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A sneaky price increaseHas nobody but me complained about the new "30-oz. quarts" of mayonnaise that have recently arrived on supermarket shelves in Medford? The new 30-oz. jar is 6.25 percent smaller than the 32-oz. jars formerly used by a well-known brand that's marketed east of the Rockies under another name. Needless to say, the product was already about the costliest of its kind, and worth it; but this lowered quantity generated no reduction in its price.

Because it's a truthful label this is, of course, completely legal, and a very sneaky way to increase prices and profit margins without being too obvious! While we're on this subject, how about those "7-cup half gallons" of ice cream? They're a 12.5 percent reduction in quantity. I haven't seen a full half gallon of ice cream for quite some time! &

8212; W. L. Stevens Jr., Medford

BLM pulls a fast oneOne government agency is committing fraud and deception on the American people. The Medford District Bureau of Land Management is destroying Oregon's last remaining old-growth reserves and roadless areas, one fake thinning project at a time. Last year, the 800,000-acre Medford District offered 83 million board feet of timber for sale &

8212; four times as much as any other BLM district. In the Illinois River Valley, the BLM is moving forward with seven old-growth logging projects this year alone, three within the last 30 days, all commercial thinning sales. Though the sales connect together and extend from the far reaches of Takilma to Selma, the BLM has pulled a fast one, by refusing to include the sales together under an Environmental Impact Statement or to involve local communities in management decisions.

In short, the Medford BLM has become a rogue agency and a blight on the public lands system. The BLM has essentially relinquished its ultimate responsibility under the O&C act to: Protect watersheds in timberlands, regulate the flow of streams, contribute to the economic stability of local communities, contribute to the economic stability of local industries and provide outdoor recreational areas and facilities. &

8212; Justin Rohde, Cave Junction

What about Main Street?Reading the article "Downtown Face Lift," I wondered for the umpteenth time what this proposal will do to Main Street.

When, as a newcomer 19 years ago, I would visit Medford, it looked like a town that had let go &

8212; dusty, a little bleak. Years passed, and the work of MURA began to visibly improve Main and its cross-streets.

This past year I have spent much time downtown. It is a joy to be there, with Vogel Plaza, flowers everywhere, The Craterian, RCC, the wonderful library. It's fun to walk along Main seeing each year's new facades on colorful shops.

I don't oppose Lithia's expansion. Original news about two tall structures made sense. But Middleford Commons has gone much further than corporate offices.

City planners must know that the bulk of the Sixth Street parking structure is a visual, physical barrier between new and old. Upscale shops lining a sumptuous park will draw shoppers to Bartlett Street, and they are not apt to turn around and visit Main Street.

What does this say of the past 20 years of building up downtown Medford? Or to the shift of MURA funds from old downtown to the siren song of corporate taxes? &

8212; Gail Beason, Talent

More than a piece of paperI voted for this man but I didn't know what he was like. Now I regret it. To say the least, that if he doesn't follow the Constitution then he doesn't need to be in the White House. It is definitely more than just a piece of paper! &

8212; Henry C. Johnson, Medford

The shocking truthFormer Vice President Al Gore has created a documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth," now playing at the Varsity Theater in Ashland. Based on science, not politics, it tells the shocking truth about what global warming is doing to our planet right now and paints a terrible future unless we determined citizens commit to take action now.

The first thing we can do is to see and urge friends, family and associates to see the movie. Next we can vote out Republican Greg Walden, the only member of Congress on our ballots in November. Walden rates only 10 percent on the League of Conservation Voters' list of environmental voting records. In contrast, Oregon Republican Sen. Gordon Smith earned a 28 percent and Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden a 92 percent favorable rating.

The choice is clear. Elect Democratic challenger Carol Voisin, who promises strong action to attack global warming and promote energy conservation. &

8212; Marge Sutton, Ashland

Israelis target civiliansI am mystified by the failure of the mainstream media to acknowledge that current Israeli military operations in the Gaza Strip and Southern Lebanon are targeting civilians and nonmilitary civilian infrastructure. The destruction wrought upon the Palestinian people, and now the Lebanese, has been largely ignored, while every attack by a Palestinian or Lebanese militant &

8212; whether on soldiers or civilians &

8212; receives overwhelmingly disproportionate coverage.

A mockery is made of any concern for human rights and international law by the deafening silence in the United States regarding Israel's aggression, its continual undermining of its own legitimate security concerns, at U.S. taxpayer expense, and its decades-old refusal to respect U.N. resolutions to withdraw its occupation from internationally recognized Palestinian land.

I ask that the Mail Tribune provide more balanced coverage of the situation in Middle East and offer a forum for legitimate debate on the issues at hand. Years after an atrocity, people around the world look at themselves and ask: "Why were we silent?" It is not too late to preempt that question. &

8212; Joshua Hough, Talent

Think of your neighborsThis is an open letter to all dog/swimming pool/barbecue and yard owners. Please remember that at the end of your fence is another fence and then another home with families like yours.

