Expansion would clearcut old-growth forest in a roadless area above a municipal watershed that historically suffers injury from such activity.

Another writer accused zealots of trying to shut down the ski area. That shows how closed the Mount Ashland Association's leadership is to constructive discussion. ' Jay Lininger, Ashland

'Lighten up' not so light

I would like whoever chose Saturday's Lighten Up story to explain what is so light about five beautiful deer falling to their deaths. ' Lee Michalak, Medford

Dyal does a good job

Mike Dyal has always rendered great service to our city. He replaced a city manager that was less than enthusiastic about the challenges of renewing our neighborhoods in West Medford. Mike brought in fresh ideas and revamped many ways that we do business, from streamlining the budget process to creating a Neighborhood Resource Coordinator at the behest of the City Council, and many other projects that have benefited Medford.

He has always received good reviews from the council and it was a great pleasure to work with him on the business of the city. His meetings with us outside of the council chambers educated us and kept us abreast of the day-to-day movements of a project and were extremely helpful.

We investigated the allegations levied against him from his former place of employment; we found them baseless. Anyone can say anything they want to a newspaper and the general public will look no further ' and base their opinion usually on less than full knowledge of what is going on. I hope that Mike and his family don't become victims of an uninformed public. ' Matthew Hart, former City Council member, Ward 3

Thanks for benefit concert

I heard that Gypsy Soul is coming back for another holiday benefit concert for WinterSpring Center for Living with Loss and Grief, and I called WinterSpring (772-2527) to buy tickets before they sold out like they did last year.

I hope others will come to the Dec. 17 concert at the old Ashland Armory to enjoy amazing music and support an organization that helps grieving children and adults all year. Thank you, Gypsy Soul! ' Deena Dalton, Medford

A greater gift

Holiday gifts represent great potential to affect positive change locally and globally. With thoughtful reflection, your gifts will keep giving far and wide.

The Rogue Valley boasts amazing artisans, world-class wineries, award-winning specialty food producers and unique shops. Tickets to an event, dinner at a local restaurant or a gift certificate from the Chamber of Commerce ' good at numerous businesses ' are perfect for locals or guests. Choosing these treasures supports the regional economy and you'll find something unique while saving time and fuel.

Look for products made sustainably under fair labor and wage conditions to make your gift give back beyond the area. Using recycled and recyclable wrapping will preserve ancient forests and minimize waste ' no small feat since trash increases 25 percent over the holidays, mostly from packaging.

Services make a terrific gift, and you can provide these yourself or hire someone locally. Offer to help a friend with gardening, dog walking or house cleaning; make a baked good or handmade craft; or take a loved one to explore a new trail in our watershed ' unbelievable beauty and serenity lies minutes above the city.

The possibilities are endless and the material resources we save collectively are immeasurable. Happy holidays! ' Melissa Schweisguth, Ashland