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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

It's stunning and unbelievable to read the articles about the Halletts' plight and journey in their quest to get paid by Harry & David for the work they performed while under contract to the corporation. It's disgraceful treatment and my husband and I extend a thank-you to John and Beth for taking on this issue on behalf of the rest of the vendors, contractors and suppliers that have not been paid by Harry & David.

How is it that they can continue to pay such outrageous salaries to executives that produce nothing marketable in the face of delivering pain to so many former employees who had histories of secure relationships and hopeful futures? These are sad experiences for so many families who were once dependent on a culture that provided resources to many in the valley, a secure feeling that came to an end for many when Wasserstein & Co. put Harry & David on its economic knees.

We thank the Halletts for doing the right thing and not giving up on behalf of the rest of the community that has not been paid by Harry & David. — Peggy Wright, Medford

Concerning the Jacksonville land swap, quite simply, thank you Whitman Parker, publisher of the Jacksonville Review, for shinning a light of clarity to the basic facts.

So, here is what I understand: The Motorcycle Riders Association would be willing to trade 40 acres close to Jacksonville, with an improved parking lot plus approximately $1 million, for 380 acres of steep brush, poison oak land a half-hour away up a bumpy, rutted (not your father's Oldsmobile) dirt road.

My husband in the 1970s, and with son in the 1990s have recreated in this area for much quality father/child time. As I understand it, it's a trade of close-to-Jacksonville quality land (MRA's current holdings) for Jacksonville's quantity of steep manzanita lands. Riding during extreme fire danger is verboten, and well-observered by MRA members, and patrolled, with tickets being written for violators.

Let's not make this another "No ski expansion on Mount Ashland" issue. It's simple: User conflict is solved. Move the riders over the ridge. Give the hikers and walkers the 10-minutes-away land and parking lot, plus a lot of money. — Pam Reser, Medford

Alarmist dribble? Well, OK, thanks to Everett Wilkins (Dec. 28) for straightening us out on that global warming stuff. Say, maybe he could send a copy of his letter to our National Academy of Sciences.

The NAS, containing 2,200 of this country's most distinguished scientists, has stated that the drastic increase in human-caused CO2 is a serious problem, and the fact that it coincides with the ice mass loss, ocean acidification, plant and species migration, and increasingly extreme weather as pretty strong evidence that we're mucking up our planet. But maybe they're just alarmist dribblers too. All those Nobel prizes don't impress me, either.

While he's at it, he should get his letter to the the national science academies of the G8 nations and the science academies of Brazil, China and India, who have all said we humans are the big part of the current warming trend. Every single credible body in the world that has studied this situation and produced a peer-reviewed report has stated that we have a potentially catastrophic problem here.

So Mr. Wilkins has a lot straightening out to do here. He'd better get busy. — Carl Prufer, Ashland

Ms. Farrel's kitty Max can never be recovered, although she took every precaution to protect him. Can the county call itself Animal Care and Control with such a policy? After reading the entire article, Animal Control is focused on saving dogs because of licensing, but cats are disposable because there is no fee.

Cats pose a threat to employees, but we citizens hire and pay them to control the cats. Apparently Animal Control doesn't have enough money to buy protective gear so they can scan/examine animals to assure the public that it doesn't murder someone's pet. Unfortunate cats and kittens that are byproducts of someone's careless neglect.

Personally, I would hold responsible the heartless neighbor and Animal Control for the loss of a beloved pet in this cruel way. Any captured animal is going to fight. As for the claim of Max having scratches, scabs, etc., if he indeed had these injuries, they were probably received during capture by the neighbor's trap, or handling by amimal control.

SNYP is a wonderful organization that will help spay or neuter cats. Please contact it if you have feral cats and kittens that are a problem in your neighborhood. — Pat Barker, Medford

The featured op-ed article in the New Year's Day Mail Tribune was a yes-no debate of the question: "Will the Affordable Care Act make health care more affordable?" The "No" writer (from the Galen Institute) addressed the question directly, citing Kaiser Foundation surveys, the Chief Medicare Actuary and Congressional Budget Office estimates reporting significant increases in family premiums last year and for future years. The writer noted $500 billion in new taxes under the law, along with mandates and new health care regulations as fueling further premium increases — just as in the Massachusetts health care system upon which the ACA was modeled.

In stark contrast, the reply of the "Yes" writer (from The Center for Economic and Policy Research — CEPR) only described the benefits of the ACA, said awful insurance and pharmaceutical companies are to blame for all of our health care problems and that simply expanding Medicare would have been a better idea. The writer never wrote a single word citing evidence answering the question of ACA's affordability.

The Tribune compounded the insult by noting the Galen Institute's funding by pharmaceutical and insurance companies, but did not describe CEPR as a "progressive think tank" — a subtle bias by omission. — George Mozingo, Ashland

What an amazing Christmas week at the Greystone Court Food & Fund Drive, which raised over $100,000 and 10,000 pounds of food for ACCESS to feed the hungry. I would like to thank Schnitzer Steel and the Kimmel Family Foundation for their amazing generosity by donating $25,000 each. Schnitzer Steel then offered an additional $25,000 to match the community's cash donations, and together our residents met the challenge.

Cash donations are vital to our mission — this $100,000 will buy half a million pounds of food. More and more people in our community are seeking food assistance (and 33 percent of those we feed are children), so donations are more important than ever.

It seems when we need it most, our community steps up to meet the need. Thank you to the residents of Greystone Court for hosting this annual event, and to the entire community for coming out in support. — Jackie Schad, ACCESS executive director, Medford