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Buy a business calculator

In Tuesday's editorial, you quote Mayor Wheeler as noting that at the present growth rate of more than 2 percent per year, Medford's population will double in 50 years.

Either Mayor Wheeler or whoever wrote the editorial does not understand the effect of compound growth. If a city is growing at 2 percent per year, it will double in population in 35 years ' not 50.

The mayor or whoever makes planning decisions for the city needs to learn how to read compound growth tables or buy a simple business calculator. ' Craig Callaway, Eagle Point

Offer DiChiro three years

I have some background in contract negotiations and believe it to be prudent for the Ashland School Board to bargain with School Superintendent Juli DiChiro over issues such as wage increase, health coverage and other benefits, but to offer anything less than a three-year contract to someone who has served with such high distinction for the past five years is nothing short of a slap in the face.

DiChiro has provided stellar leadership during a troubled time in Ashland and yet has still managed to keep the Ashland School District among the elite districts in Oregon. The School Board also seems to believe that, due to their relative inexperience (with three of five members serving less than six months), a one-year contract might be in their best interest to develop a better working relationship with the superintendent before they commit to a longer period.

I have worked for four different police chiefs as a police officer in the last 25 years and if I had to undergo a probationary year each time my agency switched chiefs, I would be highly insulted. If the school board heads down this road during negotiations, don't be surprised if we lose one of the best. ' Brent Jensen, Ashland

More fencing benefits

Your Dec. 13 Healthy Living article on the sport of fencing failed to mention one of the foremost potential benefits of the sport for an aging population. Recent research strongly suggests the value of learning new skills to stave off future Alzheimer's disease and other negative effects of aging.

Fencing is a sport that combines healthy physical activity with sustained mental exercise. Forget the treadmill; recreational fencing is physical and mental fitness with fun. Your readers also might want to know that the principal instructors at Ashland's Southern Oregon Fencing Center are themselves seniors, that the floor at the center is spring-mounted to ensure a low-impact workout, and that the center will begin in January Fencing for Life classes specifically intended for older fencers.

I suggest interested readers ' of any age ' call the center's fencing master, John McDougall, at 535-3639. ' Steve Wesche, Ashland

Why so slow?

On Nov. 30, President Bush talked about how we will reduce troop levels in Iraq. He said we have to stay the course and get them trained to take over their own security before we leave.

Let's go back in time 64 years. Dec. 7 caught us unprepared to take care of our own security. In months we had trained troops, and where we needed training camps, they were built in months. One example was Camp White, with breaking of ground in January 1942 and dedication in September 1942. Most of the construction was completed by August 1942.

Going back to the present time, we have been saying Iraqi troops are being trained to take over. How long has this been going on? Over two years at least, I believe. Something doesn't seem right. If we had been this slow in 1942, we would all be eating with chopsticks and speaking Japanese.

With over 2,100 of our military ending up dead in Iraq so far, what is our count going to be when Iraq takes over? How many more years? I would hope we can turn it over soon, although I don't believe peace will last there. History is against it. ' William C. Carlson, Vietnam veteran, Central Point

A suggestion

After reading your article in the paper (Dec. 8) and watching the news, I have a suggestion for the winner of the &

36;340 million lottery.

We have a very serious problem here in the valley concerning homeless children. They have won more money than they could ever spend in a lifetime and these children have nothing or next to nothing. Why not give them a helping hand out of poverty? A shelter to house, keep them warm, fed, clothed, training high school students for work so they will be able to support themselves or help support their families. ' Betty Alexander, Medford