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The Mail Tribune's position on using locally grown foods for our school programs is wrong-headed.

The editorial board quotes an increase of 10 percent to provide fresher, locally grown food for schools. While focusing on the short-term 10 percent, it did not consider the local advantages to spending this money in the Rogue Valley.

The economic multiplier effect will provide benefits valued at many times that 10 percent. Passing those funds out of the region continues to hurt our local economy. This is the "big box" thinking that continues to threaten our way of life.

Good foods help our children learn, our schools teach and our neighbors thrive. Calculate the long-term costs of poor health, and it is clear this is a good investment. "Fresh Regional Eating for Schools and Health Act" is a good, positive step toward making our communities more stable. Wyden and Naumes need support, not panning. Help yourself; help your neighbor — buy local. — Paul Fisher, Ashland

The Jacksonville City Council appears intent upon selling watershed land to the motorcycle club (MT Dec. 8).

During a decade of discussions, the city has declined to give up this land. Why is this council now pursuing the deal? Does the council think the citizens now want to sell this land for motorcycle use? I have heard people talk about the many uses for the $800,000 from the deal, and I have heard people talk about the need to protect the open land around Jacksonville. Because of these opposing values, the council should settle the controversy by asking all the people in a ballot measure in May.

A staff person at the county elections office said that the cost of the ballot would be zero because the ballot would be run with the primaries. Medford is paying a consultant $56,000 to survey some residents about spending money for a water park, fire station and police offices. For no cost, Jacksonville can get direct feedback from all 2,100 city voters.

What a great way to demonstrate the will of the Jacksonville citizens. Instead of an incomplete survey, a ballot measure puts the information and choice in the hands of all the citizens. — Bob Kingsnorth, Central Point

Providing a covered, year-round pool will pay dividends to the community for years to come.

I was involved in the aquatic world for 25-plus years. Medford is the only town of this size that does not have a covered pool. The drowning rate in cities without aquatic facilities is usually very high. This facility can serve senior citizens for fitness and relaxation, all handicapped children or adults for instruction and recreation, kids from parent and tots to high school, college and adults for instruction, fitness and relaxation, and it also provides an opportunity for those who want to compete.

A pool provides another place where children can go and be safe, and it provides an opportunity for rentals to community groups. It is a very healthy kind of facility. If you don't want kids joining gangs, give them a place to go and use up their energy. — Charles Hulings, Medford