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In April, the Shady Cove City Council voted and approved a $15-per-month Public Safety Fee (surcharge) to be charged to each household in Shady Cove (depending on gross income). This surcharge is intended to partially fund the Shady Cove Police Department. This extra funding was supposedly going to make the police force more efficient and better able to serve and protect the people and businesses in Shady Cove.

Well, where was the Shady Cove police force in early November when a person walked into a local bank in the middle of the afternoon and robbed them of an undisclosed amount of cash and then just walked away? This bank is only a few blocks from the Shady Cove police station.

It took over a month to apprehend this individual and all this time he was living in an R.V. park adjacent to Rogue River within the city limits. Maybe they wouldn't have caught him then if someone hadn't turned him in.

If this incident is indicative of the effectiveness of the Shady Cove Police Department, then I don't think my $15 per month is a good investment. Especially since I didn't even have a chance to vote for the surcharge! — Sid Peterson, Shady Cove

Eight flags have been stolen from private property on Highway 140.

These flags adorned our bridge and represented the eight countries my husband trained and fought in as a soldier in World War II. The flags were a gift to him from me, his wife of 26 years, to commemorate the trip he took this past year to retrace his steps from his war experience. Is this how we thank our veterans?

A reward is offered for the return of these flags, along with the Oregon and American flags that were taken as well. And shame, shame on the person or people who did this. — Patricia Wintemute, Pitchfork Ranch, Eagle Point

OK, call me old-fashioned, unenlightened, critical, whatever, but the Light One Candle article in Monday's paper really upset me.

Katrina Lee, the executive director of Magdalene Home, is incredibly impressed by the 15-year-old, unwed mother-to-be's motivation to parent her child and complete her education. The girl is 15 years old, for heaven's sake! The article also states she is new to the area and has no family or friends here.

This little boy that will be born in January needs to live with a family that can give him a loving, financially stable home. The young girl should be encouraged to give her child such a home by means of adoption, not told how impressed they are with her.

So, what's the next step? She has a few years until graduation from high school. Who supports her and her baby until then? Where do they live? Medical care? Moral support? I think we all know, don't we?

It is a difficult, heart-wrenching decision to give up a child for adoption, but what an unselfish gift to that child. — S. Self, Medford

In response to a previous letter: The writer has the right to express disdain for our governor's endorsement of Hillary Clinton, but do not imply that everyone here who does not support her lacks common sense.

The moronic idiot who has destroyed this country for the last seven years would have found his country safer in the hands of Kerry/Edwards than it has been in his own. He has put this country's financial, environmental and general welfare in peril for the foreseeable future.

Vote for a Democrat and vote often. — Wayne R. Martin, Medford

Again our county commissioners have shown that they don't understand our county's need for educational organizations and their missions.

Led by Jack Walker, this lackluster group has managed to screw up our libraries, schools and now our Historical Society. First they pull the rug out from them by cutting the funding. Now, because SOHS has not replaced a multi-million-dollar budget after entering the nonprofit world, they want to sell off the properties.

SOHS has been competing for grants and donations as a not-for-profit organization for only three years and is making great strides. Each SOHS event has been more successful than the last. SOHS is well on its way.

Walker takes great pleasure in his "We're ready, willing and able to take the buildings back" comment. It sounds like he already has it sold.

His comment, "I hope someday someone steps up to manage the Historical Society in a manner it can be maintained" is condescending, childish and an embarrassment for Jackson County.

In response to Shayne Maxwell, the reason the museums are in Jacksonville is because these are the few historic sites to survive development and bad planning. SOHS had to leave Medford to cut costs. Pay attention! — Greg Frederick, Medford

The idea that the county commissioners would not fund SOHS, which endangers our historical objects, and also sells off our heritage in the form of the buildings, upset us greatly. I know what will happen to the historical buildings, and they will be destroyed, either through remodels or demolition. It will simply be a matter of time, and with no one looking, the agreements to rid the property will be allowed.

We watch our community change daily, and soon what was here will no longer be present. History is often not valued until it is gone. Many of the objects were gifted with the understanding that the SOHS would oversee their care and use, and that includes some of the buildings the county commissioner now wants to steal away.

The people who live here have the charge of taking care of the history we have left, and that means finding a way to keep the buildings under the protection of the SOHS. Consider what Jack Walker wants to do with the buildings and the land — declassify them as historical sites, then sell them for profit!

Don't let the Jack Walkers have their way! — D. Katie Powell, Jacksonville

In Thursday's MT, County Commissioner Jack Walker was quoted as saying that continued funding of the Southern Oregon Historical Society (SOHS) "... would be throwing money down the well." After reading this statement I was reminded of a famous quote attributed to Roman philosopher, legal scholar, orator and statesman Marcus Tillius Cicero, 49 B.C. He said:

"To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to forever remain a child."

I have long believed that the foregoing quote should be framed and hung on the wall of every history class, museum and library. Now it appears that it should also be hung on the wall in the meeting room of the Jackson County Board of Commissioners.

