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It is a moral issueResponding to Ms. Garble's letter of Aug. 12, stem cell research can be a moral issue and a political issue.

Certainly you will find few, if any, objecting to adult stem cell research. The donor is voluntary, without known risk and not eliminated. The results have proven effective in treating sickle-cell anemia, MS, heart damage and yes, even Parkinson's and liver disease.

Embryonic and fetal stem cells cannot be equated with adult stem cells. The donor is not voluntary, the embryo life is terminated. The way around this dilemma is to call the embryo "not human."

We in the United States have a history of calling "humans" not human with the Dred Scott case. So is the embryo/fetus human? Beginning with the first cell, the genetic code exceeding three billion pairs of chemicals, are present. Nothing additional is added other than an environment in which to grow, i.e. a womb and nourishment. A person in a coma needs the same items to live, as does a severely disabled person. Or anyone on a respirator. They are human and so is the embryo/fetus.

Yes, some stem cell research is a moral issue. &

8212; Alan Ludwick, Shady Cove

A life rememberedOn Wed., Aug. 9, BJ (not Betty Jo!) Trefren died in a tragic rafting accident on the Rogue River.

We would like to offer heartfelt thanks to the entire rescue crew that aided in the search, and to the many people offering love and support at this sad time. The outpouring of concern has been tremendous.

BJ was much-loved in Southern Oregon and beyond, and touched literally hundreds of lives with her kind heart. Her vitality and exuberance for life will leave an emptiness in the community for a long time to come.

Again, thank you to the people of Southern Oregon; your caring nature is what makes this a great place to live!

BJ loved the Rogue Valley and as she always said and did, "Live life to the fullest; every day is precious." With deepest gratitude. &

8212; The family of BJ Trefren, Wayne K. Trefren, husband; Karen Trefren, sister-in-law

Neighbors rally for J'villeI want to thank all the neighbors in Jacksonville who attended the Jackson County hearing on Aug. 10 concerning the rezoning of the Opp Mine property from forest reserve to aggregate resource. There was a young mother, with three children in tow, who gave heartfelt testimony about the damage the dust and chemical pollutants would cause, especially to her young son who has asthma, telling the applicants what they are doing is wrong. A grandmother spoke up about how she helps train her grandchild to know the difference between right and wrong. She told the county planners that "this is not the right place for this."

The depth of concern for the environment and for the health and safety of the entire community was shown at the hearing. This is what makes Jacksonville such a great place to visit and to live. Jacksonville is a well-known national treasure, but on Thursday I learned it's my neighbors who are the real national treasure. &

8212; Julie Mather, Jacksonville

Down the wrong trackA few days ago, the Mail Tribune printed a story about the police chief stating that teenagers are playing dangerous, stupid games including walking on railroad tracks. Sunday morning I pick up the paper, and the Life section has a story about Jeny Lee, who makes clothes out of rags. It's accompanied with a huge photo of Jeny ... walking on a railroad track!

Shame on Jim Craven for posing the photo that way, and shame on you for publishing it. Do you read your own paper? &

8212; Craig Callaway, Eagle Point