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Music beats talkThis is to lament the passing of KEZX 730 AM radio.

It played great music from the 1940s, '50s and '60s.

Now it will host those who will argue, shout and make biased statements about people and subjects they know little or nothing about.

Those using this format obviously have way too much time on their hands, nothing better to do and need to get a life! &

8212; Bob Isom, Rogue River Thanks, GrinchThe valley got one of its rare snow days on Jan. 16. When I got to my home in Central Point, my kids, with adult supervision, were sledding on our quiet street being pulled on a sled by my ATV (with adult drivers). No one was hot-rodding, or sliding around corners, just giving the kids sled rides.

This was right up to when one of our "neighbors" decided to call the police and complain. Instead of calling us or talking to us as neighbors, the police were called, and the fun ended.

Thanks, Grinch. Try talking to your neighbor next time if something is bothering you. It's the neighborly thing to do. &

8212; Raymond Smith, Central Point

RVTD taking stepsRegarding "Residents need a lift" (Jan. 6):

Although Rogue Valley Transportation District is not able to serve the Route 4 area, we are doing things that are aimed at helping affected riders. Included are:

Valley Lift calls for medical appointments are, as much as possible, matched up with other sources of transportation.An estimate is that about 70 percent of the known ride requests have been matched up with a provider.Providing a surplus van to Jackson County to transport veterans from the VA Dom to the state office on State Street.Setting up a safe off-street transfer area between Valley Lift and other providers at the Molly Murphy's restaurant on Barnett Road. A shelter is being installed for waiting passengers. This will encourage passengers to wait at this area rather than risking traversing dangerous streets and overpasses.

We know there is demand for services that are not being met, and regret not being able to provide for these needs. RVTD is working to identify and secure future funding sources, so it will be able to expand and maintain services throughout the Rogue Valley. &

8212; Peter G. Jacobsen, general manager, RVTD, Medford

Another ideaRegarding the Jan. 14 guest opinion by David Schott saying, "I am mad as hell and I am not going to take it anymore," I agree with his entire article, however may I add what, in my opinion, could be a solution to restore harvesting our forests and put those loggers back to work getting paid and paying their taxes and using that money to pay for all the services that have been lost?

My solution is to legalize marijuana (no longer will it be necessary to grow it out in the forest land! Or if that does not work give jobs to the timber employees out locating all of the pot patches and then those who are out there growing just might have to get legal jobs and they can pay the taxes ! &

8212; Ellen (Barker) Gatter, Phoenix

Reflections on MLK DayOn Jan. 15 I celebrated the life of Martin Luther King. A week earlier I heard this comment: "Why should a black man who got shot have a holiday named after him?"

After I heard this, I was able to reflect, and not react, which is a good practice, especially with this kind of statement. My reflection brought up having not been in venues where I would hear this type of comment for some time and my personal work on issues about "other" &

8212; i.e., my biases, prejudices and judgments toward that which is outside my reality. I am far less than perfect about these things, but my having learned to reflect on them made my MLK Day more enjoyable and enlightening! &

8212; Gary Woodring, Talent

Keep it a family showThank you to the Medford Martin Luther King Day Task Force for organizing a great birthday celebration. My children and I enjoyed the excellent entertainment and were reminded of how much we love our country's diversity. I especially appreciated the encouragement to "keep the dream alive" by making MLK Day a day of service in our community.

However, I hope that if the Planned Parenthood Teen Theater is invited to perform again next year, they could preach tolerance without including sexually explicit actions and language. When I brought my children to this family event, I was not anticipating that they would be exposed to a discussion about a pornographic film and teens pantomiming sexual acts.

Task Force, please keep it a family show, and the MLK Day celebration will be a tradition in our family for many years to come. &

8212; Cyndi Cannon, Medford

Huss uses fearThe Sunday, Jan. 14 column by political consultant Larry Huss is a page right out of the radical right's handbook. That is, it uses fear to get the middle class to support positions that are against their own family's financial interests. It's downright Orwellian!

First he uses the scary "L" word &

8212; liberal. He knows how the public has been brainwashed on that one. Then he uses "class warfare." Good, but he doesn't tell who declared that war. Statistics make it clear that the ultra rich "elites" are rapidly gaining the concentration of wealth and the middle class is disappearing.

So, if we tax the multi-millionaires, they will all leave the state? Why? Most other states do, in fact, have estate and/or inheritance taxes. I'd like evidence of this "mass exodus," including why people leave the state upon retirement.

As for the old "trickle down" theory, what about the ultra-rich who invest their money in foreign investments or domestic companies that create jobs in India? And others simply spend it to live like royalty.

The fact is, the ultra-rich take more out of our society and they can put more back in. Or should you pay their share? &

8212; David E. Asche, Medford

Sales tax would fly, if ...I believe a small sales tax would fly, if it was etched in the Constitution that it could not be increased without a vote of the people. The other taxes would have to be etched and stabilized also. However, I doubt the Legislature has the intestinal fortitude to accomplish this! Prove me wrong.

Secondly, in reference to the letters that refer to "Light One Candle": I, too, am interested in this endeavor and would be willing to help get it going. Let's make it work! &

8212; Keith C. Grant, Central Point

Got a bang out of cowboysRegarding "Giving cowboys a shot," (Sunday, Jan. 14), I get a bang out of Old West shootists firing their shotguns.

The versatile shotgun played a vital role on the 19th-century Western frontier. If a person were limited to owning but one firearm during this era, a double-barrel shotgun (both percussion muzzle loaders and later breech loaders) was a sensible choice. Beside the repeating rifle and six-shooter, it was the shotgun which actually tamed the frontier out west.