Apparently, Mr. Walker (and other like-minded commissioners) believes that the people of Jackson County should remain as children. Like him, perhaps. — Rob Morgan, Eagle Point

What Commissioner Jack Walker seems to mindlessly ignore is the fact that the levy taxpayers approved to establish and support the Southern Oregon Historical Society — a levy we still pay and will continue to pay — has been rolled into the county general fund. Money specifically dedicated to support the society is now being allocated to other county services.

SOHS Director John Enders and the board of trustees have cut the operation of the society to the core and diligently continue the work to build a source of dependable income. It is irresponsible for Jack Walker or any member of the budget committee to fail to recognize the responsibility entrusted to the SOHS and to demean the efforts that John and the trustees are making to meet ongoing and future costs. — Marjorie O'Harra, Phoenix

People who think that the Mail Tribune is too liberal should be pleased with the way that the Tribune slanted the recent report on the $555 billion omnibus appropriations bill.

The Democrats wanted to legislatively do something that would help end the Iraq war (obviously a hopeless project) and to protect social programs that help the poor.

The appropriations bill gave Bush part of what he wanted on the war, but also gave the Democrats part of what they wanted on social programs.

So Bush and the Republicans "caved in" on social programs and the Democrats "caved in" on war spending.

If you read the heading "Democratic Congress caves in on war spending" you get that part of the picture, but if you read to the bitter end of the piece, you see that Congress restored and added funding for numerous social programs that help those at the bottom of the income scale.

I think that this is a great example of how papers can deliver the news. — Harry L. Cook, Ashland

Mr. Dickson is incensed that someone has the audacity to fine him for breaking the law.

Not having current tags on a license plate is escaping a tax. So let someone else pay for his fire, police, school, street, paramedic, rescue or whatever if and when he might need such help.

Nobody likes taxes in any form, but we live in a society where they're part of keeping things from fraying. It's not up to individuals to avoid ones they might not like and then rant like some victim.

Mr. Dickson et al. should get a grip — the rest of us aren't happy about covering his butt with our tax money if he needs help one day. — B. Foy, Medford

The front page story "The Arctic is screaming" is another example of fearmongering by the Mail Tribune.

There are lies, big lies, and then there are statistics. The article states that 552 billion tons of Greenland's ice melted into the oceans this past year. On the face of it, that is huge!

The article doesn't mention how many tons of snow fell on Greenland this year, replacing some if not all of what melted. But like so many statistics published, the reality of what this means to the reader is not provided.

I ask myself the obvious question: How much will the oceans rise due to ice melting in Greenland? Well, just do the math.

Since the world's oceans cover 129 million square miles and 552 billion tons of ice becomes about 122 cubic miles of water, the level of the world's oceans would rise 0.0049 feet this year! At this rate, with no snow falling in Greenland, the oceans will rise 6 inches in the next 100 years. Again, readers would be better served with truth rather than statistical propaganda! — Tom Strouth, Medford

Am I the only one who is sick and tired of hearing Josephine County Commissioner Jim Raffenberg's whining about what he refers to as the environmental "industry"?

Only a fool would not be concerned about a safe living environment for himself and his family. Only a bigger fool would ignore the fact that we can't continue to abuse our planet at an ever-increasing rate without having to endure the consequences on life as we know it.

Raffenberg's support of the BLM's WOPR, the shady, ill-conceived under-the-table rush to "expand" the Illinois Valley Airport, and other questionable endeavours, demonstrates his allegiance to special interests, along with contempt and disregard for the interests and well-being of his constituents. Unless he moderates his behavior in a progressive (as in progress) manner, he will join other "regressives" such as Australia's John Howard and George W. Bush in the ranks of the unemployed (or soon to be).

Not to worry, all three can find full-time gainful employment as lobbyists for developers or the extraction industry, instead of just dabbling with it part-time. I'm confident that history will reflect poorly on all of them. — Robert H. Ziller, O'Brien

BLM has proposed designating 13 areas in Southern Oregon for off-road recreation.

BLM says they will manage off-road use in designated areas while the remaining public land will allow off-road use only on "existing roads and trails." BLM is responsible for managing all activities on the greatest single land ownership in the United States, including half of all land ownership in Jackson County. BLM has failed miserably to manage off-road use on public lands, failed miserably to balance off-road use with their primary mission, and are failing miserably in that mission to sustainably steward public land resources for current and future generations.

These people are employed by our government, but they are also citizens, and they're doing a piddlin' poor job of managing America's lands for the rest of us. For their failure, a lump of coal in BLM's stocking. — Jack Duggan, Applegate Valley

Israel's claim that our intelligence regarding Iran's nuclear program is deficient (Mail Tribune, Dec. 16) is to be expected.

Since Iran's Islamic Revolution took place and Iran adopted a policy opposing Israel's Middle East ambitions, Israel has either tried to have the U.S. attack that country or obtain U.S. permission to carry out an attack itself. Israel's assertion that an Iran which possesses nuclear weapons would attack Israel presents an unlikely scenario, since Israel clandestinely has a nuclear arsenal large enough to destroy Iran.

A problem is that the Bush/Cheney administration will use Israeli accusations to boost its own anti-Iran campaign, with potentially grave danger for the world being a consequence if that leads to an attack. — Jim Hansen, Brookings