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North concert outstanding

The North Medford High School Music Department put together a wonderful musical celebration on Tuesday evening, Dec. 13. An outstanding combination of choral, band, orchestral and jazz band students performed a grand array of Christmas (and I say Christmas ' not just holiday) music that gladdened the ear and lifted the heart of not only the performers and the audience.

The music department had the courage to present pieces that shared the heart of the Nativity story as well as joyful seasonal songs. We applaud the entire group for their courage in a day when retailers do not have a desire to use the word 'Christmas' in their advertising, prayer and the nation's Pledge of Allegiance mention of God is being debated and other attacks on recognizing God in our lives are all around us.

It was a privilege to hear the prism or sound-surround presentation. Once again, thank you to North Medford High music, both students and instructors, for the standing-ovation performance. ' Brent and Nancy Swendsen, Central Point

Thanks for Santa breakfast

Thank you to Central Point Parks and Recreation for Saturday's wonderful Breakfast with Santa Dec. 10.

It was a great alternative to the traditional Santa lines and overpriced pictures. Our son was able to visit with Santa without waiting, received a picture, and we all had a delicious breakfast ' all for &

36;3 a person. Thank you again. ' Kyra Cavalli, Central Point

Fencing is terrific

I want to thank you for running the Dec. 13 Healthy Living article on fencing. Last February you ran a Healthy Living segment on type II diabetes which happened to feature me, including a large photo which my mother continues to show to visitors. I was a success story at the time, having lost 80 pounds through changing my diet and increasing my exercise.

— What that former article didn't relate was that the exercise was fencing! I am a member of a local club and love the sport for many reasons, not least of which is that it has kept me on my healthy living program.

My total weight loss now is nearly 100 pounds, but even more important for me has been the vast improvement in conditioning that fencing has produced. I am literally in better shape now than when I was 21! So, thank you for the article and I hope many of your readers will take it to heart (forgive the pun) and join us in this terrific sport. ' Ron Kilby, member of the Southern Oregon Fencing Center

Classified increase small

Regarding your Dec. 9 article, page 3A, Oregon University faculties join to fight for better salaries:

Your article mentions a 14.2 percent pay raise for classified staff. I believe this leaves a false impression in the minds of readers.

Unfortunately, the deal was actually for 2 percent, or &

36;50 monthly, in the first year, whichever might be greater. In the majority of cases, I understand, the pay raise amounted to &

36;50 a month. The reason for this is that many state classified employees are office workers, clerical personnel, who are traditionally paid very low salaries.

For example, I, myself, after more than a decade of service at Southern Oregon University, still qualified for the &

36;50 monthly raise. (After tax withholding, this is actually about a &

36;30-per-month increased payout from state coffers or &

36;360 per year.) I understand there will be another increase, also in the low single digits, during the second year of the biennium. ' Glenda Wood, Medford

We need baseball on the radio

The baseball winter meetings have ended. Winter will give way to the wonder of spring training and we will be renewed once again with pear blossoms and the warm sun drying the baseball diamond. But, in Medford, the metropolitan center of the state of Jefferson, we will have no radio station broadcasting any baseball games.

We rejoice in the outstanding cultural options of our area. We have professional services of the highest standards. All our shopping needs are fulfilled by stores boasting all name brands.

But, any city without baseball on radio is a town not yet complete. Radio, once owned by locals, is now big business controlled by people far removed from our valley. There is an opportunity for some local person(s) to fill this need and enjoy the profits of local advertising.

Baseball is more than just another sport. Baseball has been weaved into our national history, our cultural continuity and our sense of identity.

We should be embarrassed that we don't have this symbol of city standards and that we live in a town of limited livability. We can step up to the plate and become urban. We should do it sooner than later. ' Walter K. Thorp, Medford