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School Board caved in

A hysterical presentation by a veteran disciple of Pastor Courson was enough to push an already fearful Medford School Board to decimate the sex component of the updated health curriculum. Notwithstanding staggering statistics regarding teenage pregnancy, abortion, STDS and AIDS, staff was directed to censure all fun passages, and outside speakers, among other things. Condom use misinformation, however, still will be available on the streets. Never underestimate those with God on their side. ' George McCartin, Jacksonville

Whose land is being taken?

For two guys who rail against the taking of private land, C.W. Smith and Jack Walker sure seemed to have no pangs of conscience about allowing cattle owners to take grazing rights on the land of an unwilling property owner. It proves one thing: In the end, we all believe in land being taken for somebody else's good. It just depends on who's the owner and who's the taker. ' Geoffrey Riley, Talent

Give credit where it's due

This article is in response to the Jan. 11 letter, Isn't kindness Christian?

I don't see how keeping the Christ in Christmas is so puzzling? Christmas has been called Christmas for hundreds of years. Christmas (Christ's Mass) is in remembrance and celebration of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. Not the birth of Santa, Frosty or Rudolph. Simple ' let's give credit where it's due.

I like to think kindness and charity are only two of the virtues that everyone (labeled Christian or not) should strive to possess. These qualities are part of Christ's whole character.

Sadly, there is tremendous misery, deprivation and need in this world. As believers, it is our priority to spread the word and love of God. Nothing less. God gives hope to those who accept Him. Amazingly enough, He works out the little things according to His will if you have faith. (Proverbs 3:5-6.)

— So, let's not get hung up on the technicalities of Merry this or Happy that. Be thankful that someone cares enough to wish you well. (Leviticus 19:18 and Ephesians 4:32)

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. May God bless you and yours in 2006.

Remember, God loves you no matter what! ' Jennifer M. Covarrubias, Trail

Don't judge SOU by size

When Southern Oregon University instructor and historian Arthur Kreisman was interviewed, he indicated that SOU would best serve students and the community if the enrollment remained at 5,000 students.

At California public universities enrollments grew to where anonymity reigns. As young students try to find their way, they find themselves lost in classes of thousands in universities of tens of thousands.

Americans generally subscribe to the creed that bigger is better. But really only better is better. In business, financial viability is tied to ever more growth, but in the academic world other things matter. Thus, we need a cap on enrollment at SOU. We shouldn't equate stable enrollment with administrative failure.

But, the job of the SOU president will increasingly be that of fund-raiser. The SOU administration needs to increasingly reach out to alumni, businesses and the community for money. SOU needs larger endowments, but we don't need the president to obsess about an ever-increasing body count.

SOU will face growth pressures because Oregon will grow, because nationally and in Oregon we continue to elect pro-growth people to Congress. But that doesn't mean SOU should increase beyond 5,000 students. Nor should the city permit SOU's campus to expand geographically. ' Brent Thompson, SOU language student, Ashland

Must be a joke

I started reading the Affluent Beggars story and the farther I read, the more I thought it was a joke. When the second article came out I really thought it was a joke. No one would say or do what these people were doing.

The sad part is they say they won't work so they can be with their children; but they adopted out two older children. These articles have to be a joke! ' Dana Tuley, Medford

Outlaw panhandling

Regarding your article on beggars, I believe that not only is it an annoyance, it is offensive to me as well. When I see these people holding signs that say will work for food or veteran needs help, chances are that they won't work for food or they are not a veteran.

As a disabled veteran of the first Gulf War, I know what I and my fellow veterans have been through and none of the vets I know have any desire to live on the streets. Why? Because we hold jobs. These people need to quit being lazy and wanting handouts.

So, to all you panhandlers, I say get a job! As for Ms. Dodge, If you truly were in the Army and received a medical discharge, you are eligible for benefits and there is help out there. There is the Jackson County Veterans Service office on State Street, the Dom in White City and the Vet Center in Grants Pass.

They can and will help all veterans. ' Mike Banz, Eagle


Exposing the deception

Thank you for exposing these deceptive people. From what I have read in your Sunday article, Jason Pancoast and Elizabeth Johnson have not only deceived the people of Ashland, they have deceived the state of Oregon as well. They collect food stamps and I didn't get the impression that they claimed the income they make. Is that stealing?

I wonder who paid for their children's birth and medical treatment. My guess is the taxpayers of Oregon. Which brings up another issue: Do they claim their income and pay taxes or do they deceive and collect from the taxpayers? I think this should be investigated and if a crime or crimes have been committed, the state of Oregon should prosecute.

I know too many people trying to make it here working, going to school, raising a family on their own, to have any compassion for these people, who would rather tear us down with their lies and deception as they continue stealing from us.

I would rather help those who are trying than those who are lying. ' Bryan Merideth, Medford

I need help, too

I am coming to Ashland. My sign will read: Worked 35 years, bought home, paid taxes, educated child. Now living on Social Security/Medicare and savings. Need help. ' Mary Reid, Central Point

Glorify someone else

You really should be ashamed of yourselves, Mail Tribune, for glorifying beggars twice now on the front page of your newspaper. If you want to glorify someone, try one or all of our American military ' someone who contributes to society rather than leeches off of it! Wonder when the IRS will get in touch with them to pay their rightful contribution.

I guess that is one of the many reasons our family does not subscribe to your newspaper. ' Phyllis Cardinal, Central Point

Outing the beggars

Thank you for outing the couple in the affluent beggars article. I gave Elizabeth money and clothes for her baby because I felt sorry for her and her children. (I believed her story.) But now I know the truth.

I think they set a poor example for their children and are abusing the system. I hope one or both of the parents get a job or move on. Charitable giving is an essential part of our community but it should be to organizations like ACCESS and not people like these. ' Alisa Stucky, Ashland

Amazed at brazenness

Definition of parasite: One who lives at others' expense without making any useful return.

Definition of affluent beggar: See parasite.

I was amazed at the brazenness of the couple who exist on food stamps and money they receive through begging, then bragged about it in your Jan. 8 article. It must be a nice to have a choice whether or not to work to support your family. Instead, they rely on the rest of us to work to support them. People like this should be kicked off the state programs and be forced to grow up and get a job. ' Paula Lawson, Central Point

Offended by beggars

I am absolutely offended by the Affluent Beggars. They are scam artists taking advantage of the people in Ashland. A law should be effected to stop such scandalous behavior ' &

36;1,000 a month rent? Private schools?

They are some role models for their children they kept. If things don't go well, will they divest themselves of them ,too? ' Stephen W. Ackerman, Grants Pass

A poor example

I am outraged that the Mail Tribune made such an effort to point out the ease which unscrupulous people are able to scam the public. These people do not deserve public aid! This is a poor example for their kids. ' Marilyn Connolly, Phoenix

Story offensive

I took extreme offense to your Jan. 8 front-page article glorifying the life of the affluent beggars.

Here is a family making these choices and dragging their children into it. Great teachers! They are well-dressed, have a newer car, send their child to private school and receive food stamps?

My family has never made &

36;300 a day, much less been eligible for food stamps. My husband is on disability because of illness, we have 10-year-old cars, my kids go to public schools, we shop at Goodwill, we have lived in a small house in West Medford for 15 years, and I work. Yet we get denied OHP benefits.

My husband will die without medical care. I hope DHS reads the Mail Tribune. ' Marjorie Murch, Medford