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letters to the editor

I am appalled at the Ashland Police Department for shooting a cougar. I have an unused cougar tag. I have had an unused cougar tag for the last 14 years.

The next time the residents of Ashland have a cougar come to town, call me first.

I'll drive up, assess the situation, shoot the animal, pack it up and drive away. No press, no photographs (till I get home and paste it on Facebook) and no police standing around for hours on end wasting the good taxpayers' money and time. Problem solved.

Here's another idea: Stop leaving dog and cat food outside for raccoons, opossums and skunks, bring your cats inside at night and above all, stop feeding the deer. Reduce the prey animal opportunity and the predator animal won't come around.

Until you convene a blue ribbon panel, candlelight vigil or have a town hall meeting to discuss that option, call me. — David F. Cuttrell, Medford

I am writing relative to the article in the Feb. 16 MT addressing salmon hatch boxes and the push by Sen. Jason Atkinson to legislate their use through Senate Bill 472.

While the goal of improving the currently low numbers of returning salmon in south coast streams is one shared by many of us, spending scarce ODFW funds on a technique that has been shown to be ineffective in this area makes no sense.

Sen. Atkinson is quoted as saying, "There's a certain component of the ethic of conservation that we're trying to promote, this will get the kids personally involved in conservation."

Sen. Atkinson, getting kids more involved in conservation is wonderful and something we should support, and I commend you for your interest in that.

However, getting kids and other community members to put their time and money into a practice that is not supported by any available data is simply poor public policy, and a waste of your time and my tax dollars.

Senator, I do appreciate your interest relative to helping salmon runs in Southern Oregon. This program, however, is not the answer. — Greg Clevenger, Ashland

Are large numbers of local high school students really doing college-level work?

To learn the truth about Advanced Placement classes, you must do some homework.

(Ideally, the Mail Tribune would simply publish the relevant data.) Fortunately, these classes offer a way to measure how much students are learning: nationally normed tests. Students get scores from 1 to 5, with 5 being best.

Yet my wife, who taught successful AP classes, says some schools' so-called AP classes don't even offer these tests!

Find out what fraction of students enrolled in a class actually took the test the previous year. It should be over two-thirds if it's truly a college-level class.

Then discover how many test-takers actually passed with scores of 3 or above, making them eligible for college credit. Next, notice the average passing rate for the course, typically about 50 percent.

If relatively few students pass their AP exams but schools still brag about offering college-level work, suspect deliberate deception.

Successful AP teachers should be widely lauded for their hard work, beginning programs should be bolstered, and schools with failing programs should be investigated because enrolling students may not be sufficiently prepared and/or the wrong teachers have been assigned. — Martin Seim, retired high school and community college teacher, Medford