If you have a barking dog, screaming voices in the pool, etc., those of course are joyful summer sounds. However, there may be a family having a quiet barbecue on their porch and entertaining with conversation rather than activity. Please try to remember every sound you produce does not go into thin air ... especially yelling at barking dogs, etc. Many thanks. Have a great summer. &

8212; M. Freer, Medford

Skateboarding is legalThis letter is written in response to a Medford Police officer who stopped my skateboarding friend on July 13. The officer blasted his horn, nearly scaring my friend into a crash on his longboard. The curt policeman then told him that he couldn't skate on the sidewalk or on the bike path. When my friend asked where it was legal for him to skate, the officer replied "Well, you just shouldn't be skateboarding, period." Excuse me, sir, but longboarding and skateboarding are legitimate forms of transportation. I also longboard and have been harassed by police officers when skating on empty sidewalks owned by the community. This is a free country. If we're not breaking the law, leave us alone! Not all of us have federal money to fill our gas tanks. &

8212; Sarah Carso, Sams Valley

Roads need wideningWith respect to one of many oncoming traffic problems in this area, it is amazing to me that North Phoenix/Foothill Roads are not now under construction to widen them to multi-lanes and to straighten and extend their alignments between Highway 140 on the north and the Phoenix interchange on the south. It is not rocket science to be aware these roads are already near overcrowding at some times of the day and with the new construction coming and under way along both routes to know that it is only a matter of a relatively short time before the overcrowding becomes a more or less permanent condition. This is not a case of "build it and they will come;" "they" have or soon will come and bemoaning that fact is not going to change anything. Meanwhile the various governments apparently are either doing nothing, spending money on traffic circles, or debating with each other the obvious. It is also not rocket science to understand why so many have so little faith in local government. &

8212; Edw. Goldhamer, Medford

Mine is a threatLast month the Register-Guard (Eugene, June 25""29) ran an excellent, terrifying, five-part series on mining in Southern Oregon called "Mining's Toxic Legacy." The article talks about the Formosa Mine near Riddle &

8212; 18 miles of salmon-rearing stream are dead. The Bonanza mine in Douglas County &

8212; mercury- and arsenic-laden tailings create railroad beds and driveways in Sutherlin. The Champion gold mine has so polluted Dorena Lake that it has been given the "very high" rating (for mercury) by the state. The cost of cleanup is immense.

Now comes a petition from the owners of the Opp mine &

8212; a historic pioneer-era gold mine. They want to change the zoning on their property so they can dig up and reactivate all the chemicals that have been slumbering in the tailings and shafts and tunnels. Why? To produce sand and gravel for our county as well as gold (for themselves). Where? Only a mile upwind from the National Historic Landmark of Jacksonville and within 1,500 feet of 77 property owners. The commissioners are considering this. The hearing is set for August 10 at 9 a.m. at the County Auditorium. Come. OPPose this. &

8212; Hedy Schoonover, Jacksonville

Support local businessesIn reply to Cheri Neely's letter on July 13, as one who is "complaining" about the proposed Super Wal-Marts in the Rogue Valley, I will not "be the first in line to shop there." I haven't been inside a Wal-Mart in over five years and don't ever plan to enter one again, preferring to support local businesses instead.

As far as getting in on the growth here, evidently quality of life is not Ms. Neely's concern. If concrete, traffic and smog doesn't bother you, then please, pack up and move back to where you came from and leave a healthier Rogue Valley to the residents who truly care about this area and want to prevent it from becoming another Southern California.

I have experienced San Diego-style traffic jams and it's definitely not something we want here. A healthier downtown would be great, but let's do it wisely. As for buying stock in Lithia Motors, I view them as favorably as I view Wal-Mart. &

8212; J. Ellicott, Jacksonville

Get up to dateI would just like to thank Coach Dennis Murphy and the principal of South Medford High for so kindly reminding me how the good old boys club still not only exists in Southern Oregon, but that it's thriving.

I am glad that Kyle Singler has reached success at such a young age in basketball, congratulations to him. However, Mrs. Salisbury does make a valid point regarding equal treatment under Title IX law regarding corporate contributions to public educational institutions.

If Nike wants to support Kyle Singler, they should do so. But if they are supporting the whole South Medford boys basketball team, then they should also contribute to the girls team.

For me, what upsets me the most about this issue is the attitude of Coach Murphy. Not only he is the basketball coach but he is the athletic director for the entire school. What kind of message is he sending to every sports team in that school by allowing this to go on? This is 2006, not 1966, let's get up to date with equal rights law, boys. &

8212; Andrea Noble, Medford