For the wagon train emigrant, immigrant, homesteader, farmer, townsfolk, etc., the shotgun was both provider and protector. First the smoothbore could provide fresh meat for the table, and second it was a formidable weapon as it defined "Homeland Security." The 10- or 12-gauge double-barrel "sawed off" shotgun carried by overland stagecoach guards, express messengers, and law officers (U.S. Marshals, sheriffs, constables) loaded with 00 "double-ought" buckshot, was a deadly close-range killer!

For more on shotguns, my own lengthy letter titled, "Shotgun an American relic" (Ashland Daily Tidings, Saturday, Jan. 13), and "Revival Of The Coach Gun" (Popular Mechanics magazine, June 2004) can both be read online at and , respectively. &

8212; James A. Farmer, Ashland

Fluoride toxic to salmonIn lay terms, salmon function differently when they move from salt into fresh water. To maintain electrolyte balance, they must eliminate salts in salt water, but concentrate salts in fresh. If the fresh water is contaminated with fluoride, they concentrate it, too, so that very low levels become toxic.

The findings of Damkaer/Dey (published in the North American Journal of Fisheries Management in 1989, and recognized as "Most Significant Paper" of that year) showing that 0.2 ppm is the critical threshold of harm for coho and chinook salmon have never been refuted scientifically in any peer-reviewed study.

Fluoride background levels in Oregon rivers apparently are not being monitored, though researchers have measured some near or above the 0.2 ppm mark already. For instance, in August 2002, fluoride levels of the Tualatin River were measured at 0.7 ppm.

How the annual addition of 30-40 tons of contaminated industrial waste, hydrofluorosalicic acid, through fluoridation of our drinking water (99 percent of which ends up back in the environment) might impact salmon recovery in Bear Creak or the Rogue has not been studied, but is potentially a serious threat.

The threat fluoride poses to salmon and other aquatic life can be found at &

8212; Michael Framson, Medford, Oregon Citizens for Safe Drinking Water

Thanks to Cow CreekThe Rogue Valley has a growing senior and disabled population. This population is often a target for financial abuse from family, friends and others. These unfortunate people may face the threat of eviction, or the loss of their home.

The Cow Creek Umpqua Indian Foundation has recognized these needs and generously awarded Consumer Credit Counseling's Money Management Program $10,000 to recruit, screen and train volunteers. The volunteers are matched with low-income seniors and the disabled to provide help balancing the client's checking account, organizing bills and other financial tasks that the client might need to prolong their independent living.

Thanks to the foundation's generosity and the generosity of other organizations, this assistance can continue to be provided free of charge.

Thank you, Cow Creek Umpqua Indian Foundation. &

8212; Jan Safley, executive director, Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Southern Oregon

Time for a showdownOn Jan. 10, W spoke. He asked for a change in course in Iraq. As in previous speeches, he attempted to blow by the wishes of the American people and Congress.

Iraq was a poor reaction and under-manned invasion to an attack on the United States. W has not exhibited leadership, but has ruled by terror and innuendo much as a schoolyard bully.

While Americans decry violence on TV, we were treated to repeated showings of Saddam's hanging.

If we continue to shovel cash into Iraq, we will find the United States crumbling. We cannot destroy Iraq and keep the United States going. We face possible attacks from Iran, North Korea and other nations who have seen how poorly we perform as a military unit.

We have lost and contributed to the loss of many thousands of lives, more than we lost in the tower bombings. We are led by a blind incompetent who surrounds himself with military hawks.

Oppose the war? Out the door!

It's time for a congressional showdown with the president. &

8212; Wayne R. Martin, Medford

It's up to BushMembers of the administration keep saying the Democrats don't have any ideas about what should be done in Iraq.

Why should it be up to the Democrats to bail out those responsible for the debacle? If those that claimed to be all-knowing prior to the invasion (the president has even claimed guidance from God) can't find a way out of the disaster of their own creation, it is time to leave.

President Bush and the "wizards" that he listens to are the cause of the mess and it should be up to them to find a solution or throw in the towel and bring the troops home. &

8212; Harlan Moore, Medford

Just tell them noI heard in the news that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger proposes health insurance for everyone, including illegal immigrants &

8212; what?

What else are we going to grant them? When are we ever going to wake up and realize the importance of the rule of law? Isn't that what the Constitution is based on?

We already award the babies of illegal immigrants U.S. citizenship. Now we have to pay yet again for people that do things against the law? If I do something against the law, I get thrown in jail. But now we are encouraging more illegal immigrants to keep coming and even make sure that they're in excellent health, while breaking the law! There are working American families that are not able to afford health insurance, and don't qualify for help from their own state and country they're citizens of.

Do we not have the guts anymore to say no? The immigrants are the ones that made the decision to leave their home country and immigrate to the U.S. It's only correct and expected to respect the rules, laws and culture of the country they desire to live in. They didn't ask us first, to cross the border unlawfully. &

8212; Patricia Frausto, Central Point

It's Bush's responsibilityThe war in Iraq is the sole responsibility of President George W. Bush and the neoconservatives. They wanted it, they lied for it, they planned it and they carried it out.

Should the "surge" (escalation?) succeed and the United States extricate itself gracefully from Iraq, President Bush and the neoconservatives will warrant praise for devising an exit strategy. Should the "surge" (escalation?) fail, President Bush and the neoconservatives will deserve opprobrium for a fiasco of unimagined consequences. &

8212; Harry Freiberg, Brookings

Where's Al?Has anyone seen or heard Al Gore lately? Or does he only rear his head in the mid-summer when it's easier to sell his inconvenient lie? &

8212; John Mueller, Medford