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Farewell to Medford. We moved here, not from California, 20 years ago. Now we're leaving.

Our first impression of Medford hasn't changed much. A town with potential surrounded by beautiful wilderness. We've hoped that potential would become reality.

There have been improvements, such as a slight revitalization to downtown, but overall, it's still a backwards city. The schools are a mess and we can no longer allow our children to be exposed to the negativity and substandard education.

Road planning is a joke, housing developments and shopping centers are preferred over green spaces and growing "up" not out. The governments are still primarily under the control of the "good ol' boys."

Many fantasize about the return to the "glory days" of logging and hold conservationists in contempt. Ashland values the arts and liberal thinking but it's changing, becoming a haven for the super-wealthy.

Housing prices are ridiculous, even with the downturn in the market. Wages aren't keeping-up with the cost of living.

Drugs, gangs, poor drivers, obesity, poor work ethics, fast food and car lots galore. Support for Super Wal-Marts and numerous Walgreens, but not a natural foods co-op.

Sadly, Medford is still dysfunctional and probably always will be. — Jackie Reed, Medford

Concerning chaos theory's "butterfly effect" and our intermittent horrendous windstorms, I believe physicists and climatologists should unite to determine if the Pacific Northwest and the Arctic and indeed, all the planet could be bearing the cost for rocket blast-offs to the International Space Station from Kazakhstan.

I've noticed we get these winds every time. The force of rocket propulsion is tremendous as it stretches up and bursts the atmosphere.

Launch localities also of concern to be studied are: the Odyssey platform in the Pacific Ocean; Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands; Tanegashima, Japan; Vandenberg Air Force Base in California; the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport in Wallops Island, Va.; the Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral in Florida; and spaceports in Kourou, French Guiana; Sriharikota, India; and, most recently, China.

SpaceflightNow.com features a worldwide launch schedule. Interested people may track launches themselves and note any repeat weather phenomena. — Patti Morey, Ashland

In Sunday's paper, state health officials suggested business owners adapt the new nanny-state law before Jan. 1, which will ban smoking in all public "i.e. privately owned" businesses. Most have gone non-smoking to attract a certain clientele, but a few others see the end of a free society, decided to hang onto their civil liberties as long as possible and left their business welcome to smokers.

Don't go there if you don't like smoke, there are far more nonsmoking places than smoking. When the free market decides, we all win.

Saving you from yourself sounds good, but it is un-American and becoming increasingly fascist. Mankind is here to live life, not to merely exist to serve the state.

Some look at the fudged statistics and claim the law is for the "safety" of the employees, I submit that working as a police officer, a taxi driver or a convenience store clerk carries greater risk than tobacco smoke, but common sense never mattered to anyone on a crusade.

It's neo-prohibitionist, because regardless of how fuzzy and warm the law seems, if someone wants to hug you and you don't want to be hugged, it's still tyranny. — David Wise, Medford