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We are professionals charged with safeguarding the health of children. Thus, we feel compelled to publicly appeal to Congressman Greg Walden to support the reauthorization of the State Children's Health Insurance Program. That vital legislation will provide health care to 10 million uninsured children nationwide.

As pediatricians, we are keenly aware of the harm suffered by children without health insurance. Manageable conditions such as asthma go untreated or are treated intermittently in emergency rooms, placing the child's long-term health at risk.

Many hardworking families in Southern Oregon are caught in a bind. Fewer employers are offering health benefits, while the cost of private insurance is increasingly out of reach.

We hope that Rep. Walden will show the kind of leadership that he displayed as a member of the Oregon Legislature, when he played a key role in the enactment of the Oregon Health Plan. The health of uninsured children in our community depends on it. — Southern Oregon Pediatrics: Mary Hough, M.D.; Valerie Ljunkgkvist, M.D.; Gregory Conway, M.D.; Heather Young, M.D.; Barbara J. Sibley, M.D.; Michael Mills, M.D.; Matthew Hough, M.D.; and Lee Murdoch, M.D.

Like Swiftboater John Kerry who voted for the war before he voted against it, C.W. Smith voted for RU 10 zoning before he voted against it.

Included in C.W.'s vote for RU 20 zoning was a provision to allow cities to make zoning decisions on private property that lies within one mile of the city. C.W. will give you any number of reasons why he did this, but in my opinion he caved in to the no-growthers in the valley.

C.W. claims that even with RU 20 zoning this still frees up 5,000-7,500 properties for potential development. I have asked him and the Planning Department to provide a map so people know where these areas are.

Were any of the people affected by this change notified of the change in advance so they could give some input? Remember C.W's vote next year when he runs for re-election. — Don Rist, Talent

Be warned, the movie "The Golden Compass" is not on par with the likes of "Lord of the Rings" or "The Chronicles of Narnia" as is being advertised.

Philip Pullman, the author, is an avowed atheist, and the movie as well as the book propagate a message that is anti-God to the extreme. I was looking forward to this movie until I did a little research. Anyone else see the irony for release of the movie in theaters just in time for Christmas? — Patrice Jordan, Gold Hill